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What's the point of a sharp heel?
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Thread: What's the point of a sharp heel?

  1. #1
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    What's the point of a sharp heel?

    After being nicked for the third time in a week by the sharp heel of my knives (while cleaning and sharpening, not cutting) I began to wonder what the point is about a sharp heel. I do appreciate the aesthetics of line and tension of a sharp edge from tip to heel but really, in terms of function is there a purpose? I mean even in a yanagiba or a deba where one would use the section of the edge towards the heel a sharp pointed heel is not really necessary is it? Of course I'm not about to blunt or round off the heels of my knives but am I missing something here?

  2. #2
    I can't see a purpose. On the knives I have that have quite sharp heels that seem to catch me, I just put it on a coarse stone at a 45 degree angle. I figure I lose about a half a millimeter of blade cutting area- no big deal. All of the blade itself is still sharp, it just doesn't end in a 45 degree point. I understand sharp "heels" on the tip of a cleaver- that's super useful... but I'm not usually doing anything with the heel where I'm tilting the knife to make use of the "point" of the heel, so I figure best to just remove it. I first noticed this when going to a Fujiwara petty after using cleavers for years and years. On the cleaver, the blade is WAY the heck down there, and you don't nick yourself on the heel. But, it is easy enough on a petty...

  3. #3
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    You can use a heel of an usuba, a gyuto, and/or santoku as a little knife i.e. taking out potato eye in hand with the heel is one such typical usage.

    Sharp deba heels serves a purpose for breaking through fish bone joint.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by schanop View Post
    You can use a heel of an usuba, a gyuto, and/or santoku as a little knife i.e. taking out potato eye in hand with the heel is one such typical usage.

    Sharp deba heels serves a purpose for breaking through fish bone joint.
    Good examples. I don't realize how much I use a sharp heel until I am using a knife that doesn't have it.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Jmadams13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GlassEye View Post
    Good examples. I don't realize how much I use a sharp heel until I am using a knife that doesn't have it.
    Exactly. I use the heel more then I think, until it's not there or I grab one of my sabs. Not even sure when I use it, I just know i miss it when it's not there
    "This is grain, which any fool can eat, but for which the Lord intended a more divine means of consumption.. Beer!" -Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves, Friar Tuck

  6. #6
    It's for pulling the sticker off of tomatoes.

    Hoss

  7. #7
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    Another example for a yanagi would be to use the heel to prick the fish flesh or skin to make it softer. Picture a process of slicing fish, pricking the piece, then plating or making a nigiri out of it.

  8. #8
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    every part of the knife has its use! even the spine.

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    It's good for discouraging people from using my "nice" blades. They can stick to the full bolster German stuff.

  10. #10
    Senior Member WiscoNole's Avatar
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    they're for making air holes in a container to improve flow through the spout
    -Matt

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