Get Knife Know-How

by Peter Mason

Did you ever stop and think about what exactly goes into making a knife? Knives come in all different varieties, from cheap, flimsy ones that go with cheap kitchen settings, to truly beautiful knives that are collectors’ items and can last a lifetime. Of course, while most people are relatively familiar with the wide variety of knifes available, few people ever consider the process of making a knife. The end product is all in the process, however – a great knife is a great knife because of everything that went into making it.

Knife Making 101 – The Basic Steps

Knife Finishing – There are a few different kinds of knife finishing out there. Jeweled metal knives are finished from the inside out, so that the jeweled metal takes on stunning new tones. For knives that look like they have met with a bench grinder a few times, look for stonewashed finished knives (the idea is similar to stonewashed jeans). Last but not least, vibed finished knives give a knife an antiqued look that is more subtle than the stonewashed finish.

Annealing (Heat Treating) – Annealing is a process which subjects the metal in the knife to the highest temperature it can handle without melting. Annealing has two general types. Hardening annealing uses very high temperatures to make the knife as hard as possible, depending on the type of metal being used in the blade. Tempering annealing involves cooling the knife after it has been heated to capture the hardness of the blade, also making it sharp.

Steel Blades- Many people flock to steel blades that claim to be stainless steel. There are two things to keep in mind about this, however. One is that most so called stainless steel actually can easily be stained and/or rusted if you don’t care for it properly. You also have to take into account the fact that the very things that make steel stainless also makes it weaker. If you want knife blade that will last a long time, forget about the stainless steel and instead go for a knife blade that can be stained – and then take pristine care of it. One particularly strong kind of metal that can be used in a knife blade is so called Damascus steel, which combines two metals into the blade. Strong is not the same thing as invincible, and any knife can be broken, but Damascus steel makes for a really strong knife blade.

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