Do you have any petty knives?

I do. My petty (utility) knives are much lighter and narrower, more agile than a Chef’s knife. My first was a left handed 150 mm (6 in.) that was serrated–making it single beveled: a Shun Classic utility knife. It took me about two years to figure out how to use it, since it seemed to “steer” in the wrong direction as I cut. Once I disregarded that it was serrated–and just used it–it helped a great deal as a partner to a Chef’s knife–way more versatile than a paring knife.

However, I recently decided to get the alternative: a non serrated double beveled version–which was and is available from Shun–but decided to get a Xinzuo Zhen 150 mm. Here they are, side by side:

What about you-got any petty knives?

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I have two Zwilling Henckels 4 Stars about this size (one flexible, the other not so much). The flexible one is used pretty often for cleaning proteins, the other not so much as I have both 4" and 3" pairing knives.

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Yes, and I got a new one, a 180mm Ashi Hamono Ginga swedish stainless (below). The other petty is a Munetoshi 165 white #2 carbon. All the way up is my bread knife.

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Which one you like better? Your Ashi Hamono looks more like what I considered as regular petty. However, your Munetoshi looks nice too, and probably better used for a mini-chef knife as it has more knuckle clearance space.

I have a 180 mm Konosuke HD2 petty knife. I bought it when I was in Canada and wrote a review on Chowhound, but I cannot find the article nor the image anymore. It looks like this.

I think I spent $100-120 something at the time and thought was not cheap. These days, good knife price just keep going up.

I remember specifically I bought a Tanaka nakiri as a “testing knife” for fun. It was like $40, then later $60… now $125.

I am glad that real good quality knife take notice. On the other hand, there are just many subpar knives too.

It’s horses for courses. They are different knives for different purposes, deliberately chosen as such. So, I can’t pick one!

The Munetoshi is indeed a mini gyuto, and also the steel is quite tough allowing me to use it as a ‘workhorse’ petty. I’ve even broken down and filleted a red mullet with it, as an alternative to my larger deba. But look at this vid and see how it’s a great multi purpose tool.

The Ashi Ginga is probably more like your Konosuke HD, ie more like a laser and a great tool for cutting and cleaning proteins, eg removing silverskin from meat or like a mini sujihiki. Again, see vid.

What are your thoughts on the Konosuke? Great price for you back then, they have become mighty expensive indeed!

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Hi SP,

I’d call the second one a boning or fillet knife–which I’ve avoided so far (though I do have an American Chicago cutlery version.

The American and Euro’s seem to value flexible blades. The Japanese and Chinese are rigid–and mostly very hard steel.

Ray

Hi damiano,

You’re big and bold!

I save the “petty” designation for 150 mm, though I’ve learned that 130 mm fits in here as well–like the Misono UX10 Chef Panko evaluated:

I do have an Asian utility that is 180 mm, but it’s closer to a bunko than anything else.

I see mine teamed up with larger, more substantial knives, or as specialty knives–as Chef Panko explains, but Japanese knives like his (and even more so like yours) have crossed the value/utility line for me. I do have a 130 mm powder steel Kaji that I bought for about $80 that I discovered is now listed at $170, and even my Shun classic–that I got for about $70 as a very special deal–is now about $114.

The Xinzuo I just bought is clearly in the same quality/sharpness ball park as my two Japanese Petty knives–and cost $38.

As I’ve argued to Panko, if we haven’t already crossed a price/quality tipping point in Chinese vs. Japanese kitchen knives, we’re at least in uncharted territory.

Ray

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I suppose, my use is most often for cleaning/slicing seafood as it gets a much sharper edge than practically any other knife. Not sure why, other than it is really thin.

I sharpen all of my knives at the same angle (18°), but for some reason this one is more razor like than the rest.

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I like the Konosuke. I bought it for fun (I didn’t think I need it then). It is a good knife. It is what people considered as “laser”: thin, sharp and precision. It is just that I had no experience with Konosuke before. Looking back, getting a large knife would have been good.

Hi Chem,

The Seki Magoroku 165 mm nakiri that was given to me about 30 years ago may have cost as little as $15 in Japan.

I looked for about five years, looking for a price/value upgrade before I finally found something.

Ray

I love petty knives…and have several I reach for.
My most recent are 2 pets made by a Japanese blacksmith Kyohei Shindo. A 120 and a 150. I have a DaoVua that I got because i am interested in their quality. Also in my rack is a Murray Carter petty, as well as a Takeda, and one made by a friend of mine Barry Jones of PB&J knives. I have to say my pettys get a lot of use every day… more than my gyutos and nakiris.

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Here’s the ATK perspective:

Pretty good overview and analysis.

Ray

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Wow. You have a lot of petty knives. Six - you have mentioned, and who knows… maybe more. I haven’t heard of Murray Carter name for a long while now.

For me, there’s a big “feeling” chasm between my petty knives and major knives–more than mere length would suggest. My chef knives, gyuto, santoku, nakiri, deba, and cleaver are also wider and heavier–by at least 100 gm.

My petty knives are further specialized. The Shun classic I’ve posted above is a left handed version–with a gripping ledge on the left. A tojiro 6" I have (not posted) has an ergonomic handle and a unique profile. Both are Rockwell hard with a damascus pattern effect on the blade.

Petty as in small as in paring? I have a couple but they are rarely if ever used.
Otherwise I have three I call utility but I don’t use them in the kitchen except to open things that need persuasion.

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Hi RD,

See the Youtube I posted by American Test Kitchen above. According to them, what you are posting is not what is being offered as either petty or utility.

Knives presently available are, IMO, like shifting gears in your car–you feel a different flow. At least, that’s how I feel when I’m using mine.

Ray

Thanks Ray.

I’ve never really understood a need for a “petty”, which I’ve always thought of as a scaled-up parer (or scaled down slicer) geometry. Parers and boning/fillet knives, yes, so if a petty is for those functions, I guess I understand. If the appeal is a point and thin blade, I get that, too, but I think a good Western chef is pointy and thin enough–maybe the resurgence of the petty/“utility” says a lot about the lack of thin-tipped Euro chefs or different charachteristics of J-knives?

I find the petty geometry unpleasant to work with on a board because of the lack of knuckle clearance. The necessary motion on a board dulls the tip, but I guess the up side is the rest of the blade stays sharper longer because all it touches is food.

I agree, this is actually an okay overview and analysis. Also positively surprised that they gave the Mac petty the top spot. My bread knife is a Mac Pro and I love it.

The reason why my pettys are a bit long, is because my Robert Herder carbon steel paring knife makes shorter pettys redundant. The Herder is outstanding so I’ll just use that where others would pick a 130-150 petty.

Imho the petty is a very convenient knife for a home cook and I use mine as much as I use my general chef knives, ie my gyuto (225mm) and Chinese vegetable cleaver (180mm). Pettys come in handy if I need to do small amounts or proteins. Knuckle clearance is not really an issue because I will either slice on or off the board (see video of the Ashi Ginga), or use my Munetoshi which has more heel (again, see video above).

That said, pettys can be viewed as a luxury for home cooks with too much money and time (me included :slight_smile: ) - because I can also just use my Herder paring and Chinese veggie cleaver and I can still do all that is needed. :shushing_face:

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I like my petty too. Initially, I bought it just for fun. However, after using it for a while, I find it to be quite useful and filling a space/gap which my paring knives do not. I think you pointed out a good point. Some people use their petty as a smaller scale of a main knife (chef’s knife). I use mine more of a larger paring knife.

It is often said that most home cooks only need two knives. A large main knife (like German Chef’s knife or Santoku or a Chinese chef’s knife) and a smaller pointy knife like a parer. For me, if I have to choose, then my smaller specialized knife will be my petty knife.

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