A bolster knife, in its most basic definition, is a type of pocketknife designed with a metal bolster or guard along its pivot point. This bolster piece offers increased grip security and can also protect a user’s hand from accidental closing when using the blade. Additionally, it can be decorative and act as an aesthetic enhancement to quality knives.

The most common type of bolster knife features two identical blades that are both deployed by the same handle. This design often gives such knives the nickname “jack-knife” as many are shaped similar to a jack playing card. Although this design is traditional and popular, one should not assume that all bolsters knives feature this traditional style. There can be models with only one blade or several tools alike which may reduce the size of their bolsters due to the lack of multiple blades needing protection. Occasionally, there are even double bolsters on some models affording even greater grip security and protection from accidental closings while in use. Bolster knives also come in either slip joint springs or locking mechanisms giving them always an extra advantage over other pocket knives as they have lower chances to close unintentionally during usage.

Overall, bolster knives offer great flexibility whether you prefer old-fashioned design or need something robust for daily tasks. From playthings for children wanting to feel like adults carrying their own pocketknives to hunters needing something durable for field dressing game animals, there is something for everyone within this classic style of knife construction .


The origin of the bolster knife is believed to stem from medieval Europe. During that time, knives were primarily utilitarian tools for a variety of tasks, including food preparation and other household chores. The bolster was introduced as an added reinforcement to the knife blade, a feature beloved by those who used them due to its ability to substantially increase the life of a knife.

Additionally, bolster knives became much more ornate with elaborate carvings and jewelry-like embellishments as they became more socially accepted as dining utensils. Knives were often presented as diplomatic gifts or tokens among royalty and affluent citizens of the day—something that further increased their popularity. With well-crafted pieces reflecting intricate detail, the bolster knife soon became much more than just another kitchen tool; it became a symbol of status, wealth, and even power in some cases.


A bolster knife is a type of pocket knife that features a bolster, which is an enlarged metallic crosspiece (also called the “tang”) at the end or near the end of its handle. The bolster’s weight provides balance for the blade and helps to keep it from wobbling when opened. The presence of bolsters also gives a knife better leverage against cutting surfaces. It can also provide a bit of extra grip as well as be used as an anchor point for lanyards or wrist straps. On more modern designs, there can be two bolsters instead of one; this provides more stability and additional heft. The perimeter around the bolster can often be engraved with decorative patterns or accommodate other embellishments such as jewels, gems, or stones.


A bolster knife is a truly versatile and practical cutlery tool to have in your kitchen. It can be used for a range of applications, from slicing vegetables and herbs for cooking to spreading butter with ease. The rounded bolster at the blade’s heel provides extra strength and support as you slice, so that the pressure is evenly distributed when you chop or spread, making it safer and more comfortable to use. You don’t need to put too much force into making sure something is cut cleanly – as the bolster helps guide and stabilize your fingers.

Furthermore, this type of knife is great if you want all-round precision while cutting. It has a smaller blade than regular chef knives, but the rounded bolster gives extra control so that you can slide or pull through an object easily without using too much force or effort. This makes it easier to get into tight spaces around the food and create accurate cuts compared to conventional knives.

In addition, a bolster knife also has incredible durability due to its construction. The blades are often made from high-grade stainless steel and feature full tangs which increase their rigidity. Moreover, they’re designed with thicker bolsters that double up as hand protectors should your grip slip when slicing unevenly-shaped objects like loaves of bread or soft cheeses. With proper care and maintenance, these knives have a longer lifespan than ordinary ones and are thereby superior value for money in the long run.

Selection Criteria

A bolster knife is a type of cutting or chopping tool primarily used in professional cooking or butchering. It consists of a handle and a bladed tip that can be sharpened. The bolster knife is highly versatile, providing the user with precision cutting, slicing, dicing and other techniques. To ensure you choose the right bolster knife for your purpose, here’s some guidance on its selection criteria:

Size and Weight: Depending on what you will be using it for, you should consider the size and weight of the bolster knife. Smaller knives are more suitable for intricate tasks such as peeling or shaping foods while larger knives are better suited for tougher jobs like chopping and cutting through bones. The weight of the knife should also be taken into consideration when buying; heavier blades will improve stability while light blades are usually preferred if speed is important.

Material: Different materials provide different levels of durability and effectiveness depending on their properties. High-carbon steel blades offer superior strength while stainless steel ones are economical but softer thus require more frequent sharpening to maintain their edge retention. Other materials such as titanium alloy contain good qualities from both types of steel thus making them ideal choices for many kitchen applications.

Blade Edge: The shape of the blade determines how versatile it can be in performing various cuts and slices; the most common being straight edge, serrated edge and hollow ground blade edges. Straight edges are best suited for small tasks like peeling vegetables while serrated blades help cut through harder foods such as bones though they may require more frequent sharpening to maintain their effectiveness over time. Hollow-ground blades have concave edges which provide better results in terms of accuracy and precision when performing delicate work like trimming meats.

Handle Design: Most bolster knives come with either a full tang handle or a half tang handle design which refers to how securely attached the blade is to its handle material (wood, plastic etc.). Full tang handles provide superior strength while lighter half tang handles increase maneuverability making them ideal for intricate tasks that require delicate handling.

Care and Usage

A bolster knife is a special type of kitchen knife characterized by its thick, full-sized handle and wide bolster. The purpose of this unique design is to increase your grip on the handle as you cut, so you can hold onto the knife more easily while achieving maximum control over each slice. This makes it a great choice for slicing meats and other tough foods, as well as chopping vegetables. It’s important to store your bolster knife properly on a storage block or in a drawer lined with slots or trays specifically designed for kitchen knives. If these are not available, use a protective sheath that completely encloses the blade when not in use. For best results when cutting with your bolster knife, always keep it sharp and maintain security protocols when handling. Start by holding the bolster with one hand and the handle with your other; then grasp the blade from its edge and cut at an angle of 45° in either direction from top to bottom.

Examples of Common Bolster Knife Applications

A bolster knife is a type of knife that has an extended bolster at the heel of the blade. This bolster can be made out of steel, stainless steel, and other materials, depending on the purpose of the knife. The bolster knife concept originated in Europe as a way to provide extra strength and protection at the connection point between handle and blade.

Common applications for bolster knives include cutting and slicing foods (especially those with hard exteriors or skins); butchering foods; filleting; boning meat; skinning game; chopping vegetables; splitting fruits or nuts; and trimming meat. They are also widely used in woodworking as a primary cutting tool for peeling off material from woodworking projects. A general use bolster knife can also be great for general outdoor uses like preparing kindling, scraping salt buildup off boat decks and hulls, breaking up seashells for planting small plants indoors, etc.


A bolster knife is an incredibly versatile and utilitarian tool. It has a unique design that includes an extra wide, ergonomic handle as well as two bolster sections that provide superior balance, strength and control in the blade. Bolster knives can be used for a variety of tasks, from slicing vegetables to fileting fish, chopping hard-shell nuts, scraping hide crust off leather, or even performing surgery. The added section of bolsters help make the handle sturdier and easier to grip while using with much more control than standard kitchen knives. Its practical shape and construction makes it one of the most popular knives among both professional chefs and home cooks alike.