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Looking for all your opinions on the following gyutos

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Love the site, been lurking a while reading all the threads...

Anyway, I'm looking at a couple of 240mm gyutos, and would like to know what you all think about each one of them:
Fujiwara FKM
Sakai Takayuki Grand Chef Western
Konosuke HH Western
Suisin Inox

Background:
I'm currently learning my knife skills, and currently using a 8" Victorinox Forschner with a Fibrox handle that I like the grip but it feels scratchy to me. I will be picking up a sharpening water stone set (I have some experience sharpening pocket knives on oil stones with guides) as well to support what I assume will soon become an addiction.

I am left handed, looking for a western handle, stainless, and push cut. When I first started with my Forschner, it seemed long at first, but now I think it's a bit on the short side. My preferred budget is below $200.

This would be my first J-knife, and I would have gone straight for the FKM (I hear it has good ergonomics, good intro knife), but I'm wondering instead of upgrading a few months later I should just pay the extra $$ now and skip a tier.

Which brings me to my second choice, the Grand Chef. From what I have read, it a great metal with a good fit and finish (though the metal isn't hardened as much as other J-knives). The reason I'm looking at it is because my professionally trained cook friend (who has never worked on the line after graduating) felt that the handle on the Richmond Artifex would be uncomfortable after a while. I have read on other forums that the Grand Chef is over priced and would be cheaper if bought in Japan.

It seems that Konosuke has quite a following as well, though choosing the HH over the HD is a tradeoff between ease of sharpening and stain resistance. And I can't remember why the Suisin made my short list. tongue.gif

I'm thinking of sticking to single steel knives because I read that cladded knives feel slightly different on stones. I have also read that VG-10 like on the Tojiro can be chippy (especially for someone who hasn't gotten proper technique). No carbon because I'm not sure I'm ready for that kind of commitment (yet). I'll be keeping my Forschner around as my beater knife.

All in all, the Grand Chef looks very very tempting.
Thanks.
post #2 of 16

You're right about the Fujiwara FKM.  Good knife, good to excellent value.  AUS-8 at around 58RCH, appropriately thin and adequately finished.  Decent, French profile.  Edge taking properties are pretty good, edge holding just okay. 

 

The Grand Chef is made from AEB-L hardened to around 58RCH.  They take a great edge, but need some steeling to maintain it.  Another decent, French profile.  Overall, they're good knives and competitive with other knives in their general price range.  Personally, I think the MAC Pro is more comfortable, has a more comfortable handle, and much better North American support.  But the big take away is that their similar quality and similar price, so there you go.

 

The Richmond Artifex handle is appropriately sized, well eased (the edges are rounded so the handle doesn't feel boxy) and comfortable if you have anything approaching a reasonable grip.  I have no idea what your friend is talking about.  Any chance that you could get him to be more specific?  Nicely profiled, comfortable knife with zero money spent wasted on cosmetics.  Made in America.  The knife is HUGE bang for the buck. 

 

The Konosuke HH is a "laser," and is different from the other knives on your list.  You either want a laser or you don't?  In exchange for better performance you'll have to baby the knife a bit by going to your heavy duty knife a bit more frequently.  You'll also have to work a bit more on your knife handling skills to make sure you keep the knife from flexing by keeping it square in the cut.  According to everything I've heard the Konosuke HH is a big improvement over their previous stainless knives, and performs about as well as their HD and Shirogami series in terms of edge taking and keeping.  It won't feel as good or go quite as quickly on the stones, but that's probably not important to you, since you're not interested in carbon or semi-stainless knives anyway. 

 

I don't know the Suisun Inox well enough to say anything other than that they had a poor reputation a few years ago for F&F, but are supposedly much improved.  Is it enough better than a Fujiwara FKM to justify the price difference?  I don't know. 

 

Since all of these are sold by CKtG, why not give Mark at CKtG a call?

 

BDL

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post #3 of 16

"I'm currently learning my knife skills, and currently using a 8" Victorinox Forschner with a Fibrox handle that I like the grip but it feels scratchy to me."

 

I don't think that's a good knife to learn with. I find with that particular knife there is not enough blade height (or handle too big) near the handle to use a Pinch Grip. The result is fingers banging against the cutting board when attempting to chop/rock chop.

 

This does not occur with the 10 inch version or the Rosewood handle. I suspect that in order to shave costs the same handle size is used on all the Victorinox Fibrox knives which doesn't work as well with the 8 inch Fibrox Chef's knife.

post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks BDL, I was hoping to get your opinion.

John, my hands must be smaller than yours because the blade height hasn't been a problem for me on the Victorinox, unless I'm doing it wrong...
post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 
BDL,
It seems my friends issue is with the lack of a bolster. He's used to resting his finger on the concave section of the bolster where it meets the handle.
post #6 of 16

My hands are more medium sized. Do you use a Pinch Grip ? if you do, that plastic handle finger guard (on the 8 in. knife) does not allow enough clearance for the fingers. See the pic in post 11 in the link. There is ample clearance of the middle finger with the knife in the pic, but with the 8 inch Chef's Victorinox plastic handle, there is no middle finger clearance.

 

This condition also exists on other 8 inch Chef's knives like the Dexter/Russell.

post #7 of 16

The Forschner Fibrox knives don't have a finger guard.  I take an XL glove ( the hands in the photos already linked), and, although I'm no fan of any 8" chef knife -- especially one with so much belly -- have no problem gripping the 8" Fibrox.  It's been a long time, but I can't recall having to even "come over the top," the way I would using a short knife to chop for instance. 

 

Of course I believe John, but as a guess am more prone to file his discomfort under the "some handles just don't work for some people" category than believing in a general deficiency.   

 

BDL

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post #8 of 16

BDL, I may be off base here but by finger guard I am referring to the part of the handle (plastic handle knives) near the blade that protrudes down.

 

Victorinox

 

Dexter Russell

 

With a Chef's knife and using a Pinch Grip that "finger guard" shortens the clearance between the handle and the board, enough so that ones fingers touch the board when chopping unless the grip is modified.

 

I used both 8 inch and 10 inch Chef's knifes today at work. No doubt with the 8 inch I have to choke my fingers up to keep them from touching the board .. almost using my finger tips instead of being able to wrap them around like the first pic in this link.

 

On the first photo of the linked page there is a clearance of maybe 1/8 to 1/4 inch from the bottom of the fingers to the bottom of the bolster/knife edge. With an 8 inch Chef's plastic handle Victorinox/Dexter (because of the finger guards) there is zero clearance... thus fingers touch the board when chopping.


I believe (and I may be wrong) that the protuding part I call a "finger guard" is intended to prevent ones fingers from slipping on the handle and getting cut by the blade. On a Chef's knife this "finger guard" is not needed because the blade is tall enough to prevent slipping.

 

So the "finger guard" is more relevant with a narrow blade like a filet knife, but manufacturers use the same handle on the same line of knives regardless of the knife design.

post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 
I'm pretty sure my grip is fine on the fibrox. My middle finger is wrapped around the thinner section of the handle before the handle expands to meet the heel of the blade, with my thumb and fore finger pinching the blade.
The only way it would possibly hit the boards is if I were to shift my grip further down? So my middle finger would be touching the heel.
post #10 of 16

I have a 10" Victorinox Fibrox Chef's Knife and have nothing but love for it. I cut through a butternut squash yesterday with it and without even touching it up cut up a salad (lettuce, onion, and tomato) without a hitch. I couldn't believe it. I thought for sure I would have to at least do something to sharpen it. 

 

I want to talk to Boar D Laze about what would be a good move up, just for a gift to myself (really like Masamoto VG), not because I need it. The Vicky does it and then some. I find it hard to beat - and at any price. Are you really willing to put your $300-400 gyuto through a butternut squash? Or pork ribs? Or a whole chicken? Didn't think so. But the Vicky says "Is that all?". And awaits your answer. I am not a stone-sharpener at this point either. I use a Chef's Choice 463 on it, even though I have a Chef's Choice 110 - it just didn't get it where I liked it. 

 

Best, 

Squeezil

post #11 of 16

"I'm pretty sure my grip is fine on the fibrox. My middle finger is wrapped around the thinner section of the handle before the handle expands to meet the heel of the blade, with my thumb and fore finger pinching the blade.
The only way it would possibly hit the boards is if I were to shift my grip further down? So my middle finger would be touching the heel."

 

---

 

Sounds about right, you modified (as I do) your Pinch Grip by moving your fingers back a little for it to work with that handle. In the link I posted in post 8 and BDL's photos the middle finger is up touching the heel/bolster which is what most would consider a Pinch Grip.

 

It may not matter to most people, but the 10 inch versions of the same knife lines or Rosewood handle versions feel much better to work with because I don't need to modify my grip.

post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Squeezil View Post

I have a 10" Victorinox Fibrox Chef's Knife and have nothing but love for it. I cut through a butternut squash yesterday with it and without even touching it up cut up a salad (lettuce, onion, and tomato) without a hitch. I couldn't believe it. I thought for sure I would have to at least do something to sharpen it. 

 

I want to talk to Boar D Laze about what would be a good move up, just for a gift to myself (really like Masamoto VG), not because I need it. The Vicky does it and then some. I find it hard to beat - and at any price. Are you really willing to put your $300-400 gyuto through a butternut squash? Or pork ribs? Or a whole chicken? Didn't think so. But the Vicky says "Is that all?". And awaits your answer. I am not a stone-sharpener at this point either. I use a Chef's Choice 463 on it, even though I have a Chef's Choice 110 - it just didn't get it where I liked it. 

 

Best, 

Squeezil

Squeezil, I have the Rosewood handle version.. and used it in a Professional setting.. It's like the F-150 of knives, not flashy but it can get you out to dinner and also bring home a load of dirt.

You can increase it's performance some by thinning the edge and creating a 15/20 degree double bevel edge. You can read up some in Chad Ward's online tutorial.
http://forums.egullet.org/topic/26036-knife-maintenance-and-sharpening/

post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnR View Post

Sounds about right, you modified (as I do) your Pinch Grip by moving your fingers back a little for it to work with that handle. In the link I posted in post 8 and BDL's photos the middle finger is up touching the heel/bolster which is what most would consider a Pinch Grip.

Hmm, for me it isn't really modified, since the grip is almost identical to what I do on other knives. I guess it's like what BDL says, sometimes it just works for some.

As for pushing up to the heel, my understanding of the pinch grip is that the middle finger touching (being really close) to the heel isn't a requirement. The pinch provides the control while the 3 provides the...umm...not sure how to say it, stability/support?
post #14 of 16

For my use it is a modification if I use a grip I've grown accostomed to for a couple of hours a day and then I need to adjust it for that particular knife handle.

 

I guess with home use of a few minutes a day it really doesn't matter much what grip is used and in fact that 8 inch Victorinox is fine for most people (just for me, the handle is not ideal). If I had to use one, I could always file/grind that area of the handle down so I could use the grip I use at work.

post #15 of 16

Masamoto VG is a huge step up from a Victorinox.  For that matter, so are Richmond Artifex, Fujiwara FKM and Tojiro DP.  Not as huge a step up but still huge -- or "yooje," if you like to make fun of Donald Trump.  Which I do. 

 

Victorinox are "bang for the buck," but acceptable is not  high performance.  

 

Anyway, there's quite a large range of better knives to choose from.  The first trick is finding a few good choices which suit your needs at a price you can afford.  The second is sharpening.

 

BDL

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post #16 of 16
@JohnR: Thanks for the link! Very familiar with Chad Ward's awesome book, "An Edge in the Kitchen" - I didn't want to return it to the library! He's responsible for me getting sucked into knives like this.

@BDL: Oh, prolific one, thank you for your response! After Chad, your writing has sucked me in even deeper! I can't thank you enough for the insights you've provided in the various forums. You have me more curious about Sabatier au carbones than I ever thought possible. I have enjoyed the 10" Victorinox Fibrox/Chef's Choice 463 sharpener combo so far. It's fast and easy. BTW: I bought the parer, flexible boning knife, and bread knife as well from CKTG - I love the paring knife and I swear the flexible boning knife is psychic.

I want my next knife to be inspirational to me, as it will be a gift to myself after I pass the CPA Exam (2 parts down, 2 to go). I love the way wa handles look, but have never held a knife with them. Not big on the Damascus steel look. I am not opposed to carbon, but want to know if I should consider semi-stainless as an option? I generally wash my knives within minutes of using them, dry them and put them on the knife rack - is that considered good habit? My only experience with carbon steel is my wok - which I LOVE - and don't consider it too much work to keep up. You've made very good cases to consider carbon, which is why it's even on the table as an option. But I do like the ease of my current set up.

The Masamoto VG has been the darling of almost every review I've read - including ones by you. On CKTG's site it's about $230 for the 270mm. Which brings me to another question: 240mm vs 270mm? Big price differences generally for a few extra inches of steel. Is it worth it? Wa handled Masamotos get steep in price. The reason I'm thinking 270mm is because I really like the 10" Victorinox so much.

I know that you've recommended Mac Pro with a Rollsharp for others who "weren't quite there yet" on the stones. Do I need to make a commitment to water stones or can I keep using the 463?
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