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Gravy Power
08-23-2012, 01:09 AM
So I'm going to start protien fabrication in about a week and a half. I plan on breaking down lots of chickens in class, as well as out of class for practice, in addition to other game/possibly fish.

Naturally, the Mercer issued to us is crap. Would like a nice Honesuki or hankotsu for around $100 (can go a little more, won't be ashame to go a little less).

Any suggestions?

Gravy Power
08-23-2012, 01:10 AM
Also, as I alluded to in the first post, if this knife could double for some fish fab, that would be great, but I do plan on buying a filet knife eventually.

ajhuff
08-23-2012, 08:13 AM
I've never had much love for my hankotsu. I find my 150mm petty does a better job for me, feels better in my hand and probably because of that feels like it gives me greater control.

YMMV

-Aaj

Dusty
08-23-2012, 08:36 AM
If you need stainless, Tojiro honesuki is pretty good value for money. Probably the only Tojiro I'd ever recommend to anyone aside from the nice bread knife.

Misono Swedish for carbon.

I only find hankotsu comfortable when holding it overhand, and I wouldn't use either for fish.

Chefdog
08-23-2012, 09:02 AM
I've used a 150mm Suisin carbon honesuki to break down a LOT of animals, from squab to turbot and find it a very versatile boning knife. I actually like it more for small fish (<3-4#) than for birds. A little larger knife (180 yo-deba or garasuki) is my preference for average size chicken and duck. I'll also second the statement above regarding a small petty's usefulness when it comes to small fish and especially small birds. I've never been a big fan of flexible knives for butchery. As long as you know the anatomy of what your cutting, I think a stiff knife is better suited to nice clean cuts and separating joints.

ThEoRy
08-23-2012, 10:06 AM
I don't recommend a hankotsu or honesuki for fish fabrication. What size fish are we talking about here anyway?

Dusty
08-23-2012, 10:14 AM
I don't recommend a hankotsu or honesuki for fish fabrication.

+1

Benuser
08-23-2012, 10:18 AM
You might consider as well a stiff désosseur by one of the usual European suspects. All are thin, most are flexible, but there are a few stiff as well. Or you adapt the geometry of an existing knife. Best would be a thin but convexed edge.

Chefdog
08-23-2012, 11:13 AM
I don't recommend a hankotsu or honesuki for fish fabrication. What size fish are we talking about here anyway?

Curious as to your reasoning? Not trying to be argumentative, just want to hear another perspective. I've done an extensive amount of fish cutting over the years and find that (like with most things in a kitchen) the technique is vastly more important than the tools. If you compare the typical knife used for fish in a French kitchen to the Japanese deba you've got two incredibly different tools that, when used with correct technique, acomplish exactly the same job.
With a couple exceptions (euro style cleaver being one example) I'd say that once you understand how the fish needs to come apart you can take it down with almost any knife.
I will say though, that for someone just learning it makes sense to stick to one of the established styles of boning knife because they will be more forgiving to less than perfect technique.
IMHO, YMMV etc.

JKerr
08-23-2012, 11:33 AM
Never used a honesuki so I can't comment on them, but I wouldn't pick the hankotsu as an all-rounder. Even within butchering, I find it pretty average for some tasks but incredible at others. For example, I prefer my gokujo (or even a small deba) for breaking down poultry; I personally like to have a little extra length and some curve on the edge for this. Obviously poultry is pretty basic and hard to screw up, so I tend to pick whatever I feel I'll do the job fastest with.

For fiddly jobs where you're working around bones, then the hankotsu is my favorite knife. The likes of completely boning out rabbits or suckling pigs, I find the hankotsu is just easier to control in those tight spots.

I just use a flexiable Sab for small fish and salmon at work, we're not really buying in anything large/tough boned fish at the moment.

If I was gonna do it all with one knife, I'd probably go a small deba. But like I said, I've never used a honesuki....

Cheers,
Josh

jaybett
08-23-2012, 02:38 PM
I'd wonder, if showing up to class with an odd shaped Japanese boning knife would be more of a distraction, then its worth? It might be a better idea to use the recommended knife and focus on technique.

From what I can see watching videos, the Eastern style concentrates more on de-boning a chicken, while the West the emphasis is breaking down a chicken into parts. The Eastern style makes a series of strategic cuts and scrapes/peels the meat off the bone. Its a very efficient method. Whole chickens can be broken down and de-boned in less then a minute, with hardly any meat left on the bone. There are videos of Martin Yan, breaking down a chicken in less then 18 seconds.

The Honesuki/Garasuki are designed to take advantage of the Eastern style. There doesn't appear to be any advantage using them in the Western style, besides holding their edge longer. If you still want to try one, the Tojiro would be a good place to start.

Jay

Keith Neal
08-23-2012, 02:47 PM
I'd wonder, if showing up to class with an odd shaped Japanese boning knife would be more of a distraction, then its worth? It might be a better idea to use the recommended knife and focus on technique.

Jay

I agree.

wenus2
08-23-2012, 04:11 PM
Distraction or not, I'd say practice with the tools you intend to use.

As gathered from the variety of opinion, one can make a vast combination of options viable for these tasks. My advice would be to choose a path and master the skills required for it. Then feel free to explore other means to accomplish the same task after you have established a solid technique to fall back on.

ajhuff
08-23-2012, 05:01 PM
The distraction point is kind of valid. It's better to stand out because you have superior skill than strange equipment. When learning technique it would be better to have something the instructor is familiar with. A petty is pretty close. For my class work I bought an F. Dick boning knife.

-AJ

GlassEye
08-23-2012, 05:34 PM
If in your situation, I would just get an inexpensive standard boning knife for class, use the fun stuff later.

Noodle Soup
08-23-2012, 08:41 PM
Given the Japanese are relatively new comers to boning out large amounts of pork, beef, lamb etc. it seems reasonable to me to stick to western style boning knives until you learn the ropes. I've boned I don't know how many deer, elk, beef, and hogs with Victorinox and F. Dick knives but skill is more important than the tool. I'm still learning.

ThEoRy
08-23-2012, 09:51 PM
Curious as to your reasoning? Not trying to be argumentative, just want to hear another perspective. I've done an extensive amount of fish cutting over the years and find that (like with most things in a kitchen) the technique is vastly more important than the tools. If you compare the typical knife used for fish in a French kitchen to the Japanese deba you've got two incredibly different tools that, when used with correct technique, acomplish exactly the same job.
With a couple exceptions (euro style cleaver being one example) I'd say that once you understand how the fish needs to come apart you can take it down with almost any knife.
I will say though, that for someone just learning it makes sense to stick to one of the established styles of boning knife because they will be more forgiving to less than perfect technique.
IMHO, YMMV etc.

Because they just don't work well at it. Especially for the op's particular case. He may as well start off fresh with a middle of the road type of knife like a petty. This way he can learn the proper techniques first with a regular type blade. It would be more versatile for him too. Tenderloins, poultry, smaller fish, he could learn them all with just the petty. After figuring out his blade preferences later on he could adjust easily into deba or suji for fish and honesuki, hankotsu for poultry, tenders etc.

Gravy Power
08-23-2012, 11:24 PM
Heard to all that have responded. Thanks for the advice. Being a knife addict I'm beyond the point of not buying something :D, regardless of how I introduce it at school. Plenty of people bring their non issue knives, some instructors like it, some could care less, and others feel it's unappropriate. I've had some folks reach out to me via PM and have some good, reasonable options.

sachem allison
08-23-2012, 11:38 PM
Talk to Spikec, He'll make you something awesome and at a great price too. you won't be sorry

Mike9
08-24-2012, 09:52 AM
That's a nice looking knife. I have a Honesuki Maru that I like for boning and trimming slabs of ribs, rib roasts, shoulders, hind quarters, etc. It has a stout blade with a nice point and mine takes and holds a great edge.

Citizen Snips
08-24-2012, 09:10 PM
i would go for a deba for fish, nothing else

for other meats, i have a major dislike for hankotsu or honesuki. i prefer a petty as it is much more versatile and i cannot afford nor do i have space in a knife bag for 10 knives. you will get the much needed flex in some petty lines and they are not one sided.

i use a 210mm suisin IH which also doubles for a line knife. there are other options out there that would suit your needs in size and heft that have multi-purpose applications that do not come with the honesuki or hankotsu

RiffRaff
08-25-2012, 03:52 PM
Curious as to your reasoning? Not trying to be argumentative, just want to hear another perspective. I've done an extensive amount of fish cutting over the years and find that (like with most things in a kitchen) the technique is vastly more important than the tools. If you compare the typical knife used for fish in a French kitchen to the Japanese deba you've got two incredibly different tools that, when used with correct technique, acomplish exactly the same job.
With a couple exceptions (euro style cleaver being one example) I'd say that once you understand how the fish needs to come apart you can take it down with almost any knife.
I will say though, that for someone just learning it makes sense to stick to one of the established styles of boning knife because they will be more forgiving to less than perfect technique.
IMHO, YMMV etc.


I agree with Chefdog's reasoning fully. However, I know how much fun it is to shop around for and purchase a new tool, then put it to work. Having said that, I'd go for the thin, flexible blade such as you find in fillet knives, even if you plan on boning chicken and lamb rather than fish. My own personal favorite is the fillet knife I own from Phil Wilson whose name and work can be found in many threads on this forum, including one that I posted a while ago on under-appreciated masters. Also, frequent contributor oivind_dahle has a thread going back a few months about looking for the perfect fillet knife, and I think his results are relevant for your search.