How Do You Use A Deba Knife For Fish

How Do You Use A Deba Knife For Fish?

Do you hear about the Japanese Deba knife? Don’t you know how to use it to cut a fish?

Deba, a traditional Japanese kitchen knife, is used to cut apart a full fish.

Besides, its heavy design allows cutting chicken and other poultry meat. But it should not be used for cutting solid bones.

Now, it’s not only about what you can cut or not but also how to cut. That’s why you need to know the use of this knife.

However, our article on “How Do You Use Deba Knife For Fish” is dedicated to the process of cutting fish with a Deba knife. Let’s jump into detail.

Types Of Deba Knife

Types of Deba Knife

Before we look into the use of the Deba knife, you need to know that there are various types of this knife.

Regarding the use, each of them is different. So once you know which knife is for what purpose, you can use them properly.


The actual Deba knife means this Hon-Deba knife. It is the most solid type of Deba. Its heavy and sharp blade allows cutting fish and poultry meat smoothly. 


For cutting small fish, the Ko-Deba knife is best. This knife is smaller than the standard Deba knife. Its blade is quite thinner than the Hon-Deba.


If you look for a knife for cutting a long and thin fish, Mioroshi-Deba is for you. Its thin blade is mainly used to fillet a long fish.


For a medium-sized fish, the Ai-Deba is specially designed. This knife is not so thick and not so thin. Its blade is quite heavier than Ko-Deba.

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However, its lightweight is a benefit for users to cut smoothly.


If you are looking for a Deba knife to cut seafood like crabs, shellfishes, and lobsters, the Kanisaki-Deba is for you.

It is a single grind knife, so it won’t cut the meat when you cut any crab or lobster.  

How Do You Use A Deba Knife: Complete Guideline

How Do You Use A Deba Knife: Complete Guideline

Now you know about different types of the Deba-knife and their main uses. So, it’s time to know how to use this knife and the process to do so.

Prepare Yourself

Prepare Yourself

Before you start cutting, first prepare yourself. You will need some kitchen stuff to make your fish cutting smooth and easy.

  • Get a good chopping board. Try to choose a plastic-made but solid, good textured, and less slippery cutting board. Place the board on a solid surface. 
  • Wear your kitchen apron. A kitchen apron is a must when you get into your kitchen, either cutting or cooking. 
  • Wear rubber gloves. It will help you have more grip while cutting.
  • Keep a wiping cloth beside you. After every cut, wipe the knife’s blade. So it won’t be so slippery. You may choose a knife polishing cloth either.

Cutting Process

Cutting Process

Deba’s design always allows you to make deep and precise cuts of fish and poultry meats, controlling the given pressure on the blade.

Its broader and sturdier spine makes it easy to cut a fish apart effortlessly.

The edge of the knife’s blade is prepared to cut bones and thorns of fish, chicken, or other small birds.

All you need to know is the use of each part of the knife. 

  • Use the heel of the Deba Knife, the part near the knife’s handle, to cut bones (not thick bones) of fish, chicken, duck, or other small birds.
  • Use the center of the blade’s edge to slice the meat. This middle part of the knife is heavy and more solid. So a slight force on this center edge is enough to cut the meat.
  • Use the tip of the Deba, the forward part of the knife, for boning or filleting the fish and poultry birds.
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[Note: To know “How to use a Deba knife for cutting crabs and lobster,” check our FAQs portion]

Clean the Knife

Clean the Knife

Once your cutting process is done, it’s time to clean the knife first. It will help if you be more careful when cleaning a Deba knife.

  • Wipe with a regular cloth first.
  • Next, wash with soap and soft water.
  • Then scrub with less abrasive steel wool pads or a sponge scrubber. Don’t put so much force when scrubbing the edge of the blade. Otherwise, you may have a cut. To avoid such an accident, you may wear kitchen gloves either.
  • Finally, clean with water again and wipe with a knife polishing cloth.


Can I Use Deba Knife For Vegetables?

Yes. The Japanese Deba knife is perfect for cutting vegetables, granulating herbs, and slicing fish and poultry meat. You can cut everything except solid hard bones.

How to use Deba Knife for cutting crab and lobster?

Cutting seafood like crabs and lobster is not an easy job. In this matter, you need to be more careful when breaking its shell.

However, the Kanasaki-Deba knife makes this task easy. With the tip of the knife, you can easily peel the shell. And to break the hard shell, you may use the heel of the knife.

How thick is a Deba knife?

The blade of a Deba knife is usually up to 9mm thick. Moreover, in length, it is 165-210mm long. This knife is chisel ground and has a Japanese handle with a good grip.

How do I choose a Deba Knife?

When buying a Deba Knife, always match the blade’s size to the size of the fish that you will use it on.

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In this regard, you may check the “Types of Deba Knife” portion of this article.


Now you know how to use a Deba knife for fish. Without extra effort, you can slice fish and poultry meat.

So now, all you need is to choose the proper Deba knife regarding the meat you want to cut. Try to follow all the given tips.

We hope it will take cutting skills one step up.

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