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7 BUSTED Myths About Kitchen Knives - Kakushin

7 BUSTED Myths About Kitchen Knives

Kitchen knives are as essential as the ingredients themselves. From slicing and dicing to chopping and mincing, if you've ever tried a good blade, you know that it can make or break your cooking experience. However, despite their frequent use in every household, there are countless myths and misconceptions about these indispensable tools.

Whether the information is passed down from older generations or picked up from trendings online videos, not everything you hear or see about kitchen knives is true.

In this blog post, we'll talk through the confusion and set the record straight on 7 of the most common myths we hear at Kakushin's knife shop. 

      Japanese Knives Are The Best

      Busted: But wait, the answer is a little two fold.

      Japanese knives have this incredible reputation, right? And it's for good reason:

      Craftsmanship: These artisans have been perfecting their blades and steels for centuries, often passed down from generation to generation. The attention to detail and the precision they put into every knife is just mind-blowing.

      Unique Techniques: They've got these specialized methods for forging and sharpening that are like works of art. That's why Japanese knives are known not just for sharpness but for how well they maintain that edge.

      Sure, Japanese knives have set a high bar, but here's the thing—talented craftsmen outside of Japan are also making some seriously impressive knives. They're bringing new materials and techniques that give Japanese knives a run for their money.

        Your needs may differ from those of your neighbors, so there is no universal "best" option. Similar to buying a car: a minivan might be the best choice for a family of six, while a two-seat convertible might be ideal for a young couple or retirees looking to have fun.

        Japanese knives are undoubtedly top-tier and have earned their place in kitchens worldwide. They are renowned for being thin, light, and razor-sharp. However, these high-end blades often require more care and can be more brittle compared to their Western counterparts, which might not be suitable for some environments or households. Additionally, it's important to remember that not all knives labeled "Made in Japan" are of high quality; some may not even be worth more than a few dollars so don't be swayed solely by the fabrication tag behind a simple box.

        With all that being said, remember that since there is no universal BEST for everyone, the world of knives is diverse, offering fantastic options beyond Japan. The key is finding what works best for you and your cooking adventures.

        Knives That Rust Are Cheap

        Busted: The Truth About Rust on Knives

        Rusty knives are often mistakenly seen as indicators of low quality or cheap craftsmanship. However, rust on knives is more a sign of inadequate maintenance rather than the initial cost.

        All knives, regardless of their price tag, require proper care to prevent rust and ensure they perform well over time. Therefore, the presence of rust doesn’t necessarily reflect the knife’s original price or quality.

        Moreover, rust tends to occur more frequently on knives lacking chromium (stainless steel). While some may perceive this as a sign of inferiority, knives without chromium can achieve a sharper and more aggressive edge, and hold it longer. For instance, Japanese steels like Aogami or Shirogami are renowned for their ability to attain exceptionally sharp edges but require careful maintenance due to their susceptibility to rust. However, there are excellent stainless steel options available for those seeking easier maintenance without compromising on performance.

        Sharp Knives Are Dangerous

        Busted: Dull Knives Are More Hazardous

        Contrary to popular belief, dull and unmaintained knives are actually more dangerous than sharp ones. Here’s why:

        Increased Force: Dull knives require more force to cut, giving a feeling of crushing, which leads to a higher chance of slipping and causing injuries.

        Unpredictable Cuts: They don't slice cleanly and can veer off course. For example, making julienne cuts or rocking through the skin of peppers can become unpredictable and unsafe.

        Ultimately, a cheap but sharp and well-maintained knife will be safer than a high-end knife with a rounded, dull edge.

        Handmade Knives Are Stellar

        Busted: Handmade Knives Can Have Their Flaws

        Handmade knives are often romanticized for their craftsmanship, personal touch, and unique stories behind each piece. While they can offer these distinct qualities that factory-made knives cannot match, claiming they are always superior overlooks important factors.

        While handmade knives can excel in individuality and artisanal craftsmanship, the quality and performance can vary widely depending on the skill of the maker. On the other hand, factory-made knives often offer more consistency in quality, blade geometry, and hardness, typically providing a more refined and polished finish that appeals to many buyers at a potentially lower cost.

        Ultimately, whether handmade or factory-made knives are "best" depends on individual preferences. Over the years, we've encountered both amazing and terrible examples of each type. Both handmade and factory-made knives have their own merits, so the choice should align with what suits your style and needs best.

        Some Knives Stay Sharp Forever

        Busted: No Knives Will Stay Sharp Forever

        Despite many commercials and false advertisements found on the internet, the idea that knives can stay sharp indefinitely is a myth. While high-quality knives and advanced materials can prolong sharpness, no knife remains sharp forever, not even the ones made of ceramic.

        Factors such as usage frequency, cutting surfaces, and the type of steel all contribute to a blade's edge dulling over time. Therefore, regular maintenance, including stropping and occasional sharpening, is crucial for maintaining optimal cutting performance and extending the lifespan of any knife.

        Investing in a quality knife, along with a honing rod or leather strop and a good cutting board should be the base to ensure you'll have a reliable kitchen tool for years to come.

        Honing Rods Will Sharpen Your Knives

        Busted: Honing rods are not designed to remove metal

        There's a common misconception that honing rods sharpen knives, but the reality is different. Honing rods, often made of steel (for western knives) or ceramic (for japanese knives), are used to realign and straighten the edge of a knife blade between sharpenings. They don't remove metal or restore a dull edge to sharpness like sharpening stones or other sharpeners do.

        Ceramic Honing Rod 10-Inch - KakushinInstead, honing rods help maintain the knife's existing sharpness by correcting microscopic bends and folds in the blade's edge caused by regular use. To keep your knives consistently sharp, it's important to use a honing rod regularly in conjunction with occasional sharpening.

        As for diamond rods, while they will remove metal, this style of abrasive can be detrimental to certain knives, especially Japanese knives and other artisan-made knives that are thin and made from hard steels.

        Paying More Guarantees A Sharper Knife

        Busted: Price does not guarrantee sharpess

        While more expensive knives often feature superior materials and craftsmanship, price alone does not guarantee sharpness. Critical factors such as the type of steel, its hardness, and the user's maintenance skills significantly influence a knife's sharpness and durability over time.

        Additionally, similar to purchasing art, high prices may reflect a knife's branding, tradition, or uniqueness rather than its actual performance. A $1000 knife may share similar steel properties and performance with a lower-priced alternative, but the higher cost often includes prestige that collectors value, whereas everyday home cooks prioritize value for money.

        Therefore, it's crucial to buy from a reputable source where you can have direct communication, either in person or over the phone. This ensures authenticity and allows you to determine what best suits your needs before investing your hard-earned money online.

        By considering these factors and making informed decisions based on quality, user reviews, and the manufacturer's reputation, you can make a wise and lasting investment in a knife that meets your specific requirements.

        Did you learn anything new? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. Until next time!

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