I hate semantics. A paring knife is a knife used to pare. pare [pair]
verb (used with object), pared, par·ing.
to cut off the outer coating, layer, or part of.
to remove (an outer coating, layer, or part) by cutting (often followed by off or away ).
to reduce or remove by or as by cutting; diminish or decrease gradually (often followed by down ): to pare down one's expenses.
If you can efficiently pare a seckel pear, hull a strawberry, turn a baby artichoke, etc. w/a 120mm petty, well than that's your paring knife. To the other 99%, a paring knife, or small petty to do a myriad of other small in-hand tasks, is quite universally a 75-95mm blade. E.G.:
A paring knife is also a very personal thing. As are all knives, but there is something unique about the intimate dynamic of small tasks that makes a paring knife really have to fit. My forthcoming & typically long winded point is a paring knife is a quest. Again, as are all knives, but most Chefs and cooks - worth their salt - agree with me on this one. My search has been running over two decades, and although I'm content with my current go-to, it has its limitations. All knives do, but... The Japanese have a knife for everything, but honestly, it can create a huge knife set & that's not what most are shooting for. Compromise is key here. 75-95mm is the typical parer; 95 a compromise to versatility, 75 a compromise to precision. I had an Asai damascaus 75mm that is, for me, too tall @heel as the cutting edge extends too far out from the handle centerline. I had a vintage French carbon 75mm that is, for me, too thin/delicate for an everyday parer & it's a mini honesuki profile; great for fruit carvings, but a narrow forte. I have a 75mm Kasumi that is much like the Frenchy in its delicate nature, just not an everyday workhorse parer. All of those 75's are great for precision work, but not everyday machines... for me. I have countless 95's that are all pretty much alike: one group are the, lets call it, Victorinox type with a thin circumference handle & blade that pretty much continues straight there from, and then, let's call it, German type with a larger handle, bolstered blade, and often a finger guard. I prefer the 95 as I can pare a more broad range of products with them efficiently. With a 95, I can hull a strawberry with the tip as quickly as I can turn an artichoke at the heel; a 75 doesn't have enough heel to do so though the closer tip will hull a strawberry more easily. I also find @95mm it allows usage as a limited petty; its the best compromise of length Ive found for me. I've tried using the 120mm petty length, but it compromises out too much of the paring ability. The 95mm I use everyday for the last three seasons, unless testing alternates, is a Tamahagane San Tsubame Micarta. It has a relatively larger handle & surprisingly, I like the curved heel of the handle as it digs into the palm of my hand when Im rotating around the handle for precision work allowing a more secure grip. I like the VG5 steel in this application as it is capable of getting a screaming sharp edge off the stones, but retains a durable working edge well after that wears off. As I've mentioned before I find it less chippy then VG10 & @Rc59, I find the Tamahagane really durable for the treatment a parer is sometimes subject to. For instance, I often use her scraping bone for suprêmes or to french racks; the bone to cutting edge contact can be a bit much for acutely sharpened brittle steel, and I don't have the time nor interest in backing out my bevels just for one task. I also like the thickness of the San Tsubame as it offers a solid feeling when having to torque the blade. It has enough taper on the spine side that I can get that smooth transition in curves as there is not a lot of blade face to fight me. It has a flat profile though drives the tip in rotations... I like that aggression. Most boohoo the Tamahagane line as, let's be honest, they're nothing special, but I don't want a special parer. I want a knife I can beat the piss out of. I thinned the shoulders out a bit leaving the scratch pattern, and its been a love affair for the last 3 years...
I own a Shun classic<--link
& like its ergonomics, but it's still a bit too delicate as a workhorse parer, for me. I do like the height @ the heel in relation to handle centerline & I like the handle, albeit dramatically different than the Tamahagane of which I have truly come to love.
I understand that CKTG
was tongue-in-cheek saying I was poking him, but although I am no elected official I do think of the membership... all the time.. I'm thinking. I gave up asking for this knife years ago because as I always say, "I am only one." AND AN ANOLAMOUS ONE AT THAT! I know I'm not normal, but I know normal is middle ground... a place where you just don't find me. I'm not a contrived extreme... I just am an extreme. And as the saying goes, "it's more oft a curse, than a blessing." Point is, if I can ever freaking stop trying to explain & justify my eccentricities, is that I read... I read all of you. I never work less than 12 hours a day - most in the 16 hour range, I pump out 35 hours shifts at least 10 times a year, I walk my dog up to 5 miles a night, I'm lucky to get 3 sometimes 4 days off a month between November & June & then the schedule remains the same through the summer but I do usually get more days off and vacation... , YET STILL I ALWAYS FALL ASLEEP READING ALL OF YOU. I don't always comment (there is one I've been dying for weeks to find the time for
)... because I'm doubled over passed out on a wood floor reaching for shoes in a uniform that seems to never comes off or because coherent explanations can't form or that I'm slammed at work or more often than not my GF is bitching about what a cold stoic a-hole I am, BUT I'm always watching you... FOR YEARS.. And I hear you.
YOU HAVE ASKED FOR A WA-PETTY. I'm just the DH.
Merlin wrote:"Melampus is on the right track, I am looking for a paring knife rather then a petty; I understand that petty's are considered the Japanese version of a paring knife, however after viewing a few more of the full size images I'm reconsidering limiting myself to just a paring knife and instead getting a 120mm petty instead; can a few people who own petty knives weigh in on their effectiveness acting as paring knives?
Since this is doubling as a topic for picking out my next knife I'll post my specs.
3. What size knife are you looking for 80-120mm, will decide after some discussion.
aussiejim wrote:"I have been looking for a 75-90 petty as well a kohetsu in this size would be a good choice"
RedWattle wrote:"I too have been looking for a wa handled paring. The one you posted Mel, looks like a nice knife, but I can see that it would not be ideal for use in hand. If the blade profile was more parallel with the handle, I think it would perform better in the hand. You would lose performance on the board , but IMO a paring is mainly for use in hand anyway, petty for board work, in most cases. This is just me. I can see that the further you move that edge away from the handle, or skew the angle away from your hands natural drawing or closing motion, it will be somewhat awkward. Mel, have you tried flattening out the profile of that blade at all? Just wondering. I don't think I'd have the guts to do that unless I was ready to give up on it. I looked that maker up and saw they have one made out of aogami that has a flatter profile and looks like a takeda at first glance. Wonder if mark could, or has any interest in getting these. If your not stuck on a wa handle, The dojo looks nice as well as the artifex."
Tall Dark and Swarfy wrote:"I think they [75mm/95mm Richmond Hamon] would sell. I would buy one."
craig_uw wrote:"I thought I might use a petty as a pairing knife, but the smallest seems to be around 120 mm so I will buy a pairing knife later down the road as I like about an 80 mm blade for pairing. Anyone use a smaller petty to replace a traditional pairing knife? "
mark wrote:"I can't use a 120mm as a paring knife... too long for me. I prefer my paring knives between 80-90mm."
MowgFace wrote:"I second the 75mm petty. If i have to choose a line. Yuki.
Tpbrewton wrote:"Would appreciate everyone's thoughts on a parer spec'd as follows:
Japanese maker and handle
Blade length 75mm - 100mm
No problems with sharpening myself
Thanks in advance for your advice!