For both knife buyers and knife retailers, a high quality, multi – tasking kitchen knife is a must, and the kitchen Utility knife fills this essential need brilliantly.
LeeKnives offers a range of thoughtfully crafted Utility knives for bulk or individual purchase. So in this article we’d like to discuss the Utility knife, where it fits into a knife collection, what it can do and can’t do, and we’ll be assessing whether Utility knives are a worthwhile investment for you and your customers.
First, let’s clarify what we mean by the term ‘Utility knife’. In this article we will be examining the kitchen Utility knife, NOT outdoor utility knives or the slidable blade utility knives also referred to by handymen as Stanley knives or box cutters.
The kitchen Utility knife belongs firmly in the kitchen in the hand of its owner and that’s where we’ll be taking you in this article.
Let’s start with the basics:
What is a utility knife?
A utility knife is a medium sized knife used to perform a wide range of tasks in the kitchen.
It’s widely available today and an affordable buy that offers great value for money in terms of the amount of kitchen prep jobs it can do.
The design of a utility knife
Kitchen Utility knives range in size from 4 to 9 inches, but the most popular sellers are Utility knives in the 6 – to – 8 – inch range.
The Utility knife fills a crucial gap between the large Chef’s knife and the small and delicate Paring knife, it fits between those two at a comfortable and very useful mid – size.
Some kitchen jobs will be too tough for a Paring knife to handle or require more dexterity and finesse than a cumbersome Chef’s knife can offer. This is where the Utility knife comes in and really shines!
The blade shape of a Utility knife is the same as that of a Chef’s knife, it’s just scaled down in size. The blade is wider where it meets the knife handle and then gradually narrows towards the end of the blade, ending in a sharp point.
The blade of a Utility knife is longer than a Paring knife blade and narrower than that of a Chef’s knife, giving it dexterity.
A Utility knife has a rather thin blade, with a sharp edge and narrow profile. This means drag is reduced as you use it, and it cuts through food with ease. This blade profile also lends itself to precision work that requires a high level of control in the hand.
Utility knives are usually double bevel knives, meaning that there are two sides to the blade which are sharpened to achieve a cutting edge.
Utility knives are also available as single bevel knives. But it must be noted that left – handed users may find single bevel Utility knives difficult to use. Unless the knife is custom ground with a left side bevel.
Without custom grinding a single bevel knife of any type will tend to ‘steer’ or lean away as the user cuts with it and for lefties this can be frustrating! For this reason, double bevel knives are more user friendly and they’re easier to sharpen too.
Today, the best kitchen Utility knives have blades crafted from premium steels, either high carbon steels or stainless steels.
These are carefully blended alloy steels that offer sharpness, toughness, corrosion resistance and durability for everyday use.
Utility knife handles
A Utility’s knife handle is as important as its blade and the recommended handle will be ergonomically shaped and well balanced in the user’s hand.
Both Western style (tapered and often pinch grip) handles and Japanese style wa handles (with octagonal shaping) are available today but a Western style handle offers familiarity and ease of use to the Western user, so these tend to be more popular outside of Japan.
Utility knife handles can be found in many materials from composite resin to beauteous wood or even bone. Besides being pleasing to look at, the handle of a Utility knife should fit the buyer’s hand well and offer good control over the cutting action.
The parts of a utility knife explained
A Utility knife is made up of different parts, let’s look at these by moving along the knife from the end of the handle to the end of the blade.
|Butt||This is the very end of the handle and adds to the grip and balance of the knife|
|Bolster/Handle Guard||This is a lip or concavity just after the butt that prevents your hand from slipping|
|Handle||The handheld portion of the knife that allows you to control it|
|Tang||The metal part of the knife that goes into the handle, making it heavier and balancing it|
|Spine||The thicker top of the knife blade that gives weight to the cutting action|
|Heel||The bottom of the blade near the handle that adds heft to a slicing action|
|Edge||The beveled surface of the knife blade that slices through food|
|Tip||The front third of a knife blade, used for delicate work|
|Point||The very end of the knife blade, used for piercing|
The separate parts of a Utility knife are designed to work together and complement each other, making for a sharp and precise cutting tool. Let’s look now at what a Utility knife can do!
The utility knife and its many uses
The medium size and tapered blade of a Utility knife make it a vegetable master. Probably its most common usage in the today’s kitchen is for chopping onions and mincing garlic cloves down for use in cooking.
The Utility knife also excels at:
- Prepping salads
- Prepping salsas
- Chopping up leafy or woody herbs
- Cutting up medium sized vegetables like carrots and potatoes for dishes like soups and casseroles
- Slicing tomatoes and cucumber for sandwiches or sauces
- Trimming vegetables into shapes for garnishes or fine dining
With so many people eating a healthier diet today, a good fruit knife is very handy, and the Utility knife is a pro at preparing fruit. As well as peeling, coring, and slicing fruit for consumption a Utility knife can also be used to make:
- Fruit based ice creams and yoghurts
- Preparing avocados for guacamole
- Fruit salads
- Shaped fruits for garnishes or decoration
- Dried or dehydrated fruits for snacking
- Fruity baked goods like apple pie or peach cobbler
With a good amount of weight to its blade and an incredibly sharp cutting edge, a Utility knife sails through animal flesh and one of its most common household uses is the deboning and slicing up of poultry like chicken.
Breaking down your own whole chickens into portions is a super cost saver and the Utility knife can also be used for:
- Slicing cured meats for charcuterie or deli service
- Slicing dried meats like jerky
- Trimming and portioning steaks like beef into smaller pieces
- Carving small roasts or joints
- Cutting up meat into bits or rounds for casseroles, soups, or pizza toppings
Fish and seafood
Everybody loves a fish and chip supper and it’s so much cheaper making it at home. The Utility knife is great at trimming, deboning, and cutting up small and medium sized fish and prepping seafood like prawns or squid.
Here are some other fishy ideas to get your Utility knife to work!
- Tartare dishes
- Sushi and sashimi
- Seafood sauces and soups like bouillabaisse
- Crumbed seafood nuggets
- Make your own fish fingers!
Cheese, breads, and cake
A serrated Utility knife is very good at slicing through cakes and bread to produce clean slices without mess or wastage. For this reason, many people simply know the Utility knife as ‘the sandwich knife’.
For cheeses, a non – serrated Utility knife works well and can replace the traditional and sometimes finicky cheese knives available.
Some benefits of the utility knife
Because it’s not as heavy or big as the traditional Chef’s knife, the Utility knife is perfect for people of smaller build who struggle with heavier knives. This also applies to anyone with mobility or hand problems like arthritis that would struggle with a large knife.
The Utility knife is also a great learning tool for children, it’s a child sized Chef’s knife and if supervised carefully a younger user can learn knife basics quite quickly with the Utility knife as it’s lightweight and easier to manipulate than big kitchen knives designed strictly for adult hands and strength.
What shouldn’t a utility knife be used for?
A utility knife is limited in size and weight so is not the right tool for heavy tasks like deboning large animal carcasses or cutting up very dense, thick skinned ingredients like winter squash.
A heavy cleaver would be more appropriate for impact intensive jobs.
Are utility knives a good product to sell in my store?
The great benefit of a Utility knife for any cook or eater is that it combines some of the weight of a Chef’s knife with some of the precision of a Paring knife, it’s a great combination tool and thus very useful as we’ve shown.
For customers or food prep areas where space is limited, a Utility knife can do a lot of Chef’s knife tasks in a smaller and more compact area. Because of its smaller size, the Utility knife is also easy to transport and store without fancy carrying cases or much storage area.
This is of great benefit to those living in smaller dwellings or those preparing food in outdoor or informal settings where resources are limited and one multi – task tool is required to do several jobs.
The Utility knife offers the benefit of being one of the more wallet friendly buys too, your customer can feel that they’re getting a good return for their investment when they experience its versatility.
If your customer had to buy a good Utility knife, a Chef’s knife, and a Paring knife, just about all their food prep needs would be met at an agreeable cost. These 3 knives make up the hub of any good knife set and the logic of buying them either separately or together is undeniable when their usefulness and utility is explained.
Because it’s a knife that covers vegetables, fruit, meat, poultry, fish and more, you can offer the Utility knife to just about everybody without having to worry about societal food taboos or religious prohibitions against its use.
This gives the retailer an unrestricted market to sell into – everybody from vegans to carnivores will need a Utility knife and get daily use out of it.If you’re interested in a quick and clear quote from LeeKnives, do visit our quote portal, we’d be thrilled to assist you with your knife business or answer any queries you may have.