It is currently Tue Oct 21, 2014 5:21 pm

All times are UTC



Welcome
Welcome to chefknivestogo

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest, which gives you limited access to view most discussions and access our other features. By joining our free community, you will have access to post topics, communicate privately with other members (PM), respond to polls, upload content, and access many other special features. In addition, registered members also see less advertisements. Registration is fast, simple, and absolutely free, so please, join our community today!





 Page 1 of 5 [ 50 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: JK knife skills--talk to me!
PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2014 1:52 pm 

Joined: Thu Mar 20, 2014 3:29 pm
Posts: 111
I would love a little input from those of you who have a few notches on your belt when it comes to years of JK experience.

I have jumped in to the wonderful waters and acquired several new knives from CKTG. Yes, I am in love with both my Konosuke and Moritaka gyutos. As I mentioned in another post, my German knives feel like strangers to me now.

But I need to ask what I hope is not a stupid question about knife skills and Japanese knives.

As I regularly read the threads here, I find many cases where new or potential JK owners are told "this will test your knife skills." The gentle warning even goes out to those with decades of non-Japanese knife experience.

What exactly does the warning mean, and why do I see it cropping up so frequently here?

Is it a basic common sense alert about simply being careful with your knives? As in: hey you dummies--your knife is not a screwdriver/bottle opener/can opener/etc?

Is it slightly more subtle? Like: don't use a delicate knife to hack through bones or frozen foods? Or--remember to wipe your reactive knife after every use? Use a wood cutting board with a reasonable panka scale instead of cutting on glass or marble or your dinner dish (I know--heresy!).

Or, when people talk about knife skills and the testing of those skills when moving to JKs, does it mean something else, something specifically about technique? If the warnings fall into this category, I would love to hear everyone's thoughts. Thanks a million.


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: JK knife skills--talk to me!
PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2014 3:42 pm 
Forum Moderator

Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2013 6:00 pm
Posts: 2391
When Melampus comes up for air, he can probably best articulate thoughts on your question.

From my point of view, besides all the care basics you indicated it's mostly about technique. By that I mean not torquing the knife, especially while the edge is on the board, not scraping/moving product with the edge side of the knife, not forcing the knife - letting it do the work, not slamming the knife though harder product like squash by building up force, which can release once the cut starts, causing the knife to hit your board hard. Knowing what foods might not be good candidates for a blade with a bit more flex, like your Kono HD Gyuto. Also keeping the more brittle edge away from the lips of glass and metal bowls, pots, pans, and the like. Chipping can more readily occur with these harder steels and thinner edges versus deformation on softer steel knives with more robust edges. Just my .02 ;-).


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: JK knife skills--talk to me!
PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2014 3:51 pm 
Forum Moderator

Joined: Thu Apr 26, 2012 5:13 pm
Posts: 2840
Location: CT
Well, as knives get sharper, they cut easier. As they get thinner behind the edge, they can become more fragile and prone to chipping. If your chopping skills and board aren't that great, with a very very thin edge, you can get chips from smacking the knife into the board too hard, so you have to hold back a bit while cutting. These knives are thinner/harder at the edge, so if you torque the blade while cutting, it can bend or damage the blade if you torque the knife cutting through a hard squash or something. Rock cutting with very thin edges can also leave chips from the blade walking across the board since the edges sink into the board a bit and if you walk the blade while it's stuck into the board, it can chip out. Frozen foods and bones are no no's for Japanese knives. Sharp knives can often stick into a cutting board, so you need to be careful when unsticking them, especially with fast cutting sessions; if you torque it while it's stuck, it can chip.

Another meaning is that with knives that perform at this level, your skills will stand out, good or bad! A dull old Henckels is a chore to cut with and even with awesome skills, it may still not perform well. With a good Japanese knife, your skills can really shine; usually you can't blame any shortcomings on the knife! They also let you get finer cuts and do things a little cleaner/more efficiently due to the extreme sharpness that they can take!


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: JK knife skills--talk to me!
PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2014 3:55 pm 

Joined: Thu Mar 20, 2014 3:29 pm
Posts: 111
Steve: Your .02 was worth at least two bucks! Or maybe more, considering the price of a stone for edge repair...

Taz: Great details. My thanks to both of you. In most of these cases I would have been ok. Hard squash? That would have meant a return to the wedge-king Wusthof. Have good wood boards, and wipe the knives fanatically. But I really need to think about torquing (thanks to both of you for mentioning this) and consider some of the subtleties in how my knife hits the board.


Last edited by LaVieestBelle on Thu Jun 12, 2014 4:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: JK knife skills--talk to me!
PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2014 3:58 pm 
Forum Moderator

Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2013 6:00 pm
Posts: 2391
Thanks :-). TAZ really explained the reasons/causes of chipping far better than could I. Nice, Tim!


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: JK knife skills--talk to me!
PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2014 4:11 pm 

Joined: Thu Mar 20, 2014 3:29 pm
Posts: 111
Nice stuff from both of you. Thanks again!

I was particularly concerned, since some months ago I found two tiny chips in my only Global--the somewhat flexible boning knife that I have used on chicken. I would feel so much better if I could figure out just how I managed to do this. I did transition to a Boardsmith board, and have tried to be more watchful about my habits, but I thought I was being pretty sensible and finding the chips was not reassuring. Now that I have great new knives, I want to be as thoughtful as possible.

Your tips are quite helpful.


Last edited by LaVieestBelle on Thu Jun 12, 2014 5:06 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: JK knife skills--talk to me!
PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2014 4:24 pm 

Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 4:48 am
Posts: 144
Great thread to read as my Kono arrives tomorrow.

After watching a lot of videos of some of the guys here (I can't remember all of the names of the usernames) one motion I have been adopting into my cutting is when you start at the heel (depending on the product) and pull the knife back on the product to slice it (you apply some downward pressure as well but not enough to "slam" through the product to the board). It really allows the knife to do the work and I find myself able to move quicker for think like carrots as well as not cramp up my hand/arm after prolong sessions of cutting. I find it the best way to cut hard produce as well like a squash or pineapple. My sharp henckels 4 star goes through with no problem, and while obviously that isn't a Kono, I feel like with the proper cutting technique for the job, it could probably handle just about anything.

That may be what it comes down to, too. Knowing what cutting motion to use for the given product. If you go to slice a squash in half by pressing down and pushing forward, you will probably slam the knife into the board once the squash gives. Not good. Doing the above pulling towards you method would probably be safe and successful.

Anyway, please correct me if I'm wrong, but that after watching those videos it was a bit of an epiphany of, "hey! nothing everything has to have the same cutting motion!"


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: JK knife skills--talk to me!
PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2014 4:30 pm 
Forum Moderator

Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2013 6:00 pm
Posts: 2391
I've used my Kono HD 240 Funy/Gyuto to cut through butternut squash quite a few times. You just have to be deliberate and precise with your cuts to make them straight so as to not wedge a knife like that. I'm also careful at the end of the cut to not slam the knife into the board. I don't cut through the tough stem on the end if I'm halving a squash. I slice the end off, just behind the stem, then halve. If I want to half through the stem and all, I get out the Henckels 8" or Forschner 10" :-). I do this on acorn squash, where I don't de-stem, I just chop those babies in half with softer steel, and all is well.


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: JK knife skills--talk to me!
PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2014 5:30 pm 

Joined: Sat Mar 01, 2014 7:15 am
Posts: 1177
Location: Raleigh, NC
The best example I can think of is an odd one. One interesting thing you see on a lot of professional cooks are knife calluses, particularly those who use a pinch grip. We all have them to some degree. They're the result of forcing a knife through food and a sharper blade spine. This is not ideal; since getting into Japanese knives and learning to sharpen well, my calluses have shrunk dramatically to maybe a third of what they were.

Using a Japanese knife not only necessitates that lighter, more cautious touch, it requires it. My knife skills before were good and I didn't scrape the board; I've always used a bench knife for that. The challenge for me was letting the knife do the work.

@Rob: The technique is, appropriately, called a slice. It's differentiated in practical purposes from a chop in that a chop can be repeated immediately after finishing the cut and gives much more consistent cut with multiple items. The less force you can apply the better your results will be.


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: JK knife skills--talk to me!
PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2014 5:41 pm 

Joined: Thu Mar 20, 2014 3:29 pm
Posts: 111
Thanks Lepus. I have always kept a pastry scraper next to my boards--I use it to scoop things up and transfer them rather than using a knife. My sins were likely in other areas...

I think for me some of this will come down to keeping my angles correct as I come down against the board, and keeping my touch a bit lighter. Yes, and I should think about modifying some of my cut styles...

This is all so useful as I try to think about techniques that will better complement my knives.


Offline
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
 Page 1 of 5 [ 50 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5  Next

All times are UTC


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  


suspicion-preferred