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A knife for vegetables


john-k
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My husband likes to sharpen knives (with a steel and a stone) but he doesn't know how to do it properly.

The answer is not just to buy a new knife. I suggest two things.

1. Buy a new chef's knife preferably a gyuto.

2. Knife Sharpening Video to learn how to do it correctly. Trying to do it with a steel and a stone is like trying to mince parsley with a ... well, you know what I mean.

or

3. Sharpening Service that will sharpen any knife, not just Japanese, when your knife gets dull. And if it's not a GOOD Japanese knife you will need to resharpen often.

My Photography: Bob Worthington Photography

 

My music: Coronado Big Band
 

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My husband likes to sharpen knives (with a steel and a stone) but he doesn't know how to do it properly.

Sounds like a rod guided sharpening system might be in order for your hubby. I use the GATCO. It keeps the bevels neat and even. It is preety much foolproof.

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Here is the one I have. Wasabi Nakiri

It sharpens up nice and the price is right.

I think I got it online at New Graham.

This is the knife I picked up purely on spec. from Winners for less than $10! It is awesome.

Anna N , you lucky devil. $10.... or less....... :biggrin:

I have just ordered this knife from New Graham, the postage to the U.K. is a reasonable $6.90

Yep! Somewhere on an old topic someone mentioned that these knives show up on occasion at Winners but I never expected to find one. Then one day I was out with Kerry Beal and we dropped into Winners just to browse and there it was and I recognized the name from eG. So, once again, being a member of eG paid off!

I needed yet another knife like I needed a hole in the head but I have fallen in love with this one. :biggrin:

Boasting to my aged Aunt about the knife , and going back to New Graham's site, I see it is now listed as 'Out of stock'....... I got the last one, how neat is that. :biggrin:

Martial.2,500 Years ago:

If pale beans bubble for you in a red earthenware pot, you can often decline the dinners of sumptuous hosts.

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One approach is to think in terms of performance/fragility instead of just size/shape.

I have a gyuto that handles most of my prep. But the price for its thin, hard edge that makes it perform so well is that it's fragile. So tasks that are tougher on a blade, like lopping off the head of a fish, taking a chicken apart, and chopping blocks of chocolate, go to my much heavier German chef's knife. This knife is fatter, is made of tougher, more resilient steel, and is sharpened to  more obtuse angles. So it leans toward durabiltiy rather than performance. It can handle any task in a pinch, but I need it for the rough stuff.

Ah, yes, that is a good way to think about it.

So I guess my plan now is to get an Ikeda/Akifusa/Artisan 210mm gyuto from Epicurean Edge (sintered stainless steel, same as the Blazen and Shun Elite). Then after using it a while, if still feel I can't do what I want with respect to delicate work, I'll get a relatively cheap carbon-steel usuba from Japan Woodworker.

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So I guess my plan now is to get an Ikeda/Akifusa/Artisan 210mm gyuto from Epicurean Edge (sintered stainless steel, same as the Blazen and Shun Elite). Then after using it a while, if still feel I can't do what I want with respect to delicate work, I'll get a relatively cheap carbon-steel usuba from Japan Woodworker.

A few thoughts ...

Have you considered something longer than 210mm? I know it's tempting to equate a shorter knife with delicate work, but there's actually no penalty for going with a 240 or a 270. The longer knives are just more efficient and versatile. In fact, my prep knife that I use for veggies is 270, and my heavy knife that I use for hacking things apart is 210. The heavy duty stuff is actually more comfortable with a shorter blade.

Also, you mention the possibility of an usuba, but this is actualy a step in the wrong direction, based on your original post. An usuba is thicker and will wedge even more dramatically than you Wustoff. It's a specialty knife, designed for producing extremely thin slices (where wedging isn't an issue, because the slice just falls away). But if you tried to cut an apple in half with it, it would feel like a hatchet.

If you're interested in taking your cutting to the next level, which is what it sounds like, I'd put even more thought into refining both sharpening technique and cutting technique than you put into to selecting the knife. Any reasonably thin, long gyuto will be amazing, especially after you start adapting to it. But there's a very good chance that sooner or later you'll sell whatever it is you buy now in favor of something else. And you won't have any way of knowing today what that something else will be tomorrow, so just get a gyuto and hang on for the ride.

Notes from the underbelly

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Here's another reason why the gyuto out shines the competition. It has a flatter profile for a longer portion of the blade. Patterned mostly from the French chef's design and takes it to the next level with higher quality steel. Shun is patterned after German design which has way too much curve to it forcing you to rock the hell out of it. There are longer Nakiri's but after a certain length they begin to be akward and very blade heavy.

My Photography: Bob Worthington Photography

 

My music: Coronado Big Band
 

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I bought a Nakiri because my 8" knife  left my vegetables connected at one end. I wanted a straighter edge.

I find that, at 6.5", it's too short. It now leaves my longer vegetables connected at the other end, :laugh:

Your picture and complaint reflect my biggest issue with Shun gyutos: they have a really deep belly, like a German knife, instead of the more French-inspired shape Octaveman describes.

A more standard shaped 270mm gyuto has around twice as much straight-ish edge as that 8" shun. Cutting technique can be adapted for any amount of belly, but a lot of techniques are just less work when you have a flatter profile.

Notes from the underbelly

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...

Your picture and complaint reflect my biggest issue with Shun gyutos: they have a really deep belly, like a German knife, instead of the more French-inspired shape Octaveman describes.

...

Hey, don't diss the germans. :cool: After first using a Sabatier and then a Global, it felt like coming home when I started using my Wusthof. I love the broad and ever so slightly curved blade.

But I do cut with a rocking (and slight slicing) motion hinged on the tip.

Edited by TheSwede (log)
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  • 9 months later...

John-K:

My most recent purchases were: LamsonSharp Santoku, from Cookware; Fällkniven K1 Blue Whale, K2 White Whale, from Rigid Knives. The Fällkniven knives are made in Japan of laminated VG-10 stainless steel.

If you cannot afford the aforementioned knives, you could consider the Böker Arbolito Santoku knife. Böker also has a Japanese Yamada line. The stainless-steel blades in the Böker Arbolito knives are said to be made by Kyocera.

If you are seeking inexpensive Japanese knives, consider Dexter-Russell, or Mundial's Sushimen's Line. :cool:

Edited by TheUnknownCook (log)

Buttercup: You mock my pain.

Man in Black: Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.

-- The Princess Bride

If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy -- Red Green

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john-k:

I found these Union Cut.Co., and Dog's Head knives, made in Japan, of AUS 8A stainless steel, which identically resemble MAC Professional knives, at a fraction of the cost. :cool:

Buttercup: You mock my pain.

Man in Black: Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.

-- The Princess Bride

If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy -- Red Green

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I recently bought a Misono UX10 and it has been a revelation in terms of cutting vegetables and such. It leaves my Wusthof in the dust. I do use my Wusthof for heavier tasks such as hard veg and fruit like squash or pineapple, so the Misono hasn't made the Wusty obsolete.

misono UX10 I have the left hand version of this knive in the 9.5 inch and it really is amazing.

Edited by Marlene (log)

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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Awesome, Marlene, good to hear you're enjoying it. In my experiences with Japanese knives of varying brands, quality and price I have not found any issue with using them on hard veggies or Pineapple. As long as you don't use it like a machete you should be fine.

There are two general things with a knife that would cause it to chip: 1) extremely acute sharpening angle and 2) a blade with high hardness. The hardness of the UX10 is around 59-60 I believe which means it's not SO hard that it is prone to chipping like many other Japanese knives at HRC 62 and higher. The stock angle that Misono puts on the UX10 I think is not so acute that you have to baby the knife either. These two things (lower HRC and strong edge) really do make for a well rounded knife you could do most anything with. I have knives in the HRC 64-66 range and sharpened very thin at the edge and the only thing I worry about is hitting bone on something. I've use them on pineapple, squash, chocolate and even half frozen meat with no ill effects. If chips do occur they are so small that I have to look REAL close and at the right angle to see them. Even then the edge is still intact and usable there's no need to freak out and get the knife sharpened.

Bottom line is you have a workhorse of a knife, Marlene, don't be afraid to use it. Test it's abilities and it's limits. You will be very pleasantly surprised.

Cheers,

Bob

My Photography: Bob Worthington Photography

 

My music: Coronado Big Band
 

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Thanks Bob! The guy that sold me the knife was careful to warn me about the chipping when using hard stuff, but he also went on to say that he has to say that so people are warned, but also said more or less what you said. Since it's still brand new, I have been babying it a bit and using the Wusty for the heavy duty stuff. But I love this knife!

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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I was just shopping around for a good knife to cut vegetables with. I settled on a Shun and could not be happier with it. It's really thin and sharp and cuts through carrots like butter. Really happy with the knife. I also am fond of the VG-10 for holding an edge and sharpening ease.

Shun1.jpg

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If you're shopping for a chef's knife, especially one with a thin profile that will wedge less in hard veggies, check out the Togiharu knives from Korin. This is a house brand, not available elsewhere. In the entry level line in that link, you can get a gyuto in the $60 to $90 range that will outperform anything by Shun or Global. The steel is very good and the blade geometry is much thinner than anything offered by those other companies. It's also easy to sharpen compared with some other knives.Their higher end lines offer similar geometry, but in steels that have better edge retention.

(that descriptiption suggests the blades are carbon stell, but they're a stainless alloy)

Korin's having a holiday sale right now. If you live in or near NYC, stop in for a drool fest.

Edited by paulraphael (log)

Notes from the underbelly

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