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Blade Profile and Cutting Techniques

The shape of the blade is also called blade profile. Here especially the shape of the blade on the cutting edge is of importance, since it will define your cutting motion. Apart from a few real misfits, there usually is no bad or good blade profile, but profiles that match your cutting technique and that you like and feel comfortable with.

 

So if you are a rock-chopper, look for blades that have a gentle curve on the edge. If you are a push-cutter, look for blades where the edge is straight for a large portion of the blade. Some people like tall blades, others have a preference for narrower ones.

 

Although largely a matter of preference, still there are a few basics that define a good blade profile:

  • Sufficient knuckle clearance, so that the entire length of the blade can be used without hitting the cutting board with your knuckles.

  • Not too strong a curve on the tip, as otherwise the tip can only be used by holding the knife in an awkward angle.

There is a large variety of blade shapes, from versatile blades sold in large quantities to specialty blades for a very small target group, and each of them in various sizes, resulting in hundreds of different blades. We will be explaining the most important shapes and their uses in a separate chapter.

Blade Balance

The balance of a knife is of importance for the workhorse blades that are used for the time-consuming jobs on the cutting board, and especially in commercial kitchens in long prep-sessions (e.g. Chef’s knife, Santoku knife).

The most often used professional grip is the pinch-grip (see pictures). For tireless cutting employing this technique, the balance point should be just in front of the bolster, and handle heavy knives be avoided.

 

For most other blades, balance is not that important. Especially with thin, short and narrow blades, handle-heaviness can’t be avoided and doesn’t really impact cutting negatively.

Pinch grip of kitchen knife handles front side
Pinch grip of kitchen knife handle back side
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