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Need help selecting the right Japanese knife

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone!  We are looking to upgrade our knives (currently some J.A. Henckels International and one Zwilling J.A. Henckels Pro series).  We want knives that are sharper, hold their edge well, and are lighter and easier to work with.  Seems like Japanese knives are easier to work with than German knives and are also sharper.  We are not professionals so we don't want something so thin that it would break on us.  We prefer the western handles.  We would like a brand that we can replace or add to our collection 10 years from now and not a brand that is too hard to find.  We are interested in buying about 3 knives of different lengths.

 

It seems that the MAC Pro series and Masamoto VG are great options.  I thought Shun could be another option, but seems that MAC and Masamoto VG are better.  I don't like the graphics on the MAC Pro and do like the graphics on the Masamoto VG.  A local cutlery also has some Japanese knives they sell as well, including: Ashi Hamono 210mm Western Gyuto Swedish Stainless with Saya ($220) and Sakai Kikumori Molybdenum / Vanadium Stainless Steel 240mm Gyuto ($128).  I also saw in WSJ Hiromoto Gyuto 240mm.

 

I honestly don't know what is the difference between carbon, swedish stainless, etc.  ... ?

 

What do you recommend?  Anyone hear of the local cutlery's selection?

 

 

And where does one buy MAC Pro or Masamoto VG for a good price? korin.com?

 

Thanks!

post #2 of 5
Quote:

What do you recommend?  Anyone hear of the local cutlery's selection?

 

And where does one buy MAC Pro or Masamoto VG for a good price? korin.com?

I have no direct experience with the local cutlery brands you mentioned, except Ashi, which I know makes good stuff.  They manufacture the Gesshin Ginga line for Japanese Knife Imports and are good high-quality knives.

 

You can buy MAC and Masamoto from http://www.chefknivestogo.com

post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 

So which I should I go for.... Mac Pro, Masamoto VG, or Ashi Hamono?
 

post #4 of 5

MAC is stiffer, has great factory support, has better F&F, and ships with an excellent edge.  The MAC has an excellent handle and a very good profile.  The Masamoto VG has a great profile (just like a Sab), is more flexible, has a good handle (more about the handle later), no factory support -- so buy from a good dealer. 

 

MAC Pro and Masamoto VG edge taking and edge holding properties are identical; both take a very good edge and hold it well.  It's likely that both knives are made from VG2, or from something very much like it.  Neither knife is very hard, but both are stronger and harder than European type knives and -- more importantly -- MAC and Masamoto's respective heat treatments are appropriate.  The edges don't go out of true easily, but it happens.  Either knife can be profitably steeled back to true providing you use an appropriate steel and reasonably good technique.

 

I more often recommend the MAC than the Masamoto.  If I were buying a mass-produced, stainless, yo-gyuto, in the price range, I'd probably go Masamoto because a little flex bothers me less than it's likely to bother most people new to Japanese made knives, and mostly because I like the profile so much. 

 

Masamoto has had some issues with bad handles on their yo knives.  Supposedly, they're resolved.  However, if you decide to get a Masamoto make sure you communicate with the dealer that you want a handle which has no cracks or splits and fits perfectly flush to the tang.  That won't be a problem with most dealers, so don't let the issue scare you off of a Masamoto.   

 

Ashi Hamono makes excellent knives, but beyond saying excellent I don't know enough to comment and certainly not enough to compare them to the MAC and Masamoto. 

 

Bottom line:  There's certainly not any "best." "Best for you" will depend on your knife and sharpening skill levels, as well as individual 'druthers.

 

BDL

post #5 of 5

The Ashi Hamano knives (Gesshin Ginga) from Japanese Knife Imports have top shelf fit and finish. They are light weight, but not too light weight with a great edge. I highly recommend them, at least the swedish stainless version which I have one of.
 

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