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Global GS-1 4.5" Kitchen Utility
Japanese Kitchen Knife Review

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GS-1 4.5" Kitchen Utility Knife

The smallest knife I have in my kitchen and the most frequently used one. GS-1 from Global Knives. When I was shopping for my kitchen knives it was clear that I needed a small 4-5 inch long utility blade. First I've picked GSF-24 - 6" Utility knife, but later, after my friend got GS-1 and I saw it, I decided to go with GS-1. It's smaller, and the blade is curved, thus provides almost the same cutting surface as GSF-24. Besides I liked the handle feel of GS-1 more. So, eventually I got GS-1. Small, neat utility blade. years after using it, I can say I made a good choice. Though your experience may vary. For my needs GS-1 was definitely a better one. Initial examination of the knife didn't reveal any QC problems with it, not that I expected any, but things happen ;) Never had a problem afterwards either.
    Interestingly, the descriptions for this knife vary from one source to another. Some dealers describe GS-1 as kitchen knife, others as utility knife, and some sell it as a paring knife. Not that I am a professional chef, but that blade doesn't look like a hard core paring knife to me. Although, I might be wrong. The point is, it works pretty well as all purpose, utility knife in the kitchen. Which is all I was asking from this knife. Though that's a lot to ask for. Multipurpose knives receive the most beating as usual. Frequently because they're misused, to be honest.

Blade

- GS-1 sports 4.5" long curved blade. The tip is really pointy. Overall, the blade is quite thin. Which makes a good cutter, but this isn't the blade you want to chop or pry with. Very few knives are designed for that to begin with. Out of the box sharpness was very good. Slicing through the free hanging paper and shaving hair without irritating the skin was no problem. The edge was almost mirror polished, convex type. Which is I guess standard edge type for Global knives. The curve makes it very nice slicer, and in addition of its medium size the knife becomes real versatile cutter. As with the Global GF-33 Forged Chef's Knife, I've kept mirror polished edge on GS-1 for a long time. Later I've switched, to rougher and more aggressive edge finished with 600 grit sandpaper. Improvement in all types of cutting was immediately noticeable, save for push cutting. However, on the other hand, I've never really used this one for push cutting. It's a slicer, nothing else.
    Gonig back, I think I'd not put a rough edge on this knife, if I was as good with sharpening as I am now, and knew this much back then.

Steel

- The steel is the CROMOVA 18 used by Global for all their knives as far as I am concerned. I've already commented regarding this steel in Global GF-33 Forged Chef's knife review and in Fallkniven White Whale review, thus there is no point in repeating all that in here. Follow the link to see the info regarding CROMOVA 18.

Handle

- GS-1 handle is quite different geometry-wise from those on GF-33 or G-9 Bread Knife. It is wider in the front part, closer to the blade, and narrows down to the pommel. Standard black dimples to improve the grip are all there, obviously. I am not sure why, but the handle seems to be hollow, perhaps to reduce the weight. Which is logical, for the knife of that size you don't heavy weight. Especially for prolonged use. GS-1 handle looks quite different, it is not a typical handle you find on a kitchen knife. I've seen similar handle once on a custom knife, though that was a fighter knife. Anyway, it doesn't matter what type of knife it was. The point it, this handle geometry is a lot more versatile and functional than one might think just by looking at. It was a surprise to me to say the least. Feels comfortable in practically all grips, forward, reverse, choking down on the blade, etc. Also, on the positive side of course I have to state that as with all Global knives, GS-1 is a single piece. No weak point at the blade/handle juncture. As far as the safety and the grip security go, again no complaints. I've cut all sorts of food, vegetables and other stuff with it, don't remember having a problem with slippage or irritated palms or fingers.

Usage (Revisited - 10/2008)

- As I've mentioned above, GS-1 was the knife that received the most use and beating in my kitchen. Looking back, I can honestly say that it was mainly because of the lack of my knowledge of kitchen knives in general and high-end kitchen cutlery specifically. Had I known what Gyuto was back then and how to use it properly I doubt I'd be using GS-1 that much, especially that I had one from Global at that time :)
    Still, all those years GS-1 served me well. If you are one of those people who doesn't like large knives(of which I konw a lot) then GS-1 will do well for you too. it's curved edge makes it efficient slicer and overall, gives it a longer cutting edge. Obviously utility knife, as versatile as GS-1 just begs to be used :) Though, this is not to say to take your GS-1 and bang it on the marble countertop or use it as an ice pick. For regular cutting it is an excellent choice. Unless you're cutting large items, or something requiring very specific cutting tool(e.g. cheese) it's hard to imagine cutting job GS-1 wouldn't be able to handle pretty good. Goes for slicing, paring, peeling, though for peeling I mostly use the peeler.
    Although, after using specialized paring knives, such as Global's GS-40 and Tojiro Paring it's clear that those knives handle small items and paring/peeling much better in general. Mainly because smaller and narrower blade which is much more suited for paring grip. On the other hand, for vegetable cutting GS-1 worked a lot better compared to those two, which is obvious. Again, compared to Watanabe Nakiri or Akifusa(Ikeda)Gyuto it wasn't that good.
    GS-1 was also used for opening all sorts of food packaging, but not cans :) As I've already wrote, this is a thin knife. Which means, it cuts much better compared to thicker ones, but will not withstand lateral loads all too well. Therefore, try to avoid prying with it. GS-1 does have a sharp and fine point, allowing for delicate cutting works, but it is too fragile for any serious prying, so don't to it, you're risking breaking the tip.

Update

- In 2008, right before retiring this knife, I've thinned down the edge to around 25° included. Obviously, cutting performance increased dramatically. I figure, the original edge was closer to 40°-45° included. The trouble is that softer CROMOVA 18, can't really hold the edge for long with an edge that thin. On the other hand, 25° included, isn't very thin for the quality kitchen knife. Watanabe Nakiri mentioned above has ~16°-18°included angle on its edge and performs supberly well for veggies. Kobayashi Sumingashi Nakiri is also around 16° included angle and so far no complaints about its edgeholding either. However, noth Nakiris are hardened above 63HRC, which is way above 56-58HRC Globals are at.

Specifications:

  • Blade - 114.30mm(4.5")
  • Thickness - 3.17mm
  • OAL - 228.60mm(9")
  • Steel - CROMOVA 18 56-58HRC
  • Handle - Steel
  • Acquired - 07/2002 Price - 53.00$

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Last updated - 09/01/11