Petty, paring--or something in between

The knife I bought to complement my German steel Chef Knife was a 3 1/2" baby Chef called a Wusthof precision:

It’s still the knife I use every day. But when I began to purchase harder steel knives, I found a whole series of profiles and lengths that I’ve learned to love almost as much as the bigger gyuto, santoku, and nakiri I have. My first hard steel utility was a skinny 6" serrated, left handed Shun Classic knife that took me several years to figure out–which I’ve now paired with a non serrated hammered Xinzou Zhen Petty knife:

I also got a hard steel “detail” 3 1/2" Ken Onion “sky”

Ken Onion Sky detail

The question is should I stick with my Wusthof precision paring (soft) and Ken Onion (hard) to complement my Chef knives–or use my petty more?

or should I look for a compromise “big” paring knife?

I’ve been using my hammered steel petty a lot recently . . ,

My “something in between” is my oversize Kaji paring knife–stg-2–that I grab for all sorts of momentary tasks. It’s on my magnetic rack–top left–and I can’t decide if it’s a paring or a utility knife:

Alton Brown has a similar in between knife that he mentions he uses all the time in a recent Youtube

And there is also the “beater” soft steel paring knife:

I gave one away–but I’ve still got a grabbable one

You should definitely be using your petty waaay more often than you do now, or you will really need to add a “big” pairing knife to your arsenal.

Or maybe just do what you want.

But whatever you decide, please do let us know. :smiley:

1 Like

Yes, NotDoobieWah,

That’s what I’ve begun to realize. I now have it side by side with my beloved Wusthof Precision–and bring it to the kitchen to be grabbed.

The loser in all this is my “beater” paring knife that I used so often before.

AMAZON says there are almost 1000 really cheap small paring knives–we all have them–but the utility knives I’m now using are wonderful.

Ultimate Utility:


I’ve purchased several of these Shun special knives for friends and family, but got a Tojiro Flash version for myself. Even though it’s hard steel, it’s unique design makes it very unlikely to chip. I’ll use it for most anything.

As larger paring knives, bordering on petty or utility knives, go, this 4" is a nice one.

Hi Vecchiouomo,

I’m going in the same direction. This 4" Kaji tweener is my most frequent grabbable small knife in my kitchen:

When I have a job for a smaller knife, this is my all time favorite.

1 Like

Hi Vecchiouomo,

Mine is really different.

My Wusthof precision (first post) sits by my computer and is used every day. It’s really a mini chef knife, and I used it that way when I drove cross country. The bolster connects the handle directly to the blade

Even more different:

This knife is extremely light weight, very hard steel, and a true detail knife. Neither of these knives are available any more.

How many knives do you currently have Ray? And, where are you going with all this? :slight_smile:

Hi damiano,

About 15.

I’ve already listed them in my “batterie” thread and posted pictures of all of them in other threads. In this one, I’m interested in describing just the paring-utility knives I have.

I might contrast them with the artisan petty and paring knives–which are quite different.

Longer term, I may turn my batterie into a test bed in other threads.

Hi damiano,

Though I’ve been lurking for years, I recently joined Kitchen Knife Forums as a test–so I could comment–and was surprised to see so many relative newbies posting as experts in favor of very expensive artisan knives based on “grinder” reports.

There are mature collectors looking to these knives as works of art–and they seem to do quite well with their purchases–but that’s not how a simple home cook develops a practical batterie. I admire the designers of “one of a kind” knife art and appreciate the struggles they go through.

But the entire site seems heel bent on selling throwback knives with a Japanese heritage that don’t fit the practical needs of home cooks in the United States–or Japan.

Meanwhile, advanced technology is producing practical knives that fit in the home at affordable prices. I saw that in Japan thirty years ago with my Kai nakiri–and they keep improving at an affordable price point.

Meanwhile the importers try to sell supposed “master” hand craftsmanship using wheels and bands. I’d be more impressed if I knew that they had studied cad/cam.

1 Like

Best $5.49 you can spend.


Agreed. I saw the light in 2020. Got this one!

I use the heck out of mine. Little more reasonable than some of the other offerings. I could afford better, if better was made.

1 Like

Same here. I’m at a place where I can basically buy any cooking bauble I want - but why do I have to when “best “in my usage judgment isn’t “most expensive?”


Frugal means to spend wisely. I just buy what works for me.