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Q: Why do knives have holes? ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   5 Comments )
Subject: Why do knives have holes?
Category: Family and Home > Food and Cooking
Asked by: lexi-ga
List Price: $3.00
Posted: 04 Jan 2003 18:58 PST
Expires: 03 Feb 2003 18:58 PST
Question ID: 137596
I'm watching Iron Chef, and Iron Chef Michiba is cutting bell peppers
with this big knife that has several small holes in the blade. The
holes do not go all the way up the blade - there's just a few in a
line at the tip of the blade, varying in size (but they are all pretty
small).  My friend thinks the holes are to make the blade lighter; my
theory is they are speed holes.  What is the real reason the knife has
these holes?
Subject: Re: Why do knives have holes?
Answered By: pinkfreud-ga on 04 Jan 2003 20:31 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hi, Lexi!

The only holey knives I found online were cheese knives, but I've seen
much larger knives in use on The Food Channel, QVC, Iron Chef, and
such. I believe the reason for the holes is the same, regardless of
whether the knife is being used as a stilton-stabber, a mango-mincer,
or a chive-chopper.

Here's a 4-holed knife designed for cutting soft cheese. The holes,
according to the description, help keep the blade from sticking to the
cheese. (My guess is that this works because there is less surface
area that could stick.)

Kitchen Cook: Wüsthof Culinar 5-Inch Soft Cheese Knife

A similar cheese knife, whose holes are rectangular:

"The holes in the blade keep food from sticking as easily." 

The Chef's Resource

My Google search strategy:


I speculate that there are probably four reasons for putting holes in
the knife blade:

1. To prevent sticking by reducing the surface area of the blade that
contacts the food
2. To minimize the weight of the blade, which makes its use easier for
the cook
3. To save the manufacturer money by reducing the amount of
high-quality steel used
4. To look cool

Regarding #3, it is possible that I'm way off base here, since the
cost of making the holes may offset any savings. I'm just guessing on

The importance of #4 cannot be overlooked. Many people seem to prefer
style over substance, and a product with a cool design will often
outsell a product that may function better, but look stodgy. One has
only to look at popular automobiles (or women's dress shoes) to prove
this point.

I hope I've cut to the core of this matter. Thanks for asking an
interesting question. The only downside is that, in my Web travels, I
came across a few ceramic knives, and now I have an insatiable desire
to own one.

Remember, only 355 chopping days until Christmas... ;-)

Best wishes

Clarification of Answer by pinkfreud-ga on 04 Jan 2003 20:45 PST
Thank you very much for the five stars and the tip!

lexi-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $1.00
My feeling is that the cost is probably not an issue for an Iron Chef,
but the sticky explanation seems plausible. Thanks for the research.

Subject: Re: Why do knives have holes?
From: nauster-ga on 04 Jan 2003 19:19 PST
Some knives have a single hole in the tip for convenient hanging.
Cheese knives have very large holes to keep the cheese from sticking
to the blade. Making the knife lighter isn't really an issue. The
amount of weight saved by a few small holes would be negligable
anyhow. All that said, I can't tell you what those holes were for.
Subject: Re: Why do knives have holes?
From: bobthedispatcher-ga on 04 Jan 2003 20:44 PST
All of pinkfreud-ga and nauster-ga 's comments are probably true, but
I suspect that (other than #4. to look cool) it would affect the
balance, if done right.  While the little bit of metal would not
affect the total wieght be very much on most knives, the exact
placement could affect its balance and feel, making it easier to
handle and safer to use. Sort of like using little 1 or 2 ounce
weights to balance a heavy car tire.
Subject: Re: Why do knives have holes?
From: lot-ga on 07 Jan 2003 08:26 PST
The holes in the blade are used to grip it firmly to sharpen them in
the manufacturing process? Holes at the top of the knife will prevent
'wobble' as the blade is sharpened which can occur if the blade is
held at the handle - which can also damage/blemish the handle itself.
Alternatively the handles can be put on *after* the sharpening
process, so the 'raw' unfinished handle is gripped instead during
sharpening/grinding. This may risk damaging the freshly sharpened edge
when the knives then undergo the handle bonding process (if the knife
edge is unprotected)... ideally the sharpening should be the last
manufacturing process. (my WILD speculation as a product designer)
Subject: Re: Why do knives have holes?
From: eiffel-ga on 21 Jan 2003 02:25 PST
Pinkfreud's number 1 reason is correct (to reduce sticking of the food
being cut). But it's not adhesion that is the main problem - it's air
pressure. Imagine you've sliced some cheese - you then have air
pressure keeping the cheese against the knife. The holes near the
cutting surface let air in from the other side and "break the vacuum"
that is keeping the cheese "stuck" to the knife.
Subject: Re: Why do knives have holes?
From: zenmonkee-ga on 12 Jul 2004 15:32 PDT

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