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Smashing Garlic with a Japanese blade

Mon Nov 18, 2013 3:47 pm

I ordered two of the Yamashin knives this weekend, and I have a potentially silly question... lol

When I use garlic, I put the flat side of the blade against the garlic and smack it with my palm to split and loosen the skin for peeling, and again to crush it for chopping. Is this something that can be done with a thin, brittle Japanese steel knife? That would be the most traumatic thing I can think of that my knives have to go through. lol I have no experience with a steel like white #1, so I don't want to do anything that might crack or break the blade.

I ordered the Yamashin Santoku and Ko Bocho if that matters, but they all seem to be pretty close in thickness.

Thank you!

Joseph

Re: Smashing Garlic with a Japanese blade

Mon Nov 18, 2013 3:52 pm

It's usually not a problem. The odds of actually cracking a knife doing this are very small. You can bend the blade a little if you press the blade against the garlic with the blade angled askew of the board if you're not careful. I actually use the bottom of a ramekin for this task instead of my knives and it works equally well.

Re: Smashing Garlic with a Japanese blade

Mon Nov 18, 2013 5:54 pm

Thank you for the quick response! I'm the one that sent the email BTW. lol

I'm used to knives like the Victorinox/Forschner Fibrox chef's knife in the kitchen. Cheaper, nearly indestructible blades with OK edge holding capabilities. I love my knives, but I'm ready to see what a good steel can do for me in the kitchen. I know from experience my Fibrox can't get near as sharp as some of my pocket knives even, including some of the stainless. I'm looking forward to playing with the white #1 knives when they get here.

I'll just use another method for giving my garlic the smack down so I don't risk messing up a nice knife. lol

Thanks again!

Re: Smashing Garlic with a Japanese blade

Mon Nov 18, 2013 6:17 pm

If you thin behind the edge on your Victorinox knives you might be surprised how much sharper you can get them.
White #1 is a good steel that gets scary sharp but it doesn't have the edge holding ability of other carbons but will be much better than your Victorinox.

Re: Smashing Garlic with a Japanese blade

Mon Nov 18, 2013 6:50 pm

Not sure how much thinner the Victorinox will get as it is thin up top and a full flat ground stamped blade. I might have to play with it and try a shallower sharpening angle with a micro-bevel and see what that does. As it is I have it pretty close to the original angle on the bevel with the shoulders convexed off and no micro-bevel.

The Yamashin knives will be my first actual all-around Japanese knives. I have a Santoku style Faberware so I know I like the blade shape, just not so much the steel. It behaves like the Victorinox so it is very usable and a steal at the $12 I paid for it several years ago, but I want to try out something better. I went with the white #1 as from what I saw it is easy to sharpen and since this is my first one it will be what I learn on. lol Plus for right now I like the idea of the thicker blade that Yamashins seem to have. So hopefully it can take what I dish out as I learn how to use it, and I'll probably upgrade to something with a better steel and taper later on. Besides, I enjoy sharpening knives anyway so touching up a blade is rather relaxing. lol

Re: Smashing Garlic with a Japanese blade

Mon Nov 18, 2013 7:56 pm

Don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking the Yamashin or your purchase. It is a great introduction to J-knives and I think you will love it. White steel is very easy and fun to sharpen and gets incredibly sharp. But trust me, this is just the beginning of a very expensive addiction! :mrgreen: Enjoy!

Re: Smashing Garlic with a Japanese blade

Sun Nov 24, 2013 1:33 pm

Just to freak everyone out, sometimes I take my blades and slap the whole side down right onto the garlic like you would a cleaver. :mrgreen: The trick is to hold the knife in a pinch while you do it. If you hold the knife by the handle and slap the side down your risk of breaking or bending the blade is much greater, but in a pinch grip it seems that almost any gyuto can take a little beating if you are careful about it.

Re: Smashing Garlic with a Japanese blade

Sun Nov 24, 2013 2:01 pm

Just made a video on this, uploading now...

Re: Smashing Garlic with a Japanese blade

Sun Nov 24, 2013 3:01 pm



Might take another minute for Youtube to process but I'm going running, see ya'll later :D

Re: Smashing Garlic with a Japanese blade

Sun Nov 24, 2013 3:09 pm

Thanks for the vid!
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