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Your suggestions for a Gyuto and a Nakiri?

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

Hi, I'm new here but have often benefited from the forum while lurking. I have a few questions about a Christmas wish list I'm developing. I've posted a similar request on bladeforums and CKTG

1) What in your opinion would be the best 240mm Wa-Gyuto currently available for under $400? I am leaning toward Blue #2/Aogami steel. I have the same question for a Nakiri.

I know the answer to the above depends on the user, so let me tell you something about my general skill level and background. I'm a 49-year-old avid home cook with good knife skills. I cook mostly French and Chinese. Most of my knives are German but I have a few Western style, thin-bladed Japanese chef knives that I bought at the Tsukiji fish market that I end up using most often, but they're nothing special. I also have a 240mm Masahiro Virgin Carbon. I'm a fairly good free-hand sharpener and have stones (Bester, King) ranging from 800-1000-4000, plus a Kitiyama 8000. I would have no problem with the additional care a carbon blade would require.

2) I love the Edgepro Apex for my existing knives. Should I also use it on a traditional Japanese knife like a Gyuto or a Nagiri, or do them freehand? Opinions about this seem to be all over the map.

3) Are Takedas as good as their cult following would suggest, or has their acclaim led to a slight dropoff in quality?

Thank you very much for your advice!

post #2 of 3

Can't help you with a nakiri.  I don't care for them, but that doesn't mean I think you shouldn't.  Also, I'm not going to talk much about knives with any sort of ornamental finish, whether kurouchi, "damascus," tsuchime, or anything else.  That's as much a matter of my aesthetic preference for plain tools as for specific issues with specific finishes.  I also, don't like san-mai knives and won't recommend them. 


To the extent that it matters -- which isn't much -- I think Shirogami/White #2 is a better choice for most people. 


As far as I know, Takedas are still well made knives but I wouldn't recommend one on the bases that they're kurouchi, san-mai, profiled way too flat, and somewhat overpriced.  Hmmm.... Actually....  Maybe not a bad choice for the nakiri. 


If you want a super-thin "laser" you can do far better for a lot less money.  Before getting into specific brands, that's the first choice you've got to make... laser or not laser.  Lasers are currently the hot category.  As it happens, my "go to gyuto" is a 270mm Konsuke HD (semi-stainless) which I like quite a bit; and, FWIW, I like the Konosuke White#2 just as much.  Konosuke is one good choice, but there are a number of other high quality makers. 


The first knife you want to look at in the thin but not quite laser, carbon, prestige group is the Masamoto KS.  In addition to all its other wonderfulness the KS is available in 240 and 270mm.  The Masamoto gyuto profile is very closely patterened after the Sabatier chef's knife profile, without quite being a clone. 


If you like the KS, and if money is a bigger issue than prestige, I'd also very seriously consider the Richmond Ultimatum 52100 (a Masamoto KS clone made with 52100 carbon alloy).  I haven't had the opportunity to try one but have heard good things from people I trust.  If I can't get my hands on one in some other way, I'll guess I'll have to buy one.  Moritaka also makes a KS clone which has mostly been very favorably received, but Moritaka has serious consistency issues and I don't trust them.   


Of the three best chef's/gyuto I've ever used, one was a K-Sabatier au carbone, one a Masamoto KS 270, and the third a Konosuke 270.  I own both the Sabatier and the Konosuke. 


Last word:  With knives at this level of quality, it's all about the sharpening.  An EP is fine for those knives, get a collet stop and angle finder if you don't already have them to ensure your angles are consistent, and make sure you're using good, flat stones; the Choseras are very nice.



post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 

BDL, thank you for your wealth of advice. Actually I just learned the term "laser" for knives recently, and yes, I think that is the quality I am looking for especially in the Nakiri. Although a Gyuto would obviously be a more versatile knife, I like the Nakiri for non-rational aesthetic reasons but also because I think it would come in handy for vegetable prep like julienne, dicing, etc. What frustrates me the most about this work is the classic splaying problem you get when dicing an onion. I don't think I've ever had a knife sharp enough to overcome this (might have to do with my sharpening skills, too, of course). I assume a laser would overcome that, or is it really necessary? Mark over at CKTG has some amazing videos of Nakiri slicing through vegetables like through air, and I assume the thin blades of this type of knife are more conducive to that result than the generally stouter Gyuto. He also recommended the Konosuke Nakiri in blue steel.


In sum, I think I should definitely have a laser in my collection, but my question at this point is if it should be in the form of a Gyuto or a Nakiri.

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