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What Is The Best Style Knife for Doing this? .............................

post #1 of 70
Thread Starter 

I see the subject come up in many threads,  What knife is best for this, or that etc.

 

Most recently it was "what do you use your slicer for", and it got me to thinking that a lot of people use a different knife for a different task, and even more people may not really be sure what may be the better knife to use.

 

So post it up!

 

Let us know what you use your sujihiki, gyuto, santuko, petty, yanagi, deba, and any and all of the others for.

 

The reverse is fine also in that what knife do you prefer to use for slicing, chopping, mincing, opening packages, and everything else.

 

I remember a member once questioned why I had used a smaller knife to slice chicken breast into 1/8" thick pieces, and found that my use of a petty to cover for the western type slicer I no longer had (yea sold off all those Germans to get another couple J knives lol) was not the best choice even though it was super thin and sharp (prob could be ok if longer though) and have been using a 240mm gyuto most times ever since.

 

This will also be a good place to discuss if you can expect to make good use of your next intended purchase, or if it will just be a bunch of money in a knife block.

 

I am going to start off with what do you believe to be a good choice for slicing.

 

"love my country" but "fear my government"  Something is just wrong with this

 

 

 

Looking for info on entry level J-knives? Need help on finding the most bang for your buck? Hope you enjoy learning from the info here, I know I did!

http://www.cheftalk.com/t/63213/tojiro-dp-f-809-240mm-g...

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"love my country" but "fear my government"  Something is just wrong with this

 

 

 

Looking for info on entry level J-knives? Need help on finding the most bang for your buck? Hope you enjoy learning from the info here, I know I did!

http://www.cheftalk.com/t/63213/tojiro-dp-f-809-240mm-g...

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post #2 of 70

I like the idea of this thread.

I am/have been contemplating buying a slicer/carving knife/sujihike, but don't know if I actually need it or will use it enough to warrant the expense.

 

I use a chef's knife for everything. Slicing bread, peeling and chopping onions, trimming meat, peeling apples, chopping up lemongrass and garlic etc etc.

I just use a more sturdy one (stainless steel no make and/or global) for the tougher work and my Carbonext for everything else.

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post #3 of 70

i use my butchers knife for most thing from skinning fish to fine dice onions, but there is times when doing fish such as filleting and skinning of salmon when you have to use the right knife for the job.

post #4 of 70

It's a matter of taste, really.  Sometimes even a matter of whim.

 

BDL

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post #5 of 70
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by butzy View Post

I like the idea of this thread.

I am/have been contemplating buying a slicer/carving knife/sujihike, but don't know if I actually need it or will use it enough to warrant the expense.

 

I use a chef's knife for everything. Slicing bread, peeling and chopping onions, trimming meat, peeling apples, chopping up lemongrass and garlic etc etc.

I just use a more sturdy one (stainless steel no make and/or global) for the tougher work and my Carbonext for everything else.



Interesting the first reply here involves a slicer since another discussion on slicers is what prompted me to start this thread. I also share your concern over if it is actually needed, but also can see the benefits as well.

 

Curious if you have considered adding a serrated bread knife?

 

I actually find the ones I have very helpful.

 

"love my country" but "fear my government"  Something is just wrong with this

 

 

 

Looking for info on entry level J-knives? Need help on finding the most bang for your buck? Hope you enjoy learning from the info here, I know I did!

http://www.cheftalk.com/t/63213/tojiro-dp-f-809-240mm-g...

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"love my country" but "fear my government"  Something is just wrong with this

 

 

 

Looking for info on entry level J-knives? Need help on finding the most bang for your buck? Hope you enjoy learning from the info here, I know I did!

http://www.cheftalk.com/t/63213/tojiro-dp-f-809-240mm-g...

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post #6 of 70
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by boar_d_laze View Post

It's a matter of taste, really.  Sometimes even a matter of whim.

 

BDL


"whimsical" knife choices :D

 

I can fully understand that, and with my use being non professional for so long I find myself just trying different knives for different things as some sort of test to see how things can be different.

 

A point I forgot to make in the first post was how it seems some people (mostly those cooking at home, or with smaller hands) seem to lean towards shorter knives, and really meant to start a discussion on if this is better left alone, or if it is really worth it to try and help people change habits, or improve etc.

 

 

"love my country" but "fear my government"  Something is just wrong with this

 

 

 

Looking for info on entry level J-knives? Need help on finding the most bang for your buck? Hope you enjoy learning from the info here, I know I did!

http://www.cheftalk.com/t/63213/tojiro-dp-f-809-240mm-g...

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"love my country" but "fear my government"  Something is just wrong with this

 

 

 

Looking for info on entry level J-knives? Need help on finding the most bang for your buck? Hope you enjoy learning from the info here, I know I did!

http://www.cheftalk.com/t/63213/tojiro-dp-f-809-240mm-g...

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post #7 of 70
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by chef the sun View Post

i use my butchers knife for most thing from skinning fish to fine dice onions, but there is times when doing fish such as filleting and skinning of salmon when you have to use the right knife for the job.

Since you mention fish I used to have a flexible filleting knife that I used most every time I was doing flounder filets. I no longer have it, and had not noticed it was missing as I find myself reaching for a petty or gyutofor this type of stuff now.
 

 


Edited by LennyD - 1/10/12 at 8:48am

 

"love my country" but "fear my government"  Something is just wrong with this

 

 

 

Looking for info on entry level J-knives? Need help on finding the most bang for your buck? Hope you enjoy learning from the info here, I know I did!

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"love my country" but "fear my government"  Something is just wrong with this

 

 

 

Looking for info on entry level J-knives? Need help on finding the most bang for your buck? Hope you enjoy learning from the info here, I know I did!

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post #8 of 70

I have carbon steel slicers 12 to 14 inch. I do however like the serrated slicers of today. I have a flex boner and a stiff one to. A 10 inch french knife, and a lot of specialty decorating knives and tools I purchased abroad. Its all what you are used to and feel comfortable with.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #9 of 70

A lot of this boils down to what you are comfortable with.

 

There's no question that certain knife designs are more efficient for certain tasks. I would say that most of us on these boards have a collection of knives for that very reason. But if you're not comfortable using, say, a boning knife, then it doesn't matter that objectively it's best for that purpose. You'll reach for something else.

 

Fabricating fish is a good example. Personally, I can't imagine using a chef's knife to filet a fish. But I see others do it all the time. That doesn't make me right and them wrong. Similarly, Friend Wife uses a 4" utility knife when I reach for a chef's knife or a slicer to do the same job.

 

And, when all is said and done, just watch Morimoto turn a section of daikon into paper with an 18" knife. Then ask yourself if a selection of styles is really needed.

 

Curious if you have considered adding a serrated bread knife?

 

I used to think a serrated bread knife was an affectation......until I started using one. Now I don't cut bread with anything else.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #10 of 70
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
A lot of this boils down to what you are comfortable with.

I have to agree 100%, but also know many of us have become comfortable with things for what may not be the best reasons (how we learned, what we had, what was heard etc) and also since there are so many people reading the forums looking for information who may not have enough experience to even have a comfort zone yet.

 

In another thread there was a discussion (I think it was here lol) about suggestions for which knives to use from slaughter to plate. There was some great information on all kinds of different knives, styles and uses.

 

The idea was really to get as much of the great ideas and opinions from the various members onto one easily searchable thread so that it wouldn't be so scattered around etc.

 

Just from reading some of the posts from members who are new or newer to cooking in general you can see there is a desire for ideas and suggestions that can help others improve, and very honestly seeing some of the differing opinions and debates really can get one to thinking :)

 

 

 

"love my country" but "fear my government"  Something is just wrong with this

 

 

 

Looking for info on entry level J-knives? Need help on finding the most bang for your buck? Hope you enjoy learning from the info here, I know I did!

http://www.cheftalk.com/t/63213/tojiro-dp-f-809-240mm-g...

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"love my country" but "fear my government"  Something is just wrong with this

 

 

 

Looking for info on entry level J-knives? Need help on finding the most bang for your buck? Hope you enjoy learning from the info here, I know I did!

http://www.cheftalk.com/t/63213/tojiro-dp-f-809-240mm-g...

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post #11 of 70

I use a 300mm yanagiba for slicing meats that don't have a crust.

I use a 195mm yanagiba for slicing meats that do.

I use a 210mm deba for fabricating large fish, cutting very hard vegetables, shearing bone, and mincing.

I use a 105mm deba for fabricating small fish and occasionally other teeny-tiny jobs.

I use a 210mm usuba for all other vegetables.

I use a mediocre serrated bread knife for crusty loaves.

 

Sometimes I use other things that come to hand, but not much.

 

It's not just what you're used to. I had never used any of these sorts of knives (except the bread knife) before Fall of 2008. It was a conscious decision, that took considerable time and effort, to make this transition. I've never been sorry I made it, but I have also pretty steadfastly advised others not to go this route, because it is unquestionably a PITA and you have to be willing to suffer quite a bit in the process: you get hit hard in the wallet, and an usuba is a constant trial for a very long time, and so on.

post #12 of 70
Thread Starter 

Chris I notice the obvious omission of a gyuto, and was wondering if you thought the deba and usuba were better or just different ways of going about getting to the same results, and if you could why?

 

Also if you could expand more on the two different length yanagiba etc.

 

I do find it very interesting how so many find their way to using so very different knives for similar purpose.

 

"love my country" but "fear my government"  Something is just wrong with this

 

 

 

Looking for info on entry level J-knives? Need help on finding the most bang for your buck? Hope you enjoy learning from the info here, I know I did!

http://www.cheftalk.com/t/63213/tojiro-dp-f-809-240mm-g...

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"love my country" but "fear my government"  Something is just wrong with this

 

 

 

Looking for info on entry level J-knives? Need help on finding the most bang for your buck? Hope you enjoy learning from the info here, I know I did!

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post #13 of 70

I use Globe knives  a soft boneing, stiff boneing, 10  inch french and a 12 inh slicer as well as paring knife. These plus my trusty chinese clever knife do everything. No 150.00 or $200. or ceramics or japanese or chinese,knives needed or wanted.No fads. No plastic or wood handles.(they mold) Save your $$. Just keep them clean and extremely sharp. Make scabbards for each if possible to protect edges. Buy and use a good steel. I have had this set 20 years. Looks brand new.

PS.

A girl in work came in with a PINK  8 inch french knife(t comes in assorted colors) she paid 12,95 at Target. I tried it and was surprised it cut great, had a good feel and good weight. For 12.95 they are almost deemed disposable. I think it had a japan type name on it.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #14 of 70

Not to demand too much ideological purity but Global knives ARE Japanese AND the larger ones go for $150 and up.  Furthermore, Yoshikin (who makes Global) along with Kai (Shun) were the manufacturers who led the Japanese invasion into Western kitchens' and the Globals were cutting edge back in the day.  

 

They're perfectly adequate and very sturdy, but they're an idea whose time has past -- especially in terms of their alloy's (Chromova 18) get sharp/stay sharp qualities, but they're also thicker than the modern trend.  A LOT of people don't care for their handles, which can be both slippery and uncomfortable in a strong grip. 

 

The thing about knives... as long as they're sharp, roughly the right length, and strong enough for the task most of the other distinctions don't matter too much.  Sharp, sharp, sharp.

 

Just sayin'

BDL


Edited by boar_d_laze - 1/22/12 at 6:50am
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post #15 of 70
Thread Starter 
When I first read that I thought be wrote Global as well but then noticed it said Globe which I know nothing about but would be interested to know more etc.

Also until recently my four mainly used J Knives had a total cost of around $150 and will say once again that this amount was less than the retail value of the previous Henckels pro s they replaced.

I am so much happier with them it almost doesn't matter.

I won't comment too much on this years addition a Konosuke HD 240mm gyuto as I am still getting used to it but it was more than all the others combined.

Point is that even though there are many inexpensive ways to reach the end result desired (I have a odd cheap parer that is of obvious poor quality from China that somehow has managed to avoid the garbage but also can get really sharp, has its place etc, but really is a POS)


This doesn't mean it is in any way comparable to my Tojiro 120mm petty, and even with comparing $29 to free the Tojiro is IMHO a superior value.

We will see what I think of the comparison between the Tojiro and Fujiwara FKM to the new Konosuke HD soon as I get some more time and a chance to sharpen the new one etc but this will be a tougher decision than the first comparison.

I guess best to use what your comfortable with both in use and cost, but be aware of what else is out there so you can make a personal decision etc.

 

"love my country" but "fear my government"  Something is just wrong with this

 

 

 

Looking for info on entry level J-knives? Need help on finding the most bang for your buck? Hope you enjoy learning from the info here, I know I did!

http://www.cheftalk.com/t/63213/tojiro-dp-f-809-240mm-g...

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"love my country" but "fear my government"  Something is just wrong with this

 

 

 

Looking for info on entry level J-knives? Need help on finding the most bang for your buck? Hope you enjoy learning from the info here, I know I did!

http://www.cheftalk.com/t/63213/tojiro-dp-f-809-240mm-g...

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post #16 of 70

Different styles of knives are made for a reason, if you are just starting out I would suggest using the correct knife for the job. I used a Chinese chef knife for everything for 5 years and it was difficult to use anything else for a long time after. I still have to use heavy knives and I am sure it negatively effects my product (not to say my knife skills are bad) but I know I shouldn't use my slicer on a 1# trout.

post #17 of 70
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by chefjpauley View Post

Different styles of knives are made for a reason, if you are just starting out I would suggest using the correct knife for the job. I used a Chinese chef knife for everything for 5 years and it was difficult to use anything else for a long time after. I still have to use heavy knives and I am sure it negatively effects my product (not to say my knife skills are bad) but I know I shouldn't use my slicer on a 1# trout.

Using the correct knife for the job, and figuring out what that may be etc was the intent behind when I started the thread. I also agree there may be more importance to this for someone who is new, learning and improving skills (this includes those cooking professionally, and especially should include some of the cooks who made some of the plate's I have been served recently lol) , but also difficult to determine for many once they begin their journey into J knives.

Just from personal experience combined with what I have read from other J knife "noobs" posting on various forums there is a whole new learning curve due to the vastly different variety of products.

I do share in some of these thoughts and see them all the time sujihiki v/s yanagiba, or what is a debate best used for etc etc.

There are just so many different types of kitchen Knives and once you get to the Japanese who use so many different knives and styles that most Americans both do not know of but many also find interesting or even intriguing.

But the info is spread around hidden in between all kinds of non related static.

 

"love my country" but "fear my government"  Something is just wrong with this

 

 

 

Looking for info on entry level J-knives? Need help on finding the most bang for your buck? Hope you enjoy learning from the info here, I know I did!

http://www.cheftalk.com/t/63213/tojiro-dp-f-809-240mm-g...

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"love my country" but "fear my government"  Something is just wrong with this

 

 

 

Looking for info on entry level J-knives? Need help on finding the most bang for your buck? Hope you enjoy learning from the info here, I know I did!

http://www.cheftalk.com/t/63213/tojiro-dp-f-809-240mm-g...

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post #18 of 70

I like this thread idea. Gret way for people to think outside their usual boxes or to show off great ideas. 

 

Personally, I use a 9" Chef for anything big or extended (time wise) and a 6" utility for most quick small jobs (eg grabbing a slice of lime). Parer for smaller finer jobs (not often) and a 10" slicer whenever I'm slicing a roast or turkey. 

post #19 of 70

BDL The knives I have are not Global Brand, they are Globe and are over 20 years old. Lucky if I paid 150.00 for all of them. I am familiar with Global . If I am not mistaken they are all silver colored from tip to the  handle which is also metal. Mine ? I don't know where they were made but they are like razors.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #20 of 70

I'll bite.  "Globe" isn't a familiar kitchen knife brand to me.    

  • Where were you knives made?
  • Who's Globe? 
  • Are they the same company who makes the slicers? 
  • Or are they some other maker?
  • Do they still make kitchen knives? 
  • If so, how much are they now?
  • Where can I find them sold and/or advertised? 
  • Do you have pictures?
  • How do you sharpen?

 

BDL


Edited by boar_d_laze - 1/23/12 at 8:06am
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post #21 of 70

I was told they were made in Canada , although are not labeled as such I purchased them from a Sous Chef at work in NY about 20 years ago. It can't be te slicer co. because they are in US. I really dont know if they are in business anymore. All I know is they hold a good edge and are I feel worth what I paid average about $20.00 a knife. Chinese cleaver I replace about every 5 years last one costme 22. in a chinese type bodega. This time I bought a 1 piece  clever, all steel so far its good.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #22 of 70

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by LennyD View Post

1. Chris I notice the obvious omission of a gyuto, and was wondering if you thought the deba and usuba were better or just different ways of going about getting to the same results, and if you could why?

 

2. Also if you could expand more on the two different length yanagiba etc.

 

I do find it very interesting how so many find their way to using so very different knives for similar purpose.

 

I should perhaps note that the big yanagiba is a pretty high-end thing, the short one not so much. The big deba is good, the small exceptional. The usuba is solid professional stuff. That has to be factored into my choices, to be honest.


1. The omission of a gyuto: I actually own a Masamoto 270mm KS wa-gyuto, which is pretty much a Ferrari sort of gyuto, and I admit that at times I miss it. My wife got for Christmas a Masamoto 210mm VG gyuto, which I have sharpened and is quite wonderful.

 

The thing is, a gyuto, like a Chinese cleaver and an usuba, is what I call an "anchor knife." It's the knife that is the workhorse of a kitchen. You only need one anchor. Having decided on one, other knives must be purchased to fill in the gaps in what the anchor can't do or doesn't do well. Since I've made a shift to an usuba, a gyuto becomes sort of a third wheel on the bicycle.

 

An obvious case in point is the relationship between a gyuto or usuba and a deba. If you use an usuba, you need a deba for two reasons: first, to break down fish; second, to mince things -- anything! -- finely. An usuba doesn't mince well, though probably with superlative technique you could get away with it in a pinch. Now if you use your deba to mince, you need a rather long blade, because the back third of the blade with be back-beveled for the mincing jobs, so you find that Japanese pros who use usuba (e.g., kaiseki chefs) gravitate toward deba in the 210-225mm range. If you use a gyuto, it's a quite good mincer, so why would you reach for something else when it's so quick and convenient to use the knife in your hand? So your deba only needs to break fish, so you don't need that back third, and you find that a number of pros who use gyuto rely on deba in the 180mm range.

 

My experience is that an usuba is a quite extraordinary knife for home cooks once you get over the initial (extremely high and tedious) hurdle of just dealing with the bugger in the first place. For the pro, however, you have additional problems: it's not like other knives, and chips as soon as you look at it crosswise, so if you can't absolutely trust your coworkers it won't work; and it takes a long time to get decent with the knife but a VERY long time to get both good and fast -- and in a pro environment you must be both.

 

But having made the shift, what do I need a gyuto for? I am not ditching the Masamoto yet, of course, but I haven't quite decided about long-term plans.

 

2. The short yanagiba was a wedding present. I keep it principally for sentimental reasons. But I find that it is also very easy to sharpen reasonably well (and can't be sharpened superlatively, not being a superlative steel) and does a nice job with roasted meats and such, whose crusts tend to eat lovely thin yanagiba edges. So I use it for those purposes, and if it dulls quickly, no big deal. The big yanagiba I mostly reserve for the kind of work it's intended for, in part because I find it finicky to sharpen effectively -- not difficult, precisely, but finicky, because it's so darn long and elegantly shaped and I am so not a hotshot sharpener.

 

 

Please note: I am NOT NOT NOT encouraging anyone to go this route. It works for me at the moment.

post #23 of 70

At the moment, Chris? And it was such a long road to get to the point that it could work for you at this moment! I'm impressed.  I periodically think I want an usuba, and to put in the time to master it. But... that's lusting after result.  I'm still learning to cut with "regular knives" :-)

 

Your posts about the usuba, by the way, have the simultaneous effects of making me want to "go that route" even more and want to turn 180-degrees from it and  walk away very quickly.


Edited by Wagstaff - 1/27/12 at 10:26pm
post #24 of 70
Thread Starter 

Chris appreciate the detailed explanation.

 

I have to agree with Wag though that you kind of make the usuba sound like something you either want to run to, or walk away from before getting started. :)

 

I remember toying with the idea of a deba (small one mostly) as I really enjoy trying new things and most things seafood etc, but honestly just do not do enough fish (only one here that enjoys them etc) and never really caught on to the style or maybe advantage etc. still one is on the back burner some where in my mind, and have almost clicked the dreaded "but it now button" for one of the inexpensive ones on eBay a few times.

 

Also been messing around with the idea of either a yanagiba or sujijiki (interesting comparing the two BTW) and since I sold off all my old Henckels slicers I do not have one, and have found myself looking for a slicer a few times so most likely the deba will have to wait until after that.

 

Still find the deba an interesting knife that looks like it could be very useful in the right uses etc.

 

"love my country" but "fear my government"  Something is just wrong with this

 

 

 

Looking for info on entry level J-knives? Need help on finding the most bang for your buck? Hope you enjoy learning from the info here, I know I did!

http://www.cheftalk.com/t/63213/tojiro-dp-f-809-240mm-g...

Reply

 

"love my country" but "fear my government"  Something is just wrong with this

 

 

 

Looking for info on entry level J-knives? Need help on finding the most bang for your buck? Hope you enjoy learning from the info here, I know I did!

http://www.cheftalk.com/t/63213/tojiro-dp-f-809-240mm-g...

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post #25 of 70

Jon has posted some very instructive videos on use of a deba -- concentrating on showing proper technique rather than showing off speed (and elsewhere he's made a pretty good case for why they really are better than filet knives and such, at least for some kinds of fish prep).  And there is a fantastic Japanese Knife Society video on proper use of usuba....   which made me think of Chris' pasts posts, and also instantly gave rise to the thought, "I could do that.... eventually... maybe. And I might make those kinds of cuts, if I could."

 

Edit -- here's the deba video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZsuAmTq9WAw

post #26 of 70

Both of you make me very happy, actually. Because you are reading me dead right, which suggests that I may be expressing my meaning accurately.

 

An usuba is a "yes yes yes" thing or a "run like heck and don't look back" thing. There is no middle. Do it or don't. [Yoda: "Do or do not. There is no "try."]  The first month SUCKS. Seriously. If you're not rather good at sharpening, with a great kit to do it, and you aren't willing to shell out pretty serious cash to buy the knife in the first place, the answer is easy: run like heck. Just DO NOT do it. A mediocre usuba is so awful that I can't advise against it enough. You know that feeling, "hey, maybe I'll just pick up a cheap one, see how it goes, maybe I'll like it or not, whatever"? That don't work. I tried it. I know. Horror and evil ensued. You can't begin with an usuba for under $200 to the best of my knowledge, and with the exchange where it is probably not under $300. Plus sharpening kit and all that. And even then, the first month is pretty awful. I'm crazy, and spent a year in Kyoto, so I did it, but I just do not encourage this. KC Ma, an e-pal of mine, once noted that I seem to be the only home cook around who made this shift and did not end up in tears and blood regretting it. I think he may be right. And I had all these great Japanese-language books to guide me on what to do (with my blonde, busy, mom-of-two professor of Japanese literature wife translating on the fly, with only mild, graceful irritation -- love that girl!).

 

Deba is great. If you don't know how to fillet French and have it burned into your hands, I think it's actually not that hard to learn, and you can pick up a good deba for a good price. Think 180mm. Keep it sharp and you will love it. There are a million videos, not to mention Nozaki Hiromitsu's great introductory book, to guide you on how to use it. I have not seen a truly bad deba yet. Maybe you have to sharpen it a lot, but who cares? Get a 180mm cheap, sharpen the bujeezus out of it, and give it a go. What can you really lose? It's fun. If you love it, and start butchering fish all the time, spend some more for a good one and you will be glad you did. But for once in a blue moon, a mediocre one will work. (This is the thing about usuba again: it does not work to buy a cheap one just to try, where it does for everything else.)

 

Yanagiba is great, but if you don't slice raw fish, what for? Costs a pretty penny, and a B****H to keep sharp. Still, a lot of fun. I can't really get my mind around advising someone to buy a cheap yellow steel 195mm one like I have, but since I was given it I rather like it. It's not bad at all.

 

But usuba.... Oy. Glad I made the shift, honestly, but my criteria for who ought to do the same keep narrowing. I just chipped the tip of mine doing something that only afterwards I realized was stupid, and thought, "jeez -- when do I stop being a total beginner in this?" That's after a year and a half of daily use, you understand. My love-hate thing with this knife knows no bounds.

 

At the moment, I think I hate it. But that's mostly because sharpening a chip out of it is such a raving PITA. Once I get it back in line, I think I will probably love it again.

 

Oy, I'm so conflicted....

post #27 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wagstaff View Post

Jon has posted some very instructive videos on use of a deba -- concentrating on showing proper technique rather than showing off speed (and elsewhere he's made a pretty good case for why they really are better than filet knives and such, at least for some kinds of fish prep).  And there is a fantastic Japanese Knife Society video on proper use of usuba....   which made me think of Chris' pasts posts, and also instantly gave rise to the thought, "I could do that.... eventually... maybe. And I might make those kinds of cuts, if I could."

 

Edit -- here's the deba video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZsuAmTq9WAw



Yes. You can. It's honestly not hard. I speak as someone who will happily tell you that usuba cuts are a bleeding nightmare. Basic deba butchering is much, much easier than you might think.

post #28 of 70

The "maybe I could someday" thought was all about the usuba.  That's *not* what's honestly not hard, right? Cause.... nightmare, and all!

 

And I sort of want to start cooking fish just to use a deba.  But ... no. I have stronger, countervailing reasons for not cooking fish. So the usuba nightmare won't leave me alone! (Fortunately, I'm not read to spend the bucks at this point, and am wanting to practice both cutting with and sharpening gyutos and such for a good while).

post #29 of 70

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wagstaff View Post

I'm confused... the "maybe I could someday" thought was all about the usuba.  That's *not* what's honestly not hard, right? Cause.... nightmare, and all!


Um. Wag, can you clarify a bit? I don't mean to carp, but there are a lot of negations here, and I am having a hard time figuring out what you are asking or commenting on. Are you thinking that once upon a time you were figuring that the usuba would be something you might aspire to? Sorry -- guessing here. I want to help, honestly I do, and as a home cook guy I'm with you, but I'm not getting where you're coming from.

post #30 of 70

I was editing as you were quoting.  Not that this made me clearer.

You said "yes you can".  Which seemed to me to be a response to my wondering if I could.  But I wondered if I could learn the usuba.

And you seemed to be saying "yes you can" about the deba.

 

Hope that clears it up.

Thanks, Chris -- I think you're clear all the way.  I'm guilty of creating the confusion (and suffering from it for no good reason.  I could write better if I weren't so damned ADD at this hour).

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