Salter Fine Cutlery

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Why purchase a handmade knife-Part 3

In Parts 1 and 2 of this blog series, we discussed differences between a handmade knife versus a production made knife by saying...

So what is it about a handmade knife? Easy! Three answers:

  • Quality
  • Feel
  • Artistry

Quality: The difference is instantly noticed. So much handwork, so much care to detail. Sharp, definitely! Easy to maintain the edge. Simply performs better! 

In Part 3 and 4, we will talk about the quality, feel and artistry that goes into our partial tang or 'wa' handle knives. Today, we talk about partial tang knives and quality.

First, what is 'wa' handle knife? Or for that matter, a partial tang knife? If you are not a knife dweeb or professional chef, chances are, you have no idea what this jargon means.

We all know what a blade is and what a handle is. The tang is the steel that, nowadays hopefully, goes into the handle. On a full tang or 'western style' knife, this steel is visible along the sides of the handle. To learn more, read Part 2 of this series. On a partial tang handle, the steel is a more narrow piece which extends down into the handle and is not visible. Hence, it is also known as a 'hidden tang' knife. 

A 'wa' style handle, simply is the name of a traditional Japanese or Asian style handle, which typically utilizes a partial tang.

Because we design about 90% of the knives we sell, we specially design our partial tang styles to include more steel and extend further down into the handle. Also, our partial tang knives are made from one piece of steel or are forged together with the blade in some cases. The tang has not been welded to the blade later.

This means more steel is used. It also means your knife will be better balanced and more durable. Our handles will never break or fall off! Because it is better balanced, it also means it is more comfortable to use for extended periods, hence, feels better.

Since we also replace broken handles or put pretty new handles on customer's favorite knives that are not our own if requested, we have seen tangs that are lucky to be an inch long. Most quality knives you can purchase in stores or from other blademakers are better made than that, but most do not extend anywhere near as far into the handle as ours. In fact, I have not seen any others that do so.

We continue in Part 4. Send me your comments or suggestions for future posts.

260mm chef knife with partial tang decorative handle by Salter Fine Cutlery

Custom order 300mm partial tang carving knife with decorative handle by Salter Fine Cutlery

Pair of hand-forged sashimi knives with partial tang handles

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