Also known as a Granton edge, the hollowed edge was invented and patented for improved slicing in 1928 by William Grant of England’s Granton Knives Company. The oval hollows on both sides of the blade create several advantages: While the top edge is thicker for sturdiness, the hollows allow the knife to be flexible for greater control. The indentations also allow the knife to glide through meat more easily, since there is no flat surface for it to stick to. This is especially important when the slices need to be very thin, as for Spice-Cured Salmon.
Granton-edge slicers are usually 10 to 12 inches long so they can slice across a wide roast or fish fillet in one pass to avoid sawing marks, and are further specialized for particular kinds of meat or fish. For smoked or cured fish, a 1/2-inch-wide blade is thin and flexible enough to make paper thin slices without damaging the delicate flesh. The 12-inch length accommodates even king salmon, the largest of the species. For ham or roast beef, a shorter, sturdier 1-inch-wide blade stands up to the density of the meat.