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Looking for a small chef's knife

Sun Dec 01, 2013 6:01 pm

This is for my wife. We have at least 20 Wustof classic knives of all shapes and sizes. However, she will ONLY use the 5.5 inch chef's which has 1.25 inch height (bolster?).

I would like to replace the Wustof classic 5.5 inch chef with a Japanese mini chef knife.

If possible the knife you guys recommend needs to be as close in length and height as possible (5.5 L 1.25 H) plus 50/50 bevel. At the same time I would like her to try a Japanese handle. I realize that there is no such thing as "Japanese Mini-Chef". But you guys can figure it out without me having to go custom.

Some other FYI stuff: Knives get abused in my house. They sometimes stay wet and dirty overnight in the sink. Sometimes my wife cuts on the granite counter instead of a cutting board.


1. Are you right handed? - yes she is
2. What type of knife are you interested in (gyuto, nakiri etc..) - mini-chef
3. What size knife are you looking for? - 5.5 inch 1.25 bolster
4. Do you prefer carbon or stainless steel? - I assume stainless is my only option due to our negligence with knives.
5. Do you prefer a western handle or a Japanese handle? Would like to try our first Japanese
6. How much did you want to spend? No more than $125. It would be a waist spending more if she does not like Japanese handle.
7. Do you know how to sharpen? Currently learning on EP with stock stones

thanks in advance

El

Re: Looking for a small chef's knife

Sun Dec 01, 2013 7:32 pm

Well, from what I am finding the majority of "min-chef's" knives I am finding in stainless are western handled. A lot of the wa handled (traditional Japanese handle) are either carbon steel or a carbon core with some type of cladding, be it stainless or softer carbon. I will say though that western style handles done by Japanese makers aren't exactly like a lot of the actual western knife makers, if that makes sense. Some I would personally still classify as a Japanese handle even if it isn't a wa handle. It is pretty much the Japanese take on what western handles are like.

One wa option I found is a little Shun: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/kesa6.html

It is a wa style handle (I almost think of it as a western style wa... lol) using pakka wood which is a resin impregnated pressed wood, so it is VERY stable and should resist water well. It is also 5.5" and a santoku blade design. If I remember right the santoku is actually a chef's knife in Japan while the Gyuto is a Japanese take on a western styled chef's knife. I am sure someone will correct me if I am wrong on that one. lol ;) At 41mm blade height, it might be a bit tall though.

Another option, but it is western handled: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/hapakn1.html

This one is a beautiful knife at 5.3". The blade type is a petty, which as I understand it is a utility knife for all around use. The handle is a good example of a Japanese western style handle. To me they just seem thinner and more elegant than an actual western handle which can be kind of thick and burly. lol

The last one I'm putting here is a Richmond Artifex utility/petty: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/riar15pe.html

The handle is a western style, but it seems like a mix between Japanese western and actual western. It looks like there are a few more contours than what I see in most Japanese style western handles. Again, I could be wrong. I just had a quick look at the site to see what might fit in your criteria.

To make searching a little easier, 5.5" is about 140mm and 1.25" is about 32mm. Probably your best bet for this size is some sort of petty.

Hope some of this helps! lol ;)

Re: Looking for a small chef's knife

Sun Dec 01, 2013 8:10 pm

I think you should consider a Santoku which is a small sized general purpose knife and it's the best selling knife for Japanese home cooks.

Here are a couple. The one that jumps out at me is the Tojiro stainless wa gyuto: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/tostwa.html

The Kohetsu is twice the price so it's a little over your budget at $150 and it's stainless clad (reactive carbon steel edge) and a great knife that I think you should consider: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/koaosusa18.html

Finally the Kiyotsuna is a nice intro santoku that's fully stainless and I think she would enjoy using it: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/kijosa16.html

Re: Looking for a small chef's knife

Sun Dec 01, 2013 10:19 pm

The Santoku is a great idea. However, we have two Wustof classic Santoku 6.5 inch. She does not use either, ever...

I am now thinking I should get 2 knives.

The first one will be for the wife. I assume we can not rust this one and it could be abused.
Richmond Artifex utility/petty: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/riar15pe.html

The second knife will be a small petty for me something with a Wa handle and not 100% stainless. A knife I use and take care of. A knife I hide in my own kitchen. I am thinking $100 or less. If she likes it maybe can talk knife maintenance. Any recommendations?

thanks

El

Re: Looking for a small chef's knife

Sun Dec 01, 2013 10:42 pm

El - options for her:

Suisin Inox 150 Petty: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/suinpe15.html

Sakai Takayuki Damascus 135 Petty: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/satadahautkn.html

Fujiwara FKM 150 Petty: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/fufkmpe15.html

For you: Tanaka Sekiso Damascus Petty: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/tadape15.html. (It's all carbon steel, but It's an awesome knife!)

Sakai Takayuki Damascus Wa-Petty 150: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/satadape150.html.

Moritaka AS Petty 150: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/moritaka3.html. (All carbon)

Masakage Mizu 150 Petty: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/mamipe15.html. (All carbon)

Goko 120 Petty: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/gokopetty120mm.html. (If you want something this small)

Re: Looking for a small chef's knife

Sun Dec 01, 2013 10:59 pm

Take a look at the utility knives section too. I see allot of those 6.5" german knives. Which I refer to as a utility. They seem to be some of most used knives by many of my customers. As in the most abused.

Re: Looking for a small chef's knife

Mon Dec 02, 2013 11:08 am

I was going to suggest the Kamo R2 150 petty but it is out of stock

Re: Looking for a small chef's knife

Mon Dec 02, 2013 3:00 pm

pjwoolw wrote:Take a look at the utility knives section too. I see allot of those 6.5" german knives. Which I refer to as a utility. They seem to be some of most used knives by many of my customers. As in the most abused.


While the OP wanted a Japanese knife, I would have to agree that a German knife seems better suited to take abuse. There is nothing wrong at all with a German blade, just a lot of people have found they love the thinness and effortless cutting of a hard Japanese blade. One thing Japanese blades do not seem to be built for is abuse, except for something like a really thick deba.
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