Ever wondered what gives great chefs their confidence in the kitchen?
Well, one of the reasons is the quality of their cutting equipment which includes a kitchen knife. This is more than just a piece of metal that has been shaped with a curved edge.
It makes life easy in the kitchen while attending equally critical matters like ingredients, recipes, and calorie values.
However, manufacturers of knives can improve the quality of knives that they produce so that users like chefs have no hard time in the kitchen.
But what are the best ways to improve the quality of knives?
These have different types of hardness testers, such as vickers hardness tester, rockwell hardness tester, Brinell hardness tester, so which one is most suitable for knife quality testing?
Criteria for a quality knife
One place to start setting up yourself for success in the manufacture of quality knives is checking criteria for quality.
Manufacturers make Knives in different shapes, sizes, and design. However, users looking for quality knives are not carried away by the fanciness of these designs.
A good chef, for instance, will first check for the material used in the manufacture of the knife to ascertain the quality of the knife. That is easy, isn’t it? Well, not really.
Here is the thing. All other criteria, such as cutting surface, sharpness, and usage, all depend on the knife’s material.
Knives are made from different materials, both metallic and non-metallic materials. These materials come with varying values of hardness, which is the main property that indicates the quality of the material.
Carbon steel hardness values of 45-47 RC and stainless steel with 47-49 RC have different qualities based on their hardness. The RC is a standard hardness unit that is based on the Rockwell hardness test. Hardness values from other tests like the Leebs hardness testing are usually converted to this unit.
But remember this: a manufacturer will need to conduct material tests to ascertain the quality of the material used for making that knife.
Material hardness testing is often used to indicate the hardness values of metals used to produce knives, hence their quality.
These tests include Leebs hardness testing, Rockwell hardness testing, and Brinell hardness tests, which are the most popular ones.
The best test will be the non-destructive one, which can be done regardless of location and is inexpensive.
Material hardness testing
The material quality and hardness values are complementary to each other. So, let’s quickly look at some of these hardness testing methods, which require hardness testing machines in most cases.
- The Rockwell is an indentation-based test where an indenter – usually a diamond-tipped weight, drops on the material. The indentation on the material is measured and compared to indexed values representing standard hardness for different indentation.
- Brinell hardness testing is another indentation-based test. However, this test is most suitable for very large material that is not very hard. Metals like castings and porous materials are often the best samples for this test, with a maximum applied load of up to 3 Tonnes (3,000kg).
- The Leebs hardness testing is a method that uses rebound to ascertain the hardness and quality of materials. The rebound is measured, checked against standard rebound values, and then used to determine the hardness of the material.
This test’s portability and non-destructive nature make it very suitable for on-the-spot confirmation of knives’ hardness values.
Hardness values and material quality
The quality of materials, especially metals, increase with their hardness values, with soft metals having low hardness values while very hard metals have high hardness values.
Typically, soft metals’ hardness values are given as 54-56 RC. These materials, like softer steels, are low in quality as they require frequent sharpening than harder materials. Softer metals also chip at the edges and are prone to folding at the edges when cutting hard items like bones.
Harder metals like hard steel have hardness values of between 59-66 RC. These values mean that they have high cutting quality and can withstand the cutting of hard things like bones.
Though sharpening these knives will take more efforts, they will often retain this sharpness longer. It also maintains the edges longer as it does not fold like softer knives when used to cut hard items.
Other properties that can contribute to the quality of a knife include rust-free, durability, and edge fineness which can also be ascertained using specific quality tests.
Improving the quality of knives starts with conducting a quality test on the metal used in its manufacture. To avoid getting low-quality knives will require an on-site hardness test. Portable hardness tests like the Leebs hardness testing will ensure that you get the best quality knife seeing that the test is non-destructive, mobile, and accurate.