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The Knife Parts

One of the most important tools in the kitchen is the knife. This is particularly true when making jerky. If you are dealing with meat such as venison, you’ll find you may need more than one knife, i.e., skinning knife, boning knife and butcher knife, whereas should you be making jerky from . . . say a roast, you can probably get by with using only one knife – the butcher knife.

In our next few posts, we’ll be talking about knives – their parts, the different types of knives, care of knives and how to sharpen them. But, before we get into the nitty-gritty of maintenance, we need to know the different parts of a knife.

The diagram will help identify each part and we’ve placed a brief description below.

Butt – the end of the knife handle

Bolster – typically a thick band of steel between the ‘heel’ and the ‘handle’ that not only helps with balance but also keeps the user’s hand from slipping onto the blade.

Heel – the back part of the blade

Tip – usually considered to be the front portion of the blade typically used for cutting.

Point – ‘the sharp end’ used for stabbing or piercing.

Edge – the sharpened part of the blade, it extends from the heel to the tip.

Spine – the top of the blade – opposite from the blade’s edge

Tang – the portion of the blade that extends into the handle, full tang blades are considered more desirable as they offer better balance and durability.

Handle – the gripping surface

While we’re on the topic of handles, we’ll quickly cover the three basic types of handles you’ll find on most common household knives.

Wood  –  The most common type of handle and probably the easiest to use, however, when using a wooden handled knife you want to consider the health concerns with regard to bacteria growth in the crevices of the handle. If you use a wooden handled knife to slice raw meat for jerky, make sure to clean it properly. Also, don’t leave wooden handled knives soaking in water or run through a dish washer – very damaging to the integrity of the wood.

Stainless Steel – knives with this type of handle are pretty much maintenance free, durable and easy to clean. They also tend to have better balance, however, if you are using a stainless steel handled knife with wet hands – use caution as they tend to be slippery.

Plastic – quickly becoming the most popular handle as they are easy to clean and can take a lot of wear but alas nothing is indestructible – they can crack and again, may be slippery . . . so be careful.

In our next post, we’ll talk about sharpening knives.


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