PDA

View Full Version : Deba: Time to Start a New Obsession



JanusInTheGarden
01-14-2012, 01:17 PM
Hello all!

So after watching a few videos from Japanese Knife Society and Itasan, I am totally dead set on the idea that I need to learn how to use a deba properly. I am a younger line cook, and I haven't been to school yet so I haven't been afforded the opportunity to break down a lot of fish. I was hoping to get a knife that can last me for YEARS with satisfaction. So excited to start practicing!

So I am looking to figure out which deba I should purchase. Now I did do a little research on these knives and as I understand it, debas can and perhaps should be had for less money than, say, a gyuto. Most folks I've been reading say that a 180 is a very versatile size but I wonder if it will be large enough when some day I find a larger fish sitting in front of me. In reality, I have little to no idea what I should be looking for but I know that I dont want to spend $200+.

So how about them Takafusas? What is the difference in performance/handling between the sizes? Any other good value options that will be a great knife for me to learn on?

I sincerely appreciate any helpful advice and tips y'all can offer (both on knife purchasing and advice on usage/technique/resources). Y'all have always been such a great "go-to" resource for expanding my knowledge!

JBroida
01-14-2012, 03:14 PM
A lot of people talk about cheap debas... i tend to disagree with that mindset. There are a lot of problems seen in less expensive single bevel knives and you can see those on some really cheap debas. This does effect the way the knife performs.

I dont necessarily believe that everyone needs to go out and buy super expensive debas... actually, i tend to believe that people should buy skill level appropriate knives and grow from there. But there is a big difference between a $100 deba and a $250 deba (about the range of a good beginner deba). I think if buying a cheaper deba was a good idea, a lot more chefs in Japan would be using really cheap debas ;)

schanop
01-14-2012, 03:17 PM
I think you will get what you pay for. I have noticed a pattern of pricing a 300mm yanagiba, a 210mm usuba, and a 180mm deba from the same maker/same range at a similar price. Although you can get cheeper deba, there might be some issues with the knife depending on your luck. I have bought a white steel Sakai Ichimonji Kichikuni via BlueWay deba that came with a crooked tip in two ways: bent towards jigane side (which is almost impossible to fix at home AFAIK) and bad urasaki grind just around the tip area. Although an usuba from the same range same maker came in a very very good condition, relatively flat bevel, flat straight edge.

If you can stretch your budget a bit to, let's say 230-250, Jon should be able to hook you up with a yoshihiro 180mm. In 180mm at that price range, Masamoto KK (JCK), Sakai Ichimonji Kichikuni blue steel#2 (BlueWay), and Yoshihiro Hon Kasumi are some other options.

slowtyper
01-14-2012, 09:19 PM
I have a tanaka deba which is the only deba I've ever used. I like it a lot. For those who have used this and others, what do you think about it and how does it compare to other knives?

K-Fed
01-14-2012, 10:47 PM
+1 I have a tanaka aswell and am completely satisfied with its performance. The handle while not pretty, is fully functional and quite large for a wa handle. I feel that it suits the heavy deba.
I have a tanaka deba which is the only deba I've ever used. I like it a lot. For those who have used this and others, what do you think about it and how does it compare to other knives?

Eamon Burke
01-14-2012, 10:58 PM
A Deba is a gargantuan hunk of steel, with a design that makes a Gyuto look like a pointy stick. That will not come cheap.

They are great though. I used to use other folks' at the sushi bar, but never got one for myself. Just too expensive, and I don't break down enough fish to justify it.

ThEoRy
01-14-2012, 11:53 PM
I don't break down enough fish to justify it.

I do... :D Jon I will be calling you about a deba in about 6 weeks when we open back up.

eshua
01-15-2012, 12:12 AM
I figure that the sort of deba you get depends on the workload you have.

I love the susin inox honyaki that my boss has for cleaning small fish for sushi line. However, I sill just grab one of my somewhat heavier gyutos when cutting big fish for hot line.

I get a shinny presentation with the deba, but imo I want speed and comfort when I have to break 100lbs of sable for grilling.

JBroida
01-15-2012, 12:17 AM
i've actually gotten to a place where i am faster now with a deba than i am with a western fillet knife or gyuto (now days i just need a couple of fish to warm up... being out of practice sucks)

JanusInTheGarden
01-15-2012, 02:16 PM
Ok so maybe cheap is not necessarily the best option. I've been looking in the price range suggested--$100 to $250 and I've come up with a little list here of knives that have been well received by reviewers.

Yoshihiro (I've seen, guessing here, two versions: both white but one for $170 and Jon's for $230...going out on a limb to say Jon's is superior)
EE Hon Kasumi $110
Shimatami Blue $160
Tosa Deba Hocho Aocho $150
Tanaka Kurouchi $120

Will Jon's Yoshihiro simply outclass the ever-living out of the whole group? If so, would it be the best option to learn with and seek to use in a professional setting in the future?

JBroida
01-15-2012, 02:52 PM
Ok so maybe cheap is not necessarily the best option. I've been looking in the price range suggested--$100 to $250 and I've come up with a little list here of knives that have been well received by reviewers.

Yoshihiro (I've seen, guessing here, two versions: both white but one for $170 and Jon's for $230...going out on a limb to say Jon's is superior)
EE Hon Kasumi $110
Shimatami Blue $160
Tosa Deba Hocho Aocho $150
Tanaka Kurouchi $120

Will Jon's Yoshihiro simply outclass the ever-living out of the whole group? If so, would it be the best option to learn with and seek to use in a professional setting in the future?

i appologize in advance if this comes across at all like marketing.

Yoshihiro produces a number of lines... the white #2 you see on e-bay is the kasumi version... their cheapest version. Their hon-kasumi line is blue #2. What we carry is pretty much a white #2 version of their hon-kasumi line.

The EE one has good reviews, but its been so long since i've been around one, i honestly dont recall what it was like. Brandon @ foodie forums used one for a long time and might be a good person to talk to.

I have a shimatami blue #2 knife... lots of grind issues both on the front (fixable) and on the back (not fixable at home). Inexpensive for blue steel, but full of many of the problems i talked about.

The tosa is likely a double bevel knife... there are only 2 single bevel knife makers i know of in that region worth noting.

There are better lines by tanaka that may be better... i've used both kasumi and damascus knives from him. The handles arent great, but that really doesnt matter so much when you're getting started. With regard to grind, there are minor issues on the back, but for the most part its ok. I've come across one or two that were bad, but i think the general experience is good. There are almost always high and low spots on the front, but this is all within normal range. What i have seen is warping... but this can be fixed. Probably closer to the $180-200 mark for a good one from him.

The yoshihiro line i carry is not without problems, its just that i see much less of them. Less expensive single bevel knives will ALWAYS have certain issues... high and low spots on the bevel, slight warping, etc. The problems i see are more minor overall and i can fix almost all of them myself if need be. The truth is you will see all of these issues in all price ranges of knives like this. However, as a general rule, cheaper ones will have more of them and more severe ones and more expensive ones will have less and less severe.

Peco
01-15-2012, 02:55 PM
How does the Suisin Inox Honyaki deba compare to the ones above?

JBroida
01-15-2012, 03:04 PM
is is possible to move that question to my section or bug me over PM so we can keep this uncluttered with me talking about my products? Sorry... i know its a fine line, so i try my best to be sensitive to it.

Peco
01-15-2012, 03:04 PM
sure, no problem!