First post. First good knife. Technique issues. Maintenance issues. Cutting board problems.

Joined Sep 28, 2016
Hey guys,

Lurked here for a while.  Been a home cook for much of my life.  Dedicated amateur.  I work in a restaurant but mostly FOH/some prep.  I'm lactose intolerant and that's kept me out of a lot of kitchens.  90% of the cooking I do and take seriously is at home.

I've always liked good kitchen equipment but recently I've gotten into knives (I have pretty quality cookware).  The first "good" knife I ever owned was a Shun classic that was given to me.  I've used a bunch of victorinox, henckels, and wusthof knives.  I've been improving my technique and coveting a proper Japanese knife and recently made a purchase of a Kanehide PS60 240mm gyuto, which was heavily hyped/recommended by a website that begins with "chefknivesto..." ;)  Anyway!

This is easily the sharpest/lightest/most frightening knife I've ever used.  I'm happy I went for the 240 over the 210 as the added length does not bother me at all and it's so light and nimble compared to the heavier knives I am somewhat more used to.  I'm having some problems and I'm looking for a good place to start.  Firstly I realize my technique is not nearly as good as I thought it was.  I'm not sure how much pressure to put into the knife.  The sharpness of the blade makes me feel like I'm abusing it by being aggressive in the way I'm used to with heavier knives.  Additionally the blade is long and I'm not always sure which area I should be using.  The sharpness of the knife also makes me feel like I need to be much more precise about where I place it in order to make clean and uniform cuts; essentially the knife goes wherever I put it and I'm not used to having this much control.  Chopping also feels a bit barbaric with such a long blade and I don't want to damage the edge unnecessarily. 

I basically have two questions: how best can I use this knife? How can I improve my technique?  What are good resources for improving with this kind of knife?  Where should I start?  I feel unworthy of my new blade.  

2. The knife is so sharp its catching in my poly cutting boards (i've yet to invest in a proper wooden board).  I'm afraid this will ultimately damage the edge as I don't realize it's sunken into the board until I'm basically twisting it slightly as I pull it free.  How serious is this?  I have other, less elegant knives that I'm willing to use in the meantime?  I sharpen with waterstones but again I'm not sure if I'm good enough to resharpen this blade yet.  How can I know if the edge is ok?  I am under the impression that I should not be steeling this knife (with a ceramic or metal steel)

Joined Dec 18, 2010
Hi. Welcome to the forum. You'll get plenty of advise from the Japanese knife aficionados here. But I'd like to make an observation: you may be freaking yourself out unnecessarily. Cut up your food and get cooking - that will best let you experience the capabilities and limitations of any of your knives. Be careful and not intentionally abusive - that will keep you from damaging you knives and cutting boards. Go slow and focus on the standard technique and knife cuts. As you gain skill with your new blade the speed will come naturally. Relax and enjoy. Don't overthink the situation! And welcome to the forum!
Joined Sep 28, 2016

This is definitely true.  I am an over thinker/worrier extraordinaire.  I think the thing about this knife is it FEELS so delicate compared to a heavy german knife for example that I'm afraid I will damage it.  But I know it's actually made of very strong steel.  I think slow will be the key for a while.  I'm reasonably fast with my old knives but not with this.
Joined Aug 6, 2015
Welcome to CT!

If I recall correctly that knife is made to be thin, and I'm not surprised if you're cutting into the poly board. I think I did a bit with my poly board once I got J-knives and I was still figuring out the basics of knife technique/prep skills.

Some things that will help:

- Nice relaxed pinch grip.

- Try learning to push or pull cut rather than chop. With the tip of your knife slightly angled down but not fixed on the board, go down and forward through the food with your knife, ending with the knife fairly flat and slightly gliding forward on the board. Or down and backwards for pull. Slow down and pay attention to the profile of your knife (where the flat spot is, etc.) which will help you understand how to better use it for prepping.

- Test out using as little downward pressure as is needed to get through the food, reset what your tendencies are from other knives.

- Minimize rocking if you haven't already. It sounds like you're coming from pretty curvy knives where that motion might have been more intuitive vs more typical gyuto profile. And with thinner edges any amount of torquing hurts the edge retention.

- Don't twist and pull! Above suggestions are to help with not sinking into the board so much 

- I've been watching through some of Rick Theory's videos recently for prep skills. I like the mango salsa vid

Can you get an even consistent bevel on whatever else you're currently sharpening?
Joined Sep 28, 2016
Starting to get the hang of it.  Just came up with my own shakshuka recipe tonight (currently simmering the sauce) and did a lot of soft vegetable prep.  Switching to a different cutting board helped.  I think maybe it's just experience.  As I get better with the knife I see how a longer japanese gyuto is really a fantastic tool.  Prep goes so fast! Doing lots of push/pull cutting.  Chopping with the heel and doing intricate stuff with the tip.  Little tipsy forgive me if I'm excitable.  

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