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How to Hold a Chef’s Knife Like a Pro

There are many things to consider when buying a new knife. And once purchased, your knife must be cleaned and sharpened regularly to keep it in good condition.

Mastering basic knife skills will help you to cut food quickly and safely. Holding a new knife correctly with the right grip will also improve its lifespan.

How to hold a knife

How to Hold a Kitchen Knife

Quality kitchen knives, including chef knives and Santoku knives, should be handled with care and safety. This will reduce the likelihood of accidents in the kitchen and allow you to prepare meals quickly.

knife grip

When learning to hold a knife, you should pay attention to both of your hands. The hand holding the knife is your cutting hand. This hand should grip the handle of the knife, placing the thumb on the top of the blade. Your other fingers should wrap around the knife’s bolster. Your index finger should rest on the blade opposite your thumb. You will focus your grip on the thumb and forefinger.

Your other hand is the guiding hand. Make a claw with this hand and curl your fingers inwards. Rest your fingertips on the food and position the thumb low. Your wrist should rest on the cutting board. When you cut, rest the knife against your knuckles instead of your fingers, and walk your fingers back on the food item following each cut.

knife guiding hand claw

Top Tips for Holding a Knife

Some other basic guidelines for using a knife in the kitchen include:

  • Always slicing away from the knife to avoid cuts
  • Making oddly-shaped food items more stable by slicing a thin piece off the bottom
  • Never using your palm as a stabilizing surface

In addition to these basic tips, there are techniques which may help based on your experience level:

Handle/Hammer Grip

This technique is for beginners in the kitchen. Wrap your thumb and index finger around the handle, with the thumb beneath the bolster and the index finger wrapping around from the other side to meet your thumb. Curl your other fingers around the handle, keeping them aligned with your index finger. Keep your fingers close together for a secure grip.

knife hammer grip

Blade/Pinch Grip

This technique is for professional chefs and others with lots of experience in the kitchen. Pinch the base of the blade between your thumb and index finger. Hook your middle finger behind the bolster. It should curl completely around the handle. Wrap your other fingers around the handle lightly. These fingers on the handle provide support, but should not grip the handle too tightly.

knife pinch grip

How to Hold a Knife When Slicing, Chopping and Mincing

  • Slicing: Use the claw grip above for your guiding hand.
  • Chopping: Use the claw grip above for your guiding hand.
  • Mincing: Place the food in the center of the cutting board in a heap. Place the fingertips of your guiding hand flat on the top of the blade’s tip.

How to Hold a Sword

Swords can seem large and unwieldy for new owners. They can become dangerous and incur damage if not used properly. Using a sword effectively starts with learning to hold it properly. These tips will help you hold a sword the right way:

  • Hold the handle with your dominant hand below the guard. Your other hand should grip the pommel, which is the bottom of the sword. If the sword is a katana, grip it with the bottom three fingers of your dominant hand, keeping your thumb and forefinger free. Katanas should be held about an inch below the guard.
  • Your grip should be light and relaxed, but firm.
  • Position the sword with the pommel level right above your belly button. Don’t rest it on your stomach, though.
  • Angle the sword so that the tip is positioned between the sternum and throat.
how to hold a sword

How to Hold a Straight Razor

A straight razor can be a powerful tool for achieving that perfectly close shave. But if you don’t know how to handle it properly, it will become dangerous. Follow these tips to hold a straight razor for shaving:

  • Place your pinky finger on the tang of the razor. The handle should rest on top of your pinky finger.
  • Place your thumb on the bottom of the razor, near the blade.
  • Your other three fingers should grip the side opposite your thumb, called the shank.

First Step to Perfect Knife Skills

Holding a knife properly will increase your safety and eliminate accidental cuts and injuries. It will also reduce damage to the knife and extend its lifetime.

Different types of blades require different techniques for holding and using them. You should guide the food with your non-dominant hand when using any type of kitchen knives. There are different techniques for beginners and professional chefs, as well as techniques specially designed for types of cutting, such as slicing, chopping, and mincing. Taking the time to learn these techniques will serve you well in the kitchen.

Learning to hold and use these various types of blades will help you prepare food, shave, and carry out other activities safely and quickly. It will optimize the performance of your blades and allow them to last longer.

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