Western Fillet Knives: 2 of the Best in Our Global Collection

Western fillet knives provide a valuable service by helping you finish and trim uncooked fish. It is equally helpful for portioning fish when cooked.

At hacher&krain, we offer two of the best Western fillet knives from France for preparing fish at home or on the professional cook line.

k-sabatier paring knife 4in 1834

K-1834 8” Fillet Knife (20cm)

K-Sabatier Authentique 1834 Ltd.
$125.00

Perfect for seafood. Fillet fish with precision and ease.

K-200 Fillet Knife 8” (20cm)

K-200 7.5” Fillet Knife (18cm)

K-Sabatier 200 Series
$195.00

New standards in flexibility. It allows you to bend the blade more than the average fillet knife.

We have larger filleting knives (up to 15”) at our knife shop in Toronto at 256a Dupont.

What is a Fillet Knife used for?

Filleting knives typically have the following:

  • Narrow and thin blade
  • Sharp, flexible blade
  • Stainless steel
  • 6” to 15” blade length

A Western fillet knife will help you prepare raw fish and portion cooked fish. Their narrow and flexible blades allow the knife to follow the contours of bones and skin, resulting in cleaner cuts.

Fish fillet knives made of stainless steel in the 6 to 11-inch range are the most versatile. Unlike carbon steel, stainless steel does not react with sugars or starches, preventing oxidation or enzymatic browning.

In addition, stainless steel allows you to focus on preparing and portioning your fish without rushing to the sink to wash and dry your blade like carbon steel requires.

Knife Buyer Alert: Boning and Fillet Knives are not the same

  • The difference between fillet and boning knives is the stiffness vs flexibility of the blades
  • Boning knives have stiffer blades Fillet knives are flexible and will bend
  • Both knives have narrow blades
  • You won’t find a Western fillet knife under 6 inches outside of Japan
  • Japanese fillet knives are not flexible

Choosing the Right Fillet Knife

Selecting the right fillet knife depends on your preferences. Here’s a breakdown to help you compare:

Knife Collection

Knife Making Method

Blade Material

Blade Length

Weight

Tang

HRC

Handle

Price

K-Sabatier Authentique 1834

Hammer-forged

Stainless steel

8” ( 20cm)

96g

Full tang

57 – 58

POM

$125

K-Sabatier 200

Stock Removal

Stainless steel

7.5” (18cm)

117g

Full tang

60

G10

$195

There are a few things to consider before making your decision.

Blade Material: We recommend looking for durable full-tang stainless steel blades that resist corrosion, hold sharpness and have no taste transfer to the materials you are working on.

  • The best fillet knives for generalized use are the K-Sabatier stainless steel (57-60 HRC).

Blade Length: Fillet knives typically range from 6” to 15”. We recommend looking for 7.5-inch or 8-inch filleting knives. This length will be easier to control, giving you long, even slices.

Sharp Blade: Since fillet knives handle delicate tasks, purchasing a sharp knife is essential.

  • All hacher&krain blades are double-cross ground, polished, sharpened, and ready for your first use.

Weight: We recommend a lightweight knife so it’s easier to control for delicate cuts.

  • Light (around 100 to 117 grams) – easy to manoeuvre and can reduce hand fatigue, favoured by those who work extensively and feel every motion.
    – At hacher&krain, we offer two lightweight fish fillet knives from K-Sabatier.
  • Heavier (around 128 to 186 grams) – feels sturdier and can manage more demanding tasks.
    – We only have the light blades in our online store. For heavier knives, check out our shop in Toronto at 256a Dupont St.

Handle: Look for a comfortable grip because filleting and deboning fish is intricate work. Finesse, or being light of touch, is essential to ensure accuracy for these detailed tasks.

  • The K-Sabatier Authentique 1834 collection features handles crafted with POM (Polyoxymethylene), renowned for their strength and stability. It’s designed for comfort, providing a secure grip and allowing for extreme pressure when necessary.
  • The handles of the K-Sabatier 200 knives are made from G10, a durable and moisture-resistant material, providing a reliable and controlled grip during use.

Flexibility: We recommend looking for enough blade flexibility to allow you to cut along the contours of fish, ensuring precise filleting without undue force. The flexibility minimizes meat wastage by being able to hug bones closely with intricate movements. A flexible blade also reduces wrist fatigue during extended use.

  • K-Sabatier 8-inch filleting knife’s flexibility comes from the drop forging process. This blade can bend far beyond the normal range of any fish knife made by this method.
  • The K-Sabatier 200 knife takes flexibility to new levels in knife making, allowing it to bend almost back onto the blade itself. With the blade’s thinness, its ability to cut and not disturb the flesh is unique.

Slicing Knife Care and Maintenance

Taking care of and maintaining a French paring knife is essential to ensure its longevity and optimal performance.

Quick Tips

  • Do not wash your knives in the dishwasher.
  • Do not apply hard pressure when honing your blades.
  • Always store your blades safely to prevent damage and accidents.

Cleaning

After using your Western Chef’s knife, it’s crucial to clean it. Never wash it in the dishwasher.

WHY? Because the sustained heat of the dishwasher’s sanitization cycle alters the hardness of the steel achieved by the tempering process.

Stainless steel or Molybdenum

  • Soak the stainless steel or Molybdenum blade before cleaning.
  • Wash the blade in hot water with your preferred detergent.
  • Thoroughly clean the handle and blade to remove raw materials.
  • You don’t need to worry about rusting during cleaning.
  • Using abrasives may scratch the surface, but it won’t affect performance.

Using abrasives may scratch the surface, but it won’t affect performance.

Storage

We recommend storing your fillet knife in the sheath provided to protect the blade and prevent accidents. You can also store it safely on a magnetic knife strip for easy accessibility.

Every Western fillet knife (K-Sabatier) comes with a handmade French leather scabbard.

Sharpening & Honing

There are two rules of edge care. Regardless of the materials used to make the steel, its hardness determines which rule to follow.

1. Steel under 59 HRC:

  • Benefits from the honing process.
  • Honing is not sharpening; it is alignment.
  • Honing straightens the already-sharpened edge of a knife.
  • Honing does not remove steel, which is what sharpening does
  • Honing refines performance, extending the overall life of the knife

For the K-Sabatier Authentique 1834 collection, honing will maintain the existing edge alignment and extend the time between each sharpening. See K Sabatier’s 8” honing rod.

2. Steel over 59 HRC:

  • Strop your knife between sharpenings
  • There is no benefit from the honing process because the blade is too hard

No honing is necessary for the K-Sabatier 200 collection (60 HRC). The only thing to do in between sharpening is to strop your blade.

We offer a complimentary knife sharpening service for all blades purchased from hacher&krain.

Origins of the Fillet Knife

Today’s fillet knives result from a convergence of various 19th-century knives. Some of these knives were once commonplace but lost utility due to industrialization. Others, initially designed for specific species, evolved into versatile generalist tools. New steel formulas helped drive these conditions for large and small-scale production.

It all began with slicers made with new flexible blades, increasing their value in fish butchery. Blade flexibility became the most crucial innovation in the evolution of filleting knives, bringing new life to the diminishing importance of the curved (swept-back) skinning knife. This evolution granted it a unique role in fish breakdown, and it is now widely presented by knife retailers as a filleting and boning knife.

The value of blade flexibility in the form of the skinning blade shape also began to see service in mammal butchery. Its contribution to mammal butchery led to a general confusion of what is or is not a filleting knife. Blade flexibility, edged or swept back, remains central in the family of filleting knives, es allowing them to cut through or off with little to no disruption.

Shop Our Collection

If you love fish and acknowledge the value of careful preparation and portioning, a Western fillet knife will serve you to enhance your practice of cooking the bounty of the sea, from sushi to sole.

Available online or in our Toronto knife shop located at 256a Dupont St.