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Re: Nakiri vs Usuba

Thu Jul 26, 2012 11:48 am

I've been using a very nice Usuba (Hon Kasumi, Blue #2, upgraded handle too) for about six months. See Ebay, sold under Blue Way japan. I have the 210 listed for $270 plus shipping. I also have a Moritaka nakiri. Both get equal amounts of use. the nakiri is an unparalleled onion dicing knife. The Usuba slices garlic so think you can see through them. The Usuba takes a lot of practice and concentration to be able to use effectively. As everyone has said its uber-specialized.

The nakiri is more of a home cooks tool. This doesn't mean that you can't use it a prof kitchen, its just that the nakiri is much more adaptable to multiple cutting chores. I have the three primary single-bevel knives: 300 Yani, 195 Deba and 210 Usuba. All in Blue #2 with upgraded handles. I've had the Deba for about six months (have yet to use it once), I bought it for a fishing trip that never materialized and my local supermarket does not carry whole fish. I have a Honesuke for Chicken. The Yani gets used really only for slicing raw fish. Says can be used for slicing meat, but its not designed for it and i've actually chipped mine trying to cut through the char on a grilled chuck steak.

The Usuba gets almost daily use but is absolutely not needed as I Could have gotten away with a nice nakiri and never looked back. Other told me this too.

So many people on the forum gave me advise to stay away from single-bevel knives. Wish I listened, would have saved almost a grand. Very cool but absolutely useless in a western kitchen to my chagrin. I don't care, I'll use my $270 knife to slice garlic. HA

Re: Nakiri vs Usuba

Thu Jul 26, 2012 2:01 pm

Hi MB,

I was actually going to ask about a Yani...as they are so similar to Sujihiki's. Chipped cutting the car on a steak?? :) I was planning to get a Suji any how. Guess I won't bother with a Yani now. Even though I do western/asian cooking.

Will probably be using a Nakiri most of the time. Might still get a gyuto (have/had many western chef's knives already). I am used to using a rocking motion when cutting.

A usuba? Doubt it (that I'll buy one).

Will be getting a Garasuki boning knife.

Deba? If I get a gyuto and a hefty boning knife like a garasuki? Probably not.

But I "never say never" to anything. :)

Re: Nakiri vs Usuba

Thu Jul 26, 2012 2:35 pm

BDD, You say that now but once the knife bug goes systemic, all promises are off.

You are wise to go with a Nakiri. Jon from JKI has some some of the best videos on his site. He is also one of the most knowledgable knife guys in the country. Good guy too. Check out the one he has on the USUBA. Learn that motion/technique but use a Nakiri.

It's so effective. Can even be used with Gyuto... Point of interest, be conscientious about thumping the board with your knife. Sounds cool, looks great in a video and all but it isn't kind to your blade and isn't necessary. Actually a dangerous and lazy technique (please don't tell Salty I said that). He can get away with it cause he is such a knife ICON, nobody is going to tell him how to use a blade.

What i do now is try to just kiss the board with my edge. That is make solid board contact but with very little touch-down and noise. It takes a while to learn and is admittedly is not easy to master, but its more efficient and easier on your bevels. Also cutting becomes more Zen (least to me).

Also, go Suiji as opposed to Yani for sure. lastly, Garasuki, WOW I don't know anybody that buys that size knife. My Moritaka honosuke is 160 i think. Large enough for turkeys and chickens.

Deba is also a bad ass uni-purpose knife. Hope someday to use mine. Told ya all promises are off. HA

Re: Nakiri vs Usuba

Thu Jul 26, 2012 4:36 pm

Hey MB,

As I said, I "never say never" to anything. Will I get bit by the "JP kitchen knife bug"? Time will tell. HEH!!

Will take a look at Jon's Usuba YouTube clip.

Garasuki's aren't that common these days it seems. Only a handful of knife makers offer them (Tojiro, Watanabe...). I just figured since it's beefier than a Honosuke i might as well opt for a Gara over a Hono. Though, I have seen "chef's" go through whole chickens with a slicer (western)/sujihiki or a gyuto. I in the past just used my chef's knife. I was totally not into kitchen knives at all. Wasn't concerned at all with getting the right knife for the particular job.

Deba...what's happening with you might happen to me. Don't think I'll truly NEED one. But I might find it will go through chickens and turkey's better than a boning knife or gyuto. So who knows? :)

For now it's just going to be a Nakiri, Sujihiki, Garasuke boning knife, and a Gyuto. And I hope I don't get bit by the "custom handles" (e.g. Stephan) bug too. :)

Re: Nakiri vs Usuba

Fri Jul 27, 2012 9:23 am

BDD, Sounds like your logic is sound with Nakiri, Suij and Gyuto but before you do buy the Gara, give Jon at Japanese Knife imports a call and talk it over with him. The hono I have just murders poultry. I can ballentine/debone a full chicken in less than five minutes. I always use a cut glove on my left hand too. I have a chain mesh mitt that makes me feel like King Arthur.

Re: Nakiri vs Usuba

Fri Jul 27, 2012 11:15 am

I suppose we could get by with a Honosuki but given the choice why not buy a Garasuki? Cost difference between lets say a Tojiro DP brand Hono and Gara is only around $20.00. Why not buy a beefier boning knife? :)

A chainmail glove? I can imagine you deboning a chicken now. :) http://www.chainmail.net/aluminum-chainmail/cat_2.html

Re: Nakiri vs Usuba

Fri Jul 27, 2012 12:07 pm

LOL, Its just a mitt. Its cool, nobody I know has a professional chain mail glove.

I hear what you're saying about the bigger knife. What the hell, let-er roll.

Re: Nakiri vs Usuba

Fri Jul 27, 2012 1:28 pm

Bigger is always better!! I have a 330mm Gyuto that I used to use for Watermelons before I got the ITk bread knife. It works great on deer quarters. Once boned out, it's 1 cut to make a full slice on the hind quarters, and they aren't small ones, either!

If you are going to do larger birds, go with the Gara. The Honesuki can be small on a turkey or big chicken.

Re: Nakiri vs Usuba

Fri Jul 27, 2012 2:04 pm

Deer quarters. nice.

330 Gyuto, oh my, didn't know one existed bet it was not cheap, only the best for watermelons right? HA

Taz have you worked with a Gara before? I'm a big fan of overkill too but with knives I have to disagree that bigger is better.

Re: Nakiri vs Usuba

Fri Jul 27, 2012 3:36 pm

Yeah, Tojiro had one, I picked it up like in 2003 or so for $130 IIRC from JCK. It was a steal back then!! It may have been a DP or something like that?? Looks like it's model # F-812 on Tojiro's website, but mine was before they switched to the VG-10 core I believe. I needed something bigger for the larger watermelons since we used to quarter them, then slice the quarters and then cube the triangle wedges. Now I shave it with the ITK Bread knife, slice rounds off and cube the rounds. Much easier now!! But the 330mm went real nice thru the deer steaks!

I haven't used a Gara, but there were a few times I wish the Honesuki was bigger. My Uncle got a 30# + Turkey for Thanksgiving last year. We ended up using a 8" chefs knife cuz the Honesuki was too small. Mostly chickens or smaller, go Honesuki or Hankotsu. Bigger Turkeys, the Gara may work better, more blade length for the longer cuts to remove the breast.
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