Knife Recommendation?

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Hi there!

I'll try to make this as succinct as possible while still giving the pertinent information. HUGE thanks in advance for taking the time to help!

I'm looking for a few chefs knife and paring knife, but am focusing on the chefs knife first.

I mostly am chopping vegetables, herbs, etc. I occasionally break down a chicken. Rarely I'll take the skin off of fish with a knife. I never work with beef, lamb, or really anything else.

I worked with a standard home chefs knife years ago, but got inspired by the Chinese cleaver. Used my Shun 7" cleaver and a pairing knife almost exclusively for the last 5 years. Recently, I've grown tired of the Chinese cleaver, which has started to feel like a heavy, harsh, and brutal instrument rather that something that feels right for more delicate work.

After buying a few fairly expensive knives that I thought sure would be great only to be disappointed, I decided the only way to know what the best knife for me is was to buy several, ideally cheap knives and try them out for awhile.

The results are in. To my surprise, a 12" chefs knife is the winner. I love that the 6" or so close to the handle has a similar profile to my cleaver (nearly flat). I can get a clean cut with a mostly up and down motion. I like that the blade is tall for scooping. And the length of the knife allows for a profile at the tip that makes the knife good for rocking when a rough chop is in order. Plus, the length allows me to process A LOT of stuff quickly. The same exact knife in the 10" version has a much steeper curve leading up to the tip, surely because there's fewer inches to meet up with the tip, and it makes rocking a bit more awkward. I've included a photo of the 12" version so you can get an idea of the profile that has worked for me.

One could argue that I should just keep this cheap knife, but I despise the handle, and I really want to get into carbon steel. On my other knives I prefer the ovular Japanese style handles (like those on my Shun cleaver and the Miyabi knives).

Knives this long though are few and far between, and with my other criteria (tall, ovular handle) I haven't found many options. Anything come to mind?

Thanks so much for taking the time to read this and help!

*Edited to show correct knife*
 

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Skylar303

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I'm no expert and often ask for opinions as well. But since you chop veggies and herbs (like I do), have you tried a 'tall' nakiri? There was a thread something like 'when does a tall nakiri become a cleaver'. You can find some I think almost 3" tall?

The style you're after looks like a gyuto based on the picture. Although if you like that knife you could just have it re-handled in a Japanese style handle?
 
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have you tried a 'tall' nakiri?

Not exactly. I still have the cleaver, so it would have to provide some significant benefit over it to merit an additional knife. It would also be short (most likely) and not a rocker.

Although if you like that knife you could just have it re-handled in a Japanese style handle?

Probably, though it would still be cheap stainless steel.
 

Skylar303

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Not exactly. I still have the cleaver, so it would have to provide some significant benefit over it to merit an additional knife. It would also be short (most likely) and not a rocker.



Probably, though it would still be cheap stainless steel.
True, it would be more chopping. Mine is 150mm blade length, 170mm is also a standard. I just thought of that since you mentioned the cleaver shape but didn't like the bulk. I pretty much use my SS nakiri for almost everything in the kitchen... But I just cook for fun, and to survive... And it may or may not be my 'best' knife.

And yeah it would still be SS, forgot about moving to carbon. Some sites you can check out that were recommended to me would be like JNS, honcho-knife, hitohara-japan. The last 2 I think are a bit more budget friendly, but sometimes I don't get the cost/knife correlations.
 

Delat

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Do you actually like the 12” length, or is it just the profile (the shape/curve of the edge) that you want?

With gyutos vs Western knives traditionally the blade is flatter, but with some curve towards the front. Here’s an example in a 9” or 225mm where the back third is pretty flat but the front half has a low curve for rocking. Not aggressive typical Western-style rocking, but rocking with a more moderate up/down motion.

With gyutos or japanese-profile knives typically you use more of a push cutting motion for most cuts while rock chopping is reserved for dicing/mincing. Western-profile knives generally encourage much more of a rocking motion with every cut.

You can certainly get a 300mm gyuto if you like the length, but they’re less common and more expensive. So give a little thought to whether you want the length or just the profile.

D1728E23-CA2A-405E-9A10-76785EA72951.jpeg
 

timebard

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...

Used my Shun 7" cleaver and a pairing knife almost exclusively for the last 5 years. Recently, I've grown tired of the Chinese cleaver, which has started to feel like a heavy, harsh, and brutal instrument rather that something that feels right for more delicate work.

This may not help with finding your next knife, but: do you sharpen the cleaver? If so, how and how often? Have you ever thinned it?

Certainly we can help you find a great knife (or many knives) but the easiest step if you're not getting the performance you want may be to tune up the knife you already have...
 

inferno

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Thanks for the suggestions Inferno. I'll check these out!

Do you actually like the 12” length, or is it just the profile (the shape/curve of the edge) that you want?

I would argue that for what I want, they are the same. You can't have a decent sized flat part AND a curve shallow enough for good rocking in a short span. I also like what the length does for chopping large quantities. I didn't anticipate wanting such a large knife, but I enjoy it so far.

if you're not getting the performance you want may be to tune up the knife you already have...

Fair point. Given that I only have two main knives, the cleaver and the paring, I think I could do with some more variety.
 

blokey

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If you like the flatness I highly recommend you to get a Yoshikane, or the Wakui in BST

 
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the Yoshikane would fit this bill, they typically have a flat spot on the heel-end of the knife and are fantastic cutters.

These look great. I especially like the Asian style handles, which is my preference. I'm looking for something in the 270-300 mm range though, and a quick Google search didn't turn up anything in that size. Did I just not look hard enough?

In that case the Misono could be interesting

Agreed. Been looking at these. You recommend the 240mm. Any reason? I'm actually looking for something much larger.

What else did you buy / try and why did you dislike it?

Good question! One I've sort of answered, but I should probably go into more detail.

I've now borrowed or bought about a dozen knives ranging from 7" to 12" with some variation in profile. My chief complaint with most of them is that they feel too short. While it is nice that they feel more nimble, I simply don't feel like there's enough knife to work with, especially if I want a decent flat part of the blade and a decent curved part. In my hands, the 8" knives are awful. 8" isn't enough to have a gentle enough arc to rock nicely, nor is it enough to have any reasonable section of the knife that is flat. (Odd to me that this is the "normal" size. Perhaps my trouble stems from the fact that I am not a "normal" sized man...?)

On some of them I also feel the blade isn't deep/tall enough. I definetly like to use my blade for scooping. One of the things I love about my current knife, the Chinese cleaver.

One of them had a very pointy spear tip that I didn't so much care for, especially when holding an egg or a small tomato and navigating between my fingers to slice it. Felt like I had to focus VERY carefully.

So far the profile of the 12" knife in my original post is the winner. Perhaps the length might get old, and a slightly smaller knife might be more practical... but I still think part of the magic sauce is that it's big enough to rock well in my hands and have a long flat section.
 

tostadas

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JNS has a 270x60mm Toyama on sale. Toyama has good heft, stiff spine, but very nice convex cutting edge. You will get the front curve, and also some flat toward the back.
 

Benuser

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Agreed. Been looking at these. You recommend the 240mm. Any reason? I'm actually looking for something much larger.
I wasn't aware. Only mentioned the 240 because it's the one I'm familiar with and is looking so small amongst those giants.

PS: I'm no rock-chopper, so I can't tell you which size is the most convenient. Could be a discussion on itself.
 
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MattPike4President

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You can't have a decent sized flat part AND a curve shallow enough for good rocking in a short span. I also like what the length does for chopping large quantities. I didn't anticipate wanting such a large knife, but I enjoy it so far.

That specific combination of flat heel and nice tip for rocking is what I appreciate about Masashi's profile. The tips of his knives tend to curve more aggressively at the front but the there's a very generous flat spot towards the heel. They are also on the taller side which I prefer for rock chopping. A-Frames has a whole bunch of options, no 270s in stock that I could see but there are 240s in both SLD and W#2.

Semi-related side note: I noticed when pulling up the A-Frames link that nobody seems to be selling Masashi knives in VS1/A2/SKD12 anymore. Does anyone know if those are still being made? Really love those knives and would be minorly bummed if my chance to buy a 240 outside of the secondary market has dried up.
 

chefwp

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These look great. I especially like the Asian style handles, which is my preference. I'm looking for something in the 270-300 mm range though, and a quick Google search didn't turn up anything in that size. Did I just not look hard enough?
They do make a 270mm, but it is in a semi-stainless steel, SLD, but I think it behaves a lot like carbon when it comes to sharpening, Yoshi 270mm in SLD
 

Jovidah

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Personally I'd rather use a dough scraper for scooping instead of tailering my knife to it. For what it's worth I don't think you need that much curve to rock chop, though I'd be a bit more worried about edge stability on some of the more harder / brittle steels. But with all but the most flattest profiles it was never a problem for me.
Instead of just going for some massive beast I'd be inclined to just go for something with a good amount of flat spot. I struggle to see how getting some heavy 300mm monstrosity is 'the answer' for home usage.

And I'm not sure what exact knives you already used, but there's already a massive difference in profile and 'feel' between something like an 8 or 9 inch Wüsthof and your run of the mill 210-240 gyuto.
 

inferno

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why not get a misono sweden steel knife in 360mm! and its in stock.

thats 2 inches more than you have now. imagine what could be done with a knife that size.
 

kpham12

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If you want a long chef’s knife, this looks right up your alley. It’s been sitting awhile probably because of its size. Flattish profile that looks like it will rock well, tall for scooping stuff, nice handle, carbon steel, great price.

Side note, if your Shun cleaver feels “brutal”, please treat it to a good thinning. A Chinese vegetable cleaver is always very well suited for delicate work if it’s kept thin.
 
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