Knife Glossary

Savernake Knives take you through the knife terms you need to know.

A

Age Verification

Under U.K. law we are obliged to verify the age of everyone we sell a knife to. We have a contract with Equifax where all sales are checked against their secure database and in full accordance with GDPR. Checks are run manually through a secure upload by a director of Savernake Knives and we retain no additional data beyond a simple Yes / No according to the result generated by their records.

B

Bespoke Knife

A bespoke knife is a knife that we design completely from scratch for you based on your specification.

Bevel

Each blade is painstakingly sharpened by hand to create a 15º bevel. This allows for the perfect balance between cutting efficacy and edge strength. Our high-tech Swedish steel is incredibly strong and tough. This means it requires a great deal of scrupulous work to create the optimum cutting edge. But once created it stays razor sharp for a long time. We can also sharpen to a 10º bevel which will literally shave the hair off your arm, but which will require more frequent sharpening.

Bladesmith

Bladesmithing may seem like a medieval term, rightly so, it refers to the art of making swords, daggers, and blades. Today, a bladesmith will typically make knives. Bladesmiths are multifaceted, often employing both metalworking and woodworking techniques to complete an entire knife.

Boning knife

As the name may suggest, a boning knife is a type of kitchen knife primarily used for removing bones in poultry, meat, and fish. It is easy to distinguish from other kitchen knives as it has a narrow blade and a sharp point.

C

CATRA

CATRA stands for the Cutlery and Allied Trades Research Association who carry out testing on knives to rate them for sharpness and durability. See Rating for more information on how they rate Savernake knives.

Cleaver

A cleaver knife is perfect for when the going gets tough. They are ideal for getting through tendons and bones, as well as roots vegetables that often need more force.

Concave

Concave refers to the signature shape of our blades. This approach is favoured for several reasons: it produces a light knife, due to the removal of more steel than other methods; it makes for smoother cutting and slicing, due again to the lack in metal passing through an ingredient; large ingredients are far less likely to stick to the side of the blade due to a reduced surface area when compared to a flat grind; and finally, a hollow ground blade will stay sharper for longer, due to a thinner blade profile.

Custom Knife

Custom knife refers to the standard and additional customisation options available on any of our standard knife models.

D

Damascus

Damascus steel is recognised for its sleek look and beautiful patterns. Discover the history of Damascus steel and its place in modern day bladesmithing.

Dishwasher

The thing you must NEVER wash your Savernake in (or any other knife for that matter). Our knives are made by hand and tested to withstand a lifetime of use in the kitchen with proper care and attention. Our handles are resolutely NOT designed to withstand the kind of temperatures found in an average dishwasher and the salts used in the detergent will ruin a sharp blade and corrode it over time.

E

Edge

The bottom cutting part of the blade.

Engraving

Complimentary laser engraving is included as standard on all our blades and aside from text, we can also engrave an image, logo, family crest or motif if you provide us with a hi-res png image. If you would like us to design an image for you there will be an additional charge due to the time involved. Any engraving on the blade is a two-part process. The main cut removes around 1/20th of a millimetre of steel, with a secondary black finish applied as the top few microns of the steel are annealed. The deep engraving will last the lifetime of the knife, whereas the black will very, very slowly fade over time as you clean the blade, and hence we recommend not using too much elbow grease (or too abrasive a cleaning agent) on any engraving as you’ may hasten its demise. Please be aware that as soon as a knife is engraved it becomes non-returnable other than in the event of there being a fault with the knife.

F

Furnace

Our blades are tempered to achieve a perfect combination of hardness and longevity by rapidly heating them to 1,080ºC before removing them, clamping them in under 100 seconds and then super cooling them to -81ºC before allowing them to return to room temperature.

G

Guard

Where the blade joins the handle there may be a section of the blade material that juts out. This is a guard to prevent one’s hand from slipping onto the blade, particularly if force is being used or if the hands are wet.

Gut hook

A sharpened hook typically found on hunting or outdoor knives to enable field dressing.

H

Hand made

All knife parts are crafted from scratch and fitted together by a bladesmith.

Heel

The very back of the blade is referred to as the heel and this prevents the knife from continuing to rock backwards when chopping. Some chefs prefer a deeper heel, particularly if they have larger hands in order to provide better knuckle clearance.

Honing

Honing refers to the method of realigning the blade edge to maintain sharpness, as opposed to sharpening which removes metal from the blade edge to resharpen a blunt or damaged edge.

I

Infinite

The number of knife customisations available when choosing a Savernake knife! With over 10,480 variations available to our standard knife models alone, plus complimentary engraving available as standard on all our blades you are almost certain to own a unique Savernake knife.

J

Jigging

If you see a knife handle with grooves or patterns cut into it this is known as jigging. It is meant to mimic the appearance of a stag’s antler.

K

Knives

Not just kitchen knives! We also make exceptionally fine utility and outdoor knives. Find our models in the specialist area of our shop or get in touch if you have a bespoke knife in mind.

L

Leather wrap

A type of sheath, a leather wrap is a protective casing for a knife. This means your knife won’t become damaged or injure you. Each leather wrap from Savernake is made-to-order and produced by master saddlers E.J. Wicks.

Liner

The coloured material between the handle material and the visible metal part of the handle (the tang). This helps provide a secure fit between the handle material and the tang which are generally different textures as well as offering a pop of colour and additional customisation. Liners can be made from a variety of materials – we generally use G10 (a type of fibre glass) but can also make liners from resin-soaked paper to offer a wider range of colours.

M

Material

This describes the steel we use for our blades as well as the choice of material and liner we use for the handle itself. View all our standard material options here. Or if you have a particular piece of wood or other material you would like us to use, please contact us.

N

Notches

Different knives come with different types of notches as part of the design. These are for safety reasons, such as to prevent fingers slipping from the handle down onto the blade. Some notches aid sharpening or close-ranged cutting or are simply there for decorative purposes.

O

Oil

Natural wood handles benefit from occasional oiling (we prefer Danish Oil) and we supply every wood handled knife we send out with a small quantity of oil to get you started. Refer to our knife care FAQs for information on how to apply. Our striped handles have a finishing oil applied in the same manner as Danish oil but takes less time to cure.

Oyster shuck

An Oyster shuck is used for separating multiple oysters apart before using the tip to open an individual shell to access the meat. It is an essential tool for any oyster lover.

P

Pins

The pins are used to secure the handle material and liner to the tang and add a decorative element to the handle. We use either stainless steel, silvered nickel or brass pins for the majority of our knives dependent on what material is chosen (some pins go better with certain materials than others). We can also make pins from resin to offer a different effect.

Q

Quercus

The mighty oak whose name we bestow upon our finest knife set.

R

Rockwell C Scale

Each of our knives is tested for its hardness on the Rockwell C Scale, and we consistently hit 60. Roughly speaking the higher the Rockwell number, the stronger and more durable the edge. Of course, the harder the steel then the more difficult it can be to sharpen, but once it is sharp then it will stay that way for a long time. Some people prefer a slightly softer steel, in the region of 58, so that they can regularly top up the cutting edge on knives that are not doing heavy duty work. For this reason, we can work to a range of hardnesses. Savernake Knives scored “Outstanding” by CATRA for both sharpness and durability and are rated in the top 2.5% of knives tested globally under ISO 8442.5

S

Sheath

A knife sheath is used to protect the knife and its owner when not in use. Typically, a sheath is custom designed for a knife. At Savernake with offer magnetic sheaths for all our knife models.

Steel

The metal used for the knife blade and tang. We almost exclusively use Swedish Sandvik 14c28n, although on occasion we use RWL 34 powdered metallurgical steel and other exotics. For prototypes we use 420C, the steel used by most other knife manufacturers for their final product. See our materials page for more information about our steel.

T

Tailored knife

A tailored knife is a standard Savernake knife that you then ask us to tweak an element of eg make the handle a different size or shape.

Tang

The metal part of the handle. We make full stick tang handles meaning the tang is the same length and depth as the handle itself and is visible between the handle material. A stick tang means that the tang is much smaller and isn’t visible (think of a lolly stick being pushed into a frozen lollipop and you get the idea).

U

Utility knife

Typically for outdoor or on-the-go use, utility knives are multifunctional and often don’t just conceal blades. They can be equipped with corkscrews, scissors, mini saws and a host of other tools depending on the model.

V

Vector image

All custom engravings require a vector image for us to be able to replicate the design using our laser engraving machine. If you can’t supply us with a vector image and need us to create one for you, we may charge you a fee for doing so as it’s surprisingly time consuming.

W

Wax

All of our other handles have a very light layer of wax applied when they leave us, and if you’d ever like to restore a bit of lustre then a thorough rubbing with some beeswax polish will see you right.

Y

Yew

Savernake have traditionally used English walnut and English oak in the crafting of our wooden knife handles. However, English yew has proved to be an extraordinary material to work with and is now one of our favourites. Discover why we fell in love with English yew.

Yachtsman’s knife

A Yachtsman’s knife may look similar to an outdoor knife. However, they often have a rope attachment and a non-locking marlin spike.