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Knife for Wife

Fri Dec 06, 2013 8:01 pm

We have a set of Henckels knives and my wife cooks daily due to her food allergies. The set has an 8" chef knife and a (I think) 5.5" Santoku. Almost sure this is it: http://www.cutleryandmore.com/henckels- ... et-p120760. She really only uses the Santoku. I've never seen her use the chef's knife. I use it on occasion but she says it is too big and heavy and scary and doesn't fit her hand. I'd like to get her a nicer knife (or two) that she will actually use to replace the chef's knife. We also have a couple of Rachel Ray Furi Santoku knives http://www.cutleryandmore.com/furi/rach ... set-p19988. She uses the smaller of the two but never the larger one. Those Furi knives are not nearly as nice as the Henckels. I am a knife junkie (pocketknives, not kitchen) so sharpening and maintenance isn't a problem. I'm thinking about the Tojiro DP 170 Santoku or 180 Gyuto and the 120 Petty or 150 Utility for her. I'd like to stay under $130 total (we're supposed to stay under $200 each for Christmas, I've already got her some other stuff on the way). I am not sure if the large chef knife we have now scares her because of the size/weight/fit or just the shape. I'm going to try to ask her tonight without coming right out and asking her.

There are so many great looking knives on this site that I get lost and easily confused. I'd love to hear your recommendations for something for her, whether it's one nice knife or a couple similar in price to the Tojiro. Mainly something that will fit her tiny hands and that I can get/keep wicked sharp with my Spyderco Sharpmaker. I love the look and performance of carbon steel in pocketknives so if there are great kitchen knife equivalents I'm game.

Re: Knife for Wife

Fri Dec 06, 2013 8:39 pm

Benji,

The difference between what you are using now and a Japanese knife will be mind roasting. You and yours are in for a treat. May I recommend though that you buy only one knife at the $200 price point and repeat for her birthday? That extra money can buy a lot of refinement.

Cheers,

Rick

Re: Knife for Wife

Fri Dec 06, 2013 9:12 pm

Benji - If you think she (and you) can perform the quick and easy care for a stainless clad, carbon steel core knife where just the edge steel is reactive, the Kohetsu Aogami Super Santoku 180 is very light, nimble and the edge will stay sharp for a long time w/proper use and care. It's got a full 3" circumference handle - depends on how tiny her hands are. This is a nice enough knife to justify swapping out for a smaller handle at a later date if she likes the knife. 2 5/8" or 2 3/4" might do the trick.

Another clad AS cored knife is the Hiromoto AS Santoku 190. It's super comfy to my medium-small hands - it immediately felt like a pair of comfy old shoes in my hand. You might need to sand the choil/neck and spine area a little to relieve the corners a bit, but it only takes a few minutes w/a couple of thin strips of 220 sandpaper. It's a great performer and the price is great as well.

The Tojiro DP Santoku is nice, but it's a little heavier than most Wa (Japanese) handled Santoku's. A lighter knife might feel smaller to your wife, despite the length. I don't know the handle size on this, but my wife has no problem with the DP 210 Gyuto and she's got pretty darn small hands as well. Maybe Mark can compare the DP 210/Santoku and give you a call on whether the Santoku handle is same or smaller than the Gyuto. Or he could compare those to the Fujiwara FKM Santoku handle as well - another good basic choice. It's a little lighter as well.

Re: Knife for Wife

Fri Dec 06, 2013 9:29 pm

If you like to sharpen and want a great carbon steel that will take a scary sharp edge I'll shamelessly plug the knives I bought myself. :P lol

Yamashin white #1 120mm Ko Bocho: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/yawh1kobo12.html

Yamashin white #1 165mm santoku: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/yawh1sa16.html

Both together would be about $110, both come sharp enough to use, but they get a lot sharper after a little time on the stones and strops. The white #1 steel means that they can take probably one of the finest edges of just about any steel, and for home use they should keep and edge very well. Mine has for sure. For a professional banging away on a plastic board, probably not so much. lol

They are carbon steel and will patina (and of course rust if not cared for), but they do not seem to be super reactive like some of the other carbons. Something I have read about Tojiro's ITK line is that they rust VERY easily while using (I think it isn't necessarily rust, just discoloration due to reactivity) but I have not seen that in these knives unless I don't wipe it off after cutting an onion and set it down for a couple of mins. I have thinned my santoku so it has less of the protective varnish on the blade and it still has no issues. Just treat it like you would your carbon pocket knives.

These knives are also VERY light compared to western knives. Almost comically light... it's a bit ridiculous really. The handles aren't large but they are a nice oval shape so there are no hard lines if she holds the knife by the handle. A pinch grip (which is what I use) is also comfortable. You might want to treat the handles with oil, butcher block conditioner, beeswax, etc. as they are pretty much just sanded wood.

I love mine and would buy them again, especially for the price. :)

Re: Knife for Wife

Fri Dec 06, 2013 9:37 pm

SteveG wrote:Another clad AS cored knife is the Hiromoto AS Santoku 190. It's super comfy to my medium-small hands - it immediately felt like a pair of comfy old shoes in my hand. You might need to sand the choil/neck and spine area a little to relieve the corners a bit, but it only takes a few minutes w/a couple of thin strips of 220 sandpaper. It's a great performer and the price is great as well.


That was the one I looked at before I found the Tojiro DPs. If it will play that music while she chops up vegetables I'll be happy for sure.

Re: Knife for Wife

Fri Dec 06, 2013 10:02 pm

One other thing I just thought about was that we grow our own squashes and eat them frequently (butternut and spaghetti). Will these knives cut through a big squash? I typically do this for her with the 8" Henckels and try to get her to use it when I'm not around, but she usually struggles with the smaller Santoku and manages to cut up the butternuts somehow.

Whatever we get is most likely going to go in our Henckels knife block and I'll throw away the big Furis.

Re: Knife for Wife

Sat Dec 07, 2013 12:13 am

Just asked her why she never uses the bigger ones. She says the handle and the blade is too big on both the 8" chef's knife and the 7" Furi. I'm not sure how she'll react to anything much bigger than a 180mm.

Re: Knife for Wife

Sat Dec 07, 2013 1:59 am

I was going to recommend the Kohetsu santoku, but SteveG beat me to it! The Hiromoto santoku 190mm has a fairly small handle, but the handle is somewhat heavy due to the bolster.

This is a 210mm, but only 4.4 oz weight wise, edge length around 202mm, so around 8" or just under. Shouldn't have any problems with squash!
http://www.chefknivestogo.com/tagi21gy.html

Re: Knife for Wife

Sat Dec 07, 2013 2:00 pm

Taz and Benji - I have one of those on the way. Should be here Tuesday - if you are still looking I'll give you a quick report after cutting a few things, etc.

Re: Knife for Wife

Sat Dec 07, 2013 4:15 pm

Looking at the knives we have...

The two santokus she likes and uses are both 5" or less handle and 5" blade. The larger knives have larger than 5" handle and 7-8" blades. I'm hoping if I get a 180-190mm she'll give it a chance. Seems to be more of a selection in that size compared to what she's used to.
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