The knife was one of the first tools used by early humans, and in the past thousands of years its use and its design have evolved considerably. Today there are several different kinds of knives, made from a variety of materials, and used as tools, for cooking and other purposes. Let's take a look at the main types of knives that are presently available.
Carbon Steel has been used in the making of blades for many years. Knives made from carbon steel are tough and take a better edge with little effort. However, carbon steel blades discolor when they come in contact with foods that are high in acid, such as tomatoes and citrus fruit and the blades must be treated with care to avoid discoloration and rusting. If you are using carbon steel knives you should wash and dry them thoroughly after use. Some box cutter and utility knife blades are made from carbon steel.
Unlike carbon steel, stainless steel blades do not discolor or rust, however, they are not hard enough to maintain the best edge. Some utility knives and box cutter blades are made from stainless steel.
High Carbon Stainless Steel
Knives made from high carbon stainless steel offer a combination of the best attributes of carbon steel and stainless steel blades. They have the toughness and ability to hold an edge and, like stainless steel blades, they do not discolor when coming in contact with acidic foods.
Titanium blades are made from a mold of titanium and carbides. When compared to steel, titanium is lighter, more wear resistant, and holds its edge longer. The titanium blade is more flexible than steel, they work best for tasks such as boning and filleting.
Ceramic blades are made of zirconium oxide and aluminum oxide. Although they are much more delicate than steel knives, they tend to hold their edge up to 10 times longer. However, once the blades have dulled, they must be sharpened by a professional.
Plastic knife blades are primarily used in order to prevent vegetables and other edible items from becoming discolored from the blade of a knife. Plastic blades are not very sharp and require some force when cutting.
Hollow ground knife blades are manufactured with a process that fuses two separate pieces of metal together. After the pieces are fused, a beveled blade edge is created. Although these blades often have very sharp edges, the blade lacks the balance and longevity of a taper ground blade. This type of blade is most often found on knives that are used less frequently.
Taper ground knives are manufactured with a single sheet of metal and are ground so that they taper smoothly from the spine to the cutting edge. This type of blade can be found on knives that are used frequently.
There you have it. These are the most common types of knives that are commonly available. The next time you buy a knife think about how you will use the knife and then choose one constructed from the materials that best match your purpose.
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