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I'm almost ready for real knives!

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

Howdy.

 

I hate to do this since this community gets so much of it, but I'm hoping y'all derive as much enjoyment out of talking about beginner stuff (even ad nauseum) as I do about martial arts and climbing after teaching both for years.  Passion or some such thing for a hobby/profession I suppose. :)  I've done pretty much as much research as I can on my own, and just sort of need a last bit of direction from the wisdom of you generous folk that I just can't seem to glean from staring at this damned box.

 

So, I've decided I'd like to get carbon steel.  I'm OCD enough that I already wash and dry a damned $20 spatula immediately after use and stow it away that care won't be an issue. I like wa handles but haven't spent much time handling one.  Would it be better to go with a yo-gyuto? I'm more for function than form, but if prices and performance are pretty close, gimme something pretty!  I'm kind of a sucker for something that has history and/or is handmade, partly why I like Ikkanshi Tadatsuna, Shigefusa, and Doi Keijiro, while the last two being a bit out of budget for me first real gyuto.  But admittedly, may be drinking the Kool-Aid for big names?

 

Size wise, I was thinking 240 - maybe 270.  I've been using 8" knives, would it be crazy to move directly to a 270?  I don't plan on working as a professional chef in the near future, but I'll probably go to culinary school at some point.  Would it be too much knife to handle and cause me to lop off a finger?  I'm currently in school for physical therapy so I kind of need them all.  :)  

 

Currently I'm thinking:

 

- Konosuke HD - semi-stainless, comes in a wa handle.

- Masamoto HC - it's a Masamoto.

- Ikkanshi Tadatuna - a bit more, but worth it?  It seems that people have great things to say about these as well.

- I've seen these mentioned, but not much - Shosui Takeda, Shigeki Tanaka.  Any thoughts?

- I wish Doi Keijiro made a gyuto.

 

Would a Takayuki Grand Chef, Kikuichi Elite, Carbonext, or Mac Pro be better for me at this point?  Given my lack of sharpening ability, is it worth getting a really nice gyuto?  Let alone a laser?

 

I'll get a Nogent Sab regardless since they're relatively inexpensive and they're limited with tons of history.  I was thinking about setting it aside for now and using it down the road when I won't #$#@ it up with my lack of sharpening skills.

 

Sharpening stone wise, I was thinking Bestor 1200, Suehiro Rika 5k, and maybe a Naniwa 8k?  I'm debating about CKtG's 5 piece set, but I have a lot of corks in a vase for one and wasn't sure that the 500 and Magnifier are totally necessary?  So I was thinking of just putting that extra money towards an 8k.

 

My budget is around $400 for the gyuto.  I'm setting aside another $300-$400 for the below knives and accessories to round everything out.  So I could pull some extra cash from that and just put off some other knives until later if there's a particularly well fitting gyuto.

 

I do want to pick up a paring/petty/Nogent slicer a la BDL, a slicer, and bread knife for a well functioning set of knives to start, but considerations for those made this already long post too long in my mind.  Concision fail.  I apologize for this post's length.  I'd greatly appreciate any input you guys might have.

 

Thanks!

 

gn


Edited by gavination - 11/29/12 at 4:38pm
post #2 of 17
What are you using now? How do you envision using your new knife/ knives. I would strongly consider learning to sharpen with your existing knives before investing in new high quality hard steel knives. If you can't sharpen your own knife, plan on spending $20 to $40 and shipping it out from time to time. CNTG has a great selection of stones and knives . Great values. JKI also has great stuff fairly priced and very supportive. I've used or sharpened 3/4 of the knives you mentioned. All really nice , take super edges. It really comes down to intended use, budget, sharpening skills and personal taste
post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the reply!

 

I had a long blurb about my previous knife history, but the post was just too long so I edited it out haha.  I'm currently using a set of Shun Premier that I picked up at SLT on closeout for $400.  I plan on returning it for better knives even though they were cheap(er) to acquire.  I'd rather put that money to better use.  Before the Shun's, I had a Global 8" chef, but that was destroyed in a fire.

 

Given my lack of sharpening skills, that's why I was wondering if I should get a lower end knife to practice sharpening with before picking up a higher quality gyuto.  My knife skills are decent so that part doesn't concern me.  I guess I could pick up a K Sab au carbon 10" gyuto since it's under $100 along with the above mentioned sharpening set?  That would get me started with a great knife that isn't too expensive and after a while I could pick up a second gyuto like the Ikkanshi Tadatsuna or Masamoto HC or Konosuke HD?

 

Have you used the Ikkanshi Tadatsuna?  Is it worth the extra money over a Masamoto or Konosuke?

 

Also, I've been looking at the Gesshin line at JKI.  Does anyone have any experience with his knives?  It sounds like they're from different knife makers from Sakai and just put under his Gesshin name?  I suppose I could always just email him and ask. :)

 

Thanks again!

 

gn


Edited by gavination - 11/29/12 at 6:03pm
post #4 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by gavination View Post

Have you used the Ikkanshi Tadatsuna?  Is it worth the extra money over a Masamoto or Konosuke?

 

 

I use Ikkanshi-tads and as much as I appreciate the quality I'd be a bit pressed to say they are worth more $$ than the Masamoto. There's a reason the Masamoto has so many clones. As far as the Ikkanshi-tads go AFAIK they are no longer available. I have no idea if that is a direct result of the Tsunami or the economic devastation that came after.

Both the Gessin and Kono get plenty of rave reviews.

I'd certainly toss the standard Sakai Yusuke from BluewayJapan out there for another option as well. The price point is a bit more favorable for a fist knife although the last few times I looked they were not in stock. I have a strong preference for WA handles but one is not really any "better" than the other, although their is some speculation that WA knives often get finished just a titch better...of course that could just be my bias.

I'm not a fan of suggesting lasers for new sharpeners as they can be more challenging to learn solid technique on. Don't let yourself get sucked in too hard on the more expensive blades to start.  Keep a reasonable budget for stones. 240mm on a gyuto is a good place to start but length is subjective. Over time you will add different length blades to your kit.  A little OCD can be good for shopping, just don't let it turn into paralysis by analysis. ;)

 

Dave

I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
Reply
I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
Reply
post #5 of 17

Ikkanshi Tadatsuna knives are available from Aframestokyo.com.  FWIW, Aframes is physically located in Hawaii, the owner is extremely knowledgeable and honest, and all the other good stuff. 

 

The Tadatsuna Inox and Shirogami (White #2) gyuto are about the same price as a Masamoto KS.  The Gesshin Inox and White #2 gyuto are a skosh more expensive than the Konosuke HH (stainless) or Shirogami, and a touch less than the Konosuke HD (semi-stainless), while the Konosuke White #2 and HH (stainless) are a skosh less.  The Sakai Yusuke, whether stainless or White #2, is slightly less expensive.   You can do all of the price comparisons yourself. 

 

Setting aside the Masmoto KS -- which is NOT a laser -- and doing an apples to apples I'd go with Gesshin or Konosuke over Sakai Yusuke for their slightly better finish and hugely better dealer support; and over Tadatsuna for their better price.  But that's me.

 

Choosing between a good laser and a Masamoto KS caused me an enormous amount of heart burn.  I went with the Konosuke HD and while I'm pleased with it and would make the same choice again, I still want a KS. 

 

No one can tell you whether a less expensive, more western style knife would "be better for you at this point," without knowing quite a bit more about you.  It's an extremely complicated question to which there's probably no right answer anyway.  For example:

  • If you can afford to spend a lot of money on a knife you've already decided to outgrow in a few months, then "perhaps;"  but,
  • If you plan on keeping a couple of good chef's knives, one yo and the other wa (not a bad idea, my friend), AND can afford it, then "perhaps;" in other words,
  • "It depends."  

 

It seems like you've already figured out that your first order of business is learning to sharpen.  A lot of people prefer to learn on less expensive knives for fear of screwing up their good ones; but it's not necessary.  Although it adds some anxiety you can certainly learn on good knives without doing significant damage if you follow the basic rules.  But if you want to start with inexpensive knives, don't have anything which suits the bill now, buy a Forschner breaking knife for meat work; a Forschner "stiff straight wide boning knife" for cutting string, pies, and other utility crud; and an "Old Hickory" butcher knife for heavy duty stuff and convert them to 15* from 20*. 

 

You might consider buying an Edge Pro Apex as a way of significantly flattening the learning curve.  Unless you're dealing with unusual shapes, or sharpening chisel edges, you don't lose much if any quality compared to bench stones. 

 

DuckFat's point about non-lasers being easier to sharpen might be a good one, but it's something I've never experienced. 

 

BDL

post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 

Dave, BDL, thanks for the replies.  Much appreciated!

 

Have either of you used the Gesshin Ginga shirogami?  I actually just got off the phone with Jon's wife at JKI who I have to say is awesome and so nice!  I'm planning on stopping by to chat with her and Jon in January when I'm down that way for a conference.  This way I can actually use it and see how it feels.  I'd love to know what you guys have thought (if you've worked with them) of them compared to the Masamoto KS, Tadatsuna, and Konosuke gyuto.

 

Dave, thanks for the point towards Sakai Yusuke.  I checked them out, and given their price point, I think I'd rather pay a bit more and just get a Konosuke or Gesshin.  Also, 

Quote:

Originally Posted by DuckFat View Post

 

A little OCD can be good for shopping, just don't let it turn into paralysis by analysis. ;)

 

you're spot on Dave.  I'm over-analytical as it is, all this reading has made it incredibly hard to make a choice.  I think a visit to JKI will help a great deal though; put a wa-gyuto in my hand and see how it feels.  I think I may be in Hawaii in March as well, so I can go visit aframestokyo.

 

For the time being, what are your guys' opinions on picking up a K Sab au carbone to use (at sabatier.us).  BDL, you obviously like them?  I figure it would be a good knife to start with.  What I meant about outgrowing the knife was more that I didn't want to buy a knife that I knew I wasn't ever going to use again once I upgraded, but with the K Sab, I think there's a good probability that I won't. :)  I suppose I need a heavy duty knife regardless, would the Forschner be a good way to go with that for chickens or other things I don't want to use my gyuto on?  I've seen things written about the Sab chef de chefs as well I think?

 

Regarding sharpening, I definitely want to free hand sharpen.  I've never shied away from a steep learning curve.  Do you think it would be better to pick up CKtG's 5 piece set?  I have a lot of corks for one.  Also, are the 500 and magnifier totally necessary?  Is a Bestor 1200 fine on it's own?  With the magnifier, how important is it to see the edge at that level for learning?  I was thinking about getting the Bestor 1200, Suehiro Rika 5k, and maybe a Naniwa 8k in lieu of spending the extra money on the CKtG 5 piece set.

 

Also, what qualifies as a laser?  Is it mostly the ~2mm spine thickness?  Or is there some concavity in the blade behind the edge as well?

 

Thanks again for all the help.  You guys rock!

 

gn

post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 

So apparently my above post didn't get eaten by the boards... So I'm removing the duplicate. :)


Edited by gavination - 12/2/12 at 4:15pm
post #8 of 17
If I could justifying the money , I'd own all 3, Gesshin, Konosuke and the Masamoto. You suspect you will not want to put them down once you pick or up. All very light. I was a chef's apprentice over 40 years ago. Big German guy, gave me my first Henckels. His knife was a 10 inch carbon Sabatier. I remember asking why I should get Henckels when he used something else. He laughed at me and told me I had too much time on my hands and "get back to work smart ass" . He used a boning knife , a long slicer, and that Sabatier for everything else. Buy one for sure.
post #9 of 17

The story of my first real knife was almost exactly like mrmnms only my chef was Austrian, he called me "f*@#inf kollitch boy," and the knife he put in my hands was a 10" carbon Sabatier just like his. 

 

So yes, I still use and love carbon Sabatiers; and one of my daily drivers is a 10" K-Sab au carbone (the others are a Konosuke HD 270mm wa-gyuto and a Konosuke HD 300mm wa-suji).  TI Nogent, TI, K-Sab and (perhaps) Mexeur et Cie carbons are in the same league as the best mass produced, carbon, western handled, Japanese knives, but with some different sets of strengths and weaknesses.  I think of them as equal to the Misono Sweden, not quite as good as the Masamoto HC, a bit better than the Kikuichi Elite and the Masamoto CT, and much better than the Hiromoto AS.  But as I said, different strengths and weaknesses. 

 

When does a thin knife become a laser?  It's thickness AND weight.  Thickness is not just thickness at the spine but the grind as the blade approaches the edge.  At equal levels of "absolute sharpness," a laser will feel sharper than anything thicker; that is, a sharp laser will have more of the "fall through" quality than an ordinarily thin knife, and will retain the quality longer.  Lasers came into existence as a commercial reality as a result of improvements in manufacturing techniques.   Until a few years ago it was impossible to make knives that thin without too many failures -- notably cracking and curling -- mostly occurring during the heat treat.  Lasers feel damn near weightless in the hand.  Their light weight mandates that the knife be made and kept very sharp, because it will not transfer power. 

 

At least one laser is called "Laser" by its maker -- the Richmond Laser. 

 

In my opinion, Gesshin Ginga and Konosuke stainless and carbon wa-gyuto are a push.  They're not exactly the same, but if you'd be happy with one you'd be very unlikely to feel any different about the other and hard pressed to explain the differences.  If you want a semi-stainless, laser wa-gyuto you want a Konosuke HD. 

 

The Masamoto KS is not a laser, but is -- pretty much -- in a class by itself.  Moritaka makes a clone (for CKtG) and Richmond makes three -- each in a different kind of alloy.  I hear the Richmonds are great, haven't tried one, and am seriously considering buying either a 52100 Ultimatum or a KS if the stock market takes off.  I don't trust Moritaka quality enough to recommend their version; talk to Phaedrus about his if you want the skinny. 

 

BDL


Edited by boar_d_laze - 12/2/12 at 10:46am
post #10 of 17

Just a little heads up about A-frames. They list many items on their web site that are not in stock and AFAIK that's the case with the Ikkanshi-tad. You also need to inquire if those items are NIB or used on that site. That shouldn't stop you from emailing and asking if that's the knife you want. However Ikkanshi production is closed so if you can find one it will be from existing inventory. I'd certainly have no qualms what so ever suggesting that you go that route if it's in your budget. They are awesome knives but there are many options at a lower price point that are easier to aquire. If you want to step back in price then consider the Carbonext or any of the JCK originals that Koki has or the Sakai Yusuke.  I have a JCK WA gyuto that was inexpensive and after years of use I'm still amazed at how much I like that knife.

 

Dave

I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
Reply
I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
Reply
post #11 of 17

Dave and I agree about nearly everything important, but can disagree around the margins.  When we do, it makes me think through some of my opinions... which is a good thing.  Even if it makes me seem querulous I'd like to respond to some of what he said, and maybe add a little to some other things.

 

Aframestokyo is pretty good about saying if it's out of stock on a particular knife.  Go their wa-gyuto page, start clicking on individual knife pictures, and you'll be rewarded with quite a few "not in stock" messages.  On the other hand...

 

It's ALWAYS a good idea to call an online knife retailer before ordering and make sure they not only have what you want but any expectations you may have, particular condition issues, appearance issues and options (like handle options or ferrule colors). 

 

There are three best online knife stores for US knife purchasers with a reasonably wide selection of knives.  They are best not just in terms of which knives they sell, but in terms of pre-purchase and post-purchase support.   In alphabetical order they are:

  • Aframes Tokyo, speak to the owner Takeshi;
  • Chef Knives to Go, speak to the owner Dave; and
  • Japanese Knife Imports, speak to the owner Jon.

 

I consider Dave and Jon as more friends than business acquaintances.  In my experience -- which is broad -- they listen well, give very good advice, are honest, and their customer support is sublime. 

 

Between Dave, Jon and Takeshi: 

Dave keeps his ear to the ground and provides a wide selection of knives and sharpening equipment which are of particular interest to professionals and knife enthusiasts.  Dave is Dave Richmond, and the Richmond is Richmond Knives.  Richmond Knives represents a revolution in U.S. made knives.  They are not only outstanding knives, but outstanding for the money... and as with everything Dave does are designed to appeal to people who know their knives. 

 

Dave is very knowledgeable but not -- I think --  as knowledgeable as Jon.  Jon knows as much about Japanese knives and sharpening equipment.  His store, JKI, represents a rather narrow but extremely well chosen stock, some of which -- labeled Gesshin -- is OEM. 

 

I recommend them and their shops equally. 

 

I don't know Takeshi other than for a brief, telephone interaction but his reputation for good advice, honesty and customer support going above and beyond the ridiculous is sterling. If I had an interest in one of his knives, I wouldn't hesitate. 

 

Another good seller, but one who is not quite as helpful, and who can be a bit iffy post-purchase (i.e., "It was your fault") is:

  • Japanese Chef Knives aka JCK, email Koki.  JCK has been a mainstay -- if not THE mainstay -- retailer for people interested in Japanese made knives.  Let me give you some additional context by saying that most people I've heard from are more enthuiastic about JCK than I am.  Nevertheless, before ordering from Koki make sure he has a very good idea of what you want.  Don't be afraid to use more than one email, either. 

 

Yet another good seller, but one whose advice can be sort of screwy and one size fits all; and whose information can be a bit sketchy is:

  • Korin, speak to whomever answers the phone.   

 

There are some other good, online retailers for Japanese made and/or Japanese made type knives, but I lack the ambition to provide a complete list.  If you have specific questions I'll try and answer them. 

 

I'm not sure for sure if Tadatsuna is actually out of production, if they've closed their website, closed their entire hamono or what.  I've been avoiding the online knife forums (other than this one) and have been somewhat out of touch.  Maybe Dave knows for sure. 

 

The CarboNext is an excellent bang for the buck knife, but is a non-laser yo-gyuto and comparing it to a laser and/or wa-gyuto is kumquats to cantaloupe.  Furthermore, there are a few issues regarding the CarboNext.  Even though it maybe the best bang for the buck for its type, it isn't necessarily the right knife for you.  If you're interested, I'll get specific.  No doubt Dave, who owns and loves his CN, will provide a different viewpoint. 

 

Considering what you've already said, if you want to do something wa and thin but not quite laser, I think your best options are the Masamoto KS, one of the Richmond Ultimatums or, if you're primarily chasing value, the Gesshin Uraku (which to my mind is not only wa, but even more bang for the buck than the CN). 

 

Sakai Yusuke is -- at the moment -- slightly less expensive and a heartbeat less good than Gesshin Ginga or Konosuke.  If you're interested in a Yusuke, carbon, (laser) wa-gyuto, buy from CKtG. If you want stainless you have to buy from Blueway Japan on ebay.  Blueway has a good, but not great reputation.  And, no matter how you slice it, dealing with Japan by email diminishes customer support.  Furthermore, while Koki does pretty good he doesn't seem interested in going the extra mile.  Even if money were primary, I'd spend the extra twenty five bucks on a Konosuke, or extra forty on a Gesshin.   

 

If it's still available and you're still seriously considering a Tadatsuna, I don't think they're any better than the more reasonably priced than the Gesshin Ginga or Konosuke laser wa-gyuto.   They're in the same league with the Suisun Inox Honyaki series, which are even more expensive. and still -- in my opinion at least -- no better.  

 

BDL

post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by boar_d_laze View Post

Dave and I agree about nearly everything important, but can disagree around the margins.  When we do, it makes me think through some of my opinions... which is a good thing.  Even if it makes me seem querulous I'd like to respond to some of what he said, and maybe add a little to some other things.

 

Aframestokyo is pretty good about saying if it's out of stock on a particular knife.  Go their wa-gyuto page, start clicking on individual knife pictures, and you'll be rewarded with quite a few "not in stock" messages.  On the other hand...

 

It's ALWAYS a good idea to call an online knife retailer before ordering and make sure they not only have what you want but any expectations you may have, particular condition issues, appearance issues and options (like handle options or ferrule colors). 

 

There are three best online knife stores for US knife purchasers with a reasonably wide selection of knives.  They are best not just in terms of which knives they sell, but in terms of pre-purchase and post-purchase support.   In alphabetical order they are:

  • Aframes Tokyo, speak to the owner Takeshi;
  • Chef Knives to Go, speak to the owner Dave; and
  • Japanese Knife Imports, speak to the owner Jon.

 

I consider Dave and Jon as more friends than business acquaintances.  In my experience -- which is broad -- they listen well, give very good advice, are honest, and their customer support is sublime. 

 

Between Dave, Jon and Takeshi: 

Dave keeps his ear to the ground and provides a wide selection of knives and sharpening equipment which are of particular interest to professionals and knife enthusiasts.  Dave is Dave Richmond, and the Richmond is Richmond Knives.  Richmond Knives represents a revolution in U.S. made knives.  They are not only outstanding knives, but outstanding for the money... and as with everything Dave does are designed to appeal to people who know their knives. 

 

Dave is very knowledgeable but not -- I think --  as knowledgeable as Jon.  Jon knows as much about Japanese knives and sharpening equipment.  His store, JKI, represents a rather narrow but extremely well chosen stock, some of which -- labeled Gesshin -- is OEM. 

 

I recommend them and their shops equally. 

 

I don't know Takeshi other than for a brief, telephone interaction but his reputation for good advice, honesty and customer support going above and beyond the ridiculous is sterling. If I had an interest in one of his knives, I wouldn't hesitate. 

 

Another good seller, but one who is not quite as helpful, and who can be a bit iffy post-purchase (i.e., "It was your fault") is:

  • Japanese Chef Knives aka JCK, email Koki.  JCK has been a mainstay -- if not THE mainstay -- retailer for people interested in Japanese made knives.  Let me give you some additional context by saying that most people I've heard from are more enthuiastic about JCK than I am.  Nevertheless, before ordering from Koki make sure he has a very good idea of what you want.  Don't be afraid to use more than one email, either. 

 

Yet another good seller, but one whose advice can be sort of screwy and one size fits all; and whose information can be a bit sketchy is:

  • Korin, speak to whomever answers the phone.   

 

There are some other good, online retailers for Japanese made and/or Japanese made type knives, but I lack the ambition to provide a complete list.  If you have specific questions I'll try and answer them. 

 

I'm not sure for sure if Tadatsuna is actually out of production, if they've closed their website, closed their entire hamono or what.  I've been avoiding the online knife forums (other than this one) and have been somewhat out of touch.  Maybe Dave knows for sure. 

 

The CarboNext is an excellent bang for the buck knife, but is a non-laser yo-gyuto and comparing it to a laser and/or wa-gyuto is kumquats to cantaloupe.  Furthermore, there are a few issues regarding the CarboNext.  Even though it maybe the best bang for the buck for its type, it isn't necessarily the right knife for you.  If you're interested, I'll get specific.  No doubt Dave, who owns and loves his CN, will provide a different viewpoint. 

 

Considering what you've already said, if you want to do something wa and thin but not quite laser, I think your best options are the Masamoto KS, one of the Richmond Ultimatums or, if you're primarily chasing value, the Gesshin Uraku (which to my mind is not only wa, but even more bang for the buck than the CN). 

 

Sakai Yusuke is -- at the moment -- slightly less expensive and a heartbeat less good than Gesshin Ginga or Konosuke.  If you're interested in a Yusuke, carbon, (laser) wa-gyuto, buy from CKtG. If you want stainless you have to buy from Blueway Japan on ebay.  Blueway has a good, but not great reputation.  And, no matter how you slice it, dealing with Japan by email diminishes customer support.  Furthermore, while Koki does pretty good he doesn't seem interested in going the extra mile.  Even if money were primary, I'd spend the extra twenty five bucks on a Konosuke, or extra forty on a Gesshin.   

 

If it's still available and you're still seriously considering a Tadatsuna, I don't think they're any better than the more reasonably priced than the Gesshin Ginga or Konosuke laser wa-gyuto.   They're in the same league with the Suisun Inox Honyaki series, which are even more expensive. and still -- in my opinion at least -- no better.  

 

BDL

i think you meant mark not dave for CKTG ;)

post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrmnms View Post

If I could justifying the money , I'd own all 3, Gesshin, Konosuke and the Masamoto. You suspect you will not want to put them down once you pick or up. All very light. I was a chef's apprentice over 40 years ago. Big German guy, gave me my first Henckels. His knife was a 10 inch carbon Sabatier. I remember asking why I should get Henckels when he used something else. He laughed at me and told me I had too much time on my hands and "get back to work smart ass" . He used a boning knife , a long slicer, and that Sabatier for everything else. Buy one for sure.
Originally Posted by boar_d_laze View Post

The story of my first real knife was almost exactly like mrmnms only my chef was Austrian, he called me "f*@#inf kollitch boy," and the knife he put in my hands was a 10" carbon Sabatier just like his. 

 

So yes, I still use and love carbon Sabatiers; and one of my daily drivers is a 10" K-Sab au carbone (the others are a Konosuke HD 270mm wa-gyuto and a Konosuke HD 300mm wa-suji).  TI Nogent, TI, K-Sab and (perhaps) Mexeur et Cie carbons are in the same league as the best mass produced, carbon, western handled, Japanese knives, but with some different sets of strengths and weaknesses.  I think of them as equal to the Misono Sweden, not quite as good as the Masamoto HC, a bit better than the Kikuichi Elite and the Masamoto CT, and much better than the Hiromoto AS.  But as I said, different strengths and weaknesses. 

First off, Mrmnms and BDL, thanks for sharing stories of your beginnings.  It definitely would've been nice to be an apprentice to a chef at one point in my life, but I think I'm a bit too old and have a bit too much professional experience under my belt to go back to that.  In a way, after reading so many posts from newbies looking for knife advice, this community seems to be the proverbial (albeit online) chef that is apprenticing us (those that are looking for a first knife) in much the same way that the chef's you apprenticed under got you started.  I think that's why many people seek to know what you guys use currently as a good starting point.  Don't get me wrong, I love and deeply appreciate how much thought and care you all put into your responses to help us choose a knife that would suit our needs instead of just shoving a knife in our face and saying, "Use it." lol.gif  So for that, thank you all in this community that put so much energy in this forum.  It's a great community.

 

So it looks like a K Sab au carbone makes a good breaking knife?  Or is there something else you guys use for rough stuff like chicken splitting?  BDL, you mention the strengths and weaknesses of the Sabs, but I haven't found those ever mentioned.  Would you mind delineating a bit between Sabs and some of the Japanese gyuto?  Also, for sharpening Sabs, from what I've seen, the HRC is a bit lower on these, 54-56?  Do these require oilstones (sans oil) or can waterstones still be used?

Quote:
Originally Posted by boar_d_laze View Post

In my opinion, Gesshin Ginga and Konosuke stainless and carbon wa-gyuto are a push.  They're not exactly the same, but if you'd be happy with one you'd be very unlikely to feel any different about the other and hard pressed to explain the differences.  If you want a semi-stainless, laser wa-gyuto you want a Konosuke HD. 

 

The Masamoto KS is not a laser, but is -- pretty much -- in a class by itself.  Moritaka makes a clone (for CKtG) and Richmond makes three -- each in a different kind of alloy.  I hear the Richmonds are great, haven't tried one, and am seriously considering buying either a 52100 Ultimatum or a KS if the stock market takes off.  I don't trust Moritaka quality enough to recommend their version; talk to Phaedrus about his if you want the skinny. 

 

BDL

It's good to know regarding the Gesshin Ginga and Konosuke being a push.  I have a feeling after visiting JKI in January and picking Jon's brain a bit, I'll end up with a Gesshin Ginga; largely due to customer service which has been amazing so far and them being close to me.  I'm a big proponent for great customer service and local business with relatively easy accessibility since I head down to LA a decent amount.  This way I can pick up a Konosuke semi-stainless later.  Masamoto KS is of course on my short list.  I may have to add an Ultimatum M390 on there too...  I'll have to stop by and see Takeshi in Hawaii when I'm there next as well and see the Ikkanshi Tad for myself!  Part of it's allure is that it isn't an OEM gyuto.  While I know the quality in OEM gyuto is just as high if not higher, there's something about knowing who made my gyuto...  Call me strange.

 

Dave, BDL, I appreciate the heads-up about aframes as well so I can make sure I don't get a dud.  Also, I can do a bit more research on if he's actually closed up shop.  If so, I may have to get one sooner than later!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JBroida View Post

i think you meant mark not dave for CKTG ;)

Thanks for mentioning this Jon.  I thought I was just confused and there were actually two people, Mark and Dave, at CKtG!  lol.gif

post #14 of 17

I've purchased from both Koki at Japanese Chef Knives as well as Korin. I can't say I've ever experienced any thing but great service from either of them. I'd certainly rate Korin as one of the two best on line stores. Plus they often have sales like the 15% off they have going right now which can offer some pretty slick deals.

I've never purchased any thing from A-frames although I have contacted them several times over the years about different knives and every time they had no inventory on an item that was marked available. That could just be my bad luck. No doubt the good stuff goes fast. Email or call first to avoid disappointment and again make sure you inquire if the item is used or new as they carry both and at times their site can be confusing.

We've certainly covered this many times here at CT and IME I've never experienced any inconvenience ordering direct from Japan. I've received packages just as fast from Koki as I have from Mark. I've purchased direct from Ikkanshi and others and never a single problem. I will say I find it very appealing to get a package direct from Japan.

I certainly agree that a word of caution is in order when buying on eBay and the Sakai Yusuke is the only blade I'd suggest buying there.

The only thing I'd really disagree about here is the comparison of a Richmond to a Masamoto. There simply is no comparison save for the fact that one is a clone of the other.

The JCK originals, carbonext and Richmond are knives that I might class together...... if I were to ever suggest a Richmond.

In the lines we are normally speaking of here I'd certainly group the Sakai Yusuke, Gessin and Kono together,

However the Masamoto KS, Suisin Honyaki and Ikkanshi-Tadatsuna are simply in a different realm and price point to match.

The thing I find most notable is how that we now have so many options not only with branding but dealers and I see that as good thing for any buyer.  

As far as any differences of opinion from my perspective these are just minor niggles in the big picture.

The most valuable thing we can offer to others is a cross section of our collective experience.

 

Dave

I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
Reply
I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
Reply
post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by boar_d_laze View Post

The story of my first real knife was almost exactly like mrmnms only my chef was Austrian, he called me "f*@#inf kollitch boy," and the knife he put in my hands was a 10" carbon Sabatier just like his. 

 

So yes, I still use and love carbon Sabatiers; and one of my daily drivers is a 10" K-Sab au carbone (the others are a Konosuke HD 270mm wa-gyuto and a Konosuke HD 300mm wa-suji).  TI Nogent, TI, K-Sab and (perhaps) Mexeur et Cie carbons are in the same league as the best mass produced, carbon, western handled, Japanese knives, but with some different sets of strengths and weaknesses.  I think of them as equal to the Misono Sweden, not quite as good as the Masamoto HC, a bit better than the Kikuichi Elite and the Masamoto CT, and much better than the Hiromoto AS.  But as I said, different strengths and weaknesses. 

 

When does a thin knife become a laser?  It's thickness AND weight.  Thickness is not just thickness at the spine but the grind as the blade approaches the edge.  At equal levels of "absolute sharpness," a laser will feel sharper than anything thicker; that is, a sharp laser will have more of the "fall through" quality than an ordinarily thin knife, and will retain the quality longer.  Lasers came into existence as a commercial reality as a result of improvements in manufacturing techniques.   Until a few years ago it was impossible to make knives that thin without too many failures -- notably cracking and curling -- mostly occurring during the heat treat.  Lasers feel damn near weightless in the hand.  Their light weight mandates that the knife be made and kept very sharp, because it will not transfer power. 

 

At least one laser is called "Laser" by its maker -- the Richmond Laser. 

 

In my opinion, Gesshin Ginga and Konosuke stainless and carbon wa-gyuto are a push.  They're not exactly the same, but if you'd be happy with one you'd be very unlikely to feel any different about the other and hard pressed to explain the differences.  If you want a semi-stainless, laser wa-gyuto you want a Konosuke HD. 

 

The Masamoto KS is not a laser, but is -- pretty much -- in a class by itself.  Moritaka makes a clone (for CKtG) and Richmond makes three -- each in a different kind of alloy.  I hear the Richmonds are great, haven't tried one, and am seriously considering buying either a 52100 Ultimatum or a KS if the stock market takes off.  I don't trust Moritaka quality enough to recommend their version; talk to Phaedrus about his if you want the skinny. 

 

BDL

 

BDL, you might be interested in the new Sakai Yusuke KS clone:

http://www.kitchenknifeforums.com/showthread.php/7825-Gisele-(wanring-long-winded-and-pic-heavy)

 

It's a bit thinner than the KS, and a bit thicker than the regular Yusuke laser.

post #16 of 17

Thanks for the heads up perneto.  The Yusuke looks interesting, but I was on the phone with Mark early today and ordered a Richmond 52100 "on approval."  If I don't like it, Mark will apply the price to a Masamoto KS.  So... we'll see. 

 

BDL

post #17 of 17

Fair enough; the new Yusuke is currently out of stock anyway. It's not listed anymore in the bluewayjapan store, and when I asked I got this answer:

 

 "Hello,

Yes I will surely relist it on ebay again but it might still take a couple of months.
Thanks for your inquiry."

 

This corresponds roughly to the time he announced previously for a white steel 270mm version.

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