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Stabilized ho wood vs ebony handles

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I'm looking to get both a Konosuke HD wa-gyuto 240mm and a Konosuke HD wa-petty 150mm.  Both are more or less lasers as far as I can tell.


What I'm trying to decide is if I should go with their now standard stabilized ho wood handles, or with the more expensive ebony handles.  I don't really care about the looks of one vs. the other.  My concern is just that the ebony handles are probably heavier and change the balance of either knife .  I believe ebony is about the twice the weight of normal ho wood, but don't know how it compared to stabilized ho wood. 


Maybe the ebony handles on the 240mm gyuto actually make it a little more balanced?  Maybe the 150mm petty is short enough that the weight difference doesn't matter?


Anybody have any thoughts on this or actually have these knives and can comment on balance?


Thanks for any suggestions.

post #2 of 8

stabilized wood is basically resin impregnated and contributes a fair amount of weight.

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
post #3 of 8
Call the vendor -- presumably Mark at CKtG or Jon at JKI -- and ask about relative weights, if it greatly concerns you. I believe the ebony handles are significantly heavier than the ho wood.

Balance is either a non-issue or a tremendous issue -- depending on whether you view it as important. Any long, wa handled knife is going to have the balance point relatively far forward compared to a yo handled knife. The inherent imbalance of wa handled knives is something you can either accept or not.

If you have a relatively good grip and knife technique it shouldn't bother you. FWIW, "balance" tends to matter less with lasers than sturdier knives because their blades so light. Indeed, "lightness" and (one hopes) "sharpness" are the primary sensations.

post #4 of 8

For my own cooking,"lightness"  matters more than "balance". So I'm pretty much all for wa- handles and ho- wood, unfancy as it is.

post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the feedback.


I've only got one wa handled gyuto so far (not a laser) and really like it -- haven't noticed a balance problem even though it is a little blade heavy.


I probably should have mentioned that I've got carpel tunnel -- paying for many years of 70 hour weeks of keyboarding work.  Hence having a light knife is very important to me, but I also don't want my wrist to have to work much to keep the knife properly angled.  My grip is pretty light -- it has to be with my wrists!


It seems like, for the gyutos anyway, that as long as the handle isn't heavier than the blade (or is only slightly heavier) that they'll work well for me with light my pinch grip and wonky wrists.


post #6 of 8
If you keep your wrist straight -- in the sense that your elbow, forearm, blade, and tip are all on the same line -- that will not only keep the tendons running straight through your carpal tunnels (which means less pain, fatigue, and risk of further damage), but will help your accuracy a great deal as well. It takes some practice before it becomes instinctive, but is well worth it.

post #7 of 8

Hey tarn, I have a (almost certainly) milder version of your wrist problem (saxophone, guitar, piano, heavy computer keyboard use, etc). At least for me, having good technique as BDL suggest has been really key for keeping my wrist pain free. Perhaps equally important is a sharp edge. Dull knives tend to make me lose focus on form and thus: ouch. I've also found good posture to be quite important during knife work, for both my wrists and general fatigue. I'm right handed; from standing parallel with the counter, I put my left foot forward such that my chest is pointing to 1-2 o'clock. This allows me the room to keep my whole arm straight and has the added benefit of allowing me to work horizontally across my cutting board, rather than diagonally. Apologies if I'm rehashing the obvious here.

post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the tips.  I use some similar strategies to help my wrists, both in the kitchen and in the woodworking shop.


The one task that I really haven't been able to find a good method for is doing the final hand whisking of egg whites or cream or the like.  Gets me every time.


I've got a Konosuke HD wa-petty 150mm with ebony handle (they're out of the ho wood) coming soon.  I'll see how that works out then decide on the gyuto.

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