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I haven't been able to find a post specifically on fluted knives, so hopefully this isn't a duplicate.

I was wondering if fluted knives actually work. I came across a comment (possibly an Amazon review) that fluted knives don't actually help in preventing vegetables from sticking to the knife -- causing the user to have to still have to stop and remove the cut product.

I've never used a fluted knife, so I literally have no idea. I was wondering what the general consensus on SA was: Have you noticed that a fluted knife makes enough of a difference to purchase the fluted version of a particular knife over the non-fluted version?

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Since both of the questions have good answers, maybe they can be merged instead of one being closed as a dupe. – Jolenealaska Aug 26 '14 at 22:19
up vote 13 down vote accepted

I am assuming by "fluted knife", you mean what is sometimes called a granton or hollow edge knife, where there are indentations in the blade intended to reduce sticking or adhesion to the food:

enter image description here

Except in very specific circumstances, this feature makes very little difference, those circumstances being:

  • Carving large roasts
  • Cutting large and tough vegetables such as certain squashes

For most use, it simply doesn't matter. In fact, the thickness of the blade tends to have more of an effect than the voids in most cases.

Except in the specific case of a slicing knife (which is a specialty knife that most beginning cooks have no need for; you have also in other questions indicated you are a vegetarian where this knife is primarily for slicing hams and other large roasts), this is not a feature I would look for:

enter image description here

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Is the reduction in sticking not relevant for slicing vegetables? A lot of things stick to blades, not just squash. – Jefromi Jul 25 '13 at 20:25
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Its not that it wouldn't be relevent so much as it makes little difference. The adhesion due to moisture is going to happen anyway; the granton hallows are more for the blade binding within a large object, like a saw stuck in a log. – SAJ14SAJ Jul 25 '13 at 20:26

This is a pretty intricate question and my answer is based on what I have read and personal experience. If I understand correctly, knives with dimples or scallops are supposed to create more air space between the knife and the food, thus reducing adhesion and making release of the food easier. This seems to be the reason most stated for an advantage of this kind of knife.

The deeper or larger the scallops are, the more effectively the knife is supposed to work, as there is less contact with food. I find that slicing motions across the food are more effective than straight cuts down to the board. (However, I find this to be true with any knife when slicing foods that adhere to the blade.)

As you stated, even though you have upgraded and added knives to your collection, you usually reach for your Wusthof. We have knives of all types, from fairly cheap to pretty expensive. We do the same thing -- reach for those trusty favorites.

I find that as long as a knife is kept sharp and it feels good in your hand, it doesn't really matter otherwise. And back to your original question, we have several knives with scallops or the granton edge, with those being some of the more expensive knives we own. As far as performance, I don't think we've yet seen any advantage to them. (Sometimes on the first slice or two the food releases more easily, but after that I can't really tell any difference.)

I don't know if this qualifies for an ideal answer and I'm sure that there are many others with more knowledge of the science behind this. But, I do think that as long as you are using an appropriate type of knife for your task and it feels good in your hand, you can't go wrong.

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It depends on what you're cutting

It also depends on how deep the channel is.

The purpose of the channels is to reduce the surface area of the knife that comes into contact with the food you're cutting. The lower that surface area, the lower the friction for cutting.

There are a number of ways to reduce surface area:

  • Use channels
  • Use a shorter blade
  • Use a midline spine or convex blade geometry
  • Use a larger edge bevel angle
  • ...and more

Channels can be effective for cutting hard products (e.g. hard cheese or vegetables) where the food product is rigid enough that it won't bend into the channels after it is cut. On the other hand, channels are less effective with products like large chunks of meat where the product will tend to fill in the channel because it's elastic.

Cutting technique also makes a difference to channel effectiveness. If you are using a drawing motion while cutting (i.e. drawing the blade across the product), that will tend to increase the effectiveness of channels because you are not giving the product enough time to reform around the channel so the surface area of contact remains small. That is why carving knives often have channels in them...the slicing movement works well with channels.

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Ahhhh!!!, I answered once in more detail and it deleted because inwasnt signed in!! The wells (not scallops- that makes me think bread knife). Are supposed to capture fluid and make for smoother slicing. Though, a Santoku should have a different angle of sharpened edge than a "western" edge. So you may lose slicing ability in your inability to properly sharpen. A nice knife but it doesn't replace my 6" chef's knife.

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