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Feb 20, 2011 09:04 AM

THINKING of another knife

My block is full enough as it is...10" chef, 8" chef (my wife likes smaller knives), 6: utility, 4" utility and 10" slicer (all Sabatier carbon), a 2 1/2" Sabatier Nogent paring knife, and an 8* SS Henckels bread knife. Someday I'd consider upgrading the bread knife to some 10" offset (prefer stamped). I am way more of a slicer than a rocker. The things I prepare are all over the map. The three things I am thinking of are (1) are boning knives really that different from paring knifes? (2) what do Santokus do better than what I have?, and (3) anyone had any experience with a 12" chef?

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  1. Hi Tim,

    I see you have 10", 8", 6" 4", 2" knives, so you definitely need a 12". :P

    1) I have a Dexter-Russell boning knife. I think it is sturdier than a paring knife. It is much thicker. Of course, boning knives are usually longer, which allows deeper cut without the hands inside the meat. In addition, it is more of a knife to be slightly abused. I like to keep my paring knives on the sharper side, so if they are used for boning, then I will have to sharpen them much more often. Paulfinest suggested the Wusthof Butcher series boning knives when I was looking for a boning knife.

    2) A santokus is shorter, so it is nimble. It also should have a straighter edge than a Chef's knife, so it should do a good job at push cutting, but a pooer job at rock chop. It has a shorter tip, so it not as good for detail works. A typical santoku should also be thinner than a typical Chef's knife, and a thinner knife decreases/minimizes wedging.

    3) No, I have not had experience with a 12" Chef's


    8 Replies
    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

      The info I needed from the source I knew would deliver. Thanks, Chem.

      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

        Sorry Chem,but I'm gonna have to disagree with you on the santoku. I do lots of detailed work(brunoise,chiffonade) with this knife and I also think it does a great job at rock chopping. A santoku will not replace a chefs knife/gyuotu but it's a great all round performer.
        I think a 12" chefs knife is overkill.
        Just my 2 cents

        1. re: petek

          One becomes proficient with the tools at hand. I prefer a gyuto over a santoku due to the more pronounce tip on the gyuto. Gyutos also have a little belly unlike many santokus that are very straight. But if I only had a santoku I'm sure I would adapt my technique to accomplish what I needed both in detail work and in chopping. The santoku is considered a general purpose knife.

          1. re: scubadoo97

            Truism scubadoo. I have 2 santokus,both with very different belly profiles.1 straighter(kasumi) and 1 (Moritaka) with a more pronounced belly.I guess it depends on the knife maker. And my Moritaka gyuto has less belly than the santuko.

          2. re: petek


            I should not have implied that a Santoku cannot do detailed works. Of course, it can. Santoku and Nakiri are the two most popular knives in Japan. I am sure Japanese in Japan have no problem getting detail works done. As for rock chopping, most Santokus have swallow curve tips which give smaller angles for rock-chopping than Chef's knives. Here is your favor Moritaka Santoku:


            It is beautiful. If I remember right, you are the one looking for a Moritaka, right? Or are you the one looking at a Watanabe?

            I think 12" is overkill, but Tim has all the size from 2" up to 10". So he should get a 12" and then maybe a 14"... 16"...

            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

              No worries Chem. I've just added the Moritaka santoku to my set.(love it!)
              Instead of Tim getting a larger chef's knife,how about a 300mm Sujihiki? It's the perfect carver/slicer.

              1. re: petek

                Which one do you like better? Your Kasumi santoku or Moritaka santoku? The Moritaka should able to take on a better edge than Kasumi, but that is only one of the many aspects of a knife. It may be too early to tell which one you like better.

                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  The Moritaka definitely takes and keeps a better edge but the Kasumi is a bit more heftier and stainless steel so I don't mind abusing it a little more :).So both have good qualities to look for in a knife.

        2. I think my conclusion is no more knives for now. Although I have to say the ten inch chef is, to me, a lot less work than the eight, but twelve might be unwieldy.

          1. Hi, Tim: I'm late to this thread, and all of the Japanese knife experts have already weighed in, but here's my take on your Questions (1) and (3).

            (1) Yes, I think the there's a difference between parers and bon... boning knives. Mind you, there are different kinds of boning knives, too. What I used in my dad's slaughterhouse boning room was a pretty thick, inflexible blade that excels at both disjointing carcases and taking the meat off the bones after disjointing, e.g., the intercostal meat destined for the grinder. The blade is kept thick and stout to enable you to get in just past the tip, slice a tendon or two, and then *twist* to separate the joint enough to cut everything free. Then there are the *flexible* boning knives, which I say might just as well be called fillet knives (although some would quibble over whether a fillet must have a deep belly and a very pointy point). The flexible boning knives are typically used (yes, for filleting but also) for any soft-tissue cutting parallel to your board/block, e.g., trimming down or separating pork belly or bacon. The thinner blade, being much more flexible, can be turned, pressed, rolled, etc., letting you differentially steer where the tip and heel go through the meat.

            No parer I've ever handled can do either of these things well. Length completely aside, they're not stout enough for the torsion work of the butcher's boning knife, and they're not springy enough to follow the changing contours of what you want to separate/skin/fillet.

            Unless you're braking down larger cuts of meat, I'd get the flexible boning knife. BUT, if you cut up a lot of poultry, one stiffie is also good for those thigh joints. Ironically, my wife (who also finds utility in a "utility" knife) prefers the butcher's to the flexible one.

            (3) My advice on a 12" chefs is that, since you're a slicer, your 10" is probably fine. Rockers actually use far less of the whole blade most of the time; IMO they rock a 10" about like a slicer cuts with an 8". I don't find a 12" chef's unwieldy other than getting it into and out of the block.

            Hope this helps.

            5 Replies
            1. re: kaleokahu

              Here's just 2 examples of what kaleokahu speaks of.
              The left photo is flexible boning knife,great for most home cooks. The right is a honesuki,non flexible type,maybe a bit overkill for most home cooks. i own both and I like both(more so the honesuki, cause she's so purdy) but there's plenty of options and price points to choose from.


                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  Yes doctore' I only mentioned the style and not the brand.I didn't want to seem too bias :D

                  1. re: petek

                    Well, Moritaka certainly makes very good Aogami (blue) steel knives at a more afforable prices than Takeda. Am I correct that you have a Moritaka Santoku, a Moritaka Hoesuki and planning to get a Moritaka Nakiri?

                    Hey, I watched that show over last week via Netflex. The show is full of guilty pleasures.

              1. Tim, if you are happy with the Sabatiers, why not a Sabatier carbon steel boning knife?

                To me a boning knife is like a lot of other knife types in that although you can get by with another knife, once you use the proper type of knife for the job you ask yourself, "why didn't I get one of these earlier?".

                My boning knife is a Sabatier Elephant **** from the early 70s. It has a certain amount of flex to it but nowhere near what I expect from a filleting knife. I know that other boning knives have more flex and some like that attribute whereas others prefer a stiffer blade.

                1. 1) Yes
                  2) "Better"? probably not much; Differently? probably so
                  3) Not me

                  A typical boning knife will be longer than a typical parer & less flexible (again, typically). Others have already mentioned the whys.

                  The different Sabatier lines appear to have similar profiles. Take your 10" chef & cover up the last 3" (the pointy end). Then imagine the full bolster along the rear of the blade to be ground away, so that the edge runs all the way to the rear of the blade. This will be your santoku. Since you say you're "way more of a slicer," a 7" santoku's edge will give you about the same effective slicing length as you already have in your 10" Sabatier chef, & more effective slicing length than your 8" Sabatier chef. (Just stay away from the Shun santoku, which has more of the same belly as your Sabatiers do.)

                  If you can find a 240mm gyuto that has a relatively flat belly, you'll have the slicing length of the 12" Sabatier chef in a knife that's easier to manouver than the 10" chef you've already got.

                  Get a 240mm gyuto for yourself, & get a 165mm-180mm santoku for your wife.

                  Not that I'm trying to tell you what to do or anything.....