Half Bolster Knife: What it is? | Pros, Cons & Things You Need To Know

We all usually just think about a knife’s handle and blade, but there’s more to it than that. Yes! A knife has different parts like the tang, spine, edge, and rivets, and this important thing is called a bolster. It connects the handle and the blade, and even though it might look small, it matters. In this article, I’ll explain what is a half bolster knife. Also, discuss other types of knife bolsters, and help you figure out which one is the best fit for your needs.

What is a Bolster on a Knife?

A bolster is a tiny metal that connects a knife’s blade and handle. While not all knives have it, some find it advantageous for its ease of use.

The main reason for having a knife with a bolster is safety. It keeps your fingers safe by reducing the chances of slipping and cutting. Experienced chefs can handle knives without bolsters safely, but for beginners, it can make a big difference. Chefs often use knives with bolsters when cutting slippery things like fish or meat.

Now, there are two types of bolsters.

Yes! Full and half.

Let’s check them out.

What is a Full Bolster Knife?

A full bolster in kitchen knives goes all the way to the bottom of the blade, creating a finger guard. Yes! This protects your fingers. While some knives come with a built-in finger guard, it might not cover the entire blade.

So, having a full bolster doesn’t always mean you have a finger guard. Because of its weight, a knife with full bolster cuts at a different angle. If you try a full bolster and a half bolster knife for the same job, you’ll feel the difference in how they cut.

Here are the pros and cons of a full bolster knife:


  • Provides safety for your fingers
  • Good for beginners


  • A bit heavier

What is a Half Bolster Knife?

What is a Half Bolster Knife

Now, what’s a half bolster?

As the name implies, half-bolster knives don’t go all the way down. It has a smoother connection between the handle and the blade. The impressive design of a half bolster makes it easier to sharpen. If you plan to sharpen the knife yourself, a half bolster is much simpler.

One thing I don’t like is that knives with half bolsters usually don’t have a finger guard. But if you know how to handle a knife well, it’s not a big problem for you.

Pro Tip: Always keep your knife sharp. Because a knife with dull sharpness is more dangerous than a sharp one.

Let’s have a look at its pros and cons.


  • Lighter and more comfortable to use
  • Good for different cooking tasks


  • Doesn’t protect your fingers

Which Knife Should You Pick?

Now, let’s discuss whether you should choose a knife with a bolster (full or half) or without.

In my experience, it’s very simple—just consider what you’re comfortable with. However, there are some things to think about that might help you decide.

Cutting Performance

Using knives is about getting the job done well. If you feel good using a knife, you’ll probably cut things more easily.

Half bolster vs Full bolster knife

A full bolster knife is safer but slower because it’s heavier. So, you might have to put in more effort when you’re chopping veggies. It’s good for slippery stuff like boning fish or cleaning meat.

Plus, it looks nice with that slanted edge. This knife connects the blade and the handle, so if your finger slips, your hand won’t touch the blade.

A semi-bolster is a bit of both. Plus, it looks impressive and is safer because it has a slanting edge. It keeps you safe from accidents by keeping your hand away from the sharp blade. Plus, it’s easy to sharpen and works well for different tasks like cutting and chopping.

There’s also the choice of a knife without a bolster. Do you know why I prefer it? Because It’s simple to sharpen and control. Also, it’s a lightweight. Now you can handle it easily.

But, some find it affects their grip, and using it for a long time might cause indents or blisters on your fingers.


Besides how a knife feels, think about how much it costs. Knives with bolsters usually cost more because they need extra metal. But, the price also depends on how the knife is made, not just the bolster.


What is the purpose of a bolster on a knife?

A bolster is like a balancing point between the blade and the handle. It keeps your fingers safe from the sharp part and makes it more comfy. But not all knives have it.

What is the difference between a full bolster and a semi-bolster?

Bolsters are like metal cuffs between the blade and handle. Full ones go all the way to the blade’s end, while half ones don’t. We focused on testing knives with half bolsters in this guide because they’re easier to sharpen.

Do all chef’s knives have a bolster?

Nope, not all chef’s knives have a bolster. If a knife does have one, it means it’s made from a single piece of steel, not stamped out of a metal sheet. Those stamped knives are usually not as good as the forged ones.

Last Words

Everyone has their way of cooking with unique preferences. Now, the decision is in your hands. As I’ve explained earlier, Bolster on a knife, what is a full bolster knife, and what is a half bolster knife. However, if you’re looking to improve your skills and try out different cutting styles, I recommend a knife without a bolster for you.

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