There Will Be Blood

Loyal readers will recall that when I started using a Wüsthof Santoku knife in early 2005, the change in blade weight, shape, and balance caused me to have a little accident. I quickly adapted to this new style and came to really appreciate the value of a lightweight and nimble blade. No more heavy European cleavers for me!

In recent months I’ve been thinking of going back to a bigger chef’s knife. I’m fascinated by the new breed of Japanese Gyutou knives, which are essentially hybrids – traditional European shape combined with Japanese lightness and agility. The blades are thinner than their European counterparts, and there is no bolster (although there is often a faux bolster made from separate pieces of steel and integrated into the handle).

So I bit. I am now the proud owner of a Misono UX10 Gyutou knife, all 240 mm of it. This thing is huge compared to my Santoku, although it doesn’t weigh all that much more, all things considered (244 grams vs 165 grams).

However, it handles very differently. I haven’t had it for very long, and so far it has drawn blood twice (two minor incidents; one involving the needle-sharp point, and the other caused by the heel, which has a sharp corner because of the lack of a bolster).


It retrospect, it might have made more sense to get the 210 mm one, as the handling would have been more familiar. But hey, smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.

There will be blood. I am not looking forward to the day when my flesh comes in painful slicing contact with that long and very sharp edge. But it will come, and hopefully I won’t hit an artery. However, I’ve been chopping, slicing, and mincing furiously for days now, and loving every minute of it!

14 thoughts on “There Will Be Blood

  1.! I tend to like knives the shape of your UX10 (longer & more slender), so I’m very curious how it feels. And check out that point! Are you leaning, lately, towards making recipes that have a lot of chopping?!

  2. Needless to say I’m staying away from that devil’s instrument.

    I’ll let you all know when I hear hellish screams coming from the kitchen.

  3. I’ve been slicing, dicing, and chopping like mad! I’ve been cutting cucumber so thin it’s transparent. 2mm dice on the mirepoix yesterday. Ohhhhh, and it feels good!

  4. Oodelawee!

    Please kiss the upper right-hand corner of your thumb on your left hand goodbye from me! ‘Cause it’s goin’ down the insinkerator along with that slice o’ green pepper.

    Give it a good funeral; you must admit it worked hard while in your employ.

  5. Re: Please kiss the upper right-hand corner of your thumb on your left hand goodbye…

    I managed to lose the upper-left corner of my left hand’s thumb (again!) rather unskillfully 2 weeks ago with a cheapie knock-off of your Santoku while chopping ‘shrooms. What a n00b move.

  6. Yeah, I’m sorry I said “upper-right” as the upper left is always the victim. I just wish that I could get that “tuck-in-the-fingers” technique that you always see, but I never have. It’s pathetic.

    However, I have an inordinate respect for sharp knives.

    In my book, julienning carrots is the worst, closely followed by peppers. If the knife doesn’t immediately bite in both cases, it slips. Potatoes are annoying, because they “suck” the knife, and garlic also, as it seems to want to stick everywhere unless you’re well lubricated (maybe in more senses than one) but I Fear The Carrots. They are my Armageddon. They will get me one day, and it ain’t gonna be pretty.

    But sometimes it gets really hairy, let me tell you. I try not to let my mind drift . . . at all. You read these stories of “Man loses hand to bolt cutter” but you really, really have to be careful . . . after all, the same knife that is carving graceful shards from a partially-frozen slice of filet mignon is equally capable of . . .

    Okay, I’m creeping myself out so I’ll stop there.

  7. The point on the heel snagged me again tonight but it was very minor. Personally, my favorite part of cooking is the knifework. That’s why I don’t mind paying for a top-notch knife. Carrots? Bring ’em on!

  8. YOU are a better man than I am. I swear, when the carrots come out I break into a cold sweat. “Nick,” I tell myself, “ignore what Guy Fiori is saying on Diners and Dives. AVERT YOUR GAZE FROM THE TELEVISION. No, my precious boy, you CONCENTRATE on this task as well as if you all by your lonesome were hunting out a ratpack of insurgents with an M-16 who are lodged in a bunker 1.3 klicks from Saddamtown.

    “Get those juliennes real nice now, boy, yes, longitude, latitude, then dice and slice, bwah, you be careful dem fingers, you heah?”

    This is the unfortunate dialogue I have with myself every time the carrots venture forth.

  9. You say that like it’s a bad thing! ;-)

    Ha ha. As I said, I love the knifework, so of course I concentrate on it. In “Heat,” Bill Buford talked about the exacting standards that Mario Batali has for diced carrots. Ever since I read that, my dice is so precise you could set an atomic clock by it. (I have no idea what that means, but you get the point.) And yeah, that requires concentration, but that’s what I like about it.

  10. I too love knifework. I purchased a nice Kyocera ceramic chef’s knife recently, and it’s been doing a bang-up job. My only wish is that is had the scalloping a santoku has, ’cause things tend to stick to is smooth surface. Do you have any ceramics blork?

  11. Tux, I don’t have a ceramic knife, but I’d like to try one. At the moment I don’t know where it would fit in though; I’ve already got four chef’s knives (including the Misono), one santoku, one slicer, one bread knife, one heavy cleaver, one boning knife, and three paring knives. But I’m curious about using one.

  12. Hmmm . . . I had a Ming Tsai ceramic knife. But just the material limits the size . . . it couldn’t have been more than six inches and that’s waaaay too short for me.

    Plus, drop it once the wrong way . . . it breaks! Mine was a wreck after a while, even being returned to its case after each use.

    Plus, I’d have no clue how to sharpen it. But you’re talking to someone who uses one knife for everything — I swear it’s like a pet. I know every contour of its furry little body and it knows mine.

    The ceramics . . . they might work for some people but they’re quite expensive and in my humble opinion, a bit gimmicky.

    Yes, I read Heat too. I specialise in the Goodfellas method — shaving. But julienning carrots well is definitely not an exercise for the faint of heart. You need your full attention on the job at all times and a knife you could literally shave with. And a very, very steady hand.

    I share your pain. Part of my thumb went down the insinkerator with the green pepper once and it’s still crooked.

  13. just clicked my way to the image of your cleanly sliced digit back in Jan 2005… curious, did it grow back to it’s original state? Or is it slightly altered after these fine 4 1/2 yrs? Pic would be awesome. :)

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