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A Folding Knife for the Kitchen

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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-knives.com/start_e.html

Edited by David A. Goldfarb (log)
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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.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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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.

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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--




Next to a Wusthof 8-inch Santuko--


The locking mechanism--


The blade after sharpening--


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  • 9 months later...

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.


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.

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  • 2 years later...

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.

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Good question. I ordered mine from Cherusker Messer in Germany originally, but now checking on Kevin Wilkins' website (the original designer), it seems not to be in production at the moment, but he suggests that some stock may be out there--



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