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View Full Version : What knives would be good for opening coconuts?



tschmelcher
07-24-2011, 12:09 AM
Hello! This is my first post here and I hope someone here can help me out. I know very little about kitchen knives and I am shopping for a new knife for a specific purpose: opening coconuts. My g/f and I like to eat coconuts bought from the grocery store, but they have to be opened by cutting the top off and my current J.A. Henckels International hollow-edge santoku is totally inadequate. It takes me ages to get one open with that knife and every time it feels like the knife is going to break on me.

A couple weeks ago though I saw a pro opening a coconut with a knife that looked kind of like a cleaner. He chopped down on an angle into the top of the coconut with the near end of the blade, then rotated and repeated three or four times, and that was it! And I'm like "oh my god I need a knife like that." Except I don't know what kind of knife it was. :(

I am guessing that I probably need something hard, sharp, durable, and heavy (so that it has momentum). I don't mind spending a lot to get the right tool for the job, but I certainly don't want to spend a lot on the wrong tool for the job and then destroy it from misuse.

I read that Japanese knives are harder than European ones and I found that the Shun Elite series is made from an especially hard kind of steel and is discounted now due to being discontinued ... but then I found http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/products.html with tons of other makes with vastly different price ranges and now I have no idea what I need.

Help!

What type of knife(s) do you think you want?
Hard, sharp, durable, heavy. Japanese maybe?

Why is it being purchased? What, if anything, are you replacing?
To cut open coconuts. Replacing J.A. Henckels International 7" hollow-edge santoku.

What do you like and dislike about these qualities of your knives already?
Aesthetics-Bleh, they look very utilitarian.
Edge Quality/Retention-They've never seemed very sharp, even right after I sharpen them.
Ease of Use-Fine, except the paring knife can only be used near the edge of the board.
Comfort-Fine

What grip do you use?
Not sure what this means ...

What kind of cutting motion do you use?
In regular cooking, mostly slicing and chopping. For the coconuts, my knife barely makes a dent so I usually end up pounding the coconut into the knife blade on the floor over and over ...

Where do you store them?
Wooden block.

Have you ever oiled a handle?
No.

What kind of cutting board(s) do you use?
Two wood, one thick plastic, four thin plastic.

For edge maintenance, do you use a strop, honing rod, pull through/other, or nothing?
Honing rod.

Have they ever been sharpened?
Yes, I sharpen them myself whenever they start feeling dull.

What is your budget?
If I buy something ultra-expensive then I'll probably be scared to use it so ... probably no more than $350.

What do you cook and how often?
Mostly vegetarian food and the occasional fish. Cook at home usually about 4-5 times per week (between me + g/f).

Special requests(Country of origin/type of wood/etc)?

goodchef1
07-24-2011, 12:37 AM
as far as the "what grip do you use" question, think back to your adolescence. There was a thread awhile back that consisted of frozen coconuts, and I believe there was a consensus that kitchen cutlery does not do well in that category. Koki and his wife have another website japaneseknifedirect you can hunt for stuff that would shred a coconut. Kikuo Matsuda comes to mind.

http://www.japaneseknifedirect.com/KikuoMatsudaKnife.html

More will chime in and help you with your journey. :)

tschmelcher
07-24-2011, 12:59 AM
Adolescence? Oh, ha ha. Err, I guess I just use a closed grip around the handle, as if I'm making a fist.

Never thought of buying a weapon for opening coconuts, but that actually kind of makes sense ...

James
07-24-2011, 01:04 AM
You are talking about young coconuts right? This sounds like a good job for a decent machete ;) I wouldn't bother with expensive knives in this case; that kind of abuse will definitely chip the edge or worse. You do not want a hard steel in this case; generally harder=more brittle. IMO if it's a young coconut, you could probably use a german meat cleaver and get a nice gyuto+petty for your regular cooking needs. As for sharpening, make sure that you're holding the same angle throughout the blade (henckels santoku is something like 17 degrees) and deburring properly on some cork or something. I'm pretty sure the international version can get sharp seeing as how I was able to shave some arm hair with one after sharpening it

tschmelcher
07-24-2011, 01:21 AM
Yeah, young coconuts. I didn't know about deburring at all, glad I learned that! Going to look into machetes and cleavers.

El Pescador
07-24-2011, 02:29 AM
+ 1 on the machete...

slowtyper
07-24-2011, 02:38 AM
Pretty cool reason to buy a machete! Gotta start buying more coconuts. BTW I recall watching some cool coconut opening techniques on iron chef. Maybe try searching youtube for some cool techniques to impress (or frighten) your guests.

tschmelcher
07-24-2011, 02:46 AM
I found a place that carries machetes intended for opening coconuts (or at least markets them that way), made by some Thai company called Lek. http://www.aranyik.com/coconut-machetes.html I'm thinking about getting the "CM1" but there's so little info available on this company's products. The Amazon page at least says it is 5160 steel which I gather is good stuff. http://www.amazon.com/Lek-CM1-16-5-Coconut-Machete/dp/B005E9DZPE I guess I'll just have to buy one and see ...

NO ChoP!
07-24-2011, 11:36 AM
Use the point of the heel of any tall blade; About four or five good cracks around the nut usually will do it....just remember to not twist at all with the blade, as it may damage it....

oivind_dahle
07-24-2011, 11:39 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJyVT6hJ5xY

EdipisReks
07-24-2011, 11:56 AM
as long as you put de lime in it and drink 'em both up, it doesn't matter too much what you use to open it.

aranyik
07-24-2011, 04:04 PM
I found a place that carries machetes intended for opening coconuts (or at least markets them that way), made by some Thai company called Lek. http://www.aranyik.com/coconut-machetes.html I'm thinking about getting the "CM1" but there's so little info available on this company's products. The Amazon page at least says it is 5160 steel which I gather is good stuff. http://www.amazon.com/Lek-CM1-16-5-Coconut-Machete/dp/B005E9DZPE I guess I'll just have to buy one and see ...

Thanks, if you end up buying from me, please leave me a review somewhere... Amazon, Google, etc. so others may now the quality of the product.

One of my customers opens up coconuts all day long for a living.. What does he buy from me?



Secret to a good coconut knife is weight and width! You need to be shopping for something at least 1 pound, and at least 1/8" thick

tschmelcher
07-24-2011, 04:49 PM
Woah, never expected to get a reply from the seller! I see the "NS2" in that picture is 0.4 lbs heavier so I think the CM1 is right for me.

I have a question for you. If I checkout the CM1 from you on Amazon it says shipping will be just $5.49, but if checkout from your website it says it will be $17.70. What's going on there? Is the Amazon shipping slower or is the price just wrong? I'd like pretty fast shipping because I want this for a party next Saturday.

P.S. I would buy the Perfect Thai Coconut Machete if it was still available.

El Pescador
07-24-2011, 05:34 PM
If you want to go over the top...I'd get a small guillotine! When I lived in Costa Rica a coco street. vendor had one and occasionally wake up in the night hearing the sound it made. Maybe you could find something on eBay...

aranyik
07-24-2011, 07:19 PM
I want to know if answering your questions breaks any of Terms & Conditions of this site...

In any case check your inbox.


Woah, never expected to get a reply from the seller! I see the "NS2" in that picture is 0.4 lbs heavier so I think the CM1 is right for me.

I have a question for you. If I checkout the CM1 from you on Amazon it says shipping will be just $5.49, but if checkout from your website it says it will be $17.70. What's going on there? Is the Amazon shipping slower or is the price just wrong? I'd like pretty fast shipping because I want this for a party next Saturday.

P.S. I would buy the Perfect Thai Coconut Machete if it was still available.

aranyik
07-24-2011, 07:29 PM
Hi, I saw that you have been around the site awhile, is it ok for me to respond to questions directed at my company?


If you want to go over the top...I'd get a small guillotine! When I lived in Costa Rica a coco street. vendor had one and occasionally wake up in the night hearing the sound it made. Maybe you could find something on eBay...

UglyJoe
07-24-2011, 08:45 PM
Aranyik,

You need to talk to Dave. Typically there isn't supposed to be direct vendor presence in the main forum area - The Kitchen Knife subforum, that is - and public talk is meant to happen in a vendor subforum. But if you want to answer via PM then have at it. Simply put something in the main thread saying you will answer via PM, as you have already done once here. Don't be surprised if some of your posts so far are edited a bit. It won't be a personal attack, but there has to be fair play with the other vendors as well.

ecchef
07-24-2011, 09:02 PM
Yeah, young coconuts. I didn't know about deburring at all, glad I learned that! Going to look into machetes and cleavers.

Well...definitely not a Nenox 240 yo-deba :mad3:

The guy that worked in the juice bar I used to frequent used an old carbon steel butcher knife. The bullnose kind.

If I remember correctly, he still had all his fingers.

aranyik
07-24-2011, 09:31 PM
Aranyik,

You need to talk to Dave. Typically there isn't supposed to be direct vendor presence in the main forum area - The Kitchen Knife subforum, that is - and public talk is meant to happen in a vendor subforum. But if you want to answer via PM then have at it. Simply put something in the main thread saying you will answer via PM, as you have already done once here. Don't be surprised if some of your posts so far are edited a bit. It won't be a personal attack, but there has to be fair play with the other vendors as well.

Thanks for the input, edit away, no personal offense taken. I understand forums need to make a living.

Eamon Burke
07-26-2011, 04:38 PM
Thanks for the input, edit away, no personal offense taken. I understand forums need to make a living.

That's very good of you! Just ask "dave martell" or "jim" about it, they can help you with questions regarding vendor presence. We just want KKF to stay un-commercially motivated. Heck, we had a guy from Pepperpassion stop by a while back and take money from us all by answering questions about his spices.

Shnaw
07-28-2011, 12:58 AM
Looks like someone forgot his anti-slip, his cutting boards a bit wobbly =] That was in response to the youtube video, think I hit the wrong button.

Tristan
07-29-2011, 09:29 PM
I had a massive accident a long while ago with a coconut a blunt cleaver, and my left hand when I was too young to know better about knives.

I don't open coconuts anymore just because of the bad memories.

Dave Martell
07-30-2011, 09:44 AM
......is it ok for me to respond to questions directed at my company?


Hi and welcome to KKF! :)

You may answer questions directed at your company as long as your answers don't contain links to sales pages or pricing or any kind of advertising.

We welcome your input and look forward to your presence here at KKF.

aranyik
07-30-2011, 10:43 PM
O.k. Thanks I appreciate it. Your site has been throwing me a few referrals lately so I stopped in to have a look.

WillC
07-31-2011, 03:36 PM
Golluk has my vote. Any type of machete will do. A Billhook type shape on the end can be good for the last bit.