Originally Posted by CWS4322
Thanks for the right term--bolstered heel. If I were to give this person a gift certificate, the person would not use it because the person would insist I cannot afford it. I have been setting aside $ from extra projects (cooking, helping with people's gardens, personal shopper) for this gift (money I won't miss--what my mom would call "mad money.") Obviously, this person has a more comfortable lifestyle than I do and can afford a good knife (or two or three). The thing is, I went years without a good knife--had great pans, etc., but lousy knives. I think a good knife is a great gift, and will include a quarter in the card.
I've found that the primary feature of a bolstered blade is that the bolster can make the knife hard to properly sharpen with some types of sharpeners. I have several chef knives from different brands. I have two Wusthofs (6" and 10") and one Chicago Cutlery (8") with forged bolstered blades; one Cutco (9"), and one Old Homestead (8-9") with stamped blades and no bolsters.
I use the Wusthofs most of the time, but the Chicago has a very similar feel. The Cutco is my chicken wing prep knife - not as comfortable in my hand and the handle tends to be slippery, so it just gets used for cutting through the wing joints. The Homestead has a fairly comfortable wood handle, but mostly just sits in a drawer.
For me, bolster makes no difference in how the knife performs. The real difference is how a knife feels when you hold it and cut with it. The shape of the Wusthof handle just fits the way I use a knife. I have a 6" and 10" chef and a 5" boning knife, and those are by far my most used knives.
I have 3" and 2Ĺ" Chicago Cutlery paring/utility knives and they are really the only other knives I use for general prep work. I have one bread knife that's used for bread.