R. Murphy Oyster Knives and a Knife for the Bar

Jacob Dean

Jacob Dean

Jacob Dean is a food and travel writer and psychologist based in New York.

Photo credit: Eva Baughman

Fresh oysters on the half-shell, offered with or without chilled toppings, are a festive holiday appetizer or party food. If the prospect of opening them is intimidating, you’ll find that a good oyster knife and a little practice will make the job easy and fun.

R. Murphy Knives makes everything you need, and in such a wide variety that even the pickiest of cooks is sure to find something they will love. We tested three oyster knives: the Wellfleet, the Duxbury, and the New Haven, as well as a truly singular product, the Jackson Cannon Bar Knife.

The first to be tested was the Wellfleet, which features a broad Bubinga wood handle, full tang, and attractive brass rivets. This knife, heftier and slightly longer than the others, fits well in the hand and proved up to the task of opening even the largest of oysters.

Next was the New Haven. This knife features a round, slightly tapered handle with a blade length equal to the Wellfleet, but flat on one side and with a slightly bent tip. While this made some of the oysters more difficult to open, it easily sliced the abductor muscle which connects the oyster to the shell, resulting in beautifully unblemished oyster meat.

Last up was the Duxbury, distinguishable by its Murphy-green molded plastic handle, shorter blade, and very light weight. This knife quickly stood out from the others due to its sheer utility. The contoured handle was easy to grip, even when covered in oyster juice, and the comparatively shorter blade proved to be both quick and effective, opening oysters with ease faster than the Wellfleet and New Haven. This knife, the most utilitarian of the three tested, proved itself to be extremely useful for testing large quantities of oysters.

R. Murphy Jackson Cannon Bar Knife
Jackson Cannon Bar Knife  Photo credit: Eva Baughman

Of course, oysters should not be eaten without an accompanying beverage, and it was here that we turned to the Jackson Cannon Bar Knife. Made from high carbon stainless steel, the Jackson features a full, contoured handle made of the exotic Cocobolo tropical hardwood, utilized both for its natural attractiveness and its durability and water resistance. This full-tang brass-riveted knife features a blade of unique design. Cryogenically treated to retain its edge, it is just short of five inches and was originally adapted from a leather cutting knife designed for making shoes. As a result, the knife does not come to a point but instead features a blunt outer edge. This is particularly suited to the crowded area in a small bar, as it reduces the risk of accidentally injuring the user or others in the general vicinity. The knife also features a flat outer edge, making it perfect for quickly clearing a work surface of any detritus. Though the blade is decidedly larger than a typical paring knife, it is sturdy enough to be used for cutting twists, and the edge can easily remove seeds from citrus.

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