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10" and 12" Knives

Sneef Sep 27, 2013 01:26 AM

I recently bought a 10.5" Chefs knife from Global (drop forged).

When it arrived it felt too long... a little unwieldy.

24 hours later i picked up my 8" chefs and said "what is this? a paring knife?" i can hardly use my 8" and 7" knives now, they feel oddly short.... and i am loving the 10.5.

My question?

From your experiences, if i purchase a 12" knife, will i have the same transition do you think? Or is it just that 10" is a very very good length for a knife?

I know this is fairly subjective, so i am just looking for anecdotal tales from anyone who also went from 8 to 10 to bigger.

I am an at home cook, but my kitchen and knives get used all day long.

I use an enormous cutting board.

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  1. j
    jaykayen RE: Sneef Sep 27, 2013 01:37 AM

    12" is not as popular as 10" for a reason.

    1. JayL RE: Sneef Sep 27, 2013 06:49 AM

      I love my 12"...that's all I can tell you.

      1. BiscuitBoy RE: Sneef Sep 27, 2013 07:03 AM

        "I use an enormous cutting board" - That's it right there. You need a good sized board to drive a big knife. The 10'' seems the right size for me, the 12" unwieldy. I like the Globals, show us a picture

        2 Replies
        1. re: BiscuitBoy
          Sneef RE: BiscuitBoy Sep 27, 2013 07:59 AM

          "You need a good sized board to drive a big knife"

          I have a 24" x 18" on order from Bob Kramer, and currently using a 22"x16" from Core Bamboo... but it's got holes in it for stainless prep bowls at one end and in the end i just want one huge huge board, hence the 24"x18" is on the way.

          For those who like G Rated Wood Porn

          I wish i was somewhere where i could handle a 12" knife, of any brand. I am not in the US and in my country a $1 knife is the weapon of preference... :(

          In about 2 weeks time i will have my kitchen renovation finished including a knife rack with all my Globals. I'll snap a pic and post it here then.

          Most of my friends could not care less about kitchens/knives/cast iron skillets... at least the crowd here will appreciate my efforts.

          1. re: Sneef
            Sid Post RE: Sneef Sep 27, 2013 03:10 PM

            I really love my 300mm Gyuto. It is super easy to do a 'rocking cut' with this knife. In a tight kitchen it is way too much but, in an open one it is a true joy to use.

            8" chef knives seem small to me today. The 10" is better but ...... even a 240mm Gyuto is not getting the love when I have its big brother at my disposal.

        2. j
          John Francis RE: Sneef Sep 27, 2013 02:46 PM

          My chef's knife is about 11" long and sometimes it feels clumsy. 12" I would never get - what for?

          1 Reply
          1. re: John Francis
            Sneef RE: John Francis Sep 27, 2013 11:59 PM

            I bought the 10.5" specifically for cutting a Beef or Buffalo top round into more manageable pieces.

            I bought it thinking it would not get a great deal of action, as i am not exactly working with a top round every day.

            Now the 10.5" has proven to be my perfect go-to knife for most everything (time to sell my 8" Chefs and my 7" Asian Chefs).

            Perhaps the 12" will be good for "larger" things.

          2. Chemicalkinetics RE: Sneef Sep 28, 2013 01:59 AM

            Well, many people do like the ~10" inch knife because it gives them extra cutting motion and cutting contact surface. It can go through more food in a shorter period of time. Needless to say, a 10" is longer than 8", and it can be too long for some cutting boards. It is good that you have a large cutting board to take advantage of the 10" knife.

            One thing to take notice is that you have a 10" Global knife. While a 10" Global knife is long, it isn't heavy. Many people who switch from 8" German knife to 10" Japanese knife (like Global) because these knives are not that heavy.

            <From your experiences, if i purchase a 12" knife, will i have the same transition do you think? Or is it just that 10" is a very very good length for a knife?>

            Chance is a "no." The 10" is the most popular length for professional chef, while the 8" is the more popular length for home cook -- especially German 8" knife.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Chemicalkinetics
              Sneef RE: Chemicalkinetics Sep 28, 2013 02:07 AM

              I purchased the drop forged Global, so that i could get some more weight.

              Are you saying that lots of other knives are heavier than mine? Or did you miss that mine is a drop forged one?

              1. re: Sneef
                JavaBean RE: Sneef Oct 1, 2013 09:07 AM

                <if i purchase a 12" knife, will i have the same transition >

                Not really. IMO, 8” & 10” chef knives are similar enough for the main difference to be the addition or subtraction of two inches or so of blade steel in the middle of the blade. 12’s are often much bigger and more robust; everything (handle, blade thickness, blade profile, and overall weight) are super-sized.

                <Or is it just that 10" is a very good length >

                Yes, I’ve always felt the ideal length for a chef’s knife is around 8 or 10 in. For whatever reasons, the mechanics don’t transfer well to sub 8’s. The couple of German 12’s that I played with were beyond ponderous and unwieldy.

                <anecdotal tales from anyone who also went from 8 to 10 to bigger.>

                As a home cook, I’ve yet to encounter a task meant for chef’s knife that required more than a 240mm blade. Anything north of 240mm are for slicer.

                <Perhaps the 12" will be good for "larger" things.>

                Provided you have the board space, and handling skills, it will allow you to handle very large cuts of meats, watermelons, etc. Pros seem to use them mostly for shredding large heads of cabbage, and bulk cutting (ie. cutting two or three whole things of celery at the same time). On the flip side, you loose the ability to do precision tip cuts because it very difficult to control the tip when your hand is 12” or so away, have to raise your elbow to shoulder height.

                1. re: JavaBean
                  divadmas RE: JavaBean Oct 11, 2013 01:05 AM

                  my niece took over my 6 inch chefs knife, she likes it but it feels way small to me. though i have larger knives i use the 8 inch even on watermelons that really are too large. i only pull out the 12 inch for big chunks of meat. maybe i need to try a 10 incher for awhile.

            2. kaleokahu RE: Sneef Oct 11, 2013 12:45 PM

              Hi, Sneef:

              IMO, a 10" chef is a reasonable max for a home cook. I use my 10" and 9" chefs for most things. But yes, if you habituated yourself to a 12", something smaller would feel and look strange to you.

              *However*, what are you using for a slicer? If I didn't already have a 14" slicer for making long draw cuts, I would want something in the 12" range for that, maybe even a chef.


              1. chefhound RE: Sneef Oct 11, 2013 03:12 PM

                Isn't the choice of the knife size affected by the size of the user?

                I use a 8.2" Gyutou and I am a 5'1" woman. I found holding a larger knife to be awkward and I felt less control.

                2 Replies
                1. re: chefhound
                  divadmas RE: chefhound Oct 11, 2013 04:53 PM

                  you can do alot with a small knife but some things are just easier with a longer blade. i was just chopping some roasted green chilis and my 8 inch was too small, they spread out. got thru it, though. digging out big knife would have taken longer.

                  1. re: chefhound
                    JayL RE: chefhound Oct 11, 2013 07:59 PM

                    Sarah Moulton is 5' and she uses a 12" chefs

                  2. ajboots RE: Sneef Oct 11, 2013 05:25 PM

                    Am I the only one who thinks these are males doing most of the talking about length?

                    1. c
                      condie RE: Sneef Oct 12, 2013 03:34 PM

                      Of course the size of the knife depends on the size and shape of the cook; the size and shape of the cutting board; the kitchen facilities; and the job that is being done. It is all very individual.
                      For the average situation, I would think that 12" is a bit long.

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