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I'm looking for recommendations, like everyone else.

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

I know only a moderate amount about knives, to start.




I'm a line cook, looking for a wa gyuto, preferably not carbon or VG-10, ideally 240, maybe 270. I'm pretty partial to 240 over 270, but most of the more common sites (JKI, CKtG, etc.) tend to remain sold out of affordable 240 wa's, suppose I'll keep my eyes peeled. 


Aesthetics aren't all that important, nor is weight (within reason..), what I really want is something that's fairly easy to sharpen and chip resistant, as I've chipped Henckels before, and it's frustrating. I'm a soft pinch guy, and right handed, fyi.


Any certain type of alloy preferable to someone just getting into REALLY maintaining and sharpening his knives?




That brings me to my second request... for a novice, what type of sharpening setup is recommended? I'm thinking 2-3 stones, to start, I have decent steel, and can upgrade that at a later time.



Budget is ideally $400 for both the knife and the sharpening setup, although I can exceed that a bit if need be.





Any and all input is greatly appreciated, thanks guys.

post #2 of 6

Henckels German knives are EXTREMELY chip resistant, so the cause was something other than the identity of the alloy.  It's possible you have a defective knife, the cause might have been user related, etc.  Henckels product support is extremely strong.  If you liked the knife, contact them and see what they'll do for you in terms of replacement.  Get in touch with Henckels even if the knife is very old, or you weren't the purchaser. 


If the knife was Henckels International, i.e., not made in Germany, it's not worth chasing the warranty.  Just replace it.  It sounds like you're ready to move on in any case. 


As to your specific questions:  

There are a lot of good stainless alloys in current wa-gyuto production.  In numerical/alphabetical order an incomplete  list could include: 

  • 13C26;
  • 19C27;
  • AEB-L;
  • CPM 154;
  • G3; and, less enthusiastically...
  • VG-10.

Just as important as the identity of the alloy from the foundry, is that the knife maker has done appropriate heat treating and hardening.  


Note also: (a) 13C26 and AEB-L are identical or so close to identical that the differences are without distinction; and (b) that although the CKtG refers to 19C27 as "semi-stainless," it contains slightly in excess of 13% chromium and is "stainless" by normal, "trade" definition.


A good three stone sharpening set will cost you in the neighborhood of $150, including a flattener.  That puts your knife budget in the $150 to $250 range and leaves you quite a few good, stainless, 240mm wa-gyuto choices, and a few 270s.  Without implying that the following is in any way an exclusive list, here, in alphabetical order, are some of the highlights:

  • Gesshin Uraku (JKI);
  • Gesshin Ginga (JKI);
  • Konosuke HH (CKtG);
  • Richmond Addict2 (CKtG);
  • Richmond Laser (CKtG);
  • Richmond Ultimatum (CKtG);
  • Sakai Takayuki Grand Chef (CKtG, etc.); and
  • Sakai Yusuke Sweden (Blueway Japan on ebay).


A few, brief thoughts:

  • Don't worry about whether or not a particular knife is currently sold out.  It will be back in stock in a few weeks at most.  If it's a knife you want, get your name on the waiting list so you won't be SOL the next time it sells out.  You've already waited this long;
  • The Gesshin Uraku and Richmond Addict2 are the Goldilock's choices.  That is, they're neither too light nor heavy, and neither too thick nor too thin.  They're also the least expensive;
  • As far as I know, ALL of the Richmonds on my list are made OEM by Lamson (a few Richmonds are made by Konosuke, and there may be other OEM makers as well), which means the blades will show a bunch of tool marks.  The more complex the geometry -- the more tool marks.  That may or may not bother you, I'm ambivalent.  On the one hand, I think it's somewhat sloppy, on the other hand I find it charming and "hand made," and on the third hand, my Richmond is carbon and if the marks bother me I can push a patina to cover them;
  • The Richmond Ultimatum is somewhat heavier, thicker than the other wa-gyuto, but it's as tough and versatile as a German chef's knife.  I bought a 52100 (carbon) Ultimatum couple of months ago, and the more I use it the more I like it.  If you were dreaming about a wa-handled Sabatier, the 19C27 Ultimatum is for you.  Be aware though, that despite sharing the same profile, it's much thicker and heavier than a Masamoto KS (carbon and out of your price range);
  • The other knives are ultra-thin, ultra light lasers -- a thing I like quite a bit but you may not; and
  • Because the Grand Chef is (AEB-L) only hardened to 58, we can infer that it's the most chip resistant of the lasers, but we know Henckels are EXTREMELY chip resistant, and that knowledge is better than inference.  How far did that get us?   


Do a little bit of research to see if you can't limit the field, and come back with your many follow up questions.  Both Mark (at CKtG) and Jon (at JKI) are extremely helpful on the phone.



  • Got bullet points?



Edited by boar_d_laze - 1/22/13 at 10:43am
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

BDL, thank you so much for the above info, it's invaluable.


As to my Henckel, it's 5-6 years old, and was never treated all that properly, my assumption is that the chip is all user error. When I first started cooking I didn't know about the importance of proper knife care/sharpening, Lord knows I do now.



I've used lasers before, very much like them. 



The more I think about it, the less partial I am to 240. I like a 240, don't get me wrong, but I'm also opening up to the idea of a 270. I do a lot of prep work, anything from squid to veggies to croutons, etc, etc.. And I'm enjoying a larger blade more than I thought I would. 



As to the aesthetics, i.e. the markings left by the makers, I see what you mean about sloppy, but it really doesn't bother me. If the knife performs well and holds up, that's all I really need.





I'll continue to monitor the aforementioned websites for the aforementioned knives. Really, can't thank you enough for your advice and suggestions.


Oh, and, thoughts on specific stones/grains/flattener? Or is that subjective, depending on the knife I choose to purchase?

post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thank you, so very much. 


The Henckels is most likely my fault, neglected them for years. A mistake I won't be making any longer.




I'll keep an eye out on the aforementioned websites for the aforementioned knives.



Any thoughts for stones/grit or flattener? Or is that subjective depending on which knife I end up getting?




Again, can't thank you enough for the advice and suggestions. 

post #5 of 6
Are you sure about the chipping? Couldn't it be a burr / wire edge partially coming off?
post #6 of 6

If you're going to buy "classic" European knives, oil stones will work as well as water stones; better, in my experience.  They are also less expensive and easier to maintain.  


If you're going with the modern Japanese or Japanese type American knives you'll want water stones.  The "best" water stones are some combination of the best you can afford, the most you're willing to spend, and whether you want or need a good tool and jig like an Edge Pro Apex.  For those who can afford it, an EP or something like it, is the option which will give the best results the soonest. 


The best "flattener" is pretty easy, it's CKtG's inexpensive diamond plate.  Otherwise your choices are divided into less-good but good enough cheap solutions like drywall screen or ceramic flatteners, or very good but very inexpensive solutions like the DMT XXC diamond plate. 



Edited by boar_d_laze - 1/23/13 at 6:17am
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