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Mighty Knives and Wedging

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JanusInTheGarden

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So I was about to pull the trigger on a masamoto hc until I read a review labeling it as "mighty." While some folks surely love a mighty knife, I tend to find that my current mighty knife--a hiromoto--wedges so much (even after thinning) that I'm totally put off to it. I'm still researching to see if the Masamoto is too thick for my tastes, but it got me thinking: what factors can cause wedging?

In the case of the hiromoto, for instance, is it simply the girth or does cladded design provide further resistance? My konosuke seems to desire constantly to completely fall through food, but even with certain very large prey it can wedge--i.e. butternut squash and very large potatoes. Is thin a big answer to avoiding wedging?

How much does geometry and distal taper play a role?

Do certain profiles avoid wedging more than others?

Convex grinds?
 

heirkb

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Anything I've tried (not many knives but they span from laser to mighty) has gotten stuck in butternut squash. There are ways to solve this with butternut squash so that even my supposedly mighty Heijis get through easily. It's the sweet potatoes that have been a real pain for me. Anyways, all that is to say that I love my "mighty" Heijis much more than the thinner than usual Shig or the stock laser (Tadatsuna) that I used. I know Marko said spine thickness matters, but I can't imagine anything cutting more effortlessly than these Heijis when they're sharpened correctly. So my vote is for geometry.
 

JohnnyChance

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My Shige is one of my best cutters of butternut squash. Try adjusting your technique, or angle of approach, or the position of the squash on your cutting board. All three will change how the knife cuts. Get a couple butternut squash, they aren't that expensive, and then just try different ways of cutting. Often the best technique with one knife doesn't work well on another, depends on the type of grind and thickness. Butternut is actually of my favorite things to cut. Then afterwards you can make soup.
 

heirkb

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Yea. I've found that lifting the heel at the beginning of the cut and incorporating some slicing motion makes the knife almost glide through the squash. It's really surprising at first. Now sweet potatoes...I've tried lots of things, and it only makes them less bad, but not nice, to cut.
 

Lefty

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I find a suji and a forward slice throughthr downward motion are the answer to butternut and sweet potatoes.
 

Eamon Burke

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Butternut squash is no different than a russet to a chinese cleaver.

Also, for hard root veg, I love my Shig. cutting potatoes with it does not get old, and it's 4.5mm spine @ heel.
 

Johnny.B.Good

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I was asking for advice on how to cut through acorn squash. Should have just searched YouTube. :O
 
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bikehunter

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A sharp 10" Forschener chef knife finds butternut squash no hill to climb. ;-)
 

JanusInTheGarden

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Well since I'm already asking about it, how does the masamoto hc fare with things like squash, large onions, carrots, and potatoes at the 240 length?

Does it have less to do with thickness and more to do with the shape of the taper? What about a convex grind--how does that fare with these bulkier products?
 

Benuser

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I'm not so sure wedging has anything to with thickness. It's more about total geometry. In the case of your Hiromoto that means to respect the convexity of the right side, and the flatness of the left one, and to thin and sharpen accordingly. I guess with some reprofiling your Hiro should come back into shape.
 

EdipisReks

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My Shige is one of my best cutters of butternut squash. Try adjusting your technique, or angle of approach, or the position of the squash on your cutting board. All three will change how the knife cuts. Get a couple butternut squash, they aren't that expensive, and then just try different ways of cutting. Often the best technique with one knife doesn't work well on another, depends on the type of grind and thickness. Butternut is actually of my favorite things to cut. Then afterwards you can make soup.
bingo. you can adjust grind of the knife all day long, but adjusting technique is the way to keep it from wedging.
 

Benuser

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I should have said it before, but I assumed the wedging problem occurred after some sharpening and thinning. I didn't have myself serious wedging problems with Hiros after some very minor adjustment of its profile and some major adjustment of my technique. And it seems to me serious wedging appears with thin symmetric blades, so the profile seems to be involved.
 

JanusInTheGarden

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I'd appreciate that very much! I'm also liking the idea of buying a few to practice. Haven't done anything like that in a little while and butternut squash soup sounds really excellent right now.
 

heirkb

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Eamon, if you could do lengthwise cuts in sweet potatoes and/or big carrots in addition to the acorn squash, I'd appreciate it. Strangely, cutting an apple down the center is one of the few other things that I struggle with. I do the forward slicing motion starting with the heel raised, but it still takes more effort than I'd like. Maybe I'm being spoiled, but some part of me thinks that my knives could almost fall through even the most annoying things (as I mentioned: sweet potatoes, big carrots, apples for me) if I just used the correct technique.
 

EdipisReks

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but some part of me thinks that my knives could almost fall through even the most annoying things (as I mentioned: sweet potatoes, big carrots, apples for me) if I just used the correct technique.
absolutely true, if you are a Jedi and have a light saber. some things are going to require force, no matter how sharp your knives are, or how good a geometry they have. there is a bunch of crap in an apple that will catch on a knife. push forward for half, and then pull back for the other half, and i bet you'll find apples to be easier to cut.
 

Eamon Burke

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Good question, historically Acorn squash is something I put either butter and salt or butter and brown sugar on and eat a baked half with a spoon. Yesterday we had Butternut squash rounds with ricotta cheese, sundried tomatoes and mushrooms. Baked em in the oven.

You may be shocked to find out how popular butternut squash is becoming amongst the health-crazed foodie crowd. It's like the new tofu.
 

bieniek

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Yes but as with every art you are able to minimise force usage by working on your technique.
 

JanusInTheGarden

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I should have said it before, but I assumed the wedging problem occurred after some sharpening and thinning. I didn't have myself serious wedging problems with Hiros after some very minor adjustment of its profile and some major adjustment of my technique. And it seems to me serious wedging appears with thin symmetric blades, so the profile seems to be involved.
And by the way, you were spot on with this one--perfect assumption. I had been doing some serious thinning work and I was attempting to convex the left side. That may have been creating too much symmetry. I'm thinking it should be a relatively easy fix. Back to the grind...

Anyone have any good links for info or discussions on this topic? Reprofiling, retaining structure of the profile, or even recreating it--as the case may be?
 

Benuser

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We recently had one here - about using an EdgePRO and asymmetry. Look it up with Google's "site" function. My suggestion would be to flatten the left side as much as possible, say at 4 degree, till you reach the edge, thus removing a lot of soft clad. I would use sandpaper. I don't like to charge my poor stones with the soft stuff. Right side: convex, begin at some 7 degree, ending at some 10 at the very edge till you created a burr on the left side. Deburr there at some 15 degree. I would PM Dave to ask him for advice. Regards. Bernard
 
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