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  1. #1
    Senior Member Matus's Avatar
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    Thinking of trying a Deba ...

    Hello,

    browsing around here has very dangerous side-effects

    I started to think that it would be nice to get my hands on a deba knife - it could even replace my 16cm Wusthof Soligen knife that I find bit too butt-heavy. The tasks would be anything I do not want to tackle with the thin blades, including some de-boning here and then. I am not looking for a cleaver though.

    So - what would be a good choice? My approximate requirements/expectations:
    - blade around 5"-6"
    - carbon or stainless (I would find good reasons for both)
    - WA or western. (I prefer WA, my wife prefers western)
    - I am right-handed (so is my wife)
    - say up to $200.

    I have not browsed too much about potential models, though the Suisin Inox wafu Deba 165 mm from JKI looks interesting (just to give an idea)


    thanks

  2. #2
    I was on a tight budget when I got my deba. It's a shimatani (http://j-cutlery.com/krodeba180.html) and I Love it! It will keep a shaving sharp edges without sharpening for months, I've never managed to chip it (neither has my wife) and it looks super nice. It comes very cheap and it kinda shows in the handle and finish. The grind could be more precise and the handle could be buffalo (I upgraded mine myself). Basically if you don't care about the handle and you sharpen it the proper way (might have some high/low spots on the bevel) it's a very very very good knife. Like I said after a good sharpen and a new handle it's one of my favorite knives and I have absolutely no intentions of getting a new deba. I don't know what a higher quality knife would have to offer what I don't get from mine. Just needed a bit of help out of the box and now it's rockin!

  3. #3
    Senior Member Chefdog's Avatar
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    Unless you're specifically looking to breakdown lots of fish with this new knife (which doesnt sound like the case) a traditional deba might not be the best bet. If you're looking for something versatile that can handle some butchery and also be fairly useful as a utility knife, take a look at a honesuki. You can find them easily in your price range, carbon or stainless, generally 150-165mm, and wa or western, although wa will tend to run more $.
    I had a Suisin carbon honesuki for years before I regretably sold it. I'm sure Jon can get these too. Most of the major makers offer one, so there are plenty of choices. At least take a look and decide if a traditional single bevel is what make the most sense for what you need, if not, I humbly say get a honesuki.
    But if you just really WANT a deba, then the Suisin inox are well regarded knives and you'll probably be happy with that. And buying from Jon is always a pleasure.
    Good luck.

  4. #4
    Maybe a western or yo-deba.
    one man gathers what another man spills...

  5. #5
    I agree with Chefdog on this, the deba isn't the most popular knife in the kitchen. My Deba only gets used on fish and chicken. But that isn't so rare, I eat chicken and fish at least every week so I still get to use it. But not as much as my yanagiba or santokus.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Chefdog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chinacats View Post
    Maybe a western or yo-deba.
    A good suggestion as well. I still have a 240 Suisin carbon yo-deba that gets all the heavy work. Basically it's a heavy gyuto, so it's a very versatile shape. Only problem might be finding one under 180, although here are two at the very bottom of the page. They don't look as heavy as some, but might fit the bill nicely:
    http://japanesechefsknife.com/Page4.html#GingamiNo.3

  7. #7
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    There is an idea on the forum that if a blade is thick, it is good for chopping through bones. My hunch is that a thick blade provides the base for a strong and sharp edge. Single bevel knives are an example. While a deba can go through bones, its more of knowing the right place to cut, instead of indiscriminately hacking bones.

    The deba was designed to break down fish. Can it be used for other tasks? Yes, but that is like using a paint scraper as a screw driver. It does work, but is it the best choice?

    The honesuki's main job, is to break down and debone chicken. The thin tip lends itself well to other tasks, where a petty might be used. People who have picked up honsukis, and used them as traditional western boning knifes, for the most part have been disappointed. They don't break down chicken any better then a western knife. The Japanese use a method where a series of cuts are made, and the meat is pulled off the bone. The Chinese have a similar method, but use a cleaver instead. Martin Yan does a demonstration, where he breaks down a chicken in 18 seconds.

    Another option is to get a western boning knife in a Japanese steel. Tojiro makes one, and so does Misono. You would get the advantages of Japanese steel, in a knife, that is more versatile, then a honesuki.

    Jay

  8. #8
    Senior Member Chefdog's Avatar
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    Yes, Jay is spot on here about not being bone choppers. I will say that the Honesuki I have used, and will recommend, are asymetrical double bevel knives, not true single bevels. I've found them to be very efficient for small fish as well as the birds they were intended for. For all butchery, knowing where to cut is vastly more important than what you use to make the cut.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Matus's Avatar
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    Thank you!

    I think I should clarify more why I am thinking of a Deba. I am intrigued by the shape of the blade and by the single sided bewel and would like to try it out. A honesuki looks interesting too - I will look into that too. It is indeed true that I rarely work on a fish, but chicken or similar does get deboned/broken down on regular

    - andur -
    thanks for the link - that knife could be an option

    - Chefdog -
    point taken

    - Jay -
    Indeed just hacking the bones is not the right way. I learned that while deboning a leg from a dear (took me WAY longer than 18 seconds but at the end I won) I agree that a double-beveled edge of western knives is more practical, but it must be obvious by now that I am basically looking for an excuse to get a japanese single-bewel knife but at the same time I do de-boning here and then, just not a lot of fish work.

  10. #10
    There is something about using single beveled knives, kind of satisfaction.

    Im not sure deba is the best for chicken but hey you want it go for it.

    Maybe if you would find the single bevel petty Jon had for sale some time ago? [dont remember price though]

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