The Anatomy of a Chef's Knife

The Anatomy of a Chef's Knife

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Kelli Foster
Sep 15, 2016

Just how well do you know the parts of your chef's knife? There may be variations between material, size, and weight that set these common knives apart, but whether it costs $20 or $200, all chef's knives have the same basic parts and construction. From the point to the butt and everything in between, take a walk through the anatomy of your chef's knife.

(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

Point

Most commonly used for piercing and scoring, the point is the portion of the blade where the tip and the spine meet.

Blade

The blade is the main body of the knife that includes the point, tip, edge, spine, and heel. The size, shape, and material of the blade are the most defining characteristics of the knife.

Tip

The tip of the knife, which includes the point, is typically considered to be the first third of the edge. This portion of the blade is used for slicing and delicate cutting.

Edge

The edge, or belly, is the sharp portion of the blade that runs from the point to the end of the heel.

Heel

Located in the rear of the blade, the heel is the widest part of the knife's edge. It's the strongest part of the blade, and ideal for cutting hard ingredients, like carrots and winter squash.

Spine

Opposite the edge, the spine is the thickest part of the blade. The thickness of the spine will vary from knife to knife, and affects the strength of the edge and the overall stability of the blade.

Handle

Varying in shape, weight, and material, the handle is the portion of the knife that extends from the bolster to the butt.

Bolster

Adding to the stability of the knife by counter-balancing the blade and handle, the bolster is the area between the blade and the handle.

Rivet

Rivets are the metal rounds you see on the handle of the knife. They secure the tang to the handle, and should lie flush with the surface of the handle.

Tang

This is where your knife's strength, stability, and balance comes from. The tang is the metal part of the blade that extends into the handle. Depending on the knife, the tang can extend partway trough the handle (a partial tang) or to the end of the handle (a full tang).

Butt

The butt is the back end of the knife handle.

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