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Kitchen Knives - Page 8

post #106 of 430
Another small thing I should add is that Japanese knives should have weight. The blade, shape, along with the weight are used for the cutting. If you get one of those light, thin kind you will not get the full experience of a Japanese knife.
post #107 of 430
I just got off the phone with MAC and they said there isn't much need for honing because the metal is so much harder than Western knives. He recommended using their roll sharpener ever 2-4 weeks depending on how often you cook. But if you do use a honing steel, use a ceramic one. I got my 6.5" santoku in the mail on Friday and love the knife. The guy on the phone recommended getting a santoku paring knife, an 8" chef with Granton edge, and a santoku cleaver. The deba cleavers are nice but are quite a bit more expensive. I will probably just get the MACs although Teacher's insight about Western knives going through bones better is interesting. I was just watching Alton Brown and he was saying that knives are modeled after swords and German ones are made for strength and the Japanese for accuracy. So it makes sense the German ones would go through bones better.
post #108 of 430
Actually, I don't use the edge to cut through most bones, very fine poultry bones being the exception. Instead, I use the heel of a German-style knife, which is the part of the bolster that comes to a point at the front. French-style knives have heels that are a little light for this, and Japanese-style knives rarely have bolsters at all.
post #109 of 430
Quote:
Originally Posted by Teacher View Post
Actually, I don't use the edge to cut through most bones, very fine poultry bones being the exception. Instead, I use the heel of a German-style knife, which is the part of the bolster that comes to a point at the front. French-style knives have heels that are a little light for this, and Japanese-style knives rarely have bolsters at all.
I'm looking at the Messermeisters now for an 8" heavy duty cleaver. I think German knives are best for hacking all types of meats from what I'm reading. I'll use Japanese for other types of cutting. Is an 8" overkill or will a 6" work for most applications?
post #110 of 430
Quote:
Originally Posted by tiecollector View Post
I just got off the phone with MAC and they said there isn't much need for honing because the metal is so much harder than Western knives. He recommended using their roll sharpener ever 2-4 weeks depending on how often you cook. But if you do use a honing steel, use a ceramic one. I got my 6.5" santoku in the mail on Friday and love the knife. The guy on the phone recommended getting a santoku paring knife, an 8" chef with Granton edge, and a santoku cleaver. The deba cleavers are nice but are quite a bit more expensive. I will probably just get the MACs although Teacher's insight about Western knives going through bones better is interesting. I was just watching Alton Brown and he was saying that knives are modeled after swords and German ones are made for strength and the Japanese for accuracy. So it makes sense the German ones would go through bones better.
A couple of points: Yes, traditional hones are too coarse for japanese knives. Ceramic or even smooth hones with no grooves at all are much better. You are not trying to sharpen the knife when honing it, you are just trying to straighten the edge back into a something resembling a line. Since you are not a knifegeek, I would not get a Santoku or Deba this soon. MAC has a few lines some of which are more expensive than others so you may find a less expensive deba if you check out a different retailer (or a different brand). A inexpensive Chinese cleaver also makes a good deba substitute, though there are some pricey cleavers as well. Something to keep in mind, is that you don't always have to chop through bones, at least when poultry is concerned. You can just find the joints and slice through them. German knives are heavier, more substantial, have a wider, less acute edge and are generally (Teacher's untraditional RC60 vintage knives non withstanding) made with softer steel alloy. When a typical German knife encounters a kitchen counter, a bone or something else hard it tends to roll it's edge. You may visually be able to see that a part of the edge is bent. You may be able to steel the bend out or more likely sharpen it out. Japanese made western style knives are lighter, have a thinner edge profile, made with better, higher carbon content steel, and are hardened to a higher RC number for superior edge retention. This also means that if you try to use them to open cans of beans, chop through frozen bones, cut on a glass "cutting" board or abuse them in any way you may find a part of your knife's edge missing... Think of these knives as razors. They will out cut anything out there but they are not careless-cook proof. If you do chip them, the remedy is the same as the german or french knives - sharpening. While I sharpening a few of japanese knives of my friends and relatives I also noticed that the tips of the knives tend to go missing a lot. It only takes me 10-15 minutes to give them a new tip, but I can't help but think that some people are used to treating their kitchen knives as some sort of multi-tools: "a screw needs tightening over there, hell I'd just use my chef's knife".
post #111 of 430
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragon View Post
Another small thing I should add is that Japanese knives should have weight. The blade, shape, along with the weight are used for the cutting. If you get one of those light, thin kind you will not get the full experience of a Japanese knife.
I think you may have in mind the traditional Japanese knives, known as yanagiba, usuba, deba, nakiri, etc... These are not very well suited for preparing Western meals. I believe we were mostly discussing Japanese made western style knives. For most people it's the Guyto (Cow Sword/chef's knife) and a Petty (parer) with some miscellaneous other blade designs thrown in, all being useful in preparing a typical Continental or an American meal.
post #112 of 430
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dmax View Post
I think you may have in mind the traditional Japanese knives, known as yanagiba, usuba, deba, nakiri, etc... These are not very well suited for preparing Western meals. I believe we were mostly discussing Japanese made western style knives. For most people it's the Guyto (Cow Sword/chef's knife) and a Petty (parer) with some miscellaneous other blade designs thrown in, all being useful in preparing a typical Continental or an American meal.

I see...

Guyto is double edged, so there is almost no meaning as a Japanese knife, but I guess it would suit western food much more.
post #113 of 430
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dmax View Post
A couple of points:

Yes, traditional hones are too coarse for japanese knives.

No, that's not right. First, it's called a steel; hone is the verb. Second, the coarseness has nothing to do with it. It's how hard the steel is. A steel must be a few degrees Rockwell harder than the edge it is honing or it won't work. The only time a steel need be basically smooth is when it is used for a card scraper.

Quote:
When a typical German knife encounters a kitchen counter, a bone or something else hard it tends to roll it's edge.

This happens to all steel edges, not just German ones. That's what the steel is for.

Quote:
Japanese made western style knives are lighter, have a thinner edge profile, made with better, higher carbon content steel, and are hardened to a higher RC number for superior edge retention.

Uh...no. It is certainly not better; it is different. Nowadays, it is not always higher in carbon, but often chromium and/or molybdenum. (Japanese chisel edges, on the other hand, are higher in carbon.) Besides, as I've brought up more than once, higher carbon content always has one glaringly negative side effect: brittle edges. That's why modern Western edge steels actually have lower carbon contents than edge steels of old. And yes, it is hardened more, but your use of the word "superior" needs qualification. If you mean that it it will take more soft-use wear and tear, then yes, it is superior. If you are talking about hard abuse, however, it is most definitely inferior to Western steels, which are far less brittle.

Each alloy has its strengths and weaknesses, and one should know what they are when going into knife buying. Just because something is harder does not make it overall superior. There are pros and cons to each aspect. For example, would you recommend making kitchen knives from S53 steel? Hard and tough as it is, I would never, ever recommend such a thing. It just has too many drawbacks for the home cook.
post #114 of 430
This thread continues to crack me up. It reminds me of the shoe posts where you know that none of them are going to get any wear. Teacher is the most correct, although I disagree with some little points he makes.

The bottom line is that I am not sure that many of the people posting here can actually use a knife to any good effect. I say that not only from the comments, but also from looking at some of the pictures in the what did you eat thread. Personally, I find that French knives have the best shape, that Global knives are great because of their lightness, and that the very high end Japanese knives are toys for people who don't cook, but what the hell do I know?
post #115 of 430
Quote:
Originally Posted by iammatt View Post
This thread continues to crack me up. It reminds me of the shoe posts where you know that none of them are going to get any wear. Teacher is the most correct, although I disagree with some little points he makes.

The bottom line is that I am not sure that many of the people posting here can actually use a knife to any good effect. I say that not only from the comments, but also from looking at some of the pictures in the what did you eat thread. Personally, I find that French knives have the best shape, that Global knives are great because of their lightness, and that the very high end Japanese knives are toys for people who don't cook, but what the hell do I know?

Sounds like you know everything
post #116 of 430
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragon View Post
Sounds like you know everything
Well, I worked 8 months in the kitchen of a michelin 2-star chef, so I better know something about cutting food and sharpening knives.
post #117 of 430
Quote:
Originally Posted by iammatt View Post
This thread continues to crack me up. It reminds me of the shoe posts where you know that none of them are going to get any wear. Teacher is the most correct, although I disagree with some little points he makes. The bottom line is that I am not sure that many of the people posting here can actually use a knife to any good effect. I say that not only from the comments, but also from looking at some of the pictures in the what did you eat thread. Personally, I find that French knives have the best shape, that Global knives are great because of their lightness, and that the very high end Japanese knives are toys for people who don't cook, but what the hell do I know?
"It's better to be entertaining than to be correct". Hopefully, you are not the only one entertained. I do ask that instead of disparaging "people posting here" you try to identify the posters you were referring to. Otherwise, your comments have the same effect as KitonBrioni saying: "The outfits of people who posted on these past 5 pages were hideous" in the "What are you wearing right now thread".
post #118 of 430
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dmax View Post
"It's better to be entertaining than to be correct". Hopefully, you are not the only one entertained. I do ask that instead of disparaging "people posting here" you try to identify the posters you were referring to. Otherwise, your comments have the same effect as KitonBrioni saying: "The outfits of people who posted on these past 5 pages were hideous" in the "What are you wearing right now thread".
OK, my .02, as I said above, is that in the hands of somebody who both knows how to steel and use a knife, the most effective tool is a soft carbon, forged French chef's knife. Steeling just aligns the burrs on the edge of a knife so that they are all pointing in the same direction. This is done both by force and by the magnetic qualities of the steel. Once an edge is truly taken off of the knife, it needs to be resharpened, either on a wheel or on a stone. A harder steel knife will have a longer lasting edge, but it will be harder to keep that edge at the optimal angle with a steel, so there is give and take. As for shape, a French knife is preferable to a German knife because the tip is easier to use for fine cutting. A German shape knife is great for rocking, but is relatively useless for something like brunoise or even julienne. Most Japanese knives I have tried fail as far as being as nimble as a French knife, but the Globals are actually quite good. I have, or have had, several from each country so these are opinions based on use, not facts or second hand opinions. Japanese fish knives are great, but I find them relatively useless in real life. What I laugh at is the need for a damascus steel knife or something similarly beautiful. If you really like them, fine, but knives are tools and like any good tool you mold them to you through use and through sharpening, and something that is great only for the sake of its own beauty is not necessarily practical, as one would be nervous to have the edge and shape ground to fit the user as it might disturb the aesthetics of the knife.
post #119 of 430
Quote:
Originally Posted by iammatt View Post
Well, I worked 8 months in the kitchen of a michelin 2-star chef, so I better know something about cutting food and sharpening knives.

In all fairness, that means nothing. Just because somebody is/has been in a certain profession doesn't mean they're particularly knowledgable about it. I just got done dealing with a pretty crappy mechanic who's been a mechanic for a long time.
post #120 of 430
Quote:
Originally Posted by Teacher View Post
In all fairness, that means nothing. Just because somebody is/has been in a certain profession doesn't mean they're particularly knowledgable about it. I just got done dealing with a pretty crappy mechanic who's been a mechanic for a long time.
If you are ever in San Francisco, you are more than welcome to come over for dinner.
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