Seeking non-pointy chef's knives
February 15, 2021 9:24 AM   Subscribe

Due to mental illness of our ten year old daughter, we would like to replace our pointy chef's knives with something that would not be as effective as a weapon. Can you recommend any knives that would be good for chopping vegetables and chicken, but that do not have points that could be used for stabbing?

Our daughter is under psychiatric care. No one is in immediate danger. But we think it would be best to remove the large knives, or at least make them less obviously weapon-like, out of an abundance of caution.

Some google searching doesn't lead to many/any obvious blunt-tipped alternatives, but they must exist, right? We like to have nice kitchen tools. Can you recommend some?
posted by anonymous to Shopping (37 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
The Kyocera Ceramic knives have a very sharp blade, but a dull point since they are very fragile for bending operations. My sympathies.
posted by nickggully at 9:30 AM on February 15 [4 favorites]

A cleaver? Random example. I have one that I use for chopping most things. The weight of it compared to a knife is sometimes a bonus if you're doing something like cracking through chicken bones.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 9:31 AM on February 15 [2 favorites]

I don't know the right teminology but you can also get more traditional-shaped chef's knives like this style that doesn't have a point.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 9:33 AM on February 15 [2 favorites]

If no other good options present themselves, a $50 bench grinder from Harbor Freight could round off the tips of all of your pointy knives. Be sure to wear hearing and eye protection.
posted by MonsieurBon at 9:33 AM on February 15 [3 favorites]

No-tip knives. Perhaps you want a mandoline for vegetables and dedicated snub-nosed kitchen shears for raw chicken?
posted by Iris Gambol at 9:34 AM on February 15 [10 favorites]

The well-regarded Victorinox Fibrox series includes a blunt-tipped chef's knife.
posted by jedicus at 9:35 AM on February 15 [1 favorite]

We have a Nakiri as part of our set from Shun:
posted by brilliantine at 9:37 AM on February 15 [1 favorite]

Either a cleaver or a santoku-style knife might work, though anything with a blade can probably be used as a weapon. Victorinox is a good value proposition, kitchen-knife-wise, though you could certainly buy something fancier.
posted by box at 9:38 AM on February 15 [1 favorite]

Chinese chef knives are shaped like cleavers but are designed for chopping vegetables and other light chef-knife type work.
posted by agentofselection at 9:41 AM on February 15 [5 favorites]

Personally, I'd just use things like "SlapChop". :D
posted by kschang at 9:41 AM on February 15 [4 favorites]

There are “nylon knives” intended for toddlers, hard to cut anything other than food with them. I chopped up an onion and tomato with one once - not great for fine knife work, but they were adequate for making guacamole.
posted by A Blue Moon at 9:44 AM on February 15 [3 favorites]

Can you just use a food processor for a while?
posted by amtho at 9:48 AM on February 15 [2 favorites]

Going into a completely other sector, traditional rope knives are blunt-tipped for exactly the reasons you're looking for, to prevent accidental stabbing. (They're used by placing the sharp side of the blade onto the rope and hitting the smooth, non-sharp top with a mallet.) Many are designed to be folding, which might be an extra layer of protection.
posted by kalimac at 9:51 AM on February 15

Depending on the design of the knives you have, you could also consider a locking knife organizer or locking knife sheath or keeping your knives in a locked drawer or cabinet.
posted by jedicus at 9:53 AM on February 15 [12 favorites]

I'm sorry that you're going through this. I'd be a little worried that while removing the points is helpful for avoiding stabbing, it's not helpful for safety against slashing. The suggestions about using something like a mandolin, food processor, and plastic knives (example from search, not a specific recommendation) might be helpful there.

It's not ideal, but in my younger days I really hated touching raw meat, so I usually put the whole piece in the pan and then cut it up with the edge of the spatula as it cooked. It had the double benefit of making it clear when things were getting cooked as I gradually cut things in to smaller and smaller halves.
posted by past unusual at 9:54 AM on February 15 [7 favorites]

Dremel tool for the existing knives? The "chainsaw sharpening" bit is useful for many things aside from chainsaws. Best wishes.
posted by eotvos at 10:08 AM on February 15 [2 favorites]

When we had a similar issue (with an older child) we ended up locking away all of the sharp edged and pointy bits and used a food processor and some blunt nose kitchen shears instead.

Not convenient but much easier than tracking all the worrisome bits at a time when that energy was needed elsewhere.
posted by mce at 10:19 AM on February 15 [19 favorites]

At least for veggies, a box chopper seems like it'd be fairly safe -- and they actually work quite well on just about everything I've tried one with.
posted by vers at 10:36 AM on February 15 [1 favorite]

Nthing that switching to other cutting tools may be easier for kitchen prep and also safer for your situation. Small mini-processor or slap/chop for mincing. Poultry shears to cut meat. Mandoline/V-slicer for slicing veggies. Serrated tomato knife (they usually have a rounded tip) to cut veggies/fruit into large pieces. Bread knives are also often rounded-tip, and can be used not just for bread but to portion any sort of food (lasagne, pie, etc.)
posted by desuetude at 10:57 AM on February 15 [1 favorite]

Food processor blades are so sharp. I needed stitches once just from taking the disc shaped one out of the dishwasher without looking.
posted by nantucket at 11:00 AM on February 15

I'd be a little worried that while removing the points is helpful for avoiding stabbing, it's not helpful for safety against slashing.

Similarly, I don't think cleavers would be safer than pointy-tip knives.

Try these - my in-laws like the tomato knife:

round-tipped Victorinox tomato knife

round-tipped Victorinox serrated bread and roast knives
posted by sebastienbailard at 11:00 AM on February 15 [1 favorite]

I've used a serrated bread knife like this for prepping veg. It could cut most veg no worries and even cut up meat with it. It has a blunt tip and would be hard to slash someone with as well.
posted by wwax at 11:02 AM on February 15

Here are a couple options:

* Kiwi 6.5" blade blunt tip
* Kiwi 4.5" blade round tip

Don't be fooled by the low prices; Kiwi knives are great performers and will deal with your veggies and chicken very effectively.

The first option is large enough to halve a cabbage, and provides knuckle clearance. The second is what might be good if you want a smaller knife and can live without knuckle clearance.
posted by splitpeasoup at 11:18 AM on February 15 [4 favorites]

Buying bagged vegetables (labeled "baby," "salad," "stir-fry," "stew," etc.) and already-prepped chicken (pre-packaged, or cut at the butcher counter/meat department) might be a solution for right now.
posted by Iris Gambol at 11:32 AM on February 15 [5 favorites]

Seconding this Victorinox slicing knife: it's not a chef's knife, but I spent years using it as my only kitchen knife and didn't even really miss having a chef's knife. It's very sharp and pleasant to use, while being round-edged and serrated.
posted by trig at 11:44 AM on February 15 [1 favorite]

I hope everything works out ok for her and you

A style of knife I have been amazed by recently is a tomato knife. Surprisingly useful for anything that isn't real big. Like slicing apples, tomatoes of course, anything where you don't need a big blade. The little serrations go right through stuff. Victorinox makes a version as well.

That said, would I want to chop carrots with it? No. For things like I agree that a food processor is a better option. Mandolines... not for me, I'm basically terrified of mine, have heard too many ER stories, but some people like them.

on edit: jinx I see I am the third person to rec these, with different names.
posted by fingersandtoes at 11:46 AM on February 15

Look into Offset Serrated knives. The offset blade makes it more ergonomic and also less weapon-like. Used a lot in commercial kitchens.
Lots of options at this commercial kitchen store that will ship to homes, one example: Link
posted by sol at 11:56 AM on February 15 [2 favorites]

FWIW, I've chopped so many carrots with the tomato-type knife... it was even fine for cabbages and other big things.
posted by trig at 11:56 AM on February 15 [1 favorite]

Nthing the Victorinox tomato knife, linked by several others above. A great little inexpensive round-tipped serrated knife that’s good for almost everything.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 12:11 PM on February 15

If I was going to alter a knife this way, I’d find a local knife sharpening pro and see if they could help with the task.
posted by amanda at 12:21 PM on February 15

Oh, and since you specifically mentioned chopping chicken, I will add to my comment above by recommending Oxo Poultry Shears. I am super happy with them for cutting through any kind of meat, and while they are not blunt-tip, the points are heavy and the shears don't strike me as a stabbing temptation. Bonus, you can't slash with the blades, the way you could with a blunted chef's knife.

(I have been in a situation where I quietly put some other knives away due to a family member's mental health, but of course you should trust your own gut on what feels okay for your situation.)
posted by desuetude at 12:49 PM on February 15 [2 favorites]

This style of mezzaluna knife can be used for chopping. Nthing the Victorinox tomato knife, we have a similar one made by Wusthof, and also the suggestion to use some type of poultry shears. Also, good quality serrated bread knives can be used for a lot of purposes and usually have a rounded end - random example to show the style.
posted by gudrun at 4:27 PM on February 15

This isn’t a direct answer but I hope it’s helpful. In very similar shoes, we bought a safe to put on the kitchen counter with a code only the adults knew. In went sharps and medication, both rx and otherwise. We left butter knives in the drawer. Apart from looking like we have guns or cash or diamonds stored on the kitchen counter, it’s worked well. Also, this must be a very stressful time, and I’m thinking of you.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 8:37 PM on February 15 [6 favorites]

Consider a salad shooter, which is safer than a mandolin or food processor.
posted by carmicha at 3:35 AM on February 16 [1 favorite]

I strongly recommend against a food processor; the blades in my two Cuisinarts are the sharpest edges in my home and I’ve clumsily hurt myself on them several times. Actually my recommendation is to buy pre-chopped. Even the small neighborhood grocery stores in my city sell pre-chopped chicken and vegetables and the larger grocery chains have tons more especially in suburban areas. It’s a little more expensive but can be worthwhile even just as a time saver.
posted by capricorn at 11:19 AM on February 16

Its not the size of a full chef's knife, but Opinel makes a child model with blunt tip. They also make a "Little Chef" set but it looks kind of stabby.
posted by zaelic at 4:17 AM on February 17

MAC Knives
posted by kaiseki at 7:51 PM on February 18

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