We're currently putting together a guide to the best kitchen knives – smaller bladed ones, since we already have a guide to the best chef's knives. This TOG Petty knife is our favourite smaller slicer.
The terminology gets a bit confusing when we're talking about smaller kitchen knives. At 12.5cm, this one is a bit bigger than the average paring knife, but not by much. It's a size that is also sometimes called an 'office knife'. Oh and TOG also refers to it as a 'utility knife'. Anyway, it's a small kitchen knife and it's excellent.
TOG's knives are an always intriguing hybrid of Japanese and European styles. Handmade from 17-layer steel by artisans in Seki, Japan, each of these Petty knives is individually numbered. The unique appearance of the blade comes from the use of a layer of copper, exposed in stripes. The steel layers start with a hard central core steel for optimal sharpness, with softer steel layers for strength. The copper has anti-microbial properties, supposedly (and also happens to look very cool).
The benefit of this is that the TOG Petty seems to need less sharpening and honing than a lot of more traditional Japanese knives.
The kebony maple wood handle is another part of the iconic TOG 'look' and is arguably as important as the razor-sharp blade when it comes to the user experience. The wood has a slight softness to it, and is shaped so as to be extremely comfortable, while the laser-etched pattern aids your grip (and also happens to look very cool).
Despite its really rather beautiful appearance, the TOG Petty is a very practical kitchen tool. It's perfectly weighted and the size means it's ideal for a whole range of cutting duties, from chopping veg to peeling apples. It also makes a great cheese knife and can be used for, as TOG puts it, 'light butchery and small fish'. The very sharp point is extremely handy if you're wrangling tricky subjects such as onions and tomatoes.
Easy to clean and keep sharp, the TOG Petty should last you a lifetime. We've had a TOG Santoku (a slightly down-sized cook's knife) for years now and despite some quite gross abuse, it is still going strong.