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Konosuke HD 270mm Wa-Gyoto likely choice?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Have read many, many, many posts here.  Thanks to all for expert advice.


I'm looking for a Gyoto in the $250.00 (max) range.  I'm fine with carbon, I have some now (K-Sab 4"paring and another very old slicer I bought from a friend YEARS ago) 


I do not want an "entry level" $100.00 knife and "work up to better more expensive ones".   I do know how to sharpen, have good quality water stones and would love some suggestions so I can finally get off my butt, stop shopping and procrastinating and buy a very good utilitarian knife.


I'm a home cook and I cook a lot.  I have decent knife handling skills but by no stretch of the imagination am an expert, just decent. Am considering a Misono Swedish Gyuto 270mm after reading and re-reading posts by BDL, but I'm not wed to that one in particular.


Please help me break this "there-must-be-a-better-knife-for-the-price" cycle.  I'm happy to spend $250.00 for a well made tool that will last a long time. all suggestions are welcome.


Thanks all,


Fish Boy



Edited by Fish Boy - 11/27/11 at 6:23am
post #2 of 11

There are a bunch of excellent knives clustered in the price range.  Any characteristics you particularly do or don't want? 


You already know my take on the Misono Sweden, but for the benefit of any who don't...


The Sweden's an excellent, all around chef's.  The Swedish steel has all the good properties in spades except corrosion resistance (even for carbon it is highly reactive).  The dragon engraving is spectacular.  The handle excellent, as good as anything on the market -- including MAC.  The profile is very good, but not quite the equal of the Masamoto HC.   


Compared to other carbons:  On my private list of western-handled, Japanese made carbons, the Sweden has traded first place with the Masamoto HC.  Most of the time, I wish for the Masamoto but that's me.  The Masamoto is closer to perfection, but quieter to the point of boredom.  The Kikuichi Elite is the Misono's equal.  Masamoto CT might be as good overall, might not; Masamoto profile, almost-as-good but more stable alloy; almost as good handle. 


That's also a bit of a summary of Japanese made, western-handled carbons which have been out for a few years. 


I'd really like to more about your 'druthers before getting into some of the other possibilities; how much you value looks (be honest -- at these prices you deserve to get what you really want); whether you'd prefer carbon over semi-stainless or stainless, or are just "open;" and especially whether or not you're open to a wa handle, and whether or not you'd like to try super thin. 



Edited by boar_d_laze - 11/21/11 at 5:30pm
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thanks BDL,


To answer your questions and be more specific:


I am very open to the wa handle. I have never used a knife with that style handle or even ever held one at a store or in a friend's kitchen.  I have large-ish palms and short-ish fingers if that informs your advice.  Most of my knives are German and I have a set of "fake" Sabatiers.  That's a whole other story, (cast aluminum bolsters!)  However I've always found the handles on those comfortable.  My Japanese chisels, at work, are round and my German chisel handles are octagonal...both are comfortable in my hands.


The aesthetics of the knife, engraving, signature stamps on the blade are very nice but in practice mean nothing to me. I'm interested in the blade, the steel, the feel, the weight and espescially edge retention.


As far as weight and thinness of the blade goes.....I think I'd like to try a lighter and thinner knife than I'm accustomed to. The Forschner boning knives I have have heft as you know and I love them for that application. But I'm all for a chef's that's thinner and lighter as long as edge retention is not compromised.  I guess I don't know what "super thin" actually is or how one would perform or how it might feel to work with after all my years with French and German blades.  I'm open


I did not know there was such a thing as semi-stainless.  I have two carbons now and don't find it a bother at all to take 3 seconds to rinse and wipe in between tasks.  But I'm open and don't dislike stainless.  Easier sharpening is always a time saver though, but not mandatory.


Bottom line:  I'm all about excellent craftsmanship and (assuming proper care) longevity in my kitchen.


I'm a firm believer in not spending more than I can afford but try to buy the best and most useful for my purposes within that budget.  I'd rather buy one excellent quality tool than three cheap poorly made ones.


I'm open, since I've never owned a Japanese knife and really want to add one to my block.


Thanks very much.







post #4 of 11

You're mind is wonderfully open, and you've got a wide range of choices to consider.   Allow your last post to percolate a bit, and I'll break down some of the more obvious possibilities.  There are a few other people who should jump in as well after Thanksgiving.


When it comes to better Japanese knives, there's thin and extremely thin.  Everything else being equal, thinner equals sharper with less tendency to wedge.  But thin knives require technique to keep them form flexing too much; and an extremely thin knife (often called a "laser") can be a bit of a challenge -- especially as the go-to gyuto in a commercial situation.  In the home, in the hands of someone who's willing to spend some time refining his technique and keeping the knife very sharp, it might (or might not) be the best type.


I've got two go-to gyutos, one of them is a wa Konosuke HD (semi-stainless) laser, and the other is a carbon Sabatier which my wife informs me is actually hers, even though it came to me long before she did.  Funny how that works.


FWIW, Sabatier bolsters aren't the simple subject you seem to think.  The ferrules on "real" Sabs are aluminum, but the finger guards are an artifact of forging -- in other words, the same alloy as the rest of the blade.  If you bought your Sabs new, did they have any silk screening on the blade?  If you can describe the marque, I can probably tell you the maker.



post #5 of 11

I'll pitch in before taking off for Thanksgiving...


1) I love the "real" Sab -- mine is a "nogent" from thebestthings.com, 10".  Now that I know enough to keep it sharp and it has something of a patina on it (one I haven't removed/destroyed), it might be my favorite knife.


2) Not a "laser", but plenty thin... and lower than your price range, I have a stainless, wa-handled gyuto, which is a Yoshihiro 270mm.  The profile seems to me to be really great; it's slightly flatter than the Sab, but only slightly.  Stainless, harder to sharpen than the Sab (or my CarboNext -- which is little step down from the two I'm talking about) but not too bad, and takes and holds a good edge.  I really like this knife a whole lot.


Just throwing those out there... I have cooked several meals with a 9" Mac Pro, and that's about the extent of my experience with Gyutos. In other words, I have nothing like the breadth of knowledge of knives in this (or your) price range that BDL has. I've "waved some around", lusted after some in a store, all that, but have way less experience with many in the price range you're talking about.  For "lasers", the Konosuke HD (a la BDL's) is on my short list. But that gets slightly above your price range.  The other knives I'm really wanting to look into are in that range or (in most cases) still more pricey.   And I feel like I will never "need" anything better than what I have.  It's just lust, beyond that.  Or... I might need something if I try to thin and convex my Yoshihiro, and screw it up royally.  The attempt is still in the contemplation stages.

post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 

The Konosuke HD 270mm Wa-Gyoto seems to be a reasonable choice for me.  Just not sure if 270mm will be too unwieldy in my non-professional hands. And I think I'll feel somewhat more comfortable sharpening a "V" edge than an asymetric one having never had experience with that before.


If it were in my budget, I think I'd opt for the Fujiama White #2, but it's not in the cards this time. I'd probably would not notice the difference at my level of competence.


Would like some feedback about the 240mm vs. the 270mm blades:handling, primary uses for each, etc. Or just personal preference and "hand-feel"?



Fish Boy

post #7 of 11

270 is long.  There's a sort of rough rule of thumb you see in the specialty kitchen knife forums that home cooks are happier with 240s while people with pro experience prefer 270.  To my mind, as long as you've got a big board and a good grip, there's not much difference. 


The big downside to using a knife as thin as a Konosuke without good skills, is torquing the blade so it doesn't stay square in the cut, which makes it bind or flex.  It's actually a bigger deal with inexperienced pros than home cooks, because they keep pushing through without taking the time to adjust.


The Konosuke HD and White #2 are very easy knives to sharpen to extreme sharpness.  The stainless maxxes out easily, but it's "sharpest," isn't as good as the other alloys.  Unless you have very good knife AND sharpening skills, you probably won't notice this.  You will notice that the HD and carbon are more pleasant on the stones.


The thinner the knife, the less you notice asymmetry... up to a point.  I still notice the difference with a Konosuke, but don't consider it a big deal by any means.  


I consider the Konosuke gyutos to be nearly ideal for me, but some of the "fit" is idiosyncratic.  For instance, the knife's natural action, a function of its profile, suits me to a "T," but not everyone has the same action.  I should probably add that at this point I use my 300mm suji as often as my 270 gyuto as my "go-to gyuto."  For instance, I used the suji for all prep for Thanksgiving dinner for 12, and that's a lot of onions.  I'm not saying "look at me," or suggesting you should "do as I do" (you shouldn't), but letting you know what I mean by "idiosyncratic." 


There's a conventional wisdom among knife guys that a laser might not be the best choice as the first, really good gyuto.  That makes sense to me, but every "noob" who's bought one and written to me has been deliriously happy.  As you might (or might not) guess, I get a lot of posts, PM, and mail on the subject.  I usually recommend the MAC Pro or Masamoto VG as the first good, stainless, Japanese made cook's knives.   The MAC especially, because it's got all the Japanese virtues while being enough like a western knife to be immediately comfortable.  That said, a yo or wa laser might function just as well as something more robust.  


I hear a lot of good things about the Gesshin Ginga (laser thin yo at JKI), and about the Richmond Addict 2 (thin but not too thin, US made, wa at CKtG) too; but (and?) they're very different from one another.  Which to recommend?  That's more up to the OP, than to me. There are a lot of other great knives -- yo or wa; stainless, semi-stainless, or carbon; flatter or more belly; drop tip or mid line; laser, thin, or regular; expensive, very expensive, or ridiculous.  You name the combination and we can probably find a knife to fill the niche.  Here, we're working to find what you want so we can point to a few knives, rather than making a comprehensive list of knives.   


The question is not what's good, but finding the right fit at a comfortable price.  And at these prices, the "right fit" should include the buyer's aesthetics as well as the knife's performance.   You should LOVE this knife.


And as always:  Quality knives are all about sharpening.  If you don't have a real commitment to good sharpening, don't spend a lot of money on a knife. 




post #8 of 11

Fish Boy, hmm,  that could've been my post verbatim.  My questions and even location are the same.


Not for nothing, I'm just a home cook, but I am also a finish carpenter/woodworker and all-around-tool-user.  Years ago my chef's knife was an 8" Gerber.  I never liked it, it just seemed too fat and short and wedged it's way through a lot of food.  Some years ago I jumped on the Santoku band wagon ala Food Network chefs/cooks.  It was a Wustoff and I loved the fact that it was so much thinner than my Gerber.  This past Winter I decided I needed a "Big Daddy" chef's knife.  I borrowed a 12" Dexter Russel and gave it a spin.  It was just too big and unwieldy for my kitchen(keep in mind the size of your cutting board).  So, my dear Watson, a 10 inch-er must be the one.


I too, own some carbon Sabatiers and love using them.  I looked at the 10" chef's knife and when I saw the price I wondered if I might be in the Japanese price range?  This is the point where I discovered this site.  Instead of making it easier it only made the decision more difficult.  I was willing to drop $250.00 on a knife.  The Misono, Kikiuichi, Massomoto and a few others in that price range caught my interest.  Hmm,  it was a lot of dough to drop on something which I've never seen or held in person.


I bought a Forschener 10" chef's knife with the Fibrox handle to see how I liked a 10" and to practice sharpening.  I consider myself a good sharpener but I've never put an edge on such a large knife.  Wow, I really dug that knife.  Despite the fact that others find it a mediocre knife, I personally believe it better than any Wustoff or Henkels for the home cook.  The handle was comfortable, the blade thin, the spine rounded over and it was easy to sharpen on my stones.  Soon after I realized that the Forschener was cursed.  Evey time I used it, it mocked me, it made me agonize at not having that Gyuto.  It began to affect my relationship.  I would be sneaking off and reading about knives on the computer. 


I finally pulled the trigger and bought the Massomoto HC 270 mm Gyuto.  Damn you BDL.  It arrived last week.  It is a beautiful knife, the fit and finish is fantastic and it was sharp enough to shave my face.  I haven't had a chance to use it much.  I cut a few onions and potatoes and it seemed to work well.  I must say, it is a formidable piece of steel and I am a bit intimidated by the tool.  It is a bit heavier--thicker and longer than the Forschener.


The angel on one shoulder thinks that the Forschener would be better suited price and quality wise, but the devil on my other shoulder is rockin out. 


Fish Boy,  I assume you are a wood-worker.  To put the comparison in other words, I think the Forschener is like an old-old Stanley block plane(when they were made well)that is tuned up and feels great in your hand and you can't imagine something better--until you try a Lie-Neilson.





post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 

Right you are, Carpenter, I am a woodworker.  I used to make custom furniture and cabinetry and in 1984 switched professions to an antique furniture restorer and conservator (no, NOT a furniture stripper. I never go near the stuff) If you're interested (and I hope this doesn't break any forum rules) http://www.BurmaDesign.com


We seem to have a similar knife purchasing history as well.  I started off with an "a la carte" set of what were represented as Sabatiers. A 10" slicer (narrow, 7/8" wide at the heel), a 5 inch boning knife, a 5 1/2" petty, (I guess it's a petty, it's a mini chef's knife with the same profile) and my favorite, an 8" chef's.  Once I learned how to sharpen them correctly, that 8" chef's is shaving sharp and now that I bought the proper rod hone (Idahone, thank you all on the forum) it holds and edge pretty well but not as well as I'd like.  I've attached a photo of the Sabs at BDL's suggestion because I was told by a local kitchen supply store owner (professional kitchen supply) that I bought a "counterfeit set.  The finger guard and the bolster is a single aluminum casting with a very sloppy braise/weld to the blade.  The set was purchased in 1982 or 83 and this fellow told me these knock offs were not uncommon.  The blade markings are long gone but the logo is still on the (composite) handle. 


Bought a dimpled Santoku from the same fellow a few years ago too, Beck and Beck Solingen, Gremany, at his suggestion. Stainless, "hammer forged'. It's heavy and it doesn't hold a great edge or perhaps I'm screwing up the sharpening?!        I'm still trying to decide on which Gyuto to add to the collection.  I have a 6" Forchener that I absolutely love too. I think I could butcher a whole hog with that thing.


Here are the Sabs, if anyone can give me some info on them, I'm very curious.




Fish BoyIMG_1460.JPGIMG_1464.JPGIMG_1467.JPGIMG_1473.JPG

post #10 of 11

As someone who has both a 240 and a 270 kono hd, I'll say I only use the 270 at work and the 240 at home. I also have a boardsmith board that sits up very high on my counter, making the 270mm feel very awkward. Your results may differ based on space avail. as well as the height of your cook spot. I'm actually using a 240mm sujihiki as my go-to knife at home due to the hight of mine :).

post #11 of 11

As someone who has both a 240 and a 270 kono hd, I'll say I only use the 270 at work and the 240 at home. I also have a boardsmith board that sits up very high on my counter, making the 270mm feel very awkward. Your results may differ based on space avail. as well as the height of your cook spot. I'm actually using a 240mm sujihiki as my go-to knife at home due to the hight of mine :).

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