|Product Dimensions||42.24 x 10.56 x 2.2 cm; 396 Grams|
|Item Weight||396 g|
Mercer Cutlery Chinese Chef's Knife 8" Wood
|Price:||+ $11.34 Delivery|
- Rounded hardwood handle for comfortable grip
- The highest quality Japanese steel for easy edge maintenance and rapid sharpening for a razor-sharp edge
- Ground edges for long lasting sharpness
- One-piece high carbon, stain-free Japanese steel
- Limited Lifetime Warranty
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These kitchen staples are primarily used for cutting through thin or soft bones, or through hard vegetables such as squash, where twisting may chip or shatter a slicing blade. Blades made from stain-free German steel for greater durability. A variety of sizes are offered to meet the needs of almost any kitchen.
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Firstly, I took a good look around before buying this knife to fit my purpose, and in the process, i noted many reviews that were, well, not so much unfair but more "misplaced". A knife is a tool, and every tool is designed and built to serve a specific purpose…. Sorry, this is one of my pet peeves, as an erstwhile knife smith and engineer.
This applies perhaps more to knives than for most forms of tool. The knife is in some ways the most primal of tools in that it has been with us since the first cave man broke a piece of flint and realised how sharp it was (probably cutting himself to the bone in the process - [the first lesson - treat knives with RESPECT!].
A good knife is almost a living thing and in fact for some of the deeper cultures [including me], it is considered to be exactly that - a living thing in it's own right. Certainly, that is the belief of many of the finest knife smiths.
IF you are going to buy a knife, first make certain that you know what you want it to do, and have teh consideration to understand the various forms, shapes, behaviours and functions of knives so that you wont be disappointed.
A Chinese / Japanese vegetable knife, for example is a fast, subtle, efficient tool that is totally fit for purpose, and while it might look like a cleaver, IT IS ABSOLUTELY NOT A CLEAVER and if you are crude enough to use it as cleaver, then you don’t deserve it!
When you abuse such a tool, don’t be surprised if small bits of metal break off at high velocity and you get one in your eye, or do yourself some nasty damage! a vegetable knife is not a *****y axe. First learn, then choose and buy the most expensive, highest quality tool that is fit for your purpose. learn to look after and care for it, and it will serve you with honour for the rest of your life.
Talk to the manufacturers. They will be delighted and honoured to help you.
NOW; this Mercer Chinese chef's knife is a very nice piece. IT IS NOT A CLEAVER, AND IT IS NOT AN AXE!. IT has a very nice weight and balance that facilitates the most efficient movements for work with vegetables and meat. IF you master the techniques of cheese cookery, you will be surprised how quickly, safely and easily you can prepare food.
Fine for veg; fine fore meat, but not of bones, if you really want to look after your investment.
That said, it would chop light chicken bones, although i would not consider it, because i care for my knives. The blade was well sharpened for a factory edge, and i spent around 5 to ten minutes bringing it toe a satisfactory edge. Now it will happily slice paper form a magazine page to a cigarette paper with no effort or hesitation.
A knife should be sharpened in the manner appropriate for the work you want it to do. A meat or bone cleaver requires a very different edge to that of a vegetable knife.
The belly of this knife has a gently curve and efficient "belly" that is just nice for me, when cutting and preparing veg; filleting and preparing meat. good balance,; good steel with a nice temper.
Not so hard it takes all day to hone, but hard enough to hold the edge i want for a good time.
The handle has a nice brass bolster, smooth and comfy, although i do wonder if it is solid or sheet brass. which doesn’t really matter much except for a little greater strength and personal satisfaction and just possibly a tiny vulnerability for food and other deleterious mater to collect where the tang, bolster and heel meet. A very minor point but i am fussy,
THE brass is nicely finished, and the heel reasonably comfortable for control and accuracy, although – if anyone is listening, the corner edges of the heel would benefit from a light rounding. Over time, they get a little abrasive. It doesn’t need much, just enough to remove the angularity of the edges that could conceivably chafe hands that have soft skin.
The steel gives a very satisfactory ring when i take it off the rack. Nice tone. Good balance.
It has a round wood handle that looks like it might be rosewood, and is varnished.
This is the most significant design flaw in the knife. the round handle with varnish on a blade of this design can make problems if your hands get wet, and make it unwieldy. IT would benefit form a more ergonomic shape of handle with a more tangible grip for fine control, especially at speed.
I think i will probably sand the varnish off and perhaps apply a LIGHT wipe of linseed oil - if the wood will absorb it rather than remain on the surface. Or i might fit a better shaped handle - perhaps linen Micarta, well shaped to the hand and nice to look at, or possibly a shaped wood laminate.. either way definitely a round handle detracts from it's utility as from time to time it is inevitable that the handle or hands will get wet and it s not inconceivable that oil can also get on to one\s hands.
Over all, I am very pleased with it in all other respects. Money well spent and good value for the money.
I would recommend this knife to someone who doesn't mind paying £30 for a decent knife that they will use every so often. I cook a lot and like to buy once and buy well, so I have a few knives ranging between £75 and £125 to serve different purposes in the kitchen. Hence, this at £30 seems relatively cheap and thus a worthwhile buy for occasional use when making stirfrys or processing a lot of aromatics like garlic and ginger.
However, if you do not already own a good, comfortable knife for daily use, then this is not the knife to buy. Firstly, the blade feels pretty heavy. I'm used to very light knives, but I still prefer a forward weighting down the blade. The balance point for this blade is about 1.5 inches down from the tip of the handle, meaning it is very front heavy. I'm assuming this comes with the territory of Chinese chefs knives, but nonetheless this knife will not perform delicate work particularly well unless you are very familiar and comfortable with larger, heavier knives.
This leads into the second problem: the handle size. The knife handle is quite attractive and certainly feels better than the cheap (though easy-cleaning) plastic handles on a lot of knives within this price range. But it is tiny. Anyone with sizeable hands will struggle with this handle for extended periods of time unless they usually hold their knives with a very aggressive pinch grip. On top of this, the 'butt' of the knife (the 'back' of the knife that runs down to the blade nearest the handle) isn't smoothed at all. I wouldn't expect this of a knife at this price, but the small handle only serves to make the edge even more uncomfortable as my fingers were really pushed into an unfinished edge of steel. The front-heavy weighting only intensifies this discomfort as downward wrist movements push the hand into this butt. The very short handle is, by far, the biggest shortcoming of this knife. A longer handle would be more comfortable and would help redistribute the weight towards the hand a little bit - having a full tang on a knife this large seems sensible in hindsight. Doubtless, some of this discomfort comes from my unfamiliarity with knives of this style, which do seem to have shorter handles across a lot of prices, but this handle feels particularly short.
On the upside, the knife can take a sharp edge (all knives are sharp out of the box and this shouldn't be a considation in my eyes). It is fairly easy to sharpen and has a good blade profile; the slight curve allows for rocking without detracting from the ability to effectively push chop cleanly through veg).
The major upside I've experienced so far with this knife is just the sheer weight and size of the flat edge. It is brilliant for scooping up ingridients in a pinch and so serves as a bench scraper might in a better equipped (or smaller) kitchen. The huge surface area also allows for quick and effective smashing and processing of aromatics. I recently had to get through half a kilo of garlic and ginger into a paste for a fermentation project and this knife came in very handy then.
TL;DR: Do not buy this knife as a regular part of your arsenal. There are far more versatile and comfortable knives of similar blade construction at around the same price - Mercer make a Western-style chefs knife which is certianly superior to this. This should be bought as an introductory knife, a bit of fun or for fringe uses for people who regularly need to process a lot of aromatics or foods that required a good, heavy hit. I'd recommend that anyone looking to process a lot of vegetables (as this is often sold as a vegetable cleaver) should look to Nakiris in the £40-50 price range. These knives have a similar profile but will by nature be much better balanced, have a better handle, be more agile and also cheaper for the quality, as much of the cost in the knife is in the blade material (the £30 of this knife is almost entirely in the heavy rectangle of steel).
For my purposes, this knife was a good buy. If £30 is around the price you'd like to spend on a good, daily knife, look elsewhere.
I've used it for veg prep, breaking down chicken carcasses and larger joints of meat and for simple things like cutting my sandwiches.
My only nitpick is that the handle is just a tad short for my liking but I do have large hands and find with an adjusted grip its still comfortable and easy to control. Will definitely be a part of my everyday set of knives for years to come.