Knives thick at the spine, thin at the edge
What knives are there that you have or know that are thin at the edge and thick at the spine? I imagine that such knife could, with the right geometry, have very good food release.
Nearly all of my gyutos are about 2.4 mm at the spine (measured at the heal). This includes a Suisin Inox honyaki knife and a Carter gyuto. These are usually called lasers, I guess.
But I've recently been involved in discussions about Itinomonn, Watanabe and Teruyasu Fujiwara. These seem thicker knives at the spine. But maybe these are quite thin as well. So who could tell me more about which knives they are and why you like them (not)?
Thickness behind the edge is more important with regards to cutting performance so don't get caught up on spine thickness. I've owned two that have thicker than average spines - JNS Kato and Gengetsu. Both are very good knives, but very different. What I liked about them are the grinds (and therefore cutting performance), distal taper and the spine stiffness.
Cant make a recommendation but have a 240 wantanabe I can measure for you when I get home if you want.
They dont get talked about at all and are maybe a little unfashionable but I got a sugimoto carbon in the mail a few days ago after enjoying a stainless model for a few years. I have been thoroughly enjoying it so far. Its unclad, about 3mm thick at the spine from the heel and gradually tapers down to a thin tip. It is a fairly stiff knife overall, although it could be a bit thicker at the spine. It measures something like 0.8mm 1cm from the tip. Thickness at the edge is really thin, about 1cm from the edge it measures in around 1mm.
They are ground extremely assymetric, like 80/20, which I actually really like. Its almost dead flat on the left side with good convexing on the right. Food release is excellent and I'm noticing little stiction or wedging at all (this is in a pro environment). The actual edge was a little rough for me but no big deal. It feels good on the stones- whatever the alloy they use- and had no problem taking my usual acute angles.
Unfortunately, they only come in western handle varieties, however the handle is among the most comfortable western handles I have used. Very smooth, maybe a little larger than nornal, but I actually kind of dig it. Theres a good sense of weight in the knife, it feels solid yet is definitely capable of more delicate tasks.
Admittedly, I started out using german knives in the kitchen before moving to japanese blades a few years ago so perhaps I may have some old habits and preferences than most. I also know western handled knives arent considered highly by most but so far, for what I paid (270 aud shipped via rakuten) it represents good value for a quality carbon gyuto. After starting out with a stainless 240 gyuto some 3 years ago from this company, I still feel that same sense of awe.
That said, there are several makers out there that specialise in forged knives with thick spines/thin edges and I too want to try out several more but if you just want to try something, sugimoto is a great place to start. You can order knives directly from their website if you google sugimoto hamono. Their smaller knives are much cheaper- their pricing structure for knives is a little strange to me. I think a 210mm gyuto costs like $120.
This is the Heiji raison raison d'être. Here is the choil of the one I just sold, to give you an idea:
Kato ~ 6 mm
Gengetsu ~ 3.5 mm
Thanks guys! Also for the pics.
Vesteroid, if you could measure your Watanabe, I'd really appreciate it. I've found their website and I am considering a Watanabe gyuto.
That Kato geometry looks very cool, too, James. I think I'll keep a close eye on the JNS site.
I've also measured my own knives. I've PM-ed about this and the reaction was that I have knives that are pretty thin at the spine. I know :-) . That's why I'm looking for ones that are wider at the spine, but still thin behind the edge.
My knife spine measurements (taken above the heel):
Konosuke HH 150mm petty: 1,7 mm
Ashi Hamono Ginga 180 mm gyuto: 1,8 mm
Carter 6.17 Sun High grade wa-bocho: 2,4 mm at heal // 1,7 cm halfway
Richmond Artifex 21 cm gyuto: 2,4 mm
Suisin Inox Honyaki 21 cm wa-gyuto: 2,4 mm
Echizen Uchihamono (a.k.a. "Goko") Go damascus gyuto, Go-002: 1,5 mm
Hiromoto AS 24 cm gyuoto: 2,4 mm
Ashi Hamono Ginga 240 mm suijhiki: 2,4 mm
Takeda 275 mm AS yanagiba: 3 mm
Fujiwara Maboroshi 210 Gyuto 2.1mm
Fujiwara Maboroshi 130 Petty 1.7mm
Shibata Kotetsu 180 Bunka 1.7mm
Murata 165 Nakiri 2.0mm
Masakage Koishi 150 Honesuki 5.1mm
I would also mention Yoshikane SLD knives - pretty much flex-free. I used to have a 270 suji long time ago and have 150 petty today. The petty is 3.0mm at the heel, but tapers nicely towards - 2.0mm half way towards the tip and 0.8mm 1cm from the tip.