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New Blades

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
We all know the joy of getting that new blade :bounce:. For me it was last Saturday when I drove up to Alameda and visited JWW (Japan Woodworker) to take a look at some knives I have been browsing online in preparation of handing down my current set to my Daughter when she gets her first place. My plan was to browse a few and see what spoke to me. Browsing around the JWW store can get you’re brain started calculating very large numbers as you spot that plane, pull saw, chisel or other tool that you have been wanting right there in front of you. But this trip was for kitchen knives so I resisted the wood working tools for now.

When I mentioned to the salesman I prefer longer 11”-12” Gyutos he reached into a case and pulled out a 270mm Yoshikane Gyuto, 11" Chef Knife (Wa Gyuto) - Yoshikane <!W-T-HTSKD270> - The Japan Woodworker Catalog It’s rustic hand hammered finish is very aesthetic to me some people are turned off by the rustic style blades and prefer highly polished or ‘Damascus pattern’. Not knocking anyone if they like that aesthetic but it just does not do anything for me visually. I had previously identified this blade as a definite candidate and when it was there in front of me I forgot all about the Misono, Fujiwara, Tojiro and other’s that were percolating in the soup I call my brain.

Looking at the petties was a similar experience I looked at a few and decided on the Kumadori 6” fruit knife which was recommended. 6" Paring/Slicing Knife - Kumadori - The Japan Woodworker Catalog

first impressions:
The Yoshikane – at $325 it was at the high end of what I was planning to spend but a good value for the knife in my mind. The F&F was excellent except the blade was slightly loose out of the box but no problem 2-3 firm palm taps on the butt of the handle tightened it up nicely. The handle is charred Chestnut and provides a different texture slightly rough but not too coarse. Time will tell as far as edge retention and sharpening but everything I have read is that they take an edge with moderate difficulty but hold it a long time. The edge out of the box is smooth, even and very sharp, 50/50 bevel and nice polish. After 1 session with this knife my Henckels got an edge guard and put in my old knife roll in the closet. The Yoshi is light, agile and very smooth cutting.

The Kumadori: $85 F&F are very good. The handle is a bit small but comfortable enough to not bother me. The blade has a nice finish ground about 60/40 right, with an even smooth bevel and a nice polish. There goes my Henckels’ 6” utility into the knife roll.

The only problem now is my daughter after using the new blades asked me to donate my Henckels to my friends so I could buy her a set with the Yoshikane 8” Gyuto, Yoshikane 5” paring/slicing and a Forschner 10” bread and steak knives instead. What have I started? :crazy:
post #2 of 5
Congratulations on your new knives!

If you want a little more information about the Yoshikane (aka forgive me if you already know this stuff, but in case you don't or someone else is interested...):

The hammered finish is called "tsuchime." I don't think the Japanese consider it particularly rustic, at least not in the same way they think about kurochi, but I certainly know what you mean and feel the way you do about it.

Yoshikane are "san-mai" (which means three layers) as you know. The outside jigane are soft stainless, 405. While the interior/edge hagane is SKD 11, a particularly tough and strong alloy made especially for dies. It's "stain resistant," but not stainless, so you'll not only want to keep it dry when you store, but give it the occasional rinse and wipe when you cut onions, tomatoes, or other things with a propensity to stain. It will eventually darken; but you can get rid of that by thinning and sharpening all the way up the hagane; and/or by using metal polish. Aluminum billet and (non-chrome) mag wheel polishes, like the Mother's and Meguiars sold at car-parts stores, work extremely well.

Japanese knife makers and sellers pretend that san-mai construction makes the toughest hagane easy to sharpen. In fact it helps a little by preventing the hagane from "chattering" as its passed over the stone. But otherwise -- not so much. In truth, a Yoshi isn't all that hard to sharpen if you're only "touching up" an otherwise good edge, but it is a bit difficult to sharpen from truly dull, and even more of a challenge to profile -- something you'll need to do if you want to get the most out of the knife. In any case, you'll want a really good set of stones if you don't already have them.

Once you've invested in those, you'll obviously need more need new knives to justify the expense. Cute, eh?

On the related every silver lining has a dark cloud around it front:

If (okay "when") you buy your daughter a Yoshi, you've included an implied offer for free lifetime sharpening.

Enjoy them in good health!
post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 

Thank you for the information

BDL thanks for your reply your knife knowlege is extensive and was part of inspiration for starting my search into the Japanese blades. I didn't know the word "tsuchime" and your point on rustic is well taken I just didn't know a better word for it. I don't mind a patina on the hagane but good to know about the mothers type polishes if my daughter wants her's shiny. I always wipe/dry when prepping reactive items and always put blades away clean and dry. My daugher is a little lax but I am instilling this in her.

I have an edge pro that I use on my older knives usually touching up with the 1000 stone and 3000 tape along with a few bench stones 800, 4000, 8000. I wasn't planning on re-profiling just touching up on the 3000 and polishing with the 8000. Unless I let it go a bit dull then bring it back with 800/1000 first. I am looking at the 12000 shapton but I am not sure my skills would make a difference from the 8000. The profile is already pretty acute (by my limited western experience) thinning does not seem needed but if i decide to thin it I would definately look for an expert tinker to do the work.

"If (okay "when") you buy your daughter a Yoshi, you've included an implied offer for free lifetime sharpening."
Yes I am prepared for this, besides it's a good excuse to have her visit at least once every few months:thumb:

JWW is having a sale next weekend, which happens to be my B-day so I bet they are going to be lightening my wallet a wee little bit;)
post #4 of 5
Sounds like Plan "A" is off and running.

There are better fine stones than the Shapton 12000; which happens to be a very weird stone indeed.

Before you ask, the Naniwa SuperStone 10000, Naniwa Chosera 10000 are both better. The Super Stone is fairly reasonable as those things go, but has a few issues of its own. The Chosera seems to be the consensus champ for "best in the world," but it's very new and these things tend to be very trendy. It is very expensive, but available in half thicknesses at more reasonable but still expensive price.

My favorite finishing stone is the Kitayama which is variously listed at 8000# to 12000#. In fact it's an 8000#, but it does leaves a polish as smooth as a 12000#. The finish itself is misty, which a lot of Japanese knife people people like more than mirror. The Kitayama has no "reach" downward whatsoever, and should be preceded by something very close to an 8000# itself.

Also, it may interest you to know that a few people are selling pieces of high quality wetstones cut, mounted and ready to go on an Edge Pro. I'm not sure if Ben Dale (owner of Edge Pro) is among them, but think he is. Anyway, he'd know who is doing it. You will probably want to look into this.

post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 


I agree, my 8000 is the Kitayama and I love it. I have been wishing I knew someone who could cut and mount that stone on a plate for the edge pro. I will drop a line to Mr. Dale and see if he has any information about higher grit stones for the edge pro.

Again your knowledge comes to the fore, thanks :)
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