The Structure of a Knife
Blade: The blade is the part that does the cutting. The best knives are fully forged as a single piece including the blade, bolster and tang from a tough stainless steel alloy that resists dulling and takes a very sharp edge.
Bolster: The bolster is the part of the knife between the blade and the handle. The best bolsters are shaped to suit the function of each knife type. For instance, a boning knife should have a sturdy bolster to keep fingers from slipping forward onto the blade. On the other hand, a chef’s knife lasts longer if the bolster is tapered to allow sharpening of the entire edge, which is used during chopping.
Tang: The tang is the metal extension of the bolster that is inside the handle. The best tang extends the full length of the handle. A tang may be shaped with one or more metal “knobs”. The end knob helps keep the handle on while other knobs are added to make sure the knife is balanced over the working fingers.
Handle: The handle is the part of the knife you hold. The best handles are molded onto the tang to seal out bacterial contamination. Molded handles can be weighted differently to create the perfect balance for each type of knife. Handles should be finished with a slip-resistant grip.
A knife is an extension of the hand. A good knife is well-balanced, comfortable to hold and stays sharp for a long time so you get maximum cutting for minimum effort. Select knives that fit your hand well and are comfortable to use. A knife should be balanced over the working fingers and should have a textured grip that keeps it from slipping out of your hand when it’s wet. A molded-on handle seals out bacterial contamination. Fully forged knives take a sharper edge and stay sharp longer.