How it’s made? From what material is made of?
Have you ever walked into a professional kitchen and seen the many types of knives that they have? Or better still, have you ever found yourself stranded in the mall, surrounded by high shelves full of knives having no clue which would be best for you? Well, in this article we will help you tell them apart. We will distinguish between the different types of knives that there are. But before we embark on that, let’s look at the different material types used, the type of handle and bade that you are likely to come across. So question is how it’s made?
- Let’s have carbon steel start us off. This is an alloy of carbon and iron primarily, but also contains other elements such as manganese and vanadium. The carbon steel featured in most knives contains only 1% of carbon and is s such inexpensive and tends to hold onto the edge securely. While it proven to be very easy to sharpen than stainless steel, it also is vulnerable to stains and rust. In light of this, the blades should be cleaned and dried as well as lubricated after use. New carbon steel blades will leave an iron flavor on acidic foods but over time, the steel will get oxidized and the corrosion will be gone.
- Stainless steel is an alloy made up of iron, chromium and possibly molybdenum and nickel with traces of carbon. Normally these stainless steel knives are made of 420 stainless, high chromium and a low end stainless alloy normally used in flatware. Many of the low carbon stainless knives are noticeably softer than the carbon steel knives and other insanely expensive grades of stainless knives. Though they can hold their own against corrosion, they have to be sharpened many times.
- There are knives that are a combination of the above mentioned materials. They are referred to as high carbon stainless steel. These are stainless steel alloys containing a significant amount of carbon and that is intended to provide the best of both worlds. As such, the upgrade does not stain or discolor and remain sharp for extended periods of time even with constant use. The alloy features elements such as vanadium, molybdenum and cobalt to increase their edge holding capabilities, cutting ability and strength.
- Laminated blades tend to combine the advantages of hard yet brittle steel, with the ability to hang on to a good edge but easily damage with that of steel that is less prone to chipping and damage but cannot take a great edge.
- The hard steel comes laminated and protected between layers of tough steel the edge is formed by the hard steel. Hard steel is able to take a grinding and stays sharper for longer.
- Titanium, as you might imagine is highly wear resistant than steel and what’s even better, light. It is however not the hardest metal there is in the world and is far flexible than any steel alloy. While it does not leave any taste and flavor on the food, it tends to be very expensive and not the best material to be used on cutlery.
- Ceramic knives, probably the best there is, retain their sharpness for a long time, are light and do not leave an aftertaste on food after cutting. They prove to be best for slicing vegetables, fruit and boneless meat. They are the perfect choice for specialized and professional kitchens. With the recent advancements in technology, it has become less brittle.
- There are also plastic blades. They are however not as sharp (expected) and are used to cut vegetables without discoloring.
- Steel blades are manufactured through stamping or forging. Those made through forging pass through a detailed process and are most often than not done through manual labor. Just like iron or gold, powdered steel alloy is heated to extremely high temperatures and pounded while it is still hot. After going through the forging and heat treatment, the blade is them sharpened and polished. Unlike stamped blades, forged blades tend to be thicker, which in most cases proves to be an advantage.
- Stamped blades are usually cut directly from cold steel. It is heat-treated to provide it with the desired strength, ground sharpened and last but not least sharpened. While most professionals do not prefer these blade types, some top knife brands like Global and Shun use this method of manufacture for their top-tier knives. You can pick out a stamped knife anywhere as it lacks a bolster.
Knife handles can be made from a wide variety of materials each featuring a plethora of advantages and disadvantages alike.
To start us of are wooden handles. These provide a great grip and many even find them to be attractive. They however tend to need extra care as they have to be cleaned often and thoroughly and occasionally treated using mineral oil. Varnished wood handles are not great resistors of water and as such will warp and crack when they are exposed to water for prolonged periods of time. For this particular reason and to maintain their beauty you should endeavor to hand wash them.
- People find plastic handles easy to care for than the wooden handles. And what is best is the fact that they do not absorb microorganisms that might be in the water. They however are susceptible to U.V damage and may over time brittle and crack. Some plastics tend to slide in the hand which makes them difficult to use to cut through fairly hard objects. Given their light nature, knives with these handles may be imbalanced or too light for comfort.
- Composite knives are another hybrid knife made with handles featuring two kinds of materials; laminated wood and plastic resin. Given their great sanitation, ease of use and care, they are the preferred choice by many individuals. They feature the best of both worlds, having the great appearance, grip and weight of a hardwood and durability surpassing any material used alone.
- Of all the handles, stainless steel handles prove to be the most durable and sanitary. They however tend to be very slippery when they are wet. But to counter this manufacturers add ridges on the surface of the steel, to increase the friction and consequently the grip. A major disadvantage though is the fact that it is very heavy and the heaviest of all.
Now at this point you are probably wondering what material and process is said to provide you with the best kitchen knife. Victorinox features a long history and are all rounded to provide the best and highest quality knife. They are made from high carbon stainless steel and are forged during their making.