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What Style of Knives Do You Use the Most?

I think this should be here...

Anyway, what style of knives do you find yourself using the most? Western (e.g. chef's knife, paring knife, slicer), Western-styled Japanese (e.g. gyuto, sujihiki, petty), Traditional Japanese (e.g. usuba, deba, yanagiba), Chinese (e.g. chinese cleaver, meat cleaver (?)), or some other style of knife?

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  1. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/809759

    From that post:

    Also http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/564879 has a great deal of information

    I use Santoku most, followed closely by my Japanese utility knife, and very closely by my Japanese nakiri

    1 Reply
    1. For me:

      1 santoku
      2 paring knife
      3 nakiri
      4 bread knife

      1 Reply
      1. re: tanuki soup

        Looking to get a 150mm petty soon, so this list might change :-D

      2. Chef's knife is all I need!
        Actually, I then use a bread knife, then a paring knife. Depends on what I'm doing, but 90% of the time I use a chef's knife.

        What if I were like "Hay gaiz, I uze a steak nife for evrahthang!"

        My friends mother uses a steak knife to cut onions... and everything.

        1 Reply
        1. re: JustyBear

          LOL! Does your friend's mother talk in that dialect, too?

          I can just picture her yakin' away at the counter, cutting up everything into a big pile for dinner with that steak knife. Very friendly, somewhat opinionated, maybe taking sips from a glass of wine...

          Too freakin' funny...

        2. I kind of rotate my knives just because I want to able to use them and this also help lengthen the time I need to sharpen them.

          That being said, I find that I like the my Chinese thin blade cleaver (aka Chinese slicer) and my nakiri quiet a bit. Again, this does not mean I use my Chinese cleaver the most because I am forcing myself to use all the knives in rotation.

          My gyuto is very nice especially when for the tip. Interesting, I am not quiet as drawn to the santoku which is a bit strange given that a santoku sits in between a gyuto and a nakiri.

          5 Replies
          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

            I have a santoku that I do enjoy using (used to use it the most), but I have recently shifted back to my chef's knife. Santoku is nice, and I like the flatter blade (mine is more western style, so there is a slight curve), but in the end, my chef's knife does it all.

            I think rotation can make sense, but I dont have that many knives (I fight the urge to buy more every day), so I end up relying on one or two. With that in mind, now you've made me look at knives again and think about purchasing more. I have the means, but should I? Hmm.

            The thin blade cleaver looked quite interesting to me, but I am a bit intimidated by it. I am also considering purchasing it for my mum, but who knows if she'll like it. Can you give me a rundown on it's pros/cons/why you personally like it? It seems like it would be cumbersome to me.

            1. re: JustyBear


              Rotation of knives is nice for two reasons. It put me in a position to learn about the difference of various knives. Some knives seem odd in the beginning, but they grow on me after awhile. It also allow me to sharpen the knives once every 2-3 weeks as opposed to every single week. It is not a bad idea to have two main knives, I think. If anything, your guests can use one if he/she want to help you in the kitchen.

              The Chinese thin cleaver is great. It did take me about 2 weeks to fully embrace it. In the beginning, I was resisting it and claiming the medium blade Dexter Russell Chinese cleaver to be better, but slowly I found the CCK thin cleaver to be superior for daily works.

              This is the small size thin blade cleaver I have. Even though it is the "small" size cleaver, it is not that small. It is 315 mm x 214 mm.

              There is a larger version (Chef's version):

              What I like about the CCK KF1303 thin cleaver are that
              (1) it can take on a very sharp edge and maintain it in a reasonable duration.
              (2) it has very little resistance due to the thin blade nature and give me a lot more control when cutting.
              (3) the relatively tall blade allows me to (a) use it as a scoop to transfer food, (b) easily smash garlic and ginger..., (c) tap the knife spine in the case of cutting a large item and it get wedged, (d), the thin blade made the knife feels much sharper due to the lack of resistance.

              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                I recently pickup up a CCK 1303, but haven't had a chance to play with it much.    I put a fresh edge on it and noticed that it easily develops rusts spots. Did you polish (remove the lacquer coating, smooth out the coarse grind marks) on the lower portion of the blade?  And, did you force a patina?

                1. re: JavaBean

                  Excellent questions, Java. I did remove the the lacquer coating on the lower 1/3 of the blade simply because I was thinning the blade at the lower 1/3rd. In hindsight, it may not be such a great thing. Not bad, but not really good. After I removed the grind marks, foods appear to be more readily stuck to the blade.

                  As for patina, I don't FORCE a patina. I just let it naturally formed the patina. When it started to form rust spots, then I used Bar Keeper's Friend or other to remove the rust with a soft brush. At the end, I only get patina.

                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    Thanks Chem.
                    The blade on mine is a bit rough...deep grind marks and kind of lumpy.  I'll clean up just the bottom inch or so to avoid sticking issues and see if it can form a natural patina. 

          2. -Western chef's
            -"Sandwich" knife (Wusthof's term)
            I also like my little parer and serrated knives

            1. 1. Japanese petty. I use it as a chef's knife for small meals or with a chef's knife for larger meals. 
              2. Chef's knife.  I use one of several styles (Japanese, German, or Chinese).
              3. Bread knife once a week.
              4. Sushi knife several times a month
              5. Mid weight cleaver, German petty (as a boning knife) once or twice a month or as needed.
              6. Stout cleaver once in a blue moon.

              4 Replies
              1. re: JavaBean

                "I use one of several styles (Japanese, German, or Chinese)."

                No French? :)

                "Sushi knife several times a month"

                A yanagiba or a different sushi knife?

                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  Well, I've always liked the Sabatier blade shape and would like to get an old carbon fixer upper, but I'm can't tell the differences between the real ones, better ones and fakes. For now,  the blade shape of a Japanese gyuto is close enough to a French shape blade and is working well for me.

                  Just a yanagiba for now. I got a 270mm, white, but should have gone with a longer one. I wouldn't mind trying a deba someday.  I've played with a usuba a couple times, but it is without a doubt the most difficult knife that I've tried to use.  You have to land it's very fragile, dead flat edge gently and squarely to the cutting board on each stroke otherwise it's chips galore.

                  1. re: JavaBean

                    :) I don't have a yanagiba. It is good to know that you have one. I suppose I just don't think I will eat too much sushi. :P

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      I got it primarily for sushi, but also use it as a no bones slicer. 

              2. 1) I interchange a Gyuto (240mm) and a Yasai Bocho (thai thin cleaver) between my primaries.
                The Yasai has a little more height than a Nakiri, but not quite as much as a chinese cleaver

                2) 5" utility/petty

                Those two knives handle the vast majority of my cutting needs.

                1. 90% Chef's knife
                  8% pairing knife
                  2% other knives

                  1. By far the most used is the (I have 2):

                    Global Pro Cook Knife (GP-14)

                    Then the:

                    Global Pro Petty Knife (GP-11

                    followed by:

                    Global Pro Boning Knife (GP-22

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: cacruden

                      40% Chinese cleaver, KIWI brand.
                      40% Chef's knife, Wüsthof Classic
                      10% Santoku, Wüsthof Classic
                      10% other.

                      1. re: SWISSAIRE

                        forgot the trusty old chinese cleaver - use it often to whack at coconuts :o (would not use my more expensive ones to do that).

                    2. 65% chef knife
                      20% paring
                      10% boning
                      5% sujihiki

                      0% Wa-Gyuto, it's wrapped still :D

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: dennie

                        "0% Wa-Gyuto, it's wrapped still :D"


                        Is that even ALLOWED around here?? :-D

                        Whateryoo waitin' for?

                      2. Work:

                        95%+ 10 in Chef's (Dexter Russell)

                        5% 12 inch Serrated Slicer/Bread Knife


                        95%+ 8 in Chef's Knife MIU France

                        5% 10 in Serrated Bread knife

                        15 Replies
                        1. re: bbqJohn

                          Good to know your MIU knife is still holding up.

                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                            It's holding up OK. At home, where I do smaller tasks and smaller cutting boards, I like it better than my 10 in Forschner. Although for quantity work and bigger cutting boards (work environment), I prefer the 10 in size knife

                            Btw, I have a new position so not much time to add input here, but I cannot bring my own knives to work so I'm getting a lot of work done on a 10 in Dexter Russell Chef's knife which I use for just about everything except when I need to use a slicer or peeler.

                            1. re: bbqJohn

                              "I have a new position"


                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                If it's not too personal, would you mind me asking why you can't bring your own knives to work?

                                1. re: shezmu

                                  "If it's not too personal, would you mind me asking why you can't bring your own knives to work?"

                                  I won't answer on behalf of bbqJohn,but I've worked in a few kitchens where the chef frowned apon his cooks bring their own kit to work.I think it has to do with liability(knives being stolen or damaged by someone else) or the fact that most people who bring their own knives to work fuss(hand washing and drying etc) over them more than the generic brand that the kitchen supplies(I know I do),and the chef views that as a waste of time and energy.

                                  1. re: petek

                                    "I think it has to do with liability"

                                    That was exactly what I was thinking too.

                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                      "I think it has to do with liability"

                                      That was exactly what I was thinking too"

                                      Ya well..too bad i said it first... :P

                                      1. re: petek

                                        I guess this time you read my mind first, or maybe you took a typing class and beat me to it. :P

                                        (I wonder how many people get this inside joke we are talking about)

                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                          You know I'm just joking right?
                                          My brotha from a different motha :-D

                                          1. re: petek

                                            Of course, I know you are joking. It is an on-going joke. :D

                                            You have to admit it was strange that we were typing the same/similar answers for awhile.

                                    2. re: petek

                                      Yeah, it makes sense. Hopefully I won't have to deal with a boss disallowing me from using my knives. I buy these things for a reason, you know?

                                      BTW, if you happen to have any experience, would this be more of a low-end restaurant sort of thing or does this hold true for higher-end restaurants as well?

                                      1. re: shezmu

                                        Every restaurant I've worked in I have been able to use my own knives. All had a set of Nella kitchen knives that I could use for things I didn't want to use my knives for, or if I didn't want to bring my knives in. Only one restaurant didn't have a set of Nella knives, thus meaning I HAD to bring my own knives or I'd have nothing to use. This was a hotel and everyone had their own large metal toolboxes that locked that we'd leave our tools in and just leave them there.

                                        What was surprising to me is the number of people that didn't bring their own knives. Maybe only 1/3 the people in most of the places I worked brought their own knives, not including the places where you had to bring your own. Of that 1/3, half of them owned very poor quality knives, and not only were they not good knives but they were not looked after at all.

                                        The nella are fine for things like hacking bones, cutting bread, and do an ok job deboning stuff, but I'd never filet a fish with them, I'd never butcher meat, I'd never even cut vegetables with them. I don't understand how people didn't bring their own knives. Everyone had their own knives, they needed them in school, just some people couldn't be bothered, some people worried about theft, some people were happy using the Nella which were just glorified Victorianox, not that there is anything wrong with that, but they are sharpened very poorly in comparison.

                                        After working at one place 3 years and not ever changing staff I had no problem leaving my knives there, another place I had a locker and the door locked and there were only 3 employees so I left them there, The hotel had cameras on our toolboxes so left them there. Really, there was only one restaurant I brought my knives home with me and I only brought them home if I had a day off, otherwise I finished at night and opened then next day so wasn't worried.

                                        I get the liability thing, I'm also paranoid of someone stealing my knives, but there's no way in hell I am using Nellas every day for every task. I am much more efficient and can cut much more cleanly with my own knives.

                                    3. re: shezmu

                                      Sorry I work a bit more now and not much free time to read these posts.

                                      I work in a dining facility in a secured area and can't even discuss it much, but no knives allowed in or out the front door.

                                  2. re: bbqJohn


                                    There is a question for you from shezmu. See above.

                              2. The vast majority of my knife work is slicing vegetables so 90% of the time I am using a thin Chinese cleaver. I also have a ragged-edge heavy cleaver for the occasional bone chopping task.

                                1. Chef
                                  Japanese vegetable
                                  Case Trapper and Stockman with spey blades

                                  1. I should point out that I want to know what (for lack of a better word) culture of knife (japanese, western) you use *the most*, not the knife type (chef's knife, cleaver). Thank you for posting though.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: shezmu

                                      hybrid japanese followed by traditional japanese

                                      1. re: shezmu

                                        Chinese, closely followed by Japanese. That being said, if you know what knife we use, you can figure out what culture of knife we use.

                                        I have done a poll here on this:


                                        1. re: shezmu

                                          These figures are sheer approximations, obviously:

                                          90% Double beveled Japanese (gyutos, honesuki, nakiri, sujihiki, Japanese-made paring knife, hankotsu)
                                          5% Chinese (Chinese cleaver)
                                          2% vintage French (sabatier chefs knife)
                                          2% vintage American (carbon dexter 12 inch chefs knife)
                                          1% modern Western (bread knife, chefs knife, paring knife)
                                          <1% Single beveled Japanese (misground righty yanagiba that I'm slowly fixing and will probably give to a friend)

                                        2. I already used by Santoku for chopping veggies. I was happy to find out it ALSO cuts through chicken bones and a frozen slab of bacon.

                                          1. Chef's knife. I use for almost everything.