Why aren't longer Santokus more popular?

Discussion in 'The Kitchen Knife' started by Cyrilix, Feb 11, 2019.

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  1. Feb 11, 2019 #1

    Cyrilix

    Cyrilix

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    Just curious as to why. It seems like everyone only likes to make a 165-180mm Santoku. For someone that never rock chops, a Santoku feels like a more practical knife than a Gyuto, essentially being a taller Gyuto with the tip lowered. I would love to see 210mm and 240mm Santokus.

    Note: I prefer taller blades because it gives them a way to maintain heft while being thin behind the edge.
     
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  2. Feb 11, 2019 #2

    HRC_64

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    To get a santoku, you basically taka 240 and cut the first 50mm and then carve out a point...
    if you can fit any 240 long knife, you get to keep the tip...for free :)

    In all seriousness, the thick spine of most if not all sanoku and the lack of belly is very limiting
    how you can use the front 1/3 so the utility is diminished.

    If you want a bigger santoku, google "komagiri" which is japanese wide chef knife.
    They are commonly available in JDM markets, and Komagiri profile usualy
    drop the tip as the blade gets otherwise taller...looks kinda satoku-ish

    There is also funayki which is flatter and better than many other profiles,
    but keeps a usable tip section (thanks to distal taper) unlike most santoku.
     
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  3. Feb 11, 2019 #3

    refcast

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    Heiji, through japan-tool, has 210 santoku. Also, takeda, tsukasa hinoura, takagi, and old mazaki gyuto tend to be shaped liked santoku. and of course, kamagata usuba look like santoku, but are veryyyy different knives, with different purposes. Intermediate is heiji gyuto, which are flatter and somewhat snub nose, but not totally. Even watanabe and toyama gyuto can be santoku - like. Takeda makes 270 monster 'gyuto' or whatever he calls them.

    Personally, I need a little upsweep, especially for longer knives, because for fine work I want to cut with just the tip, without digging into the board. I also want upsweep for extra pressure when going though wedginig items. I think this is why we don't see many gyuto have this exact shape like the profile and spine of a kamagata usuba.
     
  4. Feb 11, 2019 #4

    Cyrilix

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    Then why not give the santoku a distal taper if it needs one? Would that tip not be usable?
     
  5. Feb 11, 2019 #5

    Cyrilix

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    Fair enough. My nakiri has a rounded tip without much upsweep and I sometimes use it and draw cut thin veggies or veggie leaf.

    Maybe what I'm looking for is just a larger flat spot (or barely curved spot)
     
  6. Feb 11, 2019 #6

    HRC_64

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    Nah, the surface area (too much) making it taller and wider is limiting and as it makes this problem also worse...
    A good santoku is a little tapered, a little low, and a little pointy...take a look at some Shigefusas for example...175x45-ish

    You can get taller 50-60mm tall (and/or longer) but you wold typically switch over
    to ryo-deba, funayuki, and komagiri profiles...etc.

    Masahiro Carbon 9.5 in. (240mm) Wide Santoku (actually a Komagiri)
    https://www.knifemerchant.com/product.asp?productID=3354
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
  7. Feb 11, 2019 #7

    labor of love

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    I think if you ask any knife retailer you will find they are quite popular. We here at the forum are exceptional in that we often want to buy knife after knife after knife...A common santoku user likely wants a knife that can just do it all for utility purposes.
     
  8. Feb 11, 2019 #8

    Michi

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    Hmmm… Is that really an issue? If so, Nakiris would all have this problem?
     
  9. Feb 11, 2019 #9

    HRC_64

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    ever try to core a tomato with a nakiri :)
    its alot easier with gyuto or funayuki

    These shigs are pretty usable tho.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
  10. Feb 11, 2019 #10

    refcast

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    If you want a tall flat / barely curved knife . . . that's toyama and watanabe nakiri. Takeda, too, but . . . i guess grind might mayyybe be worse.

    The santoku tips like the shig above, . . . they can't be super thin or they will bend and break, because if and when they hit the board at an angle, they really dig in.

    The curve at the tip, really, is important for around 270 mm. For 240, yeah, I like flatter, and I like flatter in general. At 270mm, if the profile were flat, I'd have to raise my elbow sooooo far up and behind me to cut through something that wedges. Or, if I'm doing onions . . . have you ever held something out in front of you, extending your arm? . . . it takes a lot of effort to hold it, let alone control it. But let it point down somewhat . . . and I get more control. That's what the curve at the tip is for, more power and control with that angle. Which is good for onions and stuff. If you ever used a usuba or nakiri or chinese cleaver with the square 'tip' not rounded at all, that thing DIGS and is so annoying. It makes cutting in general not fun . . . and nor is that tip in that form more useful than it is annoying. Curves, however subtle, have great and useful purpose. Even excessive curves . . . have purposes for people who don't sharpen their knives as much and so guillotine chop. Or that just prefer to do that. Anyway, a curvier knife lets you cut longer even when it dulls, cause the curve acts like a point to begin the cut with more pressure.
     
  11. Feb 11, 2019 #11

    Michi

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    OK, OK, you win :)
     
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  12. Feb 11, 2019 #12
    I would say gyutos from Watanabe, Toyama or Masashi are pretty close to long santoku knives.
     
  13. Feb 11, 2019 #13
    I was thinking the answer was that ladies prefer the shorter length santoku. [emoji41]
     
  14. Feb 11, 2019 #14

    btbyrd

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    Maybe it's just my specimens, but I have 2 Takeda gyutos and neither has any flat spot to speak of. They're entirely belly.
     
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  15. Feb 11, 2019 #15
    That’s what men want to believe [emoji56]
     
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  16. Feb 12, 2019 #16

    KenHash

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    Bingo. The Santoku, also known as Bannou Bouchou (all purpose knife) was created to fill the Japanese housewife market...smaller hands, smaller cutting board, smaller kitchen.
     
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  17. Feb 12, 2019 #17

    Ruso

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    There are many Japanese gyutos that have very Santoku like profile.
    I think they just stop calling them that after 180. Also most are just a little bit more narrow compared to Santokus.
     
  18. Feb 12, 2019 #18

    Cyrilix

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    I remember seeing a Mazaki and being like, hey that's a long santoku!
     
  19. Feb 12, 2019 #19

    Colonel Mustard

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    You probably mean the old Mazaki profile, right?
     
  20. Feb 12, 2019 #20

    Cyrilix

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    He doesn't make them like that anymore?
     
  21. Feb 12, 2019 #21

    orangehero

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    Just curious why would you ever absolutely need to core a whole tomato (if I understand you correctly)?

    What I've always done if the tomato has a woody core at the stem is to cut the tomato in half at some point in the processing and make one or two angled cuts which can be done with any knife.
     
  22. Feb 12, 2019 #22

    HRC_64

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    OK, Try coring a pint of strawberries with a Santoku. :eek::eek::eek:
     
  23. Feb 12, 2019 #23

    Luftmensch

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    For all the subjectivity that surrounds the label 'workhorse'.... don't Santoku's generally fit into this category? That is if you take 'workhorse' to mean a low-maintenance jack of all trades, master of none that can take a beating? I do not mean this as a disparagement. These are good traits for knives that are placed in the hands of cooks who don't want to think about their knives beyond the task at hand.... Husbands and wives alike....
     
  24. Feb 12, 2019 #24

    JBroida

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    santoku is really a knife that is common in home kitchens and is rarely seen in professional kitchens in japan... home kitchens in japan are small, as are the foods they often buy at the grocery stores. The santoku sizes you see work well for this. For larger things, everyone recommends a gyuto over there. You can find some with flatter profiles, more height, blunter tips, etc., but they are usually still gyuto.

    edit- totally didnt read any of the responses, but kenhash hit the nail on the head
     
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  25. Feb 12, 2019 #25

    Luftmensch

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    I think this is the key thing. At least it makes the most sense to me. I am not convinced the "wife" argument is accurate. I understand there are gender quality issues in Japan but I am sure there are plenty of single men past and present who also need to cook in cramped spaces.
     
  26. Feb 12, 2019 #26

    osakajoe

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    Most husbands or single men rarely cook in Japan. They adhere to the matsuya or conbini diet. When they cook, they cook most their food by pouring boiling water into a cup or bowl.

    It’s still a very housewife/stay at home mom society over here. Most Japanese women are surprised I cook and wash dishes.
     
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  27. Feb 12, 2019 #27

    JBroida

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    yup... more accurate than people might think
     
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  28. Feb 12, 2019 #28

    Kippington

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    I...is there a knife for that? :D
     
  29. Feb 12, 2019 #29

    crockerculinary

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    it comes with a knife.
     
  30. Feb 12, 2019 #30

    Luftmensch

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    I am intellectually aware of the gender roles there. For instance Japan has a lamentable workforce participation for women who have started a family. But i'll concede that perhaps I am not fully absorbing its broader implications?

    I don't disagree that women share a completely disproportionate responsibility for domestic tasks. I suppose I just didn't want to make the association: santoku = home cooking = for wife... therefore, santoku = for wife! I am likely being naive...

    Still gender roles are weird... the same expectations that keeps women in domestic kitchens also keeps them out of professional kitchens....
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2019

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