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  1. #1
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    integral bolster

    What is an integral bolster and what does it do? How does it impact the performance of the knife?

  2. #2
    Senior Member SpiceOfLife's Avatar
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    There's a few different ones, and it seems to depend on makers which style they go for. Instead of a piece of wood for a ferrule, it's metal. It's forged with the blade at the time of forging. Here are some examples:

    Maumasi Gyuto With Integral:
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    Shig Yo-Gyuto With Integral:
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    Rader With Integral:
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    These knives have the type of integral that I like. These are my personal opinions, however, to me, they feel comfortable because they help to bring the weight of a blade back to the midpoint. They also give me someplace substantial to hold onto in a pinch grip. Ascetically I also think they look really good.

    Now some people say forge welded bolsters are also integral, and I won't argue that. That's where after the blade itself is forged a metal bolster is welded onto the sides of the blade, rather than being forged as part of the blade itself at the time of forging.

    Lastly, a type of integral bolster that I dislike is the type where the integral extends all the way to the heel of the knife as a finger guard (as seen below). I just think it makes sharpening difficult because it tends to get in the way. I don't think there's anything wrong with them, they're just not my cup of tea.

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    - Steve

    Edit: I'm exhausted at the time of writing this so hopefully it's coherent haha. I'm just touching on the topic to the best of my knowledge. I'm sure others can weigh in.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Benuser's Avatar
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    Forged bolster with fingerguard -- vintage Sheffield


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    I get it better now. But why do people make a lot of fuss about it. Sometime all I read is that a knife is integral bolster and it make it sound like a big deal

  5. #5
    Senior Member SpiceOfLife's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rami_m View Post
    I get it better now. But why do people make a lot of fuss about it. Sometime all I read is that a knife is integral bolster and it make it sound like a big deal
    Things usually come down to personal preference So I'd say that's why. Just like some people make a big deal about damascus while others don't.

    They do take a lot of skill to execute properly, and I would think more time and energy as well. So that would also add to it.

    At the end of the day I love the feel of them, so that's why I'll continue to buy them

    - Steve

  6. #6
    Senior Member Benuser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Benuser View Post
    Forged bolster with fingerguard -- vintage Sheffield

    These integral bolsters often lead to a reverse belly due to a protruding fingerguard after a lot of steeling or poor sharpening. You should have it flush with a relief bevel. Not such a problem with carbon steel as it is not that abrasion resistant, a lot of work with soft stainless, though.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Scrap's Avatar
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    Judging from what I've heard from the less knife inclined, a bolster on a knife is typically supposed to be the same width of metal as the piece the blade was forged with, and at least in the past it was only possible if the knife had been forged rather than stamped. Many still take a bolster, particularly a thick one, as a marker of a well made blade, and I'm assuming that's who the bolster is marketed to. As a side note, isn't the bolster that reaches out to the heel of the blade just a bolster while the the metal ferrule types are integral bolsters? I could easily be wrong but that's just my assumption.

  8. #8
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    Having the bolster be integral on a hand-forged knife says something very positive about the skill of the knife maker. Much harder to do than a welded bolster.
    __________
    David (WildBoar's Kitchen)

  9. #9
    Integral means it was created as forged with or welded to the blade, as opposed to a bolster which is pinned or riveted. An integral bolster should not have any gaps for dirt or food to penetrate or water to start rust. A bolster which is pinned or riveted has tiny gaps where water could penetrate or dirt accumulate.

  10. #10
    An integral bolster can also be ground, doesn't have to be forged....ryan
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

    viva la revolucion !

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