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advice please - first gyuto

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
After spending hours reading posts on this site, knife forum and others, I've educated myself about the market but can't decide which gyuto makes sense.

I'm a home cook (big family so lots of cooking but obviously nothing like the wear on a knife of a pro). I have good knife skills (use pinch grip, keep blade square to cutting surface,etc). I take care of my knives but don't sharpen knives myself. (I plan to learn to use a whetstone but haven't yet!). I am not a big person so favor 8"/210 mm. And I am a bit of a basher - smashing garlic with knife, etc. I've been cooking with wushofs for 20 yrs and they're heavy and a bit clunky and I have been covetting some Japanese cutlery!

Here are my contenders (all stainless - I can't cope w/carbon upkeep):

Misono, hattori (forum), mac pro, mac ultimate, blazen (ee)

Thanks in advance for your insights!
post #2 of 8

what about Masamoto VG or Togiharu G1? They're my current favourites....


plus i would suggest getting a 240mm... you'll get used to the extra size very quickly and find that when you want a smaller knife you are fine just using a smaller part of the bigger blade. if that makes sense.

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the suggestions. why do the 2 you recommend have over, say the hattori?
How are they re: edge-retention? And how delicate are they? As I said, I try to be careful with my knives but I'd hate to chip an edge as I'm getting used to the thinner geometry.
Good thought re: 240 mm.

and what are your thoughts re kikuichi tkc?
post #4 of 8

Togiharu is Korin's house label.  The G-1 is their VG-10 offering.  It used to be a pretty good deal, but since the last price raise or two, not so much.  It's not horrible but not great.  It's got a reasonably good profile and is reasonably thin.  The handle's a little skimpy, and the alloy a little chippy.  Fit and finish is tolerable, but nothing to write home about.  Overall, it's got nothing going for it the Kagayaki VG-10 doesn't also have, it just costs more.


As long as we're on the subject of Kagayaki, you might want to check the offerings at JCK.  Kagayaki is their house label in the same way Togiharu is Korin's.  The VG-10 is a pretty nice knife at a pretty good price, while the CarboNext is getting some very hot buzz.  There's a knock on the CarboNext though, and that is that JCK does not seem able to ship them anywhere near sharp.  That means the onus of "opening the knife" (creating the first real profile and giving the knife it's first real sharpening) falls on the buyer's shoulders.  Note that JCK offers "special sharpening," but according to all accounts so far the quality is horrible. 


To the extent there is one, Masamoto is THE brand for Japanese culinary professionals.  Like all Masamoto gyutos the VG has an exceptional and very Sabatier like profile.  The knife is thin without being too thin.  Compared to western made knives and the MAC Pro, it's a bit "whippy," a quality many western chefs don't like.  But as yo-gyutos go it's somewhere in the middle.  There were some F&F issues -- especially with the handle -- in the past; but Masamoto seems to have resolved them in a number of different ways -- including switching from ebony to POM.  In any case, if you talk to your retailer before buying he will insure that you get a knife that's right. 


In terms of breaking the Masamoto VG down -- you really must compare it to the MAC Pro.  MAC has more reliable F&F and a better handle.  Masamoto has a better profile and is thinner.  MAC is stiffer.  Same alloy (at least I think so, neither company will say), same edge qualities with a slight bump to the Masamoto for absolute sharpness potential and a slight nod to the MAC for durability -- the distinctions being products of the slightly different geometry not metallurgy or manufacture.  MAC has better product support.


If I were going to buy a stainless, mass-produced, western-handled, gyuto at the MAC/Masamoto price point -- it would be the Masamoto VG for its profile.  But most of the people I know would be happier with the MAC. 



post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks BDL.  Sounds like what you're saying is that the Mac Pro is a good gateway drug for people like me who are flirting with leaving German profile knives for Japanese shores . . . .


What about sharpening?  It sounds like you like Edge Pro Apex.  Is it hard to learn?

post #6 of 8
Originally Posted by cet1970 View Post

Thanks BDL.  Sounds like what you're saying is that the Mac Pro is a good gateway drug for people like me who are flirting with leaving German profile knives for Japanese shores . . . .


What about sharpening?  It sounds like you like Edge Pro Apex.  Is it hard to learn?

The Mac might just be a perfect end-point for most folks, rather than just a gateway.  Unless you have the knife-disease, in which case whatever you get is a gateway or sorts.  (Though you're probably right, that it might be a particularly "good" one). 


I don't mean to speak for BDL, but my guess from reading past posts on this forum is that the Mac is good for most everybody and less so for him in that he prioritizes an ideal profile more than most folks.  And Masamoto more precisely matches his ideal. (Correct me if I'm wrong, BDL!)    (And about the profile... he's RIGHT, by the way, but that's a different story!).  For someone that "grew up" as a cook with good Sabatiers, who learned to cook with that profile and got supremely comfortable with it, then this will matter more than someone who learned, or is still learning, with another knife.  Without prior attachments or training, the Mac might be just as "perfect" to someone else.


My own gyuto is a little flatter than the Sabatier.  I like the Sab for all sorts of romantic reasons, but given my degree of practice and my relative lack of developed skills, I don't really prefer one vs the other profile. 


All that said, I'd want to try the Masamoto, too, if it came down to it.  BUT, I've used a Mac 9.5inch "Pro" chef's knife, and thought it was amazing. It's a secondary reason I got interested in Japanese knives in the first place.  Yet I bought something else again.  (Then again, I HAD a Sabatier 10" chef's, and wanted to try a wa-handled knife; also thought why not get a stainless gyuto, given the carbon Sab already in my knife-block.  So there are very individual reasons to prefer or buy something, beyond the general advice/guidelines).


post #7 of 8
You're right about my opinion on MAC v Masamoto re profile. The Masamoto profile suits the action I learned and developed using Sabatiers like very few others. As a personal note, I'm not the world's greatest technician by any means -- just good enough that major adjustments would be more annoyance than productive. In my case, the Masamoto profile trumps the weaknesses it has relative to the MAC. Obviously, I'm not unique and that's true for a great many people; but not for most.

But in the "put your money where your mouth is" category my Masamoto preference is only hypothetical, because I'll probably never buy a stainless, yo-gyuto in the price range for myself. I do occasionally buy them as gifts, and then only MAC Pros.

post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 

Where does the Kikuichi TKC stand in the analysis.  I know it's a semi-carbon-semi-stainless knife, which appeals to me -- could get it sharper but takes less careful upkeep than true carbon.  But is the TKC above my paygrade as a lowly home cook who has only ever used Wusthof Classics??


And while we're at it, what are the relative merits of the TKC and the Massamoto VG?


Thanks in advance.  I find knives endlessly interesting, as it turns out....

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