View Full Version : What makes a good boning/fillet knife?

Don Nguyen
10-01-2013, 04:25 PM
Hey guys.

I'm interesting in making a boning/fillet hybrid. It'll be an interesting project, and also very, very tricky I think. I don't really know what makes a good one though.

I noticed that nearly all of the ones I've seen have a guard and closed heel, but I want to have at least an open heel. A guard would be very difficult for me with my limited experience as well, but maybe it's doable.

Heck, I don't even know how one is properly used, particularly the grip; is it just a hammer grip most of the time?

Thanks for your expertise!

10-01-2013, 04:49 PM
aren't boning knives fairly stiff, compared to filet knives? I guess a Deba would be the closest thing, right?

Don Nguyen
10-01-2013, 04:57 PM
I forgot to ask about that too. Does a boning/fillet hybrid just not make any sense then?

10-02-2013, 12:47 AM
In for the discussion!

10-02-2013, 01:12 AM
i don't think i've ever seen a descent eastern style flexible fillet knife, except for a global :laughat: i would love to have something "special" to quickly break down sole with.

10-02-2013, 01:27 AM
I'll just wiegh in quickly with this. Regarding the grip, more than any other knives process knives are often used in a variety of grips, pinch, hammer, overhand, fore-finger on the spine, all to do different jobs.

I don't think that a hybrid boner/filet makes much sense - but then again I bone large fish with a deba, and small with a ko-deba. The only advantage to a western fillet knife over deba in my opinion is the flex when boning flat fish, and realistically the more flex the better. Flex is the last thing that you want in a good boning knife.

10-02-2013, 01:29 AM
I've had some variant of a Dexter Russell fillet knife in my tackle box for many years. Its flexible at the tip and through the body. In use it curves with ribcage of the fish to fillet. Stainless is preferred steel. (fish, water, salt water, etc) You should be able to see one at any rest supply, sporting goods store, maybe wally world. The boning knife should flex some at tip but be more robust through the body. Both should have handles that can be readily cleaned. Good examples of each are readily available. I don't see a hybrid doing both jobs well. Note that my perspective is that of a casual user and not day to day professional kitchen use. Good luck.

10-02-2013, 01:32 AM
Glestain makes a flexible filet knife: http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/GLESTAIN2.html This might be a good start for a filet knife.

Don Nguyen
10-02-2013, 11:03 PM
Thanks guys. Seems like they certainly have their differences. Maybe I'll stick with one of them and go with it.

If I come up with some drawings I will post them here for thoughts and criticism. Thanks again!

10-02-2013, 11:10 PM
Also something I thought of this morning whilst boning out a lamb, I think the balance of western process knives is best when they are handle heavy.

10-03-2013, 01:08 AM
I'd have to agree with that from my experience.

10-08-2013, 10:26 PM
Another thing I would watch out for in a flexible knife is the flex that enters the handle. I had a coworker that was using a konosuke 210mm petty like you would a filet knife, and the tang was flexing all the way into the handle and caused it to crack. I know I am coming late to this conversation, but I hope that helped.

NO ChoP!
10-08-2013, 10:36 PM
Yah, and it was a dope Mike Henry mammoth tooth!

Now I use a vintage 9" carbon Ontario filet that I rehandled, and I save the Kono petty for other tasks.

10-08-2013, 11:41 PM
They are two different things to me. The knife I feel comfortable using as both is a 210 gyuto.

12-25-2013, 11:19 AM
A Western boning knife has a guard so you don't accidentally slide your hand on the edge while deboning. Just my to cents. Good luck with creating. Curious what it will become ?

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