Micarta ultrathin kitchen knives?


March 20, 2012, 01:00 PM
HSO or others, any recommendations on one of these that is production or semi custom, for reasonable ($100-150) price?

Ban Tang (www.bantangknives.com) has the best functional understanding of grinding that I've ever seen and his ultrathin kitchen knives are totally drool inducing, but they are well above $150. I will probably eventually go with one of those unless I find something soon that works well for me/us (my GF and I). well mostly her...

We currently mostly use a small santoku from Walmart that's surpisingly effective, a PureKomachi2 knife by Kai that looks like a fillet knife, and keep procrastinating sending in our VERY disappointing Shun Santoku (the steel on it keeps chipping with normal use on a plastic cutting board - heat treat issue apparently, not to mention the ergos are just subpar for her).

We like the look of micarta but I think it might not be the best from a bacteria standpoint. I guess it wouldn't be difficult to laminate it or give it some kind of poly or synthetic shellac coating.

I personally like pointy-ish santokus, while she likes something with the tip orientation of a santoku, the belly of a chef's knife, and a point somewhere between the two. Or actually more of a wharny/reverse-tanto type tip. Not sure why she prefers that at all, LOL.

My dream knife: http://bantangknives.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/mini-santoku.jpg

(It's about a 5" cutting edge i believe...we don't find big kitchen knives that useful plus that Shun abomination fills a big knife role..well...sort of)

Her ideal tip/belly but with a horrid handle and too big:


A cursory search reveals Boker and some others make micarta handled knives, but I don't see many/any ultrathin variants.

I guess I may be stuck saving for a BT Stupid Sharp knife but I'm surprised how badly most kitchen knife options out there suck and how poorly thought out they are, compared to the selection of EDC knives now available to the customer for amazingly cheap, and with an amazing array of options. I guess chefs : knives :: cops : guns. Most chefs aren't "knife people" in other words...

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March 20, 2012, 10:32 PM
I found this Gerber in a thrift store..Paid $3.00..It has a very thin blade and a molded aluminum handle. My instructor for a manufacturing class worked at Gerber, I think in Seattle Wa. and expounded on the quality of there knifes...I can tell you that this little knife has become my favorite kitchen blade...Super thin and really holds an edge...Mike

I did it again...Forgot to add the photos..See next post

March 20, 2012, 10:37 PM
Here they are...161385



March 21, 2012, 02:16 AM
Mike, that's a nice find. Thanks. I appreciate the photos showing ID marks.

March 21, 2012, 07:57 AM
The reason that kitchen knife handles seem almost as if they are designed as an afterthought isn't that chefs aren't knife people, it is that chefs don't hold and use knives like other people use knives, if that makes sense. Technique taught to chefs involves holding the knife by the spine with the first two or three fingers and the thumb, and basically using the handle to keep the knife stable and prevent it from falling out of the back of the hand.

As far as recommendations go, when I hear that ergonomics are an issue, I typically suggest the Shun Ken Onion series knives. I know that you were not enamored by Shun as mentioned in your post, but most people I know who have these knives absolutely love them. As a plus, it sounds like they may have a blade profile that you are looking for. The down side is that they are slightly on the expensive end. Here is a link to an Amazon page: http://www.amazon.com/Onion-Shun-DM0500-8-Inch-Chefs/dp/B0007IR2MO

These knives are usually available in high end home kitchen stores for you to try out (Williams-Sonoma, Sur la Table, etc), but you will probably be able to find better prices online.

Brian Williams
March 21, 2012, 10:16 AM
If you want a thin knife, look for a Cattaraugus Chef knife, I have not seen any knife as thin.

March 21, 2012, 02:32 PM
Thanks for the recs, all. I think one of my best approaches is to look at older knives with a ballpark chance of being good, and go from there. This will be a lot more fun than just spending a lot of money on one knife. Although I do think having one "great" quality knife will be a worthwhile investment.

hmph, your input is appreciated. I should have been more specific: ergonomics isn't really the right word, it's more an issue of angle of point and angle of the cutting edge relative to the handle. I just don't find the Shun we have very nimble to wield, and my girlfriend (a foot shorter than me) finds it even less so.

It's probably partly just a function of being bigger than necessary. Cutting 90% of meat, and all vegetables, etc, I think bigger than a 5-6" blade is mega overkill. Add the fact that the blade is rather wide top to bottom, and it's just unwieldy.

So I take a lot of credit: the knife is just too big to be useful for most of what we do, and the rest of the blame goes to the designer for a fairly awkward angle of the cutting edge. The amount of belly is nice but on average the cutting edge is quite offset from the angle of the handle:


Compare that to their "premier" line 7-incher:


You'll see a significant difference in angle of cutting edge relative to angle of handle.

March 21, 2012, 02:37 PM
I typically suggest the Shun Ken Onion series knives

I'll second this - again, in spite of your experience. I've had several of these for a few years now and like both the egros and the performance. The blade core is VG10 and comes ground at ~15 degrees. This makes the edge extraordinarily easy to maintain with a spyderco sharpmaker. We've not had any chipping issues and only need to hit the stones a couple times a year under our use. It's really nice to always have a laser-sharp kitchen knife around.

We picked the Shun KO chef's knife specifically because of the egros after taking a culinary knife class. The handle's designed for the 'pinch grip' referenced above, blade is curved to allow rocking, deep to allow scooping, dropped to keep knuckles off the board, etc.

The chef's knife is expensive. We purchased it using a pile of C&B gift cards received as wedding gifts....

edit: Sorry, CW - cross posted

March 22, 2012, 08:51 AM
You may consider looking at a french profile chef's knife from someone like Sabatier. They have a bit less belly than many, but are still "pointy" at the end.

March 22, 2012, 11:13 AM
Poke around the Kitchen Knife Forums and the Foodie Forums - that's where you'll find the chefs that are knife geeks.


They're heavily biased towards Japanese knives, but that's probably your best bet for non-custom thin and sharp kitchen knives.

The CarboNext series from JapaneseChefsKnives.com is the latest bargain favorite of the knife geeks (until something better comes along). Not as pretty as a Ban Tang, but 1/3 of the price. http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/KAGAYAKICarboNextSeries.html

If you're passing through Midtown or Decatur, stop at one of the Chef's Warehouse locations and look at the Kikuichi knives. They have a typical feel and profile of JCKs, a bit thick even. Don't buy them because they're overpriced rebadges from other manufacturers, but at least handle them and see if the ergos fit what you're looking for

March 22, 2012, 10:16 PM
Here they are...http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=161385&d=1332297391&thumb=1 (http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=161385&d=1332297391)

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=161386&d=1332297391&thumb=1 (http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=161386&d=1332297391)

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=161387&d=1332297421&thumb=1 (http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=161387&d=1332297421)

Do yourself a favor and don't run that knife in the dish washer.

Keep the cutting edge clean and dry.

I have one of that same vintage (http://noisyroom.net/pix/thr/2009_1011-Knife/Smaller/images.php). It's done in a tool steel that's high carbon, and plated with chrome. Not dishwasher safe.

The Gerber "French" (ca. 1970)
http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=107081&d=1255373490&thumb=1 (http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=107081&d=1255373490) - http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=107082&d=1255373501&thumb=1 (http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=107082&d=1255373501) - http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=107083&d=1255373511&thumb=1 (http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=107083&d=1255373511)

The chrome will blister in a modern dishwasher.

March 23, 2012, 05:55 PM
Thanks sard and welcome to THR. Shoot me a PM if you want to head to the range sometime.

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