With all other things being equal which steel would you choose when choosing a fillet knife

1. 12C27Mod Sandvik Steel

2. 420HC

3. Titanium coated 420J2

All blades are 6 inches and all have the same flex.  They are all produced by the same company and share similar handles, sheaths and build quality.  The only difference is the steel.  The prices are also comparable.  In fact, some retailers sell the 420HC and the 12C27Mod at the same price.  The 420J2 usually goes for $5-$10 less. And for those who haven't guessed already, the company producing all of the knives is Buck.

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Hi Jakob - welcome to iKC! That's a great question actually.

I use a couple of different fillet knives on all sorts of meat cuts - hardly ever on fish. To be honest - I consider my fillet knives "disposable". I'll hit with a steel every once in awhile, but when it comes to sharpening them, well...that's a skill I have not taken the time to develop. I have a local knife pro sharpen my knives, and it's well worth the cost for me. At around $4-6 per knife, it comes back cleaned, sharp, and tips repaired if needed. 

This really doesn't answer your question, but it is a great opportunity to say Hi and welcome you to the group. And it proves an old thread can easily be revived!  :-D

Hey Jakob,

Good to see you here!

I also have 3 (maybe 4) Rapala fillet knives.  I personally really like them! 

I sharpen my own on an appropriate stone.  Which stone (once again, I have 3 or 4 to choose from) I choose is determined on the edge that I am tuning up on the knife. 

I have to admit that sharpening fillet knives are a little bit trickier because of the high flexibility in the blade.  If I am doing a lot of fish cleaning, I generally touch them up before they get too bad so my surgical black arkansas stone is my go-to.

The problem is I tend to use them for tasks other than fish.  


I'm not an expert in fillet knives, but I have a few tricks for sharpening & honing my knives (fillet knives, kitchen knives, pocket knives, etc.).  

For honing, you can use the underside of a ceramic cup or plate (as long as there's no glaze on it).  There are varying grades of coarseness, but you'll get more surface area.  Of course you'll probably get some looks, & there'll always be someone in the kitchen being efficient & taking your ceramic item to the dish washer, so you'll probably have to replace it often.  Another trick that works surprisingly well is corrugated cardboard -- lay a rectangle piece flat on the counter & strop the knife (stroking the edge backward / in the direction of the spine / dragging the edge instead of cutting into the cardboard); no doubt people will always be throwing this away in a professional kitchen. 

For your purposes, a longer ceramic rod or diamond rod would probably very well, & be quite affordable (the diamond rod might also have two different grits, especially if you get one that's more oval-shaped).

For sharpening, I really prefer the Work Sharp electric sharpener.  It's basically a small belt sander, but it's really fast (about 30 seconds per side on an 8" blade).  Takes longer the more steel you actually have to remove, but it's the fastest & most effective sharpener I've ever used.  But at about $70 or more, it's something you might not want to just leave laying around the kitchen at your job -- it's so good, someone might very well take it home with them -- like the executive chef or the restaurant owner.

Good luck!

JakobEithan said:

What fillet knives do all of you use and what do you sharpen them with?

I have 3 rapala brand. They don't seem to keep an edge for very long. To sharpen them I use a rapala brand sharpener. It's a little grey thing that you just pull the knife through. There is a course side and a fine side. They work OK but I'm wondering if there is something better not just to sharpen them but a better knife also.

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