Ten Tips for Kitchen Knife Safety

It’s imperative that you clean and sanitize your blades after cutting meats.

Research shows that the tight economy has contributed to a continuing spike in culinary school enrollments over the past few years, as Americans seek recession-proof job options. If you’re among those looking to make a living in the kitchen, or your simply inspired by your favorite cooking show to jazz things up for your own dinner table, it’s a given that you’ll be working with knives.

For the culinary-minded newbies out there, Sarge Knives offers a few tips for safety when using kitchen knives:

  1. Ditch the distractions: It takes just one quick misstep with a sharpened blade to cause serious injury. Turn off the TV or radio and send the kids out to play.
  2. Wash your hands: A lot. Wash them thoroughly with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds to effectively ward off illness-causing bacteria and germs. Do this after each food you cook, especially meats.
  3. Keep it clean: Constantly clean your cutting board, countertops and blades between food items – especially after meats. It’s best to let cutting boards air dry, as drying cloths can hold and transfer bacteria.
  4. Keep ‘em sharp: Trying to cut with a dull knife is a serious safety hazard. Its dullness prompts the cutter to apply more force, which can make for a more serious potential injury should the blade slip.
  5. Curl your fingers: Always curl your fingers when cutting foods of any sort. Leaving them laid out flat or straight is a good way to lose a fingertip.
  6. Maintain contact: When chopping, mincing or dicing foods, be sure to keep the tip of the knife on the cutting surface as you lift and chop.
  7. Resist the urge: Licking the spoon is fine. Licking the knife blade – not so much. Not only do you risk slicing your tongue, you’re also creating a food safety issue.
  8. Keep your distance: While it may seem more comfortable to lean against a countertop while cutting foods, it’s also dangerous. A slip of the blade can cause a stomach injury.
  9. Walk this way: It’s best to avoid walking with a knife at all. But if you must, walk with the blade facing downward.
  10. Put them away: When you’re done using your kitchen knives, clean, sanitize and store them safely away, particularly if you have children.

Happy cooking!

New Outdoors TV Series Starring Sarah Palin Debuts Thursday Night on the Sportsman Channel

“Amazing America with Sarah Palin” features amazing stories of outdoors men and women, including a few accomplished knives makers.

Head to any locale in America’s great outdoors and you’re sure to meet some great people. Now, the Sportsman Channel’s newest show introduces you to a few of those amazing characters with a little help from former Alaska Governor and presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

Amazing America with Sarah Palin will feature incredible stories of people, places and pastimes connected to outdoor lifestyle. Among those featured in early episodes are DeeDee Jonrowe, a cancer survivor and Iditarod’s top woman dog musher; world champion markswoman Julie Golub; and professional wrestler James “The Cowboy” Storm, whom you may also know from his star turn in Country music duo Montgomery Gentry’s music video Longnecks & Rednecks in 2011.

The show also will showcase sports and events that typically don’t make the cut on outdoors-centric programs. Look for episodes featuring a blacksmith championship, racecar driving pastors, taxidermist and – our personal favorite – knives makers.

The First Lady of the Outdoors occasionally will be joined by various co-hosts including comedian and actor Mark Christopher Lawrence; outdoor TV reality host Benny Spies; and Jerry Carroll, a farmer, agricultural speaker and comedian.

“You know you’re mending fences, you’re moving your cows to your winter pasture, and you get a call asking if you’d like to do a show with Sarah Palin,” Carroll told Breitbart Sports. “My first thought was how much have you been drinking this morning?”

No matter your politics, Amazing America is sure to pique the interest of any avid outdoors enthusiast. And we here at Sarge Knives support any effort to shine the spotlight on the amazing people who love our nation’s natural surroundings as much as we do.

Amazing America debuts Thursday, April 3 at 8 pm ET/PT on the Sportsman Channel. Tune in, then post your thoughts on the Sarge Knives Facebook Fan Page.

Documentary on Legendary Portuguese Knife Sharpeners in the Works

“Knife sharpeners existed in great numbers, in a time when the hope for the return of a lost king wasn’t needed. Today only one exists.”

That’s the log line of The Last Knife Sharpener, a new documentary in the works about a search for the last knife sharpener in the storied southern Algarve area of Portugal. Five student filmmakers from the United Kingdom are raising production funds to travel to Portugal to shoot the film, based on a centuries-old legend.

The idea was borne in the myth of King Sebastian of Portugal and the Algarves, who disappeared after the Battle of Alcácer Quibir, known as the Battle of the Three Kings, in 1578. Ever since, a myth has persisted in the subconscious of the Portuguese people that one day, the legendary lost king will return and return Portugal to its former glory.

“It is known that when there were many knife sharpeners around, Portugal really flourished – especially Portimão,” the filmmakers said. “We want to find [the lost king] because we think he has the solution for the depressive state the city of Portimão is now in. We believe he could be the reincarnation of King Sebastian of Portugal and the Algarves.”

While the premise may seem far-fetched, the project may prove an intriguing look at a how knife makers and sharpeners contributed to a nation’s history and culture. Got a favorite knife-centric documentary or film? Post it on the Sarge Knives Facebook Fan Page.

Introducing the Panther – New From Sarge Knives

Three Great Books about Knives

If you love a great knife AND a great read, read on. We here at Sarge Knives have three recommendations for some of the best books on knives.

Knives 2014: The World’s Greatest Knife Book: If the title sounds a bit brash, there’s good reason. Editor Joe Kertzman has compiled an exhaustively comprehensive literary and pictorial collection of the world’s finest knives including everyday carry pieces, hunting knives, bushcraft blades, flipper folders, wood-splitting mauls and highly embellished artistic knives. There’s a comprehensive overview of knives and their famous makers, a complete directory of custom knifemakers and a slew of feature articles on a full range of topics from camp and climbing knives to automatics, antiques and art knives.

An Edge in the Kitchen: The Ultimate Guide to Kitchen Knives, How to Buy them, Keep Them Razor Sharp and Use Them Like a Pro: We know – the subtitle’s a mouthful. But it’s kind of necessary to effectively convey all this hardcover book has to offer. Penned by Chad and Regan Ward with photography by Bryan Regan, An Edge in the Kitchen solidly addresses an issue to which few admit – the fact that the majority of American homeowners are woefully uninformed about the various types of kitchen knives and their proper use. Ever heard of a cow sword? Yes – it’s a real thing. And you probably want one., you just don’t know it yet. Luckily, this book aptly instructs home cooks on all they need to know about assembling and maintaining a kitchen knife collection. Using anecdotal references, the authors dole out practical guidelines on all manner of topics including knive history, cutting techniques, sharpening and storing.

Official Scout Blades:Periodically since 1997, author Ed Holbrook releases a new issue of this handbook, a must-have if you’re involved in the Boy Scouts of America or Girl Scouts of America in any way – as a scout, a scout leader or a scout’s parent or guardian. In the book’s current fifth edition, you’ll find a comprehensive collection of all official knives and axes of the two organizations. With an emphasis on identifying and dating knives, the 130-page handbook includes a price guide, detailed index and vintage advertisements.

Do you have a favorite knife book not on our list? Share it with your fellow blade enthusiasts on the Sarge Knives Facebook Fan Page.

Roughing it for a Few Days? You’ll Want These Three Essential Camping Knives With You

Going camping soon? Make sure you’ve got these three essential knives – a fixed-blade knife, folding knife and multi-tool.

Springtime is here. And that means outdoors enthusiasts and families nationwide are planning camping trips. Whether you’re “glamping” in a decked-out RV or roughing it with little more than your tent and backpack, chances are it won’t be long before you’ll find your self in a situation wherein a blade will prove quite handy. Make sure you’re prepared by packing these three essential camping knives:

  • Fixed blade: Fixed blade knives often get left behind by campers out of a notion of inconvenience – because of their size, weight and the fact that they require wearing or carrying a sheath to protect the blade. But that could prove a mistake, particularly if you’re roughing it in seldom-traveled territory. Fixed-knife blades are the strongest because they have just one continuous piece of metal running from the blade through the handle. This kind of strength will prove critical for big jobs like clearing brush or making kindling.
  • Single folding blade: A single folding blade knife, or pocket knife, is an absolute must-have on camping trips. It’s lightweight and will fit in your pocket. While it lacks the strength that a fixed-blade knife offers, a quality folding knife certainly is enough to get lots of jobs done, including cutting branches or gutting fish. Hopefully you won’t, but if you find your self in quick need of a makeshift splint for a broken ankle or leg.
  • Multi-tool: A solid multi-tool ins another camping must-have. The smaller knifes can be used for a multitude of tasks like slicing fruit and cutting twine. If you’ve watched one-too-many Hollywood survivalist flicks, then you know a small blade comes in very handy when performing an emergency tracheotomy, too. And depending on the model you chose, a multi-tool come outfitted with a range of additional devices, including bottle and can openers, forks, awls, flathead screwdrivers, serrated foil cutters and corkscrews.

If you plan a camping trip soon, check out the fixed-blade and folding knives and multi-tools offered by Sarge Knives. Have another favorite camping knife, blade or tool we didn’t mention? Post your thoughts on the Sarge Knives Facebook Fan Page.

Top Knife Photography Tips

When photographing your knives, think diagonals and curves, knife photography experts say.

Last week, we filled you in on the essential tools you’ll need to snap great shots of your favorite knives. This week, we’re adding some technique tips to help assure your pictures won’t turn out fuzzy, shadowy, washed out or dotted with hotspots. Grab your camera and let’s get started…

  • Fill the frame: Even if you’re not a classic film fan, you’ve probably heard the famous line, “I’m ready for my closeup, Mr. DeMille.” That Norma Desmond (Sunset Boulevard, 1950) might have been crazy, but she clearly knew the value of a great photo – one that fills the frame with its subject, focusing attention on its glorious detail. Such is the case when you’re photographing your bladed beauty. Don’t let your knife get lost I a sea of background or a clutter of extra props. Instead, place it on a solid background, zoom in close and focus.
  • Go diagonal and curvy: Diagonal lines and curves are far more dynamic to the human eye than are vertical or horizontal lines. Plus, the diagonal corner-to-corner dimension of the frame is longer than the straight side-to-side dimension, allowing more of your frame to be filled with your subject rather than the background.
  • Snap a side view: The profile (side view) of your knife will show off the most design-wise, including the shapes of your knifes’ blade and handle, their proportional sizes, patterns, engravings and construction technique.

Do you have additional tips you’d like to share with fellow knife enthusiasts? Post them on the Sarge Knives Facebook Fan Page.

Three Tools You’ll Need for Photographing Knives

Want to get some great snapshots of your favorite knives? You’ll need three essential tools besides your camera.

So you’ve just received the sweet new knife set you ordered from Sarge Knives and now, you want to document them in all their glory before they’ve garnered any signs of use. Or perhaps you’ve got a trusty ol’ favorite you’d like to show off. The good news is you don’t have to be a professional photographer to snap a great shot of your beloved blades. But to maximize your success, you will need a few basic tools, besides your camera, of course.

They are:

  • Diffuser: A light diffuser spreads the light from your camera’s flash in a way that gives the photograph a softer look clear of those hard shadows. If you have a fancy camera, you can purchase diffusers that mount to your camera’s flash mechanism. Another option is to purchase a lightbox or light tent. These create a small space that concentrates the light and makes it easier to manipulate and use to your advantage. They’re inexpensive enough, but if you want to super low-budget, grab a white trash bag and do an online search for “how to make a lightbox.”
  • Daylight Temp Lighting: Natural sunshine offers the best photography lighting money can’t buy – so long as you work the angles to eliminate shadows. But if you’re snapping your shots indoors, we recommend buying daylight temp (about 5,000 to 6,500 degree Kelvin) bulbs. Daylight temp bulbs eliminate weird color shifts that can happen when photographing using regular-temp incandescent bulbs (which can cast a yellowish light) or fluorescent bulbs (which tend to make your pictures greenish). Daylight bulbs come in both incandescent and fluorescent formats and are available online and at your local hardware store.
  • Tripod: We’ve got news for you – your hands are not nearly as steady as you think. Plus, using indirect diffused light can slow your camera’s shutter speeds. Both can cause your pictures to come out blurry. Ergo, we suggest you invest in a tripod. Even the tiniest movement can cause a motion blur. That’s why photographers often use their camera’s timer to trip the shutter, dodging the slight jiggle that happens when a finger presses the snap button. And, using a tripod can compensate for those light-induced shower shutter speeds. Depending upon how fancy you get, tripods in a range of prices can be found online. But they’re also a staple at thrift shops and garage sales. Just make sure that it’s lock-up mechanism, which holds your camera to the tripod, is tight.

Check back for more tips in next week’s Sarge Knives Blog.

5 Essential Kitchen Knives

Whether you’re an army cook out in the field, the head chef at a swanky 5-star restaurant or a loving mom whipping up dinner for her lively brood, the most kitchen-savvy among you likely are using the same arsenal of blades.

Sarge Knives offers tips on the five essential kitchen knives every cook needs:

  1. Cleaver: These wide-bladed, thick-spined knives make use of their weight to cut through tough foods with a chopping motion. They’re primarily used to cut through meat and poultry bones, but their width allows them to pull double duty, pulverizing meats and crushing garlic cloves and seeds.
  2. Chef’s knife: One of the most versatile knife types, the chef’s knife is used for chopping and slicing fruits, vegetables, roots and, frankly, most anything else. Most feature a broad blade that curves upward toward the tip. This allows for a rocking motion, making the chef’s knife ideal for fine mincing. Chef’s knifes typically come in blade lengths of six, eight, 10 and 12 inches. Longer blades make for faster cuts, though they can be a bit hard to control, particularly for more petite cooks. Shorter blades are perfectly suited for kitchenistas with smaller hands.
  3. Serrated knife: Also called wavy-edged knives, serrated knifes are the best option for cutting foods that are dense on the surface, but soft inside such as loaves of bread, sausages and tomatoes. That’s because the serrated knife’s teeth allow for greater pressure exerted on the skin of a food, making it easier to slice through hard bread crusts and tough sausage skins and fruit peels. You won’t catch a sandwich shop worker without a serrated bread knife. While the teeth of a bread knife are too large to cut fruits and vegetables effectively, their 8- to 9-inch blades are perfect for slicing up loaves of bread.
  4. Fillet knife: Also called boning knives, and essentially smaller chef’s knives, fillet knives are the go-to options for cutting fish or poultry and for removing meat from bones. The come in multiple blade widths and vary in stiffness. Choose a narrow filet knife on ribs and chops to easily cut through bone and cartilage; a wide fillet knife for chicken and pork; and a curved fillet knife for an optimal working angle when cutting close to and around bone.
  5. Paring knife: These smaller knives typically have blade lengths of just three to four inches, which allow for solid control. Blades usually taper to a point, allowing for intricate work. Varying types of paring knives include bird’s beak knives great for peeling round-shaped fruits and vegetables and for more precise carving and fluting; wavy-edged or serrated paring knives for cutting bread and tomatoes; and clip point or granny paring knives, effective for peeling fruits and vegetables and for removing eyes from potatoes or pits from olives.

Sarge Knives offers a full range of knife types including top-quality fillet, boning and chef’s knives perfect for preparing dinner whether in the kitchen or at the camp site.

Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas from Sarge Knives

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. And another necktie just isn’t what your man wants. He’s not crazy about tickets to the local dinner theater either. And a stuffed animal? Uh uh. But don’t worry – we’ve got you covered. Sarge Knives offers a range of gifts perfect for the outdoorsman you love.

Here are our top four suggestions for Valentine’s Day gifts from Sarge Knives:

  • French Style Steak Knife Set, $69.95: This six-piece set comes beautifully packaged in a blonde wood presentation box that’ll lend a high-end feel to any table. Each knife is hand-crafted from 440 stainless steel with a 45/8-inch blade and a full micro-serrated cutting edge. The blade has a Rockwell hardness of 52-55. And the tortoise shell ABS resin handle adds a classic touch.
  • Three-Blade Stockman Gentleman’s Knife, $19.95: This three-blade beauty features a striking Cocobolo wood handle with a SARGE medallion inset, brass liners and nickel silver bolsters. The 2 5/8″ clip point, 1 3/4″ spey and 1 3/4″ sheepfoot are all fashioned from 440C stainless steel with a flat grind and mirror polish. It’s as stylish as it is versatile.
  • Rosewood Burl Humidor, $99.95: Is your Valentine a cigar enthusiast? He’s sure to love this high lacquer finish humidor made of Spanish cedar. It’s got an external hygrometer and a moveable divider. The rosewood finish lends a luxe feel, but you also can choose from a maple burl, black UV or walnut with white trim finish.
  • Steward Wine Tool, $39.95: Much more than a corkscrew, this ultimate gentleman’s tool features a long, curved handle made of beech wood scales with satin bolsters and decorative file work along the spine. In addition to the 5-turn spiral corkscrew, there’s a wide boot lever with a bottle opener and a 1 3/4″ serrated foil cutter and a 5-turn spiral corkscrew, and it all comes in a gorgeous natural wood gift box. Be sure to pick up a bottle of merlot before your Valentine’s date.

From all of us here at Sarge Knives, have a happy St. Valentine’s Day.