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Which Santoku : MacPro or Korin Togiharu Cobalt Damascus ?

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 

Which Santoku : MacPro or Korin Togiharu Cobalt Damascus ?

post #2 of 31

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Forged Hollow Edge Santoku Knife  $19.95

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NSF Commercial Hollow Edge Santoku Knife  $7.95

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Calphalon Contemporary Cutlery Hollow Edge Santoku Knife  $19.95

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Furi Rachael Ray Gusto Grip Hollow Edge Santoku Knife  $19.95

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LamsonSharp Walnut 1837 Hollow Edge Santoku  $19.95

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Victorinox Forschner Fibrox 125th Anniversary Edition Hollow Edge Santoku Knife  $24.95

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

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"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

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post #3 of 31
Thread Starter 

...thanks for the reality check !

my understanding is that a santoku can also be used to cut non-boned fish and meat ,

I'd like to be able to cut pieces of sashimi grade fish .

I'm going to look at the $65 Mac superior as the top end and work my way down from there .

Actually my profile should say " Learning to Cook at Home " rather than " I Just Like Food " .

So , does that change your recommendation ? 

Thanks again .


Edited by alohakid - 2/20/12 at 8:22pm
post #4 of 31
Thread Starter 

 

thanks again 


Edited by alohakid - 2/20/12 at 8:26pm
post #5 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by alohakid View Post...I'd like to be able to cut pieces of sashimi grade fish ...

If that is your goal, you may want to look at some alternatives that might possibly do a better job.

 

In my understanding, which may easily be flawed, you want a very sharp, very smooth blade that allows you to cut with no tearing or sawing.

 

I am not familiar with the terminology nor the techniques involved with sashmi beyond that of the "consumption skills"!

 

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post #6 of 31
Thread Starter 

no , not a "goal" , just one of the tasks I'm looking for in a multipurpose knife .

I don't want to make sushi or rolls but rather for sashimi , donburi ,chirashi , ect ...

I'm just learning to cook and working in a tiny studio apartment kitchen .

 

 

post #7 of 31

How much are you willing to spend, grand total? What do you currently use as your main "anchor" knife in the kitchen? Do you sharpen, and how?

 

Slicing sashimi can be anything from hack-and-hew to performance art, and the knife you use will be part of that. A santoku is not, on the whole, a good choice, but there are certainly worse ones. If you are thinking that this is a good knife because it's a Japanese design, think again: the Japanese home cook who cuts sashimi isn't using her santoku for this purpose, so the knife is in a sense designed NOT to do this. But, as I say, there are worse choices -- and price will matter quite a lot here.

 

What sort of fish do you usually cut this way, incidentally? There are cuts and cuts....

post #8 of 31
Thread Starter 

As someone who is just learning to cook , working in a tiny studio apartment kitchen , wanting to prepare Japanese or Japanese influenced cuisine , I'm looking for a multipurpose knife .

I thought a santoku might be the solution .

As far as budget , well , I have no knife skills , I'm just a beginner  , just learning to cook .

So whatever is the minimum to get the job done well .

I started out looking at the MacPro or Korin Togiharu Cobalt Damascus .

I'm aware that there are specific Japanese knives for specific tasks , but like I mentioned , the goal is to find a multipurpose knife .

And I have read that many home cooks in Japan rely on such a knife .

As for the type of fish ?

I'm talking about cutting slabs of tuna , yellowtail , salmon that have already been butchered in the fish market .

But that is only one task ; I'm looking for multipurpose .

 

 

 

 

 

 

post #9 of 31

OK. I'm just going on my "late night reading retention/comprehension skills" here, I don't guarantee that this is correct, but I'm thinking it is. I believe our biggest "MAC" fan (knives), is the famed and highly regarded BDL. I think he said somewhere that the "Pro" was the best choice being that the "Superior" was overpriced. I love my santoku for lots of stuff. If you want to cut sashimi properly, you really need a very sharp knife. Probably everyone here will recommend you learn proper sharpening skills. I cut tuna slices all the time w/ mine, but the slices are never more than playing-card size, usually match-box size. I have that last one I posted, the Victorinox Forschner. It works just fine.

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

Reply

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

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post #10 of 31
Thread Starter 

List for Pro Series $135 , Superior $80 

post #11 of 31

Mmm, I'm a MAC user for better than 10 years and they  do a great job for me.

 

I use a smooth blade when dealing with fish and I maintain my knives to be very sharp.

 

I do not use the "dimpled" style knives for fish.

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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post #12 of 31

I believe BDL was referring the the MAC Ultimate as being overpriced.  I have a Mac Pro Gyuto and a MAC Chef 8" chef's knife.  I don't care for the geometry of the MAC Superior line all that much.  I have a very old Santoku from that line.  I would suggest looking at the MAC Chef line and consider the 8.5" Gyuto or 8" Chef's knife rather than a Santoku.  Ultimately a more useful size and shape I think.  Check CKtG which carries MAC.  Their prices are decent and their service is great.

 

http://www.chefknivestogo.com/macchefs.html

post #13 of 31

OK. So what I meant to say he said was "Ultimate". So I mistakenly said "Superior", big deal, so what. I also said I didn't guarantee I was correct. NAH. LOL @ ME all the same still. Nobody pays "list" for anything. Go look at these two(2) places. Great prices, great customer service. I don't work for either place. 

 

http://www.cutleryandmore.com/mac.htm

 

http://www.chefknivestogo.com/macknives.html

 

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

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"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

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post #14 of 31

Santoku is not my favourite knife but I own one. I got it because I was curious on the blade properties and because I had no experience with carbon steel. If you can deal with cleaning your knife inmediately after each use, don't hesitate on getting a Tojiro shirogami santoku it gets scary sharp and it wont cost you an arm and a leg. I own a mac professional gyuto and it's a great knife, but since the day that I got a "shirogami" steel knife... I don't mind anymore on dealing with patinas, and cleaning too often. The edge, edge retention and the easy that it's to get it sharp is just amazing.

 

My 2 cents smile.gif

post #15 of 31

Setting aside brands for a bit.  What you want for fish (and nearly all slicing and portioning) is something long enough and sharp enough to cut a portion with a single draw cut. 

 

More setting aside for the moment, this time "sharp enough."  Santokus are basically too short for serious fish work.  They also have a rather high profile, which doesn't make things easier.  Forget nearly everything good you heard about them -- they're essentially a cut-down chef's with a flatter edge profile than most German knives.  They don't do anything better or special.  Just another 7" knife, which isn't any more well suited to slicing and portioning than any other short, wide knife.   

 

If you're looking for a single, all-around knife which won't do anything to make fish more difficult, you -- along with nearly everyone else in the world -- would probably be best off with a ~10" chef's knife.   If you don't have already have a quality, "go to gyuto" that's the place to start.  If you absolutely, positively, can't and/or won't use a 10" knife and must have something shorter, then we can talk santokus.  But otherwise, waste of time pretty much. 

 

Now, back to "sharp enough."  Sharp and sharpening is really where it's at, and everything else pales in comparison.  Now's the time, as you buy your first good knife, to figure out how you're going to sharpen (this is your first good knife, right?).  It will save you a lot of money and mistakes down the line. 

;

I either use a 12" wa-suji or 10" Sabatier au carbone slicer to portion fish; my favorite sushi-man at my favorite sushi-ya uses what used to be a 10" yo-suji ("V" edged slicer) but has been sharpened down to around 8" during the day time, and a 12" yanagiba (chisel edged, traditional Japanese fish knife) at night.  I choose my knives willy-nilly without rhyme or reason other than whim.  He chooses his because the night time customers tip better and get the show; but the suji is easier to handle and more efficient for general prep.  Whim on my part, and efficiency on his are the differences.  The important similarity is that all four knives are sharper than heck, sharper than you probably think possible and all of them can do that particular job equally well.

 

Like I said, sharpening is where it's at.  From a home-cook's perspective, the second most important criteria should be "fun."  All you really need is that the rest of the knife -- beyond the quality of the edge -- be sufficiently well suited to its tasks that any of its other characteristics don't get in the way of your good time. 

 

As to which brand and line in particular... let's figure out whether you're going stainless, carbon or semi-stainless; gyuto, suji or santoku; wa or yo; your budget (very important); all that sort of stuff, and then start nailing down specifics.   

 

BDL

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post #16 of 31
Thread Starter 

If your still giving me the option of santoku as it appears you are from your closing sentence , than santoku , or gyuto .

Stainless ,yo, $160 .

For gyuto I was considering Korin Togiharu Hammered Texture Damascus Gyutou 50/50

 

 

post #17 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by IceMan View Post

OK. So what I meant to say he said was "Ultimate". So I mistakenly said "Superior", big deal, so what. I also said I didn't guarantee I was correct. NAH. LOL @ ME all the same still. Nobody pays "list" for anything. Go look at these two(2) places. Great prices, great customer service. I don't work for either place. 

 

http://www.cutleryandmore.com/mac.htm

 

http://www.chefknivestogo.com/macknives.html

 



No big.  MAC has so many lines I get them confused as well.  I mean really, how many lines of knives does one manufacturer need?  Ultimate, Superior, Pro, Chef, Damascus, Japanese, etc.

 

+1 on the vendors.  I've bought from both and their prices are good and their service has been excellent.

post #18 of 31
Thread Starter 

Had a chance this afternoon to handle the MacPro santoku and gyutou and prefer the gyutou .

So thanks for suggesting I look at a gyutou .

So it's MacPro Gyutou vs.Togiharu Hammered Texture Damascus Gyutou  or for santoku ,

Togiharu Cobalt Damascus vs Togiharu Hammered Texture Damascus Santoku .

I guess if I go santoku it will come down in large measure to hand feel .

Probably the same for gyutou .

This thread has been very helpful so far , so thanks !

 

 


Edited by alohakid - 2/21/12 at 4:08pm
post #19 of 31
Thread Starter 

I've narrowed it down to either MacPro Gyutou  8"  or Korin Togiharu Cobalt Damascus Santoku 6.4" .

I guess I can find sharpening and cutting board info by searching the forums .

 


Edited by alohakid - 2/22/12 at 8:25pm
post #20 of 31

I think you should buy this, 210 mm Fujiwara stainless:  http://www.chefknivestogo.com/fufkmgy21.html

 

It's thin but sturdy enough to be an all around multipurpose knife for you.  And it's cheap, $75 with free shipping.  Use it for a year and learn to sharpen it and take care of it.  You'll either fall in love with it and not want anything else or you'll catch the j-knife bug and you'll want to buy 4-5-6 more knives each with a $150-250 price tag :)

 

 

That is a great bargain knife and it's pretty good for what you want to do.  IMO.

post #21 of 31

alohakid,  given your small kitchen the 210mm is probably best.  I'd also stick with a gyuto, as it's a more serviceable knife in the long run than the santoku.  I have both and can't remember the last time I reached for the santoku.  Damascus cladding is a nice looking but adds nothing to performance but probably adds to the price.  I have this one: http://korin.com/HOT-GY?sc=20&category=51929 and while it's a beautiful blade, the core metal is what does the work, not the damascus.

 

The MAC is a very good knife, but keep an open mind for others at that price point.

post #22 of 31
Thread Starter 

... I'm leaning toward a Santoku ; (argh ! collective groan)  I'm a newbie with no skills in a tiny kitchen cooking for myself and wanting to prepare simple one pot Japanese dishes .

At some point , whichever type I get , santoku or gyutou , I'll probably get the other .

Togiharu Cobalt Damascus Santoku at $159 felt best in hand vs. Togiharu Hammered Texture Damascus Santoku and Mac Pro .

I think the size is right considering a future purchase of an 8 inch gyutou .

But I would prefer one without the Damascus finish .

So to re-cap ; looking for  Stainless , Yo , $160 

 

 

 


Edited by alohakid - 2/28/12 at 3:09am
post #23 of 31

Alohakid,

 

Greetings!  Why not spend the same amount of money and get both...sure there are quite a few choices that you would be happy with and give you the options from the start?

 

Cheers,

Chinacats

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

post #24 of 31

Get the 7" santoku.  Your next knife will be a 240mm gyuto since the 210mm will be too close in length to your santoku to justify buying it.  That's how I started (7" santoku then 240mm gyuto) and I don't regret it.  The 7" santoku still gets quite a bit of use and my better half always picks the santoku over any of my (longer) gyuto's.  Always.  Which is one of multiple reasons that I'm not anti-santoku.  Plus I use it myself and like it  :)

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by alohakid View Post

... I'm leaning toward a Santoku ; (argh ! collective groan)  I'm a newbie with no skills in a tiny kitchen cooking for myself and wanting to prepare simple one pot Japanese dishes .

At some point , whichever type I get , santoku or gyutou , I'll probably get the other .

Togiharu Cobalt Damascus Santoku at $159 felt best in hand vs. Togiharu Hammered Texture Damascus Santoku and Mac Pro .

I think the size is right considering a future purchase of an 8 inch gyutou .

But I would prefer one without the Damascus finish .

So to re-cap ; looking for  Stainless 50/50 blade , Yo , $160 

 

 

 



 

post #25 of 31
Thread Starter 

...not sure I completely understood the issue of double sided blades. (FYI , I'm right handed)

As a newbie home cook do I want 50/50 , 70:30 , 60:40 , or  90:10 ?

 

... ok , so I think I understand it a bit better now .

All European knives are 50/50 but many Japanese western style are 70/30 , making them potentially sharper and more functional .

 

 


Edited by alohakid - 2/27/12 at 2:06pm
post #26 of 31

Not precisely. The principle is sort of right, but not really.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by alohakid View Post

...not sure I completely understood the issue of double sided blades. (FYI , I'm right handed)

As a newbie home cook do I want 50/50 , 70:30 , 60:40 , or  90:10 ?

 

... ok , so I think I understand it a bit better now .

All European knives are 50/50 but many Japanese western style are 70/30 , making them potentially sharper and more functional .


You can sharpen any double-beveled knife to any level of asymmetry you like, fairly easily. The question is whether you gain anything and what, if anything, you lose.

 

The more asymmetrical the grind, the more transverse pressure on the edge. With hard steel, this is a fairly trivial issue, but with soft steel it's major. Basically the transverse pressure on soft steel means that the edge crushes fast and you have to steel up constantly, and pretty soon you just have to re-grind anyway. So you'd be unwise to grind most European or American knives asymmetrical: the steel is soft. There are exceptions, but that's the basic principle.

 

Granted hard steel, why would you want asymmetry? Well, basically the narrower the "total included angle," the sharper the knife will tend to act, but asymmetrical grinding is a way of cheating that. "Total included angle": imagine looking point-on at your knife with some kind of magic x-ray machine. You see the main part of the blade as more or less a thin rectangle or a gently tapering triangle. Then, up at the edge, you have two angles that come together more steeply. These angles are the bevels, which meet at the edge. (There is also secondary beveling, but let's keep it simple here.) "Total included angle" means if you were to take the number of degrees between one of those bevels and the other. OK?

 

So let's suppose the total included angle is 90, a right angle. You can see that (a) it's not going to crush when you whack it on something, but (b) as soon as the very point of that edge goes into your slab of fish, the flaring bevels are going to push the food out of the way at least as fast as the edge itself can hit. This produces what's called "wedging": imagine trying to cut a carrot by pushing a thinnish dowel through a crack started along the side, and you'll see what's going to happen.

 

Now suppose total included angle is 1 degree, so thin you can't believe it. You can see that (a) it's not going to wedge at all, just slice through perfectly, but (b) it's going to be incredibly susceptible to crushing or cracking because it's so darn thin.

 

With me?

 

Now let's suppose your steel can tolerate roughly 15 degrees of beveling per side, i.e. a total included angle of 30. Now suppose you grind this really, really asymmetrically. Basically imagine your knife point-on again, but now shift the edge off from the center-line a lot. So on one face of the knife (the inside -- if you're a righty, that's the face looking left as you hold the knife normally in your hand preparing to cut down on the board), that 15-degree bevel is like a hair. On the other face, the 15-degree bevel goes way up the face of the blade. The total included angle is the same, but the bevels are really different sizes. OK?

 

So now you cut. On the inside face, there is basically no shoulder pushing the food out of the way. On the outside face, there is a shoulder, but it's not climbing any faster than if you sharpened the knife symmetrically. To put it differently, the total included angle at the edge is the same (30), but just a couple millimeters up the knife the width of the wedge is significantly thinner. So, less wedging.

 

But if you keep thinking about it, you can perhaps see that cutting with a knife sharpened this way will impose some transverse pressure on the edge: the food is pushing against the blade on one side and not the other. With soft steel, that's bad news. With hard, it's trivial.

 

End-result: I like asymmetry, and grind my knives very asymmetrical. I also use quite high-end Japanese carbon, and I sharpen them with some regularity. Some people swear that asymmetry makes knives "pull" in the cut, but if the knife is reasonably thin you'll have to be way more sensitive than I am to detect this. (It's very true of single-beveled knives, which are a different beast altogether, but it's not especially true of double-bevels.) I also find that grinding asymmetrically makes sharpening take less time, which I enjoy because I am lazy. But if you decide to grind a good Japanese knife 50/50 that will be no bad thing either. And if you change your mind, it's no big deal.

 

To conclude, actually, a note on changing your mind. Suppose you have a 50/50 knife that's very hard and decide you'd like to try asymmetry. You can totally regrind it, or you can just do your usual sharpening practice and do 50% less grinding on the inside face. Over time, the knife will keep drifting more and more asymmetrical, as you do less and less grinding on the inside face. If you change your mind, you could re-grind, or you can just start grinding evenly on both sides every time, and in time it will even out. In fact, if you have a knife that likes to be sharpened, i.e. grinds quickly and smoothly, and you slap it on a mildly coarse stone, you can shift the symmetry drastically in 5 minutes if you have a clue what you're doing. This is very much not a hard thing, and I say this as someone who curses bitterly about all kinds of sharpening things I find to be a pain. This isn't one of them. So don't sweat it.

 

Hope that helps.

post #27 of 31
Once the decision was made to buy a santoku, I decided to butt out. The road to hell is not only paved with good intentions, but with technical sharpening issues as well. So I couldn't stay out.

+1 with Chris, at least mostly.

If you're going to steel your knives, you don't want to go much beyond 60/40; and not at all beyond 70/30. To some extent using percentages is BS, because you can't sharpen that accurately and have no meaningfully accurate way to measure to the nearest 10% even if you could. So, a 2:1 ratio in bevel widths is about max.

Does asymmetry make a huge difference? Depends on the knife, but usually no. There's always a tension between absolute sharpness and durability/maintenance. Asymmetry is one of its expressions but usually not hugely so -- until you start approaching a chisel edge. Chisel edges (one sided sharpening) are largely inappropriate for a western kitchen because they're usually far more trouble than they're worth.

Once you start dealing with hardness in excess of 60RCH, the rules start to change. But, if you're using extremely thin knives -- so called "lasers" -- the rules start to change back.

There's no hard and fast rule for the right amount of asymmetry for a given knife or given user. For years I kept my Sabatiers around 60/40 righty (which I guess at by sharpening at what I estimate to be slightly less than 2:1) because it (a) works well for my right handed wife; (b) doesn't bother my left-handed but very soft grip; and (c) is easy to sharpen and steel. More important than the degree of asymmetry though is the bevel angle of 15*, which is as acute as you can take a Sab's soft carbon without requiring constant steeling.

In the case of the Sabs, and nearly all knives, the bevel angle plus the levels of maintenance are far more important then the degree of asymmetry. A freshly and well sharpened knife of a given bevel angle will always be and act sharper than a knife of the same bevel angles and greater asymmetry, but less well or freshly sharpened. At equal levels of sharpness and use since sharpening, a well trued knife (usually from steeling, but sometimes from stropping) will act sharper than a knife which isn't as well trued but is more asymmetric.

Asymmetry often carries issues with truing, because asymmetric edges fatigue more along their vector of stress and then tend to collapse and tear more easily than more symmetric edges. This phenomenon touches on what Chris referred to when he talked about "transverse" forces, but there's more to it than just tossing it in "hardness considerations" and forgetting about it. "Hardness" can be very misleading, but let's pretend it means what we naively assume it does. Within that assumption, harder knives don't roll out of true as easily as softer knives, but truing -- no matter how it's done -- leads to a greater probability of damage to the edge, usually in the form of "chipping", than with softer knives.

As a caveat -- it's a good idea to remember how the road to hell is paved and avoid getting too caught up in the sort of uber-technical aspects of knives which have more to do with knife collecting than cooking. Unless that is, you're consciously moving to the dark side.

Which takes us back to choosing knives which are made from a good, appropriately hardened alloy for the way you're going to use and maintain.

BDL
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post #28 of 31
Thread Starter 

I decided I want a wa .

The centerpieces of my kitchen are an Iga donabe rice cooker and a Nambu tetsubin .

So I think a Tosa bunka might be fitting .

Or something like a Takeda Banno Bunka AS 160mm .

My only concern is most all Tosa are carbon and the care and maintenance involved .

 

post #29 of 31
Saw today only a great price on the Tojiro DP santoku at C&M. But that's not a wa. And it's still a santoku wink.gif
post #30 of 31
Thread Starter 

The $25 Victorinox Santoku is probably all I need at this point but I want Japanese with wa octagonal .

Haven't decided between 165 or 180 mm , stainless or carbon .

But now looking (on-line) at these : 

Ashi Hamono 165 / 180mm Wa-Santoku Swedish Stainless Steel

Yoshihiro 165mm SKD Santoku

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