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 Post subject: Re: JK knife skills--talk to me!
PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2014 2:40 pm 
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Posts: 2391
Belle - nothing wrong w/elevating your position if it helps ergonomics. You might look into getting what's known as an apple box. They come in 8", 4", 2" and 1" (pancake) heights. They're very sturdy. We use them all the time for photo/video work.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/buy/Apple ... 4037060737


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 Post subject: Re: JK knife skills--talk to me!
PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2014 2:44 pm 

Joined: Thu Mar 20, 2014 3:29 pm
Posts: 111
Love it, Steve.

Cheaper than stilettos.


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 Post subject: Re: JK knife skills--talk to me!
PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2014 3:36 pm 

Joined: Thu May 29, 2014 8:38 pm
Posts: 1343
Salem, you hit it spot on with what I've been experiencing in-re board contact, and problem with using too much wrist in terms of consistency. The suggestions and analysis are great! Glad it seems I focusing in the right place for corrective measures, i.e. wrist vs. arm. All of your thoughts there are super helpful. I'm 5'10, so pretty average height. Working on a push cut, but for whatever reason it just a little unnatural and is taking some practice. Will also start paying closer attention to how my blade is contacting the board. Again, really spot on stuff, thanks!



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 Post subject: Re: JK knife skills--talk to me!
PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2014 9:06 pm 
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I knew I didn't have pro skills by any means but didn't realize how bad they were until I bought some good knives. I still don't have good skills but they are MUCH better than they were a year ago. I still don't worry about speed, though I have gotten somewhat faster, I concentrate on uniformity. Just try to do a little better each time out. Probably don't do enough knife work to ever truly become a pro.



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 Post subject: Re: JK knife skills--talk to me!
PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2014 1:11 pm 

Joined: Thu Mar 20, 2014 3:29 pm
Posts: 111
SteveG wrote:Belle - nothing wrong w/elevating your position if it helps ergonomics. You might look into getting what's known as an apple box. They come in 8", 4", 2" and 1" (pancake) heights. They're very sturdy. We use them all the time for photo/video work.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/buy/Apple ... 4037060737


I am actually thinking more seriously about this. The problem with being slightly short, combined with the height of the Boardsmith board, is that it really changes those ergonomics. In particular, it does not allow for the most relaxing elbow movements. If the taller readers out there could imagine what it is like when the top of the cutting board hits at roughly your waist level...you get the picture. It is the only thing interfering with great cutting pleasure. I just know things would be better if that bit of awkwardness was resolved. Buying a box is a little embarrassing, but probably, in the end, quite worthwhile.

I have another question that I hope is not dumb....but I am trying to wrap my head around the idea of torquing. I think I get the picture, but if anyone could give me a clear description of what it is and what the specific effect on the blade is, I would be grateful.


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 Post subject: Re: JK knife skills--talk to me!
PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2014 4:08 pm 

Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 6:20 am
Posts: 1840
Torquing is turning the knife along its long axis. You can picture as you initiate a cut into a hard ingredient like a squash then turn the knife handle like a screw driver, you will place a large amount of stress on the edge, potentially enough to chip the edge or even brake the blade.

This is something of an extreme example, in most cases poor technique applies lesser forces which may reduce edge retention or cause small scale chipping which may befuddle a new JK user. This is why it can be useful to "try out" JKs using progressively thinner knives because you may not know how good or bad your technique is until you have put your knife at stake.

Torquing is probably most common when cutting along a radius, such as peeling a potato.


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 Post subject: Re: JK knife skills--talk to me!
PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2014 5:01 pm 

Joined: Sun Jul 29, 2012 1:36 pm
Posts: 281
Location: NY, NY; New Haven, CT
A safe and easy way to get a feel for "torquing" in the large sense is to cut half way into the thick end of a carrot...and then stop. VERY gently try to alter the cut in some fashion (diagonally or whatever) without actually doing it (!!), and you're start to feel the negative forces at work. Another good one is to cut sweet potato fries. If you stop your cuts partway and then try to restart and slightly adjust the knife, you can very easily torque it. Both of these will be most exaggerated if you only use the front half or third of the knife for the cut.

What I'm recommending is to try stopping the knife and then trying to alter the cut very gently, without really advancing it, just to get a feel for the flex in a controlled setting. I'm not suggesting you actually go through altering the cut in such hard ingredients by applying real cutting pressure, as this may actually damage the knife edge! However, these things will definitely give you a whole new sense of "flex" in the knife, and you can imagine how, if your cuts are not normally controlled and straight and continuous, such concerns about torquing can become very real on a day to day basis. Usually, actual torquing is, as Cedar mentioned, an issue for the edge, particularly for the thinnest part of the edge. So, in real life, it is more likely to occur while cleaning a chicken, for example, where you may be twisting the knife to get around bone but still accidentally press it sideways against bone, thereby torquing against something hard and focused enough to chip part of the edge. With ingredients like sweet potatoes or hard squash, I usually worry about torquing in the sense of bending larger portions of the blade, and not chipping the edge, which is more the feeling you'll get with the "tests" I suggest above.

In the case of larger ingredients, the terrible "yikes" moment occurs when you advance the blade through the object and change direction while advancing or rotating it (such as in round squash), so that the first quarter of the knife enters at one angle, and the rest begins to enter slightly off-center: since the food is hard, it holds the knife all along the edge, effectively locking it in a twisted position, which is a big no no!

Perhaps I'm combining two kinds of torquing here and getting one wrong. However, they both apply to rotational force against the blade, which sounds like what "torque" must apply to in any case...



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 Post subject: Re: JK knife skills--talk to me!
PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2014 7:14 pm 

Joined: Wed Feb 20, 2013 2:22 am
Posts: 733
My perception of the term has always been more aligned with what salemj is describing. A change in yaw with the edge on the board, whereas cedarhouse is describing a change in roll. Although neither sounds healthy for a hard, fine edge.


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 Post subject: Re: JK knife skills--talk to me!
PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2014 8:56 pm 

Joined: Thu May 29, 2014 8:38 pm
Posts: 1343
Well, from my limited knowledge of mechanical physics (and believe me it is limited), torque refers an mount of power generated from rotating an object around an axis or stationary point. Simply, it's twist. So, to echo salemj, torque would occur in cutting when a part of the knife blade becomes fixed, or stationary in an object and circular pressure is applied. Even more simply, if a cut isn't finished and the blade is held within the object and the user twists the blade, torque is generated. Probably common when angles are changed during a cut or really any time a part of the blade becomes a fixed point in an object and non-linear force is applied. Since most japanese knifes are pretty darn stiff and rigid, they won't accommodate torque very well. Contrast that with, say a bubba blade, or filet knife which is designed to accommodate torque



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 Post subject: Re: JK knife skills--talk to me!
PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2014 9:03 pm 

Joined: Thu May 29, 2014 8:38 pm
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To add a bit more thought on the above, knives with greater height may or may not be less resistant to torque, but, because it is usually the edge that becomes fixed and torque is generated through the spine, the greater distance of the spine to the axis point (or edge) results in a greater amount of torque. So while short blades may appear to resist torque better, the truth is that because the point at which torque is being generated is closer to the axes, there is less torque applied for the same amount of force (if you want to understand it better you can take a look at gearing ratios. Basically the wrist is one gear and the knife itself is another gear). This allows a shorter blade to turn, or arc easier in a cut because for the given change in angle, less torque is being borne by the blade.



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