PDA

View Full Version : Cutting Methods and Techniques



ams
05-22-2012, 11:38 PM
Being a line cook for over a year and using exclusively cheap chef's knives for every task (mincing tons of parsley, making citrus supremes, slicing tons of carrots on a bias for sauteing, dicing boxes of tomatoes very small, making a million carrot/celery sticks, slicing tons of baby button mushrooms and the list goes on and on) I've learned my own techniques for certain tasks. I cant really explain how to do them my hands just kind of do them instinctively. However, I am trying to learn how to cut using a Usuba (Shun Pro to be exact) and don't really know how to use this type of knife since I've only used a basic chefs knife. Is there any online reference or good book that details cutting methods (IE rocking/push-pull)?

Also, I feel like I would prefer a knife with a flatter belly than a Chef's knife. What type of knife could be used like a chefs knife but with a flatter belly? I feel like this knife would have a smaller push-pull length making cutting easier, faster and easier on the wrists/hands.

DaveRossy
05-23-2012, 12:35 AM
I was in the same boat as you and have to say everyone here are great and will give you the best advice. I also, was thinking about a Usuba but found out it is quite a specialty knife (single edge for precise cutting) so if that's what you are trying to achieve you may want to look at some "real"Japanese versions. Jon at Japanese Knife Imports, as well as others, gave me some great advice and now I changed my mind to a Gyuto. I'm sure the more knowledgeable people here can put you in the right direction but I have found for everyday use, this is at the top of a very short list, although it does depend on what you are using the knife for.

chinacats
05-23-2012, 12:41 AM
Also, I feel like I would prefer a knife with a flatter belly than a Chef's knife. What type of knife could be used like a chefs knife but with a flatter belly? I feel like this knife would have a smaller push-pull length making cutting easier, faster and easier on the wrists/hands.

I know you will get better answers, but just to throw this out, a chef's knife/gyuto can be very flat...may want to look at something like a kiritsuke.

Cheers

ThEoRy
05-23-2012, 02:43 AM
I know you will get better answers, but just to throw this out, a chef's knife/gyuto can be very flat...may want to look at something like a kiritsuke.

Cheers

I'll don't know if a kiritsuki is a good idea. It's a cross between a Yanagiba and an usuba. Two highly specialized knives. One should only try one after achieving the skills required to use the two first.

GlassEye
05-23-2012, 02:59 AM
A flatter profiled gyutou or kiritsuke-shaped gyutou might fit your wants quite well. Usuba are rather specialized knives that require certain skill, in use and sharpening, to be properly used. You should check out the Japanese Knife Society videos for technique videos. Here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2MT7PRopK08) and Here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HaEYZZapaTs)

ajhuff
05-23-2012, 07:28 AM
Also, I feel like I would prefer a knife with a flatter belly than a Chef's knife. What type of knife could be used like a chefs knife but with a flatter belly? I feel like this knife would have a smaller push-pull length making cutting easier, faster and easier on the wrists/hands.

That sounds like my Sabatier.

-AJ

MadMel
05-23-2012, 10:32 AM
I'll don't know if a kiritsuki is a good idea. It's a cross between a Yanagiba and an usuba. Two highly specialized knives. One should only try one after achieving the skills required to use the two first.

Agreed. If you like flatter profiles, look at getting a slightly taller sujihiki.

ams
05-23-2012, 11:48 AM
My impression was that a Usuba would be good for most vegetable prep that requires a clean sharp cut like cutting scallions on a bias, chiffonade of basil, slicing cucumbers across etc. If not what is this specialty knife supposed to be used for?

mpukas
05-23-2012, 12:04 PM
If not what is this specialty knife supposed to be used for?

Katsuramuki and ken (needle) cuts.

No need for usuba in a western kitchen. If you don't have experience and skill with traditional Japanese single bevel knives, then don't get one expecting to bring it into a western kitchen and use it the way you would use a chef's knife. You be very disappointed and probably damage the knife. Everything you've described can be done with a gyuto, and done well.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HaEYZZapaTs

There are plenty of gyuto's with flatter profiles than the chef's knives you've been using. Too flat can be difficult too, unless you adapt your technique to it.

mpukas
05-23-2012, 12:06 PM
another


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3HDro-KP9Wo&feature=plcp

ams
05-23-2012, 12:13 PM
Thanks! However, I'm not looking to use it as a chef's knife but to use it for specific vegetable tasks where it would provide better more precise cuts (scallions on bias, very fine chiffonade, cutting chives very finely etc.). Would this knife not be good for these types of tasks? I think he is cutting scallions in the video above with a usuba isn't he? I'm not going to use it for chopping or speeding through heavy prep (thats what my wustohf is for) just for the more delicate things, especially those things that end up on the plate as garnish where a cleaner cut looks better.

Sarge
05-23-2012, 12:17 PM
The Usuba is fine for the things you want to use it for; however it is a knife that requires different technique and skill than you're probably used to. It is like a chef's knife in that regard. Watch some videos ask some questions to guys like Jon @ JKI, be patient and realize if you want to use a Usuba you'll need an entirely new skill set.

tk59
05-23-2012, 12:20 PM
If you NEED the knife, I'd probably suggest getting a double beveled knife but if you are looking to have fun and try something interesting, I'd encourage you to go get whatever you want as long as you're prepared to lose some money on the investment.

VoodooMajik
05-23-2012, 03:12 PM
Give a Tojiro ITK Nakiri A go. I use it regularly for veg prep. With the Nakiri and my gyutos I am able to do very fine work for garnish as well as hammer through cases and cases of prep. Plated banquets for 500 anyone..

emg
05-24-2012, 03:42 AM
Thanks! However, I'm not looking to use it as a chef's knife but to use it for specific vegetable tasks where it would provide better more precise cuts (scallions on bias, very fine chiffonade, cutting chives very finely etc.). Would this knife not be good for these types of tasks? I think he is cutting scallions in the video above with a usuba isn't he? I'm not going to use it for chopping or speeding through heavy prep (thats what my wustohf is for) just for the more delicate things, especially those things that end up on the plate as garnish where a cleaner cut looks better.

cleaver?

slowtyper
05-24-2012, 11:43 AM
I think a Chinese cleaver is what you need foot huge amounts of prep. try a cheap cck first would be my suggestion. its good for the more delicate stuff also

Mucho Bocho
05-24-2012, 12:20 PM
I'm a Usuba fan. The way the shave garlic has to been seen to believed. Absolutely true about different technique, stance and grip but its not that different. Very fun knife to use. I use it for herbs too. The motion is not that hard to learn with practice. nakiri's are more all purpose but will be harder to achieve usuba thinness.

schanop
05-24-2012, 06:56 PM
@Mucho bocho, so your blue#2 usuba turns out well. How about the deba? Could you do a quick review/summary of the two knives?

Mucho Bocho
05-24-2012, 07:28 PM
Schanop, We'll the verdict is still out. I sent them to Dave for some of his sharpening magic. We'll the show never got off the ground. Dave basically told me that my Usuba and Deba were built like Chinese knock-offs. All-be-it $250--300 knock-offs. He went as far as to say "if you can, return them." Oh he was willing to work on them, for around $150 to sharpen each blade might be more he said. I also sent him my Mori Nakiri. You may have seen the thread on that one "Moritaka--How Long." Thats m knife.

So I asked Dave to return all of the knives to me, unsharpened. Then I e-mailed Mark at CKTG to ask "what the hell." As usual Mark had quick customer-satisfying answer to my woes. 1.) said he could fix the Moritaka regardless of suspect holes in the side bevels. Second he said that he would have one of his guys work on my single bevels too. So i'm going to send them out to Mark's guy for the sharpening. And he isn't going to charge me $150 each knife to sharpen them, more like $20 a blade. To be honest, I more than disappointed with the service I got from Dave Martell. I'll post updates after I get them back and try to get some videos out too. Mark said that he has sold over 1000 Moritaka's and has only had a couple returned. He even offered to take mine back ( a year of owning them). Thats someone that cares about their customer and stands behind what they sell. Probably get kicked off this board for saying this stuff but its true.

El Pescador
05-24-2012, 07:53 PM
before you send them on to Mrk, why don't you ask to see if there is an unbiased 3rd party that would look at your knives to confirm or refute Dave's claims? I'm sure there are plenty of people who would help you out.


Schanop, We'll the verdict is still out. I sent them to Dave for some of his sharpening magic. We'll the show never got off the ground. Dave basically told me that my Usuba and Deba were built like Chinese knock-offs. All-be-it $250--300 knock-offs. He went as far as to say "if you can, return them." Oh he was willing to work on them, for around $150 to sharpen each blade might be more he said. I also sent him my Mori Nakiri. You may have seen the thread on that one "Moritaka--How Long." Thats m knife.

So I asked Dave to return all of the knives to me, unsharpened. Then I e-mailed Mark at CKTG to ask "what the hell." As usual Mark had quick customer-satisfying answer to my woes. 1.) said he could fix the Moritaka regardless of suspect holes in the side bevels. Second he said that he would have one of his guys work on my single bevels too. So i'm going to send them out to Mark's guy for the sharpening. And he isn't going to charge me $150 each knife to sharpen them, more like $20 a blade. To be honest, I more than disappointed with the service I got from Dave Martell. I'll post updates after I get them back and try to get some videos out too. Mark said that he has sold over 1000 Moritaka's and has only had a couple returned. He even offered to take mine back ( a year of owning them). Thats someone that cares about their customer and stands behind what they sell. Probably get kicked off this board for saying this stuff but its true.

tk59
05-24-2012, 08:42 PM
before you send them on to Mrk, why don't you ask to see if there is an unbiased 3rd party that would look at your knives to confirm or refute Dave's claims? I'm sure there are plenty of people who would help you out.+1. Any time I want to say something that might piss someone else off, I try to get several other opinions from people that would know.

schanop
05-24-2012, 09:02 PM
Schanop, We'll the verdict is still out. I sent them to Dave for some of his sharpening magic. We'll the show never got off the ground. Dave basically told me that my Usuba and Deba were built like Chinese knock-offs. All-be-it $250--300 knock-offs. He went as far as to say "if you can, return them." Oh he was willing to work on them, for around $150 to sharpen each blade might be more he said. I also sent him my Mori Nakiri. You may have seen the thread on that one "Moritaka--How Long." Thats m knife.


Are they that bad, really? My white #2 version have some issues, deba was warped towards the tip, and had badly ground ura, but unusable. Usuba was nice overall, but bevel was far from flat and even. Please do put an after though back to the usba+deba thread you started. Looking forward to see how they go.

Cadillac J
05-24-2012, 10:41 PM
Dave basically told me that my Usuba and Deba were built like Chinese knock-offs. All-be-it $250--300 knock-offs.

MB, curious as to what usuba and deba you had?

Mucho Bocho
05-25-2012, 07:40 AM
I bought them from Keiichi from Blue Way Japan. Both made for me, hon kasumi, blue2, with that certified gov. sticker on them. I eyeballed them and they looked good but i'm not a professional knife/maker sharpener. Told Keiichi that wanted the Usuba strait in the back and slightly angled toward tip. Looks that way to me. The Deba looked fine too, the only extra grinding I saw was at the tip but it was definately strait. They looked well made from my point of view. I just hoping to get them in the hands of someone that can establish a good blade road. I mean, they are not being entered into a world wide best-of-grind knife show or anything. I guess that part of my frustration.

Cadillac J
05-25-2012, 11:52 AM
Hmmm...Maybe Dave can tell us what he saw to make those comments.

I picture an inexpensive single-bevel like the Hon Kasumi deba at EE or the small entry yanagi that Dave used to sell on his site for sharpening practice---never heard anyone complain about sharpening them.

Without seeing your knives its almost impossible to judge, but I would be surprised that a known reputable seller would pass off the bottom of the barrel products for those prices.

Mucho Bocho
05-25-2012, 12:05 PM
JCad, Exactly. They were sold by Keiichi and we many of us have bought knives from him. I was in regular conversation with Keiichi about what I wanted but maybe even more what I didn't want (thanks to the feedback on this forum). He assured me that my knives would be built properly for me. They even engraved my name as kanji as I knew it would be unlikely that I would ever have a need for two deba's. Heck, I had the knife for a month and didn't even have a chance to use it. Was totally unsharpened and unused.

I don't doubt that Dave is a good guy and top-shelf sharpener/builder. I have a very keen eye but won't even pro-port to say that I am able to look at a knife they way knife-maker folks here can (you all know who they are). But when i looked the Usuba, Yani and Deba, I tried to eyeball any sort of issue with them, but was unable to. The blade roads looked as even and smooth as my my other knives.

The nakiri, I still don't know what to think about this. Am going to have one of Mark's guys tune it up and will report back.

mpukas
05-25-2012, 05:56 PM
I bought them from Keiichi from Blue Way Japan...

I wouldn't send these to knives to Mark to have one of his "guys" sharpen them. Now, don't get me wrong - I have absolutely nothing against Mark, his business, or his associates. I'm a happy customer of his, and plan to continue to do so. Mark may deal with an extensive variety of knives, but I don't consider him to be an expert on single bevel knives. Not by a long shot. And do you know who he would send his knives to? Sean? Ken? Nothing against those guys either, but there's no way I'd let either one of them touch a single bevel knife of my own.

By all means send the Moritaka back to Mark if that's who you bougt it from.

I would definitely send the knives to someone else for a second opinion and/or proper sharpening. Someone that you know personally has experience sharpening traditional single bevel Japanese knives and truly knows what they are doing. Jon Broida is the first person that comes to mind. KC is another person, but he's not on this forum.

Have you talked to Keiichi? He'd be the first person I would talk to about potential problems, before Dave or Mark or anyone else for that matter.

schanop
05-25-2012, 06:39 PM
KC is on holiday AFAIK.

And totally agree that Jon is one of the very right person to send your single bevel knives to.


I wouldn't send these to knives to Mark to have one of his "guys" sharpen them. Now, don't get me wrong - I have absolutely nothing against Mark, his business, or his associates. I'm a happy customer of his, and plan to continue to do so. Mark may deal with an extensive variety of knives, but I don't consider him to be an expert on single bevel knives. Not by a long shot. And do you know who he would send his knives to? Sean? Ken? Nothing against those guys either, but there's no way I'd let either one of them touch a single bevel knife of my own.

By all means send the Moritaka back to Mark if that's who you bougt it from.

I would definitely send the knives to someone else for a second opinion and/or proper sharpening. Someone that you know personally has experience sharpening traditional single bevel Japanese knives and truly knows what they are doing. Jon Broida is the first person that comes to mind. KC is another person, but he's not on this forum.

Have you talked to Keiichi? He'd be the first person I would talk to about potential problems, before Dave or Mark or anyone else for that matter.

mhlee
05-25-2012, 06:58 PM
KC is on holiday AFAIK.

And totally agree that Jon is one of the very right person to send your single bevel knives to.

KC just went to lunch. :rofl2: Sorry, I couldn't help myself. I chatting with him a few hours ago.

Jon is a good person to discuss this with. I know he's busy, so a call might be better than corresponding here.

Another person/place you could contact is Korin. They do knife repair as well.

schanop
05-25-2012, 07:09 PM
no worries. still thinking that he's still oversea.

JBroida
05-26-2012, 12:45 AM
no worries. still thinking that he's still oversea.

nah... he's back in la... see him all the time now

schanop
05-26-2012, 12:54 AM
nah... he's back in la... see him all the time now

Absence on FF fooled me ... LOL

Mucho Bocho
05-26-2012, 08:49 AM
I tried calling Jon but noticed he was closed on Thursday. I think i'll reach out to him later this week.

JBroida
05-26-2012, 01:32 PM
sorry about that... but i'll be at my store later today