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A Folding Knife for the Kitchen


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#31 Dakki

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Posted 01 September 2010 - 08:27 PM

Are you talking about Anime?

I agree with your assessment of its usefulness but it sure is a pretty piece of steel.
This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

#32 Blether

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Posted 01 September 2010 - 08:47 PM

Anime ? Well, I wasn't talking about 'zero' :smile:

It's funny, the folded and re-folded steel that was/remains part of traditional Japanese swordsmithing, and the same steel-folding seen in Damascus blades, was in its time a workaround for poor forging technology, wasn't it ? You can't make a good, evenly-blended, proportion-controlled steel in the old way in a charcoal forge. The carbon, in particular, won't be well-distributed. So you fold and hammer, and fold and hammer, and fold and hammer till you've effectively done the blending after the steel solidifies. Result - a blade that won't break at a carbon-fault when you hit something with it - your enemy's sword, or his ribcage, say, or your broken-down cart.

Nowadays you make a good steel in the first place. Folding is reduced to decoration (let's say for now that sandwich-construction-in-different steels is another interesting subject, but only a loosely-related one).

Of course, Dakki, between the two of us you're the one who really knows this kind of stuff...

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#33 Fat Guy

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Posted 01 September 2010 - 08:53 PM

I think I'd rather use a hunting knife than a santoku for on-the-road kitchen work. I really just don't like the santoku shape. And once you get into hunting knives you can find plenty of decent ones for $20 (US). I mean, I'm sure one can work with something like thisBuck knife.

That being said, I'm not sure I'm sold on the advantages of a folding knife. I'd lean more toward getting a good-fitting plastic cover for a cheap Forschner or something.

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#34 Foodietopo

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Posted 01 September 2010 - 08:55 PM

Like I said, it's a nice blade, but I won't replace my regular santoku or chef knife with it anytime soon.
The finger position is not perfect, but it's a much solid performer than my old Opinel.




250$ is not a bad price...


If you're happy with your purchase, I'm happy for you. I can't resist saying that that's a lot of dough for a knife that, freehand aside, will restrict you to the 4" strip round the edge of your cutting board. Where you gonna put your fingers, for one thing ? And whenever you cut a slice off something, it'll fall on the floor, for another.

Sure is pretty. Japan's doing a nice job of mimicking the old Middle Eastern technology.


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#35 Foodietopo

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Posted 01 September 2010 - 08:59 PM

I often carry my knife with me with a plastic cover. It's probably the cheapest option and the most ergonomic.
That said, I love gadgets, probably why I ended up buying this knife.

I think I'd rather use a hunting knife than a santoku for on-the-road kitchen work. I really just don't like the santoku shape. And once you get into hunting knives you can find plenty of decent ones for $20 (US). I mean, I'm sure one can work with something like thisBuck knife.

That being said, I'm not sure I'm sold on the advantages of a folding knife. I'd lean more toward getting a good-fitting plastic cover for a cheap Forschner or something.


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#36 Fat Guy

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Posted 01 September 2010 - 09:04 PM

By the way, my solution for cooking on the go is a Forschner Fibrox 8" chef's knife ($30 US) wrapped in a kitchen towel, secured with two rubber bands, and thrown in my shoulder bag.

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#37 Foodietopo

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Posted 01 September 2010 - 09:20 PM

I found a very light weight knife roll in Osaka. It's made out of canvas, it's very simple and cheap. I am not sure if it was a Japanese product, I haven't seen them on American websites.
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#38 Blether

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Posted 01 September 2010 - 09:24 PM

Mine are my regular knives, offcuts of leather and bits of kitchen string(/old bootlaces):

Posted Image

(I set off to make marmalade on a sailing trip during Golden Week, carrying the stock pot, the chopping board, and the fruit, too !)

In fact I bought the 10" chefs' and the two smaller ones - paring and veg knives - just earlier this year. Ordered online from Robert Welch on Monday night, signed for at my door in Tokyo early Thursday evening. They come wicked sharp, the three, shipped, were like USD80, all-in and I've been using the same knives for over 20 years, so I know they're good.

Edited by Blether, 01 September 2010 - 09:28 PM.

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#39 Dakki

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Posted 01 September 2010 - 09:40 PM

Anime ? Well, I wasn't talking about 'zero' :smile:

It's funny, the folded and re-folded steel that was/remains part of traditional Japanese swordsmithing, and the same steel-folding seen in Damascus blades, was in its time a workaround for poor forging technology, wasn't it ? You can't make a good, evenly-blended, proportion-controlled steel in the old way in a charcoal forge. The carbon, in particular, won't be well-distributed. So you fold and hammer, and fold and hammer, and fold and hammer till you've effectively done the blending after the steel solidifies. Result - a blade that won't break at a carbon-fault when you hit something with it - your enemy's sword, or his ribcage, say, or your broken-down cart.

Nowadays you make a good steel in the first place. Folding is reduced to decoration (let's say for now that sandwich-construction-in-different steels is another interesting subject, but only a loosely-related one).

Of course, Dakki, between the two of us you're the one who really knows this kind of stuff...


Thanks for the vote of confidence. You're right about folded-steel and twist-steel techs being developed to deal with less-than-optimum metallurgy, independently in several places (Classical Rome, for one); IMHO there's no real reason to use them anymore except for looks. Somewhere on my office hard drive is an early Enlightenment translated French cutlery-making book that describes the process of making (and faking) just such a blade; I could sent it to you if you're interested. The legendary "Damascus" blades (actually from India) were made by a different process however, using iron ores that had certain impurities which forced a precipitation of microcarbides in bands, which resulted in blades similar in appearance to the folded-steel and twist-steel ones. This particular tech was lost until a couple of decades ago, when some eggheads ("boffins" to you)at Iowa State managed to reverse-engineer it.

These days we call folded-steel and twist-steel blades "welded Damascus" and precipitated microcarbide steel "wootz Damascus."

I still prize my welded Damascus kitchen knives, proudly made by unskilled factory workers in Seki City, Japan. Chicks dig them because they're pretty. :raz:
This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

#40 Blether

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Posted 01 September 2010 - 09:45 PM

... Chicks dig them because they're pretty. :raz:


I don't need knives for that 'cos I'm so pretty :raz: :laugh:

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#41 Dakki

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Posted 01 September 2010 - 09:58 PM

Ugh, last post I forgot to write what I meant to say in the first place.

Anyway, the point of all this folding and welding was to wrap a soft but very tough layer of steel around a core of fragile but very hard steel, so you'd get the benefits of both. This is why fancy Japanese knives list two kinds of steel in the specs.

Of course, these days you can get a homogeneous chunk of steel that's as tough and hard as you could want it for kitchen use anyway.
This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

#42 mr drinkie

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Posted 02 September 2010 - 06:33 PM

I often carry my knife with me with a plastic cover. It's probably the cheapest option and the most ergonomic.
That said, I love gadgets, probably why I ended up buying this knife.



I know it might be a fairly expensive knife and there are certainly other options for portable cutlery, but when it comes to knives, a lot of us don't always reason correctly. Why am I looking to pick up my third Gyuto? Why did I get one custom rehandled? And why did my friend pick up that super expensive custom hunting knife? There are always practical and cheaper knives that will perform well, but when knives become a hobby a lot of us seem to take it a step further -- and may even buy a Damascus VG-10 folding santoku. The other night I almost bought a WWII bayonet off of eBay just to sharpen it up and use as an outdoor hacking tool.

Now with that said, here is another (fun) option.

http://www.japanwood...0&dept_id=13408

This harvest knife from Japanwoodworker is almost like a nakiri and comes with a scabbard that you can hook to your belt. Take that to the next picnic.

k.

Edited by mr drinkie, 02 September 2010 - 06:56 PM.

I like to say things and eat stuff.

#43 David A. Goldfarb

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Posted 02 September 2010 - 06:36 PM


250$ is not a bad price...


If you're happy with your purchase, I'm happy for you. I can't resist saying that that's a lot of dough for a knife that, freehand aside, will restrict you to the 4" strip round the edge of your cutting board. Where you gonna put your fingers, for one thing ?


Good point. Foodietopo, how wide is the Maruyoshi blade?

The Ryback blade is 1-7/8" wide, which is actually wider than my Wusthof santoku.

I generally use a hammer grip with most knives, but for certain techniques and for knives that don't have enough knuckle clearance, I sometimes switch to a pinch grip. I suspect the Maruyoshi would be more of a pinch grip knife.

#44 Foodietopo

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Posted 02 September 2010 - 07:21 PM

David,
I was surprised about how wide the blade was, I won't be home until Monday, but I will take exact measures and post them.

I think the pinch grip is perfect with this knife. I diced an onion with it last night, no problems. The blade is scary sharp, I believe sharp enough to shave with. I shave with a Japanese straight razor and this knife is a close second.
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#45 Foodietopo

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Posted 05 September 2010 - 03:57 PM

The Maruyoshi is 3.2 cm wide. I am sorry, I don't know how much it is in inches, I am Canadian :wink:
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#46 Dakki

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Posted 05 September 2010 - 04:22 PM

~1.25"
This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

#47 David A. Goldfarb

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Posted 05 September 2010 - 06:40 PM

Thanks for measuring. Just looking at how wide various blades that I have are and how I hold them, I may be leaning toward the Ryback again. 32mm may be manageable, but given the width and shape of the handle, it could also be a bit awkward for me. I prefer a wider wooden handle like you've got on the Maruyoshi to a thin flat metal handle like the Ryback has, but with such a short knife, I think I'd rather have the knuckle clearance to be able to use the whole blade.

#48 Blether

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Posted 05 September 2010 - 07:24 PM

With that knife, I'd be concerned at how comfortable a pinch grip I could devise - hence my comment about where you put your fingers.

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#49 David A. Goldfarb

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Posted 06 September 2010 - 05:01 AM

I ordered the Ryback. Price with DHL shipping from Germany to New York, which excludes VAT, was $98.18. I'll report back when it arrives.

#50 David A. Goldfarb

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Posted 13 September 2010 - 09:26 PM

The Ryback arrived. I haven't had a chance to make photographs yet, but first impressions--

This is a usable, good sized folding kitchen knife, and it comes in a nicely padded cordura pouch.

The edge is comparable to the factory edge a decent German knife, but I've come to like a finer edge, so I'll make it sharper. Fit and finish are very good.

There is a belt clip and a hole for a lanyard. I thought the belt clip would be an ergonomic problem, but it isn't. I don't know that I would want to carry a knife I'm using for food on my belt.

The blade is 4.5", about 4-3/8 usable cutting edge. Full length from handle to tip is about 10-3/4 inches.

When the knife is fully open, it would be very difficult to defeat the frame lock and have the knife accidentally close on you, but do make sure it is fully open and not in an intermediate position where the frame lock hasn't clicked in, because it clicks a confusing detente before it open all the way.

The knife rocks well, but the balance is more toward the handle than I like. It's definitely more of a hammer grip than a pinch grip knife, but the flat shape of the handle means you have as much control with a hammer grip on this knife as you would with a pinch grip on a somewhat longer knife, and you can use the whole blade.

Notice how the end of the handle curves down. If you try to cut in the middle of a large cutting board, this part of the handle bangs on the cutting surface before the edge completes its arc, so you still have to cut toward the edge of the board, but since you can use a hammer grip, you've got a little breathing room.

#51 David A. Goldfarb

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Posted 14 September 2010 - 04:24 AM

A couple more observations--

The height of the blade is 1-7/8 inch as noted in the article linked above.

Holding the knife in the most natural way, I'd say you can use an area about 6 inches from the edge of the cutting board, with 1-1/2 inch of space between the heel of the blade and the edge. Of course if you're holding the knife at a high angle, like you would for something like cutting the bone out of a T-bone steak where you're mainly using the tip of the knife, then you don't have to worry about the end of the handle hitting the board.

If one is using this as a camp knife or a picnic knife, then a small cutting board would be in order in any case, but for my scenario of cooking at a friend's house or in a vacation condo for a weekend, large board/small knife is not an unlikely situation.

For katsuramuki and other kinds of freehand peeling--the size and weight of the handle is a bit of a disadvantage, but maybe one can get used to it.

The spine of the knife has an interesting shape. There is kind of a flat spot toward the tip, where you can rest two fingers of your non-dominant hand for rocking the knife. For a blade of this length, this is perfect--definitely a feature to keep in future versions of this knife, and I gather from Wilkins' website, that he's working on an update-- http://www.wilkins-k...om/start_e.html

Edited by David A. Goldfarb, 14 September 2010 - 04:37 AM.


#52 Fat Guy

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Posted 14 September 2010 - 04:58 AM

I've noticed that in other people's kitchens there's a decent chance that the cutting board will be a thin plastic sheet, giving minimal knuckle clearance.

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#53 Foodietopo

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Posted 14 September 2010 - 05:51 AM

They have some very nice knives on the Wilkins website. The Mytuko looks like a very interesting model.
I am looking forward to see a couple pics of your knife.
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#54 David A. Goldfarb

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 08:04 PM

So after using this knife for a couple of days and looking more closely at the handles of all the knives mentioned in this thread, it seems that handle design is an inherent problem with any folding kitchen knife. The handle has to be longer than the blade, and the end of the handle has to protrude, it seems, to below the level of the edge when the knife is open for the knife to be able to fold safely, and that is likely to make the handle heavier than would be the case for a conventional fixed blade santuko or chef's knife. One could drill holes into the handle to make it lighter, but that would make it harder to clean.

On the Ryback, I think the black side of the handle is aluminum, and the other side with the frame lock is stainless steel, which is heavy, but has to be for the frame lock to be as sturdy as it needs to be.

I sharpened it using my Japanese waterstone (1000/6000), and it takes a nice edge.

#55 David A. Goldfarb

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Posted 18 September 2010 - 06:54 AM

There are good photos of the Ryback Folder on the Cherusker Messer site and of various handmade examples on Wilkins' site, but here's the one I have--

RybackFolder01.JPG

RybackFolder02.JPG

RybackFolder03.JPG

Next to a Wusthof 8-inch Santuko--

RybackFolder04.JPG

The locking mechanism--

RybackFolder05.JPG

The blade after sharpening--

RybackFolder06.JPG

#56 David A. Goldfarb

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Posted 18 September 2010 - 07:30 AM



And here is the Ryback folder in action.

#57 Blether

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Posted 18 September 2010 - 08:31 AM

Nice action, chef.

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#58 David A. Goldfarb

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Posted 18 September 2010 - 10:03 AM

Thanks!

#59 David A. Goldfarb

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Posted 15 July 2011 - 09:53 PM

So we're renting a vacation condo for a month on the island of Moloka'i in the state of Hawai'i, and I've been using the Ryback as my main knife here for a couple of weeks so far, and it's working out pretty well. I sharpened it on a japanese waterstone to a fine edge before I left. It happens that there is a steel here, so that's all I've been using to keep it sharp, and it's holding the edge nicely. For a vacation condo, there are actually some serviceable knives here--a slicer, bread knife, small serrated utility knife, and a paring knife (with a bent tip) that came from a KitchenAid block set. It's not high-end cutlery, but it's better than the usual stuff from the grocery store that one finds in such situations.

I'd say the hardest task I've subjected it to is slicing about three or four pounds of purple yams for a gratin that I made. The yams are hard, and the blade is thick, and the balance of the knife is a little farther back than I like, so I don't think I'd want to slice more than about five pounds of yams with this knife, but for an 8x8" gratin, it was fine.

IMG_0913.JPG

It turned out to be surprisingly well suited, though, to the kind of work one might otherwise do with a deba or chef's knife filleting an aku (skipjack tuna) of about 18 inches. Aku are plentiful right now, and you can find today's catch in the local grocery stores for $11 a fish untrimmed. The knife was heavy enough, where it needed to be heavy, and sharp enough when it was important to be sharp. To remove the skin, I switched to that KitchenAid slicer, since it was in the drawer, because it was longer and flexible, but using a different technique, I could have done it with the Ryback.

#60 David A. Goldfarb

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 01:31 PM

Checking in again on this thread after a trip to Monhegan Island, Maine, where it's still a little before tourist season, and there wasn't much available in the fish market except for lobster, so there were three of us for three nights with a lobster each per night, and the Ryback folding knife turned out to be heavy enough to be quite a suitable lobster cracker. It took two cuts per tail, instead of one as with a longer knife, but not hard to make a nice clean straight cut through the shell.