My son's turning 8, and he has been helping in the kitchen for 2 years. He's been chopping up a storm - parsley, Garlic, Ginger, Scallions, cilantro... the list goes on. He's my little sous chef - and he deserves (and wants) his own knife.
I let him use a VERY CHEAP single bevel white steel 150mm petty. Anything bigger scares the heck out of him. I admit - It looks pretty intimidating, and my wife hates that I let him use it (sharpest edge in the house at the moment) (well at least until next week :thumbsup2:)
Anyone have ideas on a less scary knife, but still something he can grow with, and if I'm lucky it'll be a heir loom?
I grew up with my parents' set of Sabatier Ks, and I just used the petty for the chefs until I grew into the 8" chefs, and then the big daddy was my weapon of choice by about 15. I really think it's safe to give them any knife they want--your supervision is the key. He's going to cut himself, just like he'll fall off a bike. But he won't kill himself with it.
I say if it's a special gift, let him help pick, or else just get online by yourself and look at great knives within your budget and get him whichever one says to you "my son".
I've been around guns and knives since I was 8. Got my first pocket knife at that age -- just a Cub Scout knife, to be sure, but it had real steel blades that were sharp enough to whittle wood. The important thing was that my dad taught me to respect both and made sure I knew how to use them safely, supervising my use at first and making sure I knew why I shouldn't do the sort of stupid things some of my peers were doing (e.g., throwing knives, playing mumbetypeg, etc.). Yet I did manage to cut myself a few times -- it's part of the learning curve, I guess, and apparently I'm still learning 57 years later. Anyway, teach him how to use the knife, make sure he respects it and understands the damage it can do, and watch him carefully until you're confident he has the skills to avoid a major injury.
How about a 6" Chef's Knife or 180mm Gyuto? JCK has a nice Masamoto VG for not too much, or there's always Wusthof, which would be harder for him to damage. Or maybe a Santoku.
I would have to go with the Santoku as well. Most of the injuries my sons sustains are as a result of nicking himself with the tip or poking himself. A santoku design seems less likely to do that. I would be curious to see what you find as well, keep us posted.
I have tried out three kids knives (including the Misono). If I were to choose one, I think the Masahiro one is my favorite (link below). It has a tip, but it is rounded a bit as to not be such a puncture threat. The Misono with the completely rounded tip can add a level of frustration as kids sometimes try to cut with the tip and that just doesn't work well with the Misono. But it is a good knife, and my daughter still uses that one the most.
Getting a petty is fine too, but I find that kids like to have their own tools. My little girl thinks it is cool that she has her very own knife, and even though I have a petty she could use, I don't want her messing with my knife drawer.
Thanks for your input everyone this has been very helpful!!
I've tried Jake (my son) with a Santoku, and I agree that it's much less scary than a Gyuto from a sharp tip perspective. There's something that gets weird here in the relationship between knife size and his size. It's like all of the sudden what I'd consider a small knife is absolutely huge and uncontrollable for someone with 8-year old hands, arms and hand-eye co-ordination. He's growing in huge spurts (think string bean) - tripping over his own feet... I remember those years lol!
It was a busy weekend, but successful on this front. I went to a small knife sale down a dark alley, in a hip part of town, and made some good contacts. Turns out they can order Konosuke kids knives, and if I wait, they will be made to order. I'm going to go through a bit of a process with Jake to find the shape and size of knife that suits him well, then get something made no harder than a hardness of 58. This will be my first adventure making a custom knife - and is perfect for the 'keepsake' goal I have.
That will take some time - it will be worth it. In the mean time, the single bevel petty is too scary. I also visited a local knife shop for my first time this weekend, and had a long conversation with the owner - I found a Mcusta VG10 150 petty (same shape/handle as a zanmai but no damascus) with a octagonal that I think is just right. It's heavier than what I'd prefer in a petty, but I figure it's perfect for my wife and the kids. There's still a tip on the blade, but it's not as aggressive. I'll send a pic of the two later tonight... have to get off the internet and play with my kids!!
Tosho Knife Arts?
Originally Posted by Josh
yessir - should be a fun process! I'm thinking a small santoku no larger than 160 with a rounded tip.... but Jake will make final decisions.
Originally Posted by slowtyper
Top knife is el cheapo white steel single bevel scary knife. bottom is new petty - still a good knife, softer steel, not as sharp