The Difference Between Chef's Knives

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sharksfan7
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The Difference Between Chef's Knives

Post by sharksfan7 » Mon Apr 23, 2018 2:27 am

Just stumbled upon this video. One of the better ones explaining differences between European & Japanese chef's knives. An actual bladesmith explains the difference between carbon steel and stainless steel, blade profile & thickness, blade length, double bevel vs single bevel, hidden tang vs full tang handles & how it affects the knife balance. A good primer for someone just getting into shopping for kitchen knives.

--Tony

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Re: The Difference Between Chef's Knives

Post by salemj » Mon Apr 23, 2018 11:47 am

Yes: really fantastic video. One of the very, very best I've ever seen that discusses both types of blades, not least because it demonstrates a broad variety of Japanese brands rather than using just 1-2 "hybrid" examples, but also because it covers so many pertinent aspects of blade design and because he doesn't for one second flinch when holding the blades: he makes them seem like extensions of his body rather than delicate things to be feared.

The one thing I wish it included - given that he makes knives - is that the function of the bolster is, in many ways, also a "cheating" factor: it adds weight right at the "neutral" grip point in order to make the German style feel both more substantial AND more balanced, when in fact it is a total distortion of the actual weight distribution of the blade. In reality, without the bolster, most German-style knives would be extremely handle-heavy...adding the bolster doesn't so much balance this with a heavier blade as it moves the balance point to where the bolster is WITHOUT actually adding weight to the blade...so these knives are actually still very unbalanced in terms of blade weight in many cases (especially in shorter lengths...it is less of a factor above 9"). I wish more people understood this, as it is part of the reason German knife users tend to avoid a pinch grip, in my opinion, since a pinch exaggerates the false effect of the bolster.
~Joe

Comments: I'm short, a home cook, prefer lighter, thinner blades, and own mostly Konosukes but have used over a dozen brands.

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Kit Craft
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Re: The Difference Between Chef's Knives

Post by Kit Craft » Tue Apr 24, 2018 9:43 am

That was a really good video. Thanks for sharing. I have seen it pop up on YT but have never clicked on it before, thinking it would be "meh" but I was wrong.

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Jeff B
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Re: The Difference Between Chef's Knives

Post by Jeff B » Tue Apr 24, 2018 6:24 pm

Good video Tony. Much more detailed than anything I've seen so far and a great start for the newbe.
If God wanted me to be a vegetarian he wouldn't have made animals taste so good.

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Re: The Difference Between Chef's Knives

Post by jacko9 » Tue Apr 24, 2018 8:01 pm

Thanks for posting this video. I would have loved to have seen this about three years ago to limit the seriously ignorant questions I posted on this forum while trying to figure out what I wanted in kitchen knives.

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Jeff B
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Re: The Difference Between Chef's Knives

Post by Jeff B » Tue Apr 24, 2018 8:20 pm

jacko9 wrote:
Tue Apr 24, 2018 8:01 pm
Thanks for posting this video. I would have loved to have seen this about three years ago to limit the seriously ignorant questions I posted on this forum while trying to figure out what I wanted in kitchen knives.
:lol: Some of the most knowledgeable people on this forum could have made the same statement at some point, especially me! ;)
If God wanted me to be a vegetarian he wouldn't have made animals taste so good.

jacko9
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Re: The Difference Between Chef's Knives

Post by jacko9 » Wed Apr 25, 2018 12:21 am

Jeff B wrote:
Tue Apr 24, 2018 8:20 pm
jacko9 wrote:
Tue Apr 24, 2018 8:01 pm
Thanks for posting this video. I would have loved to have seen this about three years ago to limit the seriously ignorant questions I posted on this forum while trying to figure out what I wanted in kitchen knives.
:lol: Some of the most knowledgeable people on this forum could have made the same statement at some point, especially me! ;)
Well you are one of the guys that helped me understand a lot of the nuances of different makers and now I have quite the collection of excellent kitchen knives. It's funny how I can cook for my wife and I and find an excuse to use almost all of my new knives ;-) And loving every minute of it.

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Jeff B
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Re: The Difference Between Chef's Knives

Post by Jeff B » Wed Apr 25, 2018 12:30 am

jacko9 wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 12:21 am
Jeff B wrote:
Tue Apr 24, 2018 8:20 pm
jacko9 wrote:
Tue Apr 24, 2018 8:01 pm
Thanks for posting this video. I would have loved to have seen this about three years ago to limit the seriously ignorant questions I posted on this forum while trying to figure out what I wanted in kitchen knives.
:lol: Some of the most knowledgeable people on this forum could have made the same statement at some point, especially me! ;)
Well you are one of the guys that helped me understand a lot of the nuances of different makers and now I have quite the collection of excellent kitchen knives. It's funny how I can cook for my wife and I and find an excuse to use almost all of my new knives ;-) And loving every minute of it.
I think that's the biggest reason that I get away with most of my purchases, my wife loves not having to cook! ;)
If God wanted me to be a vegetarian he wouldn't have made animals taste so good.

jacko9
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Re: The Difference Between Chef's Knives

Post by jacko9 » Wed Apr 25, 2018 12:41 am

My wife agrees but, I did have to buy 3 pettys before I got one to her liking that she uses to clean chicken breasts and cut herbs. She is also getting to realize when her knife needs a touch up on the stones. She has no interest in "playing" with my Konosuke Fujiyama or my Kato - she sees them as too dangerous!

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sharksfan7
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Re: The Difference Between Chef's Knives

Post by sharksfan7 » Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:37 pm

Reading the YT comments on this video and it's funny to see how differently people see it. A lot of people see it as an ad for Wusthof. I watch it and think "buy anything BUT Wusthof...and Chroma".
--Tony

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Re: The Difference Between Chef's Knives

Post by Chefspence » Wed Apr 25, 2018 10:18 pm

What sticks out to me the most is the fluidity through product and technique.

Would have like to see more commentary about j blades that have pronounced shoulders vs more convexing.

I’ve pretty much written off anything but j blades, unless I want something that I don’t care about beating up.

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Jeff B
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Re: The Difference Between Chef's Knives

Post by Jeff B » Wed Apr 25, 2018 10:49 pm

I like some of the comments by those that like to tout their experience/resume, which is usually a joke, and then make a comment that is something totally stupid and uninformed.
Nothing like the internet self proclaimed professional.
If God wanted me to be a vegetarian he wouldn't have made animals taste so good.

salemj
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Re: The Difference Between Chef's Knives

Post by salemj » Thu Apr 26, 2018 9:55 am

sharksfan7 wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:37 pm
Reading the YT comments on this video and it's funny to see how differently people see it. A lot of people see it as an ad for Wusthof. I watch it and think "buy anything BUT Wusthof...and Chroma".
Yeah, this is something to grapple with. I was thinking - when watching - that obviously effort was being put in to speak to the continued place and function of German steel (with Wusthof being the single example). But the reality is that most people I know ABSOLUTELY would choose a German blade over a Japanese one in most stores. And I felt like the slides/summaries spoke exactly to that: for each one, I saw my preferences clearly articulated on the Japanese side, while I saw family and friends seeing what I presume their preferences were on the "German" side. This, to me, speaks to the balance and well-considered nature of the demonstration. I got the sense that the guy doing it had a very, very clear passion for Japanese-style blades and didn't really care to mention (or know) any blades beyond Wusthof at this point...but I also got the sense that - like me - he knows plenty of people that genuinely prefer most of the aspects of a German knife over a Japanese one.

I've often wondered what it would be like to be a sales person in BBB or Sur la Table or whatever. I genuinely think that, despite my knowledge and my own preferences regarding knives, I'd actually be making arguments for Wusthof and Henckels and the like constantly. If the goal is actual customer satisfaction not in terms of sheer knife performance, but in terms of the happiness, comfort, ease of use, and functionality that a particular knife brings to THEIR kitchen, well, the Germans would likely win more often than not.

I'll add one thing: lots of people hate buying something like a knife online, especially if they've already gone to a store to try it out. Arguing for a Fujiwara instead of a Wusthof as some sort of compromise in these situations is...unrealistic. So while I'm aware more durable and functional "crossover" options exist, I still don't think they are "better" for a lot of people who want to take the step to have better knives in their kitchen but don't want to actually think about maintenance or repair (or care) for one tick of the clock. I think - for many people - they expect a knife to be about as durable as their set of pots and pans, and anything that doesn't meet that expectation is just not as good as something that does. !! And even though they may never "actually" bring a knife back into a shop, etc., they seem to also take a lot of comfort in knowing they "could" just drive back to the store and have it ground to hell to fix something...
~Joe

Comments: I'm short, a home cook, prefer lighter, thinner blades, and own mostly Konosukes but have used over a dozen brands.

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Kit Craft
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Re: The Difference Between Chef's Knives

Post by Kit Craft » Thu Apr 26, 2018 12:40 pm

Very well put, Joe. I think a lot of my family and friends feel the same way. They want something durable that they simply don't have to worry about. They can not be bothered to wipe it down before dinner let along between products. Sharpening, please. Avoid bone, frozen foods and chocolate, never going to happen. If you tell them that they are abusing the knife they simply respond that they aren't and those other knives are just fragile and useless. I have been through this a number of times.

Though there are some people in my circles that do very well with upgrade knives. Things along the lines of Miyabi, which they seem to prefer over Fujiwara and Tojiro about 2/1. These people are the exception rather than the rule in my experience.

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