Gyuto length musings

Discussion in 'The Kitchen Knife' started by vitreous, Sep 22, 2019.

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  1. Sep 22, 2019 #1

    vitreous

    vitreous

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    Over the last month or two, I've found myself gravitating to 200-220 gyuto's instead of my 270 workhorse. I've been doing the same prep (pro kitchen), still chopping lots of onions, peppers and cabbage every day. A couple of months ago some of you may recall I posted a "What knife should I buy?" intent on getting another long blade. I'm holding off for now.

    When I started cooking I was using a 210 and found it too small in both length and height, it didn't help that my technique was terrible. Since then I followed the bigger is better approach until I maxed out at my current 270.

    Recently I had to use a Nakiri for almost all tasks for a day or 2 and found myself quite content with the chopping performance and enjoying the increased manoeuvrability of the short blade. Perhaps it is the long flat profile and increased heel height of the longer gyutos that I enjoy, both byproducts of the longer blade as opposed to simply the blade length itself. I am a 100% push chopper.

    I always thought that as a big guy with oversize hands larger (longer) blades would be a natural fit, however as with everything in life, the answer seems to be more complicated than it appears. I do appreciate that there is no one knife for everything and that for some work bigger is better, I just never thought I'd be comfortable ploughing through cabbage with a 210.

    What has your knife journey looked like in terms of length and height? Did you start smaller and work your way up or have you come out the other side appreciating smaller blades?

    Next up for me, I think I'm going to look for a 220 gyuto with a 58-60 heel height and a very, very flat profile. Essentially a Nakiri with a point attached.
     
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  2. Sep 22, 2019 #2

    Corradobrit1

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    Sounds like an oversized Santoku
     
  3. Sep 22, 2019 #3

    parbaked

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    ...or a small Takeda gyuto.
     
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  4. Sep 22, 2019 #4

    kayman67

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    210mm Takeda Bunka looks like text book stuff for your desire.
     
  5. Sep 22, 2019 #5

    Benuser

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    Went from 200-210 to 240-250mm. Never went back. Longer contact area with the board, longer edge retention. Enough space for a really flat section, and a heel area kept a bit thicker for rough tasks. The same with 270s. But then I will use a forward claw grip to spare my poor thumb.
     
  6. Sep 22, 2019 #6

    M1k3

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  7. Sep 22, 2019 #7

    MarkC

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    Masashi might be what you at per looking for
     
  8. Sep 23, 2019 #8

    GorillaGrunt

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    I started with 240s, moved to 210s keeping a 270 handy, now just sort of use whatever I feel like using that day unless a specialized task comes up, or a laser if I’m tired and want something light. Of note:

    -my last few kitchens don’t do nearly the volume of my first few, so I’m not doing more than one case of anything at a time
    -I switched to smaller knives in a kitchen where I had very limited space and where precision was top priority
    -Technique and the evolution and growth thereof is a huge factor, both in terms of using a big blade for efficiency and a small one for volume or large product
    -now I have a massive workspace and frequently slice through service with a 300mm Tou. But I once did my day’s prep and line work there with a 165mm Murata because I felt like doing it, everything was just as good.
     
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  9. Sep 23, 2019 #9

    MarkC

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    I will start using a 180mm for vegetable prep this week and will see how I like it. My initial thoughts are that I am enjoying my prep a bit more with a smaller knife and focusing on technique but it may just be the newness of the knife and length.
     
  10. Sep 23, 2019 #10

    Danzo

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    for me knife size is more often determined by kitchen size. I use mainly 240’s when the space permits at work. I recently had Dave Martell make me one of his unmarked no handle knives. 210 edge, 55 at the heel. It’s basically a big santoku. Ran it through a week at work and it’s a great little chopper but this is going to be a home kitchen knife.
    77DE3432-F396-4B48-A49D-AF7FBF3B737F.jpeg 397CE7F1-0DA4-4E75-8F60-E4EE2855FEF0.jpeg 6887BA2F-1CF6-4601-B37C-775E2C24169F.jpeg
     
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  11. Sep 24, 2019 #11

    crocca86

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    Started with 210’s then moved up to 240’s but I find it to be a bit to big for my liking. Now most of my gyuto are oversized 210 and some undersized 240. Found my sweet spot with all my custom one to be between 220/230 in length and at least 55/60 in height
     
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  12. Sep 24, 2019 #12

    Michi

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    For a domestic kitchen, to me, 210 mm is the ideal compromise. Large enough to get everything done, and small enough to not have to worry about bumping the tip against something.
     
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  13. Sep 24, 2019 #13

    CiderBear

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    My sweetspot is my 225mm Kochi. 225mm edge length, 51mm tall. Long enough to feel overkill cooking for one person, yet short enough that I never stab my sink with it :p
     
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  14. Sep 24, 2019 #14

    Carl Kotte

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    I became serious with knives with a 210. That is my baseline. I can do things with knives of other sizes, and I enjoy doing it, but for most tasks and in a home environment (which is where I cook these days) something around 210 works best for me.
    When I try do the same things with a 240 instead of a 210 - on the same cutting board, in the same confined space - my cutting technique just gets bad. With a bigger cutting board and more wiggle room I can swing a 240 pretty well though.
     
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  15. Sep 24, 2019 #15

    bahamaroot

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    Just a home cook. I cooked for years with the average 8" chef. After getting into J-knives I developed a liking for a long 240. A few years and several knives later I've settled into a sweet spot of 215-220mm. Just a great all around size for home cooking,
     
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  16. Sep 24, 2019 #16

    daizee

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    You guys have a lot more kitchen experience than I do, but I'll state my preference for a ~180mm all-purpose blade for my home kitchen. Longer is awkward and dangerous in my space. 180mm isn't long enough for big heads of veggies, but I don't have quite a large enough cutting board anyway (storage/cleaning challenges), so a bigger knife solves one problem while exposing another. That said, I like a tall heel on my modest-sized chef knife, so it doesn't give up quite as much vs. the longer blades.

    I've also made a couple 165mm gyutos, and they are super versatile do-almost-everything blades, and the best avocado knives I've ever used. But they come up short (haha) in the workhorse role.
     
  17. Sep 24, 2019 #17

    Benuser

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    At home one would be perfectly fine with a 180mm gyuto — and a 270mm suji in the few cases you are really in need of more length, as with cabbage or celeriac.
     
  18. Sep 24, 2019 #18

    MarkC

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    The thing that finally tipped me to trying a shorter knife was my Wat Nakiri. At 180mm, I was really enjoying how it helped me rip through vegetable prep. I decided to stay with the same size and am now using a 180mm Gyuto. I will say that having a nice flat spot and some weight or heft seems to help me with this size. It is interesting because I prefer a much lighter knife when I move up to 240mm. For me, having the Nakiri to do big chopping has taken away the need to have a big knife with a large flat spot to do same kinds of things.
     
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  19. Sep 24, 2019 #19

    hambone.johnson

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    Agreed with previous statement that it all depends on the kitchen you're in and how much space you have.

    I personally am a cleaver guy for veg prep and i keep a 270 around for butchering and slicing.

    ive worked in tiny little kitchens where my cutting board was about the size of an 8x10 piece of paper. in that case i often found i used a small veg cleaver and a 210. i also did a lot of finer knife work in these cases and a fine tipped 210 was very useful

    in my big hotels ive gone more with a big cleaver and the 270 because the volume is there. i also dont do much delicate work in the hotels so a thin tip 210 really isnt useful
     
  20. Sep 24, 2019 #20

    suntravel

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    Thougt my 300 Blazen was to short, got an 360 Sabun then :D

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Regards

    Uwe
     
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  21. Sep 24, 2019 #21

    GorillaGrunt

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    If I had had my current job with the giant butcher block at the time I’d never have sold my 360 Dragon!
     
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  22. Sep 24, 2019 #22

    Chef Doom

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    My knife journey only has one direction.

    Learning how to throw them so that I can play the anti-gun assassin in a big budget action film.
     
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  23. Sep 24, 2019 #23

    aszma

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    Honestly i started cooking at home as a kid with a 160mm santoku and never touched the 240mm chef knife we had but thats just how my mom taught me how to cook when I was smaller. When I was 18 and joined a real kitchen i started using 240mm and thought they were too big. When I was 20 I joined a more professional kitchen and finally bought my own knife a 210mm global sense a lot of my chefs there had the same knife. Loved and used it for a solid 2 years then a lot of my friends talked about how a 240mm is better because of more blade so i got a masamoto 240mm. I liked it but felt it was too big for the space i was given at work. When i went carbon I got a syousin sakura that was 230mm and honestly after getting that knife im convinced 220-230 is the sweet spot. I have a 240mm toyama and getting used to a true 240mm is a big weird but the toyama is too good for me not to learn to use the extra length.
     
  24. Sep 24, 2019 #24

    Qapla'

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    What do you think of the Sabun, or Sabuns in general? (Feel free to PM me if this risks derailing the thread.)
     
  25. Sep 25, 2019 #25

    OnionSlicer

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    I love the 245mm MAC - as long as it's in my hand and sliding up and down the cutting board, that is. Constantly putting it down and picking it up when cutting up a bunch of different foods in the home environment gets a bit annoying, so I got some light, <200mm blades for that. The MAC still gets a workout with larger items.
     
  26. Sep 25, 2019 #26

    KO88

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    Homecook; I started my JK way with 180 santoku, then switched to 205 cleaver and now using 270 (60 tall) Toyama gyuto on almost everthing.
    Im the onlyone who cooks in the family. My GF is really nervous when hungry so I need to be quick :) and with the 270 Im the quickest because I dont need to switch between the knives I can cut two onions at a time I can use the height to move the food from my cutting board I feel that the longer blade cuts through the food easier etc. But the true is that my technique is poor and with longer blade gets even worse but perfect cuts are not my goal as I said I just need make quick tasty meal.
    Also dont need suji :)
     

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