Muting the heel

Kitchen Knife Forums

Help Support Kitchen Knife Forums:

cotedupy

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2020
Messages
2,496
Reaction score
4,682
Location
South Australia & London
I assume this is blindingly obvious and lots of other people do it (?) But I didn't think of doing on a knife until recently, so here it is in case anyone else hasn't thought of it as well. It's a razor trick that people use if something has a particularly pointy tip, here used on the heel of a knife.

All of these nicks on my finger came from the same gyuto:

IMG-8195.JPG



And it was starting to irritate me tbh.

'Muting' the heel simply involves running it very lightly against the side of a stone a few times. The amount of material removal should be basically unnoticeable in terms of shape, less than 1mm:


IMG-8199.JPG



But that tiny adjustment means now it's extremely difficult to cut yourself on the heel, even if you push into it quite hard:

IMG-8203.JPG



IMG-8204.JPG
 

Jovidah

Vocal amateur
Joined
Jan 8, 2016
Messages
2,566
Reaction score
2,171
Location
Netherlands
I can't even remember the last time I nicked myself on the heel of my gyuto. Maybe it's because I don't drink & cook? ;)
I actually find a sharp heel useful; makes it more effective when used as a paring knife. I have one or two knives with a rounded heel and I'm not really a fan.
 
Joined
Mar 11, 2018
Messages
2,038
Reaction score
5,642
Location
Richmond, VA
I like a little junk in the trunk. Sharp clean apex but probably about double the sharpening angle as the rest of the knife. I hate skinny heels. Not useful for anything but "sexy" choil shots. First off, skinny heels stick in the board which is a big pet peeve of mine. Second, I can use a fatter bevel to chop small bones, score bamboo skewers, pop air vents in olive oil tins, etc, without risk of damage. I am lazy. I don't like to have to grab a different knife for these tasks.

I also don't care for a muted or dull heel. It needs to be sharp, just thicker boned. Because I also don't like to grab another knife for doing in-hand work like quartering strawberries, peeling mushrooms, peeling ginger, or tourneeing potatoes. But a knife with a too keen heel will slice your thumb pad open when you bring the blade into contact with it doing in-hand work. So a good heel on a gyuto needs to have a good clean apex on a sturdy fat bevel for me.
 
Joined
May 9, 2020
Messages
98
Reaction score
70
Location
Australia
I have done this to most of my knives, as I too was occasionally afflicted by the old heel bite. I usually round it off when I’m smoothing any rough spots on the spine or choil, after using a new knife for a bit.
I understand the sharp heel is intended for removing eyes from potato’s and the like, but I clearly don’t use it for that as I’ve never noticed a rounded heel being functionally deficient.
 

Pie

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 23, 2021
Messages
660
Reaction score
1,178
Location
Edmonton
I prefer to have that ultra sharp danger-pokey-spot there. Better than the TF recurve that I can never deburr properly. It’s useful when you have a 270 and need to cut something in hand / open packaging.

My maz heel got busted off at some point and I miss it dearly.
 

cotedupy

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2020
Messages
2,496
Reaction score
4,682
Location
South Australia & London
I like a nice sharp heel as I’ll use it to do things like core strawberries or other in hand paring-type tasks. But I see the use of this.

Best gen of Mazaki too!


I probably should have explained this better... done properly the heel should still be sharp enough to do coring or paring work with. It's not exactly blunt, but a tiny, tiny change will stop it from being the kind of thing that cuts you as soon as you look at it, because the composition of your skin and flesh is actually very tough in comparison to pretty much anything you cut in a kitchen. I've probably also muted the heel in the pics above a little more than you'd need to, you can literally just brush it against the side of a stone and get quite a noticeable effect, but it shouldn't really be rounded or blunted for any practical purpose.

TBH also - what @stringer said is probably a good point too. I thinned that knife a while back, and I should have left the heel a little thicker. It was fairly insane how easily it cut you.

I've never really got my head around the Maz generations, do they have names? And if so, do you know what one might call this? It's certainly one of the best profiles of them I've seen, dunno why he keeps changing it up - this seems basically an ideal gyuto to me in pretty much every way.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Dec 15, 2017
Messages
440
Reaction score
993
Location
Texas
I've never really got my head around the Maz generations, do they have names? And if so, do you know what one might call this? It's certainly one of the best profiles of them I've seen, dunno why he keeps changing it up - this seems basically an ideal gyuto to me in pretty much every way.
Some of the batches have “names” - the original bullnose profile, the charcoal batch “bbq”, etc. The profile you, and I, have is from 2019 and is what he was making before switching to the pointier profile that is still around. These, especially in the KU-nashiji flavor we’ve got really are about ideal in my view. Nice profile, excellent taper, convex wide bevel with the best KU I’ve ever come across, etc. Mine goes from 7mm out of the handle to 0.8mm at 1cm from the tip, and that tip is thicker than it came after a little accident.
 

cotedupy

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2020
Messages
2,496
Reaction score
4,682
Location
South Australia & London
Some of the batches have “names” - the original bullnose profile, the charcoal batch “bbq”, etc. The profile you, and I, have is from 2019 and is what he was making before switching to the pointier profile that is still around. These, especially in the KU-nashiji flavor we’ve got really are about ideal in my view. Nice profile, excellent taper, convex wide bevel with the best KU I’ve ever come across, etc. Mine goes from 7mm out of the handle to 0.8mm at 1cm from the tip, and that tip is thicker than it came after a little accident.


Ah yep - that's a pretty spot on description of mine too. Absolutely love it :). (Good eye!)
 

Desert Rat

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 25, 2019
Messages
352
Reaction score
407
Location
Idaho
I slightly mute the heel. I don't round it off it's just a touch on the edge of the stone so if I should slightly bump it I probably won't bleed out. My wife is a little less careful tham me so that matters too.

I have been known to drink and and cook though. Is that bad?
 

natto

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 13, 2015
Messages
305
Reaction score
75
Location
Wilhelmsburg.de
Much more serious. I'll start with a micro bevel. As the knife gets used and sharpened I will gradually make the heel thicker. I'm not afraid to lose a mm or 2 of heel height over a couple sharpening sessions to fatten up a skinny heel.
Removing microbevels with the next full sharpening keeps my sharpening simple.

And I'ld like the heel of my cleaver to become a little tougher. And increasing the angle would be the next step up. But left angle, right angle, front angle and heel angle, and a microbevel is a nice to have too, ok, joking... got to deceide


Thank you.
 

Delat

Dazed & Confused
Joined
Dec 31, 2020
Messages
1,068
Reaction score
2,232
Location
Phoenix
I like a nice sharp heel as I’ll use it to do things like core strawberries or other in hand paring-type tasks. But I see the use of this.

Best gen of Mazaki too!

I haven't seen this technique before. Are you pushing the heel into the strawberry then rotating around the top?

I gave it a try this weekend and it felt a bit awkward but worked pretty well. Surprisingly it felt a bit safer and more comfortable with a larger knife vs a small petty.
 
Joined
Dec 15, 2017
Messages
440
Reaction score
993
Location
Texas
I haven't seen this technique before. Are you pushing the heel into the strawberry then rotating around the top?

I gave it a try this weekend and it felt a bit awkward but worked pretty well. Surprisingly it felt a bit safer and more comfortable with a larger knife vs a small petty.
Yep, pretty much exactly that! I rotate the fruit with my hand and keep the knife mostly still. You get used to the motion pretty quickly in my experience. Handy little trick!
 
Top