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Hattori FH vs Masamoto VG vs MAC Pro Gyuto

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

I'm looking to purchase my first Japanese chef's knife and am interested in purchasing one of the three knives listed in the subject.  I'd like to get everyone's thoughts as to what I'd be paying for in the Hattori FH vs the other two knives.  Is the price difference due to the name or are the VG10 and Hattori craftsmanship the reason (or most likely a combination of the 3).

 

To help everyone understand my personality, I like investing in items that I will grow into and use for a very long time (which is why you see the Hattori in this group).

 

I've seen the multiple pleas to get serious about sharpening so I do plan on buying some stones or an Edge Pro Apex.

post #2 of 16

The Hattori FH is the prettiest of the bunch.  Whatever Hattori's secret is, he seems to be able to make VG-10 work better than anyone else.  The knives are light, thin, extremely well made, easy to sharpen, get extremely sharp, hold an edge well, maintain easily, and don't seem to develop the tenacious burrs some other VG-10s do.  Lovely micarta handle, but not as good as comfortable as the Masamoto or the MAC.  Very good, but not great profile.

 

The Masamoto VG has a wonderful, almost Sabatier like profile, is very agile,  and feels great on the board.  It's a pro's knife without the aesthetic appeal of the Hattori.  Quality control isn't as good either.  Compared to the MAC, it's decidedly more flexible -- which you may or may not see as a problem.  The FH is also flexible.

 

The MAC is very stiff.  It's very much a Japanese made, western-style knife, but because it is so stiff it has the most western feel.  Great handle -- the best I've ever held.  Blade characteristics are very good across the board -- identical to the Masamotos.

 

Both the MAC and Masamoto usually (but not always) come sharp out of the box.  I've never met one that couldn't be sharpened better than the factory did it -- even before reprofiling.  Both knives can be improved with minor thinning especially around the edge, and a new bevel at a more acute angle. 

 

Unusual with Japanese knives, the Hattori is pretty much what it should be right from the factory.  That doesn't mean you can't customize it however you want -- just that it will cut onions and only make you cry tears of joy.

 

My personal aesthetic leans more towards the Masamoto/MAC than the Hattori, although I think the Hattori does have a better blade.  It's just a little too pretty.  Irrational.  But the heart wants what the heart wants, no? 

 

BDL

post #3 of 16

I have a Masamoto VG and I just got my friend to buy one too, both came sharp out of the box, my friends even sharper then mine, When I first got mine and tried it "OMG" it was perfect, I got the 240mm as I thought 270mm was to big (cause of big heavy german knives) but these guys are extremely light, my friends and I knives are very nice F&F but I would make sure you ask your retailer to make sure you do get a nice one. This knife is just makes me want to cut and cut that's how much I like it, makes cutting seem like fun (when you have to cut bags and bags of vege) I have no experience with the others but for sure if you get the Masamoto you won't be dissapointed.

 

Dave

post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 

BDL,

What does it mean when you say the FH has a good but not great profile?  What is a "Sabatier like profile"?

 

Do the Masamoto and MAC develop the tenacious burrs?  What is a tenacious burr in the first place?

post #5 of 16

Milton,

 

Profiles:

It's a topic which gets a lot of repetition, so I posted a separate and illustrated sub-thread on profiles.  

 

Burrs:

Burrs are a nearly inevitable part of the sharpening process.  They are also called "wires" or "wire edges." Removing them is an integral part of creating a good edge.  

 

A "tenacious burr" is one that it is difficult to "deburr."  Not all alloys have big burr problems.  And some which can be problematic in the hands of some makers, are lambs when forged by another.  The alloy used in the Masamoto VG and MAC Pro is not a problem in that way.

 

Learning to deburr (or learning to sharpen in such a way that you don't have to), is part of learning to sharpen.

 

Hope this helps,

BDL


Edited by boar_d_laze - 9/15/10 at 9:53am
post #6 of 16

Hello;

I am wishing to buy Masamoto VG-10 but i am left handed and i could not find any left handed Masamoto VG-10. Do you have any advice for that or can you advice me a knife for suitable for both left and right handed.

thanks

post #7 of 16

What kind of knife are you searching for? Western or Japanese?

Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
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Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
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post #8 of 16

Western style Japanese knives are my first choice

post #9 of 16

In that case i don't think there will be a problem if you're a lefty. 

Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
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Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
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post #10 of 16
As far as a chef's knife is concerned, and if I were you and left-handed, I would order a left-biased version.
post #11 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kutay View Post
 

Hello;

I am wishing to buy Masamoto VG-10 but i am left handed and i could not find any left handed Masamoto VG-10. Do you have any advice for that or can you advice me a knife for suitable for both left and right handed.

thanks

 

Check out Korin .com They're a NY based knife store, & have an online option to flip edges for left-handed users. I don't love the idea of someone I don't know doing something so drastic to something of mine that's so expensive, but they're not terrible & it's worth looking into. They carry Masamoto, Suisin, Misono, etc.. 

 

If you're lucky enough to be on the west coast, I'd check out Japanese Knife Imports. They also have an amazing website. It's a small shop, & the guy's always swamped, but if you really like something you see there, his sharpening work is awesome & knives are also great. 

 

Even though it will costs a little extra, you'll have a much better experience getting a knive converted to left-handed for you, instead of trying to find a knife that *kinda* works for both. 

post #12 of 16
Much better than a knife with a recentered edge is an inverted blade: left face convex, right face flat. On special order with some makers, I know about Misono.
When only the edge got changed food will still stick to the flat left face of the blade.
post #13 of 16


I'm considering the Masamoto VG or the Mac Pro as my first Japanese knife.

At some point I will sharpen it.

As an avid woodworker I am familiar with sharpening tools and have a Veritas jig to sharpen my hand chisels to specific angles, repeatedly, with consistency.

Free hand sharpening is a different, acquired skill that I will work on with my older less expensive knives.

My concern is the Masamoto has a 70/30 bevel making precision sharpening even more problematic.

The 50/50 of the Mac Pro might be a better choice in that regards.

I thought to have the gyuto professionally sharpened until I gain the necessary hand skills.

Your thoughts?

post #14 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by wgraff View Post
 


I'm considering the Masamoto VG or the Mac Pro as my first Japanese knife.

At some point I will sharpen it.

As an avid woodworker I am familiar with sharpening tools and have a Veritas jig to sharpen my hand chisels to specific angles, repeatedly, with consistency.

Free hand sharpening is a different, acquired skill that I will work on with my older less expensive knives.

My concern is the Masamoto has a 70/30 bevel making precision sharpening even more problematic.

The 50/50 of the Mac Pro might be a better choice in that regards.

I thought to have the gyuto professionally sharpened until I gain the necessary hand skills.

Your thoughts?

Don't let that stop you.   70/30 is just a description the numbers have no concrete meaning.  It just means the right side is sharpened at a lower angle than the left side.   I'm right handed and that happens naturally anyway as a function of body mechanics.  There is more to sharpening than a repeatable angle (this is important, but a a little wobble is okay too convexes your edge).  A lot of things that free hand allows is not possible on a jig.  You do need to change your sharpening angle towards the tip of a knife for example. Constantly adjusting the jig is simply not feasible.   And they don't allow the low angles required for thinning.  And they are meant for shorter knives.  Free hand is much faster and uses bigger stones.

 

Read this article http://www.kitchenknifeforums.com/showthread.php/5656-Asymmetry-%E2%80%93-The-REAL-DEAL?highlight=assymetry

 

Watch this sharpening playlist (at least the first ten videos)

https://www.japaneseknifeimports.com/blogs/media/63836741-knife-sharpening-playlist

 

There are a number of other knives now, the market is saturated and there are a lot of options that didn't exist 5 years ago.  If you are interested in whats out there, start a new post with your shopping criteria.

post #15 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by wgraff View Post


I'm considering the Masamoto VG or the Mac Pro as my first Japanese knife.
At some point I will sharpen it.
As an avid woodworker I am familiar with sharpening tools and have a Veritas jig to sharpen my hand chisels to specific angles, repeatedly, with consistency.
Free hand sharpening is a different, acquired skill that I will work on with my older less expensive knives.
My concern is the Masamoto has a 70/30 bevel making precision sharpening even more problematic.
The 50/50 of the Mac Pro might be a better choice in that regards.
I thought to have the gyuto professionally sharpened until I gain the necessary hand skills.
Your thoughts?
The price ranges they currently occupy have some more options than in the past. Are you set on a western style handle and fully stainless?
You're unlikely to do enough damage in the learning process that would make it necessary to have to send it out to get sharpened while you are learning. The deal with the bevel angles is responding to the overall grind of the knife as well as your usage patterns and making adjustments as necessary. There isn't one right answer.
post #16 of 16
You shouldn't wait until the factory edge gets dull. Sharpen as soon as you get them.
Not so sure about the Mac being symmetric, by the way.
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