Why tall knives?

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chiffonodd

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I was out of the jknife game for a few years, and it seems like tall knives have really taken over as the preference for gyutos. Everyone seems to want like 54+ mm.

Why is that? I understand the desire for knuckle clearance, and I can see how a taller blade might be a bit more stable in the cut, but I definitely don't feel like a 50mm knife is unstable. Nor does it feel like 50mm is too short for the grind to do the work.

The best cutters I ever owned are a ginga 240 (sold, still regret) and gengetsu 240 (recently acquired). Both are about 48mm at the heel. Neither ever seemed short to me. To the contrary, I feel like the dimensions were dialed in about perfect -- at least for me and my preferences. Then again, I have no experience with taller knives like toyama, watanabe, masashi kobo, etc.

I have seen previous threads discussing tall knives and people expressing preferences for them, but I can't find anything specifically explaining why tall knives have taken over.

What am I missing? 🤔
 

TSF415

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I don't want to talk for other people but I think taller knives are in line with the big chunky knives fad because the knives take less force to use. I personally like some shorter knives because I feel like I'm more in control and faster by being closer to the product. Once knives start getting over 55mm I still enjoying using them but they don't match my style best.
 

msk

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A taller knife can provide more room for different types of grinds to be executed, such as a very thick spine convexing to a very thin edge. It also leaves room for makers to more easily create beautiful patterns (see Shi.Han for example).
 

ian

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My guess is that people get used to a straighter finger position in pinch grip, and that they push cut all the time and want to keep the product off their fingers. Also, they want the more powerful feel you get from more mass in the blade, and from the fact that your hand is higher off the board and therefore more in line with the direction of a pushcut with minimal forward motion.

I like em short, and mostly pull cut.
 

daveb

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You may well have missed altogether the month that short gyuto were the fad de jour. They even got a name, gyuiki or sujito or something like that. 30mm or so became the "perfect" height.
 

msk

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For example here’s my Watanabe. Even though the section you see at the bottom of the choil shot is roughly 3.1mm thick, if you keep going you’ll find that the spine above the heel is closer to 3.75mm. So even just covering the distance of the neck towards the edge, it’s a noticeable thickness change in-hand. It can give a feeling of a more substantial knife, without having to put that weight/thickness as close to the cutting edge.

Will it cut better than your Gengetsu? Not sure, I’ll let you know when I get mine on Friday. 😂 But my guess is no. Will it offer a different user experience and feel more like “the right knife” to some? Sure.

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chiffonodd

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For example here’s my Watanabe. Even though the section you see at the bottom of the choil shot is roughly 3.1mm thick, if you keep going you’ll find that the spine above the heel is closer to 3.75mm. So even just covering the distance of the neck towards the edge, it’s a noticeable thickness change in-hand. It can give a feeling of a more substantial knife, without having to put that weight/thickness as close to the cutting edge.

Will it cut better than your Gengetsu? Not sure, I’ll let you know when I get mine on Friday. 😂 But my guess is no. Will it offer a different user experience and feel more like “the right knife” to some? Sure.

View attachment 88728View attachment 88732View attachment 88731
cool pics/info, thanks for posting. And congrats on the en route gengetsu. If you're used to the wat, i think the gengetsu will definitely feel like a sport coupe/dog fighter. It's crazy nimble and feels almost like a "laser plus." It's got 3.5mm at the spine but the taper both to the edge and longitudinally is really killer. The most noticeable difference for you is probably gonna be weight. I think watanabes clock in at about 230g for a 240, and gengetsu 240 is only about ~155g. That's like a 1/3 lighter so pretty big difference.

You must have grabbed one of the w#2's that's still in stock? Mine too. I was surprised at how light and nimble it feels in hand. When I say it feels like a "laser plus" I mean that it has that same ridiculously smooth, almost unnoticeable cutting action (at least in softer product), but with more stability, control, and in-hand feel. Cuts through sweet potato took more effort, naturally, and a heavier blade like your watanabe may plow-through a little easier, but the cut was so smooth and the convex grind just enough to push apart the product without wedging that it wasn't all that noticeable. Then again, if I was cutting root veggies all day I might wish for something heavier.

Guess it all depends what product you normally find yourself turning into smaller pieces of product. For me it's a lot of fresh veggies these days. With the gengetsu I can slay an onion, core and dice tomato, chop/mince garlic, chop/mince herb, and de-rib a chili with that thin pointy tip without ever wanting a petty. Dicing mirepoix or soffritto? Oh yes please. And I can push cut all day with that flat spot. For folks who find themselves portioning a lot of protein or removing silver skin, they'd probably appreciate the pointy tip and height of the gengetsu as well.

Will you love it? Dunno! People obviously love watanabe and it's just a question of style.

Tell you what if you don't like the gengetsu you can send it to me 😂
 

msk

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cool pics/info, thanks for posting. And congrats on the en route gengetsu. If you're used to the wat, i think the gengetsu will definitely feel like a sport coupe/dog fighter. It's crazy nimble and feels almost like a "laser plus." It's got 3.5mm at the spine but the taper both to the edge and longitudinally is really killer. The most noticeable difference for you is probably gonna be weight. I think watanabes clock in at about 230g for a 240, and gengetsu 240 is only about ~155g. That's like a 1/3 lighter so pretty big difference.

You must have grabbed one of the w#2's that's still in stock? Mine too. I was surprised at how light and nimble it feels in hand. When I say it feels like a "laser plus" I mean that it has that same ridiculously smooth, almost unnoticeable cutting action (at least in softer product), but with more stability, control, and in-hand feel. Cuts through sweet potato took more effort, naturally, and a heavier blade like your watanabe may plow-through a little easier, but the cut was so smooth and the convex grind just enough to push apart the product without wedging that it wasn't all that noticeable. Then again, if I was cutting root veggies all day I might wish for something heavier.

Guess it all depends what product you normally find yourself turning into smaller pieces of product. For me it's a lot of fresh veggies these days. With the gengetsu I can slay an onion, core and dice tomato, chop/mince garlic, chop/mince herb, and de-rib a chili with that thin pointy tip without ever wanting a petty. Dicing mirepoix or soffritto? Oh yes please. And I can push cut all day with that flat spot. For folks who find themselves portioning a lot of protein or removing silver skin, they'd probably appreciate the pointy tip and height of the gengetsu as well.

Will you love it? Dunno! People obviously love watanabe and it's just a question of style.

Tell you what if you don't like the gengetsu you can send it to me 😂
I've read that Wats are usually about 230g as well, although mine is sitting at 208g. He must've started making them thinner. But yeah regardless, it still feels like the most substantial gyuto I currently own.

Thanks! Yeah, got one of the white #2s. I kept reading great things about the Gengetsu and basically have never heard a single negative, so I had to try it. haha Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences with it - That sounds like exactly what I was looking for, so I'm super stoked to try it out. The feeling of stability coupled with laser-like performance, as well as a nice flat spot were the main selling points for me.

I'll keep that in mind 😂
 

Blerghle

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I have a history of chewing the hell out of knives and figure I will get more useful life out of a taller gyuto.
 

MowgFace

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I’m with the short camp. For a 240, 48-52 is perfect. 210, 45-47.

I love the “line knife” size, just not for my main knife.
 

chiffonodd

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I've read that Wats are usually about 230g as well, although mine is sitting at 208g. He must've started making them thinner. But yeah regardless, it still feels like the most substantial gyuto I currently own.

Thanks! Yeah, got one of the white #2s. I kept reading great things about the Gengetsu and basically have never heard a single negative, so I had to try it. haha Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences with it - That sounds like exactly what I was looking for, so I'm super stoked to try it out. The feeling of stability coupled with laser-like performance, as well as a nice flat spot were the main selling points for me.

I'll keep that in mind 😂
Definitely report back, curious to hear your thoughts. For me it was love at first cut.

Plus, nothing shows off that blue onion patina like a stainless clad carbon . . .

 

panda

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because of that outdoor cooking video guy's stupid spatula looking ass knife.
52.is the sweet spot
 

friz

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My first Japanese knife was a Mcusta and it was longer than 240mm and slightly shorter than 50mm. Obviously I adapted in using shorter blades because of that, and to me 47mm to 50mm feels like normal. Right now my everyday gyuto is a 240 wide bevel konosuke ginsan 47mm tall. It might be because it is short but the grind is phenomenal, almost nothing stick to it, so, I can't speak for all the knives but you can make the grind work in a short blade as well. Also, I feel with tall blades there is more chance in wobbling , especially with the 'japanese grip' (index on the spine).
 

kennyc

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for me, its the ability to scoop product and the comfort of a near-straight index finger in the pinch grip.
 
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Bensbites

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home cook here. I can use most knives, being tall, I like the ergonomics of a tall knife. Most of them have a flat spot at a slight angle rather than parallel to the spine. One other think to think about is the grind and feel in the hand. You can have a very thin grind that will not feel like a toy.

in short, I like the way they look and feel. Now I want to add another tall boy to the collection.
 

tgfencer

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I can use most knives, being tall, I like the ergonomics of a tall knife.
This.

I'm 6'3 and some change and having slightly taller blades helps make up for all the counters/cutting boards set up for shorter people. I also find some shorter knives end up placing my wrist into an uncomfortable position to achieve clean cuts depending on the placement of the flat spot and the curvature of the edge (not necessarily the fault of the knife).

Having said that one of my favorite gyutos is 50mm tall, so it kinda just depends.
 

Bensbites

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Can you explain what is a thin grind? You mean not much convexity?
Yes. A tall laser will weigh more than a short laser. For me, that extra 10-30% weight can change the way a knife feels. Weight in hand, stiffness of the spine. If you are on this forum for more than 10 posts, I assume you are operating at a level where you know the basics and personal preferences mean people can have different opinions but neither is wrong.
 

JimMaple98

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Taller blades give more realestate for your fingers in the claw to glide up against, making it easier to learn said technique, it’s easier for me to use as I am 6’1 and will stuff my back when leaning over to cut all day, or my legs to squat to the hight of the board. I like using a shorter knife like my Kikuchiyo, at 42mm tall it’s hella short, good control, but for a 9 hour shift, no.
 
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