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Thread: Boning Knife Adivce

  1. #1

    Boning Knife Adivce

    So I'm going to start protien fabrication in about a week and a half. I plan on breaking down lots of chickens in class, as well as out of class for practice, in addition to other game/possibly fish.

    Naturally, the Mercer issued to us is crap. Would like a nice Honesuki or hankotsu for around $100 (can go a little more, won't be ashame to go a little less).

    Any suggestions?

  2. #2
    Also, as I alluded to in the first post, if this knife could double for some fish fab, that would be great, but I do plan on buying a filet knife eventually.

  3. #3

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    I've never had much love for my hankotsu. I find my 150mm petty does a better job for me, feels better in my hand and probably because of that feels like it gives me greater control.

    YMMV

    -Aaj

  4. #4
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    If you need stainless, Tojiro honesuki is pretty good value for money. Probably the only Tojiro I'd ever recommend to anyone aside from the nice bread knife.

    Misono Swedish for carbon.

    I only find hankotsu comfortable when holding it overhand, and I wouldn't use either for fish.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Chefdog's Avatar
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    I've used a 150mm Suisin carbon honesuki to break down a LOT of animals, from squab to turbot and find it a very versatile boning knife. I actually like it more for small fish (<3-4#) than for birds. A little larger knife (180 yo-deba or garasuki) is my preference for average size chicken and duck. I'll also second the statement above regarding a small petty's usefulness when it comes to small fish and especially small birds. I've never been a big fan of flexible knives for butchery. As long as you know the anatomy of what your cutting, I think a stiff knife is better suited to nice clean cuts and separating joints.

  6. #6
    Senior Member ThEoRy's Avatar
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    I don't recommend a hankotsu or honesuki for fish fabrication. What size fish are we talking about here anyway?
    Starting this harvest I'm a starving startling artist/
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThEoRy View Post
    I don't recommend a hankotsu or honesuki for fish fabrication.
    +1

  8. #8
    Senior Member Benuser's Avatar
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    You might consider as well a stiff désosseur by one of the usual European suspects. All are thin, most are flexible, but there are a few stiff as well. Or you adapt the geometry of an existing knife. Best would be a thin but convexed edge.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Chefdog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThEoRy View Post
    I don't recommend a hankotsu or honesuki for fish fabrication. What size fish are we talking about here anyway?
    Curious as to your reasoning? Not trying to be argumentative, just want to hear another perspective. I've done an extensive amount of fish cutting over the years and find that (like with most things in a kitchen) the technique is vastly more important than the tools. If you compare the typical knife used for fish in a French kitchen to the Japanese deba you've got two incredibly different tools that, when used with correct technique, acomplish exactly the same job.
    With a couple exceptions (euro style cleaver being one example) I'd say that once you understand how the fish needs to come apart you can take it down with almost any knife.
    I will say though, that for someone just learning it makes sense to stick to one of the established styles of boning knife because they will be more forgiving to less than perfect technique.
    IMHO, YMMV etc.
    Last edited by Chefdog; 08-23-2012 at 11:14 AM. Reason: Spelling

  10. #10
    Senior Member JKerr's Avatar
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    Never used a honesuki so I can't comment on them, but I wouldn't pick the hankotsu as an all-rounder. Even within butchering, I find it pretty average for some tasks but incredible at others. For example, I prefer my gokujo (or even a small deba) for breaking down poultry; I personally like to have a little extra length and some curve on the edge for this. Obviously poultry is pretty basic and hard to screw up, so I tend to pick whatever I feel I'll do the job fastest with.

    For fiddly jobs where you're working around bones, then the hankotsu is my favorite knife. The likes of completely boning out rabbits or suckling pigs, I find the hankotsu is just easier to control in those tight spots.

    I just use a flexiable Sab for small fish and salmon at work, we're not really buying in anything large/tough boned fish at the moment.

    If I was gonna do it all with one knife, I'd probably go a small deba. But like I said, I've never used a honesuki....

    Cheers,
    Josh

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