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 Post subject: Slices stick more to some knives. How come?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2014 1:35 am 

Joined: Fri Jun 06, 2014 11:21 am
Posts: 49
Location: Long Island, NY
So how come food sticks more to the sides of some knives than others?

Was slicing a lot of yellow squash and zucchini this weekend. For giggles took out 4 of my knives all gyuto/chefs:

- Goko 240 Damascus.
- Richmond Artifex 210.
- Kikuichi Warikomi Damascus 210.
- My trusty Henckel 4 Star 8".

The slices seemed to stick pretty tightly to the Artifex and Goko. Seemed a little better with my old Henckel. While using the Kikuichi the food released pretty well.

So what is it that makes the food release better on some knives than others?



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 Post subject: Re: Slices stick more to some knives. How come?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2014 1:46 am 

Joined: Wed Jan 15, 2014 9:40 pm
Posts: 240
all about the grind of the knife, the more convexity the blade has the better the food release will be, so on thinner blades where there is less material to create a convex grind stiction will be more prevalent. also the finish of the knife can have something to do with it, ie hamered finish vs nashiji, vs brushed, vs kurouchi, all these things can come into play, you will find that even a minor thinning of the knife or adding a microbevel can affect the way food releases from the knife, there are also variations in the technique of the cut that can eliminate some of the stiction factors... push and pull on the chop as opposed to strait up and down...
just the nature of the beast I suppose...


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 Post subject: Re: Slices stick more to some knives. How come?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2014 1:56 am 

Joined: Thu May 29, 2014 8:38 pm
Posts: 626
The video reviews Shaun does give a pretty good explanation of what may or may not cause product to stick to blade. Given the knives I've used, grind profile seems to be the most important factor. Convexing on the blade is probably the most obvious, and discernible example. This causes separation because the initial bulge which usually occurs after the the thin taper behind the edge, pushes the ingredient away from the taper and, by the time the ingredient finds contact at the apex of the curve, additional separation is achieved when the direction of the arc returns to the flat of the blade.
I've found nuances in convexing to be pretty important in terms of overall performance though. More aggressive convexing causes less wedging and sticking, but sacrifices a lot in the knife's ability to effortlessly slide through ingredients. A flat grind in less dense product feels incredible. That said, it will stick. The better knives I have display a perceptible, but seamless and subtle convexing which allows the blade to come close to flat grind ease on certain product, but separates ingredients like zucs and squash with ease.
Some other stuff that affects sticking are the finish of the knife and treatment of cladding as well as the speed at which you are able to move through an ingredient, though the latter doesn't have much to do with the knife.


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 Post subject: Re: Slices stick more to some knives. How come?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2014 2:44 am 

Joined: Thu Oct 10, 2013 1:33 am
Posts: 20
Generally, its more about how you cut than the profile of your knife. When I slice fruit I drag the tip through, nice even slices, no sticking, everything is easy to move with my knife to a platter.


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 Post subject: Re: Slices stick more to some knives. How come?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2014 3:01 am 

Joined: Thu May 29, 2014 8:38 pm
Posts: 626
ChefDeCuisinart wrote:Generally, its more about how you cut than the profile of your knife. When I slice fruit I drag the tip through, nice even slices, no sticking, everything is easy to move with my knife to a platter.


That is very true inre technique, but if I'm reading you correctly your talking about draw cuts which either wont work on, or will be difficult to maintain uniformity on, a very large number of ingredients.

Either way, I think the OP was wondering why, given the same technique/application, a certain knife releases food better than another. Given my 2c, but yet again, some of the resident blade vets/knife skill jedis on the forum can probably explain more accurately.


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 Post subject: Re: Slices stick more to some knives. How come?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2014 3:31 am 

Joined: Thu May 29, 2014 8:38 pm
Posts: 626
One last thought, on some higher end, hand forged blades, some of the uptick in performance probably comes from the fact that convexing isn't symmetrical. On both my Shigefusa and Kato (more so on the Kato), the amount of curvature is greater on the releasing side (right handed) and the blade is flatter on the side that faces the ingredient. So,in a circumstance like that, whether or not you have an ambidextrous handle, if the knife is designed for a right handed user, you won't get as much out of it if you are a lefty.


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 Post subject: Re: Slices stick more to some knives. How come?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2014 2:46 pm 

Joined: Sun Jul 29, 2012 1:36 pm
Posts: 198
Location: NY, NY; New Haven, CT
I think there are other factors at work, too. The possible effects of the geometry of the grind are indisputable: it is easy to demonstrate how a fatter convex can affect food stickage. However, thinner knives have less room for significant differences in the convex, which means the actual, user-end differences in stickage from geometry are likely inconsistent—and by this I mean that one can not (and should not) automatically equate the amount of convex with the amount of stickage, especially when dealing with thinner knives and/or higher primary bevels.

Considering that stickage usually occurs as a result of water/surface tension, the type of ingredient (even freshness) and the type of surface on the knife can have very, very large effects. Often, especially with THIN slices or SHORT slices, the grind will have little effect: if the ingredient is wet enough and flexible enough, surface tension will hold it to the blade. I've cut plenty of cucumbers that stuck WORSE than others because they were more wet; the same goes for carrots, potatoes, herbs, onions, and garlic—all do to the difference in inherent moisture and/or size of cut. I've had trouble with stickage because I cut a wet ingredient and didn't wipe it and then cut something dry—and of course the dry ingredient stuck when it usually wouldn't. I'm not saying grind doesn't matter, just that regardless of grind, these types of factors will still dramatically affect stickage with all but the most aggressive convex blades (and even then, the convex is probably so great as to affect performance negatively). All of these differences are either out of the user's control (ingredient-based), or entirely based on technique [type of cut, dryness of knife, speed of cut or hitting against the board (which does actually "knock off" ingredients in a significant way), etc.].

Finally, my own experience suggests that the surface and polish of the metal has lots of influence. Some more textured surfaces can be more sticky, some less sticky, often depending on how they react with water or how they have been polished. Same with mirror finishes, which can be more sticky or less sticky depending on how moist or tall the ingredient is (or, put another way, some mirror surfaces are sticky, but "release" the food much more easily because the food slides more easily off it, which means rapid chopping allows the ingredient to slide off very easily during the chopping process). I haven't used any KU finishes, but forum talk suggests these are similarly varied: some seem to help with stickage, some seem to cause more stickage—here, this is more pronounced with the knife getting stuck or feeling friction during the cut, and not "cut" food sticking to the blade. In the case of KU finishes, the reasons are more obvious: the polish of the finish when wet either aids or inhibits surface tension. I will say that, since KU finishes often appear on knives with large primary bevels, they may also exhibit worse stickage overall, since large primary bevels tend to feature less convexing overall and a very large "flat" sanded surface low on the blade that is a magnet for julienne cuts, for example. But there are plenty of exceptions to this rule, I bet.

All of this is ironic, though (or in jest): to me, stickage is very hard to quantify, even though it should be something very quantifiable. I often ignore user comments about it due to the influence of ingredients and technique, with the exception of users who work in professional settings with ALL of their knives in similar contexts who can eliminate these factors (which is a very small percentage of commentators on this forum, I might add!). My guess is that certain knives do have a bit of convex magic combined with a certain type of grit of polish that just make them "work" with more ingredients than others. But realistically, if you like thinner grinds and high edge performance, I really think the differences are more about how often you dry your knife while cutting and what sizes of pieces you cut (and how fast, as racket hitting also releases food) more than the actual blade itself. I reserve the right to make a few exceptions here, of course: once you get into $500-$1000 grinds, some magic seems to happen according to owners, but this is not fair to compare to the vast majority of blade/performance out there—not only are these magical grinds, but they're often being used by really experienced hands who know that stickage will never totally go away with certain ingredients and cuts, so they may be more "realistic," even "forgiving" as regards to stickage.

Just my 2 cents. Major Disclaimer: I also love thin grinds like Konosukes A LOT, so I tend to downplay stickage because, well, food sticks to Konos pretty badly relative to the competition!



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Ownership experience: Konosuke, Masamoto, Tojiro, Wusthof, Henckels, etc.
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 Post subject: Re: Slices stick more to some knives. How come?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2014 3:01 pm 

Joined: Thu May 29, 2014 8:38 pm
Posts: 626
Just to add one more thing to what has been written above, sometimes I think there is some confusion between two different types of sticking:

1) When, after a cut is completed, the released piece remains on the blade
2) When, as a result of friction, more force is required to complete the cut

While they are related, different factors will contribute to presence of either. Grind plays a major roll in both, but on the second point, and to me, the most important as it relates to ease of you/enjoyment of cutting, almost everything about the knife including pattern, weight, thickness at spine etc. will play a role.


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 Post subject: Re: Slices stick more to some knives. How come?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2014 3:06 pm 

Joined: Sun Jul 29, 2012 1:36 pm
Posts: 198
Location: NY, NY; New Haven, CT
Nice clarification, Chip. I wholly agree, even though I foolishly conflate the two above. In contrasting to "sticking," I take "wedging" very seriously in regards to knife performance and commentary, and I think this has a direct relationship to your #2.



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Ownership experience: Konosuke, Masamoto, Tojiro, Wusthof, Henckels, etc.
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 Post subject: Re: Slices stick more to some knives. How come?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2014 3:19 pm 

Joined: Thu May 29, 2014 8:38 pm
Posts: 626
salemj wrote:Nice clarification, Chip. I wholly agree, even though I foolishly conflate the two above. In contrasting to "sticking," I take "wedging" very seriously in regards to knife performance and commentary, and I think this has a direct relationship to your #2.



No I think your write up was great. I sometimes find myself using the terms/notions interchangeably, hence the separation/clarification, and completely agree with your thoughts on sticking. I could really care less if a few slices of an ingredient remain on the side of my blade. Can be a bit of an annoyance when they release onto the floor, but beyond that. Really don't care. It is def. wedging, or overall blade friction that bothers the shit out of me. That and accordion cuts drive me nuts.


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