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What's with the Santoku?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
It seems that Santokus are the most popular knife out there right now, but why? I tried a Mundial Santoku for a variety of tasks and I would have rather had a Chef's Knife in my hand for each one. Function or fad?
post #2 of 23

Let me qualify this by stating I have never used one...

I suppose the price tag stopped me...

I think that it is partly (well maybe mostly) 'hype'. After all, in Japan they are famous for Samurai swords meticulously crafted and sharper than a slice of obsidian.

Drag that image into modern day technology and marketing and you have Santoku. Like I said, I don't know anything about it but I'm virtually certain it still needs sharpening like any other Chef's knife.

Just my humble opinion. A properly maintained Chef's knife that you are familiar with can cut a tomato just like anything else. After all, the produce you are slicing into doesn't really care.

April
post #3 of 23
I think it is supposed to be a cross between a chefs knife & an orental cleaver. I do not like the feel :( I'll stick with a seperate chefs knife & cleaver.
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post #4 of 23
It depends what you're doing. They're not necessarily better. They're normally thinner and stiffer than similarly sized european Chef's knife which are traits I like.

I also enjoy wide chord blades. I find they help me maintain even thin slices. The granton hollowing isn't important to me.

I also like the minimal curve to the edge. Yes, it doesn't rock along the curve as a French knife does, but it rocks off the tip just fine.

It doesn't replace a French/German Chef's knife for me but I like it for vegetables and other thin cutting tasks.
post #5 of 23
Pupon, let's turn the tables for a minute, O.K. Let's pretend you're a famous knife maker and you want to increase your sales, what do you do?

Can we combine the knife with a computer or software, built in video camera, MP3 player/bluetooth, or at least with some neat down loadable operating instructions with a pdf file?
No...

Spend a few million on R & D for portable lasers or high-pressure-micro-orifice cutting devices?
No..

Lobby Congress to invent/ promote new meats and vegetables that require different knives to process this stuff?
No...

Make the same kind of knife as we've done for the last zillion years but with some new wild and weird supermetal?
Yes

Ressurect the "kullenschliff" grind that's been around for at least 80 years, gave it a new name like "Granton edge", stick it on every knife--doesn't matter if it's applicable or not-- and tell everyone they're eejits if they don't have one?
Yes

Re-invent the cleaver, stick a granton edge on it, advertise/promote heavily, and tell everyone they're eejits if they don't have one
Yes.
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post #6 of 23
Thread Starter 
ahhh so i was correct. Manufacturer generated fad. Glad we cleared that up!
post #7 of 23
Um, no. As with anything it is a matter of taste. I am very pleased with my Santoku and use it as my primary knife for just about everything. Before I bought it I used a classic chef's knife and there is nothing wrong with that knife either. It is just what feels good in my hand. At the end of the day if you have to hold one tool primarily for 10 hours a day you must appreciate options in the market place for choosing that tool.
post #8 of 23
"Love the Santuko". I use it everyday for mutiple tasks. Being a woman Chef with a tiny hand, the 6" Santuko is my best friend!!!!
post #9 of 23
"I want one of those knives Rachel Ray has..." is what a friend told me.

dont get me wrong, at the moment my main knife is a 9" santuko but all the TV chefs are using them and i think that has a lot to do with the "hype". Mostly i just stick with what is most comfortable in my hand.
post #10 of 23
I have a 7" Santuko that I like very much. I find the thinner blade better for slicing and dicing than the thicker chef knife. It is not for every task though. It is too light in my opinion to do some of the heavier work that a good chef's knife will do, like chop sweet potatoes or butternut squash for example. I wouldn't use it to trim a pork tenderlion either; it's the wrong shape. It's good for what it does but as with most knives it has its limitations.

I don't think it is just hype at all. I think the Santuko has a legitimate place in the kitchen.

Jock
post #11 of 23
I like it better than the chef's knife for chopping veggies for soup, etc. It's great for that. I have a 7" Henckel's that's heavy enough to dispatch a butternut squash without the blade length. I'm kind of short, so getting leverage for hard veggies like winter squashes is difficult with a longer blade.

I suppose I could stand on a box, eh? :p
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post #12 of 23
ok, so would somebody mind telling me what these knives are? i have no idea what a santuko knife is, is it one of those knives where the metal has a wood grain type finish? or what???
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post #13 of 23
The santoku is a Japanese design for a knife. In knife speak, it's a wide chord modified sheepsfoot blade with a heavily dropped edged. Wide chord meaning it's wide from the edge to the spine. Sheepsfoot is a blade style named after a knife used to trim sheeps hooves. It has a rounded tip that drops to a fairly blunt point. The blade of a sheepsfoot knife is straight, no curve. The round tip made it safer to cut with for the shepherds. Thus the modified sheepsfoot for a santoku as they usually have a gentle curve along the cutting edge.

The dropped edge means that the blade drops below the plane of the handle much as on a chef's knife. This keeps the knuckles clear when cutting against a board and provides a self guard against the hand slipping up onto the blade.

They may have the "wood grain" appearance, properly called pattern welded or damascus steel. But any knife can have that steel if you're willing to pay the price.

post #14 of 23
I have several santuko style knives, in several sizes. Same with Chef knives.
I don't see much difference in usage. I choose a knife more on how the size fits the task than the blade shape.
post #15 of 23
I have been running this knife for over 5 years well before the fad. It is so much more versitile(garlic press, flipper, scraper, all kinds of stuff)

http://store.lamsonsharp.com/catalog...roducts_id=623
post #16 of 23
I got one for christmas last year, and I love it. Between that and a heavier chef's knife and a few cheapie small knives, that is all I need. It is great for veggies, especially tomatoes.
post #17 of 23

santoku knives

The fundamental differenc is the edge profile.

A Santoku edge stays straigter for longer than western knives.

So any action that is horizontal is more efficient - espeacially when cutting soft or maleable textures.

The wider blade also makes the blade better for veg - paarticulaarly mincing - the hilt end tends to be wider and the edge flatter.
post #18 of 23
Do I have to know anything special about sharpening a santoku with a granton edge? I have a pull-through Henckel's sharpener and a Shinkansen two-wheel water well pull-through sharpener. (I also have a steel.)
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post #19 of 23
Not automatically so. Depends on the maker, the steel, tempering, and the grind chosen.

The granton "edge" makes no change to sharpening. The hollows aren't at the edge but farther up the blade.
post #20 of 23
iv heard that you have to sharpen a santoku at a different angle than a regular chef knive. Is this true? I have a wusthof if that makes a difference.
post #21 of 23
Again, depends on the specifics of the knife.

I don't think the Wusthof is chisel ground so it shouldn't matter. If you can match the existing angle, great. If you can't match it (you're using a crock-stick or draw through sharpener), you'll have to work it a while to reset the angle, but it will be just fine.

Phil
post #22 of 23
Basicly, they say that product wont stick to the blade, such as potato or tomato but this isnt true, atleast i havent found it to be true. I have a Woustof (spellings off) french knife, and a wustof santuko. They are both nice knives, and i would rather use the santuko while cooking at home, but in the kitchens at work, id rather have a french knife in my hands.

Just my .02.
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post #23 of 23
You can find the granton edge on other knives too, not just Santokus. Many Santokus don't have the granton edge either. I've never been impressed with the hollows keeping things from sticking.

phil
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