Gyuto Knife

Gyuto stands for ‘beef sword’ in Japanese. It is one of the most widely used Japanese knives and was initially used primarily to cut meat. It’s isn’t really all Japanese though. The Gyuto is the Japanese answer to the European chef knife and is actually a blend of the Japanese Nakiri and the European chef’s knife. It is one of the most indispensable knives in a kitchen.

The Gyuto is one of those knives that can do just about everything. It can be used on all sorts of food; proteins, vegetables, fruit. It can chop, slice, julienne, dice, and even disjoint meat cuts.

How Does A Gyuto Knife Look Like?

· It is longer than most knives, typically between 8 to 12 inches. It is not known as a beef sword for nothing! The length of the Gyuto enables you to use it on larger items.

· Unlike most traditional Japanese knives, it is double beveled. This means that it is sharp on both sides of the blade.

· The tip is low and pointed and close to the center of gravity. This makes it great for detailed work.

· Most of the blade comes into contact with the cutting board, so you don’t have to raise it up high when cutting.

· It is very light, which makes it ideal for delicate work like mincing vegetables and proteins. It does not handle dense materials like thick meats and bone well. Use a meat cleaver for that.

The Gyuto Vs the Santoku

The Gyuto and the Santoku knives are two of the most popular Japanese knives. They are very similar and can actually confuse you if you’re not very familiar with their characteristics. Both are all-purpose knives, but they have some differences.

· The Gyuto has a more pointed tip, which enables you to first stab whatever you’re cutting before cutting it. The Santoku has a flatter, less pointed tip.

· The Gyuto is generally longer than the Santoku, which gives you more power when slicing, although Gyuto knives also come in smaller sizes.

· Gyuto knives have a slightly curved blade, which enables you to cut your ingredients using the rocking motion. Santoku knives, on the other hand, have a straighter edge, which favors a more up and down chopping motion rather than rock chopping.

Features of the Gyuto

The Blade Profile

This is simply how a Gyuto looks from the side. Because Gyuto knives are western-inspired, the profile can either be German or French. A German-style Gyuto knife has a large and round belly suitable for rocking cuts, while a French profile has more room on its flat spot and a steadier belly which is suitable for push cutting.

The Blade Material

Good quality Gyuto knives are made with high-quality steel alloys. Some of them include:

VG10 steel

This is a high-carbon steel alloy found in a lot of Japanese-made knives like the Tojiro Zen Black Chef Knife 27cm. It is strong and has long-lasting edge retention. VG10 steel often has an edge-retention of between 60 and 62. Hard enough to withstand a lot of vigorous tasks.

SG2 Steel

This is also a high carbon steel alloy which includes vanadium to make it more wear-resistant. Its Rockwell hardness can go up to 64-harder than VG10 steel. This gives it longer edge retention but also makes it harder to sharpen.

AUS10 A Steel

This is a Japanese high carbon, super-refined stainless steel which also contains vanadium. It is sharpened to razor sharpness and holds it for a long time.

The Cladding

Cladding is the application of one material over another to protect the inner material. Most Japanese knives have cladding material over their steel cores, with only a small area around the edge being left uncovered. Cladding also gives a unique appearance and controls the reactiveness of the carbon. The most common type of cladding for Gyuto knives are:

Damascus Cladding

This is one of the most popular types of cladding. Lots of Japanese style knives like the Shun Kai Kanso Chef Knife 20cm have eye-catching patterns resulting from Damascus cladding. It’s done by folding different alloys of steel layers together to form stunning patterns on the blade.

Kurouchi Cladding

This type of cladding gives the knife blade a rustic look. It can be sprayed, lacquered, or forged. Knives with this cladding have a Kasumi finish in the middle layer, where a hard steel core is supported with softer steel cladding.

The Handle

Gyuto knives have two main types of handles:

  • Wa Handles

The Wa handle is the traditional Japanese handle. It is lighter than the blade. This makes the knife easier to handle and gives you a better balance. Wa handles come with a full tang or  tang. We’ll look at the tang later. The two sides of the handle are firmly attached to the blade using glue.

  • The Yo Handle

It sounds cool, doesn’t it? The Yo handle is the typical handle found in western chef knives. They are heavier than Wa handles and they are attached to the steel using rivets. They are balanced toward the center and are popular with chefs who like heavier knives. They tend to be made out of a composite of wood and artificial resin-like Pakkawood and Micarta, though many are still made from common hardwoods like Birchwood and mahogany.

The Tang

The tang is how the blunt part of the knife blade is fixed to the handle. The most common types of the tang are full and partial tang. A full tang knife has the blade going right through to the end of the handle. A full tang knife is more durable than a partial tang knife, as it is stronger and can take more pressure. It also has a better balance. A partial tang has the blunt part of the blade only going through part of the blade.

Final Words

The only sword you’ll ever get to wield in your life is the â€beef sword’, the Gyuto. Go out and get one, and be the super chef in your kitchen!

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