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 Post subject: Left handed butchering knife
PostPosted: Sat Jul 26, 2014 6:00 am 

Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2012 1:26 am
Posts: 10
I was talking to my boss at work and asking him what kind of knife he'd recommend for butchering smaller sized fish, chicken, etc. and he told me about a Hankotsu style and was wondering what good options there are out there. I'd also like a recommendation on what kind of knife I ought to be used for going through bones (fish and chicken). I was reading the Hankotsu's aren't designed for that. Is that what a Deba would be for? Would Debas also be used to fillet fish and take it off the bones?

Right now, to fillet salmon I've been using my 240mm Kikiuchi Gyoto but was wondering if there might be a better option for me. I know I don't really want to go through bones with that knife, so whenever I go through bones, I've just been using my 8" German chef knife. But I'd also like to have just one knife if possible.

As for budget, I'm really not sure. I know I don't want anything too expensive (over $150-$200).

I'd also like to know the differences between a Hankotsu and a Honesuki. Are both types of knives used for the same thing or would there be occasions where one might want to use one type of knife over the other?

Thanks for the help!


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 Post subject: Re: Left handed butchering knife
PostPosted: Sat Jul 26, 2014 8:25 am 
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TUCKER <> A Hon-Deba <--link is a filet knife, but despite it’s appearance, it is not a cleaver to go through bones. A micro-beveled Mioroshi-Deba (this is a righty!) <--link or Yo-Deba is more what you’re looking for to get through bones.

A Honesuki is a purpose specific knife that is designed to process birds, and it does… surgically. They are typically single bevel and a lefty would be rare though there are double-bevels out there, Moritaka & Takeda come immediately to mind. Some use them to trim meats, but I’m not fond of the blade angle, height, or geometry in that capacity. I find the Honesuki to be a novelty purchase unless you clean birds all day. It is just too purpose specific as a versatile tool. I’m down to one now, and it sees little use. I prefer to clean birds with a Deba over a Honesuki.

A Hankotsu is a boning knife particularly adept at hanging style butchery, but works in a broad sense as a boning knife. They are much shorter, heel to spine, than Honesukis so as to easily turn tightly around joint articulations, and the two I have seen, I own one, have not been sharpened to the heel as design. They are typically single bevel and a lefty would be rare. Richmond makes a double-bevel in a premiere SS, AEB-L <--link. This looks like a great knife for your tasks, EXCLUDING breaking bones.

With you saying you’re going through bone, you should strongly consider a knife similar to what your’re using, but much more robust like the Tojiro DP Yo-Deba <--link… it’s a salmon slayer. It comes in a 240, as well, but for chickens & small fish it's unnecessary.

Here are both style Debas @work.
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 Post subject: Re: Left handed butchering knife
PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2014 3:56 am 

Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2012 1:26 am
Posts: 10
Thanks for your help. I do have a few more questions though and points of clarification.

So for butchering fish, I would want a Yo-Deba or Mioroshi-Deba. Those two knives are designed to go through fish bones right? What about a chicken bone? I sometimes will french the chicken breast or leg and will cut off the tip of the joint to make it look cleaner. Will those knives also work for this purpose?

As for examples of above knives, I was looking at the one you recommended, the Tojioro DP and the Tojiro Shirogami Mioroshi Deba. Is this second knife suitable for lefties? Do you have any other recommendations for me for suitable left handed knives? Also, I was on the Korin website and they were saying sometimes one could special order a left handed version of certain knives. Would something like this be possible through Mark?

Thanks again for your help.


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 Post subject: Re: Left handed butchering knife
PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2014 12:29 pm 
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TUCKER <> I do apologize for this abridged version, but the book I just wrote you was timed out & lost. :evil: I typically transfer from MicroWord or copy ahead, but I slipped. :x Sorry. :|

My opinion has changed after reading your second post, but let me explain a bit first. A salmon's pin bones are different than a chicken drumette's bone which is different than a fish spine. Now knowing what you meant by chicken bones, I retract the Mioroshi recommendation.

The Tojiro DP Yo-Deba <--link is robust & heavy, thick shouldered, heavily convexed blade that will filet sides of salmon off with the same aplomb as cleanly slicing cross sectional steaks off right through the spine. It will EASILY cut through chicken bones... even the whole carcass. The knife is no light weight, & will not be the most nimble of knives to filet with but as the old saying goes, "you can't have your cake & eat it, too". I would like to see you with a 180 for "smaller sized fish, chicken, etc.", but CKTG is limited in this regard. The Kunimitsu <--link fits the length, but not only have I never seen one; at only one third of a pound, I fear it is not even close to as strong as we need it to be. CKTG, used to carry a Hiromoto Western Deba in G3, but know that I think about it - it's asymmetric righty.

As for the Mioroshis, generally speaking, they are lighter thinner Hon Debas designed to be more nimble as the latter start getting really heavy & cumbersome over 8". Again, generally speaking, they are single-beveled which do not really lend themselves to cutting bones. You can & many do, employ a radical micro-bevel on the portion of the edge in which you intend on cutting through bones to lessen or eliminate the possibility of chipping that is always a clear & present risk, but I'm talking pin bones... not chicken thighs. Irrespective of how radical a micro-bevel is employed, I'd never attempt to cut through chicken bones with a Mioroshi... joints yes, bones no.

You ask if the Tojiro Mioroshi is suited for left-handers, and no, it is not since it is a righty single-bevel. Also, I don't have any other suggestions for your bone-cutting-filet-knife needs unless you consider a two-knife option of which will exceed your budget. The Tojiro DP Yo-Deba <--link is the only one that I know that can do it all at that price.

Regarding the lefty requests. I can't speak for CKTG, but I can assure you they go above & beyond to accommodate their customers' needs. Kaneshige & Kitaoka <--link make a lot of lefty knives for them, and I'm sure they can check to see if either knife house, or more, to see if they have any special knives you might be interested in which are available but not regularly stocked on the CKTG menu. When you start talking about custom fabrication though, you will far exceed your budget... Korin or elsewhere. Typically, Korin is already grossly overpriced.



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 Post subject: Re: Left handed butchering knife
PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2014 5:40 pm 

Joined: Wed Jun 25, 2014 2:23 am
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I used to use an old 8" wustoff for jobs like that. Sharpened almost like an axe it teared apart a whole chicken in seconds. Including the bones. Now I use a victorinox 10" for almost any "heavy" prep.

I haven´t used one but looks like a DP yo-deba is close to the wustoff I used to have and love. And certainly would fit for a lefty.

JJ


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 Post subject: Re: Left handed butchering knife
PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2014 11:15 pm 

Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2012 1:26 am
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So I'm thinking that I might just need to go with a two knife option then. I like the light weight of my Kikiuchi Gyoto and the fact it's fairly thin. I really do like that particular knife and find it takes a good edge (although I'm not very experienced in sharpening, which is a whole other topic).

Since I have my 8" Henckel chef knife, what I think might be good is to just continue to use that for things like cutting through chicken bones, etc. and then purchase another knife for filleting/butchering my fish.

This is what I'm currently thinking of doing right now. Please correct me if I'm wrong and feel free to suggest things. For breaking down chicken and other poultry, I think I might stick with my 8" Henckel for going through bone, etc. and then purchasing a smaller Hankotsu for breaking down chicken/smaller fish. For larger fish, like salmon, mahi, etc. I thought about a 240mm Yo-Deba or Mioroshi Deba. Do you think this would be a good idea? The more I think about it, the more I see no real need of getting a knife that will fillet and butcher fish AND go through chicken bones as well. I'm obviously not going to be doing both of these tasks at the same time and I'm going to have to wash/sanitize all my equip before changing projects anyway, so why would I really need a one knife solution.

You also mentioned doing a micro bevel, which was on the single sided knife. I'm not really sure what that is or how one would go about creating a micro-bevel or how I would even know if I had one on my knife so this might not be a good solution for be as of now. You also mentioned that single-beveled knives aren't really good for going through bones. Is this true of fish carcasses/bones as well as chicken bones?

As for the budget, that was more for a knife that just did fish butchery and the tasks related to that, i.e. wanting a knife that will equally fillet salmon and going through the salmon bones (or really any flat fish for that matter). And this brings up another question: would I want to use the same knife to butcher flat fish as I would round fish? I've never worked with flat fish before but I do know from speaking with my chef that the technique for butchering them is different as they have four fillets instead of two.

Also, for butchering larger primals of beef, like ribeyes, etc. our butcher usually uses a cimiter knife. Is that what is generally recommended or would a good Yo-Deba/Mioroshi Deba do just as good?


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 Post subject: Re: Left handed butchering knife
PostPosted: Fri Aug 01, 2014 7:46 am 
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Sorry for the wait. :|

The Henkels is nice & soft; perfect for making your chicken suprêmes. It's quite adept at the whole process from: breaking down the bird, splitting carcasses for stock, trimming, portioning, chopping drumette tips for suprêmes. That said, specifically the Richmond Hankotsu is a great option on boning chickens & smaller fish as you mentioned.

I could wax on, but I'll make it succinct. The two-knife option of the Tojiro DP Yo-Deba <--link and the Richmond double-bevel AEB-L Hankotsu <--link is an awesome combination for your left-handed needs. I would much rather see you with a left-handed Mioroshi sharpened with a nice microbevel as it would be a more nimble option than the Tojiro Yo-Deba, BUT that's gonna be a search & the Tojiro works very well... it is just heavy in the 240. Also, not any Hankotsu... specifically this double-bevel one.

Regarding the microbevel. When sharpening your knife, on your finishing stone, basically add a tiny & radically obtuse bevel sharpened unilaterally at just the edge of the edge. Here's another situation I find explaining would be circumlocution so I'll post a youtube below to illustrate it as practiced by a popular sharpener in knife circles. As for single bevels going through bones, their edges can often have lower total included angles. This allows an extremely sharp edge, but it can be fragile, as well. Here in comes the microbevel which allows you to "strengthen" the edge of the edge by raising the total included angle of the edge. You can change this microbevel's angle at different locations on the edge, as well. For example, you might leave no microbevel at the tip third to allow an extreme edge while transitioning into a fairly obtuse microbevel from heel to midway so as to beef up the edge to saber through pin bones. You can go through monster fish spines like this with proper execution whereas you place the edge in the cartilaginous gap between vertebrae, and then you "hammer" the edge through... typically slamming your palm down on the spine which can but not need be cushioned by a towel. No hacking! No sawing! Straight penetration.



Filleting a fish is filleting a fish, but as for flat fish, you typically filet from the spine outward instead of from the perimeter inwards. Some flex or curvature is really advantageous in these scenarios, and I love Gokujos <--link for this. This style knife is extremely competent on fish, birds, and I use them to trim meats, as well. In a two-knife solution, you could very easily replace the Hankotsu above with either of these Gokujos. The Tojiro is the stronger beefier of the two, but the Shun has an awesome tip with a bit thinner & more flexible blade.

Image

Lastly, when you mention "butchering" large primals, what exactly do you mean? Getting a boned beef rib loin in a cryovac from the restaurant's meat purveyor to "butcher" for prime rib whereas you're trimming fat is a whole lot different than bone-in where you gotta get through the chine with a saw? Getting in a steamship to break down rounds from is different than trimming fat & silverskin from a round. Getting in a breast to bone out brisket is different than breaking down a first cut brisket. See what I mean?

If you you mean boning these cuts, I prefer the Hankotsu. I like the Tojiro Gokujo in this capacity, as well. The bonus with the Gokujo is it is more deft at trimming afterward. The scimitar is a functional classic though I have enjoyed the quicker nature of the shorter (heel to edge), 8" & 10" breaking knives in its place. When it would come to portioning things like the NY in the video below. I prefer a large cow-knife... aka Gyuto. Only in that capacity could I see the Debas you asked about used, but I would not suggest you buy either style Deba to butcher primals.

Heres a Hankotsu & 10" breaking knife breaking down a NY:




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