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Aug 24, 2014 06:56 AM

What's in my knife block

These days, I take a more minimalist approach to kitchen knives. (I actually used to own a tomato knife.)

10.6" chef's/slicer/bread knife.
7" vegetable cleaver.
4" utility.
(Not in my knife block is a heavy German cleaver for such things as butterflying chickens.)

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  1. 10" chef and small Nogent parer are my main knives. 8" and 6" are my wife"s main knives. The others are neglected, but the 10" slicer gets use over the holidays. In the drawer in sheaths are the 10" bread knife and the heavy cleaver.

    1. Wow, that vegetable cleaver (nakiri). Is that a Watanabe nakiri? It looks nice.

      Your Suisin Chef's knife (gyuto) also looks great.

      I have a few knives, but I put many of them in storage. I still have more than three knives in my block. I have 8 knives in my block, but probably only regularly use the following on a regular basis:

      a) Shun bread knife
      b) Konosuke petty knife
      c) Moritaka honesuki (boning) knife -- actually don't use it much now since I slowed down on deboning.

      The one I use the most is actually not in knife block, which is a large CCK Chinese thin blade cleaver. (CCK KF1102)

      I really should take my Tojiro DP Chef knife out. It is a useful knife.

      6 Replies
      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

        Nakiri is a Gesshin Kochi from Chowhound JBroida’s company, Japanese Knife Imports. I was looking for a super wide nakiri for a while and finally found this. Almost all nakiri that I've seen are <50mm wide, while the Gessshin Kochi is 55mm wide, so the profile is a little unusual.

        The Suisin is cheap (<$100), but like it a lot.

        You’re knife system looks pretty efficient.

        1. re: jimonyc

          I see. It almost looks like a Watanabe nakiri (except the handle). By the way, I just looked at my two nakiri. My Tanaka Kurouch Nakiri is exactly 50 mm wide (spine to blade). My Watanabe Nakiri is 58 mm wide.

          <The Suisin is cheap (<$100)>

          Nice. Very good looking knife.

          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

            Ha. The Watanabe costs almost exactly the same as the Kochi, too. (Still, would rather give my business to JBroida, though.)

            1. re: jimonyc


              If you ever in the market for another unique nakiri or if you have a friend who wants to buy a unique dimension nakiri, you can consider Watanabe as a potential option. Nothing against our friend J Borida of course, but here are some reasons for a Watanabe blade:

              First, Watanabe nakiri has a fine reputation among the old dogs. :)


              Second, Watanabe isn't some massive company. It is largely run by Watanabe Shinichi (who his dad Watanabe Iwao passed the business to). He makes the knife and directly sells it to you. You can really put a face to the person who makes the knife for you.



              Third, he can customize your knife to your liking. A paragraph from his site:

              "More custom modifications:

              You can send me your request so that I can quote you the price. You may indicate the size you wish, if you would like it slimmer, wider, thinner, thicker, lighter, heavier, flat backed, symmetrical bevel, custom shape, whatever you wish. We will quote your price and make your knife as you see it, making it a special and unique one-of-a-kind blade specifically for you!"

              I asked Watanabe Shinichi-San (Mr. Watanabe) to customize my knife to a small degree. I wanted a slightly thinner knife than his usual dimension. Here is a short quote for my initial knife review:

              "....The blade was requested to be thinned to 3.5 mm at spine heel and taper to 1.0 mm at the spine tip. The actual product I received is 3.0 mm at spine heel and taper to 1.0 mm at spine tip – pretty close to my request. Due to the blade customization, the kurouchi finish was removed and resulting a polished finish. The knife was made in 2 weeks and shipping to me in 3 days – though it took me another 2 days to pick it up from the postal office. I am very happy with the production speed, shipping speed... etc....."

              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                Thanks much. The KKF thread was a fascinating read. Post after post of some really intelligent commentary. As always, the danger of such threads is the temptation to own one, especially that chisel-ground garasuki. Luckily for me, my ‘max-3-knives-in-the-knife-block’ rule is in full force.

                From your second pic, Watanabe looks like a kid.

                1. re: jimonyc

                  Yeah, I agree with you that your max-3 knives is going to serve you well.

                  <From your second pic, Watanabe looks like a kid.>

                  Ha ha ha. I don't think he is that young. He is on the upper left of the photo. His father, a famous knife maker before him is on the lower right:


                  Here is another photo where his wife and him at the 2007 Oregon Knife Show. Not sure why they were holding someone else kids....


      2. I have one of these badasses; Moritaka Gyuto 240 mm (the one on the photo is found on google, but is an exact match).

        It is very hard to go from something as good as the Moritaka to something just decent e.g., when cooking at friends house etc.

        I can recommend those japanese knives!

        1. My knife block consists of:

          1. 240 mm Konosuke gyuto
          2. 165 mm Murata nakiri
          3. 180 mm Gesshin usuba
          4. 3 1/2 inch Shun paring
          5. 7 inch Shun santoku

          I use the gyuto, nakiri, and paring the most, while the usuba gets used whenever I'm not hurried in the kitchen and have time to do some katsuramuki. I like to keep the Shun santoku around as a "beater" knife and to give to friends/family that want to help me cook.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Cynic2701

            During my quest for the perfect nakiri, I kept coming back to the Murata w/ Western handle; such a great aesthetic, where village/rustic kuro-uchi meets high-tech Western handle w/ metal bolster. But just couldn’t pull the trigger because of my 'knife-must-be-min-53mm-wide' rule.

            1. re: jimonyc

              I've got a wa-handled one, and though I haven't measured the blade width, it seems quite wide to me.

              What sort of advantages do wider nakiri's have aside from knuckle clearance?

              1. re: Cynic2701

                Not only nakiris, but any knife that I would use a pinch grip with - I just feel most comfortable with a certain amount of clearance between my thumb/index finger and the cutting board. Just a personal comfort thing.

                The Murata, according to Epicurean Edge is 50mm at heel, which is relatively wide for a 165 blade - just not wide enough for me.

          2. I'm actually asking all of you, what did I just buy at the Rose Bowl Flea Market for all of $4? Carbon steel, forged, stamped with markings I cannot read... One solid piece. Nakiri is my guess. Has an arrow logo on the blade and the handle, at least 30 years old (seller "from a box ive had in storage since the 80s when my mother died")

            Sorry, my camera did a really mediocre job of photographing the markings.

            I picked it up and thought "don't know, but I'll take my chances for $4 and find out!"

            Worth my $4? Advice welcomed & hoped for!

            6 Replies
              1. re: CaliforniaJoseph

                It may be a Chinese knife instead of a Japanese knife. I think it is either a duck knife or a watermelon knife. Either of them should look longer than a typical nakiri.

                Duck knife is used to slice and serve duck, especially the skin part. Here if you scroll down to the bottom of the page (third row from the bottom), you will see the duck slice knives KF210X:


                Our friend fmed has bought a duck knife 2 years ago and there are some of the discussions back then:


                Duck skin is priced in Chinese cuisine:



                Now, most home cooks do not use a duck knife for duck skin since.... it is very rare that a home cook get to do this. So maybe the person used it for watermelons and such.


                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  Now I know - Thank you! I was guessing what if might be. Just seemed to cool to leave on the table for $4!

                2. re: CaliforniaJoseph

                  Now you just have to take up hunting, or find a good supply of fresh duck.

                  1. re: SWISSAIRE

                    Doh! This $4 knife is costing me more and more!