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Sharper Than Ever: Kitchen Knives As High Art
The following is excerpted from an article on high-end kitchen tools by Joe Yonan:

Fifteen years ago, "I'd spend hours saying to salesmen that the weight of the knife doesn't really matter," says Jack Bevington, president of Sointu, the US distributor of Global knives. "The cutting is a function of the sharpness, not the weight. The weight only makes it more fatiguing." "Americans tend to equate weight with substance," agrees Marks of Stoddards. He adds, "Sometimes a lightweight knife is much more responsive."

Chefs were early converts to the new knives. By 1998, Bobby Flay was slicing and dicing with his Globals every day on the Food Network, and in 2000, author Anthony Bourdain waxed rhapsodic about their sharpness in "Kitchen Confidential," the best-selling myth-debunker about the restaurant industry.

The result: Every year for the past decade, Bevington says, Global's business has grown by 25 to 30 percent.

And now discussions with consumers have become that much more complicated. With German-style knives that are fully forged from a single piece of steel, the heavy handle is balanced by two features: the bolster, the thicker part between blade and handle that also serves as a finger guard; and the tang, the section that extends through the wooden or plastic handle. Without a well-designed bolster and a visible, fully extended tang, a knife was considered inferior because it was assumed to not be properly balanced and, therefore, not as comfortable. But a Global knife cannot be described in any of those terms. The steel is thinner, and the blade is lighter, so there is no need for extra balancing weight. Indeed, Global's use of hollow handles filled with sand makes for a balance that seems almost organic; as you move, the knife's weight almost imperceptibly shifts with you, so that it feels like an extension of your wrist. Combined with such a sharp cutting edge and a look that seemed straight from an animator's pen, it was like no other knife before it.

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