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Chef knives for someone with bad wrists

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

I'm looking to improve my cooking skills and want to get the proper tools to learn with.  I've looked at the knives at the local Crate & Barrel and William Sonoma and have come to the conclusion that I like the Global and Shun ones best, maybe preferring the Shun Classic 8 inch chef's knife.  I mostly like these because I need something light weight as I have issues with the cartilage in my wrists, but I also like how the handles feel.  Looking through the forum, the Shuns don't seem to get a lot of love, but no one really talks about similar handles and weight when comparing them to other knives (at least outside of the obvious western vs. eastern weights).  


I was wondering if anyone has a suggestion for something better than the Shun with a similar feel?  And in a similar price range (or less, of course lol)?  Or, I guess, other suggestions to look into?  I'm a woman with wide hands/relatively short fingers.

post #2 of 6

I'm not a knife expert, but will pipe in anyway!


First of all: What knife are you using at the moment, and what are you happy/unhappy with?


The main thing about a knife is that it is sharp. Since I started sharpening my own knives, I found that even the cheap ones I got aren't so bad...


I have a Global chef's knife and it is fairly light. I can deal OK with the handle, although it can get a bit slippery. I find it a bit of a difficult knife to sharpen.

I have a Forschner as well and that one doesn't feel a lot heavier than the Global. If you want me to I can throw them on the scale for you. The Forschner is a lot easier to sharpen in my opinion.


Most Japanese knives are worth looking into as they are lighter than the traditional wusthoff's and the like.

There are people on this forum that know lots and lots more about these than I do. I'm quite sure that they will be around soon to give you a hand.....

Life is too short to drink bad wine


Life is too short to drink bad wine

post #3 of 6

hi, i'm just new here but i'd like to chime in if that's okay.


practically any japanese style knife would fit your needs. i would urge you to look at the knives from chefknivestogo or japaneseknifeimports site and see what knives they have that are in your budget. i'd say getting a tojiro dp or a richmond artifex would be great.


i would also include that you might wanna polish up your knifeskills to keep your wrist problem down to a minimum. most wrist problems are usually down to how you handle your knife and how you hold on to them. there's lots of videos out there on youtube that'll help you out. or you can get a dvd or something on amazon all about knife skills. i've had a similar problem when i was still using western style knives. when i went japanese, i won't go back.



post #4 of 6

I can't say whether or not you'd benefit from an ergonomic handle. 


The biggest changes you can make are to keep your knives very, very sharp so you can switch to a  soft grip.  It's quite probable that your problem is at least exacerbated by how much force it takes you to use a knife.  


Unfortunately pictures can only help you so far; as it's not only a matter of hand position, and you need an intellectual understanding as well. 


Most good cooks use a "pinch grip" for chopping with the chef's knife and some other tasks; and in your case the biggest culprit is probably the grip you use for your chef's knife.


You might want to try reading "Getting a Good Grip" on my blog. 


Sharpening is hugely important.  All knives get dull eventually, no matter what their design, how well they were made, how much they cost, etc., and any dull knife is a dull knife.  When you consider your knife choice, bear in mind that you want something which can be well sharpened.  


Sharpening does not mean using a "sharpening steel," or one of those tackle box gags you see on TV.  It doesn't necessarily mean a set of stones either.  There are relatively inexpensive (~$80) gags which do adequate edges without requiring a lot of skill or repetitive stress -- the Minoshsarp3 or one of the Chef's Choice 2 stage machines for instance.  Even a Fiskars Rollsharp at around $30 is probably a great deal better than what you're using. 


Unfortunately all of this is going to require some investment on your part.  The Artifex and Tojiro DP represent good choices into entry level good knives; but they are by no means the only choices, nor is either much better than entry level. As I said, if you buy one you'll still need to make some sort of investment in sharpening. 


If you want to talk more, let me know.



post #5 of 6

My Grandmother has arthritic wrists from working in factory when younger. She still cooks all the family meals for holidays and now uses a Nakiri for all of it and says it makes it easier. I got her the Tamahagane Nakiri to replace a cheap old one she had from her grocer.

post #6 of 6
Agree with all the above and will add a few thoughts.

SHARP, SHARP, SHARP! Yes like everyone else said before it has to be sharp, and I will add if your knife is not sharp your wrist will see more work and strain because you will have to work harder.

So edge retention is very important, but of great importance to you because as the edge dulls as all will with use it will make you put more force into that wrist.

Still there are many other important aspects you need to consider, and first is budget. It would do you no good if you get great recommendations for knives you can not afford, so please advise on a budget as it will help to get things pointed in the right direction.

Now I guess we could assume that being you are looking at shun you are looking to spend around that amount etc, but even if that is not accurate do not worry because the "entry level" recommendation is so much sharper and superior to most of the popular western knives many have used in the past that you will likely be smiling ear to ear like so many others have in the past.

Without more history it is hard to be sure of your exact experience etc but what these guys consider entry level is most often considered "awesome " or "frigging sharp" to most everyone else. Now just think about what a knife that is revelled or loved by these guys must be like wink.gif

Seriously it is hard to explain, but I like my "entry level" Japanese Knives so much more than the popular Henckels etc I had in the past its not funny, but it is hard to comprehend the difference until you experience it, and honestly even more difficult to explain the difference between entry level and the higher quality knives until you have something to compare with yourself.

I am sure any of the others as well as myself would be happy to try and help you make sense of it all, but I think it would help you more once we know your experience and expectations in more detail.

This is hard to explain in writing but basically my $49 entry level Tojiro santoku requires very little effort to cut most things and will pretty much just cut through a tomato by its own weight when fully sharp (something I never was able to say about my previous German knives and they were heavier lol) but my almost $300 konosuke HD gyuto does it so much more gracefully and with even less effort, and will stay sharp enough to continue doing it that much longer. Hope that makes sense and helps! It took me a while to get a grasp on the idea before actually being able to handle them (and that required owning them) but it was a whole lot easier to appreciate the difference once I did get to.

The harder part is in figuring if the added benefits are worth the pretty large added expense for you.


"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!



"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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