During the quest for the perfect knife, I’ve been contemplating what aspects/characteristics I should be looking at. Here’s a list of what I’ve come up with so far:
Subjective: These are the characteristics that will vary from person to person, depending upon tastes or needs.
Balance: Probably better known as weight distribution of the knife. The idea here is that when knife will set in a hand, it will feel as if it is an extension of the hand. This likely differs from person to person due to the fact that people’s hands range in size from small to large. A knife that feels balanced to a large handed person may feel bulky or clumsy to someone with small hands.
Weight: Related to balance is weight, or how heavy/light a knife may be. Subjective because weight will end up being decided based upon personal preference.
Size: Freudian jokes aside, some people like things bigger, others smaller. Another personal preference characteristic.
Ergonomics: Better known as ‘Does the knife feel comfortable in your hands’? This too, will vary from person to person. It is also difficult to quantify. Usually the handle is the primary focus of most people, but the back of the spine should also be taken into consideration as the thumb will rest there from time to time.
Types of blades: There are several different ways a blade can be shaped, each with their own pluses and minuses. Again, this will end up being a personal preference.
Quantifiable characteristics: These are the aspects of a knife to which one can say this is better than that, and give objective evidence supporting their claims.
Right Tool for the Job: Does the knife do what I need it to do? If I need a knife that can cleave, cut, and fillet, can it do all of those tasks?
Blade Composition: Are ceramic knives better than steel? What metal composition works best in steel blades? Was the steel knife forged or stamped?
Edge Sharpness: How sharp an edge can easily be determined. But this aspect is…ahem…pointless if not considered with…
Sharpness durability: A Knife that significantly loses its sharpness after only a few uses is a waste of time. Also related to…
Knife Sharpening: How well does the blade take to being re-sharpened?
Knife Durability: How well does the knife hold up under extensive use? Does it rust quickly? Does the tang fall apart?
Some of the aspects above are more important than others, to be sure. But I think that if I address all of these issues in one way or another, I will find the perfect knife for me.