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Length for a Chef's and Petty?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone,

 

After much research and deliberation I have decided to purchase my first (or at least first decent) Japanese knives. I'm going with a Fujiwara FKM chef's and petty. Right now I am more of a hobby cook than aspiring professional like I used to be so I think the Fujiwara offers the best blend of affordability and reasonable performance that I'm looking for. They will be replacing a Global 8" G-2, which was an impulse buy that I'm not very pleased with, and a Forschner Rosewood 6" boning knife. I also have a 10" Dexter bread knife and a Forschner paring from my school days.

 

As far as sharpening goes, I'm planning on going with an Edgepro Apex 3 kit, as I lack the drive and patience to learn how to freehand sharpen. My knife skills aren't stellar but I'm very competent with the different grips and cuts. All of these things I plan on getting from Chef's Knives to Go.

 

My main point of deliberation is what length to get. For chef's, I've always used an 8" and am very comfortable with that length, but I've never used a longer knife. I can't decide if I should go with the 210mm or upgrade to the 240mm. As far as the petty goes I have no clue what length. I have never even held one. What is the petty even best utilized for? From my research it seems like the petty is the best for doing whatever the chef's can't do, which is my reason for purchasing one. 

 

Thanks in advance for any input,

 

Dave

"Of course the more I learn, the more I realize I don't know. At some point, I hope to learn enough to realize that I know nothing at all. Then maybe I'll be able to snatch a pebble from Julia Child's hand"
- Alton Brown
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"Of course the more I learn, the more I realize I don't know. At some point, I hope to learn enough to realize that I know nothing at all. Then maybe I'll be able to snatch a pebble from Julia Child's hand"
- Alton Brown
Reply
post #2 of 15

There is a bit of a learning curve to moving up to a 24cm or 27cm chef's from a 21cm.  The easiest and surest way is to keep the knife in line with your forearm, and that's accomplished with the grip.  You may find this helpful.

 

I've pretty much given up using my boning, paring and utlity knives in favor of my petty -- although they all get very occasional use.  My petty is 15cm (6") -- probably the most popular length -- but anything from 12 to 18cm is in the range.  You can think of the petty's profile as a short slicer or as the classic French parer called "couteau office."  Either way same thing.  Or is that vice versa?

 

A petty does nearly everything the chef's is to big to do.  You'll still want a bread and a long slicer for even a minimal kit.

 

Hope this helps,

BDL

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What were we talking about?
 
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post #3 of 15

My petty is a cheap KAI (Kershaw?) Petty. I'm looking for a replacement because a double-bevel would work better for me than a single bevel in this use case. I saw these (two) knives for like ten Dollars at the Home Goods Store and thought, what the heck?

 

Again - What will the knife be used for? Not just to do "Stuff smaller than a chef's and bigger than a pairing" jobs.

 

I use my petty as a utility knife. If I need to pierce a can of stock, open a bottle, work around bone or joint seperation, open a box or container, slice open a sous vide bag, whatever  - That's what the "middle knife" is for. I keep it sharp, but I don't hesitate to use it as a tool. Not because I am abusive - but because the reality is that your pairing and chef's knife need to stay sharp and damage-free. If you don't have a utility knife, you will get in a hurry, and you will use something else - Probably your chef or pairing knife.

 

So the petty doesn't have to be an expensive knife. It just has to be tough. It is also is the knife you may use on the line, if you're cramped-up in a station between two other busy cooks. You may also use this as the knife you'll bring to a friend's house to participate in helping them cook dinner - Because you know ALL of their knives will suck, and you know they will probably abuse any good knife you show up with.

 

I'm torn between this very rigid, unforgivingly stiff blade or one that is slightly flexible. If it was flexible, it would work better for peeling, pith and small filet work - But if it was that soft, It wouldn't stand-up to all the utility abuse that it is really designated for.

 

An ideal knife would be double-bevel, 17-20 degrees, thin but not too thin (2mm?), rigid, probably look a lot like a 6" slicer and have a very small handle like this example. I wouldn't want to pay more than 80 dollars for it, because I would by two of them. It is the only knife that I expect to be sacrificed, if needed, to accomplish whatever the mission is at the time. It is the one soldier in the roll that you will expect to die for a cause.

 

Again - this is just what I would look for in a knife - not a suggestion on what is the best type of petty/utility knife for anyone else.

 

KAI_Petty1.jpgKAI_Petty2.jpg

Do or Do not - There is no Try. - Yoda
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Do or Do not - There is no Try. - Yoda
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post #4 of 15

I've never heard of a single-bevel petty, trooper. Can you amplify on that? It's a very weird notion to me, as the knife -- ペチナイフ, petit-knife -- is simply a Japanese-made French knife. So I'm interested.

 

As to flexibility, you've clearly never tried to peel something with an usuba, which is disconcertingly inflexible. Once you get the hang of it, it's easier than with a paring knife. So I'm not convinced that flexibility is an absolute factor: it depends on who likes what.

 

As to length, BDL is (as usual) dead on with 6", thought I'd say 5" is dandy as well. Once you get used to the thing, you won't use your paring knife at all any more -- except to open boxes.

 

I'm quite fortunate, actually, in that my wife wants nothing to do with my rack of ridiculously sharp (and expensive) Japanese knives, and keeps a small block of mediocre Western knives on the back of the counter, because I just reach and grab the Wusthof paring knife when I need to open a box or package. But an Aritsugu petty does the job fine as well, frankly.

post #5 of 15

Petty may be a misnomer on my part - In the first photo, the same knife is on each side of the ruler. You can see it is a single bevel - I use Utility and Petty in the same context, depending on if I'm referring to a W or J knife.

Do or Do not - There is no Try. - Yoda
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Do or Do not - There is no Try. - Yoda
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post #6 of 15

What the heck is that thing, then? I mean, it looks sort of like a fat yanagiba, but it's only 6" long. I've never seen a knife like that. Who made it? What do they call it?

 

(Sorry, J-knife classification is kind of a THING for me....)

 

...

 

Er, edit for rephrase. It's quite clear that it's made by Kai. So what the heck do they CALL it?

post #7 of 15

Quote:

Originally Posted by ChrisLehrer View Post

What the heck is that thing, then? I mean, it looks sort of like a fat yanagiba, but it's only 6" long. I've never seen a knife like that. Who made it? What do they call it?

 

(Sorry, J-knife classification is kind of a THING for me....)

 

Er, edit for rephrase. It's quite clear that it's made by Kai. So what the heck do they CALL it?


I honestly have no idea. It is a KAI Wasabi single-bevel knife. It is super rigid, cost like ten dollars from the Home Goods store, and I got two of them - One for home and one for my knife roll.

Just use it as a utility knife. It's handy. The only knife I have with a rubber? handle. It's just a tool that does what I don't want my chef or pairing knives to do.

KAI_WASABI1.jpgKAI_WASABI2.jpgKAI_WASABI3.jpgKAI_WASABI4.jpgKAI_WASABI5.jpg
 

Do or Do not - There is no Try. - Yoda
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Do or Do not - There is no Try. - Yoda
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post #8 of 15

Weird. Is the back concave?

post #9 of 15

Turns out 6715y is the model name, so I Googled it. They call it a 6" yanagiba!

 

When I mentioned on a forum, a couple years back, that I own a 195mm yanagiba, there was a lot of laughter, along the lines of, "what do you slice with it, sardines?" What motivated somebody to make a 6" yanagiba just boggles the mind. I mean, I can see that the thing is useful to you, because you use it with total disregard for its putative function -- and rightly so! -- but I can't help wonder who usually buys these, and for what.

 

Then there are the characters on the side: 和寂. This leaves me scratching my head. I mean, on the one hand, the obvious way to read this is "Japanese tranquility" or something like, or perhaps "harmonious tranquility." On the other hand, the pronunciation, wasabi, leads one to think immediately of 山葵, the spicy green stuff. Did somebody think that was funny? Or clever? I asked my wife, who's a professor of modern Japanese literature, what she thought, and she said it sounded like somebody thought it would be a clever way to advertise to Westerners -- and that it's basically a sort of tacky or vulgar usage, but what the heck, it's advertising. Hits the nail on the head with Kai, no?

 

I'd still be interested to know whether it's hollow-backed. Your photos, and the ones I've seen online, look to me as though the knife is flat-backed, i.e. truly chisel-edged, but it's hard to tell.

post #10 of 15

"With harmonious horseradish."

 

That's the best I can give you. (which ainte sayin' much anyway)

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

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"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

Reply
post #11 of 15

Ah, harmonious horseradish. Best kind.

 

Hey, in other news, you can get a Shun Pro 2 version of one of these 6" yanagiba, at a low low MSRP of $163! What joy!

 

This is actually bugging me so much that I went over to the knife rack with a tape measure. I found that my cheap mini-deba -- basically an ajikiri, I suppose -- is exactly the same length as this knife you've got. So I'm standing there with it in my hand, thinking, "are those guys at Kai really that cynical, or was there some sort of strange reasoning behind this?"

 

I'm going with cynical.

post #12 of 15

I'm missing the point of this apparent knife-designation scandal.

 

Should I be proud I own an apparent mystery knife? Should I log-off and forever self-banish from ChefTalk because of the shame associated with my knife?

 

Stay Tuned for our next episode of: How the knife turns. . . .

 

Do or Do not - There is no Try. - Yoda
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Do or Do not - There is no Try. - Yoda
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post #13 of 15

No no, there's nothing scandalous about owning or using such a knife. Nothing at all. I intend not the slightest criticism to you. You saw it, cheap, and thought it might be useful, and it was. End of story, no problem.

 

My question is what was going through the designer's head. Did somebody think, "hey, I know, let's make a knife for vegetables and utility and call it a yanagiba"? I mean, does that make sense? It's very weird to me. To analogize with a Western term, let's say you saw a listing for a 12" paring knife. Wouldn't you think that was sort of peculiar? I mean, who would buy one, and for what?

 

Anyway, sorry to drag things so far off-topic. My bad.

post #14 of 15

LOL - well, hey - it opens beer bottles and cans of chicken stock equally well. ; D

Do or Do not - There is no Try. - Yoda
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Do or Do not - There is no Try. - Yoda
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post #15 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave-O View Post

Hi everyone,

 

After much research and deliberation I have decided to purchase my first (or at least first decent) Japanese knives. I'm going with a Fujiwara FKM chef's and petty. Right now I am more of a hobby cook than aspiring professional like I used to be so I think the Fujiwara offers the best blend of affordability and reasonable performance that I'm looking for. They will be replacing a Global 8" G-2, which was an impulse buy that I'm not very pleased with, and a Forschner Rosewood 6" boning knife. I also have a 10" Dexter bread knife and a Forschner paring from my school days.

 

As far as sharpening goes, I'm planning on going with an Edgepro Apex 3 kit, as I lack the drive and patience to learn how to freehand sharpen. My knife skills aren't stellar but I'm very competent with the different grips and cuts. All of these things I plan on getting from Chef's Knives to Go.

 

My main point of deliberation is what length to get. For chef's, I've always used an 8" and am very comfortable with that length, but I've never used a longer knife. I can't decide if I should go with the 210mm or upgrade to the 240mm. As far as the petty goes I have no clue what length. I have never even held one. What is the petty even best utilized for? From my research it seems like the petty is the best for doing whatever the chef's can't do, which is my reason for purchasing one. 

 

Thanks in advance for any input,

 

Dave


Hey Dave,

 

I'll give you my few cents.

 

I remember thinking why would I ever want or need one of those giant long knives? I have small hands after all. I bought an 8" Lamson-Sharp and love it. I asked my Chef why the love for long knives, he told me less wrist fatigue and one day I would want a longer knife. It took me two years. This past year I bought a 9" Nogent from Sabatier. It took love to a whole new level, now I'm just kind of fond of my Lamson. I love Love LOVE my Sab! So I would recommend 9" for a chef knife. There are days, few and far between,  I wish my Sab was 10" but I never wish it was my 8" Lamson.

 

I also have a 15cm (5.9") Nenohi petty. I love this knife as much as my Sab. I probably even reach for it more than my chef knife, it is far more versatile in my opinion. At times it is a little long for some paring work. I think I would rather have my 6" petty and add a 4" (95mm-105mm) one down the road than to buy a 5" petty.

 

-AJ

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