The balance point of a knife is the point at which the weight of the knife is naturally supported when holding the knife.
Knives can have different balance points, ranging from heavy, thick-bladed meat-cutting knives, with all the weight in the front of the blade, to thin, delicate boning knives, which are flexible and extremely easy to use.
Knife balance is important because an unbalanced knife is much more uncomfortable to hold and requires much more effort to make each cut. This can increase the risk of the blade slipping, as well as possible injury to you or bystanders. Finally, holding a knife in an awkward grip can cause lasting pain and pressure points.
On the other hand, a well-balanced knife makes cutting easier. You will find it easier to hold a properly balanced knife, which is more accurate and easier to cut with. This saves you time and energy in the kitchen and reduces the risk of accidents due to excessive force or awkward cutting angles.
How Do I Know If The Knife Is Balanced And What Is The Best Balance Point?
There is no "one best balance point" for knives. It can vary considerably depending on the design and quality of the knife used and the job for which you are using it.
Knives are a great example. A home is a large, heavy knife designed for chopping meat and bones, and benefit from having a large, heavy blade that puts all the weight and balance point of the knife far in front of the handle.
All that weight in front changes the swing of the knife. A knife placed in front swings almost like a small axe, which greatly increases the force with which each cut can be made and makes it easier to cut large, thick cuts of meat.
However, most kitchen knives have a balance point slightly behind the handle, where the blade meets the handle. So, the balance point is right where the handle is, which makes the knife easier to move, makes it easier to hold, and gives you much more control and safety over the knife surface and blade.
Finally, for long, thin knives used for filleting and boning, the balance point should be further back in the handle. These types of knives are designed for maximum mobility, so by keeping the weight firmly in the handle you can have maximum control over the knife.
What Determines The Knife's Balance Point?
A larger knife is likely to be thicker and heavier, so it usually weighs more. This shifts the knife's balance point forward, increasing the force with which you can cut or stir, which is ideal for large and heavy knives. However, a heavier blade with a large forward balance reduces control and can make smaller, more dexterous movements more difficult.
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The knife handle is the metal part that extends into the handle and secures the knife parts together. A longer handle usually makes the knife stronger, but increases the overall weight and shifts the balance back towards the handle.
Knife handles come in as many different shapes, sizes, weights and materials as there are types of knives.
It may sound obvious, but a larger and longer handle made of heavier material shifts the balance weight towards the back of the knife. When buying a knife, you should also consider the overall size of the handle compared to the blade, as well as your hand, as these will all affect your ability to hold and use it comfortably.
The bolster is the point of the knife where the blade joins the handle. It is usually slightly thicker than the blade, which increases the strength of the knife itself, as well as adjusting the balance point and helping to protect your hand.
A larger and thicker bolster makes the knife heavier as it is a large enough piece of solid metal, but any professional knife maker will have taken weight into account and used the size and shape of the bolster to help adjust the balance of the knife.
How a knife is balanced can make a big difference to its handling characteristics and whether it feels good in the hand.
Boners, boning knives and other specialized knives need a specific balance point to do their job effectively.
However, for most jobs, kitchen knives and other smaller, general-purpose knives are best balanced with a slightly heavy handle; or with the balance, the point moved back slightly behind the knife handle, as this makes the knife handy and easy to use.
If you're looking for a high-quality, well-balanced kitchen knife, take a look at our range today.