Favorite  |  Set Home
E-mail: sales@yjbigchef.com
Knife Materials

ANTI-BACTERIAL - Some knife handles incorporate an anti-bacterial additive as an extra selling point to consumers concerned about home hygiene. Some cutting boards also incorporate a similar agent.
CARBON STEEL - Carbon steel is an alloy of iron and carbon, the carbon steel used for knives usually containing about 1% carbon. The best carbon steel blades contain a high proportion of carbon: the higher the carbon content the easier it is to keep the blade sharp. However, carbon steel can rust and stain and so requires careful maintenance.
CHROMIUM - A chemical element that is highly resistant to corrosion and very hard. Stainless steel used to make kitchen knife blades commonly incorporates 10 to 15% chromium.
HIGH-CARBON STAINLESS STEEL - A grade of stainless steel that contains a higher quantity of carbon, which is designed to achieve the best balance between carbon steel and lower-grade stainless steel when used for knife blades. Such blades keep a sharper edge than ordinary stainless steel and do not tarnish and rust like carbon steel.
MOLYBDENUM - An element that can be incorporated into stainless steel to add strength and hardness. Molybdenum alloyed with steel makes it stronger, and its exceptionally high melting temperature makes it more resistant to heat.
NICKEL - A highly corrosion-resistant metal which is used to give stainless steel its corrosion resistance. When stainless steel is described as 18/10’, the ‘10’ refers to the percentage of nickel in the metal.
POLYCARBONATE - A hard, tough plastic sometimes used for handles on mid-price knives.
POLYPROPYLENE - An inexpensive plastic used for moulded handles on budget-price knives.
POLYOXYMETHYLENE - A hard, dense plastic used for handles on mid-price and some upper-end knives – commonly referred to as POM.
SANTOPRENE - A soft plastic which gives good grip, especially with wet or greasy hands, and which is popular for kitchen knife handles. A good choice for anyone who has difficulties gripping things – users with arthritis, for instance.
STAINLESS STEEL - An alloy of iron that contains at least 10% chromium, with the possible addition in various combinations of nickel, molybdenum and carbon, and used to make, amongst many other things, kitchen knife blades. The low-carbon types of stainless steel are softer than carbon steel and need to be sharpened often, although they need little maintenance compared to carbon steel. High-carbon stainless steel, which, as the name suggests, contains a higher percentage of carbon, aims to achieve a perfect balance between carbon steel and low-carbon stainless steel, maintaining a sharper edge than standard stainless steel and, unlike carbon steel, resistant to staining and rust. The 18/8 and 18/10 grades of stainless steel used to make table cutlery and cookware contain 18% chromium and either 8% or 10% of nickel. These grades cannot be hardened by heat treatment, and therefore are not used to make kitchen knife blades. All grades of stainless steel are fully recyclable.
TITANIUM - A metallic element which is strong, light and corrosion-resistant – all desirable properties in a knife blade. Titanium coating adds strength to a blade, which means it can be made thinner and lighter.
VANADIUM - An element that can be added to the steel of a knife’s blade in order to build extra hardness and superior edge retention.

Knife Tech

BALANCE - The best knives have excellent balance; that is, a balance between the weight of the handle and the weight of the blade. The actual point of balance ought to be on the blade, just in front of the handle, and can be tested by balancing the knife on a finger in that position. The latest development is a range of knives on which the balance can be ‘tuned’ to suit the individual user: the handle houses a removable shaft to which extra weights can be added on and from which they can be removed.
CORROSION - Modern stainless steel knives are highly corrosion resistant. Older knives made of carbon steel may discolour badly, particularly when in contact with acidic foods like lemons, onions and so on. Carbon steel knife blades may also rust if they are not dried promptly after washing.
DISCOLOURATION - While stainless steel knives are highly resistant to discolouration, it may occur if the knife has been exposed to a naked flame or other heat source. Also, some detergents may produce a bluish film – although this can usually be removed. More seriously, brown or black discolouration can signify the early stages of rust or corrosion, which usually indicates a lack of care in keeping the blade clean and dry and is attributable to prolonged exposure to acidic food, salts or detergents, steam from a dishwasher, etc, which can induce rusting and corrosion. At an early stage, this can usually be rectified by washing or scrubbing with a mild abrasive. Alternatively, there are various proprietary stainless steel cleaners available. If left to persist, discolouration can result in pitting and cracking of the stainless steel.
DISHWASHERS - Individual manufacturers should state whether a particular range of knives is dishwasher-safe or not. Instructions to avoid dishwashers could mean that the handles are not dishwasher safe, but many manufacturers also advise that knife blades are susceptible to corrosion if exposed for too long to the damp, steamy atmosphere of a dishwasher, and may also be damaged by contact with other items in the dishwasher. It is safer and better to wash and dry quality knives by hand immediately after use. Wooden handles in particular are unlikely to be dishwasher-safe, as they can warp and split.
DUCTILITY - The capacity of a metal to stretch, bend or spread when put under stress. If a stainless steel knife blade has good ductility, it is less likely to break or chip in use.
FACE SHARPENING - This refers to the Japanese practice of grinding the entire width of the blade at a steep angle to provide a sharp edge, as opposed to the European tradition of grinding just the cutting edge at a less steep angle.
FLEXIBILITY - Different knives need different degrees of flexibility. A filleting knife, ham slicer or a palette knife depend on being highly flexible to function properly; a cook’s knife or a cleaver need to be extremely stiff.
FLUTED BLADE - A knife with a long blade that has a plain edge and a series of indentations ground into one side of the blade or both, in which case they are staggered for strength. Each indentation creates a tiny air pocket between the blade and the food being cut, reducing friction and sticking and making for easy cutting of thin, even slices of cheese, cold meats, smoked salmon and pâtés.
HANDLES - Handles are available in a variety of materials. Plastic handles are popularly of polypropylene, which is one of the lightest and more inexpensive plastics, or, for a longer-lasting handle that gives a good grip, polyoxymethylene (POM). Polycarbonate is an almost unbreakable plastic alternative. Plastic handles can be moulded in one piece to slot over the tang, or in two pieces to be riveted either side of the tang. Wooden handles require more care than others, and are unlikely to be dishwasher proof as they can split and crack. An alternative is wood/plastic composite, which requires little maintenance, is hygienic and looks and feels like wood. Knives can also have stainless steel handles, which are welded onto the tang, and can feature indentations to improve grip. The shape and weight of a knife’s handle should also be taken into account as they contribute to the comfort and balance of the knife when in use.
HARDENING - A process in which steel is first heated to a very high temperature, then quenched in oil or water to reduce the temperature very rapidly. This process converts the microstructure of the steel from a uniform grain called pearlite to a fine, needlelike grain structure called martensite – and in the process it makes the steel harder, and thus able to maintain a sharper edge for longer. Hardness is measured on the Rockwell scale: good quality knife blades are typically hardened to between 55 Rockwell and 62 Rockwell.
HOLLOW GROUND BLADE - The result of grinding the blade by passing the cutting edge between two rotating grinding wheels. This produces a slightly concave blade section with a sharp point. The edge may be finished with a plain edge, or in the case of bread knives and tomato knives etc, be given a serrated or scalloped edge. These types of blades tend to be mass produced and are mainly suitable for lighter cutting and slicing tasks.
HOLLOW HANDLE - This generally refers to a handle made of stainless steel in two halves and either joined to the blade internally or externally. If the handle is left hollow, it may be too light to balance the weight of the blade; in which case metal weights or sand can be added inside the handle to provide perfect balance.
ICE TEMPERING - A special process during the hardening of knives, where the metal blade, after being heated, is quenched in sub-zero temperature, which produces an extra-hard blade which can subsequently be sharpened to perform to a very high standard.
MOHS - A measure of hardness, based on the ability of a hard mineral to scratch a softer one. The lead in a pencil has a Mohs hardness of about 1; a diamond is 10.
MOULDED HANDLE - A type of plastic knife handle that fits over either a neb tang or a whittle tang. It can be moulded with a slot, into which either type of tang can be inserted, or the handle can be moulded directly around a whittle tang.
NEB TANG - A type of tang that supports a moulded plastic handle. The handle is moulded to incorporate a slot. The tang is then inserted into the slot and secured firmly in position with rivets.
PLAIN EDGE - A plain blade edge without scallops or serrations. Plain edge knives require frequent sharpening to maintain the edge – sharpening ‘little and often’ is far better than letting the knife get blunt and then having to create a new edge from scratch.
RIVETS - Rivets are a type of metal pin used to permanently secure the knife handle to the tang. They should be fIxed so that they are flush with the handle, and tight fitting for hygiene. Knives made this way are described as having ‘riveted construction’.
SCALLOPED EDGE KNIFE - Usually a long blade, and made of very hard stainless steel, so reducing the need for frequent sharpening. It’s used for cutting bread, or other foods which are hard or crusty on the outside. Scalloped edge blades can be used to cut the same foods as fluted blades. The points of the scallops guard against the sharpness of the scallop curves. They cannot be easily sharpened using a steel, because the scallops need to be sharpened individually – but they stay sharp for a long time.
SEAMLESS CONSTRUCTION - Where metal parts are welded together, modern manufacturing techniques make it possible for the join to be invisible. Typically, this refers to the join between the two halves of the hollow handle, or between the handle, bolster and blade.
STAMPED BLADE - This is the alternative to a forged blade. The shape of the blade is stamped straight out of cold rolled steel, heat treated, and then ground, polished and sharpened. This is the process used to make most budget-price knives.
STRAIGHT EDGE BLADE - A blade with no indentations or serrations, which gives a smooth, clean cut. Knives with straight edge blades can be used for carving meat, cutting fruit and chopping vegetables. Also referred to as a ‘plain edge’.
STRIP GROUND BLADE - Made from a strip of steel, this differs from a taper ground blade in being thinner and having a flat profile. It is lighter than taper ground and not as strong, especially where the blade meets the handle. Strip ground blades can be extremely sharp, however.
TAPER GROUND - Arguably the finest of all types of blade – machine ground all over to produce a gradual taper from the spine down to the edge, and from the handle to the tip of the blade. Taper ground blades are extremely strong, and provide excellent balance for chopping and general-purpose slicing. The taper also allows the blade to slice easily through food.
TEMPERING - Tempering is a heat treatment in which a knife blade is reheated to a temperature below its lower critical temperature. This rearranges the carbon atoms in the martensite in the steel, making it stronger, more ductile and malleable, and easier to machine.
WASHING AND DRYING KNIVES - Modern stainless steel knives are highly resistant to staining and corrosion, and need less care than their carbon steel predecessors. However, it is sensible to make a practice of always washing and drying kitchen knives as soon as they are done with, and then putting them away safely, rather than leaving them in a washing-up bowl or on a draining rack.
WEIGHT - A heavyweight knife has a satisfying, businesslike feel to it – but it is worth pointing out that for prolonged use, a lighter weight knife may be preferable in terms of strain. Also see Balance.
WELDED CONSTRUCTION - Most all-metal knifes which appear to be made from a single piece of steel are actually made in several pieces, welded together and ground and polished so that the welded joint is invisible.

Knife Types

ALL-PURPOSE KNIFE - A versatile kitchen knife that can be used for a range of jobs, from slicing and chopping vegetables to trimming bacon fat, cutting meat and peeling fruit and vegetables.
BONING KNIFE - A specialist preparation knife with very sharp points for removing bones from raw poultry and other meat. Boning knives can have rigid or flexible blades.
BREAD KNIFE - A bread knife has a long, rigid scalloped-edge blade ideal for tackling bread or foods with a hard surface and soft interior.
BUTCHER’S KNIFE - A broad-bladed knife mostly used by butchers for butchering animals and for meat processing.
CARVING FORK - A large fork used to secure meat when carving, which is used with a carving knife. It differs from a table fork in that it has only two prongs.
CARVING KNIFE - Carving knives are long and are available in a range of styles to suit the food to be carved. For joints of meat a reasonably rigid blade is needed, with a sharp point to work around bones. Poultry requires a slightly more flexible blade, while cold meats require even more ‘spring’.
CHEESE KNIFE - Used for cutting cheese into slices, a cheese knife has a blade that widens out from the handle towards the tip, and is somewhat rectangular in shape. It also incorporates a series of large holes in the blade, which help the slicing process and also prevent the cheese from sticking to the blade; the holes create air gaps which interrupt the ‘suction’ which can build up between the blade and the food. This same anti-sticking feature also makes the cheese knife useful for cutting boiled eggs, butter and cake.
CLEAVER/CHOPPER - A large hatchet-like knife with a broadly rectangular blade, used for chopping through boned joints. It can also double up for chopping vegetables. Chinese Cleavers tend to be lighter and used as a general purpose knife and as a spatula for transferring ingredients to the wok or pan.
COOK’S/CHEF’S KNIFE - The cook’s knife, or chef’s knife, is a large, versatile, all-purpose knife. The blade has a straight edge from heel to halfway along the blade, which then gradually tapers towards the point. The blade is broad and strong, and the user can chop, using a rocking motion, with one hand, while controlling the blade with the other.
MEZZALUNA - A curved bladed knife with two raised handles (literally a half moon), used for mincing or dicing vegetables and other foods by a rocking motion. This can have a single or two parallel blades and is often sold with a cutting board which may, in turn, have a hollow well in the centre in which the demilune is used. Also known as a hachoir.
FILLETING KNIFE - This knife has an extremely thin, flexible blade so that when pressed against the backbone of a fish it will follow its curve and the flesh can be swept off cleanly.
HAM/SALMON SLICER - A knife with a long slim, usually flexible blade with rounded end, used for thinly slicing joints of ham, beef and smoked salmon. The blade can be with or without scalloping or fluting.
NAKIRI - A Japanese knife which is usually rectangular in shape used for cutting and dicing vegetables and fruit, etc. This should not be confused with a cleaver, which is of similar shape, but more substantially made for heavier tasks.
PALETTE KNIFE - An extra long, well-balanced and blunt knife with a flexible blade, used for a variety of kitchen tasks. It will act as a fish turner, lift rolled-out pastry off the work surface, flip over scones or biscuits and smooth out icing on cakes. The ‘blade’ can be in a variety of lengths, and can be either completely flat or cranked/bent.
PARING/PEELING KNIFE - A small, all-purpose knife with a sharp point, ideal for all sorts of intricate and fiddly jobs. Peeling knives tend to be slightly smaller and may be ‘spear point’ shaped or ‘lamb foot’ shaped, or curved
PIZZA CUTTER - A tool with a flat cutting disc, used to make a rolling cut through a pizza.
SANTOKU KNIFE - Literally meaning ‘three uses’ or ‘benefits’, this Japanese-inspired knife, which has become very popular in the west, is similar to a chef’s knife in that it can be used for a variety of dicing, chopping and mincing jobs. The razor-sharp blade has a straighter edge than a chef’s knife and the end is somewhat rounded.
SASHIMI KNIFE - A traditional Japanese knife for preparing and slicing raw fish. The long-bladed knife is traditionally ground and sharpened on one side only to produce a bevelled edge, with the other side being completely flat. This makes for a very sharp cutting edge which helps to maintain a right-angle cut without damaging the remaining food, and is also good for skinning or filleting fish. There are two main types of Sashimi knives: Yanagi, which has a sharp pointed end, and Tako, with a chisel-like square end.
SERRATED KNIFE - A knife with a single-sided, wavy, finely-toothed blade edge used to cut smooth-skinned, slippery fruit and vegetables such as tomatoes, lemons and grapefruit, or crusty foods such as bread. Serrated edges are very sharp and retain their sharpness, with the downward-pointing peaks of the wavy edge making the first cut and protecting the sharpness of the troughs.
SLICER - A type of carving knife with a rounded end, as opposed to the very sharp tip on standard carving knives. They are used for carving boneless joints, particularly ham, beef or salmon.
SLICING KNIFE - A knife with a long blade, used for slicing meat. It is easy to manipulate and has a very sharp point, which can be used for removing meat right next to the bone.
STEAK KNIFE - A table knife with a sharp, narrow, serrated blade that makes it easier to cut tough meats such as steak. Steak knives are often supplied in sets that coordinate with kitchen knives.
UTLILTY KNIFE - An all-purpose knife that is bigger than a paring knife and smaller than a chef’s knife or cook’s knife. It has a finer blade than a chef’s knife, and is used for carving and slicing fine meats and soft vegetables.
VEGETABLE CHOPPER - A small worktop gadget like a mini food processor, for chopping vegetables and other foods such as eggs and fruits. The food is placed in the enclosed container and then pushed down by means of a knob onto a blade. The blades then rotate and chop up the food.

Knife Accessories

BLADE GUARDS - The ideal way to store knives is in a purpose-designed block, knife roll or magnetic rack; but if they have to be stored in a cupboard drawer, or need to be transported from place to place, then individual blade guards are available for some knife ranges. The soft plastic sheaths have magnetic inserts which keep the guards securely on the blade, protecting the edge from damage and the user from accidental injury.
CERAMIC SHARPENERS - These may be in the form of a long and usually cylindrical sharpening rod or a wheel or pair of wheels, along which the blade is drawn or as a fl at whetstone. The ceramic material may be of different degrees of coarseness or fineness to perform different tasks. Many roller sharpeners featuring ceramic wheels have two or more wheels of different grit and whetstones may be composed of two sides of different grit. Ceramic sharpeners are particularly recommended in the case of knives with blades, which are hardened to a high level and for which metal sharpeners are not suitable.
CUTTING BOARDS - These come in a huge range of shapes, sizes, thicknesses and materials – most popularly wood and polyethylene, but also glass, marble and steel, and now bamboo. Types of wooden boards are themselves numerous, available in many types of wood. Endgrain wooden cutting boards are the most durable, with a much harder surface. Wood has the advantage of being a soft material and is therefore less likely than other materials to blunt knives. It is also self-healing, in that small cuts close up, and wooden board knife manufacturers argue that for this reason it is also more hygienic than polyethylene. However, polyethylene boards can withstand more rigorous scrubbing with chemical cleaners. Some boards come in colour-coded sets so that each board can be used exclusively for a different type of preparation, ie, fish, meat or vegetables, for reasons of hygiene. Glass, marble and steel are also easy to keep clean but will easily blunt or damage knives. Bamboo is a relatively new cutting board material. One of its main selling points is that, being a grass rather than a wood, it is sustainable and therefore environmentally friendly. However, the material resembles wood in that it is rigid and stable.
DIAMOND SHARPENER - A normal steel sharpener cannot be used on knives with blades which are hardened to a high degree, or ceramic knives which require specialist sharpening with a diamond sharpener or using a professional service. One disadvantage of diamond sharpeners, however, is that the diamond powder coating will eventually wear off the sharpener after prolonged use.
KNIFE BLOCKS - Knife blocks come in a wide variety of shapes and materials, and perform the job of keeping knives all in one place on the worktop, storing the blades safely and preventing damage to the knives themselves. They typically incorporate a number of slots to hold different sizes of knife.
KNIFE SHARPENERS - There is quite a variety of knife sharpeners on the market. A sharpening steel is a long, straight rod with an abrasive surface against which the knife is drawn, but some people find that it is not the easiest tool to use. Alternatives include a worktop sharpener with two slots, the knife being drawn through each in turn; a similar worktop tool with one slot containing crossed steels, which is designed to replicate the action of the sharpening steel; and a whetstone, a fine-grained block of stone. There are also small hand-held sharpeners, as well as electric models. Effective sharpening requires a harder material than that which is being sharpened. For this reason, standard sharpeners do not work on ceramic blades, which require diamond sharpeners.
MAGNETIC RACKS - An alternative to a knife block, a magnetic rack uses a magnetic strip with which to hold the knives in place. It can be mounted on the wall or inside a kitchen cabinet for greater safety.
SHARPENING STEEL - A long, straight tool made from high carbon steel, which, being harder than that used for knife blades, can be used for sharpening knives. They are available with a variety of groove thicknesses, from fine to coarse.
WHETSTONE - A block of stone or slate used for to sharpen kitchen knives and other tools. 

Online service