Rounding rear edge of blade?

Discussion in 'The Kitchen Knife' started by heliosphere, Feb 11, 2020.

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  1. Feb 11, 2020 #1

    heliosphere

    heliosphere

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    I recently got a couple of Japanese knives - a gyuto and a santoku. While handling the gyuto, I managed to nick myself on the rear part of the edge of the blade (the part closest to the handle, where a bolster would be on a knife that has one).

    I'm pretty sure I've accidentally touched that part of the blade on other knives that I have, but none of them are as crazy sharp as my new knives, and I've never gotten cut by doing that. Plus, on these new knives, the rear of the blades sweep back a little bit, resulting in a pointy corner, whereas on the other (European style) knives that I have, the rear of the blades angles forward, resulting in a rear corner that's more than 90 degrees, and therefore less likely to poke me.

    Is there anything wrong with slightly dulling or rounding off that part of the blade? I've never used that part of the blade to cut anything, so from a practical standpoint, it seems reasonable. Would this fall into the category of reasonable customization, or would it be horribly offensive, or would it be somewhere in between?
     
  2. Feb 11, 2020 #2

    dsk

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    Assuming you got a makoto/yu kurosaki or anryu of some type? The choil shouldn't literally be sharp but just sand it down a little
     
  3. Feb 11, 2020 #3

    heliosphere

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    It's not the choil, it's this part:
    IMG_7606.jpg
     
  4. Feb 11, 2020 #4

    ojisan

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    I cut one of my fingers yesterday again with the heel of the knife while washing it.

    Japanese use the part for removing eyes from potatoes, but even if it's rounded, I don't see any problems.

    You can round like this (Tatsuya-san from Suisin):
    http://hibisyugyo.blog84.fc2.com/blog-entry-214.html
     
  5. Feb 11, 2020 #5

    McMan

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    You can take the corner off (at a 45-deg angle). Just a little goes a long way (thin ~2-3mm). I remember this coming up in a thread a while ago. (I think there's a term for this in Japanese?)
    I did this to a nakiri I had that was very flat--not to avoid cutting myself but to avoid putting the heel into the board.

    upload_2020-2-10_23-6-23.png
    From @ojisan link:
    [​IMG]
     
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  6. Feb 11, 2020 #6

    kayman67

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    I started doing this long ago as people would just cut themselves a lot.
     
  7. Feb 11, 2020 #7

    KenHash

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    Apart from taking out the eyes of potatoes, the ago (heel) is also sometimes used to remove the pit from avocados.
    Grinding down/out the ago is of course a common repair method for fixing knives that have been dropped and
    are chipped at the point. While I haven't heard of anyone doing it for other reasons, don't see any problem with removing the corner if it suits the user.
    [​IMG]
     
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  8. Feb 11, 2020 #8

    rob

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    I know all my kitchen towels and cloths would appreciate this mod. Nearly all of them have little holes everywhere from catching on the heel when drying. :-(
     
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  9. Feb 11, 2020 #9

    Brian Weekley

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    Interesting ... I started removing the sharp heel when I sharpened for myself, friends and family years ago. It was just too easy to cut oneself. When I started collecting expensive Japanese knives I stopped doing it thinking that I should leave the blade as the makers made it. My friends and family don’t collect expensive knives so I continue to round theirs. A few years back I bought a Myabi Black Santoku out of interest. To my surprise it came with the heel beautifully rounded by the factory. I still don’t ease my expensive knives for fear that “heeling” would be viewed the same as “tipping” if I ever came to sell them. One thing is for certain and that is that it is very easy to “heel” cut yourself on the razor sharp blades I maintain.

    Here’s a pic of the Myabi ...

    8103D545-2456-4200-A57D-E778E3E9F19D.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2020
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  10. Feb 11, 2020 #10

    slickmamba

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    I use this part of my gyuto for in hand work all the time. I couldn't imagine not having it =/

    if you never use it, I guess its ok?
     
  11. Feb 11, 2020 #11

    kayman67

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    You don't really have to round it, but make sure somehow that the corner is not sharp enough to easily cut yourself.
     
  12. Feb 11, 2020 #12

    Michi

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    Good to hear that I'm not the only one with dish rags instead of dish towels! ;)
     
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  13. Feb 11, 2020 #13

    Michi

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    I nick myself occasionally while cooking. When I do, it is always on the heel.
     
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  14. Feb 11, 2020 #14

    Benuser

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    I wouldn't like to miss the sturdy, sharp heel. It allows me to keep the tip very tin, almost fragile. Even with vintages with a fingerguard, I will try to have one. [​IMG]
    Please be aware that rounding a heel with a Japanese knife may make reselling more difficult.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2020
  15. Feb 11, 2020 #15

    heliosphere

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    Thanks for all the feedback! It sounds like slightly rounding off the heel is the way to go. I'm not too worried about resale value, since my knives aren't really fancy ones.
     
  16. Feb 11, 2020 #16

    Kristoffer

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    My wife was so mad about me ruining our kitchen towels she made me buy separate ones for knives only. So, I sourced some awesome military surplus, vintage, extra thick, well worn linen towels from the 60’s. Now our best towels are the knife towels. Fat chance I get to keep them for the knives only ;)

    As a bonus though, our kitchen towels now have “Ministry of War” in Swedish woven into them :cool:
     
  17. Feb 11, 2020 #17

    Michi

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    Where did you manage to find those? That sounds interesting!
     
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  18. Feb 11, 2020 #18

    Newbflat

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    I just drag the heal tip on the edge of my stone (Bester 1200) to knock back the aggressiveness of it. It still looks pointed but it’s enough I don’t nick myself any longer.
     
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  19. Feb 11, 2020 #19

    Kristoffer

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    They are frequently available on the local equivalent of eBay, called Tradera. A search for “Krigsmakten” will find you a few different ones. Adding “handduk” or “kökshandduk” will narrow down the search a bit, but might miss the odd one.

    I’m not sure sellers will offer international shipping by default, but if you contact a few I would guess some could. Worst case, I can always help out with shipping part and relay them to you.
     
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  20. Feb 11, 2020 #20

    Michi

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    Thank you! PM headed your way :)
     
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  21. Feb 11, 2020 #21
    Early in my Jknife addiction I had the Wat pictured below. It would bite me every time I was in the same room with it.

    Asked Jon if there was a remedy and IIRC he said it was not unusal for "Pros" to blunt the ago (chin) of the knife for just this reason.

    Knife was already yani sharp pt.jpg with him for a little spa. I asked him to round it. He did. Couldn't tell visually but it quit biting. I've since done same to several knives with just a couple strokes on a coarse stone.
     
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  22. Feb 12, 2020 #22

    stringer

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    Making a fatter bevel angle at the heel helps. And it lets you do more heavy duty tasks without fear of chipping. Doesn't help much for a new knife but it works great over time.
     
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  23. Feb 12, 2020 #23

    heliosphere

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    Well, I did it. Pretty quick work on my diamond plate. The rounding is small, but it’s definitely a lot less stabby now, and it won’t affect function for me.

    56623130-3226-49EB-AA37-6FED3C84CF51.jpeg
     
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  24. Feb 12, 2020 #24

    Danzo

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    Here’s a bad picture of my markin. He just grinds a small piece off. It’s a nice detail, saves my towels 316F91EB-097E-479B-A720-2E2B40C12774.jpeg
     
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  25. Feb 12, 2020 #25

    Michi

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    I like it: it's very subtle and barely noticeable.

    I'm going to try this. I'm tired of nicking myself because I reach for a knife without paying full attention to each and every movement I make. I want knives that work with me, not against me…
     
  26. Feb 13, 2020 #26

    bahamaroot

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    Got a few I intend to do that too. They are REALLY bad about shredding my towels!
     
  27. Feb 13, 2020 #27

    andrewlefilms

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    Did the same to my Makoto K. Great idea and I only did it a little so the back sweep of the chin area still looks mean

    IMG_3939.jpg
    IMG_4487.jpg
     
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  28. Feb 14, 2020 #28

    BarryMM

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    Interesting thread, is there a video somewhere about how to use the sharp heel in food prep? I'm having a hard time visualizing how to remove a avocado pit with it...
     
  29. Feb 14, 2020 #29

    SaladApe

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    I'm always nicking myself on the heels of my knives. On the other hand I use them for things like cutting the stalk from bell peppers and piercing vacuum packs. I used to round them off but now I leave them sharp...
     
  30. Feb 20, 2020 #30

    Benuser

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    Sharpened a brand new Misono suji (hey @pjotr!) yesterday and using a loupe I noticed a curved upswing at the heel that is hardly seen with the naked eye. It results in a heel of say 130°, still effective but sparing boards and towels.
     
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