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Can't figure out if these knives are for a lefty.

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
I'm fairly new to knives and trying to replace a couple of knives that went with the ex-girlfriend..:) I would like to try japanese as all I've used before is the typical F. Dicks and lower end Henckels.

I'm looking for a gyuto to start and am interested in a few different knives. The problem is I don't understand if there is a universal way to determine what types of bevels they have, and what is appropriate for a left hander. Does anyone which of the following can be used by both right and left handers?..

Fujuwara FKH Series
Honsho Kanemasa E Series
Tojiro DP series
Hiromoto Aogami Super
Pro - M
Tenmi-Jyuraku Series
Misono UX-10
MAC Professional Series

Thanks in advance and also thanks to everyone in this forum, I've been reading like mad the last two nights and am stunned by the amount of knowledge shared here!
post #2 of 4
Most cooks really enjoy the extra sharpness, agility, and lightness they get with Japanese knives. Get ready to fire up that credit card.

They're all lefty-good. However, some of them come out of the box (ootb) with a right handed bevel which you may want to re-profile (or have re-profiled by someone else) to 50/50 or some degree of lefty asymmetry. With the exception of the Kanetsugu Pro M, it's easy enough to do. Let me know how you sharpen (or how you plan to sharpen) and, if you like, I can explain how to do it.

The Pro M comes from the factory with a convex bevel. The internet buzz on the knife is that the convexity really makes a difference -- more so than on other knives. Why that would be, and whether or not it's true are questions I can't answer. That said, you can shift a convex bevel, but it's more trouble and there's really only one, rather time-consuming method.

Regarding your list, I noticed you have two carbon (as opposed to stainless) knives, the Fujiwara FKH and Kanemasa-E; plus a sort of half-carbon, the Hiromoto AS. (The first two are entry level priced, while the AS is in what I like to think of as the "sweet spot" for Japanese knives.) Assuming you've done this on purpose and are aware of the extra care carbon requires, there are a number of other carbons which ought to be on your list. Specifically, Kikuichi Elite, Masamoto CT, Masamoto HC, and Misono Sweden. All of these are extremely well made, top end knives -- as good as anything else on your list. All of them are also in the sweet spot -- with the Masamoto HC at the high end of it.

For what it's worth, the HC and the Misono UX-10 are actually in a higher class than the other knives on your list or those I just mentioned. That class being, "Arguably the best mass-produced knife at any price." Not that either is without fault.

Of course and as always, it all depends on what you want from a knife.

FYI, the Hiromoto Aogami Super (aka AS) is one of two Hiromoto Tenmi Juryaku knives, the other being the Hiromoto G3 -- which is quite a nice knife.

Don't let the lefty stuff throw you.

Your fellow southpaw,
post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 

a little more information..

Thanks BDL. I have been copying and saving much information from your posts in the forum. I do believe you said you use Carbon and Sabatier?

I was also looking at the Nogents, and was sort of willing to buy one mostly because they have such an interesting history. How would you rate these compared to the japanese knives generally?

haha, yep, I'm prepared..

Thanks, I have read a lot of advice that you have given others on sharpening etc. I don't have a sharpening "plan", I'm just about to start my research into that..:smoking:

I actually would prefer Carbon (well I think I would). I am aware of the higher maintenance, but I'm the sort of person that enjoys maintaining the tools I use. When I was looking at ordering the FKH on JCK, there was nowhere to specify that it was for left handed and right handed use. Any ideas how that particular knife is beveled? Actually for any of the knives at JCK I don't see anywhere that specifies the type of bevel..:confused:

Thanks again for your help!
post #4 of 4
Tower, Nearly all of the knives in the kitchen are carbon Sabatiers of one sort or another.

Yes, they do have an interesting history. I suspect it's even a little more interesting than the official version, in that the timing makes it likely Thiers-Issard (or one of the Sabatiers folded into the brand) hid them from the French and then the German government during the wartime steel drives.

As to how they compare from a performance standpoint... In order to get the best performance out of them, they require some thinning especially around the heel; and that can be a little bit of a challenge because of the full fingerguard. On the other hand, it's not an insurmountable challenge.

They sharpen faster and easier than a typical Japanese carbon, but won't get quite as sharp -- especially when compared to the best carbons.

The handles look primitive, but they're incredibly comfortable. Plus, they're full size no matter the size of the knife. With a petty (aka 6" slicer) that's a wonderful thing. With a paring knife, it's ridiculously, revolutionarily, delovely, delightfully, dewonderful.

F&F is as variable as Japanese knives in the same price range -- which is to say quite variable. It's important to communicate with The Best Things before buying and let them know what your expectations are -- watch out for bent tangs.

OOTB sharpening runs crummy. It's an edge you'll want to take care of with a thinning and sharpening as soon as you get the knife. That's not unusual for Japanese knives, either.

Chef's knife profile: As good as it gets. Just a great knife, as good as the K-Sabatier au carbone. What can you say? France wins.

Edge holding: Good compared to other European knives, but lousy compared to almost any Japanese. The blade alloy balance is tilted towards toughness as compared to strength. That is the knife will wave and even occasionally roll, more easily than it will micro-chip or chip. That doesn't mean it's impossible to chip though.

Edge maintenance: Can be maintained very easily on a steel. As said already, they sharpen very easily too -- which includes "touching up" if you've got the discipline to do that. Me, I usually don't go back to the stones until the steels don't work anymore.

That's something you want to do before you buy, particularly if you're buying a knife that needs work ootb.

Carbon is a great choice for some people. The real issue isn't how much extra care it needs (not that much, really), but that it needs it right away. "After dinner" isn't a good option with carbon. Maintenance aside, it's more sharp more easy for less money.

Y'know, I don't. Make a list of those knives at JCK which interest you and shoot an email to Koki. He's very good on the whole customer service thing. Under some circumstances, which probably have something to do with the amount of the order, JCK would convert bevels to neutral or lefty either at a farily nominal price or for free. I don't know whether that was or is Koki's policy, and wouldn't bring that up unless and until I was serious about pulling the trigger.

Remember though, no matter how it comes from the factory you can, should and will profile the knife so it suits it, you, your use, and the way you sharpen.

Hope this helps,
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