Whew! We are almost done. But, as Columbo would so famously say over and over and over again, “there’s one last thing.” Or, a couple of last things.
When you are selecting the best paring knife for you, keep in mind these four important factors:
Hardness was traditionally achieved by add carbon to iron to create steel. The amount of carbon can vary from between 0.55% to all the way up over 1 percent.
However, carbon alone, in too great of an amount can make a knife brittle. Modern knife manufacturers have found ways around this by “wrapping” flexible metal cores with harder materials, like other metals, carbide powders, oxides, and “ice hardening” blades. Rather than try to become familiar with all of the types of knife metals out there, instead, try to learn more about The Rockwell scale of hardness.
This is not altogether different from hardness, and abrasive wear is more common with softer metals. While wear resistance is helped by hardness and naturally forming carbides, that same hardness can make the blade brittle.
This is another important factor to consider in choosing a knife. The ability to resist corrosion such as rust is influenced by the amount of Chromium in the metal. However, the additives that make metal stain-resistant result in a steel that is softer than its high-carbon counterpart.
This means how long the blade stays sharp – the harder the blade, the longer it stays sharp. But in general, the more difficult it is to sharpen.
The perfect paring knife will, most likely, combine a little bit of all of the characteristics discussed in this blog.
To pick out the best knife for you, read reviews, test knives out when possible, and, if you really want to get old school, maybe cover a book.