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Masamoto - VG & the CT Series

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Hey fellas, 

 

 Let me start by saying that I've been quietly lurking in these forums for quite some time now. My journey for the accumulation of knowledge is hardly complete, but has benefited greatly from the opinions of those in these forums. I've searched long and hard for the perfect knife for me, and I'm at a bit of a cross roads. 

 

 I've been using German Steel for quite some time now, a majority of my professional cooking career, and I'm also quite proficient with a whetstone (Yet so much more to learn). My sister got back from Vietnam some time ago, and she brought with her as a gift to me, a set of ugly Carbon Steel knives (A chinese cleaver, the vietnamese equivalent to what I can only guess is a Nakiri, and a stubby petty knife. These knives cost the equivalent of 1.50 USD TOTAL. 

 

 They are also, quite literally, the greatest knives I've ever had the pleasure of using / sharpening. I'm in love with the shoddy quality of the handmade handles, the alien-profile, and fact that these have revolutionized the way that I produce cuts / dices / everything. Even the patina I've created after proper care and use has changed me for life. 

 

 SO! Here is my dilemma. I'm in the market for a new 'set' of knives. These beauties I've fallen in love with will remain at home, due in large part to their inability to withstand the rigorous uses of a professional kitchen (mostly only the handles and partial tang. One of the blades have already fallen out!)

 

 I've scoured the internet for the best that I can find. I'm a Yo-handle kind of guy for now, I know that because the Mac-Pro I borrowed from a fellow Chef and it turned me on. 

 

 So I've honed in on these two glorious models. The Masamoto VG & the Masamoto CT. The VG intrigued me because of the unique style, profile, and simple beauty. Also, while I know the least about steel, the VG seemed the right choice. Then the CT crept up on me and it's Carbon blade seems like something I'd be very happy with, considering it's what turned me on to this new investment. The VG listed itself as only containing 1% carbon, and I don't know how that translates to someone endowed with the knowledge of steel and it's capabilities, but I don't know what kind of patina the VG will develop, or how it will act. I am aware that it does not contain the VG10 core, but I'm honestly not that concerned, I think, about the VG10. Or am I? Ought I be? This is where I defer to you folks, VG or CT for what I'm lookin' for? 

 

Also, in case anybody is wondering, I'm using a combination Aluminum-Oxide 200/400 grit whetstone, and I'm going to be picking up the Edge pro system (Mostly to aid and help build a sharpening foundation for those I work with who are woefully unequipped to take care of their knives, and to save time). I'll be picking up another whetstone for the new babies, but yeah. 

 

TL;DR - VG or CT for the best Carbon Steel experience working in a Professional Kitchen setting? 

post #2 of 7
Thread Starter 

IMG_0434.jpg

 

And for anyone who wants to see the knives from Vietnam. These were handforged in some dudes backyard and all the handles are made from recycled or reclaimed materials. I know next to nothing about them, except this guy made everyones knife in the village specific to where they were sold. So that's fun! Also note the hand-made rivets, and that MASSIVE chip out of the cleaver (F-you, parsnip)

post #3 of 7
The VG is made from VG-1 (almost certainly, but Masamoto won't say for sure). In any case it's made from a "high carbon" stainless and not a "carbon" in the sense you seem to mean. Masa's CT series is made from a mid-high grade of carbon steel (Takefu VC?), and their HC series is made from a very high grade of carbon (VC2? At any rate, as good as Hitachi Shirogami 2). HCs cost a lot more than CTs, but the extra expense is worth it in my opinion.

What makes one mid-high and the other very high? Edge taking and holding mostly, but also corrosion resistance.

Given what you've side about yourself, it's impossible to guess which of those you'd like best in the long run, or even if you'd prefer something else. It's nice to know that you have an ecumenical and quirky aesthetic, but that opens the word of possibilities rather than limiting it. It doesn't seem as if the perfect French profile, for which Masamotos are so justifiably beloved, is that important to you. Or, maybe it is. Perhaps you'd like something very, very thin more. Or, you might like to take a look at Misono's Sweden series with its highly reactive alloy (takes a great patina) and wonderful, engraved dragon.

While you're obviously willing to live with carbon, I'm not even sure if you prefer it to stainless or not. It would certainly help to know that. Perhaps most important: What's your budget?

BDL
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 

Well, my budget on the Gyuto is sitting between 200 and 250. I made a mistake over looking the HC, and now I'm glad you mentioned it. As important as it is, aesthetic aside, I think right now I'm looking for the edge retention and sharpness. 

 

 Believe it or not, I took an extensive look at the Misono UX10 and the Sweden Steel series, and I was turned off by the price when I met the Masamotos. I'm also turned off by that dragon. I love dragons just as much as the next guy, but I didn't dig the embellishment. 

 

 I actually am now definitely preferring carbon. For every reason that I think it will bring me a new joy to knife-ownership, kind of like having a pet. Thin-ness is something I love. I also do kind of like the idea of a french profile, if only for consistency in my practice over the years. When I want to deviate, I think I'm going to look to invest a lot more, and be sure I've got skills to match when using Japanese blades. 

 

 I think I've convinced myself of the HC. Length? 

 

Corrosion resistance is also big, but I think I'm committed enough to take the steps necessary to take care of a knife that may demand more of the average user. 

 

Also, BDL, I've been following your blog for some time and I thank you for sharing what you know and being so damned informative. I'd love to year what you have to say about me investing in a Nogent slicer, if only to own a piece of history. 

post #5 of 7
Nogent slicers are fantastic!

240 or 270 for the gyuto? If you have space issues with your board, don't push it... get a 240. If you find the extra length intimidating, 240. Otherwise, why not a 270? Once you get your grip and wrist straightened out, the extra 3cm won't bother you at all.

BDL
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 

Well, I definitely have some pretty hilarious space issues (The current kitchen I work out redefined "elbowroom" for me in ways I could never imagine) so I went with the HC 240, and an HC 120mm Petty. I was pleasantly surprised when I received an email that told me I was getting the 120mm petty in the ebonywood handle. So that's gonna be a neat contrast between the Gyuto. 

 

Also, I folded and picked up the slicer. I'm sooo excited, and toying with the idea of also picking up the 10' chefs to replace my old workhorse. I figure this'll be something I can pass on to my daughter someday, y'know? 

 

 Now, I know this isn't the section for this, but any tips would be amazing; Servers Corkscrew! I had one that matched my knife bag, (Bright friggin' orange) and I really need this. 

 

 Anywho, thanks for the pro tips BDL, and I look forward to your sharpening demos I read about earlier on CKtG. 

post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 

Well, I definitely have some pretty hilarious space issues (The current kitchen I work out redefined "elbowroom" for me in ways I could never imagine) so I went with the HC 240, and an HC 120mm Petty. I was pleasantly surprised when I received an email that told me I was getting the 120mm petty in the ebonywood handle. So that's gonna be a neat contrast between the Gyuto. 

 

Also, I folded and picked up the slicer. I'm sooo excited, and toying with the idea of also picking up the 10' chefs to replace my old workhorse. I figure this'll be something I can pass on to my daughter someday, y'know? 

 

 Now, I know this isn't the section for this, but any tips would be amazing; Servers Corkscrew! I had one that matched my knife bag, (Bright friggin' orange) and I really need this. 

 

 Anywho, thanks for the pro tips BDL, and I look forward to your sharpening demos I read about earlier on CKtG. 

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