or Connect
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Food & Equipment Reviews › Cooking Knife Reviews › Decisions on a new knife or three.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Decisions on a new knife or three.

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

Hello everyone, 

 

I am currently in a position to purchase a few new knives.  Up for consideration are a Yanagi, a Deba, and a Gyuto.  I am having a bit of difficulty making a decision on the Gyuto.  I call it "Kid In A Candy Store Syndrome."  I have narrowed the choices down to three strong contenders.  I would like to briefly discuss the criteria that led me to the three finalists to better aid any feedback that may be offered; also if anyone knows of any options (based on these criteria) that I may have overlooked, please feel free to put them out there.

 

Firstly, I am looking for a rather hard steel that can take and hold a fairly acute angle in the range of ~10 degrees.  Also chipping is a concern.  I currently have a gyuto that can approach this, and I love the performance boost that I have received.  I do not intend to go around hacking at Acorn Squash, or bone in cuts of meat, but it would be nice if the edge could handle a bit of a more rigorous workout.  The steels that I have considered are shirogami #1, Shirogami #2, Aogami #2, HSPS, and SKD 11.  The Shirogami #2, and SKD 11 knives have fallen out of the final choices mainly due to lack of availability.  

 

Secondly, I am looking for a knife with good blade geometry.  I am not the most versed in different grind types, but a steep thin V or Hamaguri seem most appropriate for my uses.  I am also looking for more of a Japanese/French profile vs. a German profile.

 

Thirdly appearance.  Okay so I am a sucker for Damascus, and blades that just look cool.  I know that this is something that should not really factor into my decision making process, but it does.  I can't help it, I like looking at an attractive knife; it inspires me.  I will note that I have seen very similar comments regarding Shun and other commercially produced knives vs. a handmade knife produced by a Master Bladesmith. 

 

Fourthly, I am looking for an octagonal or D shaped handle.  I currently have a Gyuto with this type of handle, and find that it suits me better than western style handles. 

 

Finally, price is something of a consideration.  I am looking to spend no more than $360 US for the Gyuto.  While this seems steep at first glance, I feel that like any other profession, this is an investment in tools.  This knife will be an extension of my arm, and will be the most used knife in my bag.  I want the best that I can get in the price range that I am looking at.

 

So now for the finalists,

 

#1  Fujiwara Teruyasu Fu Rin Ka Zan http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/FurinkazanW1Series.html#W1-6  

      Shirogami #1, Octagonal Handle, Nashiji Kuro-Uchi finish, and a high hardness at 63.

 

#2  Tsutomu Kajihara http://www.chefknivestogo.com/tska24gy.html

      Aogami #2, Octagonal Handle, Damascus Cladding, and a hardness of 62:63.

 

#3  Takamura Hana http://www.mtckitchen.com/p-690-takamura-hana-damascus-hsps-gyuto-21cm.aspx

      HSPS, Octagonal Handle, Damascus Cladding, and a high hardness approaching 64.  I have not encountered this maker before, 

      as such I am a little iffy.

 

So, for the gurus out there, am I somewhere on the mark based on the criteria that I am looking at with these knives, or is it back to the drawing board?  This is not a decision that I am interested in rushing, I have been looking at this since the end of January.

 

Thank You all once again for any insight, advice, or help that you can provide.

post #2 of 21

There's nothing wrong with allowing appearance to be an important part of your knife decision making.  But you have to realize that appearance doesn't come free.  All of the knives you're considering use san-mai construction (three layer laminate) as a way of combining a good cutting metal with a pattern-welded exterior.  San-mai is not without drawbacks -- especially when it comes to "feel." 

 

That's not a judgment on you or your values.  I think you should have what you want.  Just be aware, that even in your elevated price range there are going to be some trade-offs.  If all you wanted was an ultra-high performing wa-handled gyuto it would be very easy to name a few top contenders. 

 

It feels as though you are overemphasizing the importance of particular alloys and hardness.  There are plenty of good alloys.  A very high Rockwell C hardness rating doesn't guarantee that a knife will hold an extreme angle better than a knife with a more "normal" hardness. 

 

"HSPS" is not a particular alloy.  It refers to a certain class of metallurgical powder (aka PM) steels of which there are many specific examples.  SG2 is probably the most common powdered steel in up-market, Japanese made knives, with (at a guess) ZDP 189 as second.  Most of the other prestige Japanese powders -- like Cowry X -- have fallen by the wayside for one reason or another.  Outside of Japan, Bohler 390 is the current trend-setting powder darling, with (apparently) extremely good edge holding even by PM standards, while Crucible's CPM 154 is probably the most popular. 

 

Bottom line, metallurgical powders have good and bad points. 

 

Are you buying a knife to use or to look at?  Why do you have an 8" knife in the mix?  You either want a short knife or you don't.  The fact that it's made of magic metal won't make it longer.  You also have quite a range of weights and spine thicknesses.  Are you looking for a thin or a thick knife?  Qualities like length and weight are FAR more important to whether or not a knife will suit than a particular prestige steel or appearance. 

 

How do you plan to profile and maintain a hamaguri edge?  Why do you think it might be valuable or worthwhile on a gyuto? 

 

I had a friend who routinely sharpened a variety of gyuto to very acute chisel edges; they included the Aritsugu

A and Tadatsuna Inox, among others -- nearly all hardened into the ~60 range, none extremely hard.  He was an extremely good sharpener, and given the combination of his skills and his knives' extreme geometry he got extremely sharp edges -- sharper than any other edges I've ever used, expressly including my own.  On the other hand, his edges were not at all durable.  There's always a tension between sharpness and durability.  Good cooks with good knife and sharpening skills choose a balance that's appropriate for the particular knife, it's use, and its user.

 

A gyuto is not a "traditional Japanese knife," at least not the kind you see used for traditional Japanese cuisines like kaiseki, sushi, etc.  The usual companion to a deba and yanagiba is a usuba.  Why are you looking for a gyuto instead?  If a gyuto really suits your needs better than a usuba, why aren't you looking for the gyuto's usual accompanists -- suji, petty, and something heavy duty? 

 

You're really complicating the matter by placing so much emphasis on appearance, not to mention way too much emphasis on the identity of the alloy.  I'm not saying you won't be able to find a good knife but you've really limited the possibilities. 

 

What do you think about any of the things I've said?

 

BDL


Edited by boar_d_laze - 3/6/13 at 7:04am
post #3 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by boar_d_laze View Post

There's nothing wrong with allowing appearance to be an important part of your knife decision making.  But you have to realize that appearance doesn't come free.  All of the knives you're considering use san-mai construction (three layer laminate) as a way of combining a good cutting metal with a pattern-welded exterior.  San-mai is not without drawbacks -- especially when it comes to "feel." 

 

That's not a judgment on you or your values.  I think you should have what you want.  Just be aware, that even in your elevated price range there are going to be some trade-offs.  If all you wanted was an ultra-high performing wa-handled gyuto it would be very easy to name a few top contenders. 

 

It feels as though you are overemphasizing the importance of particular alloys and hardness.  There are plenty of good alloys.  A very high Rockwell C hardness rating doesn't guarantee that a knife will hold an extreme angle better than a knife with a more "normal" hardness. 

 

"HSPS" is not a particular alloy.  It refers to a certain class of metallurgical powder (aka PM) steels of which there are many specific examples.  SG2 is probably the most common powdered steel in up-market, Japanese made knives, with (at a guess) ZDP 189 as second.  Most of the other prestige Japanese powders -- like Cowry X -- have fallen by the wayside for one reason or another.  Outside of Japan, Bohler 390 is the current trend-setting powder darling, with (apparently) extremely good edge holding even by PM standards, while Crucible's CPM 154 is probably the most popular. 

 

Bottom line, metallurgical powders have good and bad points. 

 

Are you buying a knife to use or to look at?  Why do you have an 8" knife in the mix?  You either want a short knife or you don't.  The fact that it's made of magic metal won't make it longer.  You also have quite a range of weights and spine thicknesses.  Are you looking for a thin or a thick knife?  Qualities like length and weight are FAR more important to whether or not a knife will suit than a particular prestige steel or appearance. 

 

How do you plan to profile and maintain a hamaguri edge?  Why do you think it might be valuable or worthwhile on a gyuto? 

 

I had a friend who routinely sharpened a variety of gyuto to very acute chisel edges; they included the Aritsugu

A and Tadatsuna Inox, among others -- nearly all hardened into the ~60 range, none extremely hard.  He was an extremely good sharpener, and given the combination of his skills and his knives' extreme geometry he got extremely sharp edges -- sharper than any other edges I've ever used, expressly including my own.  On the other hand, his edges were not at all durable.  There's always a tension between sharpness and durability.  Good cooks with good knife and sharpening skills choose a balance that's appropriate for the particular knife, it's use, and its user.

 

A gyuto is not a "traditional Japanese knife," at least not the kind you see used for traditional Japanese cuisines like kaiseki, sushi, etc.  The usual companion to a deba and yanagiba is a usuba.  Why are you looking for a gyuto instead?  If a gyuto really suits your needs better than a usuba, why aren't you looking for the gyuto's usual accompanists -- suji, petty, and something heavy duty? 

 

You're really complicating the matter by placing so much emphasis on appearance, not to mention way too much emphasis on the identity of the alloy.  I'm not saying you won't be able to find a good knife but you've really limited the possibilities. 

 

What do you think about any of the things I've said?

 

BDL

 

Sorry to intrude, but whats your opinion on the A-Type, specifically for a leftie?

 

And..  'If all you wanted was an ultra-high performing wa-handled gyuto it would be very easy to name a few top contenders.'.. go on..


Edited by rdm magic - 3/6/13 at 5:33pm
post #4 of 21
Thread Starter 

Firstly, Thank You for weighing in on this.  I was really hoping that you would.  Your screen name has shown up on almost every post related to this topic that I have looked at; in short, it would appear that you really know your stuff.  That being said, I have thoughts or more aptly, questions about everything you have said, I will try to answer them in order.

 

I have noticed that your are not a fan of San Mai construction (You have said this more than once smile.gif), but I am not sure why.  I do recall you stating that you did not like the feel, but what are the other drawbacks that I should be aware of?  I would assume that one may be perhaps that the hagane does not always go all of the way through the jigane which would have immediately obvious implications regarding thinning and sharpening.  I do currently own a San Mai Gyuto that I am happy with, but will most likely be retiring it to my home kitchen as I need a good knife at home as well, not to mention that I am stepping up in length (more on that later).  Having used only stamped German knives or my current Gyuto I have no real way to quantify the difference in "feel" that you have mentioned.

 

I know that it complicates things much further when one factors in aesthetic appeal as a deciding factor, but I just cannot help it.  I really would like a bit of character.  This should not imply that I am not willing to compromise A LOT on this one factor.  As far as an ultra-high performing wa-gyuto do you have some recommendations?  I have heard very good things about the knives made by Teruyasu Fujiwara.  The model that I mentioned before caught my eye in particular.  I completely agree that length and weight are more important.  I am looking to move from a 210mm (current length) to a 240mm.  I am skeptical. I have used knives in this length range in the past (2-3 years ago), and I was not fond of them. However, based on the advice of many others, I am going to make the move.  I feel like my knife skills have progressed to a point where I could comfortably use a knife this size. 

 

Regarding my emphasis on alloys, I am afraid that this is a byproduct of information overload and surely in no small part all of the sales propaganda that I have had rammed down my throat.  Regarding hardness and ability to accept severely acute angles; am I correct in assuming that a high rockwell C rating would help?  I think that I may be more than a little confused on this point.

 

Regarding the 8" knife being in the mix, I was not necessarily looking at the 8", I posted that particular knife because I was more curious as to whether anyone had any experience with them or not.  They accept custom orders, and a 240mm could be obtained that way.  I will admit that I have an interest in powdered steels.  I don't consider them "magic metals" per se, I am just interested in their capabilities.  Could you elaborate on their downsides and positives?  I am having some difficulty finding any real information on these steels at the moment.

 

Most definitely buying a knife to use.  I realize that I have something of a range of weights and thickness.  As far as weight is concerned, I am good with between 5 and 8 ounces.  With six being about the ideal.  As far as thickness, I am okay with 3.8 down to about 2.8.  I am not looking for a laser.  I have used one before, and as you have repeatedly mentioned in other posts they are difficult to use well under pressure or in the chaos of a busy night.  I have seen first hand what you are talking about with staying square in the cut, and they are just not for me.  That is not to say that I am not interested in a thinner profile, but going down to ~1.8 mm is most likely too thin for me.

 

As far as my understanding goes, a Hamaguri grind is basically a convex grind.  This can be done on a stone, but could be easier on a slack belt sander.  I am not dead set on this particular grind, however it does seem popular with more than a few knife makers.  I would imagine that this has to do with this particular grind's "no stick" properties.  My current gyuto has what appears to be a scandi grind, and this is working well for me, I have also tried a full flat grind with a --I hesitate to use the term-- "micro-bevel".  I don't feel that micro-bevel is the most appropriate term, but for lack of a better one...

 

Right there with you on edge durability.  This is my highest priority.  It is my understanding that white, blue, silver3, and most of the HSPS's in the hands of a skilled smith are capable of holding the ~10 degree angle that I have mentioned.  To be honest, I would really like to try out carbon in a white #1 or a blue #2 since I have never gotten a chance to  before.

 

I am looking at a Yanagi specifically because I would like to try one.  I do work with Sashimi and Sushi on the rare occasion, and can see the benefit of owning one.  The Deba will be of use to me as I break down more than a few fish in my day to day routine.  As for a Suji and a Petty, I already have these bases covered.  I am looking at an Usuba possibly later down the road, but for now I am content to let it wait.

 

What are your thoughts on the knives that I have already mentioned?  You mentioned a few top contenders for an ultra-high performing wa-gyuto.  Could you list them? In your opinion what would be the best choice hands down in this price range for performance, versatility, and edge holding capability; that can still take a disturbingly sharp edge? As I said, I am willing to compromise on the visual aesthetics for an increase in performance.

 

Once again,

 

Thank You.

post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rdm magic View Post

 

Sorry to intrude, but whats your opinion on the A-Type, specifically for a leftie?

 

And..  'If all you wanted was an ultra-high performing wa-handled gyuto it would be very easy to name a few top contenders.'.. go on..

You are going to have to work your butt off with it.  It will need to be thinned and re-profiled, difficult to make left-handed friendly... See http://www.cheftalk.com/t/62081/ideal-set-up-for-heavy-prep-and-line-work, search the page for Aritsugu to get the relevant stuff.  I have seen similar postings on other forums as well.

post #6 of 21

well the knives you listed are nowhere near the same to compare... would like to know what kind of work you'll be doing with the knife...as for high performance gyutos konosuke hd are awesome. i have a few. next i would like to say try om metals because if you used german knives up until now stain resistant knives are better for you.  making it a habit of wiping your knife every single time you use it is not for everyone.  plus if you worry about aesthetics high carbon isnt usually they way to go.  do you have high grit stones to keep edges polished and strops to attain strong accute angles. polishing edges make them last longer. theres so much you need to address. but out of your list id say the fujiwara first.

post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by honolulucook4 View Post

well the knives you listed are nowhere near the same to compare... would like to know what kind of work you'll be doing with the knife...as for high performance gyutos konosuke hd are awesome. i have a few. next i would like to say try om metals because if you used german knives up until now stain resistant knives are better for you.  making it a habit of wiping your knife every single time you use it is not for everyone.  plus if you worry about aesthetics high carbon isnt usually they way to go.  do you have high grit stones to keep edges polished and strops to attain strong accute angles. polishing edges make them last longer. theres so much you need to address. but out of your list id say the fujiwara first.

How are the knives that I listed not similar?  I am not picking, just genuinely curious.  Is there something that I missed?  Disregarding the Takamura, which again is only there because I was wondering if anyone has ever had any experience with these knives (something that I should have made much more clear), the others two are close in weight, thickness, and length.  The Kajihara is 8oz, the Fujiwara is 6oz, both are ~3.8mm thick at the heel, both are ~240mm in length, and both are san mai construction.  The most fundamental difference between the two is the steel used.  One is blue #2, the other is white #1.  

 

Regarding sharpening, I have this covered.  Believe me.  I am not trying to kick a hornet's nest here, I would really like to keep this thread focused on knife types, but... I don't fall too much for the grit argument with stones, I also am not a big fan of strops.  I have a medium ~1K, a fine ~6K, and an ultra-fine ~10k lying around somewhere.  I also use abrasive films mounted to granite for polishing purposes.  These films run the gamut from 45u down to 0.3u.  I have used these films to successfully mirror polish other blades in the past, that being said, they are slow, and this was more of a can It be done this way endeavor.  While I do agree that polish can help maintain an edge, this means next to nothing if the blade is going to micro chip on the edge because it cannot hold the angle that I am intending to put on it.  

 

As far as carbon is concerned, I think that I can manage.  I wipe my knives anyway when I use them.  I started this many moons ago in my career when I was cutting cooked food during service.  I went from one food to another without wiping, and the Executive Chef came at me like a Spider Monkey.  Needless to say I only did this once, and modified my routine accordingly afterwards.lol.gif 

 

As far as the kind of work that I will be doing with the knife:  Slicing cooked foods, i.e. Tuna, Duck, mirepoix prep, beets, carrots, potatoes, various kinds of lettuce, tomatoes, fruits, apples - I need thin cuts here, dicing, A LOT of brunoise, some fine brunoise -Something to which a J-knife is well suited, if I go off of my experience with the Gyuto that I currently have- cutting raw proteins, fish, beef, pork, veal, etc. No I do not intend to work with bone in cuts.

 

Thanks, and let me know if there is something I missed.

post #8 of 21

What gyuto do you have now?

post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rdm magic View Post

What gyuto do you have now?

Currently I have a JCK Inazuna.  I was a bit hesitant about the purchase, but I saw very good reviews for the Gekko, and the Inazuna appeared to be the Wa handled equivalent.  At the time that I purchased it, JCK only had the 210 in stock. I figured for $128 it was worth a shot.  I gambled correctly, I love the knife.  I just wish it was a bit longer.  The steel is Sandvik 19C27, and contrary to Sandvik's own information about this steel, this knife will take an acute scary edge --with relatively little effort-- and hold it.  I have sharpened it to ~10 degrees with a right handed bias, and had no problems.  I normally sharpen everyday after I get home, but I am currently trying to see how long I can go without resharpening the blade before I notice a reduction in the perceived sharpness of the blade.  I will say that I was chopping nuts a few days ago, and the blade got dull fast.  This may have to do with the angle I have adjusted the edge to though.  This may be a fluke, i.e. I lucked out and got a good knife, but could have just as easily gotten a bad one.  I will also note that I thinned the secondary edge of the knife, and wound up intentionally re-oxidizing the blade to get the Damascene pattern back.  After doing this, I found that the core hagane does indeed run all the way up the cladding --it oxidized as well, and you can see a clear line on the spine where this happened-- which is a good thing. The fit and finish are good, I have not seen anything that stood out to me, and I am pretty O.C.D about that kind of stuff.

 

Part of my particular issue is that I would like a high performance knife that is preferably carbon steel rather than stainless, with some character in the looks dept. I know that I may have mentioned that before, but I have done some consideration, and I took a look at a few of the Konosukes.  I have to say that they are rather attractive, and I could happily settle for one of these with a few caveats.  1) I have seen some posts on other forums regarding their flexibility.  I cannot iterate strongly enough how vehemently I do not want a knife with flex. 2) I was not looking at the HD's, these are lasers and as I have stated before, I am not particularly interested in getting a laser, even if I was they appear to never be in stock.  I did take a look at the Fujiyama white #2 in a 240mm and while I did like it, I am curious as to why it is over $100 more than a White #1 Teruyasu Fujiwara at the same length.  Does the fact that the blade is not san-mai account for this extra cost because more high quality hagane has to be used to make the blade?  Can any of the Konosuke owners tell me where that $100 is going considering that it is a lower grade steel than the other knife?  Am I buying a name? Or is it superior fit and finish? Help me out here.

 

Thanks.

post #10 of 21

sanmai is easier to make and the forged knives take alot more time considering the late process of shaping the steels take a much higher level of skill.

post #11 of 21

Sorry to intrude, but whats your opinion on the A-Type, specifically for a leftie? 

Using the knuckles on your claw as a thickness gauge with a wrong-handed asymmetric knife is not intuitive, the offset throws you off.  Otherwise, no particular problem for lefties.  Converting the knife to its optimal profile, KC Ma style, is a monumental project and -- to my mind -- not worth it.  If you don't profile the knife the way he did to a right handed chisel, it's just a knife and not that special. 

 

The A was a darling on the knife boards a few years ago and enjoyed a burst of popularity but it's really not that special.  KC, the guy who had everything to do with it, was the first to move on.  In his case the move was to a laser, specifically the Tadatsuna Inox. 

 

And..  'If all you wanted was an ultra-high performing wa-handled gyuto it would be very easy to name a few top contenders.'.. go on...

My tastes run towards the extremely thin but the OP's doesn't.  He might like the Masamoto KS though.  

 

I do recall you stating that you did not like the feel, but what are the other drawbacks that I should be aware of?

Feel is nearly all of it when it comes to my antipathy.  But I'm not the important one. 

 

Understand that san-mai is something of a mixed bag of drawbacks and benefits.  The chief benefits are to the maker.  It's cheaper to make a san-mai knife with very hard and/or prestige alloys taken to near their hardness limits because san-mai -- through the magic of "constrained layer mode damping" -- makes for fewer knives which either curl or crack during the manufacturing process.  In other words, fewer failures.  And, fewer failures mean it's cheaper for the knife maker.  Also, because the pattern is on the outside, it's relatively cheap to use pattern welded.

 

For the user, everything else being equal (which it never is) san-mai makes for a stiffer knife.  Further, you may see the benefits which go to the manufacturer in the form of cheaper construction because you can get a prestige alloy and a pattern weld at a price you can afford.  Stiffer, check.  Prestige alloy, check.  Pattern welding, check.  Affordable, check.  Nothing wrong with that. 

 

You're sophisticated enough to have figured out that some of the benefits claimed by makers (especially Shun), and retailers (especially Korin) regarding practical performance advantages for sharpening, "non-stick," etc., are puffery. 

 

I know that it complicates things much further when one factors in aesthetic appeal as a deciding factor, but I just cannot help it.  I really would like a bit of character.  This should not imply that I am not willing to compromise A LOT on this one factor.

Compromises are great, but priorities are hell.  Or is it the other way around?  I forget.  In this case, you are the only one who can figure out the proper balance.  I don't like san-mai in general, don't like the kind of pattern welding you see on san-mai knives, and saying "no" to everything you like is easy for me.  But this is about you.  If you want pattern-welded san-mai, then you should have it. 

 

As far as weight is concerned, I am good with between 5 and 8 ounces.  With six being about the ideal.  As far as thickness, I am okay with 3.8 down to about 2.8.  I am not looking for a laser.  I have used one before, and as you have repeatedly mentioned in other posts they are difficult to use well under pressure or in the chaos of a busy night.  I have seen first hand what you are talking about with staying square in the cut, and they are just not for me.  That is not to say that I am not interested in a thinner profile, but going down to ~1.8 mm is most likely too thin for me.

 

The difference between a 6oz and 8oz 240mm gyuto is HUGE.  One is medium and the other mighty.  One is mildly blade heavy, typical of Japanese gyuto; the other hugely blade heavy; almost a deba 

 

Thickness at the spine is not actually that important in and of itself.  It suggests certain things about weight and wedging but suggesting isn't always the same as truth.  The geometries of grind and edge matter more.  While I think you could learn to use a laser so that the inherent of flexibility of a knife that thin wasn't a problem, it's not mandatory.  Fortunately, lasers are not the only choice. 

 

Just about any good alloy and good blade geometry will allow you to get the bevels you're talking about.  I don't sharpen that acute, because I lean more towards the durability side of durability vs perceived sharpness.  However, I had a few friends who sharpened "regular" gyuto to extraordinarily acute angles and extreme assymetry -- notably KC Ma -- with outstanding results.  But KC sharpened every day. 

 

FWIW, you're going to be coming pretty close to sharpening any knife in the hardness range you're looking at, because, since you can't true them on a steel, you'll be truing on a fine stone or a strop.  So, as long as you've got the gear out, you might as well sharpen.

 

Not Quite a Recommendation:

I'm using a knife which is heavy (6-3/4oz) and stiff enough to power through just about anything, has a ton of other good points, and for sure practicality might suit you very well; the Richmond Ultimatum.  It's almost, but not quite, what the guys on the knife boards are calling a "mighty gyuto."  However the Ultimatum is not only very plain, the blade itself is not well finished and shows a lot of tool marks.  I'm mostly bringing it up as a way of saying I understand what you're getting at, and maybe just a little because I think -- that for all its visual Ugly-Bettiness -- the version made from Bohler 390 might be right down your alley.  

 

Why don't you send a PM to Phaedrus (a Chef Talk forum member) and ask him about his experience with his Bohler 390 Ultimatum?  He may have a review up.  Mine is 52100, and I like it a great deal.    

 

Recommendations:

The Masamoto KS, thin but no laser, is something of a no-brainer in your price range.  Shirogami #2; prestige knife from a prestige maker; takes and holds a great edge; unbeatable profile, etc.  Knives don't get better.  But lighter than what you said you wanted, and no pattern welding. 

 

If you really want a heavier high-end knife, I think your best bet is to pick up the phone and call both Jon at JKI and Mark at CKtG call.  Jon is very good at dealing with professionals and has at least a couple of knives which should work for you.  Mark has several knives which seem to fit your criteria, and if he doesn't have line experience himself he'll pass on reactions from people who do. 

 

BDL


Edited by boar_d_laze - 3/11/13 at 8:43am
post #12 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by honolulucook4 View Post

sanmai is easier to make and the forged knives take alot more time considering the late process of shaping the steels take a much higher level of skill.

Thanks.  I had a feeling that was the case.  But then I saw that the Teruyasu Fujiwara's were selling in excess of $500 at CKtG.  Still scratching my head a little on that one...

 

BDL, 

 

Thanks for the recommendations.  I did look at the Masamoto KS, and I really liked the look of it.  Unfortunately, everyone seems to be out of stock on this knife at the moment.  

 

I have seen a few  of your posts extolling the virtues of the Konsuke, have you had any experience with the Fujiyama white #2 series?  

 

I have done a little lot more research since I started this thread, and it really sounds like what I am looking for is a mizu-honyaki.  Visual aesthetics + high performance.  Unfortunately this one knife at the low end covers 2/3 of my entire kitchen gadgetry budget, at the high end it triples it.  Then there is also the fact that I would probably have an aneurism if one of the knuckleheads that one invariably encounters in every kitchen, tipped or stole it.  So with that out of the question at the moment, I guess I really only have three viable options:

 

1)  Masamoto KS 240mm

2)  Konosuke Fujiyama White #2 240mm

3)  Mizuno Tanrenjo Hontanren 240mm (san mai)  <-- I include this one because of two reasons.  I would like to know if anyone has any experience with these, and they have a mizu-honyaki that I

     am very seriously considering; the thought process being that if this is/was a good knife then I would not hesitate to pull the trigger.

 

This would be so much easier if there were a place that I could go to actually handle some of these knives, but alas there is not (at least near me.)

 

 

 

Quote:
You're sophisticated enough to have figured out that some of the benefits claimed by makers (especially Shun), and retailers (especially Korin) regarding practical performance advantages for sharpening, "non-stick," etc., are puffery. 

Thanks, that means a lot coming from you.  And funny you should say that...  All of this got started over a Shun, specifically the pro series.  Let's keep things concise and say that the overall collective opinion I encountered was less than high on these knives.  So, down the rabbit hole I went into a complicated world, made more so by all of the false information running around, and a relative lack of credible information (at least in english - I am learning Japanese but it will be a while before I can read it.) 

 

 

 

Quote:
The difference between a 6oz and 8oz 240mm gyuto is HUGE.  One is medium and the other mighty.  One is mildly blade heavy, typical of Japanese gyuto; the other hugely blade heavy; almost a deba

Agreed.  I was merely saying that I can tolerate 8 as an absolute max, and 6 +/- as an ideal.  Just a working range to give some wiggle room for suggestions on different maker's knives.

 

 

 

 

Quote:
FWIW, you're going to be coming pretty close to sharpening any knife in the hardness range you're looking at, because, since you can't true them on a steel, you'll be truing on a fine stone or a strop.  So, as long as you've got the gear out, you might as well sharpen.

Couldn't have said it better myself.  I already sharpen every day.  I can get about three days out of my Inazuma, right now I am cutting mostly soft things that do not put up much of a fight.  But I am addicted to the cutting ability I have achieved by my current method of acute angles, and keeping them sharp.  Plus I just like rubbing knives on rocks.biggrin.gif  I was stropping and/or using a 10K stone, and I found that while the blade would literally slide through food under it's own weight, I was loosing quite a bit of tactile feedback.  As you have stated, balance is the key (as it is with all things), and I like a little bite.  

 

 

 

Quote:
If you really want a heavier high-end knife, I think your best bet is to pick up the phone and call both Jon at JKI and Mark at CKtG call.  Jon is very good at dealing with professionals and has at least a couple of knives which should work for you.  Mark has several knives which seem to fit your criteria, and if he doesn't have line experience himself he'll pass on reactions from people who do.

I did exchange a few e-mails with Mark. You are right, he does have a few knives that fit the bill, but they keep selling out before I can make a decision. Ha. Ha.  Do you know if Jon has all of his inventory listed on his site?  It appears he is also out of stock on most of the knives that appealed to me.  

 

 

Thanks again to everyone for all of the help.

post #13 of 21

If you want the Mizuno - get it. You'll only regret anything else you get.

post #14 of 21

The Gesshin Ginga knives Jon sells @ JKI are absolutely beautiful grinds, very light weight. You get one of his Gyutos, you will love the feel of the knife. Everything he says, on the rounded spine and choil, balance etc. is 100% accurate. Really nice, exceptional workmanship. Good for leftie or righty too. I have his 210 Wa-Gyuto stainless and love this knife!
 

post #15 of 21

Anyone know how the gesshin kagero is?

post #16 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Betowess View Post

The Gesshin Ginga knives Jon sells @ JKI are absolutely beautiful grinds, very light weight. You get one of his Gyutos, you will love the feel of the knife. Everything he says, on the rounded spine and choil, balance etc. is 100% accurate. Really nice, exceptional workmanship. Good for leftie or righty too. I have his 210 Wa-Gyuto stainless and love this knife!
 

I just bought one of his Gesshin Ginga 300mm stainless Wa-Sujihiki, and it is a very impressive knife, indeed.

 

Mine weighs 144 gm. It's thin and light, and feels really good in my hand.

 

I'm embarrassed that I haven't had a chance to cut with it yet, but my guess is that it will cut like a beam of coherent light.

post #17 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
If you want the Mizuno - get it. You'll only regret anything else you get.

rdm, I don't disagree, but I don't see a Honyaki in my future at the moment.  It is a huge investment, not to mention the fact that it wrecks my budget for other things that I need want.  I would really like to get it though.  There is also the fear that I have of taking this knife into a professional kitchen.  It would kill me if someone tipped it, scratched chipped, etc.  So, more than likely I will go with the Konosuke Fujiyama.  BDL and honolulucook4's enthusiasm have rubbed off on me a little, this combined with the fact that I have NEVER heard anyone say anything other than good things about these knives has just about sold me.

 

 

Quote:
The Gesshin Ginga knives Jon sells @ JKI are absolutely beautiful grinds, very light weight. You get one of his Gyutos, you will love the feel of the knife. Everything he says, on the rounded spine and choil, balance etc. is 100% accurate. Really nice, exceptional workmanship. Good for leftie or righty too. I have his 210 Wa-Gyuto stainless and love this knife!

I agree Jon really knows his stuff, there is a Gesshin that jumped out at me in my search for Excalibur, however it is too light.  4.5oz is well under where I want to be as far as weight is concerned.

post #18 of 21

I was considering the Konosuke HH 210 gyuto (stainless) as the prices were about the same. But I also read that the Konosuke bladesmith was quite busy of late, and someone wrote on a forum that he got an HD without the spine being rounded. That gave me pause. I have had to round the spines on both of my Fujiwara Kanefusa FKMs, which is to be expected at their price and they are great, albeit heavier knives. And it kind of helped me connect with each knife in a way.

 

But I wanted something top shelf on fit and finish with both the spine and choil rounded, so I thought I would try the Gesshin Ginga line. I am glad I did. That said, I don't have any personal experience with Konosuke knives, and all I have heard is great things, other than that post on a spine not being rounded and polished.

 

BTW, my Gesshin gyuto 210 SS doesn't flex at all. I would say its more a compromise of a very light weight and heavy duty knife than a true laser.


Edited by Betowess - 3/11/13 at 10:49pm
post #19 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Betowess View Post

I was considering the Konosuke HH 210 gyuto (stainless) as the prices were about the same. But I also read that the Konosuke bladesmith was quite busy of late, and someone wrote on a forum that he got an HD without the spine being rounded. That gave me pause. 

 

I've been seeing internet posts about declining Konosuke quality lately, but the internet rumor-mill being the way it is, it's hard to know if there is much basis for that concern or not.  I tend to *not* believe something unless I read it from at least two or more independent sources who claim to have direct experience.  A lot of what we read is sometimes just a repeat of earlier secondhand internet posts.

 

What I can tell you is that I've ordered two Konosuke gyutos in the past 4 months: a 240mm HH stainless wa-gyuto, and a 240mm HD semi-stainless funayuki wa gyuto.  Fit and finish on both was *very* good, and both had rounded spine and choil.  They're both great knives.  This is an admittedly small (but recent) sample... take it for what it's worth.

post #20 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveZatYoWa View Post

 

I've been seeing internet posts about declining Konosuke quality lately, but the internet rumor-mill being the way it is, it's hard to know if there is much basis for that concern or not.  I tend to *not* believe something unless I read it from at least two or more independent sources who claim to have direct experience.  A lot of what we read is sometimes just a repeat of earlier secondhand internet posts.

 

What I can tell you is that I've ordered two Konosuke gyutos in the past 4 months: a 240mm HH stainless wa-gyuto, and a 240mm HD semi-stainless funayuki wa gyuto.  Fit and finish on both was *very* good, and both had rounded spine and choil.  They're both great knives.  This is an admittedly small (but recent) sample... take it for what it's worth.


That's good to hear, and what I suspect is true. The post I read was on the cktg forum, and the owner had a few other Konos.  He wasn't too concerned; probably was the rare exception.

post #21 of 21

Here is a great bang for the buck damascus 240 gyuto in blue #2.  I had one and it is a solid performer, takes and holds a great edge and has a great bling factor.  Mine was not too reactive and I sold it to a friend when I moved to 270mm knives.

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Tanaka-kitchen-knife-Japanese-Damascus-Blue-steel-2-knife-WA-Gyutou-240mm-/261179878628?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3ccf88ace4

 

Tanaka has a matching 150mm petty, but mine is very reactive, but is settling down after 6 months.  I could not use it to supreme citrus if that is an indication.  For paring or petty I'd look for stainless, or stainless clad, or even VG10 (not Shun!).

 

Third knife I'd bring to the party is the Mac SB-105 bread knife.  You will find more uses for this knife than just bread trust me.  I paid $89 shipped for mine.

 

If you already own a bread knife then a 270 sujihiki that has some flex to it would be my other choice.  You can slice, fillet, slice sushi roll, etc. with one.

 

If your heart is set on a yanagiba I have a 300mm in white #2 I'm fixin' to sell - PM me if you are interested.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Cooking Knife Reviews
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Food & Equipment Reviews › Cooking Knife Reviews › Decisions on a new knife or three.