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Thomas McGuane's tips on buying and caring for knives:
1. Invest in at least three knives: a paring knife, a midsize utility knife and an 8- or 9-inch chef's knife.
2. Choose synthetic handles for everyday knives; they're more durable than wood. Your hand should comfortably cradle the grip.
3. Look for a high-carbon stainless-steel blade, with molybdenum (to prevent pitting) and vanadium (for edge holding).
4. Examine the edge. It should be evenly ground, so that you can rock it in a pleasant, shallow motion on a cutting board.
5. Balance the knife on one finger placed just before the handle to check that the weight is evenly distributed.
6. Sharpen the blade when it's dull with a ceramic steel or one coated with diamond dust. Have the blade re-beveled four times a year.
7. Never put knives in the dishwasher.--Kimberly Y. Masibay
For a Thomas McGuane Fine Cutlery catalog, call 406-522-9739.
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