A good-quality chef's knife that's well-maintained has the potential to last nearly a lifetime. The dull edge can easily be sharpened, and little imperfections can easily be tweaked to make it almost like new.
But there are certain instances that simply call for your knife to be retired and replaced — here are five of them.
1. There are big chips in the blade.
The blade of your chef's knife will inevitably get knicks and small grooves. It's all part of the wear and tear of a well-used knife. Small imperfections can be easily smoothed out, but if the blade gets large chips or gashes, it may be time to replace the knife.
2. Bent or broken knife tip.
This would most likely happen if you dropped your knife and it hit the floor (or a hard surface) tip-first, or from using this front part of the knife to cut into something really hard. If just a small bit is broken, it can probably be fixed, but if a considerable amount is missing, you should consider buying a new knife.
3. The rivets come loose.
The rivets are small metal rounds that secure the metal portion of the knife (the tang) that extends into the handle. When these come loose, it can jeopardize the stability and balance of the blade. The best fix is to consider replacing the knife.
4. The handle falls off.
There are a few reasons the handle may have broken off of the knife, although the most likely culprits are old age and a lower-quality knife. Either way, the safest solution is to invest in a new chef's knife.
5. Your knife isn't comfortable to use.
Maybe it's too heavy or unbalanced, the blade feels too large (or too small), or the handle doesn't grip well — whatever the case, your chef's knife should feel comfortable in your hand as you work. If it's not, it may be time to consider donating it to a better home and replacing it with one that is safe and comfortable for you to use.