For my birthday, I was given a collection of more or less esoteric knives, such as two mezzalunas (one with one handle, and one with two), a sicle knife and a tourne knife.

My question is this; what is the latter, the tourne knife, used for?

3 Answers 3


Also known as a "bird's beak", it's used for tournéeing root vegetables (turning them into little footballs) and making fancy, delicate cuts when carving garnishes from fruit or vegetables. More practically, the curved blade is great for peeling round vegetables and fruit. It's a complete pain in the butt to sharpen without a belt grinder (or pro sharpening service with same), but gosh, it looks neat. Congrats on the fun present!

  • Thanks, that answers it neatly. The gift-giver specifically said to use it until it was no good, then to get another cheap one, as they are about five dollars per here...
    – razumny
    Commented Oct 22, 2013 at 15:11
  • 1
    About the sharpening; I have a Spyderco Tri-Angle Sharpmaker kit, which works very well for these oddly-shaped blades as well as coarsely-serrated blades like bread knives. As to how it works, a picture's worth a thousand words:foldingknivesreviews.com/images/2013/06/…
    – KeithS
    Commented Oct 22, 2013 at 15:14

It is used for, and I am not saying this to be silly, making vegetables tourne, which is a fancy French presentation:

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They can also be used in many ways for the same purpose a standard paring knife is used: peeling, slicing small items like garlic cloves, and so on.

It is a specialty item which most cooks and chefs could go a lifetime without, and not miss.


Its really good for peeling citrus fruit, especially ones with thick skin like grapefruit or pomelo.

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