Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Brian Dougherty

Design for a boning knife

Recommended Posts

I could use a bit of advice from people who cook for a living. 

One of my more recent interests has been charcuterie, and I find myself disassembling a pork shoulder on a pretty regular basis.  Getting around the funky little bone in them is a bit of a challenge.  Currently the best knives I have in the kitchen (from a cutting perspective) are a 4" paring knife, and a 10" gyuto.  Neither of these are great at cleaning up around the bone, or removing silver skin.

I'd like to make a boning knife, but having never used one, I don't really know what is best for that sort of application.  I have loads of 0.075" thick 15N20 at my disposal, so I was thinking about using it to make something similar to this 6" Victorinox in profile.  I would expect to put a pretty good deal of distal taper into this and temper it a bit high to make it pretty flexible.

So, my questions is: "Is this the right approach for a knife to break down a pork shoulder?"  There seems to be two camps out there.  Some boning knives are stiff, and others are flexible.  It also seems like people divide tasks up into making delicate cuts on things like fish, or rough work on beef and pork.  The latter makes me think I need to make a stiffer knife, but my experience with the paring knife doesn't agree with that.

This is probably one of those ask 5 people and get 6 answers sort of thing.  Maybe I just need to make both knives :)  Anyway, thanks in advance for your opinions!40015.jpgPicture liberated from Victorinox website

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you have the right touch a fish fillet knife seems to work well. As long as you can visualize the bone and what you can't see. 

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Brian, I think you might have almost answered your own question.

4 hours ago, Brian Dougherty said:

The latter makes me think I need to make a stiffer knife, but my experience with the paring knife doesn't agree with that.

So what is it about the paring knife that you like? My guess is the short, thin blade to get into the tight spots, but you know better than I what you like. What is it about the paring knife that you would change or what makes it not do something well?

Kitchen knives are heavily dependent upon personal taste and how the person uses them, holds them, cuts forward and/or backward etc.

I have more than a couple of sharp objects in the knife drawer and I use different ones for different functions. Believe it or not, the knife I use to cut pork loin into chops gets used because it is the right width to create the perfect thickness of chop. Lay it on its side, stand it up and cut. Perfect chop thickness every time. 

If it were up to me, I would leave a bunch of meat on the bone for making soup stock and use what ever knife got the job done with those limits. I sort of rambled off there a bit...….

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Joshua States said:

So what is it about the paring knife that you like? My guess is the short, thin blade to get into the tight spots, but you know better than I what you like. What is it about the paring knife that you would change or what makes it not do something well?

I've been thinking about exactly that over the evening.  The narrow blade of the paring knife relative to the Gyuto is an advantage, but that shouldn't be news to anybody.

The things I don't like about the paring knife are:

1. It's too short.  This is an easy one to fix :)

2. It tends to catch on the bone when I am carving around the inside curves.  (The pork shoulder blade has a concave surface)  At first I associated this with it being too stiff.  However, the more I think about it, maybe the blade is still a bit too wide.

The paring knife is one of these:  It's probably about 3/4" at the heel.

K7Y0z6Z6sAVE3y-7s8BEclj2Shzr_NC5__TZnxST

I think a long floppy knife would be problematic, but I also think it needs to be more flexible than the paring knife, (Which is very stiff)

I don't fish anymore, but I have an old fillet knife stashed away somewhere.  If I can get an edge on it, I may try it per Vern's suggestion to get another data point.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The boning knife is generally very similar to the Victorinox you have posted in the initial thread. I make them with a 4 inch blade  from 1/8 steel and maintain the same FF grind angle from the width of the blade at the plunge so this induces a distal taper but the blade is not flexible so that it can be used hard against the bone without flexing away from it.  This is the different between the boning knife and the filleting knife which needs a flex so it will not catch and cut the lighter fish bone compared to the harder pork, beef etc bones.

i282882364623659517._szw480h1280_.jpg

Edited by Garry Keown
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Billy harex said:

4'' blade thats tiny im not used to anything under 6'' or rather don't like to use anything less be interesting to try one 

Boning out animals the butchers mostly use the last inch to inch and a half of the blade so anything longer makes for a less accurate use as the tip is further from the hand

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?PC=SL10&q=boning+out+a+leg+of+lamb&ru=%2fsearch%3fFORM%3dSLBRDF%26PC%3dSL10%26q%3dboning%2bout%2ba%2bleg%2bof%2blamb&view=detail&mmscn=vwrc&mid=97BE9CE673ABAC0C8A1097BE9CE673ABAC0C8A10&FORM=WRVORC

Edited by Garry Keown

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ive been boning beasts for years garry i trained a lot of blokes to bone also. 

I don't rate butcher's or their knives to be honest but they wouldn't rate my small cuts either. Boning is all about hitting the right seems and pulling to vet a super clean bone rather than cutting down the bone. I know plenty of blokes that use a smaller knife its all about personal feel my reference to trying one was to one of yours 

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The 

On 11/10/2018 at 2:49 PM, Wesley Alberson said:

My friend makes a nice boning knife, cut from thin stock, heat treated, and ground.

iopIS3b.jpg

The back of this knife garry is the perfect style for boning its curves hurts your wrist with a striaght back 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the additional input guys.

I've been promoted at work, which is generally a good thing, but the transition has kept me from my hobbies the last few weeks.  Once I get back into the swing of things, I'll need to get my boning knife made.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So it seems ive greatly upset you garry it was not my intention i wish to apologize on this forum also you say im a self proclaimed expert m not an expert at all n any fashion and defiantly dont think that in any way shap or form i thought i was just pointing out the obvious as some times that gets over looked. Hope you can take this for what it is and not take it personally as for the whole never replying to me again im here for knowledge for people wishing to pass on their skills. Again my apologies for upsetting you ill tred lightly in the future 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, Billy harex said:

So it seems ive greatly upset you garry it was not my intention i wish to apologize on this forum also you say im a self proclaimed expert m not an expert at all n any fashion and defiantly dont think that in any way shap or form i thought i was just pointing out the obvious as some times that gets over looked. Hope you can take this for what it is and not take it personally as for the whole never replying to me again im here for knowledge for people wishing to pass on their skills. Again my apologies for upsetting you ill tred lightly in the future 

I musta missed something... Garry just gave his opinion. I dont see that he got upset at all. I could be wrong, but I see no red flags. Everyone will have their own opinions. Don't sweat the little stuff man! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On another furum told me he will no longer speak to me i said something that offended him an it probably was in regards to me being new and unknown definitely not my intention he quoted this thred i didn't even know i was speaking to the same person im Just trying to apologize and move on because i would hate to lose his seemingly amazing knowledge of knife building i thought if i apologized on here also where i may have upset him would help 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
26 minutes ago, Zeb Camper said:

I musta missed something... Garry just gave his opinion. I dont see that he got upset at all. I could be wrong, but I see no red flags. Everyone will have their own opinions. Don't sweat the little stuff man! 

You do seem to have a very opinionated idea on boning knives both here and on the other forum. You might use a boning knife (and teach others to use them) but just as there are differing sizes of animals that require differing sizes (and styles ) of knives it does not mean that one style is wrong and only your idea of a style is correct. A self proclaimed "expert" is not a good look.
Your posts have become tiresome in a very short order and I will not be responding to them again.this is my telling of here i said to get this reaction no one seems to understand what a seasoned boning knife looks like. So i can see where his coming from i just didn't know it was tge same bloke his name is von gruff on the other one

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, not everyone agrees and not everyone will like you. It's just the way life is. It's best to handle these types of things in a PM though. Chances are you're apology will be taken more sincerely in private, as it seems a bit standoffish as of now. 

Maybe the mods can come clean this up? 

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gentlemen: I think that's enough on the matter. Let it go.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry im not even sure how to msg or that we can im super new to all the groups and 100% understand ive been a bit brash Thanks for your advice i am taking it all on board im new to this whole talking on a computer thing as well so my communication skills need a kick in the pants 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No worries, this particular forum is all about respect.  Fair dinkum, if I may try Aussie idiom.  Garry has proven himself a good maker.  I'm sure you're a good butcher, but so's my dad.  He likes a 6 inch boning knife himself, but he leaves a lot of meat on the bone because he's after speed over efficiency.  But that's neither here nor there.  On this forum we are ladies and gentlemen, and respect for one another, and above all the Art, is what it is about.  Have it out elsewhere if you must.  Just not here.  Understood?

I am off for the night, shake hands and make nice.  Brian, sorry about the hijack!

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Billy harex said:

Understood indeed sir my apologies are fair dinkim. im about to grind out a blade from a unknown steel wish me luck 

Good luck! Post pics!

Sorry for the hijack Brian. Looking forward to see what you make! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×