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Beginner Home Cook Knife Recommendations - Page 2

post #31 of 38

BDL already gave reasons -- also, I'd add what's not a reason so much as an encouragement that one "usual reason" for wanting a shorter knife is weight or unwieldiness of a larger one; moving to Japanese knives (and such), there are many that are lighter and more agile. And a more "French" profile is easier to point than your Henckels, I would think.

 

For many tip-down tasks, you don't have to lift the handle as high or move the knife as much, too (Norman Weinstein's knife skills video shows this, perhaps it's on youtube -- even though his preference for Wusthof classic knives goes some little way toward working against his point).

 

 

post #32 of 38

Yes I read BDL's reasons.

 

I was hoping to get the reasons of multiple people.

 

My basic question was concerning preferences on length, not profile nor western vs eastern, but I appreciate your taking time to answer.


Edited by cheflayne - 1/27/12 at 8:14am
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post #33 of 38

Length is directly related to profile, of course.  A circular blade could be uselessly long (this is a theoretical extreme, obviously). And the western vs. eastern was really meant primarily as a proxy for weight vs. lightness.

 

I'd also suggest having a look at the Weinstein video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3UelvV3PagQ  At about 1:22 forward, on point.

 

There's another section of the video where he shows them side by side to make much the same point, maybe more clearly, but I haven't located it on youtube in my brief perusal.

post #34 of 38

I like a longer blade for a couple of reasons.

 

Primarily because of the lower angle when making the same cuts. You can slide the point out away from you a bit more and keep a more natural angle when chopping an onion or potato.

 

Big fruit and vegies are more easily handled with a long blade. Both cantaloupe and Watermelon often exceed 8", even 10, but the extra length in the blade helps. And for a melon or hard squash, a Forschners blade can be a bit flexy for handling well. Cucumbers cut the long way. A 10" blade does so more easily and evenness comes easier to that cut.

 

Efficiency. When I've got a big stack of carrots or celery, the longer blade handles the whole group easier and as pointed out, at better angles.

 

now, I'm just a home cook, not a pro.   I'm about 5'10", not a big guy really. Lately I've been using my 8" IKEA blade because it's a great piece of steel. I'd love it were a 10" available. Still, I reach for my 10" Henkels when I need to process bigger amounts or big objects. I do miss the elegance the longer blade offers in cuts and work in general. But my 10" blade is not as good as my 8 currently.

 

I need to remedy that.

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #35 of 38

Let me try to clarify. Yes, i can do with the 8 what I can do with the 10.

 

When I say the 10 brings elegance to the cut, I mean that to equate to ease and comfort  which also improves my efficiency and accuracy.

 

For a shorter person, the better angles in the cut should also be of more importance than for a tall person actually.

 

But as I mentioned, I'm using the 8 a lot and that is because of it's edge holding and sharpness. These features too are important in choosing a knife, not just length. Combining good steel in a longer knife makes sense, though you do reach a point where more length is a hindrance. 10" seems to be a length that offers the most benefit with the  least detractions.  I don't pretend that it is universally so for all users, but just generally so.

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #36 of 38

If someone chooses a shorter knife over a longer because they lack the skills to use the longer knife profitably, it seems to me that the best course of action is to acquire the skills and then reevaluate the choice.  That's very frequently the situation here when people ask, as they so frequently do, "What's the best knife for ME?"  What allows the discussion of length and recommendation to the 9-1/2" - 10" range is that the willingness and desire to improve knife skills is almost always part of the motivation in buying a good knife. 

 

Just to be clear, at the end of the day, in my opinion, the best length for anyone is entirely a matter of taste.  You should use whatever you enjoy you most. 

 

In terms of my own preference, I like two knives as my go-to gyutos.  One is 10" K-Sabatier, and the other a 27cm Konosuke gyuto.  I also have a 12" K-Sabatier au carbone which I use as a "chef de chef," for splitting chickens and the like; and while I'll use it to chop onions if it's out, it's too heavy and awkward to be much fun.  On the other hand, my Konosuke 30cm suji, is a helluva lot of fun to use as a gyuto in the sense that using it impresses the heck out of me with me.  But it's not a rational choice, I don't recommend it, and I must be easily impressed by myself because it sure has heck doesn't impress anyone else. 

 

Most of the time when you hear someone say he uses a 12" knife he's trying to say more about his own bad self than the knife.  Present company excepted, of course.

 

 

Phatch,

 

"Elegance" is a very good way of putting it -- don't be surprised if you're imitated.  You'd be surprised -- or maybe you wouldn't -- how much of that comes from grip; and how much a good grip makes a little extra length a non-issue.

 

You often hear (and read) women who want a short knife because they have small hands or petite stature; but far more often than not, the preference disappears when they start using a good grip -- which, by the by, requires a sharp knife.   

 

 

ChefLayne,

 

Given that you were comfortable with a 12" knife, how would you compare a 10" MAC Pro to your 8" MAC Pro?  Do you find the 8" that much more agile. 

 

 

Big Green Egg IC,

 

Don't be put off by the thread drift.  Your questions and expectations are perfectly reasonable, and there's no reason you shouldn't get yourself an adequate knife. 

 

You've made it very clearly that your current knives make you feel you're missing something -- and you're right. Your "knife care class" is a normal reaction to the very powerful paradigm shift that a sharp knife is more about sharpening than the knife itself.  Don't panic, you're not in over your head.  Fortunately, there are some relatively simple and [ahem] relatively affordable ways to deal with sharpening.  But it is something which needs to be addressed in order for you to start developing good enough knife skills to make prep fun instead of a chore.  You'll also find that a lot of ingredients like onions and herbs taste better when they're cut cleanly instead of hammered or sawed into submission. 

 

More fun and taste better are two things you should have.

 

BDL


Edited by boar_d_laze - 1/27/12 at 9:32am
post #37 of 38

 

Quote:

ChefLayne, Given that you were comfortable with a 12" knife, how would you compare a 10" MAC Pro to your 8" MAC Pro?  Do you find the 8" that much more agile.

I spent at least an hour trying out different lines and sizes of MAC knives, cutting vegies, melons, tomatoes etc. It is not so much that I found the 8" more agile, I just liked the overall feel of it best and didn't notice the missing 2". It has been about 10 years now so I don't really remember the exact differences, but there were distinct differences between the MTH and the MBK which are both knives in the professional line and I definitely preferred the MTH. The biggest MTH is the 8". Initially I never would have believed that I would go for an 8" chef knife after years of using an 11 1/2" Henkels, but the time I spent test driving the 8"MTH quickly dispelled that notion.

 

Today at work, it was a heavy knife work prep day. 8 full hours of nothing but knife work, we were prepping for a 15 course tasting menu for 50 people tomorrow night. I did vegies, I did fish, I did meat, I did all kinds of cuts and techniques; basically all day long I did, I did, and then I did more. It was funny because for the first time in a long time, I really paid attention to my knife and its work due to this thread. I can honestly say that not one situation came up where I wished I had a larger knife. When it comes right down to it, I really don't see much difference between an 8" and a 10" anyway. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.chef.gif

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #38 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by biggreeneggic View Post



 


Solid suggestion, LennyD. I ended up getting my current knife (unsure on brand) sharpened at the local kitchen store. Since I'm already used to handling it, it feels great now that it has a nice edge to it. I will take your advice and try to "stalk" the forum for more insight. 

I also wanted to say that I'm overwhelmed with the support of this community. As a first time poster with some very basic questions, the helpful responses have been so nice to see. A big thank you to all!

Sounds like you have one comparison down already, how sharp is better. wink.gif

Try and see if you can post a pic of this knife as I know it will help all on trying to help you find your way to a happy decision. Plus having some kind of starting point to try and help you understand the differences between the knife you have and all the potential ones you may look at buying.

Mostly just hang around and ask whatever questions you may have so you can pick up more info etc.

I know it can be a bit overwhelming with so much info to absorb etc, but you will figure it out if you try smile.gif

 

"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...

Reply
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