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.
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.