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First good knife and stone

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

I know I know threads like this are posted practically every hour, but after reading through threads and lurking for a while I still feel like I need input.

 

I plan to buy a serious chef's knife and at least one good sharpening stone to go with it. I'll be getting a honing steel also, but I've noticed that Idahone comes up a lot so will likely get that.

 

For the knife I would probably like something in the 8" length. I want a western style chef's knife (gyuto?), not  a santoku. I'm not exactly clear on what material I should get (Stainless steel or carbon?), or what the differences are between say japanese and german made knives are. My budget is $250 plus, but i'm not the ferrari type i'm the more value for the money type. I do realize that having something of significantly higher quality sometimes does cost extra money. I'll be slicing vegetables mostly with some meat work. I'll do heavy work such as chopping through bone, etc. with one of my current knives. I would like to not have to sharpen the knife more than maybe once a month or once every couple of months.

 

For the stone I plan to do freehand sharpening. I have some freehand experience, but not much. I'd like to get a stone that get's the knife fairly sharp and can also work at low level "defects" (i'm gueesing a JIS 1000 from what i've read). I'll get a more fine grit stone when my sharpening skills have improved. My budget is maybe $100 for a stone.

 

That's all the requirements I can think of for now, but i'm sure i've left vital information out so please let me know.

 

Thanks,

 

Curtis

post #2 of 14

I'll take a stab at this.  If you're getting a gyuto, you're getting a Japanese made knife, so I'm not sure where your question comes in about German vs. Japanese.  Still, for starters: most gyutos are made with a "French" profile; most German knives have a "German" profile.  The former has less belly -- or a less dramatic curve up to the tip, or are "flatter" (not flat).  Take your pick of which of those three distinctions are clearest to you, because I'm trying to say the same thing three different ways. Look for our very own Boar D. Laze's post making all this clearer and more accurate, here:  http://www.cheftalk.com/forum/thread/62065/french-and-german-chef-s-knives-profiles-in-cutting . Generally German knives will have guaranteed wonderful fit and finish and will be heavier (which some people like, most don't if they spend time using the knife and not just holding it for a moment when making a purchasing decision).

 

Generally German steels are softer, too.  They won't take as steep an edge (which means less sharp), they're thicker, which means they wont' "feel" as sharp, but they are very robust.  They respond well to steeling, as soft steel may usually do.  (Gross generalization maybe).  They won't keep an edge as well as a Japanese knife.

 

Carbon knives will be easier to sharpen, and therefore sharper.  In general.  On the other hand, they take more care (must be toweled dry frequently in order to prevent rust, and must have any rust attended to quickly).  They may impart some flavor to food, which is a bad thing and may impart some color, too; they develop a patina which mitigates this almost 100% after a while, but that may need to be re-built after sharpening or scrubbing.  Cheaper carbon knives will smell bad when coming up against lemons or onions or sweet potatoes, too.

 

Also, there are very low stain carbons which won't have these problems.  And these "problems" are really not bad at all if you attend to your knife.  Takes more immediate care and feeding.

 

Stainless takes similar care, but is not so demanding as to when you do it.  Like, it's ok to leave the knife wet for 10 minutes.  Carbon in general feels better on the stone when you sharpen freehand (goes along with "easier to sharpen").

 

Do you need recommendations for the "usual suspects" as to knives to consider? There are lots of questions to ask about carbon vs stainless, about whether you have a preference in handles (western = "yo" or Japanese = "wa" handles), about how important stiffness vs flexibility is to you, about particular kinds of handles within your preference for wa- vs yo-.  There are also several threads that give this sort of advice once you decide which preference you have and or figure out that some things don't matter to you.  (I didn't even get into preference in terms of appearance -- damascus, kurochi... that sort of thing).

 

Do you have a good cutting board? Some of the lesser ones will dull a knife very quickly (don't ever use  a glass cutting board! For some reason that's not 100% obvious to everyone. End-grain hardwoods will be nicer to your edge than Edge-grain or synthetic materials or something so obviously bad as granite or glass).

 

My first stone was a combo-stone in 1000 and 4000 from JCK, and I still think it's a good first stone.  If not buying a combo stone, it depends... but you want something between 1000 and 2000 grit in a waterstone.  I've used a 2000 that cut faster than my 1000... often you'll hear a recommendation for the 12000 Bester. At its price point its probably a great choice (probably better than my JCK 1000, not as good as the Gesshin 2000...)  For $100 you can get a very good 1000 or 1200 grit stone.  You could spend less and the remainder toward a Suehiro stone holder.

 

As my sharpening-teacher said, though, it ends up being more about your ability to hold an angle than about the stone itself.  There are differences... but there are bigger differences that matter more early on in skill levels.

 

Get a stone holder with a tray, too; or a "sink bridge" or something to help you keep a neat work space with water stones.  Particularly if it's a small work space, this matters a lot.

 

I'll throw out some brand names -- in stainless, look at the Mac gyuto, the Masamoto VG (better profile, less stiff, more expensive than the Mac).  And look at  the Fujiwara FKM -- which I've never used, but seems to be a strong recommendation as an entry J-knife these days.

 

The JCK CarboNext -- a low-stain carbon.  It won't be sharpened well, even if you pay for the "extra sharp" fee.  Or mine wasn't.  But it's a very thin bladed western handled knife (not "laser" thin, mind you, but it'll easily get sharper than any German knife you may have experienced).  It's not stainless, but it's very forgiving of a carbon and won't impart a flavor to foods.   Actually mine has an overgrind issue, so not altogether happy with the "fit" (or is it "finish"?).  Actually the finish in other regards is good.

 

Carbon - you could go with a French knife, a Sabatier (Thiers-Issard, or K-Sabatier) -- there are thinner Japanese knives, but these are not thick by any means, they have the profile that defines "French profile" if that's what you want, they're inexpensive relative to anything else this good.

 

It only gets 1000x more complicated from there.  But I don't want to keep shooting in the dark about what your preferences might be....

 

My own first good knives were the Sab carbons; I also have a couple of German knives -- one of which is my big hacker, a Wusthof Classic 10" chef's); I got the CarboNext as a first J-knife, which at its price point is still a good recommendation, though the overgrind makes me a bit wary; I also got a Yoshihiro stainless, as a first wa-  handled knife, and once sharpened it's been a joy to use.  I don't have a budget for some of the still more highly recommended knives you may run into.... but I share my trajectory thus far in order to partly make recommendations (with way too little info to do that responsibly) but mostly just to show where my own prejudices have led me.

 

Anyway... tell us more what you want.  I'm sure others will be around to ask still more specific/better questions, to help you think through your purchasing decisions.

 

 


Edited by Wagstaff - 8/13/11 at 6:34am
post #3 of 14

+1

 

BDL

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post #4 of 14

Hi Curtis, again --

 

in some cases more specific, and certainly less wordy, you'll get some information relevant to your opening questions on this very recent thread, too: http://www.cheftalk.com/forum/thread/66966/new-line-cook-needs-knife-help-i-know-this-topic-has-been-covered-before#post_359795  (at this moment it's just a few posts down on this forum).

post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks Wagstaff. After reading the link I definitely want a French profile and after looking at various gyuto's I feel the profile would suit me better. Now let me answer a few of your questions:

 

-I have a edge grain boos block that I'll be using and will using a plastic board when cutting meats.

-I can stand washing and drying my knife right after it has been used as it really doesn't take long and is worth the time. I will do this with any knife I get no mater the material.

-I'm not sure if I want a wa or yo handle. I only have experience with yo handles and so I'm a bit wary to switch to something new until I get a better handle on my knife skills.

-Speaking of knife skills, I think there is a lot of room for improvement. I've never been taught how to hold a knife so if there are some good web resources on this I would very much appreciate the links.

-The finish/appearance of the blade doesn't matter to me. Of course it's nice for it to look cool, but it's not really gonna matter unless i'm comparing two knives in the same price range which perform about the same. Performance is always number one.

-I will say that i'm leaning towards a stainless knife right now as I think it may be a more forgiving material for a person new to higher end knives. I think a few years down the line when I've become more proficient at both knife handling and sharpening I'll get a nice carbon knife.

 

Now for some questions of my own:

-Is it really worth it to get a $40 stone holder vs. a say $15 or $20 one?

-What sink bridge would you recommend? This would be an alternative to a regular stone holder correct? NOT used in conjunction with a stone holder?

- Will a water stone work for both stainless and carbon knives?

-I mentioned the Idahone in my post, but i'm not clear on WHICH steel to get from them.

 

Thanks for the help!

 

-Curtis

post #6 of 14

-I have a edge grain boos block that I'll be using and will using a plastic board when cutting meats.

 

Plastic is tough on good edges.  It's easier to clean and disinfect a board than to sharpen out a chip.

 

-I can stand washing and drying my knife right after it has been used as it really doesn't take long and is worth the time. I will do this with any knife I get no mater the material.

 

That's good.

 

-I'm not sure if I want a wa or yo handle. I only have experience with yo handles and so I'm a bit wary to switch to something new until I get a better handle on my knife skills.

 

Not a bad idea.  The better your skills the less likely it is to matter.  Not a universal truth, though.

 

-Speaking of knife skills, I think there is a lot of room for improvement. I've never been taught how to hold a knife so if there are some good web resources on this I would very much appreciate the links. 

 

Try this.

 

-The finish/appearance of the blade doesn't matter to me. Of course it's nice for it to look cool, but it's not really gonna matter unless i'm comparing two knives in the same price range which perform about the same. Performance is always number one.

 

F&F can be a comfort issue as well.

 

-I will say that i'm leaning towards a stainless knife right now as I think it may be a more forgiving material for a person new to higher end knives. I think a few years down the line when I've become more proficient at both knife handling and sharpening I'll get a nice carbon knife.

 

Makes sense unless you understand the subject.  Compared to most stainless, most carbons will give you better edge qualities for your dollars.  The tradeoff is carbon's neediness.  It's not so much that it requires extra care, but when it needs care it needs it NOW.  Or else you'll have to give it lots of extra care.  I understood you to say you had good rinsing and wiping habits -- that's pretty much all you need.  That isn't to say stainless isn't the most practical choice for you.  And bear in mind, carbon's advantage in edge quality, even dollar for dollar, isn't what it used to be. 

 

If you narrow your list down to two knives -- one carbon and the other stainless -- then worry about it.

 

Now for some questions of my own:

 

Yes?

 

-Is it really worth it to get a $40 stone holder vs. a say $15 or $20 one?

 

Probably not.  Assuming arguendo the $40 holder really is a little better than the $20 holder -- how often will you be sharpening anyway?

 

-What sink bridge would you recommend? This would be an alternative to a regular stone holder correct? NOT used in conjunction with a stone holder?

 

Bridges usually come with a built-in holder of some sort, so those certainly are alternatives.  If you get a bridge, make sure it fits your sink.  Unless you're really pressed for counter space, they aren't worth the time and trouble.  I stabilize my water stones on a piece of non-skid drawer liner.  Lots of guys use towels.  The little DMT mat works very well.

 

-Will a water stone work for both stainless and carbon knives?

 

Mostly yes.  There are a few stones which really favor one type of steel over another, but there's no need to burn that bridge yet.

 

-I mentioned the Idahone in my post, but i'm not clear on WHICH steel to get from them.

 

You want the Idahone "fine ceramic," aka the rod CKTG calls the "Idahone 1200."  If your longest knife is 8" get the 10" hone.  Otherwise get the 12" rod. 

 

BDL

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post #7 of 14

Stone holders are not that "important" in the big picture, but may be for convenience.  At least, my choice was a stone holder which came with a tray to catch the swarf.  There's a tiny bit of splashing maybe, but it's so much less messy that it means I don't feel like I have to put off sharpening till I'm in the mood to rig other methods of collecting the run-off or just willing to clean up a mess.

 

Before that I was willing to just make a mess of a tile countertop; I also tried setting the knife on a small mat on a cookie sheet, which works fine for collecting any mess, too, but it just wasn't stable enough.  I'm sure more work could be put into that (like a larger drawer-mat mat under the cookie sheet might work just fine).

 

The stone holder also raises the stone a bit and can be used to angle it if you like. On the other hand, BDL is fine without the extra expense of it, and yes the stone can be kept stable enough.  It's not like you should be shoving it around with pressure anyway. 

 

I haven't used a sink bridge, just seen them on CKTG's site.  I don't like the fact that you're stuck with the height of a sink, but depending on your height and the height of the sink, this may not be an issue. It's just less flexible.  But it sure seems to make clean-up easy.  I think the more expensive (too expensive?) Tojiro has reviews saying it's more stable than the less expensive Naniwa.  You don't want something that's flexing too much. 

 

I've also sharpened on another sort of bridge that Jon at Japanese Knife Imports uses over a cambro clear food pan.  That's a very elegant and neat set-up too, but you also need a stone holder... and it made the whole set up a little too tall for me given the table height available.  (Jon, who is not taller than I, had no such problem with the height though). 

 

You can see a video of the sink bridge at CKTG, you can see videos of the food tray/bridge/stone holder at Japanese Knife imports.  For me just the Suehiro holder that comes with the small white tray seemed most versatile.  And most transportable if I'm sharpening in a friend's kitchen (which may come up just because I'm talking friends into letting me sharpen their knives just for the practice of it).  I think you can pretty much tell by looking whether these are enough of an added convenience to justify the expense.  I think making sharpening more convenient will make you more likely to do it.

 

Ok, I'm typing too much on what might have been the smallest of your questions.  And yes, every other aspect of your choices is more important, maybe. If the little freehand sharpening experience you already have is with water stones, then you know enough to really make my words unncessary.  If not, then just consider  how important convenience is to you, and how convenient your sharpening-area is without the extra thingamajigs.

post #8 of 14

A wet rag or even several sheets of wet papertowel will do if you have a countertop that is of a suitable height and position to sharpen on.  Buy the other stuff only if you feel that this is inadequate and put your money towards the best knife you can afford instead.

post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 

I think I have the materials on hand to put together a decent sharpening workspace so I'll probably forgo the stone holders etc. right now. I've been browsing around looking at knives and stones and have found a few options. Even so, the market is extremely daunting with so many manufacturers and, lengths, materials, etc. Should I avoid any of the following or gravitate to any specific one based on performance?

 

Carbon:

Hiromoto Gyuto 240mm http://www.chefknivestogo.com/higykn24.html

Misono #113 Gyuto 240mm http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/SwedenSteelSeries.html

Kagayaki KC-6 Gyuto 240mm http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/KAGAYAKICarboNextSeries.html

 

Stainless:

Masamoto Gyuto 240mm http://www.chefknivestogo.com/masamoto-chef-knife.html

Misono 440 series Gyuto 240mm http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/440Series.html

Hattori FH-7 Gyuto 240mm http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/HattoriForumHighEndChefsKnives.html

 

Water stones:

JCK 1000/4000 Combo stone http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/WhetStonesForSale.html

Chosera 1000 stone http://www.chefknivestogo.com/nach10grwast.html

Naniwa 1000 super stone http://www.chefknivestogo.com/superstone.html

Bester 1200 stone http://www.chefknivestogo.com/bester1200.html

 

Also I'm curious as to how everyone stores their knives? In a block? On a magnetic rack? With edge guards?

 

Thanks for all the help,

 

Curtis

post #10 of 14

Also just maybe the opposite of what your thought was on stainless vs. carbon... In general carbon will be easier to sharpen and I think (as a beginner, still) easier to learn on.  I've sharpened both and developed a basic confidence over the course of a long-afternoon's lesson. So I could be wrong.  But so far I think the carbon wins as the object on which to improve sharpening skills.  This in addition to it taking a generally better edge anyway.  (Retaining a better edge is a different question... but edge retention is also maybe not that big a deal for a home cook who wants to practice sharpening skills).

 

But if your habits are good as you say they already are, I don't think carbon in any way requires more advanced knife-skills.  And it will likely be a bit easier to sharpen, and a bit better to learn sharpening with if you're still finding your way on the stones.

 

Last 2 knives I bought were stainless, by the way, but that's because of multiple considerations apart from what you've expressed so far.

 

You may find stainless suits  you better for various reasons, but I don't think "knife skills" is on that list; and I think you've described your care-and-feeding habits as quite sufficient to carbon.

 

By the way, I just saw some videos from a guy who, instead of a stone-holder, used an 89-cent brick with a thick-ish towel over and under to keep the stone and also collect the swarf. Looked to be very functional, and with the exception of adding a towel or two to your laundry, as good a solution as any.  Certainly much cheaper than the stone-holder!

 

 


Edited by Wagstaff - 8/15/11 at 8:03am
post #11 of 14

Kagayaki is kind of halfway between carbon and stainless and a very good value.

 

Chosera is in my opinion too expensive for what it does.  If you really have lots of money to throw away, or if you are someone in whose life the 10-20 minute difference in sharpening time really does make a difference, knock yourself out.  But I would go with the Bester 1200 if I were you.  You can add a finishing stone later.

 

If you want a rougher stone, synthetic stones in the 250-800 range can be had in Chinatown for $10 or less.  But a good 1200 stone should be adequate.  You just need to figure out flattening -- counter top with 120 sandpaper does a decent job.

 

I store my stainless in blocks and my carbons in sayas.

post #12 of 14

Hiromoto Gyuto 240mm http://www.chefknivestogo.com/higykn24.html  It's not exactly a carbon knife; but not exactly not.  Rather it's a three layer laminate; and the middle layer -- the one that gets the edge -- is a prestige Hitachi carbon steel called Aogami Super (AS).  A lot of people really, really like these.  Hiromoto excels at bringing customers prestige alloys in attractive packages, and the AS is no exception.  I had four, two of them gyutos, and one a 240 (for my wife).  However, I am not one of its admirers.  I expected a lot more.  Indifferent profile, narrow handle, good edge qualities -- although nowhere near spectacular as some of its proponents claim.

 

Misono #113 Gyuto 240mm http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/SwedenSteelSeries.html -- Excellent in every respect, but a minor one.  As good in the hand and on the board as a Masamoto HC -- and that's saying something.  The dragon engraving makes it a good looker.  There's a minor downside, though.  As carbons go, the Misono Sweden is more reactive than most.  You can't put off taking care of it, or you'll be left with a lot of work, and even forcing a patina won't prevent the need for regular maintenance. 

 

Kagayaki KC-6 Gyuto 240mm http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/KAGAYAKICarboNextSeries.html -- Not "carbon" at all, it's got too much chrome in the alloy for that name.  More properly it's either a "semi-stainless" or a "stain-resistant."  In most important ways you'd have to say the CarboNext alloy is more like stainless than carbon.  It's the current darling of the "bang for the buck" set in the knife forums.   A good all around knife, with three problems which may or may not be problems for you.  First, even if you pay JCK for their special sharpening service, the knife will not arrive sharp and that's something you'll have to take care of yourself.  Second, another shortish, narrow handle.  Third, F&F aren't exactly German.  Quite a value if you can sharpen yourself (or pay or con someone into doing it for you), and don't mind a skimpy handle. 

 

Masamoto Gyuto 240mm http://www.chefknivestogo.com/masamoto-chef-knife.html  -- Very nice knife.  Some westerners find it a bit "whippy."  It's been around for a while and has lost a lot of its trendiness -- especially since it's become clear that it's not made from VG-10.  The profile is as perfect as a Sabatier.  Good handle, very good edge characteristics.  Up until last year there was some problem with handle fitting and F&F.  My understanding is that Masamoto's solved the problem, but if the Masa VG is your choice, make sure you tell the seller you want him to check for a good fitting handle and a well finished knife.  There are lots of good reasons why Masamoto is THE Japanese professional's first choice.  If I were buying a stainless yo-gyuto in the price range, it would be mine too.

 

The MAC Pro, a knife not on your list, is similarly priced to the Masamoto VG, and well worth consideration.  The MAC and Masamoto have slightly different strengths and weaknesses, but are  the in the same class.  The Masamoto is thinner and has a slightly better profile; the MAC is stiffer, has a better handle, better F&F, a very good warranty, and excellent U.S. support.  Edge taking and holding qualities are very similar; I'm pretty sure (but don't know for certain) that they're made of the same alloy -- VG1.  Although within that class of knives I'd choose a Masamoto for myself, MAC Pro is the stainless yo-gyuto I most often recommend. 

 

Misono 440 series Gyuto 240mm http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/440Series.html -- Overpriced.  Don't bother.  If you really want a stainless Misono, get the Moly and save yourself a bunch. 

 

Hattori FH-7 Gyuto 240mm http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/HattoriForumHighEndChefsKnives.html  The very best of the VG-10 yo-gyutos.  Even though every one and his grandmother just adores VG-10, it is not without some serious problems.  Somehow, in the FH Hattori has produced a thin, "monosteel" knife without any particular tendency to chip, and which can take a very nice edge without shredding.  It's not uncommon to overvalue the supposed characteristics of one alloy vs another.  Far more depends on how the maker hardens and profiles, and just as much depends on the end user/sharpener.  Yes, the FH is very attractive, and that counts.  But don't let its good looks blind you to its homelier virtues.  It's a very comfortable, very agile and very good knife, and is reasonably durable.  I happen to like it a lot; but think it's too expensive for what it is.  If you're going to drop FH change, you can do better.  You might want to look into the Kikuichi TKC.

 

JCK 1000/4000 Combo stone http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/WhetStonesForSale.html -- OK, but nothing to write home about.  A King combi is cheaper and just as good.  The Norton 1K/4K is better.  Nortons don't get as much attention from knife people as they should.

 

Chosera 1000 stone http://www.chefknivestogo.com/nach10grwast.html  -- Fast, fine scratch pattern[ only takes 10 minutes of soaking before it's ready to go; good feedback.  Excellent stone but waaaaaaaaay overpriced.  I currently have a Chosera 3000 in my kit, use it regularly, like it fine, but I got mine at a huge discount and don't recommend anyone go out and pay retail.

 

Naniwa 1000 super stone http://www.chefknivestogo.com/superstone.html -- Very soft which makes for some issues in use and maintenance.  The thin ones which come pre-mounted are good beginners stones in that they'll darn well teach you to hold an handle (sharpeningsupplies.com), and they're cheap.  I used to recommend them a lot.  But the 1" unmounted stones are not a good first-timer's choice.   SS are a really mixed bag -- great stones but a pain to use. I've had four or five Naniwa SS stones over the years, was enthusiastic, am currently ambivalent; and will be replacing my last one (an 8000) this week.  

 

Bester 1200 stone http://www.chefknivestogo.com/bester1200.html -- One of the very best stones at this grit level.  Not quite as fast as the Chosera, its scratch isn't quite as fine; and it requires protracted soaking (an hour to get decent, but more is better).  Very hard, but still very good feedback.  I can't put the reasons into words, but even if the price were the same I'd take the Bester over the Chosera -- it might just be my particular knives.  As you can gather I use one, and consider it the keystone of my water stones kit.

 

You either want a combi stone to start -- or two stones on the way to an eventual three or four stone set.  If you do go individual stones, the first stone should be in the 1K neighborhood, and the second between 4K and 6K.  Once you've learned to draw a burr and deburr on the 1K, you'll move up to the finer grit stone and refine the same techniques -- and not coincidentally bring out very high performing edges.  Once you're consistent, you can think about "profiling" and "thinning" -- things you have to do at least once a year -- with a coarse stone.  But it's not something you want to jump into, coarse stones have consequences.  

 

BDL


Edited by boar_d_laze - 8/16/11 at 12:25am
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post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 

BDL,

 

You seemed to have made it easier after a first read of your post, but now I'm having trouble again! lol.gif

 

First, I like the idea of the Masamoto, but the handle problems have me worried. Second, the Misono sounds like it would be nice, but i'm not sure how dramatic the upkeep is going to be. After reading your comments I almost feel like using the knife period is going to rust it. The Misono is also more expensive. Does it's performance overshadow the Masamoto by enough to justify the price and upkeep differences? Like mentioned earlier carbon will be easier for to sharpen so I think the Misono would help me hone my skills in that respect, and possibly further refine my general knife care.

 

Finally what stone should I look for in the 4K to 6K range that will be bang for the buck?

 

Thanks for your time!

 

-Curtis

post #14 of 14

The Misono Sweden and Masamoto VG are very hard knives to compare, because they're both so good and so different.

 

A lot of people make a big deal about the edge taking and holding differences between carbon and stainless; but unless you're a very, very good sharpener it's probably not something you'll really notice between these two knives.  The Misono will feel a little better on the stones, but it's unlikely you'll be able to get it much sharpener.  The Misono will stay a little sharper a little longer -- but let's not overstate that either.  If you're a home cook who sharpens every two months, you'll still sharpen every two months with either knives; and neither knife will change a pro's schedule either.

 

Please don't worry too much about the Masamoto's old F&F problems.  As I said, that's apparently been resolved -- and even if the occasional bogus knife gets through to the retailer, all the good retailers will choose a good knife for you from their stock.  But you do have to ask.

 

I like the Masamoto's feel on the board better than the Misono's but that's a very personal thing.  My sharpening skills are good enough to derive some extra benefit from the Misono; I've used a lot of carbon knives for a long time -- and am so used to caring for carbon, that there's no "extra" to it; I slightly prefer the Misono's handle, and I really like the Misono's engraved dragon, and if I had to choose it would still be very tough but I'd probably go for the Misono.  But (a) that's me; (b) there's no reason to restrict the choice to two knives; and (c) with these two we're comparing apples and oranges.  Dragon aside, I think the Masamoto HC (Masamoto's top, carbon, "yo" line) gyuto is a better knife than the Misono Sweden.

 

To my mind, the real competition for the Masamoto VG is the MAC Pro.  As already said, I personally like the VG, but think the Pro is the better choice for most people. 

 

If you can stretch your budget a little, you could get a semi-stainless Kikuichi TKC. 

 

BDL

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