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Recommendations for heavy chopping?

Tue Apr 09, 2013 4:52 pm

I was cutting up a chicken with a Konosuke Gyuto 240mm Fujiyama White #2, and gave two light whacks against the leg bone in an effort to detach the leg. I was surprised to see that blade chipped quite badly. I managed to repair it, and now it’s as smooth and sharp as ever, but It made me think that perhaps if I’m going to use a Japanese knife for something like cutting up a chicken I’ll have to use one designed for the job. So I looked at your web site and from the descriptions I guess that either a Honesuki or a Deba would be less likely to chip. Please advise if this is correct, or is chopping a chicken bone just a dumb idea with any Japanese knife?

I have four Japanese knives, two of which I bought from you, and I adore them. What is missing from my collection is a Damascus. So I thought of killing two birds with one stone by ordering either the RD Honesuki 160 or Konosuke Ginsan Stainless Damascus Deba 180. Perhaps the stainless steel component will also make it more resistant to chipping. You say there is only one of the Konosuke available so I hope I’m not too late.


Thanks,
Roy

Re: Recommendations for heavy chopping?

Tue Apr 09, 2013 5:04 pm

you need a western deba if you wanna do heavy chopping. not fish deba's. honesuki's are for cutting through joints, not chopping through bone.

konosuke's are lasers. really thin behind the edge, that will damage it easily.

a good cheap one would be the tojiro dp western deba

unless you wanna get a cleaver. CCK has some bone choppers at good prices.

Re: Recommendations for heavy chopping?

Tue Apr 09, 2013 5:43 pm

Deba's are designed to break down fish and cut thru some fish bones, which are much softer (and generally smaller/thinner) than chicken bones when used with the correct technique. You can break down a chicken with a Deba, but you shouldn't try to cut thru the bone with any Japanese knife unless it is designed for that task. The Honesuki/Garasauki are designed to break down chickens, but not to cut thru the leg bones. The Western deba or CCK bone cleavers should be OK for this task like Franz recommended. Or a heavy European type chefs knife maybe.

Most Japanese knives are not designed for cutting bones or frozen foods because they are thinner and harder than other knives designed for those tasks.

Re: Recommendations for heavy chopping?

Tue Apr 09, 2013 5:48 pm

franzb69 wrote:you need a western deba if you wanna do heavy chopping. not fish deba's. honesuki's are for cutting through joints, not chopping through bone.

konosuke's are lasers. really thin behind the edge, that will damage it easily.

a good cheap one would be the tojiro dp western deba

unless you wanna get a cleaver. CCK has some bone choppers at good prices.


+1

Re: Recommendations for heavy chopping?

Tue Apr 09, 2013 5:55 pm

ALEXA <> The TojiroDP Western Deba is a beast of a knife, and I use mine anytime I need to "break through" product (portioning rib racks, steaking salmon, gourds, chickens supremes, etc...).

Re: Recommendations for heavy chopping?

Tue Apr 09, 2013 6:48 pm

alialexa wrote:....and gave two light whacks against the leg bone in an effort to detach the leg....

Of no help but, why whacking at the leg bone in the first place to detach the leg when it's so easy to just slice through the joint?

Re: Recommendations for heavy chopping?

Tue Apr 09, 2013 7:03 pm

Jeff B wrote:
alialexa wrote:....and gave two light whacks against the leg bone in an effort to detach the leg....

Of no help but, why whacking at the leg bone in the first place to detach the leg when it's so easy to just slice through the joint?


+1 again :)

Re: Recommendations for heavy chopping?

Tue Apr 09, 2013 7:50 pm

Mark should have a Western Deba made for the Artifex line. At $140, the Tojiro DP Western isn't a bad value, but for a knife you use so little, it would be nice to get something a bit less expensive.

Hey Mark!!! :)

Re: Recommendations for heavy chopping?

Wed Apr 10, 2013 12:13 am

Just my opinion, but:

If you're going to reserve a knife for the tough stuff, and aren't trying to build a collection of Japanese knives for its own sake, DO NOT get a western deba. It doesn't matter how good the blade steel and grind are, if you're going to cut through cartilage, split chickens, cut pineapple, and so on, whatever you get will require a lot of steeling, a lot of sharpening, or both. The only thing a western deba has going for it is weight. There are better, less expensive (far less expensive!) ways to get the same performance.

The cheapest (and rather fun in its own right) is an Ontario Knife Works "Old Hickory" butchers knife. They're made from 1095 carbon, and cost under $15. They take a pretty good edge, and hold it well. The handles are crude, but you can sand them down or replace them.

Another possibility -- useful for a lot of things -- is a 10" Victorinox Cimeter. I've got one in my kit and use it for any heavy duty task, as well as the task for which it was intended -- portioning meat. It's incredibly easy to care for, and -- as far as I can tell -- indestructible. I got one for free (from another knife seller) and since it works so well, seldom use my old standby; a 12" Sabatier au carbone.

A 10" Victorinox butcher profile would be just as good as the Cimiter for heavy stuff, and just as cheap. Butcher's are cool because they have a flat spot on the top line at the tip, which makes it easy to lean on the knife while you "rock through" a difficult cut.

Speaking of butcher's profiles... both the Old Hickory and Victorinox are plenty strong enough to cut the heads and tails off big fish. If you go to a fish monger -- Asian, western, Martian, whatever -- I'll bet you ten dollars against a doughnut that you see a lot more butcher's profiles than you do western debas. In fact, I'd plotz if you saw a western deba in any commercial fish or meat setting. Think about it.

A friend of mine uses a machete he bought in a surplus store. Works great. Not to mention, very impressive if you in an over-compensation sort of way.

If you're going to split a lot of chickens, buy some spring loaded shears from the hardware store or use a heavy cleaver (by leaning on it, not by swinging it like an axe).

If you absolutely, positively, must spend money and want a well priced gyuto which can handle almost but not quite everything, think about the Richmond Ultimatum in 52100 or Bohler 390. I have one in 52100 as well as a Konosuke HD gyuto, and because I like to prep any given meal with as few knives out as possible, I get plenty of use out of both without finding them redundant.

I've used the Ultimatum for everything, including pineapple and chicken, but it's probably a better idea to draw the line before that point.

Japanese butchery knives, like garasuke and honesuke, are designed for fairly specialized use. Unless you're doing Japanese style butchering, you don't get enough performance to make them cost effective. That doesn't mean you shouldn't buy one or both, because fun is sometimes more important than efficiency. Just don't expect it or them to perform general, western style butchery better than something a lot cheaper, a lot less right-handed, and a lot easier to maintain.

BDL

Re: Recommendations for heavy chopping?

Thu Apr 11, 2013 9:16 am

Western deba. Completely agree with Franz and Taz's posts. I find it a very useful knife. It allows you to tune your gyuto's for more delicate tasks and use the Tojiro WD for the rough stuff. Excellent knife. Highly recommended. Use it for splitting lobsters, dividing up racks of ribs, cracking lamb bones to get to the marrow, and even for occasional gardening tasks on small tree branches :) Also a perfect knife to give someone who wants to 'help' in the kitchen that you don't want handling your delicate knives. I don't use a steel on the WD and edge retention is excellent for a heavy knife. Doesn't require much resharpening unless you are REALLY rough. The really heavy Chinese cleavers (e.g., CCK BBQ chopper) also work well for heavy chopping but the steel folds under heavy use, but it easily repaired.

+1 for the idea of a Richmond WD!

---
Ken
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