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changeing from german to Japanise knives suggestion please

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
Hi another ignorant newbie here. I currently have Wursthof classic knives. As long as I hone them each time I use them I find them to be adequate. However, I won't more than adequate. I know the premier Japanese knives are simply too expensive for my means. But I would like to look into good quality entry or medium level Japanese knives. Currently I am looking for two. I am looking for a general purpose and a slicing knife. I prefer function over form. But one of the two knives will be a gift for a long time very good friend and if possible or her I would like to get something combining both. At this point I am looking for a stainless clad knife with a very high hsr and chip resistant cutting-edge either of iron ore stainless.

Some of the knives I have been looking at are as follows:

Sakai Takayuki 45 Layer Damascus Wa Gyutou 240mm (9.4") $180

Japanese TOJIRO Powdered High Speed Steel Gyuto Chef Knife 210mm $195 or 240mm at $240

Japanese Sakai Yusuke Swedish Stainless Wa-Gyuto Knife 240mm Extra Harden hrc 61 $216


Gyuto chef knife 24cm High-Speed Powdered Steel Japanese chef knife YOSHIHIRO hrc 63 $250

Kasumi 84018 - 7 inch Santoku Knife $174

KC-133 Kanetsune Super GoldⅡpowdered steel blade Santoku 165mm $187 HRC: 62

Tamahagane Kyoto Damascus Chef's Knive hsr 61 8 in $250

As you can see from the above list I have been doing a lot of looking but I freely admit my ignorance which can be cured when it comes to these Japanese knives. I would deeply appreciate what ever suggestions and critiques anyone can provide.
post #2 of 29

I'm surprised that BDL hasn't come here to help you as he's the resident knife guru. 


Here is my personal opinion (not that it has much weight) on some of your matter...


For a general all purpose a gyuto would be a better all around performer than a short santoku. A suji is a slicer but some people can use it as a gyuto.


You mention you might want one that can do both relatively well, you can either have a longish gyuto or a suji to be used as a gyuto. I think as a gift, a nice gyuto would be better than a suji as it would get more use. Unless the person you are gifting to will be able to use a suji as a daily whether they need it daily or really want it, then a gyuto seems more practical. 


Harder materials would be more chip prone. I believe that Stainless can be more chip prone than a carbon but some of these newer stainless steels are actually quite tough, I have a few Swedish stainless and they haven't chipped yet. 


Out of those that you listed I have a Sakai Yusuke White#2 Gyuto 240mm and I love it. Top notch fit and finish. I've used a 210mm and ended up wanting 240mm for more blade area.

post #3 of 29
Thread Starter 
Thank you for your suggestions. Now I realize for these knives I will have to have new and better water stones and some device to keep the angle right but that is for another thread. Everything winds up costing more. Thought I could get away with 4 new knives for the ones I use most but now need to add in cost of proper water stones. $70-80 just for 5000 grit honing stone!
post #4 of 29

This set has been well regarded and highly recommended.


Once you are well on your way with these then you may want to add a finishing stone around 8-10K but its not really needed.

post #5 of 29

The reasons I haven't jumped in include:  

  • I really dislike most of those knives on the list which I know something about; which makes me unsure as to whether there's common ground;
  • The list itself doesn't reflect any actual preference or style;
  • Summarizing the various attributes of hundreds of knives gets old -- even for me;
  • I haven't had much luck lately teaching "Knives 101" with people who start with their own, long lists;
  • Uriah's posts have a lot more statements than they do questions.  Jumping in and saying you don't know much about knives doesn't win many friends. I was and still am hoping for answerable questions.  
  • I wanted to see where the conversation went without me;
  • You seemed to be doing pretty well;
  • Etc. 



Edited by boar_d_laze - 11/9/12 at 8:02am
post #6 of 29

I see your points BDL and I was very hesitant to say anything either, not knowing what exactly the questions are. 

Edited by dreamwrx - 11/9/12 at 9:02am
post #7 of 29

Posted by dreamwrx View Post

I see your points... 


Perhaps I should have added that I think Sakai Yusuke lasers are very good, although I haven't tried or even heard much about the new, harder stainless.  But...

Does Uriah want a laser wa-gyuto?  Does he want a 63 layer faux "Damascus" yo-gyuto?   Does he already know the differences and how they would effect him, or does he want basic knife instruction? 


Quien sabe? 



post #8 of 29

I noticed that too, it seems that Uriah has a wide range of interests. It would be better to narrow down specifics. 


I'm having Keiichi order me a 240mm Ultra thin Stainless hardened to RCH61. It's going to take a while (3 months)...  BDL, would you be interested in trying it out when it gets here?

post #9 of 29

Yes!  Of course!



post #10 of 29
Thread Starter 
My apology for being inept in my question. My list was simply what I have seen and read about. I had thought I had been clear that while I am not an expert I wanted to learn. What I saw as some basic criteria or the direction I thought best at the present time was that I was looking for knives that had a high Rockwell core of steel either of easily rusting or rust resistant steel clad in stainless. The core steel could be Aogami Super (Blue Super Steel), high quality Shirogami or powdered steel that was not easily chipped. I would start with a general chef's knife, a sliceing knife and both short and long petty knives. Not being affluent the most expensive should be less than US about $250. I would prefer the style to be more traditional Japanese.

So am I heading in the wrong direction? Are what I thought to be good general ideas not correct? If I were highly knowledgeable I would not be asking for help or would be asking the specific pros and cons of 2 different specific knives I was considering buying.

I am under the impression that TOJIRO makes some decent less expensive knives and might be a brand to look into..My Impression is that extremely thin "laser" knives might be to delicate for a beginner. I am asking for suggestions and useful knowledge. For example the suggestion that dreamwrx made re stones seems like an excellent idea. I have been reading the"newbe requesting info" posts and am not totally ignorant.
post #11 of 29



First I would like to apologize if I seem to have said anything that has offended you, it is not my intention. I highly doubt that BDL has that intention as well. No body is saying that you are ignorant, but its hard to answer your questions directly as we don't know what exactly the questions are. I'll try to start somewhere based on my little knowledge (most of which is learned from many others) so please take it with a grain of salt and a teaspoon of sugar.


Carbon vs Semi vs Stainless:  It seems that many of the Japanese carbons (blue and white variants) can take and hold an edge better than the stainless steel variants not to mention they have been able to be heat treated to a higher rating. However lately new technology in steel manufacturing has been quite good for stainless and the new AEB-L steels have reached higher hardness levels and have pretty close edge properties. Which brings us to semi stainless such as the konosuke HD series with parts of both, better stain resistance and better edge properties. This choice depends on how much maintenance vs edge properties you want.. if you want less maintenance then swing towards the Stainless, if you want best possible edge then swing towards carbon.


Clad vs non-clad: Commonly known as San-mai, damascus layered, or clad its layers of steel upon steel. Some like it for its appearance, personally I like them while others don't care for them. Typically the cladding mutes the blade a bit and BDL doesn't like that and doesn't recommend it personally, but aesthetics plays a big role in what we buy.. I say you buy what you like. Personally I've used clad knives and do notice the difference, it doesn't bother me as much. So this part is very personal. Best bet is to go try out some from a local store to get a feel. 


Tojiros are pretty good for entry level and while they use VG-10 which used to be highly rated a few years ago, better steels have emerged on the market for around the same price, with that in mind they are still very good knives. 


I started off with Shuns.. Kaji line from which are san-mai, while I liked them, they were heavy and seemed more money than they were worth, I sold them and got a few different knives. I was afraid of "lasers" at first but if you are using your knives as they are intended meaning no bone breaking and the like, lasers are better for more intricate work as weight gets old fast when you do actual work.


I hope this helps a bit with your choices. 

post #12 of 29
Thread Starter 

You have done nothing which would cause me to take offense. I noted the criticisms of my initial post and tried to give information that would address the criticisms. I am leaning more towards stainless or especially a semi stainless steel, but I felt that stainless cladding of any type of core material would address the issue of rusting with the exception of the uncovered edge. Forgive my ignorance here but I do have a question, you stated "cladding mutes the blade a bit ". I did not think that there would be a perceptible difference in the feeling of blade cutting, unless the cladding had been done very poorly. So what exactly does cladding "mutes the blade" mean?

I had read that VG – 10 had assumed a position of a good also-ran but the Tojiros I had been looking at were the ones not VG 10. I will take a look at is the konosuke HD series

Currently I live in a very isolated rural area and I am not aware of any real knife shops within a two-hour drive.  On my last trip to Atlanta Georgia I did go into a shop which was purported to carry better knives but what they considered their best were Wursthofs and Shuns. Though at the prices they charged the customers were either severely undertaxed or rode the little special bus to school.

Thank you for your information and I will research the areas.


post #13 of 29

Rather than blindly believeing everything you read onthe internet, why not just ask the following question:


"I have $(insert number here) to spend and want to buy the latest, greatest, and most impressive Japanese knife for the money... which one would you recommned?"


I would have addressed your last post, but I rode that bus to school, bought-and-used Shun knives, and find your attempt at cuteness to be offensive. Ha ha ha.


Truth be told, Shun and Wustoff (or Henckels) is in the same price range.  Why not buy a Shun Classic or Premier and have a blazingly sharp and fast blade, and also get a Wusty or Henckels for breaking bones?  That is... if you want to cook vs yackking on the internet about which knife to buy.

post #14 of 29
Thread Starter 

To Brian Shaw


You do not have the data to state that I believe everything I read on the Internet and making that assumption is revealing of your cognitive processes. As far as my statements about people being under taxed or riding the disability bus to school I have done extensive psychological testing of the disabled frequently on a pro bono basis. To assist them in getting what ever specialized help they might need. There is a significant difference between someone who suffers from disabilities of sight or or mobility compared to those with Weschler IQs below 80. When a person pays in excess of 100% more for a knife or other kitchen supplies in a store when the same merchandise is available and easily obtained by other avenues then in my humble opinion they have so much money that they don't understand or care about value or speaking bluntly they

are ignorant or their IQ is too low to realize they are being taken advantage of.


As I noted in my first post I currently have Wursthof classic knives and am ready to move up to something better.


Given that my friends birthday is right around the corner and I am short on time for further research I bought my friend a Tojiro Powdered high speed steel 240mm Gyuto chef's knife. It  arrived yesterday and has excellent fit and finish and is extremely sharp right out of the box. While it may not have been the best knife I could get for the money it is leaps and bounds better than what he has. To me the knife appeared to be a bit heavy and probably could benefit from a bit of rounding off the top of the blade near the bolster.


If my intent were to just cook the utensils I have now are more than adequate for the job.


I am drawn to fine equipment whether it be the lenses on my camera, the guns I shoot, or the audio gear I use to listen to music. There is, at least for me, something almost spiritual in the design and execution of an object that works extremely well. An extremely well-made knife is something I derive pleasure from just holding and looking at the beauty inherent in high quality workmanship.




post #15 of 29

That is a fine choice for a Japanese knife... but, indeed, you paid a lot.  I won't attribute that to IQ or hillbilly tendencies... I'll assume and accept without question that you had good reasons to do what you did.  Enjoy!

post #16 of 29
Thread Starter 

I purchased the knife for a very old long-term friend who has done me many favors in the past. He and his wife are fairly well-off and it is difficult for me to buy something special for them. However, with the knife and stone I believe I have given them a gift that they do not have and from which they will derive enjoyment. It is more expensive than what I will be getting for myself. Had I not been doing some research and comparing costs I could have easily spent the same amount of money in that very overpriced Atlanta store for inferior merchandise.

Now I must continue to research and then buy something for myself. I believe I will start with a fairly long petty knife. What I will be looking for is a knife that is more traditional Japanese in style. Again I would want something that is either clad or of a semi-rust resistant steel though being meticulous I might choose a steel that was not rust resistant if it had other qualities that I wanted. The edge needs to be high Rockwell but tough enough to not chip. I would rather not spend more than $100 or so. Does anyone have any suggestions of knives or brands that they have found to be good.

post #17 of 29



Um... What I mean by muting is that if you take a fork and bang it on the table it rings.. a non cladded knife is like this (but of course we don't want to bang it against anything) while a cladded knife would feel as if you have some duct tape on it or a piece of rubber...


Perception is different for everyone, so it would feel fine to you while not liked by others.. or vice versa. You probably cant notice the difference because the wursthofs are thicker knives and shuns are thinner cladded. if you try a shun and one of the thinner japanese knives you will notice the difference. Whether it bothers you or not is still different.


out of the many brands online, I have a Sakai Yusuke White #2 carbon, and a Konosuke HH (stainless), as well as Richmond Lasers AEB-L stainless and I wouldnt hesitate to recommend those.. they have great fit and finish.. and feel great.. but those are personal opinion.. and btw the ones i mentioned are all lasers(since you seem to like lighter) and not cladded. You should search around for reviews of other brands as I do not have experience with those..

post #18 of 29



You're taking a lot of grief considering you're just asking for advice. 


Let me see if I can't clarify some of the issues floating around. 


It would be helpful if you could narrow things down starting with handle type (wa or western), blade shape, and thinness.  It would also be useful to know about the current state of your knife skills; whether you're willing to make a sustained effort to improve them (if you don't want to, that's okay); the current state of your sharpening skills and kit; and whether you're willing to make a sustained effort to improve them (if you don't want to, that's okay). 


When it comes to knives, if sharpening isn't everything, it's the most important thing. 


It appears to me that you're overrating the importance of particular knife alloys, and of "hardness" in particular.  There are some excellent "monosteel" stainless knives which seem to meet your criteria in your price range.  You don't need to go with san-mai laminate if you don't want to.  It seems to me that the best reason to buy a san-mai knife is appearance.  Otherwise, they don't offer much practical benefit.  In other words, the rationale for your list isn't practical.  


The "damped," "muted" feeling thing which goes along with san-mai bothers me a great deal; but it's something most people don't feel, and of those whom do half don't care.  So -- a minority thing which matters to about a third of good cutters.  Should you be worried about it?  I don't know.  It would be nice if you could find a an opportunity for an "in the hand" comparison.  Otherwise, just lick your finger, stick it in the air, look sagacious, and guess.


Super hard powdered metallurgical (PM) steels usually don't make enough difference in performance over "regular" alloys to justify their extra price.  Tojiro doesn't say what they use in their Powdered Steel series, but it's probably SG1 or SRS15 -- neither of which is a very good PM even as those things go.  Unless you have very specific reasons for wanting a Tojiro PS knife, I wouldn't recommend it even if the conversation were limited to PMs.


AS is a very good alloy, but as very good alloys go it's not that big a deal.  It's unlikely to the point of near impossibility that you could make use of its comparative benefits or drawbacks vis a vis other very good carbon alloys like 52100, White #2, VS2, etc. 


Most people don't need a short and long petty.  The whole point of a petty is that it's one knife which will solve all of the short knife puzzles.  6" (150mm) is the generic, "perfect" length. 


$100 is a difficult price point for what you want.  The Artifex 150 and Tojriro DP 150 yo "Utility" knives are huge bang for the buck.  Because petties are so narrow, take so much abuse, and get so much sharpening they tend to wear out faster than any other knife; and that makes value for money a more important consideration than many other knives.  I like the MAC Pro 6" Utility but fear that recent price increases make it more expensive than its worth.  The Kagayaki CarboNext (semi-stainless) yo petty ticks all your boxes (except for a Japanese handle, which I'm not sure if you want or not), but the CarboNexts frequently ship with lousy edges -- so unless you're already a pretty good sharpener I can't recommend it. 


Like most wa and or laser knives, the Gesshin Ginga Inox, Konosuke HH (stainless), Konosuke HD wa petties, and Sakai Yusuke stainless petties  are more than you want to spend.  Most of my favorite knives are carbon or semi-stainless, but I have a Konosuke HH and think it's an excellent knife and reasonable value for the money. 



post #19 of 29
Thread Starter 



Taking things bit by bit, I would prefer a WA handle but it’s not mandatory.


I am not an expert sharpener or even a good one. I sharpen pocket knives, fish fileting knife, hunting knife and various wood chisels etc. But none of these require high skill and I just use some old Arkansas stones. So I have to get decent stones angle jigs etc.


Perhaps rather than focusing on specific steels I should just make my criteria blades that hold a very sharp edge for a long time. By looking at advanced steels that was the end result I was looking for in any case.  While function is the most important, I do like something that looks good also. I have been using the knife I bought for a friend that is clad and the only problem I have with it is that it’s a bit heavy.


Now I have 3 1/5” and 5” bladed petties and do like each for different uses so I think I will eventually get both but perhaps move the 5” to 6”.

 $100 is what I had hoped to spend but if I can’t find what I want I could stretch that to $150 


Thank you for your suggestions and I will read about them.



post #20 of 29
Thread Starter 



Thanks for the info. I have used the clad knife I bought for my friend and other than weight had no complaints.  I will be checking the knives you listed.



post #21 of 29
Originally Posted by Uriah Heep View Post

... and other than weight had no complaints.

That is a very interesting observation.  I have not handled a Torijo so I don't really know how heavy they are, but lightness is one of the things I like about some of the Japanese-made German-style chef knives.  I find an 8 inch Shun to be light (a tad too light) and fast, and a same size Henckels to be perfect... but in 10 inch I hate the Henckels and love the Shun.  Given my druthers I'd rather work with a 10 inch blade than an 8 inch most of the time.  If nothing else that is a good arguement to buy a knife only after a test drive.

post #22 of 29
Thread Starter 

If it helps at 240mm the Torijo was thinner and lighter than a 210mm Wursthof classic chefs knife.

post #23 of 29

A Tojiro DP is considerably thinner and lighter than a Wusthof (Note:  It's not Wursthof, there's no "R" in Wusthof). 


The Tojiro DP chef's is a French and not a German profile.  Shun chef's knives are German profiled. German profile knives have more belly and rocker (curve) than French profile knives of the same length.  Most Japanese made chef's knives are either French profile or a Japanese variation which is even flatter.  As a general rule, the shorter the knife, the more its curve is exaggerated.  An 8" German profile -- Shun, Wusthof, Forscher, etc. -- will be curved for almost the entire length of the blade.  Because Shuns have a relatively straight top line and high tip, the belly is even more exaggerated.  The trend among good cutters is towards the French profile and its Japanese variant.


The German profile helps provide some extra power -- useful in the case of a dull knife, and promotes "rock chopping."  A French profile is more agile, as long as you keep it sharp, and is more versatile for "push cutting," and a gliding action.    


At the end of the day, it's a matter of taste.  Nevertheless if you aren't already skilled enough to have your own informed opinion, I suggest going with a French profile. 



post #24 of 29
Thread Starter 

I went and ordered the stone set you suggested. I had ordered a 5000 stone along with the knife I got for my friend so he would have a way to hone the knife and not be tempted to use the steel he uses on his ordinary knives.


I have not yet ordered to petty for my self but when I finally decide I will have the stones to maintain it and the slicer I will get next.

post #25 of 29
Smart move to work on your sharpening skills before committing to a new knife. Practice on what you have first. Based on your location, you either have to learn to sharpen or mail out your new expensive knife. All the knives you mentioned will take edges sharper than anything you've experienced, but few come with edges near their potential. Most non knife freaks who think they have pretty nice, pretty sharp knives are shocked at how sharp my knives are when they pick them up. I know plenty of talented people who love their German knives and keep them quite sharp. I also sharpen a lot of forged German knives. I find them pretty easy to sharpen compared to much harder Japanese knives with more acute angles .
post #26 of 29

Originally Posted by Mrmnms View Post

I know plenty of talented people who love their German knives and keep them quite sharp. I also sharpen a lot of forged German knives. I find them pretty easy to sharpen compared to much harder Japanese knives with more acute angles .

You can certainly get German knives sharp.  However, if you find it easier to sharpen German knives than Japanese knives, with very few exceptions, there's something wrong with your equipment or skills. 



Edited by boar_d_laze - 11/30/12 at 5:24pm
post #27 of 29
I find German knives, softer steel, very quick , easy and forgiving,and take less time than harder Japanese steel. Good for someone getting into it. I have no problem sharpening anything. Send me something, I'll be happy to sharpen it for you
post #28 of 29
Thread Starter 

Well I decided to start with a relatively inexpensive petty knife a Tojiro DP cobalt at 150mm. That with my Wusthofs and new stones should be sufficient to start learning proper knife and sharpening skills. Later I can get a good slicing knife with Wa handle etc. Many thanks for the advice.


post #29 of 29
Thread Starter 

I just received the Tojiro DP cobalt at 150mm. Its an ok knife but I find the blade to thick and while quite sharp I think it has more potential in the area.  Looks like I will be spending more $$ on the next knife. Still ok for the money and good for learning.

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