or Connect
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Food & Equipment Reviews › Cooking Knife Reviews › Carbon or Stainless Gyuto?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Carbon or Stainless Gyuto?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

hey guys

 

so i'm looking to pick up a 240mm Gyuto

 

and now i am torn between the Masamoto HC and VG series.

 

my understanding is:

 * HC will need to be cleaned and dried immediately after use, VG is more forgiving

 * HC will be easier to sharpen than the VG and hold a sharper edge, but will require sharpening more often

 

does anyone have any advice for me? or any personal experience on carbon vs stainless which they could share?

post #2 of 18

Hi Ruscal,

I think it is a very personal choice.

I have one carbon knife (a petty) and I love it.

It looks different everytime you cut something. You can actually see what part of the knife you use more often as well. BUT it does need more cleaning, can leave a metallic tast or some greyish colour on the food you cut (although I have not or hardly experienced this).

If you like shiny thing, Don't go for carbon steel!

Life is too short to drink bad wine
---Anonymus---

Reply

Life is too short to drink bad wine
---Anonymus---

Reply
post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 
yeah, i might be leaning towards stainless... so hard to tell which is the better long term choice though...
post #4 of 18

Carbon isn't necessarily easier to sharpen. Depends which carbon steel they used. D2 for example is a well liked carbon steel for knives, but many find it difficult to sharpen. VG10 sharpens much like most stainless steels.

 

I'd take VG10 over a carbon blade for kitchen work. It is just a preference issue with the knives you're considering.

post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 

ok... i think i'm sold on stainless

 

was expecting everyone to say they preferred carbon... but thats obviously not the case...

post #6 of 18

When i bought my first gyuto I also didn't know what to do. In the end I decided to go slightly over my budget and i bought a JCK carbonext which is said to have the properties of carbon steel without the disadvantages (smell, discolouring etc). At the same time I bough a carbon steel knife as well as I wanted to experience the difference.

the carbonext is a great knife (except for the name) but it doesn't have as much character as the carbon steel knife.

 

If you are after easy maintenance then go stainless, or maybe even consider the carbonext.

I find my carbonsteel knife (fujiwara) easier to sharpen than any other knife I own.

Ease of sharpening:

Fujiware Petty > Carbonext gyuto > Victorinox (Firbox) stainless > Global GS > any other knife i got > Global chef's knife

Hope that helps

 

Life is too short to drink bad wine
---Anonymus---

Reply

Life is too short to drink bad wine
---Anonymus---

Reply
post #7 of 18

I have some French carbons and, like butzy, a JCK CarboNext Gyuto. (I also have some German stainless that go back slightly further).  For my purposes, the CarboNext virtually is stainless.  That is, I haven't put it to the test by really leaving it around wet for a long time, or soaking in lemon juice, but no darkening of the blade after what is, to me "normal".  That is, I'm a home cook and don't dice a 14-lb bag of onions or such, but I don't get paranoid about rinse/dry immediately when I do two or three, and it's been non-reactive with that kind of usage.

 

I imagine the Masamoto HC will behave more like the "regular" carbons as far as care.  And it's fine unless you leave it around.  Rinse  periodically and towel-dry quickly if you're cutting particularly acidic foods; otherwise wash and dry quickly after use.  You have to do all that with stainless, as well, just with less urgency.  I don't know your habits or attentiveness, so don't know if it'd be a big deal or not for you to care for the carbon.  It seems it shouldn't be (from my POV) but it takes all kinds to make a world. And of course if the knife were shared with others who were less punctilious, perhaps stainless would be necessary.

 

I'm not sure if it was this forum, but I did read somewhere that the Masamoto VG was "whippy", which may or may not be a deal-breaker. I'd prefer a stiffer knife.  If I had a bit more disposable income now, I'd probably by a Masamoto HC.  If stainless with a western handle, maybe a Mac Professional.

post #8 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by phatch View Post

Carbon isn't necessarily easier to sharpen. Depends which carbon steel they used. D2 for example is a well liked carbon steel for knives, but many find it difficult to sharpen. VG10 sharpens much like most stainless steels.

 

I'd take VG10 over a carbon blade for kitchen work. It is just a preference issue with the knives you're considering.


This is true, with so many different steels out there being used in kitchen knives such a broad statement is assuredly false. D2 however is not very common in kitchen knives, and is hard to sharpen because of a particularly large number of large carbides. Most of the more common carbon steels, especially those in the less expensive carbon knives, are simple carbon steels (few alloys) that tend to be easy to sharpen. This probably has a lot to do with the reputation carbon steel knives have garnered over the years.

VG10 is an excellent steel, though many people report problems try to get a lasting edge when sharpening it. It has a tendency to tenaciously hold onto a burr which can be difficult to remove. If not removed, the weak burr will flop and move around and rather than a keen edge you will have a rolled edge. If you know what to look for and know how to sharpen, these issues can be avoided. More recently some newer stainless steels have come on the scene that are changing things quite a bit. AEB-L is one such steel that offers great ease in sharpening and outstanding performance while still being considered stainless. An increasing number of kitchen knives are being made out of this steel.

If you're just learning how to sharpen, I wouldn't let all this info get to you. You're going to need to learn techniques to sharpen your particular knife with it's particular steel and heat treat on a particular set of stones. Once you get it down, changing a variable or two should not be all that big a deal.

In my opinion, the carbon vs stainless decision comes down to whether you like patina or not. I like patina, and I'm willing to put up with the extra care necessary to keep the knife from developing rust (or dealing with it when it happens). If you want an easy to care for knife, go with something stainless. Either way, never put it in the dishwasher. wink.gif
post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 
thanks for all the replies guys

in the end i decided to go for stainless steel.

so far i have bought:
240mm Masamoto VG chef
80mm Mac Pro paring
170mm Tojiro DP santoku
140mm Henckels Professional 'S' boning

now i just need a bread knife and a petty knife and i think i'm done

thanks again for all the info and advice!!
post #10 of 18

Let us know how you get on with them! Particularly, I'm curious about the Masamoto VG.

post #11 of 18

You already have a lot of overlap.  A petty will take the place of the santoku, boning knife and small parer.  But given the presence of those three knives in your set, why do you want the petty?

 

Since you have a 24cm chef's, I don't understand the presence of the santoku in your kit as it is.  Neither does anything any better than the other. 

 

You can do nearly everything -- well -- with four knives.  Chef's, slicer, petty, and bread. 

 

If you do a lot of a particular type of work, you may want some specialized knives to add to the kit.  In any case, the essence of good knife work is not found in the type or quality of knives but in their sharpness and the skill of the user.

 

BDL

 

 

What were we talking about?
 
http://www.cookfoodgood.com
Reply
What were we talking about?
 
http://www.cookfoodgood.com
Reply
post #12 of 18
Thread Starter 

hey BDL!

 

i owe you some thanks - a lot of the information i've been referencing whilst trying to get my head around japanese knives has been from messages on this forum as posted by you!

 

i understand your post and how i have some overlap. but i'm still very much learning about knife technique and what suits me and my cooking prep style. so yes; i might find that some knives i use more and some knives i use less and some knives i don't use at all. but for me that's all part of the learning process. none of the knives i have bought so far have been particularly expensive, certainly they're not beyond my means. and for me the pleasure of learning how to use and maintain these knives well outweighs any budgetary concerns.

 

i have since my last post ordered a petty and a bread knife. in the end i went for:

 

 

150mm Togiharu G-1 Molybdenum Petty knife
270mm Mac Superior Bread knife
 
i'm very much looking forward to fumbling my way through learning how to use all of these knives... :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by boar_d_laze View Post

You already have a lot of overlap.  A petty will take the place of the santoku, boning knife and small parer.  But given the presence of those three knives in your set, why do you want the petty?

 

Since you have a 24cm chef's, I don't understand the presence of the santoku in your kit as it is.  Neither does anything any better than the other. 

 

You can do nearly everything -- well -- with four knives.  Chef's, slicer, petty, and bread. 

 

If you do a lot of a particular type of work, you may want some specialized knives to add to the kit.  In any case, the essence of good knife work is not found in the type or quality of knives but in their sharpness and the skill of the user.

 

BDL

 

 



 

post #13 of 18

There's nothing wrong with overlap; or, if there is, I've got a lot of knives to get rid of.  "Just sayin' is all." 

 

However, the "basic set" is a good way of conceptualizing not only your purchases but how much specialty cutting you do and the state of your skills vis a vis your knife set.  A lot of people feel they NEED a boning knife but don't have a clue as to what the design strengths and weaknesses are. 

 

Most meals I cook at home involve using only one or two knives.  However, I do a fair bit of butchering -- cutting around bones -- not a good idea with the super-thin Japanese knives I currently favor, and that means using something more rugged.  Even though it doesn't do anything very differently, my Victorinox cimiter allows me to cut more aggressively than anything else I own.  So if I'm going to portion spare ribs... 

 

And thanks for the kind words.

 

BDL

What were we talking about?
 
http://www.cookfoodgood.com
Reply
What were we talking about?
 
http://www.cookfoodgood.com
Reply
post #14 of 18
Thread Starter 

so i sharpened the Masamoto VG 240mm gyuto today....

 

i got some new sharpening stones from Korin-France: Peacock Stone Fixer, Mizuyama Medium #1000 & Mizuyama Fine Stone #5000

 

its the first time i've used a 5000 grit stone. and i love it! you can actually feel the edge getting smoother as you push it up and down the stone. tres cool!

 

anyway, looking for your advice. does this look like a good amount of bevel? or too skinny?

 

DSC_1212.JPG

post #15 of 18

Looks about right.  What is it, about 10*? In any case, let use be your guide.  If it's too steep it will wave and/or roll, and act dull.  If you've got a very fine steel, correct it on that. 

 

The nice thing about steeling is that it will also diagnose the problem.  If a couple of swipes (never more than four!) on each side takes care of the problem, the "dullness" came from the blade being out of true.  If not, it's something else -- most likely wear -- and the knife will need to go back to the stones.

 

Getting back to the "best angle..."  If you find yourself steeling a lot, your angles are too acute and you need to back off a little.  The way to do this is not to sharpen entirely new bevels but to sharpen "micro bevels" by adding a couple of degrees and sharpening just until you get a burr and can deburr.  That way, you'll have a "thinner" angle beneath the cutting angle.  Because you're not taking much metal at all, you may be able to do all of the work on your 5000#.  Or, maybe not. 

 

Compound bevels are the best of both worlds for many knives.  They are every bit as robust as a more obtuse angle, but act a lot sharper.  15/10 is very common on western style Japanese knives, and will work extremely well on your Masamoto.

 

With knives (as opposed to woodworking tools), the cutting angle is usually called the "primary" bevel, and the angle below it is called the "secondary."  But not always.  So, if you're having a conversation with someone about compound bevels, always check to make sure you're using terms in the same way.  There's no right or wrong, the big thing is getting everyone on the same page.

 

Congratulations on your new stone, and good luck with everything else,

BDL

What were we talking about?
 
http://www.cookfoodgood.com
Reply
What were we talking about?
 
http://www.cookfoodgood.com
Reply
post #16 of 18
Thread Starter 

its a 240mm which is approx 9.5 inches

 

thanks for the tip on letting the use guide the angle - i think i can handle that! i still don't have a good system for getting rid of excess burr though so i find steeling almost always helps make the blade "true"

 

the compound bevel thing is a bit out of my league at the moment... to be honest i don't really know what angle i'm sharpening to at the moment...

 

still - its great that you think it looks about right! at least i'm not obviously way off!!

 

post #17 of 18

LOL.  Yes, I knew your knife was a 240.  By 10*, I trying to say your bevel angle looked like 10 degrees (judged by its width).  I wasn't commenting on the knife length.  FWIW, the reason Japanese makers make knives in multiples of 30mm (210, 240, 270), is their traditional unit is the "sun" which is 30mm darn near.  More often than not, even though manufacturers express lengths in millimeters there's really no standard of how to measure a blade and there can be a lot of variation.  Also usually, the more handmade, the more variation. 

 

Yes.  Finding your own angles is a good thing.  You paid for the knife and went to all the trouble of learning how to freehand.  You might as well have the edge which suits you best.

 

There's always a tension between durability and absolute sharpness.  The more acute the angles, and the higher degree of asymmetry, the sharper the edge.  However, really steep, asymmetric edges do not hold up particularly well.  The thing to do is try and find the edge of the envelope where you don't have to do so much maintenance it's an annoyance. 

 

In terms of the type of knife you're using, that usually means a 10* edge angle with a 15* micro bevel on top.  There's nothing particularly magic or "right" about those numbers -- it's just that lots of people find it splits the diff pretty well. 

 

Asymmetry is slightly more complicated.  Japanese knives often come ootb asymmetric, and western users often assume that the degree of asymmetry was the manufacturer's intent.  Not so.  One good way to establish more or less asymmetry is by starting on whichever side you want to move the edge from, sharpen to get a burr, then sharpen the other side, only until you get a burr -- WITHOUT trying to match the number of strokes.  It's in the nature of burrs to require more material removal from the first side -- which gradually shifts the symmetry.

 

If you're left handed, you want to develop the left side (holding it by the handle and looking down the spine); and if you're right handed, you want to develop the right side.  Fortunately, it's easy to see what you're doing.  You can measure the degree of asymmetry fairly accurately by comparing the width of the bevel on one side to the width on the other.  80/20 (righty) means the right side bevel will be four times wider than the left side's bevel.  70/30 -- which is very common -- means the right side bevel will be roughly twice as wide as the left.  Note that it's more important to be able to make a visual check than it is to hit a precise level of asymmetry.

 

Like 15/10 degree bevels, 2:1 (aka 70/30) is a good compromise between durability.  You have enough asymmetry to really make a difference, but the edge is still robust enough to true on a rod hone. Anything more asymmetric is too weak for a rod which will probably create more problems in terms of chipping and rolling the edge off true, than it solves.  

 

If the knife will be used by both a left and right handed user, you might want to consider 50/50 as asymmetry can cause the blade to "steer."  If one or the other user has a sufficiently good grip to prevent steering anyway, you can still go as far as 2:1.  But any more than that will tend to push the knife too far from the wrong-handed user's claw and make small precision cuts like julienne and brunoise difficult. 

 

More than you wanted to know?

 

BDL

 

BDL

 

 

What were we talking about?
 
http://www.cookfoodgood.com
Reply
What were we talking about?
 
http://www.cookfoodgood.com
Reply
post #18 of 18
Thread Starter 

lol. 10 degrees... that makes more sense than you guessing 10 inches.... smile.gif

 

weirdly if the bevel looks about 10 degrees then i might have a bit of a curved compound bevel going on. cause i found i had to stick at the same angle on the 1000 grit, but once i got onto the 5000 grit i noticed something new. this was because whereas on the 1000 grit i got a pretty consistent sound/feel of grind regardless of angle, on the 5000 grit i found that after a few strokes at the same angle the sound/feel of grind would kinda smooth out. then i could raise the angle a little bit on the blade to continue that reduction of sound/feel of grind until the whole bevel felt smooth. if that makes any sense...

 

i understand what you're saying about the asymmetric angle. i did find that i had to work a lot more on the left side of the blade than the right side of the blade to get a 50/50 bevel. i'm not sure why i went for a 50/50 bevel - i guess i need to experiment to see what suits me. and thanks for the tip on the matching bevel meaning a matching angle - that makes sense but i hadn't figured that out for myself.

 

thanks for taking the time to offer up advice BDL. we're not quite in sight yet of you saying more than i want to know. smile.gif

 

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Cooking Knife Reviews
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Food & Equipment Reviews › Cooking Knife Reviews › Carbon or Stainless Gyuto?