Tips and Advice

Types of knife | Caring for your knife | Japanese knives | Forged knives | Laser cut/pressed steel | FAQ

At Soho Knives we sell knives for every purpose from filleting fish to carving meat. Many of our customers know which knives are used for which jobs, but for those who don't we have compiled a list of the general users of the different shapes of knives you may come across. It should be stressed that this is by no means a set of rules to follow, just a little guidance for those that need it.

Types of knife

Cook’s knife

(also known as Chef’s knife, chopping knife, French knife and kitchen knife). The most important knife of all. This is the knife you will complete the majority of your preparation with. Used for slicing and chopping tasks amongst others. It is vitally important that you have a good Cook’s knife! The cook’s knife is the workhorse of the kitchen. This knife will do 80% of the jobs in the kitchen. Used for slicing, chopping tasks, Cook’s knives are typically heavy with a very strong, deep, curved blade.

Salmon knife

Flexible, slim and with a straight cutting edge. Great for cutting fish into wafer-thin slices, particularly salmon.

Spatula

With a broad and blunt blade, the spatula is great for cooking omelettes and pancakes. The rounded tip is also ideal when spreading icing or dough.

Fish slice

The fish slice is slotted to allow for removing delicate fish or other food objects from a pan while allowing excess oil to drain.

Granton edged slicer

The granton edge creates air pockets along the cutting edge of the blade to prevent food from sticking to it, which makes it perfect for slicing wafer-thin slicers of ham, fruit, vegetables, pastries and cakes.

Pastry/Universal knife

The broad blade and rounded end makes this knife ideal for pastry work. The curved blade also makes it ideal for bread with a curved or strong crust. This knife is also used by many Chef’s to cut a wide variety of things hence the ‘Universal’ in the name.

Bread knife

A serrated, long and strong blade makes cutting thin slices of bread cleanly a breeze.

Santoku

The Santoku translates as three virtues or advantages, which are: slicing, dicing and mincing. The three virtues can also be said to represent the foods this knife is designed to be used on which are, fish, meat and vegetables. Like the Cook’s knife then, the Santoku is very versatile, it thin blade allows for very fine slices.

Fillet knife

Perfect for filleting and preparing fish and meat. A long, thin blade with flexibility allows for easy movement.

Carving fork

A long, two pronged fork designed to hold roasted joints of meat in place whilst carving. It is also used for lifting and turning the meat and for serving the slices.

Carving/slicing knife

Perfect for carving meat, but also ideal for slicing fruit and vegetables. The blade is typically long and strong perfect for cutting uniform slices.

Meat cleaver

The Meat cleaver has a sturdy, heavy blade, perfect of for splitting large cuts of meat. The cleaver is designed to go through bone. The hole in the top of the blade distinguishes the cleaver from other similar shaped knives.

Chinese cleaver

The Chinese cleaver is not designed to go through bone. The Chinese cleaver is a general food preparation knife and is perfect for large vegetables in particular.

Boning knife

The boning knife is typically rigid and the straight blade tapers at the tip. It is brilliant for removing meat from bone. Flexible boning knives are also useful for fish and poultry.

Utility knife

An all-round, small, versatile knife for chopping and slicing fruit, vegetables and smaller cuts of meat.

Tomato knife

A small serrated knife that is perfect for slicing tomatoes and other fruit and vegetables. The forked tip allows you to pick up and serve the slices.

Serrated utility knife

Much like the utility knife, this knife is very versatile and can be used to chop vegetables, fruit or precision cut small joints of meat.

Lambs foot paring knife

This knife has a straight edge and sturdy tip which makes cutting smaller fruit and vegetables easy.

Paring knife

The paring knife is brilliant for peeling, slicing, dicing and trimming off any unwanted pieces of food. Can be used on the chopping board or in the hand.

Turning knife

The turning knife is ideal for turning and removing the eyes from potatoes. It is also ideal for peeling vegetables.

Cheese knife

The holes in the blade make this knife perfect for cutting soft cheese.

Yanagiba

The yanagiba is used to preparing sashimi. It is ground on one side, ensuring perfect slices.

Nakiri

The Nakiri is used for preparing vegetables. The hatchet shape of the Nakiri helps it excel in this task.

Deba

The Deba is used typically for fish preparation. The front third is used for the filleting of the fish while the middle third is used for slicing. The back third is used as a cleaver to go through the fish bone.

Serrated slicer

The serrated slicer, like a straight edge carving knife, can be used to slice meat, vegetables and fruit.

Butchers knife

The butcher’s knife is designed with a curved, broad, heavy blade making it ideal for butchering.

Rabbit knife

Ideal for skinning rabbits and small game birds.

Decoration tools

Canelle cutter

For creating strips of fruit peel for cocktail and dessert garnishes.

Zester

For zesting citrus fruits.

Parisienne scoop

Used for scooping little balls of potatoes.

Butter curler

For curling butter.

Apple corer

For removing the core of an apple.

Caring for your knives

Most modern knives are made of stainless steel. But this is a misnomer, these knives are not stainless, but they will stain-less.

If you follow these instructions when caring for your knives, you will be able to keep your knives stain free, and prolong
their life span.

  • After using your knife, clean it immediately with soapy water. Not only will it be easier to clean, but acidic food
    stuff can damage your knife
  • Try not to leave your knife lying in a bowl of water, as this can start the rusting process and also fishing around
    a water basin for your sharp knife is dangerous!
  • Once washed, dry your knife immediately.
  • The best way to store your knives is on a magnetic block or magnetic strip. If you do not have one of these, then
    a traditional wooden block is fine.
  • Try to avoid storing your knives loose in a draw as when you open and close the draw, your knives will hit into
    other things in there which can blunt them or at worst chip them – depending what you have in there of course!

Looking after your knives is not difficult, but it is important.

Many knives if looked after properly will last you’re a life time, so it’s worth being kind to them!

Japanese knives

All of the Japanese knives we sell are layered knives, some have the Damascus pattern typically associated with Japanese knives and some of our others do not.

The layering of the steel, as well as being beautiful, also acts to protect the harder central core of the knife. The outer steel is softer which allows the knife to be ductile. Hard steel is brittle so the layering is crucial. Japanese knives are typified by their razor sharpness due to the angle of the cutting edge. They are also known for the hardness of the steel which is always over 60 rockwell (most knives are around 56-58). What this means is they remain sharp for a very, very long time and require much more skill and patience to maintain. But persevere, it’s worth it!

The advantages of using a Japanese knife are:

  • Incredibly sharp due to the angle of the cutting edge (typically 16 degrees, Western made knives are around 22 degrees)
  • Phenomenal edge retention
  • Lightweight
  • Superb balance.

Our selection of Japanese Knives is small but very diverse to offer a wide range of choice: Kai Shun, Shun Pro Sho, Kai Kaji, Kai Premier, I.O.Shen, Kasumi, Global, Global Sai. The important thing when choosing a knife, is to make sure you get what feels comfortable in the hand. There are no disadvantages to owning and using a knife manufactured in any of the 3 ways described. If it feels good in your hand, it’s the right knife for you.

We are always on hand to offer expert advice so do not hesitate to get in touch with us with any questions.

Forged knives

Forged knives are created from a block of steel which is heated and hammered into the desired shape, producing a very strong knife.

After the knife has taken form, the stages to get a completed knife are much the same as a laser cut/pressed steel knife: ground, heat treated, edge put on, and finished by polishing and attaching the handle. The factory angle for forged knives is around 22°.

The advantages of a forged knife?

  • They are much stronger than pressed steel knives
  • They retain their sharpness longer
  • They are heavier, for some this gives a greater feeling of security in the hand.

A knife for life – with proper care you will never have to replace a forged knife. We have a very good selection of the best Forged knives currently on the market: Forged (as seen in Restaurant Magazine), Wusthof Classic, Wusthof Classic Ikon, K Sabatier, Henckel Twin Pure, F Dick.

Laser cut/pressed steel knives

Laser Cut and Pressed Steel knives are knives manufactured from a sheet of Steel which are then cut or pressed into the shape of a knife and then ground, heat treated, ground again to add the edge then finished by polishing and by attaching the handle.

The two methods of production of cutting produce the same results. The difference is a pressed steel knife is cut in much the same way a cookie cutter works. More modern factories use precision lasers to cut out the shape of the knife.

The advantages of a pressed steel / laser cut knife?

  • The manufacturing costs are low so you can buy them at a very good price
  • They are incredibly sharp from the off
  • Lightweight but durable
  • The steel, though hard enough to still be a quality knife, is softer than knives made in other ways making them easy to sharpen and maintain.

We have a good selection of Pressed Steel/Laser cut knives: Black (as seen in Restaurant Magazine), Wasabi Black, Victorinox, Victorinox Rosewood, Wusthof Silverpoint, Henckel Twin Chef.

FAQ

Read our FAQ or download the FAQ PDF