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Blades your ultimate guide

Whether you are looking for a new set of knives, or just want to cherry-pick a specific blade to fill a gap in your collection, the sheer amount of choice out there can be overwhelming. In this guide, we've broken down all the confusing knife jargon so you can make informed choices as to which knife is right for you and your kitchen.

Discover the history of knife making

Steeped in history, the creation of the kitchen knife as we know it can be traced back to Samurai and Viking sword-making techniques. Essentially, there are two types of knife - western and eastern.

Western style knives traditionally have an extremely strong 'taper ground', short point blade, with a double v-shaped cutting edge, and are weightier than their eastern counterparts. It is this extra weight that makes them the natural choice for cutting through meat and bones.


Eastern or Japanese knives, in contrast, have a flat taper-less blade. As it is sharpened on just one side, they have a chisel-like edge. This makes the blade finer than western styles, so slicing is easier and cleaner, minimising 'food crush'. They are great for preparing vegetables and fish.

Today, you'll find many hybrid styles of knife that fuse influences from both east and west to create the best possible tools for the kitchen.

Parts of a knife

Before you start shopping for that most important of kitchen tools, it's worth familiarising yourself with the different parts of the knife and what to look out for.

Click on the different parts of the knife to find out more about them:

View from above

View from the side

  1. 1 Spine of the blade
  2. 2 Front of the blade
  3. 3 Mid section of the blade
  4. 4 Wide flat surface of the blade
  5. 5 Heel of the blade
  6. 6 Bolster
  7. 7 Full tang
  8. 8 Rivets

1. Spine of the blade

Often used to break up small bones or shellfish.

2. Front of the blade

This is useful for small cutting jobs, such as chopping onions, mushrooms, garlic and other small vegetables.

3. Mid section
of the blade

This section is great for firm or soft food, with the soft curve of the blade ideal for mincing leeks, chives, parsley etc.

Caution: Cook’s knives have been purposely ground extra thin for the ultimate cutting performance.

4. Wide flat surface of the blade

Great for flattening and shaping meat cuts, as well as for lifting chopped items into a pan or bowl.

5. Heel of the blade

Great for chopping through extremely firm foods. It's important there is enough space here to prevent ‘knocking your knuckles’ when chopping.

6. Bolster

THe bolster separates the blade from the handle. Integral to the balance of the knife, it acts as a mini safety guard between your hand and the blade.

7. Full tang

This is the metal section that runs right through the handle. This adds weight, balance and extra durability.

A blade and tang that have been forged from a single piece of steel is known as ‘fully forged’. Extremely strong, there are no weak points or welds to break.

8. Rivets

Knives with a riveted construction have ‘pins’ that attached the handle to the full tang.

What’s in a blade

There's a lot more to a knife than meets the eye, and the materials used to create the blade each offer different price and performance benefits.

Stainless steel
Stainless steel blade
Keenly priced knives are usually made from low carbon stainless steel and as a result need sharpening more often than other blades to maintain their cutting edge.
Carbon steel
Carbon steel blade
More expensive than stainless steel knives, carbon steel knives have a higher carbon make-up, and this means that it is easier keep the blade sharp.
Ceramic
Ceramic blade
Exceptionally hard yet incredibly lightweight, ceramic blades retain their edge for much longer than stainless steel and glide through whatever you are slicing.
Damascus
Damascus blade
Laminated blades see a carbon steel core, surrounded by alternating layers of hard and soft stainless alloys resulting in an edge that is harder than most, and can be ground to be super sharp.
Titanium
Titanium blade
With the highest strength-to-weight ratio of any metal, Titanium is combined with other materials such as diamond, silver or ceramic to create a knife that is extremely lightweight yet durable.

Cutting edge…

Do you know your scalloped edge from your hollow edge?
If not, let us explain all.

Scalloped edge
Scalloped edge blade
Great for cutting bread as it cuts through the crust, yet doesn’t tear the bread inside. The points of the scallops keep the scalloped curves nice and sharp.
Fluted/hollow edge
Fluted/hollow edge blade
The indentations along the blade create tiny pockets of air that prevent food from clinging to the blade whilst cutting. Great for cutting extra thin slices and a must for cutting cheese!
Plain/straight edge
Plain/straight edge blade
Knives that don’t have a scallop or serrated edge need frequent sharpening to maintain their keenness. It's best to sharpen ‘little and often’ to restore their cut.
Serrated edge
Serrated edge blade
The downward peaks of this wavy blade do most of the cutting, meaning the troughs in between stay sharp - as result this blade rarely needs sharpening.

Getting the right knife for the job

As with any kitchen task, having the right tool for the job makes it a lot easier and a lot more fun.
Click each knife below to see how it's best used.

Cleaver

With its large rectangular blade, this is the ultimate kitchen tool for chopping through boned joints.

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Filleting

Flexible but with a straight cutting edge, this slim bladed knife is perfect for filleting meat and fish cleanly.

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Fully Forged Filleting Knife
Fully Forged Filleting Knife
Fully forged by skilled cutlers from a single piece of hardened stainless steel, and with perfect metal integrity from top to bottom, these knives have no weak points.
£15.99

Boning knife

It’s the extremely thin, flexible blade that makes all the difference, allowing you to closely follow the curve of the fish's backbone.

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Zwilling Pure 14cm Boning Knife
Zwilling Pure 14cm Boning Knife
Range of knives from Henckels Zwilling made from extra strong, high carbon stainless steel. Dishwasher safe.
£58.99

Chef’s/Cook’s

Features a tapered point, broad blade and a deep heel that gives you plenty of space between the handle and the board for speedy chopping.

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Lakeland Select Chef’s Knife
Lakeland Select Chef’s Knife
Ice hardened fully forged professional knives.
  • Lakeland exclusive
£34.99

Bread

Traditionally a long, scalloped edge that cuts through the crust, yet doesn’t tear the soft bread inside.

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Slicing

The long blade makes this knife great for slicing cooked meat, and the sharp point is perfect for separating meat from the bone.

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Lakeland Select Slicing Knife
Lakeland Select Slicing Knife
Ice hardened fully forged professional knives.
  • Lakeland exclusive
£30.99

Santoku

Translating as ‘three ways’, this knife is ideal for slicing, dicing and chopping. The ‘hollow’ in the blade stops food from sticking when cutting.

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Lakeland Select Santoku Knife
Lakeland Select Santoku Knife
Ice hardened fully forged professional knives.
£24.99
Robert Welch Signature Santoku Knife
Robert Welch Signature Santoku Knife
Range of British designed, fully forged knives with a Japanese-style edge.
£43.99
5 stars out of 5 based on 1 review.

Utility

Slightly bigger than a paring knife, it's best for carving or slicing cooked meats and soft cheese.

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Robert Welch Signature Utility Knife
Robert Welch Signature Utility Knife
Range of British designed, fully forged knives with a Japanese-style edge.
£34.99
Global® Flexible Utility Knife
Global Flexible Utility Knife
Range of knives from Global. With ice-tempered blades & balanced with sand.
£71.99

Paring

Perfect for intricate, fiddly jobs that are best done in the hand, such as peeling or de-seeding peppers.

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My Kitchen Sure Grip Paring Knife
Kitchen Devils Paring Knife
Lightweight, ergonomically shaped knives with sure-grip handles.
  • Special offer
£3.99
Lakeland Select Paring Knife
Lakeland Select Paring Knife
Ice hardened fully forged professional knives.
  • Lakeland exclusive
£20.99

All-purpose

From peeling fruit or vegetables, to slicing and chopping, this versatile little kitchen all-rounder is ideal for a variety of jobs.

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Lakeland's ultimate kitchen knife guide