Knives and their uses part 1 – Paring knives

  • Turning knives are small and perfect for precise and intricate work
  • There are 4 common types of paring knives:
  • Birds Peak
  • Lambs / Sheep’s foot
  • Pointed
  • Serrated / Tomato
  • Need a new paring knife? Visit our website at to see a selection of paring knives.

 In this series of posts, I will be going through each type of knife and what it is used for.

Despite the urge to use one knife for almost every job (one knife springs to mind!) each knife has a very specific job and will in fact make your work easier and more efficient.

First we will be looking at paring knives, the different shapes and how each shape alters how you use it slightly.

Paring knives are generally quite small (3” to 4”) but pretty much indispensable in the kitchen. The advantage of being so small is they allow for very intricate and delicate work be it, shaping, cleaning or decorating. Anything that requires a shallow cut is what this knife is perfect for as well as any work in the hand.

Below is a list of each of the different shapes and a brief description in why this shape is useful for the particular job:

Birds Peak


Birds Peak Paring knife

The birds peak or tournée knife, has a smaller blade than the straight edge paring knife and is curved slightly (hence the name). This knife is perfect for peeling vegetables or fruit – the latter I can personally attest to having watched my colleague peel practically his entire orchards yield of apples a few weeks ago – but its actual use is for performing the tournée (tourne or tourné is also fine) cut in vegetables such as carrots, potatoes or squash.

This type of cut is for food presentation and if you have ever eaten anything classically French you will no doubt know precisely what I’m talking about, but just incase here is a photo:

some mighty fine tourne action

some mighty fine tournée action

As well as tourneing other types of decoration is also done with this sort of knife such as rosettes and fluting.

Pointed paring knife


Pointed Paring knife

Shaped much like a Cooks knife, but in miniature, the paring knife, which I call a pointed paring knife here just to distinguish from the others, is used for shallow cutting and delicate work whether on a board or in the hand this includes cleaning, shaping and decoration.

The paring knife is perfect for anything which requires control and precision.


Sheep or Lambs Foot paring knife


Lamb/sheep foot paring knife

Unlike the other two mentioned, the lambs foot paring knife has a straight blade, this makes this knife much more suited to straight cuts on a board than on a board, though it can still be used in the hand as a pointed paring knife would.

Serrated Paring / Tomato knife


Tomato knife

Whilst it can be used just as a standard paring knife, serrated paring knives are ideal for cutting anything with a hard crust or tough skin such as tomatoes, sausages or bread rolls for example.

The saw like teeth exert more pressure on the food item without you having to actually push down on the food.

Some serrated paring knives have a forked tip and are known as tomato or bar knives the forked tip is ideal for picking up the slices and serving them.


Tomato knife, bar knife, forked serrated knife…

So there you have it. Paring knives explained. Whilst you could use one type of these knives for all of the jobs described, if you find you have a selection or you want to get a specific knife for a specific job, now you know.

Need a new paring knife? Why not pay a visit to our official site at to see our wide range of paring knives as well as all the rest of our knives.

Until next time



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