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Sep 23, 2022
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Hello All!

I am here seeking Japanese knife wisdom. Unfortunately, I have none to offer in return.

Husband and father of 4, and an avid cook, hunter, and fisherman. As such, I like to make the absolute most out of the critters we take. That’s where good knives come in.

Up until a few weeks ago, I thought all excellent knives came from Germany. YouTube opened my eyes to the dizzying array of options and ancient history of Japanese knives.
That’s what I was afraid of. I don’t sharpen, and I was really hoping to avoid it. Except for touch ups with a strip or something. One of the reasons I began looking at Japanese knives was edge retention.

I’ve been harboring the fantasy of just keeping a few knives in rotation between me and a good professional sharpener.
There's nothing wrong with using a good hand-sharpening professional and the forum can recommend several. The most important thing is to have a sharpening plan.

We always prefer doing it yourself because a lot of us get as much or more satisfaction from as the knives themselves but we also understand some folks just can't or don't want to.
I could see it becoming an interest later. Now that my wife and young people are “knife educated,” my kitchen knives seldom need more than touching up with a steel.

My fish breaking/fillet knives are the ones in need of constant attention. I’ve tried a few brands, but none seem to stand up to scales and the occasional rib bones.
but none seem to stand up to scales and the occasional rib bones.
I find that keeping a scaler on hand and using some pruning shears for the rib bones helps a lot to solve that problem. Keeping your fillet knives away from bones improves the edge retention dramatically and you'll be able to go a lot longer between sharpenings and reduce the chipping on your knives as well
Ive been watching those Japanese fish breaking videos, and have become quite fascinated by the effectiveness and edge retention of the debas. Granted, they seldom encounter scales, but they sail through ribs and still seem to go through the fish with remarkable ease.

Golden tilefish, blue line tilefish, black sea bass, yellowfin tuna, mahi-mahi, and wahoo (ono) are the fish I most often deal with. I started out with dexter Russell knives. If constantly touched up with a steel they are adequate. Recently I tried Mora and Fallkniven, and got a taste of what a really sharp, really durable knife could do. I even tried a new MAC on some tuna and golden tiles. It went trough tuna like a hot knife through butter, but a few scales and pin bones into a tilefish and it desperately needed a visit back to the little sharpening wheel they offer.

Maybe all those videos have caused me to have unrealistic expectations for my next fish knife.
Debas don't get a lot of love here, but they are my thing, I probably own about a dozen and sold a handful of others. If you're interested in just trying one out feel free to shoot me a message, I'd be happy to loan you one of my spares :) They're a bit of a specialized knife and I think there is value in trying one out before diving in and trying to buy one that may or may not end up serving your purposes

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