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View Full Version : Why should the handle angle upwards?



Don Nguyen
11-26-2012, 11:37 AM
I know the profile is supposed to narrow and the heel and spine aren't parallel, but why should the handle angle upwards?

Seems counterintuitive, and most people, including me, don't get it. Is it because our poor uninformed technique?

What about proper cutting and technique makes the upwards angle good? Pinch grip and proper movement?

Thanks!

mainaman
11-26-2012, 11:45 AM
What knifes are we talking about here?
I do not remember seeing a Japanese knife that does not have the tang in line with the spine.

stevenStefano
11-26-2012, 12:12 PM
You mean when the edge is flat on the board and the handle angles upwards? I'd say it's for knuckle clearance.

EdipisReks
11-26-2012, 12:27 PM
it's for improved knuckle clearance.

Eamon Burke
11-26-2012, 04:40 PM
It fits your palm better, too.

Salty dog
11-26-2012, 06:04 PM
It shouldn't.

tk59
11-26-2012, 06:21 PM
Your question is unclear. I think you should post a diagram of what you're saying.

heirkb
11-26-2012, 07:02 PM
Your question is unclear. I think you should post a diagram of what you're saying.

He's referring to the handle being tilted like in the Shun Alton's angle knives. A lot of people prefer a less drastic version of that because it gives them knuckle clearance. If my knife already has a very triangular profile (the spine and edge at the heel are angled towards each other rather than parallel), I don't like an upwards handle, because it actually hurts my wrist.

tk59
11-26-2012, 07:09 PM
If that's the case. I don't like it either. It looks crappy and it only helps if you've got sausages for fingers or you're trying to use too small a knife.

Don Nguyen
11-26-2012, 07:10 PM
I was referring to the triangular profile of the knife, and how if the edge is on the board, the handle will have a slight angle up, instead of being parallel to the board.

http://www.edgeobserver.com/wp-content/uploads/Watanabe_Gyuto_full.jpg

I've been told that this is a characteristic of a good knife, but I've never understood the reasoning behind it. What about the triangular shape makes the profile "good", and thinking in terms of the handle, is it just for knuckle clearance?

ecchef
11-26-2012, 07:32 PM
Is this a trick question? Simple geometry...unless the edge and spine are parallel the length of the blade, and the handle parallel with them, at some point relative to the edge, the handle will "angle up".

Don Nguyen
11-26-2012, 08:14 PM
Is this a trick question? Simple geometry...unless the edge and spine are parallel the length of the blade, and the handle parallel with them, at some point relative to the edge, the handle will "angle up".

I'm not trying to be tricky, honestly. I'm just confused.

I guess the profile is part of the question now too. I don't quite get why the profile has to be the triangular shape, though I know that a good knife will have the shape.

And about the handle - let's say you have the triangular profile, but you technically could have the handle angled parallel with the board, or even downward like those wonky Fieri knives. I don't ever see that, probably because it's not that good of an idea, but I don't get why.

EDIT: I tried to explain to my dad why knives had that triangular profile where the handle angled up, but I couldn't explain why, which is why I'm here asking.

NO ChoP!
11-26-2012, 08:50 PM
Simple aesthetics over form and function, I believe...

tk59
11-26-2012, 08:57 PM
It's physics. It allows you to apply a greater proportion of force downward (the direction the blade travels through the food).

Don Nguyen
11-26-2012, 09:05 PM
It's physics. It allows you to apply a greater proportion of force downward (the direction the blade travels through the food).

I never even thought about that, but it makes a whole lot of sense!

RRLOVER
11-26-2012, 09:48 PM
In theory with the handle parallel to the cutting board you would think it should work better.......but is does not for me.The western handled Kramer I briefly owned was kind of like that.I think you should make a knife with the handle the way you feel you would like it.

Salty dog
11-26-2012, 10:13 PM
A gyuto and most knives are some shape of triangle. I generally like the handle to be in line with the top line of the triangle. Because it is a triangle it will point toward the sky. Some, ever so slightly. I prefer ever so slightly.

http://i1036.photobucket.com/albums/a442/Saltys_knives/dt8.jpg

Some less slightly. Except for the middle one which is compensated for.

http://i1036.photobucket.com/albums/a442/Saltys_knives/IMG_5673.jpg

Chifunda
11-27-2012, 12:02 AM
it only helps if you've got sausages for fingers

I prefer to think of it as having manly phalanges. :rasberry:

mpukas
11-27-2012, 02:00 PM
To clarify, two different issues pointed at in this thread. Angle of the edge relative to the spine, and angle of the handle installation relative to the spine.

Some makers and users prefer the handle to angle slightly upwards. Heiji installs his handles this way (just look at the pics on Jon's website; I've also discussed this with Jon, and it is indeed intentioanl, and not uncommon). Bieniek also re-handled his Kato (http://www.kitchenknifeforums.com/showthread.php/7943-Kiyoshi-Kato-27cm/page4) in this fasion.

Personally, I prefer the handle to be level with the spine, if for nothing more than asthetics. In use, I don't notice the up-turned handle on my Heiji, but the look of it just kills me. Plus I don't like the handle anyway...

The other issue is angle of the edge relative to the angle of the spine. As Salty has shown, the angle can vary. I've never heard that a "good knife" has an angle to it. An angle will raise the handle giving more knuckle clearance at the board, but will also reduce the height of the blade a it gets closer to the tip. I'm not a fan of knives that have a lot of angle at the edge - I prefer the edge more parallel to the spine (KS). I've never had a problem with knuckle clearance with a gyuto. With a sjui, it makes more sense to have an angle at the edge to raise the handle a bit.

JohnnyChance
11-27-2012, 02:10 PM
It's physics. It allows you to apply a greater proportion of force downward (the direction the blade travels through the food).

Ding ding ding! We have a winner.

Cutty Sharp
11-27-2012, 02:38 PM
Another thing to think about is how tall you are and/or how short your counter top/cutting surface is. I'm not too tall - about 180cm or 6' - but, boy, I get tired cooking at home and peering down on the low counters I've had living in Korea and Japan. I don't like the aesthetics of a handle that's not in line with the spine. However, I appreciate the triangle shape, when the general edge angle allows for added clearance above the parallel.

Salty dog
11-27-2012, 08:07 PM
Ding ding ding! We have a winner.

If you are a push cutter or chopper.

EdipisReks
11-27-2012, 08:19 PM
If you are a push cutter or chopper.

it is the same with a rock chop. the angle improves mechanical advantage, as part of the motion is a push.

Don Nguyen
11-27-2012, 10:13 PM
You guys are awesome. Thanks!

It all makes sense to me now.