The Words of Cutlery You Should Know

You will find here a small glossary of the technical terms used to define the different parts of the knife, words commonly used in cutlery to help you in reading our pages.

The lexicon of the knife is listed in alphabetical order.


Automatic: Mechanical system that automatically opens the blade of a folding knife by pressing a button, without intervening on the blade.

Sharpening: Maintain the cutting edge (wire) of the knife blade so that it cuts.

Sharpen: Create the angle of the blade to end at the cutting edge, that is to say, create the grind.

Sharpen: Refine the cutting angle to create the edge on a grinded blade.

Steel: Metal alloy consisting mainly of  iron and  carbon (between 0.02% and 2% by mass for carbon).


A-link: Fastener generally located at the end of the handle, it can be a massive ring connected to the spring or to the rear bolster or a hole in the handle which allows a lace to pass through to hang your knife.


Blade edge: Sharp part of a knife or other sharp object.

Bolster: Metal part located at the beginning or at the end of the handle intended to reinforce the solidity of this one or to make it more aesthetic.

Brut de forge: Blackened blade coming out of the forge fire with marks on the surface caused by hammer blows. Some knives keep this raw state in order to obtain a rustic appearance.


Carbon: Chemical element associated with iron which makes up the alloy called steel. Its role is essential because it allows the ability to quench and increases the tensile and wear resistance. The higher the carbon content, the more the resistance of the steel can be increased by heat treatment, the blade is then more efficient and the sharpening easier.

Carbon fiber: Extremely strong and lightweight composite material composed of fine woven carbon fibers. This material is used for the handles of some knives.


Damascus: High quality steel composed of a large number of layers, about a hundred, which are folded, welded and forged together. This very old technique makes it possible to obtain a very good quality of cut and a longevity in use. Damascus blades are recognizable by the damask pattern, they are very popular with cutlery lovers.


Entablure: Line of demarcation on the blade located between the grind and the heel of the blade. It is formed naturally during grinding.


False edge: Part of the blade located opposite the edge, on the back of the blade. The false edge is not sharp.

Fly: Metal part located on the head of the spring, it can be welded in series or forged and be integral with the spring. Often associated with the fly of the Laguiole knife represented by a bee, it can take identity forms such as Corsica on the Vendetta Zuria.

Full-handle: The handle of the knife is completely made of the same material, it is mounted without bolster, neither front nor rear.


Grinding: Part of the blade that is refined by sharpening it to form the edge of the knife. There are different types of grind such as flat grind (V), concave grind, convex grind and chisel grind.

Guard: Part between the handle and the blade to protect the hand and prevent it from slipping on the blade.

Guillochage: Carving work often done using a file to work the metal and decorate it by creating patterns. This operation is generally carried out on the non-sharp metal parts of the knife such as the back, the heel and the plates.


Heel: Rear part of the blade of a folding knife in contact with the spring. The lower part of the blade rests on the handle and participates in the opening and closing of the knife. The heel can be round, square or forced notch.

Heat treatment: Successions of heating and cooling operations carried out on the blade to change its mechanical properties and make the blade more resistant. Quenching, tempering, annealing are part of the heat treatment of the metal. Quenching: Operation consisting in cooling the steel after having heated it according to the precise process to obtain a very hard structure, called martensitic quenching.


Knife: Composed of a blade and a handle, it is a kitchen utensil, a tool or a bladed weapon. It can be folding, fixed blade or multifunction. The blade, pointed and sharp, is made of metal or ceramic, it has a single edge or a double edge.

Knife handle: Non-cutting part of the knife allowing the grip, it has different shapes according to the knives. Composed of 2 plates held by screws, rivets or glued, the handle of the knife can be made of wood, horn, bone, ivory, resin, steel or composite.


Liner-Lock: Steel or titanium metal plate added between the plates located under the handle which unlocks the blade to close the folding knife.

Lock-back: Knife blade locking system with a swivel bar between the plates on the back of the handle. The rear end protrudes from the handle allowing pressure to release the blade and close the knife.


Oxidation: Chemical reaction due to exposure to humidity, it is a phenomenon of corrosion. Rust is the result of the oxidation of iron.


Plates: Parts fixed on either side of the plates, forming the handle of the knife.

Plates: Metal parts in steel, brass or nickel silver on which the plates and bolsters of a folding knife are fixed.

Polyglass: Type of finish giving a shiny appearance to the blade, bolster, spring or entire knife.


Ricasso: The thickest part of the blade, between the handle and the entablure, is not always present.

Rockwel: Reference scale indicating the degree of hardness of a steel, abbreviation HRC.

Rosettes: Small metal washers associated with rivets to hold the plates on the plates and for ornamentation.


Safety catch or safety catch: Safety system allowing the blade to be blocked in the open position in order to be able to close it. Prevents closure on fingers unexpectedly. There are several security systems such as the lock back, the lock liner, the fin …

Spring: Metal part between the plates of the knife handle used to open and close the blade.

Stopper: Textually it is a notch that stops a movement. A device that prevents the movable blade of a knife from folding back onto the handle after opening. This name is falsely attributed to automatic knives.


Tab or nail stroke: Small notch in an arc of a circle made in the upper part of the blade allowing the knife to be opened with its fingernail.

Two nails: The basic mounting system of a knife is a system called “2 nails” or “friction system”. The heel is placed in abutment on the nail behind the pivot. It is the friction at the pivot that keeps the blade in the open or closed position.

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