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Thread: Heavy Chef's Knife - A New Project

  1. #181
    Quote Originally Posted by Marko Tsourkan View Post
    On Heiji where bevels converge about 25mm behind the tip, thickness is about 2mm. That's pretty thick, so you got to apply some pressure to push the tip through the food in lateral cuts unless you are cutting soft stuff primarily like onions or cuts are very shallow.

    The very tip is super thin, but it gets progressively thicker after 5-6mm or so.

    I am not saying it is impossible. I am just trying to understand why some users find sword geometry perform poorly on lateral cuts, and some find quite the opposite.

    Please elaborate.

    Quote Originally Posted by Marko Tsourkan View Post
    Convex doesn't have the ridge the way sword grind has, so even it's not shallow (like Kato for instance) it still encounters less resistance in lateral cuts.

    This is what I observed trying both, Heiji and Kato, but I don't cut enough to have a good feel for it, so your input is very helpful.

    Sword grind is one of the 3 grinds for a heavy workhorse that I would like to try to understand better. Geometry-wise I am there, but I still need to figure out (with your help) if some things of the original geometry can be improved, like the tip.

    I'm not sure why it works so well, but I think two things are factors. One, they are pretty symmetrical so they tend to cut straight on horizontal cuts and not steer that much. Two, the ridge/shinogi helps break the friction of the product (usually onion). The convex grind has nothing to break the stiction so it has a lot of surface area in contact with the product. One reason why people experience different results may have to do with the amount of pressure they are applying down on top of the product. Lots of things make horizontal cuts more difficult than regular cutting motion: steering is harder to control, the cut piece is not allowed to fall away from the blade, pressure applied from the product side and cut side, and it's just a cut that gets made less often, therefore less practice. If you use a lot of pressure when holding down the product, you are applying more pressure on the blade and creating more friction/stiction on the cut.
    "God sends meat and the devil sends cooks." - Thomas Deloney

  2. #182
    Will see today.

    "All beauty that has no foundation in use, soon grows distasteful and needs continuous replacement with something new." The Shakers' saying.

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  3. #183
    Canada's Sharpest Lefty Lefty's Avatar
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    Mar 2011
    I really like Johnny's explanation. I just received my Davis, which is a beefy knife that gets nice and thin at the edge. It's by no means a laser, but it performs great. I was dicing some onions and noticed that I had to pay attention to my downward pressure, and when I did - perfect!

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  4. #184
    Senior Member EdipisReks's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Cincinnati, Oh
    When I do horizontal cuts with my Heijis, I slice into the item and then pull the knife tip towards me while pushing the handle away from me. This sweeping motion (and it's not a large motion) ensures that the thinnest section of the knife is used in the cut, and it works very well. I really only do this kind of cut with shallots and onions. I find shallots tend to bind knives more than onions do, and the Heijis perform very well on this test.

  5. #185
    Senior Member Chuckles's Avatar
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    Aug 2012
    I have found that convexing in the tip area can be helpful for horizontal cuts (thinking onions) as long as it peaks at mid blade and then thins to the spine. Heavy convexing that continues to the spine makes these cuts very difficult as the width at the spine can wedge just enough to stop the edge from making solid edge contact ahead of the wedge. I am talking about an area about an inch to an inch and a half from the tip. Of course convexing in this area will contribute to wedging on harder, more dense product (e.g. butternut squash) right where cuts are typically initiated for longer cuts in these items. I have found the distal taper to be an equally contributing indicator of how a knife will perform on lateral cuts.

    I think that the tip area and the transition to the belly are the sections of a heavier chef knife that really define its character. It is particularly this area of the knife where it is hardest to give all things to all people in my opinion. But if anybody can pull it off...
    'I don't want to achieve immortality through my work... I want to achieve it through not dying.' Woody Allen

  6. #186
    So,I brought 3 knives for testing yesterday - a heavy convex ground (similar to Kato but from a thinner stock), a sword ground (similar to Heiji) and a modified sword ground - sword grind on the right, and convex on the left. There were real Kato, Heiji within hands reach, so I kept switching between mine and those knives to feel a difference.

    I ended up cutting 6 white onions, a tray of cooked red beets, and a good number of root vegetables - sweet potatoes, celery roots, rutabagas. Here how the knives performed.

    On onions, I tested primarily sword and sword/convex. I liked sword/convex better. Slightly less resistance on vertical and horizontal cuts. No steering. On cooked red beats, tip of the convex grind was pretty effective brunois them.

    On root vegetables, heavy convex outshined the other two types on long, deep cuts. On shallow cross cuts, sword and sword/convex grinds separated better.

    52100 fared very well in the pro kitchen environment. After several hours, the primary knife I was using (convex) developed light patina, and even though I was wiping all three knives with a wet towel, no discoloration (except light patina) formed.

    If only one knife were to be had, it would be convex, if two - convex and sword/convex or sword, and alternate between them depending on cuts.

    It's by no means a complete (and conclusive test) and I am not an impartial tester, but I hope that people will reach the same conclusion, after trying these types. The convex gyuto will undergo further testing by the KKF member whose kitchen I visited yesterday, so I should get more feedback about how the knife performs on a variety of foods.

    The sword grind gyuto will be reground into heavy convex. The sword/convex will remain unchanged for the time being.



    "All beauty that has no foundation in use, soon grows distasteful and needs continuous replacement with something new." The Shakers' saying.

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  7. #187
    Senior Member mpukas's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Gyptuckey, CO
    The shape of this knife looks great Marko! I really dig it.

    I've come to the same conclusion as you, that a convex grind cuts better for me. I prefer a symmetrical grind to minimize steering and give max control. I think asym grind has certain advantages, especially if you are doing a lot of very thin slicing of harder food items, but over all I find symmetrical grind to be more versatile and easy to control.

    Thanks for sharing - love seeing this project develop.
    Shibui - simplicity devoid of unnecessary elements

  8. #188
    What is a sword grind? Tried going back a couple pgs couldn't find any descriptors

  9. #189
    Sword grind is when bevels are cut into the sides creating "shoulders". An example of sword grind is Heiji knives.

    "All beauty that has no foundation in use, soon grows distasteful and needs continuous replacement with something new." The Shakers' saying.

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  10. #190
    It looks like both knives (convex and sword/convex) will be going to a prospective buyer for a trial and feedback before returning back to me for maker's mark and saya.

    "All beauty that has no foundation in use, soon grows distasteful and needs continuous replacement with something new." The Shakers' saying.

    If my KKF Inbox is full (or not), please contact me via Email:

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