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Show and Tell: Knives


_john
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Just as I love to peak in people's fridges and cupboards to see what they have I also love to peak in a fellow chef's knife roll or a fellow home chef's knife drawer. There are countless threads with knives as the topic but I wanted to create a thread you could show the knives you actually keep with you and use. And I am guessing I am not the only one with a few stories about how I got my knives and their various virtues.

I'll go first:

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From top to bottom:

-Damasquinados Suarez almost 8" chef's knife

I bought this in Toledo, Spain at a famous sword factory with ancient roots. I love this knife, it is just the right weight and shape for my hand. I've had it since high school.

-Carmichael Cutlery produce knife, carbon steel.

This is the best paring/boning knife I have ever used. It's light blue handle is textured and fits in the hand much better than small paring knife handles. It is designed for trimming produce in the field. I stole this one from my grandpa's knife drawer.

-Lamson Sharp bread knife

This is a great knife for crusty artisnal breads. The offset handle makes it so easy to use. I have probably made 3 million crostinis with this knife.

-Messermeister fish filet knife

This is an extremely flexible filet knife that makes prepping salmon and other large fish a breeze. This one gets a lot of use here in Japan.

-Chinese vegetable cleaver

This is a run of the mill carbon steel Chinese vegetable cleaver. It is lighter and not as tall as a general use cleaver. This is my favorite knife for veg. prep, it is very sharp and easy to handle. I spent about 5 hours in china town one day looking for a cleaver and this is what I came up with. note: that's not rust, it's "seasoning" so it doesn't rust.

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These are the other items in my knife roll:

-deer antler steel

-microplane grater

-Y peeler

-combination whet stone

-The best spatula in the world the Traex 709-Spatula

-a shard of Arkansas stone

-fish tweezers

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I have many knives, but the most used in my kitchen are these. I made all with the exception of the bottom that my son gave me a long time ago. The bottom is the only stainless, the others are high carbon tool steel and razor sharp at all times.

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_john -- Your Chinese cleaver (3.5 inches?) looks like a standard everyday cleaver. The BIGGER ones are used mostly for large cuts of meat or bones, and a thinner one ( 1.5 inches), called a 'lesser' knife is used for carving and slicing. They have cleavers like yours that are basically carbon steel with a stainless coat that avoids the staining, but keeps a nice edge.

I'm not yet versed in posting pictures. My knives of choice are the two knives I described above.

Plus a paring knife and a Cutco bread slicing knife. My fillet knife is an old knife that has just worn down over the ages!! But it fillets and skins beautifully.

I don't keep my knives in a drawer or in a knife block. Rather, they hang in the very narrow space between my stove and countertop. Very handy!

(I MUST learn how to post pictures!)

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Here ya go.....click on the thumbnail for a larger version.

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ROW 1: Takeda Hamono custom AS (blue super) gyuto 255mm / Ichimonji Mitsuhide SRS15 gyuto 240mm

ROW 2: Hiromoto HC Carbon gyuto 270mm / Hiromoto AS gyuto (stainless clad) 240mm

ROW 3: Kikuichi Elite Carbon gyuto 240mm / Misono Swedish Steel gyuto 270mm

ROW 4: Watanabe blue steel deba 180mm / Watanabe white steel yanagiba 300mm

ROW 5: Takeda Hamono AS sujihiki 312mm / Ryusen Blazen honesuki 150mm

ROW 6: Chan Chee Kee vegetable cleaver (KF1101) / Tosagata ajikiri

ROW 7: Al Mar paring 3" / Korin Ginsan-ko (stainless) yanagiba 240mm

I also have two knives on special order that have yet to arrive. A Murray Carter Aogomi Super gyuto 270mm and an Ittosai Shiro-ko Honyaki gyuto 270mm.

These knives replaced my three Henckles 4 star I had for 10 years. Wanted something better.

Cheers,

Bob

Edited by Octaveman (log)

My Photography: Bob Worthington Photography

 

My music: Coronado Big Band
 

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-Chinese vegetable cleaver

This is a run of the mill carbon steel Chinese vegetable cleaver. It is lighter and not as tall as a general use cleaver. This is my favorite knife for veg. prep, it is very sharp and easy to handle. I spent about 5 hours in china town one day looking for a cleaver and this is what I came up with. note: that's not rust, it's "seasoning" so it doesn't rust.

Hey John, I'm pretty sure your cleaver is from the same maker as mine Chan Chee Kee and quite possibly model# KF1303 depending on the measurements of yours. The black part is the unfinished portion of the blade from forging and is not a "seasoning" in the traditional sense of the word. The style is called kuro-uchi. CCK knives are very good knives and you were smart to buy one. I wish there was a local shop I could get more from. Yours looks well loved.

My Photography: Bob Worthington Photography

 

My music: Coronado Big Band
 

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These are the knives I use most, my favorites.

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The fourth from the left with the light amber handle is a knife that was custom made for me in 1993 by a terrific blade maker named Ted Sturgeon.

To give you an idea of size, the cutting board just fits in a full-size sheet pan.

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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The fourth from the left with the light amber handle is a knife that was custom made for me in 1993 by a terrific blade maker named Ted Sturgeon. 

To give you an idea of size, the cutting board just fits in a full-size sheet pan.

That custom knife looks very nice. The bolster style looks very similar to my favored chef's knife.

Care to share a little about the process of having a custom knife made? I'm interested.

The dimensions of the cleaver are. 8.5cm x 20cm ~(3"x8"), I consider it small in relation to large knives I have seen Chinese chefs use, such as Chen Kenichi.

Octaveman: that is one hell of a collection!

jo-mel: ImageGullet 2.0, a new way to manage images, info on how to post pictures.

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-Chinese vegetable cleaver

This is a run of the mill carbon steel Chinese vegetable cleaver. It is lighter and not as tall as a general use cleaver. This is my favorite knife for veg. prep, it is very sharp and easy to handle. I spent about 5 hours in china town one day looking for a cleaver and this is what I came up with. note: that's not rust, it's "seasoning" so it doesn't rust.

Hey John, I'm pretty sure your cleaver is from the same maker as mine Chan Chee Kee and quite possibly model# KF1303 depending on the measurements of yours. The black part is the unfinished portion of the blade from forging and is not a "seasoning" in the traditional sense of the word. The style is called kuro-uchi. CCK knives are very good knives and you were smart to buy one. I wish there was a local shop I could get more from. Yours looks well loved.

That is the exact knife! thanks octaveman. The kanji on the blade 桑刀 are exactly the same as the ones on that site. It used to look like that too, many years ago. I think this knife is imitated by other manufactures, I hefted and mock chopped with many knives that day that were very similar. This one really does have a great feel to it, and holds a great edge.

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John, they do hold an edge really well despite their hardness level. And they're cheap too! Many cleaver fans I know love CCK and it's always good to hear of another.

Andie, my eyes were first drawn to that knife out of all of them. You can definately tell it is different from the others. I'd like to get a better look at it. Do you know it's particulars? Didn't find a website on him.

My Photography: Bob Worthington Photography

 

My music: Coronado Big Band
 

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Ted used to be in the Atascadero area but lost his home during the El Niño year of 1997. He moved away and people in the area who knew him never heard any more from him. He had several sized "cores" that he would place on the tang of a knife blank, and around which he would roll a layer of the plastic clay that takes an impression and hardens at room temp. He had me grip the core and use the knife blank - we tried three or four different blade lengths until I found one that was just right. He put weights on the blade and took them off as I used it. (They were like fishing sinkers, lead things that could be squeezed onto the top of the blade and would stay in place)

A month later he sent me the knife and it was perfect. The guys at the knife shop where I have my knives sharpened have also admired it. It holds an edge better than any knife I have ever used.

As you can see from the photos, the blade is polished like a mirror. It is also magnetic, I used a couple of cow magnets to hold it upright. It feels heavy for its size. It is forged and as Ted explained it to me, the tang is not flat, it has thicker ridges on either side for heel weight, and the wood of the handle was carved to exactly fit these ridges for additional stability.

The handle is canarywood burl - as I recall it is from South America. It is extremely hard and completely impervious to water.

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"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Awesome knife. Looks very well made and in great shape for being 13 years old. You may have yourself a rare item in that if he stopped making knives, he may not have made very many. You let someone else sharpen it? Man, if it were mine, I wouldn't let anyone attempt to sharpen it. Nice score.

My Photography: Bob Worthington Photography

 

My music: Coronado Big Band
 

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The fourth from the left with the light amber handle is a knife that was custom made for me in 1993 by a terrific blade maker named Ted Sturgeon. 

The dimensions of the cleaver are. 8.5cm x 20cm ~(3"x8"), I consider it small in relation to large knives I have seen Chinese chefs use, such as Chen Kenichi.

jo-mel: ImageGullet 2.0, a new way to manage images, info on how to post pictures.

That is not a cleaver, it is called a vegetable knife, made by Messermeister Park Plaza and is several years old. The newer ones, same size and shape, have the granton edge.

vegetable knife

I have a Chinese knife/cleaver, much larger, all metal, that I bought for $8.00 at a Chinese market.

I post a photo of it and some more knives/blades later today.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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One stroke to cut a somewhat elderly apple in half.

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And it will shave slices thin enough to see through. Ted said any of his blades would take an edge that would shave a peach!

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"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Ooh, here's a game I can join in :laugh:

More often racked than rolled, here's what's around at present:

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From top to bottom, a wood and leather strop for polish finish on fine edges [using green compound], then an old friend, my Z&H 8" Chef. The first real knife I owned, I've had it for decades and it fits my [fairly big] hands comfortably.

Next is a Watanabe Santoku [Kuro uchi Blue in stainless]. Simply wafting it in the general direction of food causes things to part like the Red Sea; A recent gift.

Some years back, the tool company Lee Valley sold off a number of Sabatier knives which had been sitting in storage [in some cases for over half a century]. The rustic looking item is a copy Lee Valley commisioned of one of the most popular of the old knives, a 'farm kitchen' knife. The copy has a resin impregnated handle and a carbon steel blade. This example had been placed in their bargain bin because someone had returned it complaining about the blade discolouring. [duh]. As a fully paid up card-carrying 'edged tools' junkie I felt compelled to give it a new home. The original idea was that the blade might be reprofiled to work as a heavy boning knife, but my butchery aspirations await a suitable opportunity, so for now it stays 'as is'.

Below the farm knife is a Z&H 'Santoku' pattern which was originally purchased so that the rental kitchen would have a half way decent general purpose knife, and it has proven to be all of that. Once I'd had it a while I became aware that there was some controversy about these hybrids. I'm a little embarrassed by the "as seen on TV" and "as used by Chef X" notion, but the knife itself is workmanlike and needs no apologies.

Although the all stainless thing looks at first glance to be a cleaver of sorts, it is [or was described to me as] a fruit knife, and has a light blade, more at home with apples than turnips. I've accentuated the narrow included angle it originally had, and it still holds an edge at that.

Since confession is good for the soul, I've also included the cheap and nasty stainless Yanagi pattern [complete with fake hammer marks] which I picked up [more bargain bin fun] to see whether I really wanted a single bevel slicer. The jury is still out.

Near the handles of these can be seen a folding diamond hone. At the opposite side of the image is an Ikea [don't laugh, please] ceramic 'steel'. While not manufactured to particularly high tolerances - it is bent, hard though that may be to believe - it's a pretty useable tool for touching up some things, such as the little carbon tourner. Most of the real sharpening is done using a linisher, which when fitted with a coarse belt can reprofile deformed blades. Touch up sharpening is done with a 15 micron mylar belt on the same machine.

Next to the ceramic rod is one of those ancient Sabatiers, this one a stout carbon blade with Wenge scales, dating from [iirc] the Thirties, and beside that is a Frosts laminated blade which I handled with some scrap purpleheart to make a small but sturdy butchering knife. The spearpoint parer is stainless, and another trusty friend picked up in the great Sabatier sell-off.

And here's where they usually rest:

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When I was throwing together a prep station to augment the miserable rental kitchen it was an easy option to make the backbar of the chopping top into a knife block of sorts. The 'block' portion is only a couple of inches deep, and the blades are suspended under the worktop out of harms way.

cheers

Derek

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Ok, that Orc Killer is one hell of a knife. I wonder what a chef would say if you brought that into the kitchen?? :shock:

Myself, I use an eight and a half inch Shun chef's knife for most of my work, a Henkel paring knife, and the boning knives I got in my knife kit at culinary school. I don't have a lot of really expensive and cool stuff, but what I do have I take good care of and they all serve me well.

-Sounds awfully rich!

-It is! That's why I serve it with ice cream to cut the sweetness!

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Nice forced patina on the HC...I like the streak marks.

thanks, Bob, it was half on purpose, half by accident. I didn't have a container big enough for complete submergment, so I thought that if I put the knife in at an angle and filled the container while the knife was already in it, I would get diagonal streaks. I also got a few air bubble marks :shock: but it is only a work knife, afterall. Oh yeah, it was forced with Ferric Chloride.

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I like the looks of that Masahiro Hankotsu, how is it to work with and what do you use it for?

The Hankotsu is a Japanese boning knife, but is a bit of an oddball. Usually the Japanese use the honesuki or a deba. The hankotsu is more suited to French or hanging butcher since the shape of the handle lends itself more towards an overhand (dagger) grip. It is a thick bladed, single bevel (i.e., one side of the blade is flat like a chisle) and is a pretty great knife. I use it daily to bone chickens, pork shoulders, whole lamb and beef rounds, etc. It really excels at frenching racks and cleaning bones. It holds its edge OK, I would wager the HRC value is around 58-59. I think I will replace it eventually with a carbon one, either a Masahiro Virgin Carbon or a Hiromoto AS. I reveived a quote for one from Shinichi Watanabe in Hitachi blue steel for around $200 and I may bite the bullet. I'd like to see an example of one from Takeda or Murray Carter since I'd prefer AS or White #2 steel, which Shinichi-san doesn't use. Ideally I'de get one in a powder steel, but AFAIK no manufacturer makes one in any powder steel.

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I made a thai dipping sauce that included minced lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves and took a macro pic of the mince. I used the Takeda gyuto and it was awesome to use. I could've gone to a smaller mince but I wanted some texture to the sauce, not mush. Notice the clean cuts on the smallest of pieces...no damage or smashing of either ingredient. The thin edge was tough as hell to be able to handle lemongrass. Something not recommended for a Japanese gyuto. But this gyuto uses aogomi (blue) super steel that is tough as nails. Rockwell is 61-63. This has become my absolute favorite knife.

What I used... (clickity on the pic for larger version)

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What it did...

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My Photography: Bob Worthington Photography

 

My music: Coronado Big Band
 

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  • 1 year later...

bump! - newish knives

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Unknown Deba: bought at a fleamarket, well used, thick and easy to sharpen

Caphalon Katana series Chef's knife: I love this knife. the bolster and handle design are awesome. holds an edge well. I have sharpened this one with a convex edge. Caphalon is not famous for their knives but after handling this knife in a shop I had to have it.

Ceramic paring knife (Asian "Forever" brand): This knife mimics perfectly the shape of my beloved carbon steel paring knife but it won't stain fruit or impart any flavors.

I would love to see some daily workhorses of kitchens on here. even the bargain basement JC Penny knife has some charm :biggrin:

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