Why Do Some Knife Blades Have Hollows?

By Cook's Illustrated Published November 2017

Many sources claim that the design prevents food from clinging to the blade. But that's not its only purpose.

Santoku and slicing knives often feature oval hollows carved into the sides of their blades. Many sources claim that this innovation, patented in 1928 by what’s now the Granton Knives Co. in Sheffield, England, and often referred to as a “Granton edge,” prevents food from clinging to the blade. However, the Granton edge has an additional purpose: The scallops make the blade thinner and lighter to help it slide through food while maintaining some rigidity at the spine for control. The hollows are especially effective on Granton-brand knives, whose deep scallops are carved down through the cutting edge on alternate sides, unlike those of most imitators, which are symmetrical, shallower, and set higher on the blade.

We’ve tested dozens of Granton-edge knives over the years and found the hollows valuable on slicing knives, including our favorite, the Victorinox 12" Fibrox Pro Granton Edge Slicing/Carving Knife ($54.65). The hollows reduce friction and make it easier to carve even slices, whether using it on a roast or a delicate side of salmon. But when testing santoku knives, we didn’t find them necessary since these blades are short (6.5 to 7 inches) and are already razor-thin. Our winning santoku lacks a Granton edge, and we didn’t miss it.