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Masamoto vs Konosuke vs Kikuichi

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

I have been reading much in the forums about Gyutos, and trying to decide which one I would like to buy as my work horse. It has to have stainless capabilities since the maintenance of a carbon would make it inpractical in my home. I expect to use it for a long time and work on sharpening it myself with 1000 to 1200 stones at first. Somehow I do not feel attracted to the MACs, and from everything I read I gravitate towards a few choices:  how would you compare the Masamoto VG 240 mm Gyuto with the equivalent alloy versions for Konosuke and Kikuichi Gyutos (all in western handle versions). Can you comment/compare them? when would you not recommend one of them? Would you suggest to ask somebody to "open" them before first use? what do you feel about sayas?

post #2 of 21

Tell us what makes you not like the Macs.

 

Of the others, the Konosuke is a "laser".  A particularly thin knife.  The others aren't.  I haven't handled either the Masamoto or the Kikuichi.  I'm not sure what "equivalent alloy" versions are, either. That is, the VG is a stainless.  Kikuichi has stainless and semi-stainless; as does Konosuke.

 

I've "waved around" the Konosuke HD (semi-stainless).  I have a Kagayaki CarboNext, which is said to be the same knife as the Kikuichi TKC, with some difference in the bolster and handle. I think the CarboNext is a great knife at the price; I'm not altogether in love with mine.  I have other knives I reach for first.  Mine has a mild over-grind, which so far doesn't get in the way of anything (it might as the knife gets sharpened away, over a long time).  But it bugs me that it's there, and I didn't know how to recognize it when it was new.

 

Anyway, thin knife, but certainly not Konosuke-thin.   So do you want a "laser"? If so, your choice is made.  Go Konosuke.  If not, then you've eliminated one.

post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 
My arguments for not liking the MAC are ignorance and stetics, the way the handle looks in the end, as well as the MAC logo on the side does not call to me, even do it is highly recommended by BDL and others. I do not know whatbto think about the laser type which is why I asked. Thank you for your answer
post #4 of 21

It's not much of an answer.... lasers are appealing. As BDL says, they take a bit more technique.

 

My only experience with a laser is with a petty knife (it's 210mm, so big for a petty, but small for a chef's).  It's ... astounding.  For hard squashes, sweet potatoes, potatoes, I use it because the narrow blade means less sticking. It's a different beast from thicker knives; I have a laser 270mm gyuto on a wish list.  But with my skills, I'm fine with a not-quite-so-thin knife.  I'd go Masamoto before Kikuichi, but that's by reputation, and because the CarboNext is perhaps too close to the Kikuichi TKC for me to really be attracted to the latter.  Price point buying made big difference for me, there.

 

Do you have a more robust knife already? I'd not want a laser as my "one and only" chef's knife, at least not unless I really knew what I was getting into with cutting skills.

post #5 of 21

You ask about Kikuichi but then say you need stainless capabilities.  I've pretty much never see any reviews or comments on the Kikuichi moly or VG10 series, everyone who buys a kikuichi seems to buy the TKC with is semi-stainless.  I have the carbonext, which is supposedly essentially the same as the TKC, and aesthetically I'm not all that happy with it.  There is the japanese kanji which is kinda blah to look at but also the whole concept of having it get a slight patina, as if that was something sexy, hasn't really panned out for me. Rather, I'd say the knife gets blotty if it's not perfectly cleaned and wiped dry.  I'm going to try to sell it to Phaedrus for $40, he just doesn't know it yet.  Muahaha.

post #6 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thank you both for your thoughts. I have been thinking about upgrading from my Wusthof, and a 10" Global I just received. I am used to the weight and the body of the Wusthoff because it was the only one I knew for many years. I am know working with the global and contrary to many people I find the handle user friendly. I also enjoy the extra length, lightness and sharpness. after reading this forum Inhave been paying attention to how I cut and realize that I tend to slice and pull or chop with the tip on the board and then down with the rest of the edge... I have a santoku but often go back to my chef knife instead.... it is interesting that both of you are not happy with the CarbonNext.... I do like very much the profile I see in the pictures of the Masa VG
post #7 of 21

Using dull knives seems to be distorting your technique.  With sharp knives, if you're not push cutting (straight down) it's easier to slide them forward through hard foods; some people draw them back (towards their bodies) with very soft foods.  Drawing the knife point through is good for special cuts, but for ordinary chopping it usually comes from a dull knife whose edge won't quite cut through.   

 

BDL

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post #8 of 21
Thread Starter 

Thank you so much BDL, I have never had any guidance and I am beginning to understand that as you said, the dull knives (I did not know they were dull until recently) affect what I do. 

post #9 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Casaluz-Chef View Post
..... it is interesting that both of you are not happy with the CarbonNext....


I am much happier with the CarboNext than I was with the Wusthof Classic or the Messermeister Meridian Elite, which are both very good German knives. My only issue that there's a slight overgrind, which looks like the back of the knife is "dished" slightly toward the tip.  I'm not at the point where that's really a practical issue, but I don't know if it's deep enough to become one once I sharpen down to that level where it's deepest. I've got a little ways to go to get there, but it may interfere with the edge at that point.  The knife is a very good cutter indeed.  The profile seems very good, too (though I'm not such a great cutter myself to be all that nuanced in my assessment).  It sharpens super easily -- the steel is good for that -- and seems like it has very good edge retention.  I'm a home cook and use an end-grain cherry/walnut board, so edge retention doesn't get tested the way it would for a pro.

 

Then again, the edge retention is particularly good because I use my Yoshihiro gyuto or Sab more than half the time, and my petty still gets its time in for "gyuto tasks" just because for small, 1-person meals I value the lack of "stiction" overly highly.

post #10 of 21
Thread Starter 

Thank you Wagstaff. Out off curiosity, what do you use to cut potatoes? onions? apples? meat/pork? chicken? fish? cheese? lettuce?

post #11 of 21
The easy answer is I can use the chef's knife du jour for most all of it. That would likely be the Yoshihiro gyuto. Or the Sab. Sab is in the knife block so quicker access than the Yoshi, The Yoshi is kept in a saya since it's a tad long for the block. But it's stainless so more mindless if cutting onions. If I'm dicing onions smalls, I use my petty. It's a 210mm suji shaped Gesshin Ginga. The super thin blade is nice for the original series of cuts at least. The taller blades are netter if doing lots of mincing chopping etc., but I rarely cut a whole lot per meal. Same holds true if doing more than a little slicing or esp smaller cits of0 potatoes etc.. I have a six inch petty I'd use for pork if I were portioning I guess. It's super rare that I cook meat or serve cheese though, haven't really worked out what I'd do if I were more omnivorous.
Typing from a phone, here, so I hope that's all coherent. I will edit later!

Edit later -- because my petty is my "best knife" -- or my best cutter, a true laser, I use for things I'd otherwise use a gyuto for, had I a similar laser gyuto. So don't do what I do, I'm no role model in this regard.

A 6" petty can be used where you'd normally (or other people would recommend) a parer, it's a small slicer -- reading from the Book of BDL it's pretty much ideal for portioning meats, too; and it's a good utility knife. I reach for a 6" knife when cutting apples.

If I were doing larger batches of onions, and dicing them, I'd probably use the Yoshi gyuto; but just doing one, I like the laser, so I use the petty. It just falls through for the vertical or radial cuts, and also for the horizontal cuts if I'm doing a trad- dice. You don't get that "guillotine and glide" motion (pace BDL) for the final dice because of the shape of the blade, so that's why I would use the gyuto or the Sab if I were doing larger quantities.

I hope that fills-in... really I'm an enthusiast, and have put in time to researching knives and cutting with them as an enthusiast might, but I'm a n00b. I've got some redundant knives, because it took that to learn what I like. And I don't know... I might want them because I just like them for their differences. I could see getting a Konosuke (for example) and parting with either the Yoshihiro or the Sab, keeping just one of the not-so-laser knives. But I don't like the idea of parting with either of them just yet, either. I'd have to see one of them get dis-use for a while before giving it away.

The CarboNext would get more consideration in this discussion if it were 270mm. I still think that thing's a pretty screaming deal, actually, if you're committed to getting it sharpened well. It's not as "sexy" as the others, as racineboxer has described, but I don't think it's an ugly knife at all, personally. And I'm not even bothered by the name (which on other forums is roundly ridiculed).

I'm a huge fan of the Gesshin Ginga knives, which have about the same geometry as the Konosuke. I'm therefore also a huge fan of the Konosuke knives. Though I haven't cut food with one. That's on the short list (a 270 Kono gyuto, probably HD; or if stainless, just as soon the GG gyuto). And I lust after even more expensive things.... but I can't justify spending the money on what I think are even more beautiful knives. Especially given most of the kinds of food I cut. Had I lottery winnings, I'd be spending a fair amount on much higher-end things, even. No *practical* reason for that, probably. I'd like a laser gyuto with good food release (for potatoes and sweet potatoes and such). I'd like a more robust knife that was thin enough to cut like like a laser, but not a true laser, too.

And I'm pretty well set with what I have, as far as actual needs, too.
Edited by Wagstaff - 12/15/11 at 7:59pm
post #12 of 21
Thread Starter 

Wagstaff, I appreciate the time you took to share a bit of how you cook and what you use, without pretense or judgement, and with patience. I wish you happy holidays

post #13 of 21



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Casaluz-Chef View Post

Thank you Wagstaff. Out off curiosity, what do you use to cut potatoes? onions? apples? meat/pork? chicken? fish? cheese? lettuce?



Not Wagstaff but I'm the other person that criticized the carbonext.

 

Well... I use the carbonext to essentially cut all those things, more or less.  Well maybe not cheese... but that's just because I don't cut much cheese...  And I don't cut bones with it...

 

Like wag said, I think the carbonext is a great "cutter".  To me the knife is light, nimble, sharpe, nice profile, sharpens easily, gets very sharp, maintains it's edge well, etc...

 

I think quite a few professionals love the knife because of those attributes, along with it's price point.  I think it's functionality is excellent regardless of price.

 

My dissatisfaction is pretty much 95% aesthetics.  It's shallow... but I'm a big enough boy to admit that and I'm comfortable in my own skin :)

 

For me... a nice knife adds joy to the cooking process.  A nice knife has a certain prestige factor.  If these knives we're talking about were $500 each I'd be stuck.  But since we're talking $120-$170 I can survive buying a knife, selling it for a significant loss, then buying a new one.  Which is my plan.  Anyone want a 2 month old 240mm carbonext?  :) 

post #14 of 21
Hey racine... wish that were 270mm if it were for me (another reason it's not my favored knife is I didn't yet know I really preferred 270mm at the time I bought it)... but if you'really talking 40bucks, I could take that off your hands as a xmas gift. Couple people I know would dig that.
post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Casaluz-Chef View Post

Wagstaff, I appreciate the time you took to share a bit of how you cook and what you use, without pretense or judgement, and with patience. I wish you happy holidays



Hey man... pretense I hope not... (not sure)... but no judgment.  You're asking the same questions I'd been asking less than a year ago.  I'm NOTHING like expert. We've got some real cooks, and real cutters, and real sharpeners, with some experience across a much wider range of knives than I, posting here.  My main gurus post here.  (I participate in other knife forums as well... but it's hard to add much given budgetary constraints.  So many interesting things I can't afford to buy, so don't have opinions on -- both knives and stones, in particular).  Anyway, I'm just wordy.  But you're welcome -- sharing enthusiasms is fun and educational!

post #16 of 21

OK. I love all this knife talk. I really do. Please don't misunderstand anything I'm gonna say. I've never seen any "prestige factor" of any kind in a pro-kitchen. I've never seen any really good pro-chef have any care what kinda knife anyone had either, as long as they were sharp. It's kinda funny too, but over 85% of the really good guys I've worked with, had German or French knives. They were solid blades, stiff and heavy. One of the best kitchens I've worked in used boring NSF stuff contracted in every third day. Always sharp, always there. 

 

NSF Commercial Chef's Knives

20851.jpg

8-inch $9.95 ea.    10-inch $12.95 ea. 

 

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post #17 of 21

Good thing I'm not into knives because I want prestige in a pro kitchen!

 

The thought is well taken, though.  Sharp comes first for the tool, and the tool is not the goal.

post #18 of 21
Thread Starter 

Thank you all. It is very interesting and educational for me to read your postings, and once again, thank you for taking your valuable time to write to an uneducated rookie. As a side comment, just by chance this afternoon I went into a sharpening store in town and got to hold a few Kikuichis. The type were not specified, but one was from the damascus line and the others included an example of the gold series. I was blown away by the beauty of those knives.  felt lighter than the Germans but still they had a  presence and density, particularly the gold series. The balance felt as an extension of my hand and... "substantive". The handle felt incredibly well in my hand and even to my untrained eye, you could see and feel the difference between all the Kikuichi modelstypes. The Damascus seemed almost too beautiful to be used regularly in the kitchen, but the heavier Gold series invited to cook. I cook mostly Spaniard recipes, and I would not be afraid to use it in almost any of the tasks associated with it, save breaking leg of lamb bones.

Thanks again guys

post #19 of 21

The restaurant I worked in used beater knives, pans, pots, etc...  that doesn't mean I want that ugly, used & abused crap in my house, functional or not.  To me it's perfectly understandable that a pro-kitchen would be mostly all about functionality and a home user would put more priority on aesthetics and prestige.  It's the same reason someone buys a copper coated saute pan for $200, or a Le Creuset dutch oven for their home (while the kitchen buys the $25 saute pan from the industrial distributor).

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by IceMan View Post

OK. I love all this knife talk. I really do. Please don't misunderstand anything I'm gonna say. I've never seen any "prestige factor" of any kind in a pro-kitchen. I've never seen any really good pro-chef have any care what kinda knife anyone had either, as long as they were sharp. It's kinda funny too, but over 85% of the really good guys I've worked with, had German or French knives. They were solid blades, stiff and heavy. One of the best kitchens I've worked in used boring NSF stuff contracted in every third day. Always sharp, always there. 

 

NSF Commercial Chef's Knives

20851.jpg

8-inch $9.95 ea.    10-inch $12.95 ea. 

 



 

post #20 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Casaluz-Chef View Post

Thank you all. It is very interesting and educational for me to read your postings, and once again, thank you for taking your valuable time to write to an uneducated rookie. As a side comment, just by chance this afternoon I went into a sharpening store in town and got to hold a few Kikuichis. The type were not specified, but one was from the damascus line and the others included an example of the gold series. I was blown away by the beauty of those knives.  felt lighter than the Germans but still they had a  presence and density, particularly the gold series. The balance felt as an extension of my hand and... "substantive". The handle felt incredibly well in my hand and even to my untrained eye, you could see and feel the difference between all the Kikuichi modelstypes. The Damascus seemed almost too beautiful to be used regularly in the kitchen, but the heavier Gold series invited to cook. I cook mostly Spaniard recipes, and I would not be afraid to use it in almost any of the tasks associated with it, save breaking leg of lamb bones.

Thanks again guys

Heavier probably felt more invitational to cook because it's more like what you're used to.  You may prefer heavier; the trend (and the way it's talked about here, certainly) is more toward lighter, sharper knives. Any "work" the weight does for you could be better done by sharpness; lighter knives are less fatiguing if you're cutting a lot and invite more finesse vs "powering through" cuts.  Differences can be small, at this stage.  Also, at least a couple of guys I've read here and on another forum are very anti- sanmai (cladded) knives; this is nothing like universal and I'm agnostic on the issue, personally; I just point it out so you think about that difference, at least along with the visual, between the various Kikuichi knives.  IIRC, the VG-Gold is sanmai, the TKC is monosteel.

 


Edited by Wagstaff - 12/16/11 at 7:48am
post #21 of 21
Thread Starter 

Thank you Wag. That was my first experience with a good J-knife, and I think your observation is insightful. It is easier to feel attracted to what you know. Until a few weeks ago my focus has been on cooking techniques and recipes from the Mediterranean region, particularly from Spain, and knives were a second thought until I begun to read about it and think of their role in my cooking. As I pointed out before, I recognize my ignorance and very much appreciate reading, thinking, and learning from many helpful and generous postings and points of view like yours. 

 

The reason I went to this sharpening shop (besides the fact that seems to be the best in this region with a couple of generations in its back) is because I have a traditional 7" Usuba. I do not know the origin and never knew what to do with it except for appreciating what it seems to me beautiful craftmanship. I had kept it in its original box all these years and took it to the shop to sharpen it. It is beautifully thin, flat on the left side and curved on the right where you can see the signature of the craftman who did it, and it has carbon center claded in soft steel. it is beautiful to see the edge of the transition between both. One day later I went to pick it up and the master sharpener and owner demonstrated how he could (and did) shave the hairs of his arm with the softest pass. Besides the job, it was one of the most pleasant talks I have had in a long time with somebody in a shop. He does absolutely love, live and breath what he does, and we spoke about his family tradition, his service to the country in Vietnam, his eye opening trip to study knife making  in Seki, Kyoto, and Tokyo after many years in the craft. He was patient and incredibly generous with his answers to my eager and uneducated questions about sharpening, and it was simply wonderful to be in the presence of somebody who loves what he does and loves to share it as well. It is the beauty of human sharing that forums like this try to allow beyond the limited contact we have with people in our town... and I do love learning.

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