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 Post subject: Honesuki recommendation?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2014 5:27 pm 

Joined: Wed Mar 05, 2014 4:46 pm
Posts: 9
Hi, all! I searched the old forum posts, but I think I still need a little help choosing a specific knife.

Background (skip if you want!): I am a home cook, but quite advanced. I've used German knives most of my life (including my Grandmother's carbon steel knives--she was an accomplished cook, sometimes professional). However, in the last ten years I've been more and more interested in Japanese knives. I bought a Ken Onion by Shun to get my feet wet. My most recent knife purchase is a Kohetsu Aogami Super 270mm Gyuto. I wanted to try a bigger knife for bigger cutting tasks and it is great. I love that knife!

My problem/need: I break down and roast chickens several times a week. I'm too cheap to buy them already cut. After all, I could spend that money on a knife, right? ;) And I prefer chicken breasts on the bone. So, I'm hoping for a recommendation for a knife that will be great for cutting up chicken, and specifically one that I won't destroy cutting through the breast. I know, right? :roll: Knife abuse and I want help with it. I don't hack at the chicken; I break it down correctly--that's what joints are for. I just want to also keep the breast on the bone to protect it in the high heat roast and to give it extra flavor.

The questions:
1. Are you right handed? Yes.
2. What type of knife are you interested in (gyuto, nakiri etc..) I think a Honesuki, but tell me if there is something better.
3. What size knife are you looking for? Open. I love the 270 that I have, so anything up to that big is fine.
4. Do you prefer carbon or stainless steel? No preference.
5. Do you prefer a western handle or a Japanese handle? No preference. The only handle that I can't stand is the Global handle.
6. How much did you want to spend? Under $250, ideally, but I could step up to $300. Above that will be hard for me to justify.
7. Do you know how to sharpen? No, but my mom does. However, it's more of a country girl sharpening knowledge than a professional sharpening knowledge, so maybe we should say we know how to keep an edge, but for a serious sharpening, no.

Let me know if there is anything else that might be helpful. Thank you everyone!


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 Post subject: Re: Honesuki recommendation?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2014 5:33 pm 

Joined: Sat Jan 18, 2014 9:11 pm
Posts: 220
Location: San Diego
Sorry for being dense, but do you mean that you want a knife to cut through the breast bone and/or ribs? A honesuki is a boning knife, but not intended to be used to cut through bone. The blade edge (single bevel) is designed to get you really close to the bone, but not through it.

I'd look to a heavy duty "beater" type knife. I personally have a small cleaver with soft german stainless steel on it. I have to sharpen it quite a bit when hacking through bones, but the softness of the steel keeps it from chipping, and it does sharpen up really quickly.

For heavy duty tasks, something like a big thick western deba *might* work. Here is one - http://www.chefknivestogo.com/todpwede24.html. Also comes in a 210mm. This is something that would be used for processing fish, cutting lobster tails, etc. I can't vouch for it in your intended purpose, but hopefully others will chime in and tell me if I am off my rocker or not - i.e. trying to start a discussion here for you with a potential option.


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 Post subject: Re: Honesuki recommendation?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2014 5:42 pm 

Joined: Wed Mar 05, 2014 4:46 pm
Posts: 9
Thanks for answering socalboo and nope--no density at all. I was probably less than direct because I'm pretty sure that I'm asking for advice on abusing my knife. Yes (hangs head in shame) I do mean cutting through bone. I also have to confess, I suspected the honesuki might not be the right knife for the job, and that's why I posted. I have a German cleaver from a good company that I got a loooong time ago, but I hate it. It has always seemed dull and heavy and useless. I think I dislike cleavers, but maybe it is because I haven't had a good one. Is a cleaver likely the only thing that is going to stand up to my abuse?


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 Post subject: Re: Honesuki recommendation?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2014 5:44 pm 

Joined: Wed Mar 05, 2014 4:46 pm
Posts: 9
Also, fwiw, I have never chipped a knife before ever until I chipped my gyuto. I always assumed chips happened because people were trying to power though and hack cuts, rather than finesse them.


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 Post subject: Re: Honesuki recommendation?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2014 7:34 pm 

Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 5:21 pm
Posts: 121
I've put my heavy Tanaka deba through chicken bones, but it didn't feel like the right tool for the job. I use a cleaver or sometimes my Artifex tall 240 for it; that feels better but not ideal. The german stuff does it fine too. I think the best tool for the job would probably be a scimitar or cleaver. Honesuki is mostly for deboning, not splitting bone.

Chipping is a thing that happens sometimes to a hard, fine edge. It's better than the alternative (rolled edge).


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 Post subject: Re: Honesuki recommendation?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2014 7:52 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2013 6:00 pm
Posts: 2401
Good kitchen shears can cut through the breast or backbone very well. If you do it this way, you could get an inexpensive honesuki for the joints and deboning.


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 Post subject: Re: Honesuki recommendation?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2014 8:02 pm 

Joined: Wed Mar 05, 2014 4:46 pm
Posts: 9
Thanks, dinoadventures. Nice to know chipping alone isn't going to make me the Hester Prynne of the forum.

It looks like I might have to re-purpose my old German knives or buy a cleaver. Of course, now that I've been ogling the honesuki (I'm looking at the Artifex one), maybe I'll have to buy one, start taking my chicken breasts off the bone and alter my roasting pattern.

@SteveG: Hmm. I have a pair of poultry shears, but they don't get any more use than my cleaver. I find my shears awkward and slippery to use when I'm cutting up chicken and I hate to use two tools when I could only use one. With that said, maybe I need to just step up and give 'em a good try before I banish them to the back of the kitchen drawer again. A cleaver feels like it may be a better fit for me.

Any recommendations for a cleaver?


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 Post subject: Re: Honesuki recommendation?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2014 8:10 pm 

Joined: Tue Oct 29, 2013 9:21 pm
Posts: 427
Correct me if I'm wrong but the Honesuki should be used for making detailed cuts along the joints...If you can work the knife around the poultry well enough you should simply be able to pull the parts out of the socket with ease.

Vintage carbon knives work well for hacking bone.


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 Post subject: Re: Honesuki recommendation?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2014 8:12 pm 

Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 5:21 pm
Posts: 121
I'm thinking something like this http://www.chefknivestogo.com/cckcleaver3.html


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 Post subject: Re: Honesuki recommendation?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2014 8:21 pm 

Joined: Sat Jan 18, 2014 9:11 pm
Posts: 220
Location: San Diego
I think Hawthorne was talking about a different form of disgrace....you don't have an "A" on your shirt, rest assured.

Didn't even think of Steve's idea, and it is genius! A good set of kitchen shears is still very cheap, and they do the job well. Leaves your budget open for other fun stuff....I personally like the shears that have detachable blades - I don't like the gunk that sometimes gets caught in the hinge.

If you are looking at the Artifex honesuki, also take a peek at the honkatsu. To me, a much more versatile knife that can be used for more applications. I am considering that knife (Artifex honkatsu) because it reminds me of a smaller breaker knife like butchers use and I think it will work well for breaking down and prepping primals. It could also have some paring/petty applications as well. I doubt that I would reach for the honesuki for much more than deboning birds.


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