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Misono UX10 vs Sweden Steel series

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Ok so im looking for a 240mm Gyuto, to add to my mainly german knife stable.

I've been looking at these two Misono lines for a while
It will be primarly used for general prep work in a pro kitchen

What are the main differences between the UX10 and Sweden Steel series,
Pro's and con's??
peoples experiences with them?

Or are there any other Makers I should be looking at?

Im planning on learning to sharpen, and also want to purchase some whetstones from JCK,( I want to take advantage of their $7 shipping ) what should I be after?

Cheers
Jordan
post #2 of 11
Hey Jordan,

They're hugely different, but let's start with the similarities. Both are comfortable with excellent handles. Both can be made very sharp.

With that out of the way...

The Misono Sweden is not stainless. Not only is it not stainless, but of all the good carbon knives, it might be the most reactive. It's certainly the most reactive in the class of good to excellent carbons. lGood, but not the best geometry.

The Misono UX-10 is very stainless. It's not particularly difficult to sharpen at the factory angles, but is a real chore to profile because the steel is not only a little on the hard side, but is also extremely tough. It has a very streamlined, very agile profile which you'll either love for its agility, or find it a little too low at the heel with not enough handle clearance. Some people, especially pros, find it very thin and too whippy. I like it, and would class it as "among the best mass-produced, stainless, western style knives at any price;" but don't like it enough to buy it for myself

You could certainly use either of those knives in a pro kitchen; whether they're among the best choices for you is another question.

I own old Sabatier carbons and used them, years ago, on the line and as a caterer -- decades ago. Because of their excellent geometry, ability to take an edge, and great handles, they're still good knives in a professional environment. But compared to good, modern Japanese knives, whether carbon or stainless, they don't hold the edge very well (although it can be quickly restored on a steel). So I only recommend them to someone who specifically wants rugged carbon or has an emotional reaction to their history.

I also used Henckels and Wusthof and wouldn't recommend any modern German style stainless knife to anyone because they're clumsy, they never get really sharp, but they do get darn dull. They are very strong though. I'm not saying you can't do good work with one, but they don't do much to help compared to the alternatives.

I've recommended the MAC Pro to a lot of people who took it (the recommendation), and it's never come back to haunt me. It's an excellent pro's knife. I also like the Masamoto VG, HC and CT quite a bit -- and so does everyone else who's used them.


Here's a rundown on a few knives I just wrote for someone else:

Japanese Stainless:
  • Hiromoto AS – Nice knife, warikomi construction with stainless jigane and AS hagane. Surprise! The knife (mostly) has AS edge characteristics. Not particularly easy to sharpen, can be made very sharp, holds the edge well. Use of a steel is iffy, but the AS doesn’t go out of true very easily. AS isn’t stainless, it’s carbon; but corrosion on the edge isn’t much of an issue with the Hiro AS. Mediocre handle, too narrow. Okay but not great geometry. Some people just love them, but in my opinion they’re just one of a number of good knives in the price range and don’t really stand out. Part of that may be because I’ve never met a warikomi knife I’ve really liked.
  • Hiromoto G3. Nice knife, made form a single piece of Hitachi’s excellent G3 stainless. Shares the AS handle and geometry. In my opinion, its “single steel” construction make it a better knife than the AS. It’s less expensive too.
  • MAC Pro – Great handle, good ergonomics, good geometry, excellent stiffness, good but not excellent edge characteristics. Okay, it’s not the best blade alloy money can buy, but only a very proficient sharpener using a top of the line kit could tell the difference – and if the edge geometry is altered to a 15/10 double bevel, it gets as sharp as anything else. The alloy is probably VG-2. A great first Japanese knife, first high quality knife, or a professional kitchen knife. Very robust by Japanese standards. Also, MAC USA provides a good guaranty and excellent support – things that don’t often go with Japanese knives. This is the knife I most often recommend.
  • MAC Ultimate – Change the goods of the MAC Pro to excellent. Expensive. “Arguably the best mass produced, western stainless chef’s knife at any price. Probably VG-5.
  • Masamoto VG – My personal favorite among all the Japanese stainless knives I’ve tried. Note: The blade is not made from VG-10, and is probably VG-2 or VG-5. It’s more flexible than the MAC, and not as well supported or widely sold. Those reasons are why I don’t recommend it as often.
  • Misono Moly -- Misono's bottom of their stainless line. Good entry level knife. Good but not great F&F. Get fairly sharp, fairly easily and stay fairly sharp for a fairly long time. Very reasonably priced.
  • Misono UX-10 – People love its streamlined geometry and great handle. Very sharp OOTB, and a relatively easy knife to sharpen as long as you stick to the factory geometry. Whatever alloy Misono uses is tough to move around, so not an easy knife to profile. Flexible. Expensive.
  • Sakai Takayuki Grand Cheff (yes, with two fs) – Very comfortable knife. A little wide (not thick, thickness describes edge geometry – width is the distance from spine to edge ) at the heel for my tastes. Uses a really nice Swedish alloy called AEB-L, which is the same as Sandvik 13C26, hardened to 58HrC. These are excellent knives, and I’d recommend them more highly but they’re a little tough to get and are essentially unsupported by any American dealer. “Paul’s” in Canada deals them for Canadians, and he has a very good reputation – if you’re Canadian.
  • Togiharu G-1 – Great deal on a VG-10 knife. Ergonomics and geometry similar to the Masamoto, only slightly less good. Korin’s house brand. Probably an OEM effort of some hamono or other that makes a lot of Masamotos.
  • Togiharu Inox -- Same idea as the Misono Moly, but better all around. Attractively priced. Not as good as the other knives listed.
Japanese Carbon:

Before getting into the individual knives, they're all a bit thin and whippy compared to a Sabatier carbon. I wouldn't use any of them without having something heavy duty for things like portioning spare ribs, cutting gourds, splitting chickens, etc. Also, all of these run around HrC. And, to cut to the chase, the Masamoto HC is the real standout.

  • Kanemasa "E" -- Value leader. Some fit and finish issues, like a sharp spine and back -- but these can be fixed by the user. Decent handle and geometry. Very reactive steel which doesn't exhibit visible corrosion so much as smell funny until it ultimately settles down. Again, the user can do things to prevent the reaction.
  • Kikuichi Elite (carbon) -- Excellent all around knife. Good value. Me likee.
  • Masamoto HC -- One of the two or three best knives I've ever used. There are some F&F issues which can be resolved by communicating with the seller before purchase. However, they're probably more than you're willing to spend. Excellent comfort, agility, edge taking, and edge holding characteristics, etc. You name it, the HC does it well. The outstanding feature of Masamotos generally is not what they do right, but that they do everything right and nothing at all wrong; and the HC is the quintessential in that way. The HC heads the class of "arguably, the best mass-produced, western-style chef's knife at any price." If you can live with carbon, and you're willing to pay the price -- this is the knife.
  • Masamoto CT -- Without going too much into the details of what makes the HC alloy different from the CT alloy they're very, very similar. Not quite as good in terms of edge characteristics, but it's a difference only an extremely good sharpener using a very good kit would notice.
  • Misono Sweden -- Excellent knife with excellent ergonomics and edge characteristics. However, it's about the most reactive (corrosion prone) carbon steel I've ever used. The knife requires a patina or frequent cleaning with a corrosion inhibitor like baking soda.
  • Togiharu Virgin -- A sort of clone of the Masamoto HC and CT, with a slightly less good handle and geometry. Probably the same alloy as the HC, and in that sense, a value. Being slightly less good than a Masamoto means being very good, indeed. To whatever extent I sound less than enthusiastic, it's misleading. Good value.
Great timing. Take a look at my last two blog posts here on CT and let's talk again afterwards.

Hope this helps,
BDL

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post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the reply BDL, one important thing i forgot to mention in the OP, im a lefty.

Stainless is the better option for work, so either the UX10c or Masamoto VG, are either of these particulary hard to "re-grind" to a equal or lefty bias edge?

As for the knives not being widely supported or sold, it doesnt bother me too much, i live in New Zealand so i will be ordering online anyway (very little japanese knife presence here )

I love your blog, always something to learn from it, so for a newb starting at freehand sharpening you would recommend a Naniwa SS kit?

Cheers
post #4 of 11
Newbie sharpening: 3 or 4 Naniwa SS 10mm stones on bases. These are the least expensive, very good to excellent stones. Probably 400, 2000, 8000. Not ideal, but plenty good.

On the whole, more experienced sharpeners will prefer the 20 mm stones which they can mount on their own, more rigid bases. But they're almost twice the initial price; also, it's probably a good idea to keep costs down until you really know what you want. Besides the 10mm stones should last years anyway.

The choice of stainless over carbon makes a lot of sense -- especially in a working kitchen. It's just one less thing to worry about, a few extra seconds of time in a crazy environment.

I think the UX-10 is a very good knife, but one which has some intrinsic issues. Know going in that part of that "streamlinined" look comes from the narrowness of the knife (from spine to edge at the heel); and it doesn't provide a lot of knuckle clearance -- less than just about anything else. It's a very agile feeling. On the other hand, the handle is spectacularly good.

The Masamoto VG (not VG-10!) is a very nice knife, but it's not VG-10. Whatever alloy they actually use (VG-5 maybe) isn't a compromise; it's just not VG-10 -- no cobalt. I love Masamoto geometry, handling, everything about them. Lately, there have been some complaints about poorly fitting handles, so if you decided on a Masamoto, make sure you tell Koki (at JCK) that you care about the handle and want something that fits right from the get-go. He'll take care of it.

I'm also a big fan of the MAC Pro, and for reasons other than their US support and the warranty. Along with the Masamoto VG, it's one of the two best all-around knives for its toughness, stiffness, very good geometry, excellent handle and decent (US) pricing. Unfortunately I don't know what their Kiwi prices are like.

Say "hi" to Peter Jackson and Lucy Lawless -- even though I wouldn't know either from Adam.

BDL
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post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
Just ordered the Masamoto VG from JCK. Now to find some Naniwa Super Stones
post #6 of 11
Sounds like a good plan is in the process of coming together. Please post your first impressions after you have a chance to use the knife a couple of times.

The suspense is killing me,
BDL
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post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
Finally arrived after a few shipping issues on my end, all i've done is slice some fennel bulbs but feels great, F&F is good, just need to round some of the spine and whatnot, not too sharp ootb i have a friend who can fix that though (he is a tinker'[).

We will see how she copes with a 14hr day at work later this morning haha

Am I ok in assuming i can hone this on a DMT extra fine diamond steel lightly"?

thanks for all the advice BDL


Cheers
Jordan
post #8 of 11
Jordan,

You're welcome and thank you back.

Compared to what you've been using, the Masa's going to feel soooooooooooo much better after a few hours.

Presumably the question about steeling isn't directed at getting the knife sharper. A steel won't sharpen, but only true -- and in some cases create micro (and not so micro) serrations. Serrations aren't actually sharp, they just seem that way.

We can get into the differences in another post if you like.

Anyway...

Diamond steels scare the heck out of me, no matter how fine. If you're married, ask your wife about diamond nail files. Mine said, "They ruin your nails faster, but I'm not sure that's an advantage."

That said, I've never used a DMT extra fine. Try it. If you scuff your knife up, you can polish out the scratches and get a new steel later. I like the Idahone fine ceramic. For any knife shorter than 10", the 10" hone is fine; for anything longer get the 12". Each is less than $30.

BDL
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post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
Heya BDL

Its been working a treat, flies through onions, carrots and peppers like a bat outta ****. has an awesome feel in the hand, and im rather fond of just looking at it too.

Now i have to think about sharpening.

what do you think of the edge pro apex model?

Being realistic here, i dont have the time to learn to freehand sharpen (at least now)
the apex seems to be the quick easy almost idiot proof way to maintain a fleet of german/j-knives or am i wrong?

Cheers
Jordan
post #10 of 11
The Edge Pro Apex is seriously good.

I've been freehand sharpening for decades, and am pretty good at it if I say so myself. Until lately, I've always thought that freehanding, once fairly mastered, is the ultimate sharpening system and the best method for anyone serious about knives. It's so versatile and there's so very many good choices in stones.

From what I know about the Edge Pro, I think it's actually better for almost everyone. The one exception being someone with a collection of eccentrically shaped knives which need slips and files.

The Edge Pro system might not be quite as versatile, and might be a bit more of a PITA setting up and taking down (if you're only doing one knife, anyway); but over the past couple of years Edge Pro and a couple or three OEMs have added some wonderful tapes and stones. You could always get the angles you wanted very consistently, but now you can get a great polish too.

So... Yes.

BDL
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post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
Ordered the Apex today,

thanks BDL
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