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Best knife for kabocha/pineapple/hard husks?

Sun Jan 26, 2014 3:39 am

Hello fellow CKtG enthusiasts! I come to you once again as a humble chef apprentice, in need of your professional opinions and recommendations.

I am wondering what would be a good knife for dealing with hard-husked fruits such as kabocha (Japanese pumpkin), pineapple, coconut and the like. I've been told that usuba aren't tough enough and would break, and one of my mentors uses a Chinese cleaver with an oddly extreme bevel to deal with kabocha.

Is there any particular style of knife that is well-suited to this task? If not, what traits of a knife would I be desiring?

Re: Best knife for kabocha/pineapple/hard husks?

Sun Jan 26, 2014 3:59 am

GINGER <> There are a few variables in which any knife is going to be sensitive to hard food items: how brittle the steel is, how acute the edge bevel, primary bevel grind characteristics, steel type, etc.

Usuba is entirely inappropriate. Nakiri is typically too delicate. Interestingly enough, a "cow sword", a Gyuto with a robust grind is very well suited. They are dubbed the "manual food processor" for a reason! Coincidentally, this is the second time I've recommended this knife this weekend, BUT ONLY BECAUSE ITS APPROPRIATE. The Shiro Kami <--link would bang through hard squash with aplomb.

Re: Best knife for kabocha/pineapple/hard husks?

Sun Jan 26, 2014 6:39 am

Can't help but notice that the specs for the Shiro Kami and Richmond SLD are similar. It would be interesting to see a head to head comparison.

Shiro Kami:
Steel:R-2 Powdered Stainless
HRC 62-63
Weight: 6.8 ounces
Blade Length: 240 mm (9.5")
Overall Length: 400 mm (15.75")
Thickness at Heel: 3.3 mm
Blade Height: 51.7 mm

Richmond SLD:
Length: 240mm
Height at heel: 56.7mm
Spine thickness at heel: 2.29mm
Handle: Ichi (yew) Octagonal
Ferrule: Buffalo Horn
Steel: SLD semi stainless
HRC: 61

Re: Best knife for kabocha/pineapple/hard husks?

Sun Jan 26, 2014 5:23 pm

We must be looking at different specs because I don't see even remotely similar knives.

1/2 cm height difference.
1mm spread in spine thickness.
17 gram spread
Dramatic profile difference (i.e., belly)

Re: Best knife for kabocha/pineapple/hard husks?

Sun Jan 26, 2014 7:06 pm

I just finished a bunch of Quick Look videos. One was on the Richmond Addict SLD 240 Gyuto: http://youtu.be/j8rFcS79uBY. They are two completely different knifes. The Addict SLD is almost laser thin (if not a full on laser) and the Kamo is much more robust. The specs in the video are direct measurements taken of my sample w/accurate equipment.

Melampus - What about the Tojiro DP Western Deba's 210: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/todpwede21.html or 240: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/todpwede24.html?

Re: Best knife for kabocha/pineapple/hard husks?

Sun Jan 26, 2014 7:21 pm

I would agree with melampus, the Shiro Kamo definatly has a grind strong enough to take some beating, I have had mine for over a month now and edge retention on poly boards and some general neglect hasn't done a thing to it. Not the most nimble knife out there but a fantastic all around worker and stunning to look at as well.
<SteveG> I would also second the thought for a yo deba, I use my fujiwara fkm 240 western deba for everything from breaking down chicken, some fish, beating through tough squash, keeps coming back for more. Mark doesn't currently sell these but im sure he could bring them in if there was a market. I haven't used the tojiro yo-deba so I cant comment on that particular blade but the style is deffinatly sufficient for these types of task's.

Re: Best knife for kabocha/pineapple/hard husks?

Sun Jan 26, 2014 7:25 pm

I own the 210 Tojiro Western Deba<--link, and have used it many times on hard squash, young coconut, pineapple, etc. It is absolutely appropriate in this application. The 240<--link, I have never held, but I'm aware it is dramatically thicker (+1.1mm @1/2 a cm) & it's a 1/4# heavier, as well. At one pound the 240 might be a bit overkill, but hey, if someone likes swinging a one pound knife around to cut a pineapple, I'm not one to stop them..

Re: Best knife for kabocha/pineapple/hard husks?

Sun Jan 26, 2014 7:50 pm

Thick Gyuto made of powdered steel would be better, but the actual edge might still be too thin for rough, ongoing abuse. Little too risky imo, for that kind of money.

That's why I keep the good ole' 10" Henckel around...and a stainless cleaver (president's choice), for this type of thing. They're both cheap and tough.

A lot of guys turn their nose up at Henckels, but it's good steel and it can take abuse. It may not be as hard...but it's way tougher.

This is my knife, more or less - $50: http://www.zwilling.ca/zwilling/knives- ... uW2trTn-Uk
You can bang it, jump on it, drop it on the ground...use a soft blow hammer on the spine...whatever works.

But I don't think Mark carries any of the yellow Henckels. As well, diddo on the Tojiro... (Melampus beat me to it by a few seconds... :) )

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