Butternut squash - A hard ‘nut’ to crack

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jbart65
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Butternut squash - A hard ‘nut’ to crack

Post by jbart65 » Fri Jun 15, 2018 11:09 am

Having bought a new Yahiko Ice 240 and Kanehiro Ginsan 240, I figured I’d put them through the paces. One of my tests is how well a knife handles the toughest of all ingredients: butternut squash.

The test is simple. I use the knives to basically peel the squash. Slice some rounds at the fat end. Cut the shorter section (sans seeds) into horizontal slices, then long sticks. Finally chop those sticks into ½-inch chunks.

I started out with the Ice and Kanehiro, but then added most of my other 240 knives.

*Masakage Koishi AS
*Shibata AS
*Tanaka Sekiso B#2
*Tetsuhiro Hammered W#1
*Yahiko Nashiji W#2
*Yoshimune W#1

Let’s cut to the chase.

THE WINNER: Shibata AS.

This is the king of lasers and the best cutter I have ever used. Period. When I see that it’s still in stock on CKTG, I shake my head. This thing is a killer. Plus stainless cladding and a nice rosewood handle. Why are they still in stock?

The Shibata cut through the squash easily. Virtually no wedging when applied with even and modest pressure. While it can chop the squash into chunks, the Shibata does better with push cuts.

RUNNERUP: Tanaka Sekiso

The Sekiso arguably cut the squash just as well. The convexing helps separate the squash as the edge cuts through. Smooth and easy, with perhaps just a hair more resistance.

The heavier Sekiso had it all over the Shibata in chopping up the squash sticks, though. Push cut them just as well.

HONORABLE MENTION: Kanehiro, Yahiko Nashiji

I thought the Kanehiro Ginsan might wedge, but the Kanehiro line of knives is just stupendously good. Performed quite similar to the Sekiso in all regards, requiring just a touch more force.

The Yahiko Nashiji encountered a bit more resistance on the initial cut, but it chopped up the squash sticks better than any other knife except for the Sekiso.

MIDDLE OF THE PACK: Yoshimune.

The Yoshi did an adequate job on all tasks and stood out on chopping up the squash pieces.

THE REST: Ice, Koishi, Tet

The Ice and Koishi both slid easily halfway thru the squash, then came to a halt. Both knives lacked power and were held back in part by their finishes. The Koishi kurouchi was the stickier of the two on squash. It sure did "peel"the squash well, however. Maybe better than any of my knives.

The Tet, for its part, chopped the squash well as befitting its very flat profile and middle weight, but it suffered from more wedging than the rest of my knives.

My recently sold Matsubara and my Terayasu Fujiwara were not part of the tests. The Matsubara would fall in the same category as the Kanehiro.

My TF is a battleship with a destroyer’s maneuverability. It would be in the top grouping with the Sekiso and Shibata.
Jeffry B

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Drewski
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Re: Butternut squash - A hard ‘nut’ to crack

Post by Drewski » Fri Jun 15, 2018 11:51 am

Great comparison!

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Altadan
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Re: Butternut squash - A hard ‘nut’ to crack

Post by Altadan » Fri Jun 15, 2018 1:13 pm

Love it!
But even after all is said and done, your experience with - and previous praise for - the Yahiko Ice cannot be easily downplayed by a butternut. Not all knives are destroyers, nor even ultimate all-rounders like that heaven-sent Sekiso of yours :)

I've tried several passaround knives on this test, and I too have always found my Tanaka to slide beautifully through - though at the slicing stage (and even more in the dicing) I would always gripe at the stickage.
Most recently, the Yahiko KU Hammered 240 peeled, sliced and diced a butternut much like... a destroyer battleship, really ;) It was eye-opening and very gratifying.
Certainly the KU hammered is on the rustic side, and a welter\heavy weight, but with handsome dimples, curvaceous body, and a nice stainless coat, there lots to love in her :lol:

So, Shibata AS, huh?

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jbart65
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Re: Butternut squash - A hard ‘nut’ to crack

Post by jbart65 » Fri Jun 15, 2018 1:25 pm

I owned the Yahiko Shimo that's also made by the same smith who does the Yahiko KU Hammered. Excellent tip. Cut very well and was much like the Sekiso, but not quite as good. The KU Hammered sounds like somewhat of an improvement. Maybe a meatier Koishi.

Really, Dan, my Sekiso doesn't wedge or stick on anything. Not sure why, but my Damascus finish doesn't seem to cause any drag whatsoever. I like how it performs so much I am afraid to do a full progression and will hold off as long as possible. It touches up so easily.

Yes, Shibata. First time I cut with it I exhaled deeply. Had the Ice performed just as well on butternut squash, I might have sold the Shibata and kept the Ice. But if I am going to keep one laser, the Shibata tops everything I've tried.
Jeffry B

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jbart65
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Re: Butternut squash - A hard ‘nut’ to crack

Post by jbart65 » Fri Jun 15, 2018 1:30 pm

Altadan wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 1:13 pm
But even after all is said and done, your experience with - and previous praise for - the Yahiko Ice cannot be easily downplayed by a butternut. Not all knives are destroyers, nor even ultimate all-rounders like that heaven-sent Sekiso of yours :)
The Ice is still a helluva knife despite its shortfall on butternut squash. If I sell it, though, I might get the bunka instead. It's worth having one of these knives. It fills a niche that is empty.
Jeffry B

Cutuu
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Re: Butternut squash - A hard ‘nut’ to crack

Post by Cutuu » Fri Jun 15, 2018 2:17 pm

Now you know Jeff that there are harder squashs, but perhaps you would argue some of those others are for beater knives, like spaghetti or acorn. Anyways great comparison. I'm pretty sure that the 270 swedish western is going to be phenemonal in dense ingredients. I've tried it on a sweet potatoe and cabbage. And it was phenomenal. I think a western shibata would be awesome!

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Jeff B
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Re: Butternut squash - A hard ‘nut’ to crack

Post by Jeff B » Fri Jun 15, 2018 2:38 pm

Damnit Jeffry, if you keep touting that Shibata AS and I might have to buy one, I've been eyeing them for awhile now! The AS is the only thing holding me back, I have too many AS knives already.
Last edited by Jeff B on Fri Jun 15, 2018 5:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
If God wanted me to be a vegetarian he wouldn't have made animals taste so good.

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jbart65
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Re: Butternut squash - A hard ‘nut’ to crack

Post by jbart65 » Fri Jun 15, 2018 3:09 pm

Sorry, Jeff. It's a sweet knife. Caveats? It has a bit more curve to the profile than an HD. And even though it has a nice handle and excellent fit and finish, it doesnt dazzle me in the looks department.

I've only touched up the Shibata so far and it seemed easy enough. I know your view on AS steel, but I don't cotton to R2 and the Shibata just cuts so darn well. I figure I should keep a laser just to have at least one laser and the Shibata is the best one I've tried yet. It's either keep this or get another HD eventually.
Jeffry B

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jbart65
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Re: Butternut squash - A hard ‘nut’ to crack

Post by jbart65 » Fri Jun 15, 2018 3:11 pm

Cutuu wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 2:17 pm
Now you know Jeff that there are harder squashs, but perhaps you would argue some of those others are for beater knives, like spaghetti or acorn. Anyways great comparison. I'm pretty sure that the 270 swedish western is going to be phenemonal in dense ingredients. I've tried it on a sweet potatoe and cabbage. And it was phenomenal. I think a western shibata would be awesome!
Thing is, Ramon, I never cut up spaghetti squash and acorn isn't as long as butternut squash. It's those lengthwise cuts on butternut or sweeties that really is tough.

Personally I don't like to use a beater for squash. Too darn hard. A good J knife handled properly is so much better!
Jeffry B

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ken123
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Re: Butternut squash - A hard ‘nut’ to crack

Post by ken123 » Thu Sep 13, 2018 12:21 am

Really an excellent review!

I have found that cooked slowly - in a clay tagine - the skin softens considerably.

I guess my more complex question is how you think these knives would compare after further thinning as compared to these knives original finishes.

Again an excellent review!

---
Ken

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lsboogy
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Re: Butternut squash - A hard ‘nut’ to crack

Post by lsboogy » Fri Sep 14, 2018 1:11 am

I just go to one of my Kikuichi Swedish Damascus blades for hard squash - why I understand. Will be doing acorns later this fall in abundance - but I might have to pull out a cjmeik thinned blade to try on them. Thin blades cruise though hard veg, and thin blades cruise through soft veg and proteins as well.

Great review, and great stuff about grind and profile on blades. I'm now growing far more convinced I will find a knife that suits me when I work with merchants, makers, and customizers than I ever would have believed a few years ago. Korin is a great place to spend money, CKTG is a place to figure out what you really want and will use. I'm almost to the point of having a set of blades that do what I dream about for performance - give me a profile that I grew up with, an edge that performs marvelously, and a grind the does what I want (as well as balance, feel etc) - I find I am learning what I want and how to get it. A knife from a good smith is a start, and a knife with a profile from a great smith is really nice, but a knife from a great smith tuned to your wants is where it's at.

old onion
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Re: Butternut squash - A hard ‘nut’ to crack

Post by old onion » Fri Sep 14, 2018 5:29 am

So far the best thing I found for cutting Acorn squash or Butternut is a chain saw. :lol: Just kidding,I am still searching.So far it has been my Old Homestead and a hammer on the heel.

Cutuu
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Re: Butternut squash - A hard ‘nut’ to crack

Post by Cutuu » Fri Sep 14, 2018 10:28 am

I absolutely love my Mert tansu for butternut squash. It is the best knife that I've used for the product. It has this heft and amazing confidence,while gliding through the product effortlessly.

old onion
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Re: Butternut squash - A hard ‘nut’ to crack

Post by old onion » Fri Sep 14, 2018 11:09 am

Cutuu wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 10:28 am
I absolutely love my Mert tansu for butternut squash. It is the best knife that I've used for the product. It has this heft and amazing confidence,while gliding through the product effortlessly.
At those prices for that knife the butternut squash ought to split from fright on their own without your hands on. :D

Cutuu
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Re: Butternut squash - A hard ‘nut’ to crack

Post by Cutuu » Fri Sep 14, 2018 1:10 pm

old onion wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 11:09 am
Cutuu wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 10:28 am
I absolutely love my Mert tansu for butternut squash. It is the best knife that I've used for the product. It has this heft and amazing confidence,while gliding through the product effortlessly.
At those prices for that knife the butternut squash ought to split from fright on their own without your hands on. :D
They may be pricey but they got it all imo f&f handle blah blah. They almost do split on there own :D

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