Originally Posted by LennyD
Wag I am curious as to what you find you are using your 210 petty for?
I ask because I am considering a similar longer petty as opposed to a Suji due to cost, and the idea that I am thinking I may get more use from the petty since it can double as a slicer when needed, but also would have other uses that I think would be easier than with a longer Suji, and if I do need to slice something longer why not just use one of the gyuto's etc.
I still think having a dedicated slicer is a good idea, and would like to add a Suji (or even a yanagi too one day) to my mix, but I am thinking it may be better to add one later... [snip]
I still agree with the many others who believe and often recommend something longer (especially when it comes to a chefs or gyuto etc) as it can obviously be more productive, but it is not always about speed, and even more so for the home cook.
Hi Lenny --
My 210 suji is used a whole lot, but not always for "good" reasons. It's a laser, and my only laser, and I kind of fell in love with it enough to use it "too much". To the point I was using it in hand, even, where a shorter knife would make more sense. I'm settling down, now, no worries! But still, I'll use it for quick jobs where others would use a gyuto. Where it might not be "the best tool" but it's super easy to use with an over-the-top grip, or with my hand off the board, for small jobs. And it's an ideal knife for fruit (like ruscal is saying).
I eat vegetarian, and cook that way almost always, so it's perfectly fine for cutting up a shallot or some smaller potatoes and tomatoes and such.
Preferring the 270mm gyuto to a shorter one is not only about quantity, though. Or speed. I find that for my cutting, and for my *learning to cut better,* the longer knife is just flat out better. And now that I've put it through a couple more sharpenings, I'm in love all over again with that knife, too. The longer blade is not only about productivity, it's about cutting motion, period. The "tip down" work is more versatile -- that is, the back the knife has more clearance without lifting my cutting hand as much, whether doing rough slicing or attempting to be more precise with a julienne or any other classical cut. It's just a whole lot easier. There's less shoulder lift trying to keep my wrist in line with pointing the knife. It requires less forward thrust, which means less "board contact" per mm of blade, which means it stays sharp longer, and just feels smoother.
All that said, I'm rethinking what I wrote in the previous post, and would probably use a 210mm gyuto if I had a laser in such a length, in place of some tasks where I use the petty/suji. But were I to have only a 270mm gyuto, I'd still buy the short suji before another gyuto. (Which is what I did, basically). Some of my original reasoning for that was what you're talking about, Lenny. Just cost, after having spent (for me) a lot on the gyuto.
I have a Sab 6" slicer and a pretty redundant 150mm Togiharu petty as well, where they might be more useful than the 210 suji for some things. I think if I were portioning meat, for example, the 6" knife is perfect. I've done that twice in the past year, though, and could have gotten by ok with the 210mm knife just fine. And yeah, I think you can do what you're thinking, use a short slicer for slicing and just to check out the shape in a laser. It might eventually get redundant -- that is, between your shorter petty and your eventual longer sujihiki. But if you're not slicing large roasts or hams and such, where you want clean slices on one draw, then you can wait on the longer suji.
BDL fell so in love with his big Konosuke HD suji (300mm, I believe?) that he described using it in place of the gyuto for most things. But that was partly for fun and experiment to tell us about, and partly because (I speculate) of how freaking sharp he gets it and how soft and over the top his normal grip is, that knuckle clearance is just not much of an issue. Sort of like Segovia said about why he used an awkard fingering for the lightning fast bridge section of the first Villa-Lobos etude. "Because I CAN".
Anyway, with all that, it boils down to: the 210 suji is a more versatile knife than one might think, but perhaps I use it where I would otherwise use a 150mm petty had I an equally good laser in that length; and the 270mm knife just makes more sense to me than a shorter gyuto even for smaller jobs. For your purposes -- and based on thought, not experience with this -- the 210mm suji makes even more sense than it does for me, I think: that is, doing smaller meat-slicing jobs. And I'll bet you find yourself using either a gyuto or the 210mm suji in place of whatever you're currently, occasionally, using a santoku for.
Speaking of versatility -- what do you (everybody) use a bread knife for, besides bread? There's a video of a pro using it for large batches of cherry tomatoes, cut something-like bagel-style horizontally. And I"m not sure without revisiting, but I think Norman Weinstein uses it for cutting pineapple. Do the assembled think this is a good idea? (Particularly the pineapple part?) What else?