Anatomy of a kitchen knife

Having a nice piece of equipment without understanding what makes it a good tool is like tasting a very nice bottle of wine without a label. It's nice, but we miss this ecstasy that makes the beauty of the moment. It's too bad.

Little test before moving on. If you are told:

  • Mitre?
  • Silk ?
  • Heel ?

And whether you answer us “Les Rois Mages” or “Kamoulox”, take a seat on the bench. The kitchen knife anatomy lesson is now.

As we know that the simple pronunciation of the word “course” gives hives to some people, we have made a nice summary diagram for the bottom row:

Schéma d'un couteau de cuisine atma

The "head" of the knife: the blade

Let's not complicate things, we will proceed in a very simple way: from left to right. So we start logically with the head of the knife that we call the blade .

Until then, you should be fine since the blade is something you should know about. And you even know that it can be forged or cut. We will do a full article on this subject to explain the difference.

Elements that make up the blade

The blade of a knife is made up of a certain number of elements, each more important than the next.

To begin with and always from right to left, we can mention the best known part: the tip .

No trap here, it is indeed the end of the blade. This is the part of the knife that is least likely to hurt you, as it is facing away from you when you cut. Well, on the other hand if you direct it towards a person in front of you, it can be very dangerous. No need to draw a picture, you have understood that you have to be careful.

This part is also very sensitive and can break if you drop your knife. It is therefore necessary to be careful when storing it in the kitchen. We also recommend that you equip it with a case to prevent it from being damaged.

Next comes the cutting edge or edge of the blade . This is the cutting and sharpened part of the knife. A part which must, to preserve all its cutting qualities, be maintained regularly.

Then if you go along the cutting edge or the edge of the blade (by far! Do not put your finger on the cutting edge, friendly advice), you arrive at what is called the heel . This is the angle of the blade as it comes up towards the handle.

And precisely, when you continue your way, this part which goes up is called the guard . This part is generally not too sharp to avoid hurting yourself if the handle slips out of your hands while cutting a butternut squash, for example.

Opposed to the edge of the blade, we have the back of the blade. The name of this part is quite evocative. This is the unsharpened top part of the blade which is thicker than the edge.

And finally, the last element is the silk which is also called tang.

It is the steel part which constitutes the extension of the blade and which is embedded in the handle or the bolster.

When we talk about a “full tang blade”, we are talking about a blade forged from a single piece of steel from end to end and whose tang goes all the way to the end of the handle. A full tang blade provides better balance for the knife because it is heavier, and it also provides a stronger structure.

Small tips: you can easily recognize a full tang knife by the rivets on its handle.

No, we haven't told you about the rivets yet. This is a little teaser of the sequel. But first, nothing like a little technique on the blade to choose your knife well.

What type of blade should you choose for your knife?

You can find several types of blade for your kitchen knife. These blades differ from each other on different criteria.

The composition

You can opt for different types of material to compose your blade:

  • The stainless steel blades that make up the majority of blade production. They are more affordable and more resistant than the others. It's this value-for-money option that we chose for the Ultimate Chef's Knife .
  • Carbon steel blades which allow precision and optimal solidity, but which are much more demanding in use and maintenance.
  • The ceramic blades which are also interesting in particular because they do not need to be sharpened. On the other hand, these blades are much more fragile than those made of steel.


The hardness of a blade is measured using the Rockwell Index. We are also preparing a complete article on this subject of the utmost importance.

The hardness must be high without being too high in order to guarantee the resistance of a blade and the durability of its sharpening over time by preventing it from breaking.

The production process : forged blade or cut blade?

This distinction in the production process of your blade will give indications as to the strength and durability of your knife. But also on its price. Obviously, forged knives, like the Ultimate Chef's Knife , are more solid and resistant over time.

The form

Depending on the use you make of your blade, the recommended shape will not be the same.

  • Smooth as the Ultimate Chef's Knife for cutting meats and vegetables.
  • Serrated for cutting bread or thick-skinned meats, for example.

Honeycombed to very finely cut products, especially vegetables, without them sticking to the blade.

The body of the knife


After having evoked up and down what is found in the head of the knife, let's see the body.

First, the miter also called the bolster . It is the junction point between the blade and the handle. It is a piece of the knife which aims to protect the hand and which contributes to the balance of the knife.

If on some knives, rather historical models, the bolster can run to the heel of the blade, Japanese knives, for the most part, do not have a bolster.

Then comes the handle also called handle . This is the part where you position your hand and which allows you to manipulate the knife.

As you can imagine, it is important that the handle is pleasant and does not slip for a good grip.

On the handle, there are three important elements:

  • The famous rivets , which keep the two parts of the handle located on either side of the full tang linked together.
  • The pommel which, located at the end of the handle, aims to guarantee a perfect balance of the knife.
  • The corbin which is the angle formed below the handle just before the pommel.

The anatomy of kitchen knives no longer holds any secrets for you. It's recess time, don't forget your snack!

And if you have any questions, you can ask us in the comments below. We are here to answer you.

1 comment

Ankit Singh

Your blog is a catalyst for understanding, leaving an enduring impact on eager minds.

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