what are people's thoughts on the hattori gyuto?
Gear mentioned in this thread:
The Hattori HD is a VG-10 san-mai clad in soft-stainless faux Damascus, pattern-welded jigane. It's one of the better VG-10 san-mai, but it's limited by what it is. If you didn't like the Kaizen, which is another VG-10 san-mai clad in soft-stainless faux Damascus, pattern-welded jigane, you probably won't be that fond of the HD.
I wouldn't go so far as to say the Global Heavyweight Chef's Knives are junk, but compared to what's available they're not much bang for the buck.
For what it's worth, it's pretty easy to change a bevel from asymmetric to 50/50. It's also very easy to order a 10" knife instead of an 8" knife.
It would be of some benefit if you could say whether you're looking for a stand-alone gyuto which can handle all or most of the tough stuff without a backup, the level of your knife skills, how and how well you sharpen, and how much you're willing to spend.
The $300 and under range holds some awesome possibilities. Given that you're fairly sophisticated, know you aren't looking for a stand-alone, can sharpen, etc., why don't you talk generally about what you'd like from a knife?
Last fall I added a near stand-alone to my collection of chef's knives, call it the wa-gyuto equivalent of a Sabatier au carbone. At first I didn't like it at all; then I did, barely; than a lot; then love; now, crazy love. Don't get me wrong I'm not about to give up my laser Konos, but it reminded me of how versatile and pleasant a middle-weight (7oz in this case) knife can be when made up in an uber-quality alloy. Call it Sab without the drawbacks. The moral of the story is to be open to re-evaluating your own prejudices not to run out and buy the same knife. It's quite possibly a lousy choice for you.
Here are some questions I have:
- Would you be open to a chef's with a Japanese style handle (wa-gyuto)?
- Stainless only?
- Or are semi-Stainless and/or carbon possibilities?
- What was your impression of the san-mai Kaizen? Specifically, did it have a muted or a lively feeling on the board?
- How important is weight to you?
- Would you be interested in something very light and thin?
- Can you live with some flex?
- Have you ever tried a laser?
- How often are you willing to sharpen?
- 240mm or 270mm? What about 270mm in a very light and agile knife?
- How often are you willing to go that heavy duty back-up?
- What about cutting thick-skinned squash?
But I'm more interested in what you have to say about yourself than trying to fit you into a slot based on your answers to a questionnaire.
FWIW, the Hattori FH (aka "Forum knife") is an extremely well made, well-finished, single-steel VG-10 chef's knife, retailed only by JCK, but used to be fairly commonly sold "previously owned" on some of the knife forums. For a year or so, it was the hottest thing on the market and a lot of people bought it because it was so hot and dumped it to buy the next great thing. Now that it's been around for awhile it's fair to say that it's possibly the best piece of VG-10 on the market; an excellent overall knife; and good enough to be good value even at its high price. But, there's no getting around the fact that it is VG-10.
If you're looking for a yo-gyuto made from better alloys there are certainly options, including all of the usual stainless suspects, like the Masamoto VG, for instance. There hasn't been much new and interesting in the way of stainless yo-gyuto for awhile. I think you might also want consider a couple of semi-stainless yo-gyuto; specifically the very nice Kikuichi TKC, and the huge bang for the buck Kagayaki CarboNext. The best yo-gyuto currently on the market might well be the been around forever Masamoto HC and Misono Sweden carbons. But can you live with carbon?
Really though, most of the interesting action right now is in wa-gyuto.
Edited by boar_d_laze - 5/31/13 at 7:35am
- Would you be open to a chef's with a Japanese style handle (wa-gyuto)?- Yes I would, I have tried a few that I didn't mind
- Stainless only?
- Or are semi-Stainless and/or carbon possibilities? I would look into semi stainlesss, but I would prefer to avoid the amount of maintenance involved with full carbon
- What was your impression of the san-mai Kaizen? Specifically, did it have a muted or a lively feeling on the board? It cut well enough but it did feel a bit muted compared to other gyutos I've tried. I like the look of the damascus pattern but it's definitley not a nessicity
- How important is weight to you? I prefer a little weight in my knives
- Would you be interested in something very light and thin? Probably not, I work in a busy kitchen and can imagine far too many possiblities of breaking it
- Can you live with some flex? I would prefer it a bit more rigid
- Have you ever tried a laser? no
- How often are you willing to sharpen? As much as needed, I would probably say once a week
- 240mm or 270mm? What about 270mm in a very light and agile knife? I would probably go for the 270mm just because of the size of my hands and my height, especially if it will keep me from being hunched over my cutting board
- How often are you willing to go that heavy duty back-up? Whenever I need it, it doesn't matter to me if it keeps my gyuto from chipping/breaking
- What about cutting thick-skinned squash? It depends on the knife I get I suppose, I use the kaizen on them, but I would go for the back up if it was a thinner/more brittle knife
And I was thinking about the Hattorri FH as well, I've heard good things about them and they have a considerable discount on them on JKC right now. And honestly I've heard a lot of talk about alloys and such, and besides the basic differences between say western and japanese steel I don't really know too much about them.
Yo handle: heavier, balance point normally at 1" in front of the bolster; easy maintenance; no risk of dirt intrusion; longevity; hard replacement but rarely necessary.
The first thing you've got to consider about the Gesshin Ginga is that, wa or yo, it's a laser. That is, it's an extremely thin, extremely light, somewhat flexible, single-steel knife. Lasers are extreme. You either want a laser or you don't.
On the positive side, they're extremely light; they're so thin they never wedge, and pack more perceived sharpness than thicker knives with edges in similar condition. On the other side of the ledger, some people don't like flex at all; most -- but not all cooks -- find that they need to go from their laser go-to to their heavy duty backups sooner rather than later; partly because the knives will bind if they're racked (the flexibility thing), and partly because thin geometry means relatively fragile edges.
For awhile the conventional wisdom on lasers was that cooks who didn't have good technique should avoid them. However, the way it's worked out that they're not only a good choice for skilled cutters, but also for for home cooks who are at least conscious of technique and use the luxury of time to make sure their knives are not racking or torquing but start and remain square to the cut. If you're working the line, pressed for time, cutting a wide variety of foods, and don't always have time to reach for something heavier, a laser probably isn't your best choice. And... you don't like flex.
Because lasers are so light, the difference in balance points between wa and yo is a non-issue. With either type of handle, a 210 will balance just behind the pinch point, a 240 right at it, and a 270 slightly forward.
Given that extremely light weight is one of the most desirable laser aspects, and that for instance a Gesshin 240 yo is 70g heavier than its wa counterpart, I don't see much point in a yo laser; but if you're wedded to a western grip... Unless the Tadatsuna yo-gyuto are still available somehow somewhere (they may be, but I don't know), the only competitive yo-gyuto laser is the Konosuke HD2 Corian.
There are a number of yo competitors in stainless and carbon, and one in semi-stainless. The stainless knives (in alphabetical order) are: Ikanshi-Tadatsuna; Konosuke HH; Richmond Laser AEB-L; Sakai Yusuke Swedish Steel; and Suisun Inox Honyaki. Of those, the Suisun is the most impeccably finished and most expensive, while the Richmond is the value leader.
The carbon knives are: Ikkanshi Tadatsuna White #2; Konosuke White #2; and Sakai Yusuke White #2.
The semi-stainless knives are: Konosuke HD2 wa-gyuto (FWIW, I have a 270mm HD and love it), and Konosuke HD2 funayuki (it's not really a funayuki, it's really a gyuto with a flatter profile than other Kono gyuto).
Without minimizing the differences between the various brands and lines, the truth is, if you want a laser, you'd probably be very happy with any of them; you're mostly choosing alloys and levels of finish which range from very good to near-excellent to excellent to superb.
There are quite a few near-lasers as well, almost as thin, almost as light, and a great deal stiffer -- but I don't want to go through options if you're not seriously interested.