What do food prep, hunting, and construction work all have in common? Each task requires different types of knives. In fact, there are countless knife varieties in the world. They all serve their own individual purpose.
It is important to know the differences between the various knife types. Some of the most important knives can make many tasks more efficient. It is also important to remember that using the wrong knife could cause more harm than good. After all, you wouldn’t want to use a utility knife to fillet fish or a hunting knife to cut your steak. That is why it is crucial to know the different types of knives and their primary purposes. To understand the basics of cutlery, become acquainted with these 10 knife types.
Forged Knives vs. Stamped Knives
When choosing the types of knives for your purposes, it is important to start with a general knowledge of the production of knives which occurs primarily in two ways. They are either stamped or forged. There are advantages and disadvantages of each.
The production of stamped knives occurs using a single sheet of steel. The steel goes through a machine that punches out many knives of the same shape. Then, they attach handles, and finally, the blade is sharpened and polished.
Forged knives receive a bit more care during their construction, with each individual tool produced from a separate piece of metal.
Importance of Choosing the Correct Types of Knives
There are many different types of knives out on the market today. However, not all knives are created equal. They are all designed for separate purposes. Use them correctly, and they can make any job easier. Use the wrong knife, and you could damage the item you are cutting as well as the knife itself.
The blade and handle design are what makes a knife unique to specific tasks. If you try to chop a tomato with a carving knife, you will have just as much as success as peeling an apple with a dinner knife. When choosing the types of knives for your home, think about the primary tasks that you will be completing and then get a set that best serves those purposes. Each of the knives listed below suits a particular task.
The Ten Types of Knives You Should Know
Knives have been around since the beginning of time. Since their creation, they have become depended on for their plethora of uses. Of the many different types of knives in existence, the list below details those that are best and most notable for their individual purposes.
A chef's knife is just as it sounds. It is the ideal tool for chefs and home cooks. It is a must-have in all kitchens. The knife consists of a long, broad blade that has a straight edge. It is also widespread across the heel, making it ideal for applying pressure during heavier work.
Primary uses of a chef knife
These types of knives are ideal for repetitive cooking tasks, particularly tougher chopping tasks such as cutting turnips and potatoes. The curved blade allows you to rock it back and forth while dicing various vegetables at once. Chef's knives are also good for smaller tasks such as chopping delicate herbs.
As another of the most important types of knives for an active kitchen, the paring knife is excellent for handling the smaller tasks that may not need the aggressiveness of a chef's knife. As a smaller tool, the blade on a paring knife comes to about 3 to 4 inches in length. The blade is evenly sized to the tip and is generally a lightweight option.
Primary uses of a paring knife
Once you have used the chef's knife for the larger tasks, use the paring knife to bring your cutting and slicing to the smaller scale. Paring knives are used to cut vegetables, peel fruit, and remove unwanted seeds.
In addition to cutting and slicing, paring knives are ideal for tasks that require a more delicate and artistic touch such as making swans out of potatoes or preparing tomato flowers.
As the title suggests, this is one of the few types of knives designed for one purpose: to cut bread. The knife has a long, serrated blade, and when used correctly, it cuts through soft bread without the user having to push down on the bread to gain leverage. The serrated blade creates a sawing motion that not only makes bread easier to cut but also cuts down on the number of crumbs created when compared to other types of knives.
Primary uses of your bread knife
With bread consumed at almost every meal, a bread knife can be a useful tool in any home kitchen. The blade can cut through soft and crusty bread including bagels, baguettes, and more. The knife is also good for working with a cake because it can cut through the layers without releasing the air from the sponge, which prevents the cake from losing its shape.
Although it’s not for every application, a butcher knife is a powerful tool for heavy-duty kitchen tasks. Also referred to as a cleaver, this knife has a flat, rectangular-shaped blade. Because of the functions it completes, the knife is rather heavy and broad, allowing it to cut through tough sections of meat. The butcher knife often has a hole near the spine for easy hanging when not in use.
Primary uses of a butcher knife
The primary task of a cleaver is to cut through raw meat during the butchering process, or as a way of dividing a large piece of meat into smaller sections. Most butcher knives are so strong that they can cut through bone if necessary. As a bonus, when used on its side, the large flat heavy surface of the knife can chop up ginger or garlic cloves against a cutting board.
The boning knife is another of the more lightweight types of knives that have a blade specifically intended for working with bones. The difference between this knife and a butcher knife is that the boning knife is for more intricate jobs.
The blade of a boning knife is usually 6 inches in length with a narrow and very sharp blade that tapers off to a fine point. It has a fairly rigid construction and a handle that makes it easy to use at different angles.
Primary uses of the boning knife
When you are looking to separate meat from bone on a smaller scale, then use a boning knife. Uses for these types of knives include deboning a chicken or trimming cartilage to create an ideal cut of meat. The blade design is in such a way that it can cut around bone without damaging the surrounding flesh.
It is possible to own a few different boning knives for different applications. A robust and rigid blade is ideal for cutting around cartridge in larger pieces of meat. More flexible blades are best when cutting through more manageable meat such as poultry. The point is to have a blade that is highly maneuverable, so you can get that perfect cut.
When preparing fish, specific types of knives are needed because fish differs from other meat in that it usually has smaller bones, it may have thinner meat to fillet, and it may require descaling. There are several different fish knives available depending on the size and type of fish you are handling.
A filleting knife is one of the most common types of knives when dealing with fish. A long, slim knife with a very flexible blade, the filleting knife is comparable to a boning knife but for more delicate fish. This slender knife cuts around bones in fish and is often used horizontally in order to cut around the backbone of the fish, leading to perfect fillets.
When preparing larger fish, a salmon knife may be the best option. As the name states, these types of knives are intended for use on larger fish the size of a salmon or bigger. Although the fish might be larger, their flesh is still delicate, so a proper knife is necessary. The salmon knife can cut between the skin and flesh without causing damage. Some salmon knives even have indentations along the blade that reduces drag and keeps raw fish from sticking to the metal.
Santoku knives are ideal for cutting raw fish such as sushi because it is a knife that can do it all, including dicing, cutting, and mincing. The long, tapered blades often featuring a drop point that lends to more intricate work. These types of knives are sharp enough to cut fish, while the dimpling on the blades helps to keep the delicate portions from sticking to the knife. The broad side of the knife is also great for scooping up cut meat.
With your meal prepared, it is time to sit down to eat. That is where your table knife comes into play. In most cases, you will use a dinner knife or a butter knife for your meal.
Both types of knives serve their separate purposes. The dinner knife is made from stainless steel or another metal and comes with a slightly serrated edge for those tougher foods. The butter knife has a broad paddle-like shape with a blunt edge for spreading butter and other toppings onto breakfast pastries or sandwiches.
Dinner knives for steak and fish
Since different foods have their own textures and densities, specific types of knives make eating them much easier.
If you are having a thick piece of meat, then a steak knife may be necessary. This knife has a more severe serrated edge on a blade that comes to a sharp tip. A good steak knife will cut through a tough piece of meat like it was butter. If you are eating fish, then a fish knife might serve you best. This knife often has a flat blade, complete with a curved edge. The proportions make it easier to remove the skin from fillets and weed out small bones.
While many knives provide support in the kitchen, there are many other types of knives for various other tasks. The pocket knife has a blade that folds into the handle so that the entire tool can fit into your pocket for use on demand.
Primary uses of a pocket knife
Pocket knives are small and portable, making them available for a plethora of uses. These types of knives do everything from household duties such as opening packages and cutting loose threads to more exotic needs including removing splinters and whittling with wood. Many pocket knives come with additional accessories. Swiss Army knives, for example, can come with several attachments that include screwdrivers and can openers.
The utility or carpenter’s knife is one of the types of knives most often used by contractors and electricians. There are several different types of utility knives, but what they have in common is a sturdy handle paired with short blades that are often retractable or replaceable in the case of breakage.
Primary uses of a utility knife
A true multi-tool, the utility knife is a favorite on construction sites for trimming excess material off of plastics, scraping dried paint off of metal, or cutting binding materials such as plastic strapping. Utility knives are also useful for kitchen tasks including cutting meat and slicing sandwiches.
Those who enjoy the outdoors and the occasional hunt will want to have a high-quality hunting knife. There are several different types of hunting knives with varying blade styles including those with drop, clip, and spear-point blades. When looking for the ideal hunting knife, think about how you will be using it.
Primary uses of a hunting knife
While shopping, think about all the actions in which you will engage. Some hunting knives are best for gutting and field dressing, others are ideal for skinning and deboning, while others make light work of even the actual act of hunting your animal prey.
Many Different Types of Knives For Your Collection
This list is just the tip of the iceberg of the many different types of knives in the world. If you are looking to complete a unique task that requires a knife, be sure to do your research so you can choose the correct tool.
The knife has been around since the prehistoric times, and its usefulness has only become more critical as the years have passed. Get acquainted with these 10 types of knives and make cooking, hunting, and construction tasks more manageable.