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Professional building new kit, welcoming opinions and experiences

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

Lately I've been reading up on on all sorts of tools but cutlery in particular. This is so much info to be had on here, shared from many perspectives and backgrounds. It's truly great stuff.

 

For some background, I am a garde manger who prepares tartare in many forms, cheese dishes, charcuterie, various salads and deserts. Currently, I have an 8-pc. Henckel Four Star set and they have been great for me up to this point as I figured out how to handle and treat a knife (not properly sharpen though). But, I find myself needing to perform at a level that the Henckel's cannot support. Now I see why there is such a strong base of support for building a set that is tailored to your needs rather than springing for a pre-meditated arrangement from a manufacturer. In particular I have a difficult time cutting the 1/16-1/24 brunoise of onion my chef wants with anything in that set and having it come out as uniform as when I use either one of chef's knifes or another co-workers (I can only ask to borrow their knives so many times).

 

I recently purchased a Shun Premier 6" Chef's because it had the weight, rigidity, width, metal and comfort that I was looking for (plus I got a killer deal). While I know they are not held in the highest regard on this site I felt it to be a quality knife that stood very separate from the rest of the Shun lines. From my understanding, they are hand made and are authentically Damascus but I could be wrong on both accounts there. I am thinking I would like to add a 9.5-10.5" Chefs/Gyuto, a 9"+ bread knife, a set, or single, cheese knife/knives and maybe a slicer as well as a nakiri/usuba down the line. Oh, and a good set of shears & steel/stones

 

Here is what I am considering so far (based solely on reviews as I have no hands on experience with any of these):

 

CHEFS/GYUTO

 

- MAC Professional Chef's Knife - 24mm $170 or 270mm" - $190

(2.5mm, 221g. & 244g, ~126mm handle, 60 HRC)

 

- MAC Ultimate Chef's Knife - 228mm $250 or 260mm $280

(3.0mm, 261g & 278g, ~128mm handle, 60 HRC )

 

- Masamoto VG Gyuto 240mm $155 or 270mm $195

(2.2mm & 2.5mm, 250g & 287g, ~130/5 mm handle, 59-60 HRC)

 

- Ryusen Blazen Gyuto - 240mm $230 or 270mm $275

(2.5mm & 3mm, 231g & 315g, ~130/5 mm handle, ??? HRC)

 

- Hattori HD Gyuto - 240mm $215 or 270mm $275

(3mm, 240g & 310g, ~130/40mm handle, 60-61 HRC)

 

- Hattori FH Gyuto - 240mm $255 or 270mm $275

(2mm & 2.5mm, 222g & 249g, 140mm handle, ??? HRC)

 

- Kagayaki VG-10 ES Gyuto - 240mm $131 or 270mm $147

(2.2mm, 210g & 232g, 130m handle, 60-61 HRC)

 

- Togiharu G-1 Molybendum Gyutou 240mm $189 or 270mm $230

(???mm, ????g, ???? handle, 58-59 HRC)

 

Bread

Open to suggestions on this. Doesn't have to be Japanese, but does have to be rigid and as always, sharp. Also I wouldn't mind a little additional weight here. I am thinking maybe F. Dick 1905 or Henckel/Wusthof. Again, open to suggestions.

 

Cheese

I cut any and all kind[s] of cheeses from big wheels to small pyramids with textures and hardness varying throughout. The hard cheese are not as much of an issue, but when I am cutting a very delicate blue there is a lot of crumble produced (unless I heat my knife before every cut, but that is way too time-consuming) and these cheese are not cheap by any means. The most sucsess I have had thus far is my 6" serrated utility, but I can't break down a wheel with that. Again, opinions and suggestions very welcome here. 

 

Slicer & Nakiri/Usuba

This is going to be more for me at home as I have no need for these knives professionally yet. Not to say that day won't come in the next year or two, so it would be nice to have them for use at home and already "know" them when the time comes at work. But, no rush on either of these as I am not Mr. MoneyBags.

 

Steel/Stones

I was going to wait and see what the arsenal looked like before aquiring either but might as well start the discussion early as my Shun already needs some stone work. 

 

-RDB

 
post #2 of 15

CHEFS/GYUTO

 

- MAC Professional Chef's Knife - 24mm $170 or 270mm" - $190

(2.5mm, 221g. & 244g, ~126mm handle, 60 HRC)

 

All around excellent.  Very good profile.  Very good edge characteristics.  Very stiff for a Japanese knife this thin.  Great handle.   MAC is one of the few Japanese knives with a very good warranty, and really excellent US support.

 

- MAC Ultimate Chef's Knife - 228mm $250 or 260mm $280

(3.0mm, 261g & 278g, ~128mm handle, 60 HRC )

 

A prestige version of the Pro, made with a very slightly better alloy.  I don't know where you're getting HRC numbers, but the Ultimate is harder than the Pro.  If money means anything, the Ultimate is not enough better than the Pro to be worth the extra cost.  IMO the Pro is a better knife anyway.

 

- Masamoto VG Gyuto 240mm $155 or 270mm $195

(2.2mm & 2.5mm, 250g & 287g, ~130/5 mm handle, 59-60 HRC)

 

In the same group as the MAC Pro.  All around excellent.  Very good handle. Very good edge characteristics (may well be the same alloy as the MAC Pro).  Excellent profile and agility, as good as a Sabatier.  Some western cooks feel it's a bit whippy.  If I had to choose one knife from your list for my own gyuto, it would probably be this one for its excellent profile.  But that's me. 

 

- Ryusen Blazen Gyuto - 240mm $230 or 270mm $275

(2.5mm & 3mm, 231g & 315g, ~130/5 mm handle, ??? HRC)

 

Made from a "powdered metallurgical" alloy.  Very hard.  Not the easiest knife to sharpen, but they'll take a good edge and hold it a long time.  I'm not a big fan of exotic alloys, they don't do enough to justify the extra work or price as far as I'm concerned.  Nice knife, especially in the Bu Ry Zen version, but not worth the money.

 

- Hattori HD Gyuto - 240mm $215 or 270mm $275

(3mm, 240g & 310g, ~130/40mm handle, 60-61 HRC)

 

Very pretty.  They scratch.

 

- Hattori FH Gyuto - 240mm $255 or 270mm $275

(2mm & 2.5mm, 222g & 249g, 140mm handle, ??? HRC)

 

Ahh, the "Forum Knife."  Well made and handles well.  Very good to excellent in all respects.  Almost as good as the Masamoto, but better looking, more prestigious and without the F&F issues you sometimes run into with the western handled Masas.

 

- Kagayaki VG-10 ES Gyuto - 240mm $131 or 270mm $147

(2.2mm, 210g & 232g, 130m handle, 60-61 HRC)

 

JCK's house brand.  Much bang for the buck.  Handles are a trifle narrow and short. 

 

- Togiharu G-1 Molybendum Gyutou 240mm $189 or 270mm $230

(???mm, ????g, ???? handle, 58-59 HRC)

 

Togiharu is Korin's house brand.The G-1 is probably VG-1, and for that matter so probably are the MAC Pro and Masamoto VG.  It's a very high performing alloy, as good as VG-10 IMO, but without the cachet.  The MAC Pro and Masamoto VG are better knives.  So what's the point?

 

Bread

Open to suggestions on this. Doesn't have to be Japanese, but does have to be rigid and as always, sharp. Also I wouldn't mind a little additional weight here. I am thinking maybe F. Dick 1905 or Henckel/Wusthof. Again, open to suggestions.

 

Mac Superior 10-1/2" (SB 105) or the Victorinox/Forschner 10-1/2" bread in Fibrox or Rosewood.  The MAC is barely enough better than the Forschner to justify the extra price, that is if any bread knife is worth $80.  The Forschner is very, very good.

 

Cheese

I cut any and all kind[s] of cheeses from big wheels to small pyramids with textures and hardness varying throughout. The hard cheese are not as much of an issue, but when I am cutting a very delicate blue there is a lot of crumble produced (unless I heat my knife before every cut, but that is way too time-consuming) and these cheese are not cheap by any means. The most sucsess I have had thus far is my 6" serrated utility, but I can't break down a wheel with that. Again, opinions and suggestions very welcome here. 

 

Nope.  Staying out of this.

 

Slicer & Nakiri/Usuba

This is going to be more for me at home as I have no need for these knives professionally yet. Not to say that day won't come in the next year or two, so it would be nice to have them for use at home and already "know" them when the time comes at work. But, no rush on either of these as I am not Mr. MoneyBags.

 

Slicers are extremely valuable for portioning and trimming -- at least the way I use knives.  FWIW, I frequently use my 12" slicer as the only knife for those frequent times when I only use one.  But it's a very special and expensive slicer.

 

Usuba if and only if you really want to learn Japanese cutting and sharpening styles.  It's interesting.

 

Nakiri -- pointless (pun intentional).  Like a santoku, if you can don't want one.

 

Steel/Stones

I was going to wait and see what the arsenal looked like before aquiring either but might as well start the discussion early as my Shun already needs some stone work. 

 

Probably your best choice for an all around steel is the Idahone 12" fine ceramic.

 

You can either start with a relatively inexpensive combi stone, or buy three stones you'll keep on the way to a four stone set. 

 

You'll also want some sort of flattener.  Just a fact of life with water stones.  For that, you can either spend some money on a DMT XXC diamond plate, or flatten on drywall screen.  The DMT plate is much faster, but drywall screen will give you a very flat surface for very little money. 

 

You might be interested in an Edge Pro as an alternative to stones.  It's some money up front, but has a relatively flat learning curve compared to stones, and you'll be producing good edges fairly quickly.  It will probably appeal to your internal engineer.

 

Chefs Choice electric sharpeners are very convenient and do an adequate job.  What raises them above "adequate" is they're so convenient you tend not to put off sharpening.  They have some "Asian" models which sharpen appropriate edge angles for the Japanese knives that interest and which you already own.  Not as good, but nowhere near the BS.

 

For the knives you're lusting after, don't bother with "Sharpmakers" and the other, similar gags.  They take too long to do what they do, and their ultimate edge isn't anywhere near worth the trouble.

 

FWIW, I think Shun will sharpen your Shun knives for free if you can bear to be without them during their turnaround time.  I'm not a huge fan of theirs, especially their chef's knives, but they do a few things very well, and customer service is one of them.

 

Ask lots of questions,

BDL

post #3 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by boar_d_laze View Post

CHEFS/GYUTO

[SNIP...]

 

- MAC Ultimate Chef's Knife - 228mm $250 or 260mm $280

(3.0mm, 261g & 278g, ~128mm handle, 60 HRC )

 

A prestige version of the Pro, made with a very slightly better alloy.  I don't know where you're getting HRC numbers, but the Ultimate is harder than the Pro.  If money means anything, the Ultimate is not enough better than the Pro to be worth the extra cost.  IMO the Pro is a better knife anyway.

[...SNIP]

 


Hi BDL -- I'm curious about why you think the Pro is better than Ultimate anyway.  Is it just that it's lighter? Or is it lighter, in fact?  I've never waved around a Mac Ultimate.

Thanks, W

 

post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 
Well shoot, that was insightful. Thank you BDL for all the input. You are certainly making this easier. Here is my updated list with more questions (you asked for it):

CHEFS/GYUTO

 

- MAC Professional Chef's Knife - 24mm $170 or 270mm" - $190

(2.5mm, 221g. & 244g, ~126mm handle, 60 HRC)

 

All around excellent.  Very good profile.  Very good edge characteristics.  Very stiff for a Japanese knife this thin.  Great handle.   MAC is one of the few Japanese knives with a very good warranty, and really excellent US support.

 

I'm really liking both this and the Masamoto, just thinking the handle may be a tad short on this one. Just maybe. Everything else "looks great".

 

- Masamoto VG Gyuto 240mm $155 or 270mm $195

(2.2mm & 2.5mm, 250g & 287g, ~130/5 mm handle, 59-60 HRC)

 

In the same group as the MAC Pro.  All around excellent.  Very good handle. Very good edge characteristics (may well be the same alloy as the MAC Pro).  Excellent profile and agility, as good as a Sabatier.  Some western cooks feel it's a bit whippy.  If I had to choose one knife from your list for my own gyuto, it would probably be this one for its excellent profile.  But that's me. 

 

How would you say the stiffness is compared to the MAC Pro? I want to go as stiff as possible. This one is getting hard to turn down seeing as Korin has 15% off all knives right now. $155 for the 240 is very tempting as I'm starting to think 270mm is too much for what we/I do. 

 

- Kagayaki VG-10 ES Gyuto - 240mm $131 or 270mm $147

(2.2mm, 210g & 232g, 130m handle, 60-61 HRC)

 

JCK's house brand.  Much bang for the buck.  Handles are a trifle narrow and short. 

 

I think I will pass on their Gyuto, but would definitely consider a petty from them down the road. 

 

Bread

Mac Superior 10-1/2" (SB 105) or the Victorinox/Forschner 10-1/2" bread in Fibrox or Rosewood.  The MAC is barely enough better than the Forschner to justify the extra price, that is if any bread knife is worth $80.  The Forschner is very, very good.

 

The MAC looks glorious. The current "house" bread knife that we have/I use is identical to the Forschner in profile, and my hand tires quickly. The curvature of the MAC blade looks like it could provide more comfort and stamina. Stiffness is very important here though as bread won't be the only thing I use this for, which is also why I am leaning more toward the MAC. Oh, and did I mention Korin's 15% off. Funny that the MAC bread knife is the only MAC they carry currently. 

 

Cheese

Nope.  Staying out of this.

 

Haha, you make it sound like I wanna talk politics or religion. On a serious note though, I am thinking my cheese difficulties are subsiding. Broke down a wheel of Caveman Blue with little to no waste today. It just takes time and finesse (the Shun is doing a great job with it). If it ever wanted to take it to an extreme I would consider a wire for ultra fine cuts. 

 

Slicer & Nakiri/Usuba

Slicers are extremely valuable for portioning and trimming -- at least the way I use knives.  FWIW, I frequently use my 12" slicer as the only knife for those frequent times when I only use one.  But it's a very special and expensive slicer.

 

That's the thing. I don't do any portioning or trimming professionally or at home right now. On the other hand, it is my Chef's most used knife as well. I know to be patient on this one as mine too will most likely be very special and expensive.

 

Usuba if and only if you really want to learn Japanese cutting and sharpening styles.  It's interesting.

 

I would love to learn Japanese cutting and sharpening, but as mentioned before I am not Mr. MoneyBags so I am not going to buy a knife just to learn cutting and sharpening. 

 

Steel/Stones

Probably your best choice for an all around steel is the Idahone 12" fine ceramic.

 

Done. $29. Done, done and done.

 

At the same time, I wonder about items like this as I would worry about not hitting the right angles when I am honing.

 

You can either start with a relatively inexpensive combi stone, or buy three stones you'll keep on the way to a four stone set. 

 

Leaning more towards three stones on the way to four. Recomendation of both combi's or stone sets would be excellent as I know absolutely nothing. 

 

You'll also want some sort of flattener.  Just a fact of life with water stones.  For that, you can either spend some money on a DMT XXC diamond plate, or flatten on drywall screen.  The DMT plate is much faster, but drywall screen will give you a very flat surface for very little money. 

 

Only question here would be, would paying the ~$75 upfront for the DMT be more cost effective than buying drywall screen continuously? How do you find the longevities to compare?

 

You might be interested in an Edge Pro as an alternative to stones.  It's some money up front, but has a relatively flat learning curve compared to stones, and you'll be producing good edges fairly quickly.  It will probably appeal to your internal engineer.

 

How did you know I was an engineer? Did I mention I studied engineering (mechanical nonetheless) on here somewhere and I have already forgot? Anyways, I have seen these before and yes, that looks perfect. I am willing to entertain the idea depending on what a three or four peice set of stones would run. I don't mind learning curves and I sure as shoot don't mind simplicity and consistency. Any resources for learning sharpening skills you can recommend while we are talking about it?

 

I'm inclined to start with stones, and maybe acquire an Edge Pro down the road. Leave the stones at work, just in case, and have the Edge Pro at home. Maybe I am just putting too much thought into it though. 

 

Chefs Choice electric sharpeners are very convenient and do an adequate job.  What raises them above "adequate" is they're so convenient you tend not to put off sharpening.  They have some "Asian" models which sharpen appropriate edge angles for the Japanese knives that interest and which you already own.  Not as good, but nowhere near the BS.

 

Pass. 

 

For the knives you're lusting after, don't bother with "Sharpmakers" and the other, similar gags.  They take too long to do what they do, and their ultimate edge isn't anywhere near worth the trouble.

 

I am assuming you feel the same about the Wicked Edge system?

 

FWIW, I think Shun will sharpen your Shun knives for free if you can bear to be without them during their turnaround time.  I'm not a huge fan of theirs, especially their chef's knives, but they do a few things very well, and customer service is one of them.

 

Sweet, I had no idea. I'll get in touch with them and see what the deal is. Oh, and what is the deal with Damascus? Heard it is not authentic, but rather etched, most of the time?

 

Once again, thank you so much for your input BDL. You rock. 


 

 

Edited by rockDaBoat - 7/17/11 at 11:51pm
post #5 of 15

MAC's handles are extremely comfortable.  Perhaps the best western handles made outside of Europe, the accomodate large hands well.

 

MAC is stiffer than Masamoto.  If you've used and love a Sabatier carbon chef's you'll love the Masamoto in the same way.  The MAC has an excellent profile too, it's just not quite the same.  I recommend MAC for most people, because they're more sensitive to handles than profiles and want as much stiffness as they can get in a (relatively) thin, Japanese knife. 

 

MAC SB 105 is a fantastic bread knife.  If it matters, it's what I use.

 

Some people like long slicers while others are mystified by them.  I've always had a 10" slicer in my set, and couldn't imagine being without one at least that long.  But fool around with other peoples' before making an investment.

 

Learning to hold your angles on a steel is no different than holding them on a stone.  Many people have a lot of trouble with the idea that 4 strokes per side on a steel is an absolute maximum, and 2 is almost always better.

 

Compared to a DMT plate, drywall screen is slow and messy.  But it's not only cheaper upfront, it's cheaper over time.  A lifetime supply of screen runs under $20, but the ugly truth is that DMT XXCs wear out eventually.  But it is more convenient.

 

From what I understand, the Wicked Edge is as good as the Edge Pro, more expensive but faster.  Spyderco's Sharpmaker is several steps below. 

 

Shun's Damascus isn't etched, but it's not exactly the real deal either.  Shun buys their VG-10, "suminagashi," san mai, already laminated from Takefu.  The suminagashi design is "pattern welded" from many layers.  But unlike many pattern welded steels, the separate layers are all made from the same alloy.  It must be lightly etched in order to reveal the pattern, but the etching doesn't create, it is there.  It's "faux" Damascus (or Wootz, if you will) in the sense that the cutting edge is not part of the pattern welding but a separate and distinct core between a layer of soft, patterned laminate, on each side.

 

San-mai construction in western style knives means there are fewer failures for the manufacturer.  There are no performance advantages for the user, despite the way many manufacturers advertise.

 

BDL

post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by boar_d_laze View Post

MAC's handles are extremely comfortable.  Perhaps the best western handles made outside of Europe, the accomodate large hands well.

 

 

MAC is stiffer than Masamoto.  If you've used and love a Sabatier carbon chef's you'll love the Masamoto in the same way.  The MAC has an excellent profile too, it's just not quite the same.  I recommend MAC for most people, because they're more sensitive to handles than profiles and want as much stiffness as they can get in a (relatively) thin, Japanese knife. 

 

So, one of the other chefs actually has a Masamoto Gyuto in a 210 I believe. I am thinking that his was purchased before the whole alloy switchover because it lists Cobalt on the back side. I got to handle it and was stunned by the lack of stiffness. So two questions: 1)Are the new alloys any stiffer? 2) Could I expect the 240mm to be stiffer than the 210mm? If not I may be leaning more towards the MAC.

 

MAC SB 105 is a fantastic bread knife.  If it matters, it's what I use.

 

So, turns out that my Chef actually has this knife as well. Granted it has seen heavy use for the past two years and is now essentially useless. But, again I was surprised at the lack of stiffness. I am assuming the Forschner is stiffer?

 

Some people like long slicers while others are mystified by them.  I've always had a 10" slicer in my set, and couldn't imagine being without one at least that long.  But fool around with other peoples' before making an investment.

 

Learning to hold your angles on a steel is no different than holding them on a stone.  Many people have a lot of trouble with the idea that 4 strokes per side on a steel is an absolute maximum, and 2 is almost always better.

 

Compared to a DMT plate, drywall screen is slow and messy.  But it's not only cheaper upfront, it's cheaper over time.  A lifetime supply of screen runs under $20, but the ugly truth is that DMT XXCs wear out eventually.  But it is more convenient.

 

I guess I would be fine with either. I'd rather dedicate the energy to picking a stone set first. Recommendations for both combi stones and three stone set (going on four)? Or better yet, anything I should stay away from.

 

From what I understand, the Wicked Edge is as good as the Edge Pro, more expensive but faster.  Spyderco's Sharpmaker is several steps below. 

 

I had to continually clean up my drool when watching Wicked Edge videos. Giggity. That's gonna have to wait a while though as they are both hefty investments. I'd like to learn by hand first, and I have a couple knifes that I can scratch up if needed. 

 



 

post #7 of 15

Masamoto gyutos are definitely whippy, whether they're labeled "Cobalt" or not.  210s are somewhat stiffer than 240, so that's bad news.  By the way, I'm hearing they didn't switch alloys just labeling after they "discovered" the alloy they were using didn't have cobalt in it.  MACs are as stiff as thinnish  Japanese gyutos get.  Not as stiff as a Euro knife, but stiff enough.  You'll love it.  MAC also has a very good warranty and GREAT customer support.

 

The Forschner bread is not much, if any, stiffer than the MAC.  It is the nature of long, thin to be flexible.  If you hold the knife with a very soft grip, the flex will give you feedback when you wander off course.  Not such a big deal cutting a slice of bread, but you'll appreciate it when splitting a cake.

 

My favorite combi-stone, especially for beginners is the Norton 1K/4K.   Nortons are relatively easy to use and take care of.  The most popular combi is probably the King 800/5K; and a gazillion people have learned on them.  Either is more than adequate.  If you want to start your kit with individual stones worth keeping after you've learned to sharpen:  Beston 500, Bester 1200, and Suehiro Rika (5K).  If money's a big issue, you can hold off on the Beston until you've become consistent with the Rika.  Then, once you've learned to profile on your 500, you can get a finishing stone.  There really isn't much point in talking about them.

 

Depending on what your work life is like, you may well end up keeping a combi in your bag -- just in case. 

 

There are, of course, tons of very good choices when it comes to synthetic water stones.  I use the Beston and Bester, but not the Rika.  My intermediate is a Chosera 3K -- which is very nice but too expensive for you.  The Rika is one of those stones which is both great for a beginner and well worth keeping.  Both the Beston and Bester are a little on the hard side, both require long soaking before using, and both have a few other tricks which make then not the most beginner friendly stones on the planet.  But they're fast, good, reasonably priced and among the few best at their grits at any price.   

 

A four stone kit (five with DMT XXC) won't save you much if anything compared to an Edge Pro or Wicked Edge kit.  And, they have a much flatter learning curve.  If you're seriously considering a tool and jig system, you may want to get one instead of the bench stones.  Unless you get very serious about sharpening, you probably won't ever get better results freehanding.  

 

That's about it,

BDL

post #8 of 15

for what its worth i have a 240mm masamoto gyuto and personally i don't find it "whippy"

 

the 240mm masamoto gyuto is certainly a lot stiffer than the 270mm mac superior bread knife...

 

but i don't have a mac gyuto to compare it to... or very much experience with other gyutos...

 

just saying.

 

PS: my masamoto is the new non-cobalt labeled type

post #9 of 15

Just about any "gyuto" is going to be more flexible than a European or US made counterpart.  That's a consequence of thinness, which confers other benefits.

 

Even at comparable thinness, the MAC Pro yo-gyuto is significantly stiffer than the Masamoto VG series.  I don't know how they do it.  The MAC Superior bread knife (SB 105) which isn't terribly flexible as bread knives that length go, nothing at all like a gyuto and not a good comparison. It won't tell you anything about their Pro series chefs.  And, for one reason and another, the MAC Superior chefs knives are more flexible than the Pros.

 

I recommend MAC Pro gyutos to western users in part because they are one of the stiffest gyutos available, and stiffness is a quality many western users want.  Or, put another way, they really don't like whippy knives.

 

Some other good things about MAC Pro is the handle -- nearly universally liked; the warranty (not quite Henckels, but excellent for a Japanese knife); and their customer support.

 

It's possible to get a stiffer Japanese made knife than a MAC, but to do so you really take a dive in edge qualities, profile, weight and so on. 

 

You should have a knife which suits you, I'm not saying you need to change.  But, if you tuned your technique a little by adapting your grip so as not to hold the knife to tightly (especially with your three back fingers); and controlled your wrist and pinch to make sure the edge comes down square to the board, the Masa's flex won't be as bothersome.  But as I said, the tool should suit you and not the other way around.

 

BDL

post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 

Regarding BDL's comment about managing the Masamoto: I have no issue with the whippiness for regular cutting, in fact I would prefer it in some instances, but since, by volume, this knife will see just as much mincing as slicing the whippiness is a problem. Mincing with a whippy knife sends shivers down me back. 

 

Updated Plan:

 

1) Order a Wicked Edge Pro System (30% off till August 10th) and sharpen every knife I can get my hands on. Also, I figure I will be more likely to entertain a knife that is "harder to sharpen".

 

2) Order a 10.5" Forschner Bread Knife w/ Rosewood Handle (F40040). The slight curvature and price make this perfect as I was really only interested in the MAC because of the profile. I have to grip the bread knife tightly because I am slicing frozen bread in order to achieve clean, even very thin slices. Otherwise my grip is relatively loose.

 

3) Order a couple of Victorinox serrated utility knives

 

4) Order edge guards for my newly sharpened Henckels, so as to cut down on damage during travel (which I do a good bit of w/ my knives)

 

5) Wait till I can feel comfortable settling on one Gyuoto/Chefs. No sense in being impulsive here. The Henckels should hold me over till I can make up my mind. 

 

6) Sell Henckels

 

7) Repeat step 5 for slicer and a couple others.

 

 

Here is an updated list of Gyuto/Chefs that I am considering:

 

MAC Professional 240mm Chefs $170

(2.5mm, 221g, ~125 handle, ??? HRC, VG1)

Pros: Thicker @ 2.5mm while still light, profile, warranty

Cons: potentially short handle

 

Hattori FH 240mm Gyuto w/ Cocobolo Handle $255

(2mm, 210g, ~140mm handle, 60-61 HRC, VG10)

P: rave reviews, killer handle, hard, lightweight

C: potentially whippy

 

Masamoto ST 240mm Gyuto $225

(???mm, ???g, ???mm handle, 58 HRC, High Carbon Chrom-Molybdenum/ Vanadium Stainless Steel)

P:

C: potentially soft and whippy (would love to know thickness and weight if anyone has access to those figures. I am calling JCK tomorrow so he may be able to help me there)

 

Misono Molybdenum Series 240mm $161

(2mm, 230g, ~135mm handle, 58 HRC, High Carbon 13 Chrome Stainless Molybdenum Steel)

P: handle, seemingly good profile

C: potentially whippy and soft

 

Misono UX10 240mm Gyuto $330 ($280 w/ Korin discount)

(2mm, 250g, ~145mm handle, 59-60 HRC, ????? steel)

P: have handled UX10 parers and liked them, pretty hard, one of the meatiest at 250g

C: potentially whippy, handle may be too long

 

Misono 440 Series 240mm Gyuto $225

(???mm, ???g, ???mm handle, ??? HRC, High 16 Chromium and Molybdenum Stainless Steel)

P: 

C: potentially whippy (we have one at work so I just need to play with it more)

 

RyuSen Blazen Series 240mm Gyuto $232

(2.5mm, 231g, ~130mm handle, ??? HRC, 

P: hard, as thick as the MAC and just 10g heavier, profile

C:

 
(2.79mm, 235g, ~127mm handle, 61-63 HRC, SG2 PM Stainless Steel)
P: Dead Sexy, thickest and hardest of the lot without outrageous weight, seemingly nice profile
C: 
 

Hiromoto Gingami No. 3 240mm Gyuto $131

(2mm, 213g, ~130mm handle, 59-60 HRC, G3 Stainless Steel)

P: relatively hard, seemingly nice profile

C: potentially whippy, very light

 

Masahiro Honyaki MV Series 240mm Gyuto $152

(???mm, ???g, ???mm handle, ??? HRC, ??? metal)

P: profile

C:

 

Masahiro MV-H 10" Gyuto/Chefs $190

(???mm, ???g, ???mm handle, ??? HRC, MBS-26 High Carbon Stainless Steel)

P: profile

C:

 

Nenox Nenohi 240mm Gyuto $267

(???mm, ???g, ???mm handle, ??? HRC, ??? metal)

P: ergonomic handle design, I imagine this is a pretty stiff knife?

C:

 

Sugimoto CM Western-Style 240mm Gyuto $184

(???m, ???g, ???mm handle, 58-63 HRC, ??? metal)

P:

C:

 

Kikuicki Gold Gyuto 240mm Gyuto $306

(???m, ???g, ???mm handle, ??? HRC, VG10)

P:

C:

 
If there is a knife I have missed that anyone would recommend I am always open to suggestions.
 
 
 
 
 

Edited by rockDaBoat - 7/24/11 at 4:52pm
post #11 of 15

I don't have experience with most of the knives contemplated; however, if you're open to a wa-handle, I'd suggest for your consideration a Yoshihiro gyuto from Japanese knife imports.  It will need some sharpening...

 

It's a thin knife, but not lazer-thin; it's stiff. It's a lot of knife for the money.  Anyway, that was my most recent choice...  a little flatter profile (i.e., less belly) than the Mac.  Anyway, have a look.  Unless you know you want a yo-handle, that is.

post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wagstaff View Post

I don't have experience with most of the knives contemplated; however, if you're open to a wa-handle, I'd suggest for your consideration a Yoshihiro gyuto from Japanese knife imports.  It will need some sharpening...

 

It's a thin knife, but not lazer-thin; it's stiff. It's a lot of knife for the money.  Anyway, that was my most recent choice...  a little flatter profile (i.e., less belly) than the Mac.  Anyway, have a look.  Unless you know you want a yo-handle, that is.



Thank you for the recommendation. It is not that I am opposed to a wa-gyuto, they are just very unfamiliar. I am more inclined to stick to the yo-handles because they are familiar and I feel like I can interpret them better. Certainly not against them, just would like to handle one and spend some time using it to see what they are all about. Glad you like yours though!

post #13 of 15

Makes sense to me... I figured you might not want a wa-gyuto just because you didn't list any.  But the thin and non-whippy blade I thought worth a mention for your preferences, at least.  And I dunno... really of those you listed, I've only ever spent any time with a Mac Professional. Really nice knife.  I can't compare it with others on your list.

post #14 of 15

 

 

MAC Professional 240mm Chefs $170

(2.5mm, 221g, ~125 handle, ??? HRC, VG1)

Pros: Thicker @ 2.5mm while still light, profile, warranty

Cons: potentially short handle

 

Potentially short handle?  Where did you hear that?  Oh... from the 21cm knife.  Don't worry, the 24's is bigger, and in fact MAC handles are on the roomy side for Japanese made chefs knives.  They are also really fantastic as those things go.  The Japanese manufacturer who comes closest in terms of handles is Misono.  Thickness is not really a pro, except that you're looking for stiffness and it's definitely a contributor.  Also, take thickness dimensions with a grain of salt, just like Rockwell C numbers. 

 

While on the subject of MAC, my SB105 (bread) is considerably stiffer than my 8" Henckels.  Bread knives should be flexible -- nature of the beast.

 

Hattori FH 240mm Gyuto w/ Cocobolo Handle $255

(2mm, 210g, ~140mm handle, 60-61 HRC, VG10)

P: rave reviews, killer handle, hard, lightweight

C: potentially whippy

 

Ahh, the "Forum Knife."  I'm not a huge fan of VG-10, at least as its usually executed, but the FH is an exception.  It's as good as VG-10 gets.  If you find the Masamoto whippy, so you'll find the FH.  Beautiful though.

 

Masamoto ST 240mm Gyuto $225

(???mm, ???g, ???mm handle, 58 HRC, High Carbon Chrom-Molybdenum/ Vanadium Stainless Steel)

P:

C: potentially soft and whippy (would love to know thickness and weight if anyone has access to those figures. I am calling JCK tomorrow so he may be able to help me there)

 

Masamotos tend to be very similar in terms of feel.  I'm not super familiar with the ST, but as I recall the only real distinction between it and the VG is price.  My impression was that the different alloys didn't make much practical difference.  Most high end steels are Chrome-Moly-Vanadium to one extent or another, so that's not really information so much as it is marketing.  Masamoto can be kind of cagey about alloy identities, but at a (good) guess, the ST is one of the high quality "Swedish" steels... maybe.

 

Misono Molybdenum Series 240mm $161

(2mm, 230g, ~135mm handle, 58 HRC, High Carbon 13 Chrome Stainless Molybdenum Steel)

P: handle, seemingly good profile

C: potentially whippy and soft

 

Good handle, good profile.  Moly used to be Misono's entry level, quality knife.  Well, it still is but they raised prices and it's not priced "entry"  anymore.  "13 Chrome" means there's 13% chromium (by weight) in the alloy, which means that it's technically "stainless."  Reciprocally "stainless" is a technical term, and doesn't mean that it will never, ever stain no matter what, only that the alloy is contains 13% chromium, at minimum.  Again, the way they identify the alloy doesn't really tell you much you didn't already know going in.  The 58 Rockwell score might be a bit optimistic, but manufacturer's hardness numbers often are. Overall a good enough knife but not the bargain it once was.  
 

Misono UX10 240mm Gyuto $330 ($280 w/ Korin discount)

 

P: have handled UX10 parers and liked them, pretty hard, one of the meatiest at 250g

C: potentially whippy, handle may be too long

 
At one time UX10s were considered the creme de la creme, but no longer.  They're not meaty, they're very streamlined which makes them something of a bear to handle if your grip isn't perfectly suited to such a low knife.  Very, very comfortable handles.  Perhaps Misono's best -- and all Misonos are very good.  The styling was once universally revered, but now seems controversial.  In my opinion, people make too big a deal out a ferrule.  I don't particularly mind that the damn thing is nearly as low as a slicer, but don't particularly like the way the profile feels on the board either.  It's no Sabatier.
 
UX10s are (presumably) 19C27 taken to a fairly high hardness.  It's a very hard AND very tough steel, and the knives have developed a reputation of being difficult to sharpen.  In my opinion and limited experience they're not that bad, but people I really respect tell me I'm wrong.  You're probably better going with the weight of opinion, rather than trusting mine on this.  Certainly people who aren't already very good sharpeners have lots of trouble -- especially profiling.
 
An idea who time has passed.  Overhyped, overpriced and can't recommend it.
 

Misono 440 Series 240mm Gyuto $225

(???mm, ???g, ???mm handle, ??? HRC, High 16 Chromium and Molybdenum Stainless Steel)

P: 

C: potentially whippy (we have one at work so I just need to play with it more)

 

Yet another Misono.  Better F&F than the Moly, but otherwise quite similar.

 

Do you like 440?  I don't particularly.  440C is actually a whole family of alloys. the 440 uses one of them.  440C was a landmark improvement in stainless a few (quite a few) years ago, but has been superceded by newer, sexier metals -- many of which are better alloys.  All in all a nice knife -- Misonos usually are -- but not enough better than the Moly to justify the extra $60.

 

RyuSen Blazen Series 240mm Gyuto $232

(2.5mm, 231g, ~130mm handle, ??? HRC, 

P: hard, as thick as the MAC and just 10g heavier, profile

C:

 

(2.79mm, 235g, ~127mm handle, 61-63 HRC, SG2 PM Stainless Steel)
P: Dead Sexy, thickest and hardest of the lot without outrageous weight, seemingly nice profile
C:
 
Decent but unexciting profile.  Nowhere close to a Masamoto, and not as good as MAC or Misono, either.  Nice enough knife if you can live with san-mai.  The laminated construction makes the knives fairly stiff.  The core for either is a metallurgical powder, with hardness pushed way up the C scale.  Taken as numbers, that seems impressive, but you really don't get that much benefit.  However often you currently sharpen, will very likely be how often you continue to sharpen; and a Blazen won't end up much if any sharper at the end of the shift.  The san-mai construction does make the knife stiffer.  There were a lot of issues with the originals, including chipping and badly fitting sayas.  If you're going with one of these, you want the Bu Ry Zen from Epicurean Edge.  A more expensive knife, but the problems were addressed and solved.  Worth the extra money. 
 
 

Hiromoto Gingami No. 3 240mm Gyuto $131

(2mm, 213g, ~130mm handle, 59-60 HRC, G3 Stainless Steel)

P: relatively hard, seemingly nice profile

C: potentially whippy, very light

 

Whippy?  Yes, a bit.  G3 steel can be very good, but more often is adequate.  In the case of this knife it's adequate.  The handles are narrow and on the short side.  The profile is (surprise) adequate, but nothing to write home about.  58 is probably a fairer Rockwell number than 59 or 60.  While it has quite decent edge properties, edge holding is nothing like what you'd expect from G3 at 60.  Typical of Hiromoto, F&F ranges from good to indifferent depending on the knife.  Same for the quality of the factory edge.  Far more bang for the buck than the AS (owned four of those) as far as I'm concerned, but it's the AS which generates all the enthusiasm and loyalty.  The G3 is a good, first, high-quality knife at an attractive price -- if you can live with the smallish handles. 

 

The MAC Pro is a much better choice for you.

 

Masahiro Honyaki MV Series 240mm Gyuto $152

(???mm, ???g, ???mm handle, ??? HRC, ??? metal)

P: profile

C:

 

Don't know either Masahiro well enough to venture an opinion.  They have a rep for value.  They're most often compared to Shuns, which doesn't impress -- but so what?

 

Masahiro MV-H 10" Gyuto/Chefs $190

(???mm, ???g, ???mm handle, ??? HRC, MBS-26 High Carbon Stainless Steel)

P: profile

C:

 

Nenox Nenohi 240mm Gyuto $267

(???mm, ???g, ???mm handle, ??? HRC, ??? metal)

P: ergonomic handle design, I imagine this is a pretty stiff knife?

C:

 

Nenox is Nenohi's name for their western style, stainless knives.  They have two lines.  Judging by the price, I'd say you're referring to the G series and shopping at the Knife Merchant. 

 

The handles are beautiful, but some people find the style very uncomfortable.  Stiffness is average for a Japanese knife, about the same as the Masamoto -- maybe a touch stiffer.  Nenohi is another outfit which won't say what type of alloy they're using, but (supposedly) the G series used to be VG-1 and are now VG-10.  Hardness is around 59.  Excellent profile.

 

Sugimoto CM Western-Style 240mm Gyuto $184

(???m, ???g, ???mm handle, 58-63 HRC, ??? metal)

P:

C:

 
No opinion. 
 

Kikuicki Gold Gyuto 240mm Gyuto $306

(???m, ???g, ???mm handle, ??? HRC, VG10)

P:

C:

 

Way over priced.

 
If there is a knife I have missed that anyone would recommend I am always open to suggestions.

 

I can actually think of several. but...  Since you've self-evidently spent a lot of time on the Chef Knives to Go website already, why not give Mark a call?  He's very good at matching knives to customers.  

 

I still recommend the MAC Pro MBK-95 as your first choice, and wouldn't be surprised if Mark doesn't suggest the Kikuichi ITK.  Those would be my top two for you, considering what I know about your 'druthers.

 

BDL

Edited by boar_d_laze - 7/25/11 at 3:34pm
post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 

So to update, I went with the Masamoto VG 240mm Gyuto w/ Saya, Tojiro 270mm ITK Bread Knife w/ Wusthof 10" Blade Guard, and Messermeister Shears. Also picked up a Wicked Edge Pro while they were on sale and that should be here in a month and a half or so. I'm hoping that will work out well cause the Shun is loosing its edge and by the time the Masamoto is in the same position it should be here. Also grabbed a DMT 12" Ceramic Steel, as well as a couple Furi 4" Paring (yes the Rachel Ray edition) and Zyliss 4" Serrated Utility knives. Will update once everything is here and I get a feel for it.


Edited by rockDaBoat - 8/15/11 at 2:22pm
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