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Japanse kitchen knives are all made to have a particular set of skills that make them great for certain functions in the kitchen. However, some of these characteristics make them great for specific tasks but then make them not so useful for functions that are outside of their normal task set. So between the Funayuki and the Petty, which knife would be better?
The Funayuki knife is an all-purpose knife for processing fish, meat, poultry and for slicing and chopping vegetables and fruit. The Petty is better for peeling fruit and vegetables, chopping herbs, and processing these ingredients delicately for decorative purposes. Overall the Funayuki is a better choice.
The Funayuki and the Petty are both considered to be small to medium-sized knives in the Japanese kitchen knife range.
Given that the two knives in question can be similar in size, could you choose one over the other and use it to cover the intended purpose of the other knife? Another question that can be asked is that if you can only get either the Petty or the Funayuki, which would be the best knife to choose?
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Between The Funayuki And The Petty Which Is Better?
To come to a conclusion about which knife is better in the kitchen and which knife is best for your purposes between the Petty and the Funayuki, we need to examine the characteristics of each of these knives.
We will compare their intended purpose and the design and construction of the two knives to see which one is better in the kitchen. Then you will also have the data to decide which one best suits your kitchen requirements.
Intended Purpose Of The Funayuki And The Petty
If you have had much to do with Japanese kitchen knives, you will know that each style of knife is designed and constructed with a particular purpose in mind.
The main features of the knife are designed to make the knife perfect for its intended purpose, but such a focused design could make the knife impractical for other kitchen tasks.
- The purpose of the Funayuki.
The Funayuki was designed as a hardworking, robust knife that was used by fishermen onboard their fishing boats. The design was intended to be multi-purpose for cleaning and processing fish as well as used for preparing meals for the fishermen on the boat.
This means that the knife is useful for dressing fish, slicing up smaller cuts of meat, and for limited chopping and slicing of vegetables.
- The purpose of the Petty knife.
The Petty is the Japanese version of the Western utility knife. The Petty is designed for small, delicate cutting and slicing on a cutting board. It is also used for peeling fruit and vegetables, shaping them decoratively, chopping herbs, and making garnishes.
The Spine Of The Knife
The spine of the knife is the top of the blade, and the thickness and shape of the spine vary depending on the intended purpose of the knife.
- Funayuki spine.
The spine of this knife is more robust than that of the petty, which adds weight to the blade, making it suitable for the purpose of processing fish and meat cuts as well as some light chopping tasks.
- The Petty spine.
The spine of the Petty is thinner than that of the Funayuki, which makes the blade light and more nimble for the delicate work that the knife is intended to be used for.
The Belly Of The Blade
The belly of the blade is the shape of the cutting edge of the knife and whether it is straight and flat or has a curvature to it.
- Funayuki belly.
The Funayki knife has a slight belly, which curves up towards the tip of the knife in the last third of the length of the edge. This shape lends itself to the rocking chopping motion used to chop with the heel of the knife.
- The Petty belly.
The Petty, in most cases, has a flat straight edge with little to no belly curve to the blade. This is because the knife is not intended to be used with a rocking motion for chopping with the heel of the knife.
The flat edge makes it ideal for slicing, peeling, and delicate work, mostly with the front section of the cutting edge of the knife.
The Bevel Of The Blade
The bevel on a knife is either single or double. A single bevel only has one side of the blade ground into the steel, tapering the blade towards the edge.
A double bevel is ground equally on both sides, tapering both sides of the blade towards the sharp edge. Single bevels are more difficult to maintain than double bevels.
- Funayuki bevels.
A Funayuki can be either a single bevel or double bevel, but it is more common with a double bevel.
- Petty bevels.
The petty is almost always a double bevel knife.
The Body Of The Blade
This is the overall shape and dimensions of the blade that makes it suitable for certain purposes.
- Funayuki blade body.
The funayuki blade is tall and has a much beefier appearance than the Petty. This is to provide more weight behind the blade to give it the mass to easily cut through more robust ingredients such as meat, fish, and harder vegetables.
- The Petty blade body.
The Petty has a slender blade that reduces the amount of weight in the blade and makes it nimble, which promotes the ease of use for delicate, fine work with the blade.
The Handle Of The Knife
The shape and weight of the handle of a knife are integral to the purpose and manner in which the knife is intended to be used.
In the majority of traditional Japanese kitchen knives, a hidden tang style of handle is used to produce a lighter weight handle and put the central balance point of the knife further forward on the blade of the knife, rather than in the center of the knife.
This gives the knife user more control over the blade and promotes a grip closer to the blade of the knife. A traditionally hidden tang and the traditional Japanese-shaped handle is termed a Wa handle. These handles are also easily replaced should they crack or become damaged.
- Funayuki handle.
The Funayuki has a traditional hidden tang Wa handle on the knife.
- Petty handle.
The Petty can have a Wa handle or a Western-style handle.
TIP: Do you know how to replace a Japanese knife handle? Check out the step-by-step guide on how to do it in the article below:
7 Simple Steps: How To Replace A Japanese Knife Handle
The Weight Of The Knife
The weight of a knife will determine how deftly the user can wield the knife, and usually, knives intended for fine, delicate work will be more lightweight than knives intended for more heavy-duty work.
- Weight of the Funayuki.
The Funayuki is a lightweight knife compared to other Japanese kitchen knives, but it has sufficient weight to be useful for light to medium-duty work in the kitchen. The Funayuki is certainly a heavier knife than the Petty.
- Weight of the Petty.
The Petty is a very lightweight knife due to the need for the blade to be quick and nimble on the lightweight tasks that it is intended for in the kitchen.
The table below compares the Funayuki and Petty knives, highlighting their distinct features and functions. It can help you quickly understand the differences and similarities between the two knives.
|Feature/Function||Funayuki Knife||Petty Knife|
|Origin||Traditional Japanese knife||Derived from French paring knives|
|Primary Use||Fish butchering, especially for smaller fish||Paring, peeling, and detailed kitchen tasks|
|Blade Length||Typically 15-21 cm||Typically 12-20 cm|
|Blade Shape||Slightly curved, single or double bevel||Straight, slim, and pointed|
|Handle Design||Traditional Japanese handle (Wa handle)||Can have both Japanese and Western handles|
|Blade Material||High-carbon steel or stainless steel||High-carbon steel, stainless steel, or a mix|
|Maintenance||Requires regular sharpening; rust-prone if not stainless steel||Easier to maintain; some are rust-resistant|
|Versatility||Specialized for fish but can be used for vegetables||Highly versatile for small, intricate tasks|
|Price Range||Can be expensive due to craftsmanship||Generally more affordable|
|Popularity||More popular in Japan; niche elsewhere||Widely popular globally|
TIP: The weight of the knife can be important in some cases. Find out the exact values of weight for different knives in the article below:
Knife Weight: Exact Values For All Types in Grams & Pounds
BTW: If you want to know more about Japanese and other knives and their sharpening, check out the books listed above. These books are recommended by professional sharpeners and knife makers (Amazon links):
- Japanese Kitchen Knives: Essential Techniques and Recipes
- The Knifenerd Guide to Japanese Knives
- Knife: The Culture, Craft, and Cult of the Cook’s Knife
- Sharp: The Definitive Introduction to Knives, Sharpening, and Cutting Techniques, with Recipes from Great Chefs
Choosing Between The Funayuki And Petty
When selecting the right knife for your kitchen, choosing a Funayuki and a Petty can be a bit challenging, especially if you’re unfamiliar with their specific strengths and applications. Here’s a guide to help you make an informed decision:
1. Consider Your Primary Use:
- Funayuki: If you often handle fish, especially smaller varieties, and are looking for a knife that excels in fish butchering, the Funayuki is your best bet. Its design caters specifically to this task, making it a favorite among many Japanese chefs.
- Petty: For those who need a versatile knife for a range of tasks like peeling, trimming, and other detailed work, the Petty is more suitable. Its slim and pointed design makes it perfect for intricate kitchen tasks.
2. Think About Maintenance:
- Funayuki: Being a traditional Japanese knife, it might require more frequent sharpening, especially if made from high-carbon steel. It’s essential to be prepared for regular maintenance.
- Petty: Generally easier to maintain, especially if you opt for a stainless steel version. It’s a good choice for those who prefer low-maintenance tools.
3. Evaluate Your Budget:
- Funayuki: Often handcrafted and made with meticulous attention to detail, Funayuki knives can be on the pricier side.
- Petty: While there are high-end Petty knives available, you can also find quality options that are more budget-friendly.
4. Assess Your Skill Level:
- Funayuki: Given its specialized nature, it might have a steeper learning curve for those unfamiliar with Japanese knives.
- Petty: More intuitive to use, making it suitable for both beginners and seasoned chefs.
5. Reflect on Versatility Needs:
- Funayuki: While primarily designed for fish, it can handle other tasks but might not be as versatile as other general-purpose knives.
- Petty: Its design allows for a wide range of tasks, making it a more versatile option for diverse kitchen needs.
Choosing between the Funayuki and Petty boils down to your specific needs, preferences, and budget. While both knives have their unique strengths, it’s essential to select the one that aligns best with your culinary habits and requirements. Whether you’re a professional chef or a home cook, having the right knife can elevate your cooking experience and results.
If you are looking for a Japanese kitchen knife, our recommendation is to go with the Fuanyuki. The Funayuki is often described as a mini Gyuto or chef’s knife, which is a testament to the versatility of the Funayuki in the kitchen.
While a Petty is nice to have, the tasks that this knife performs in the kitchen can be done by a Western-style paring or utility knife, which would be a cheaper purchase.
For these reasons, the Funayuki would be the better choice of the two knives, and you would get the most out of it in the kitchen because it can handle a wider range of kitchen tasks.
TIP: Do you know how to fix a chipped Japanese knife? Find out the complete guide on how to do it in the article below:
DIY: Fixing A Chipped Japanese Knife In 4 Simple Steps