Worksmanship: the result of a lifetime of mastery, seeking to perfect a craft or trade. Few things are as simple as a great knife. There are only a few components, and fractions of millimeters can make all of the difference in use, as sharpness and weight balance and comfort depend on a lot of variables that are hard to make consistent considering the materials- wood has knots, metal seams and joints, and it all matters.
The Consigli family has been producing knives for over five decades, in the town of Scarperia in Italy, where Tuscan forging techniques have been famous since the 14th century. They primarily use materials like bone and horn, with manual hand-made finishes and careful attention to detail; in total, it can take around 40 separate operations to create a Consigli knife. We’ve been testing out what we hope will be the first of many pieces from the company, their Olive Wood Boning Knife, a triple-riveted piece intended for delicate filleting as well as the more arduous motions required for clearing out those tendons and other pieces from your meat.
The arched blade allows you to work on fish easily, while this model is fairly stiff so it can handle beef and pork cuts too. On chicken, it’s not the most flexible blade, but can still make quick work of most tasks. The tip is as incredibly sharp as you’d want, and we loved the handle- smooth, grippable, and sensuous plus with pretty good ergonimics thanks to the slight twists and natural curves shaping the place for adding a bit of pressure with your thumb. 13 centimeters is about the right length for most tasks, though those dealing with larger cuts might want something a bit bigger (and they do make other versions).
As with any fine blade, maintenance is important- you should never machine wash quality knives, and in fact shouldn’t even leave them out in the sun. Stainless steel blades are pretty immune to problems with rust though, and we found this one held up well to use, and didn’t need sharpening in our tests. Should there be an issue, Consigli offers a lifetime manufacturing warranty. Their line is vast, including pocketknives and even historical “designer” pieces like friar’s knives and zuavas- and prices are generally very reasonable. The Olive Wood Boning Knife can be yours for only $80 or so, online and in stores.