Salter Fine Cutlery

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How Do I Know What Type of Chef Knife To Buy? Part 4

Alright, so you have read the previous three blog posts in this series and have narrowed down your basic knife wish list.  Now what? What about the bolster choice for your handle? And what ARE the decorative accents?

Let's say, you have decided that a stainless steel knife is what you want and you really like our VG10 damascus western style blades.  You have looked at many of the sample photos either on the web site under "collections" or seen our stainless steel chef knives board on Pinterest. 

Next, look at the photos and decide if you like the look of a solid koa wood only handle or do you like the top part of the handle nearest the blade to have what is known as a 'bolster'.  The knives will be quite functional either way. It is just a matter of personal preference and aesthetics from this point.  You can see close-up example photos of each of these choices by clicking "Material Samples" either from the drop-down menu under "Custom Ordering", or at the bottom of the home page.  

Here is a little info to help you with these options. The bolster (that piece of material closest to the blade) can be handmade of nickel-silver, brass, mokume, Mozambique ebony, horn, or other custom materials.  Because it involves more materials and labor, the koa only handle is the least expensive choice. Nickel-silver is often chosen because it blends well with the blade colors and is nice and shiny. Brass is bold and beautiful, but be aware that it will tarnish and develop a deep orange-ish patina unless you enjoy polishing it.  Most people enjoy the look when it has the patina as it is even more striking!  

Mokume, our other metal bolster option,  is a hand-forged damascus created by mixing either 2 or 3 different steels and hammering them until they create unique damascus patterns.  We can offer mokume in a 2 steel mix of brass and nickel-silver, or a 3-steel mix of brass, nickel-silver, and copper.  When these mokume bolsters develop a patina, they develop deep dark patterns that are truly unique and each one is slightly different. They are expensive though because each piece is hand-forged.

Probably our most popular bolster is our Mozambique ebony. We like it because it is a very hard wood that does not have the splitting problems of some other types of ebony. I have several knives with this bolster. They function quite well and have had extensive use in my kitchen for several years. Plus, the black bolster looks amazing next to our rare Hawaiian curly koa wood.  

We can also use various horn materials, but will not use any animal products from exotic or endangered animals! Nor will we use any sort of ivory, sorry.  

Next, just choose how you like the pins to look.  We recommend solid brass if you have a brass bolster or solid nickel-silver pins if you have a nickel-silver bolster. If you want an ebony bolster or mokume, take your pick on pins: both will look good.  You can have all solid pins or ask for one or two decorative pins for accent.

Speaking of decorative accents, let us know if you will like a colored accent between your bolster and the koa wood. You can choose no color, black, gray, white, bright red, muted cinnamon red, royal blue, canary yellow, or kelly green. Check out some of the photos throughout our site for examples or just choose a color you like or one that will compliment your kitchen color-scheme.

Your knives will then be unique to you and reflect your own personality.  Let us know what you like and we will take care of the rest.

210mm chef knife with extra decorative handle using koa, ebony, nickel-silver and black and white decorative accents

hand-forged 2-pc chef knife set with brass bolsters black accents and one decorative mosaic pin

Large chef knife set with Mozambique ebony short bolsters, red accents and one decorative mosaic pin

 

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