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Boning Knife (Shun or Wusthof)

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Hey everyone,

This my first post, but I have certainly read from this site many times before. So here is my situation. Everyone has his/her all-purpose knife. Some use a French chef's knife, other use a Japanese Santoku bocho. I use a Chinese chef's cleaver (Dexter-Russell) and like it very much. In addition, I have a very crappy knife set. Every knives from that set can be bended. I can easily bend the French chef's knife and even the cleaver a bit. Imagine that, a semi-flexible cleaver. I am ready to purge the set.

As you know, a Chinese chef's cleaver is great for many things, but not good for delicate jobs. I am hoping to get a boning knife to compensate the Chinese chef's cleaver.

My first question is:
Do you think I am correct to consider the a boning knife or should I consider a flexible fillet knife or maybe even an yanagiba?

I went to Williams-Sonoma to test-hold the a Wusthof Classic boning knife and a slightly smaller Shun Classic utility knife, as there was not a Shun boning knife. I knew Wusthof is heavier, but I didn't expect the difference. The Wusthof boning knife is quiet heavy in comparison, especially at the handle. The Shun knife is lighter and has a sharper edge and a thinner blade. Although I didn't get to test the Shun boning knife, I am quiet certain it will also be lighter than Wusthof's.

So my second question is:
Am I correct to think the Shun boning knife is better due to its sharper edge, thinner blade and lighter weight. Unlike a cleaver which uses momentum, I fail to see the advantage of a heavier boning knife. The only advantage I can see for Wusthof is that it can be sharpen easier and may be it is stronger (stronger but not harder). I don't even know if it is really stronger.

One last question. I heard many people say Victorinox boning knife is very good, even it may look cheap and sells cheap ($20). Any thought on Victorinox? Free feel to suggest other brands.

I like a good knife, but I am not in a competition to spend the most.

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  1. What do you intend on doing w/ your boning knife? Breaking down whole chickens, frenching lamb racks, etc...?

    A yanagi shouldn't even come into this equation for those tasks. You want a yanagi if you plan on breaking down fish, skinning fish, slicing fish.

    Any boning knife that flexes will dull quicker, that's unavoidable. The harder the metal, the longer it'll hold an edge, but the less flexible it'll be (chips easier). It depends on which you prefer.

    Victorinox won't hold an edge for long. It's an average knife, you get what you pay for. If I had one I would use it for rough work like frenching lamb.

    An alternative to your two choices are hankotsu's, Misono makes a nice one.

    http://japanesechefsknife.com/Molybde...

    1 Reply
    1. re: aser

      Thank you. I am not trying to use a Yanagi as a replacement for a boning knife. I was asking what is a first good knife to expand upon an Chinese chef's knife. Would a boning knife, a fillet knife or even a yanagi makes more sense? As I implied, I am leaning toward a boning knife, but if others disagree and think I should go for say a yanagi, then I like to listen why. Thanks

    2. Chemicalkinetics, you have made a good start by going to the store and actually handling the knives you provisionally are interested in. Knives are very personal, and how a knife feels in your hand is paramount.

      Having told you how personal the selection is, we will reverse course, and tell you that were we the ones selecting a new boning knife, at or near the top of the list would be -- shock! -- two American-made knives. Not because there is anything wrong with a German knife or a Japanese knife or a French knife -- we have examples of good knives of several nations in our kitchen, and the one that my spouse uses almost exclusively is Brazilian -- but because there happen to be two exceptionally good boning knives made in the U.S.A. that (in our opinion) are not surpassed by any others.

      The following page will help you to expand the universe of candidates: http://knifemerchant.com/products.asp... Part way down that page, you will see four versions (differing only in the handle material) of the Lamson Sharp 6" fillet/boning knife. The Lamson Sharp knife follows the French philosophy of knives, where the blade can be sharpened to a very fine, wickedly sharp, edge but it MUST be sharpened frequently, the obverse of the same quality that allows it to take such a fine edge. While it is sharp, the Lamson Sharp is as sharp a vorpal blade for snicker-snacking as one can get, and after you have used it, while the meal is cooking, you sharpen the knife again for its next use. <g>

      The Edgecraft Chef's Choice 5.5" boning knife 2000300 http://edgecraft.com/page2c.html comes from the other end of the spectrum. Edgecraft uses a proprietary alloy in its knives that is very high in carbon content and thus is very hard, just short of the hardness of some very hard -- and very brittle -- German and Japanese knives, but the Edgecraft alloy has six times as much molybdenum content as the molybdenum content in any Japanese or German knife, which makes the Edgecraft (Chef's Choice) knife much tougher (less brittle) than other knives of equal hardness. The hardness allows the Chef's Choice knives to hold an edge longer than the edges on knives made of softer alloys like the Lamson Sharp -- which is a good thing, because the Chef's Choice knives are a devil to sharpen; it is a blessing that they do not need to be sharpened as often, because you basically need diamond abrasives to sharpen them.

      (True confessions time: in our kitchen we do our boning with an Eberhard Schaaf knife, and we love it. That is another line to look into -- you will find it on the same page as the one above that displays the Lamson Sharp choices. The Eberhard Schaaf line recently has been marketed under the mark "Solicut," presumably a contraction of Solingen, where it is made, and "cut.")

      10 Replies
      1. re: Politeness

        Hi Politeness,

        Thanks for the reply. It is very helpful. I have considered the Lamson Sharp. I have not considered the Edgecraft. So you are saying that the Edgecraft is harden to a higher Rockwell (RC) so it holds an edge better? That also means it can hold a smaller angle edge as well. So that can be one sharp knife. You also said Edgecraft has six times the molybdenum and therefore tougher and less brittle. That would mean Edgecraft has a very good steel which is both hard and strong. I have ordered a DMT diamond whetstone, so that may come in handy if I do get a hard knife. I really need to read about that Edgecraft steel.

        Ok, just read that Chef Choice claims it has a RC 60. That is on par with many Japanese knives, and if it is alot a stronger knife in term of tensile strength, then it is clearly better than Henckels and Wusthof. I will read about Eberhard. Thanks.

        Opps, just thought of a problem... I don't think I have seen Lamson Sharp or Edgecraft sold near my area, so I may not able to test-hold them. In othe words, I can read about the steel, but cannot feel the balance.

        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

          Chemiccalkinetics: "I don't think I have seen Lamson Sharp or Edgecraft sold near my area, so I may not able to test-hold them."

          There are some on-line merchants that have excellent return policies who will allow you a reasonable period to decide if you want to return your purchase, and will give a full refund, less shipping charges, if you return the knife undamaged within, say, 30 days. See, for instance, Cookware.com: http://www.cookware.com/Chefs-Choice-... If we recall correctly, the Knife Merchant, to which we previously gave a link, also has a good return policy. http://www.knifemerchant.com/products... (If you cannot find the return policy on the site, which, looking just now, we could not, it cannot hurt to telephone to ask about it.)

          But one of the silver linings behind the dark clouds of the current economy is that merchants who sell the kinds of items (like quality knives) for which most purchasers can defer gratification are very accommodating to real customers. If you find an on-line merchant that carries two or more of the knives you are looking into, you might want to be right up-front that you will be purchasing multiple knives but will return all but the one you decide to keep. In these hard times, you may find that a merchant will be very understanding and might accommodate you to the extent of combining shipping costs to lessen the shipping in one direction, at least.

          1. re: Politeness

            Politeness,

            Thanks for point it out. Yeah, I would probably still feel like an jerk by returning the knives. I only return items if I truly think something is wrong with them. Hey, I just read a little bit about Edgecraft. Although it is harden to RC60, a person online thinks Edgecraft has over hardened the steel, beyond the optimal value. In other words, he has experienced chipping issue. Now, this is just one guy, but have you experienced anything like that?

            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

              Chemicalkinetics, our only Chef's Choice knife is the 8" chef's knife. From an "abuse" standpoint, however, that knife probably gets harder duty than any knife in the kitchen. Two or three days ago, for instance, we purchased a whole fresh wild salmon from the Native Americans (who have exclusive taking rights) at North Bonneville, and after bringing it home, used that knife to cut it into pieces to share with friends (a shame to freeze it when it is so fresh). Have you ever tried to cut through an adult salmon's spine? It is not easy, and involves some violent motions. That is also the same knife that, laid on its side, we use to crush cloves of garlic. Anyway, in several years of very hard use, we have never had anything like a chip on that knife.

              As for feeling like a jerk, you can bet that any of the merchants you would be purchasing from would love to be "jerked" around like that in today's economy. However, we did suggest that you be up-front with the merchant that you will buy six knives, return five; that way you certainly should not feel like a jerk.

              1. re: Politeness

                Politeness,

                No, I have never cut an adult salmon. Small fish (~18 inch). yes, but no large salmon. Can I ask, why did you cut through the spine with a chef's knife and not a heavy cleaver knife? You sound like you are in the restaurant business, so I am sure you have a heavy cleaver. Or were you just trying to do the whole job with one knife and did not feel like switch knives back and forth?

                Yeah, I will be upfront to the merchants if I believe I may return the knives.

                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  Chemicalkinetics: "Can I ask, why did you cut through the spine with a chef's knife and not a heavy cleaver knife? You sound like you are in the restaurant business, so I am sure you have a heavy cleaver."

                  <smile> No, we are not in the restaurant business, and we <blush> do not own a heavy cleaver. The chef's knife (we have two, actually, an 8" and an 11") is the most heavy duty, serious business, knife in our kitchen.

                  Trust us: when it comes to cutting through an adult salmon, visions of chain saws dance in the head.

                  1. re: Politeness

                    Politeness,

                    Thanks. I guess somehow when you said "we" recommended this knife and "we" purchase a whole salmon, I simply translate the "we" into like 10 people.

                    I do want to get a heavy cleaver next after purchasing a boning knife/paring knife. Although I have a very cheap set of knives, I enjoy very much whacking my meat with that poor quality meat cleaver (not referring to my Dexter Chinese cleaver). Occasionally, I whack my foods with a cleaver even when I don't need to. I think I need help. It is just so cool to chop though my meat in one swift move. By the way, I have a pinewood tree trunk chopping block -- a soft wood. So when I whack the meat, it will cut through the meat into the wood slightly -- a very clean cut.

                    I saw some Chinese heavy cleavers in Chinatown. I don't care for the really huge one, but they have those medium size thick blade ones, like a mini axe (cheap, $30). I might get one. Or maybe I will get a more refine one from Wusthof ($90).

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      For rough work like that, don't waste your money on fancy schmancy, a Chinatown cleaver will do. Actually, most of these cleavers have great potential, a lot of them are not made for bones but for slicing. They mostly come rather dull brand new, a session on water stones will change that.

                      A recommended brand of Chinese cleavers is Chan Chi Kee. They're from HK but also has a retail location in Markham, a suburb of Toronto. The variety will surprise you, one long one is made for butchering pigs.

                      http://www.chanchikee.com/

                      1. re: aser

                        aser,

                        Yep. I know about CCK. I was actually born in Hong Kong. Anyway, I don't have one though. CCK knives are very difficult to find and thus far I am happy with my Dexter-Russell Chinese chef's cleaver. It is respected among in San Fransico Chinatown circle.

                        I am thinking about a real meat cleaver, not a chef's cleaver (aka vegetable cleaver) as I already have one. Just thinking.... It will be one of those knives very cool to have, but won't be necessary.

                      2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        Chemicalkinetics: "I guess somehow when you said 'we' recommended this knife and 'we' purchase a whole salmon, I simply translate the 'we' into like 10 people."

                        Journalistic habit on "our" part. <g> The use of the first person plural also helps a bit to avoid stereotyping by some individuals who respond differently according to the assumed gender of the person to whom they perceive they are responding.

        2. Firstly welcome to CH!
          As another poster already noted a Yanagi should not be a consideration. That is a very specific use slicer.
          I own both a flexible and stiff boning knife from Wusthof. In my experience one will not stay sharp longer than the other because it is stiff or flexible however I use the stiff boning knife much more frequently.
          It's not much of a comparison to set a boning knife against a utility knife as far as weight goes. I want at least some heft in a boning knife for Frenching bones, breaking down birds etc.
          Having said that Japanese knives will almost always be lighter than a comparable German or Euro style knife. One is neither "better" or "worse" it's just a matter of personal preference.
          In regards to sharpness how sharp either will get and stay is as much, if not more a function of your knife sharpening skills than just knife brand or type of steel. If you are using a grinder or a pull through sharpener it is un-likely one will be sharper than the other. If you posses good hand sharpening skills the Shun should have a slight edge. However the Wusthof is a bit easier to sharpen and maintain.
          German steel tends to appear "stronger" from the way the knife is ground and the steel is a bit more forgiving. Like you I have a Dexter cleaver and I'd really have to muscle it to make it flex. If you try that flex test that you used with your cleaver on a long knife like a yanagi or hard Japanese steel you run the risk of breaking the tip or just snapping the knife.
          I'm not a Shun fan. I do not like the cheesy cladding that they use. However some feel that the classic Shun classic boning knife is one of the better knives Shun makes.
          The Forschner Victorinox gets a lot of play as it's inexpensive. That's really it's best attribute. It will perform but since one of the reasons you are buying knife is to up grade and you do not seem to want any flex then I would suggest you skip over Forschner.
          You should understand that generally Japanese knives are thinner so more prone to flexing. German and most Euro style knives are thicker, heavier and less prone to flex.
          I think you need to focus on what you want to do with the knife and what type of knife you want before you focus on a brand.
          I would also consider Mac Pro or on the higher end the Hattori.

          http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/HAT...

          http://www.macknife.com/professional....

          8 Replies
          1. re: Fritter

            Thank Fritter,

            Yes, I read the Damascus pattern in Shun is mostly for show. I think I was being confusing early. I have no problem with a flexible boning knife (a fillet knife). I was merely pointing out that I bought a very cheap set of knives, in which even the chef's knife and the cleaver are flexible. Thanks for the links.

            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

              I Wasn't sure about the flexability of the knife being ok with you or not based on your OP. You should be aware that a higher HRC is not "Better" unless you have the ability to sharpen it. There are many other factors that go into making a quality steel like the heat treatment and that is not reflected in HRC. HRC like many things can be maniplated into a slick marketing tool. The harder the steel the harder it is to sharpen and the more prone it is to chipping.
              If you are trying to do a two knife combo with your cleaver neither a pairing knife or a boning knife would not be my first choice.
              As much as I like my cleaver it can not take the place of a Chefs knife which is the single knife I would chose if I only had one.
              Most of the "Better" brands will have to be mail ordered.

              1. re: Fritter

                Fritter,

                I was confusing I suppose, but I am not against a flexible boning knife (a fillet knife), just against a flexible cleaver, you know. I was just trying to really make fun of my cheap sets of knives. Yes, you are correct that a higher HRC is not better since there is a trade-off between hardness and strength. For a given mental, a higher HRC usually means a lower tensile strength. Since RC is often used a marketing tool, one can make a very brittle knife and only promote the hardness without stating its unacceptable strength. In fact, I think it is slightly better to be on the softer and stronger side if one has to choose.
                Maybe it is just because I have more experience with a thin cleaver, I can go through my food prep faster than a French chef's knife. In fact, I have been doing all my home cook pretty much with just the dexter thin cleaver. Anyway, I am too old change now (at age 35).

                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  I still use a Dexter cleaver and have for many years. They are a bargain.
                  The thing about HRC is that you can have a lower HRC on one brand Vs another and the lower HRC may have better edge retention due to the type of steel and or the way it was treated. That is often over looked.
                  It seems you have a preference for thinner knives so you may favor a Japanese knife. You really need to consider what method of sharpening you will use in this purchase as your stone type or sharpening method needs to match your knife to some degree. Not many are going to lay a nice Japanese knife on a diamond stone or hone.
                  If you do opt for a boning knife I do not suggest a flexible boner. It is the least used knife in my kit.
                  Have you considered a Petty knife like the Hattori? You may find a knife like this far more useful for fish or other detail work than a boning knife. OTOH the boning knife will be better on meat like pork and lamb and tasks like Frenching bone.
                  A pairing knife is a separate issue. You can pick up a Victorinox pairing knife for under $10. I do suggest you have one as they are very useful but not really a good single knife compliment to your cleaver (IMO).
                  Here is a link for Hattori. You may want to look through the other brands from this vendor as well. AFAIK they ship world wide at very reasonable fees. I receive my orders from them in around 4 days from Seki Japan to the USA. Freight is around $7.

                  http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/Hat...

                  1. re: Fritter

                    Fritter,

                    Well, I bought my Dexter at near full market price at ~$40. Sometime they sell for less, but I wasn't lucky. Actually l like it a quiet a bit and like it better than my previous lighter and thinner Seiko Chinese chef's cleaver. I am not sure if I always prefer a thinner knives. For example, Dexter Chinese chef's cleaver is slightly thicker and heavier than other Chinese chef's cleavers. I also like those really big fat heavy meat cleavers.

                    I thought, and please correct me, that it is better to have a thinner and lighter boning because it is more maneuverable. Unlike a meat cleaver which the weight delivers momentum and it is essential, I don't see the advantages for extra weight in a boning knife. Maybe for stability? Let me be very clear. I don't know much about boning knives, so maybe it is desirable to have some weight to a boning knife.

                    Yeah, I think I understand the edge retention you are talking about. Two knives may be the same hardness HRC, but one may be stronger with a greater tensile strenght -- less prone to chipping, right?

                    I have a Japanese water stone (1000/8000 grits) with a DMT diamond whetstone for flattening the water stone.

                    Thanks Fritter. I have not considered the petty knife. I will definitely look into it.

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      Sounds like you have a good sharpening plan!

                      " I don't see the advantages for extra weight in a boning knife. Maybe for stability"

                      Yes stability especially for Frenching bones and strength for cutting through fat or muscle. I guess I should go through my old box more often as I just found a new Wusthof fillet knife I never even knew I had.
                      LOL

                      1. re: Fritter

                        Fritter,

                        Thanks. It makes sense. A thinner bonning knife maybe more maneuverable, but may not have the durability and stability. Maybe I need to test-hold these knives again.

                        You are not trying to sell me your new found Wusthof fillet knife, right? Just kidding.

                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                          You don't want the Wisthof fillet knife for a two knife set. It's a lot more like a thin flexible slicer.

          2. Shun Classic paring knife.

            3 Replies
            1. re: jaykayen

              Thanks jaykayen. I think some people believe a paring knife accommodates any all-purpose knife better than a boning knife can. That is if one can only buy two knives, buy an all-purpose knife and a paring knife. On the other hand, I don't notice I ever really use a paring knife, maybe just the way I cook.

              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                I'm like you-I rarely used a paring knife until I cooked professionally. Then, I realized how handicapped I was in not having one. Most people use just their chef's and paring knife. Most home cooks do not really break down that much meat or fish to require specialized knifes for those purposes.

                You wanted a second knife to expand on your Chinese cleaver, since it cannot handle delicate tasks. I think a yanagi is just looking down the wrong road.

                I think the Shun offset utility is worth looking into.

                But I bet once you have a nice parer, you'll realize how useful it is. And they're not too expensive.

                1. re: jaykayen

                  Jaykayen,

                  Thank you for your suggestion. I will think a bit harder if I should get a paring as opposed to a boning/fillet knife. You are correct about a parer is cheaper so maybe I should start there. I will think about it. I do most of my food prep with my Chinese cleaver, and notice I am handicapped when I want to take the skin of a fish or cutting the meat around the pork shoulder blade.

            2. No one else has mentioned, so I will. How about a honesuki? I have a Tojiro one that's relatively inexpensive and you can get it wicked sharp. Not flexible but it'll attack bird bodies with no problems. I occasionally use my cheapo Chinese cleaver, which is a boning one rather than a slicer like the CCKs.

              I wouldn't get a Japanese paring knife (petty) and use if for something with bones. I only have one, but it's too thin and has too fine an edge for that. I'd take chunks out of the edge if I whacked it on a bone.

              That's food for thought.

              2 Replies
              1. re: ted

                A honesuki is not a bad suggestion by any means. A Petty and a pairing knife are not the same beast. A petty is typically about 2-3x as long as a pairing knife.

                1. re: Fritter

                  Are you guys trying to slowly but surely convert me into filling my kitchen with Japanese style knives instead of French style knives? :)

                  Actually, I thought about that option, but I guess French style knives are less risky. Although technically, I would probably impress people more with an entire set of Japanese style knives than French style knives.

              2. Yes to Victornox/Forschner. Partly because of the black handle that is still grippy if it is smeared with fat (think safefty). Partly because the soft stamped steel is easily sharpened or honed after you've been carving on bones.

                Forget forged knives that cost 5x as much. Put those in the mix sparingly, in places where you need more precision in your cutting.

                I have Forschners that are 20 years old and still going strong after all those meat cutting parties.

                1. I use a Henkel's Twin Pro boning knife, when I do need a special knife for what I am doing. The construction is similar to Wusthoff in that the handle is heavy, but the blade is tapered and flexible, and I keep it very sharp. I'd be inclined to either purchase one of these again, since I really like it, or explore one of the Japanese knives meant for boning, such as the Misono or Masamoto, which have a very different profile, but are also tapered and have flexible blades. I'd avoid a utility knife. Flexible blades that are not too long enable you to follow the contour of bone, which is handy.

                  Unless you are boning a whole carcass, I don't think the heavy handle should pose much of a problem, but this is a matter of personal taste.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: RGC1982

                    Actually, the Misono boning knives (Hankotsu and Honesuki) have super thick and super stiff blades. Very sharp, and almost 100% single bevel, so a bit tricky to hone at first if you're not used to it (not at all the same edge profile as the rest of the Misono line at about 70/30 right/left). They would take some getting used to, but some people swear by them after a while.

                    Paul

                  2. The Wusthof Gourmet and Butcher series boning knives are also really nice. They're tough, well-made, and reasonably priced. They're popular (nice alternatives to Victorinox). The flexible models aren't really better or worse, just different (and they're still plenty tough... the overall thickness is less to make them flexible, but the edges are still similar to the non-flexible models). If you want something unique then yes, the Misono Molybdenum Hankotsu (dagger-shaped) and Honesuki (triangular shaped, normally for poultry) are very cool (thick blades, sharp edges).

                    Paul

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: paulsfinest

                      Thanks Paul. I don't know much about the Wusthof Butcher boning knife, but the Wusthof Gourmant series is stamped knife, right? Should I be worried about having a stamped knife as a boning. Don't get me wrong. I like stamped knives just fine and I have more stamped knives than forged knife. However, I know forged knives are typically thicker and maybe I will need that extra toughness in the knife for boning? Or maybe not. I don't know.

                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        They're both stamped. Not that there's anything wrong with that ;-). Mostly just a difference in handle styles. The steel is still good, high quality and well-finished. It'll also be relatively easy to maintain (any decent steel, ceramic honing rod or gadget should work fine) compared to something with a super hard blade. Blade thickness is just a function of what the maker chooses as their blade stock... nothing really do do with stamped vs. forged. These days with modern steels stamped vs. forged also isn't so black-and-white so it's best to just consider each knife for its own merits and price and intended use... anyway, these are thick enough to be tough (if anything, thicker than the forged versions). I have customers using them now in restaurants and culinary school and they seem to really like them (quality, value). I also don't think you'd really need so much "toughness" in a boning knife for most home work... again, depends if you're using it to remove meat from bones and clean things up (a flexible boning might be good) or if you're taking apart livestock. If you want something super thick and tough then a Japanese style hankotsu might appeal to you (I have customers using them to take apart deer and such). Personally, if I were on a budget I'd pick one of these and save my pennies and splurge more on my chef's knife, santoku, or a nice Japanese petty (a 150mm petty, which I'm now in love with... great "mini chef's knife").

                        Paul

                        1. re: paulsfinest

                          Paul,

                          No. Nothing wrong with stamped knives. It is just that forged knives are not known to be thin, and stamped knives may or may not. As a saying good: All forged knives are decent, but not all decent knives are forged. (a bit simplified) I will read up the Butcher series. I didn't know about it. I couldn't find it on the Wusthof website.

                          I appreciate the Japanese hard steel, but I also like the slightly softer German steel for its toughness and easy of sharpening. I do free hand sharpening with a DMT diamond stone and water stone. You are absolutely correct. I will only use the boning knife to clean things up and not taking apart a huge animal. Thanks.

                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                            Here you go:
                            http://www.wusthof.ca/desktopdefault....
                            I carry them because I had chefs, butchers and students asking for them, but not many stores (or other online places) do.
                            Cheers,
                            Paul

                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                              Something to consider, is the that while your softer German knives might seem to be easier to sharpen, there low hardness and carbon content prevent them from ever having the kind of keen edge capable of a much harder high carbon knife. High carbon alloys are able to be hardened to a far higher degree without losing blade strength. A 56 rockwell steel (Wusthof/Forschner/Henckels (and yup; Wusthof and Forschner's stainless are both very similar alloy variants of 440 stainless)) simply cannot be beveled to the same angle as a 62 Rockwell. Harder steel is actually much easier to sharpen because of this; the edge can be taken to a far more acute angle when grinding the burr, where a softer steel may yield more metal to the stone but will rolls its edge without ever getting the keenness desired. As stated earlier, hardness is not the sole criterion to use when picking a knife, but the notion that all harder steels are brittle is an incredibly oversimplified statement. All that being said, at my two jobs (butcher and chef) I use both respectively (Forschner in the shop, and a high carbon Japanese wa-gyuto in the kitchen) and l actually love each of them for what they do. I have cut thousands of pounds of meat with forschners and even though they are relatively soft (I've sharpened some of the many I've owned down to toothpicks by the end) I can still get them razor keen, but have to take them to the hone at least every other day. Here actually is a very important pro argument for the stamped boning knife. A boning knife gets sharpened A LOT; a thin stamped blade can be continually and easily sharpened all the way to the nub with little difficulty. Also Forschner makes their boning knives in an amazing variety of styles: curved, straight, stiff, flex, semi-stiff, wide, thin and combos thereof. My Hiromoto AS wa-gyuto is my go-to kitchen knife. High carbon core, stainless clad, I take the edge to a 15/10 degree bevel (symmetrical) and with a smooth ceramic steel I only take it to hone about every other week. For most of those two weeks it will bite smoothly and deeply into a tomato with its weight alone. Now, if Hiromoto would only make boning knive's (or at least debas) with Fibrox handles...

                              1. re: butcherboy

                                Thank ButcherBoy,

                                I missed the part about harder/stronger steel knives are easier to sharpen. Do you mean they are easier to sharpen to a lower edge angle, right? I think I agree with that because the softer steel cannot hold the acute angle. However, for a typical 20-25 degree angle, then the softer steel knives should be easier to sharpen, right?

                                I suppose the "a harder/stronger knife is more brittle than a softer/tougher knife" is probably not always true. However, isn't it true that a stronger knife will tend to crack/chip under high impact, where a tougher knife will tend to bend and dent under high impact?

                                At this point, I order a Dexter-Russell boning knife:
                                http://www.dexter1818.com/Item_detail...

                                Very cheap (~$14). I intentionally order a wood handle knife due to personal taste. I believe many of the Dexter-Russell knives is 420HC (harden to HRC 55), so some consider a small step below of 440 series in term of strength. Oh yes, I definitely want stamped boning knife now, because I realized exact what you said. I would have trouble sharpen a forged boning knife, big time. Anyway, I am waiting for my moment to get some fancy Japanese knives from Japanchefknife.com, maybe a Hattori knife. I am also thinking about the Shun Kaji vegetable cleaver.
                                http://www.williams-sonoma.com/produc...

                                ebay sells it at a much lower price point.