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Ashi Hamono Kiritsuke Wa-Gyuto

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

Question to the experts here, I've finally had it with my Shuns (I know some like them, but I have a terrible time getting and keeping a real proper edge on them and when I do it lasts about an afternoon's worth of moderate prep).


I've done quite a bit of reading and everything I've read about the Ashi Hamono's is positive.  They're expensive, but I have heard that knives made with White Steel are fairly easy to sharpen and supposedly hold an edge extremely well.  I prefer a lighter knife, and one that I can sharpen myself and keep sharp without hours and hours of work.  I believe the Ashi Hamono Kiritsuke Wa-Gyuto is what I want, but before I put down that kind of money I'm interested in anyone's experience working with one (or a similar Ashi Hamono), in particular anything I should be wary of in terms of maintenance.


I'm also open to recommendations if there is another option in that $300-400 price-range that might be a better fit for my needs?  I have a separate knife specifically for fish, and I'm looking for more of a general purpose chef's knife replacement.


Thanks in advance for any comments or suggestions.

post #2 of 13
I'm unsure whether White Steel is the best choice if edge retention is that important to you. Thought about Aogami Super instead, perhaps?
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 

I did look at the Aogami Super, I was under the impression that blue steel was harder to sharpen than white steel? overall the two knives seemed fairly similar (similar size, and weight) with the exception of the type of steel used, and some cosmetics?  I may not be appreciating some of the nuances of knife design when I say that though, happy to be corrected.

post #4 of 13
Difficulty of sharpening is hardly an issue with either of these steels. AS is a little coarser, has some bite due to the tungsten carbides. Some more wear resistance as well, and an exceptional edge retention - compared to other carbons.
White steel will show a little more refinement in the hands of a very good sharpener.
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 

Ok interesting, appreciate the feedback, I think I'll go back and see if I can find a Aogami Super and try it in my hands again and see what I think.


Thanks much

post #6 of 13

The fine points between the super high-end alloys are typically overrated.  The big thing about them is that they're super high-end and all but a few do everything pretty darn well.  If you can get any of the Hitachi whites sharp, you can get any of the blues sharp. 


Speaking of alloys, I don't know for sure which white steel is used for the Ashi kiritsuke, do you?  My point isn't that whichever alloy they use is going to make a tremendous difference from an edge taking or edge holding standpoint but that if you're going to make a big deal about it you should at least know whether it's White #1, #2, or #3. 


On the other hand it does make a huge difference to the maker.  White #1 knives, are almost always kasumi (two layer laminate often used with chisel-edge knives) or san-mai (three layer laminate used with V edged knives)  because of White #1s failure rate in single steel, while some of the best single-steel gyuto -- lasers in particular -- are White #2.


For what it's worth, nearly every V edged AS knife will be san-mai. 


Another thing you should consider about the Ashi kiritsuke is that it has an extremely flat profile -- something like a kiritsuke in fact -- with almost no belly.  Whether or not that's going to suit your chopping action is a question I can't answer; but if you like to "rock-chop" it may not work for you. 


In your price range there are lots of really great knives.  I think you're focusing too much on alloy and not enough on other aspects like weight, profile, san-mai vs "single-steel," F&F, extreme edge-holding (if that's important to you), and so on. 


In that price range, I really like the Masamoto KS and most of the high-end lasers (I've got a 270mm Konosuke HD), but my choices shouldn't mean that much to you unless we judge our knives on similar criteria.  



post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 

BDL, thank you very much, lots of information (shows how little I really know about serious knife making).  The Ashi kiritsuke is a White #2, which I had heard from others as well is the foundation of some of the best gyuto knives available.  The Ashi kiritsuke is (to the best of my knowledge, although I have fired off an email to confirm) a V edged knife, which is what I'm most comfortable and familiar with.


I have medium sized hands with medium fingers, and I don't use "rock-chop" in my cutting motion, which is partially why I thought the Ashi kiritsuke would be a good choice for me.  I prefer a lighter knife (not a fan of wusthofs for example), I realize that for reasons mysterious to me there are sometimes F&F challenges with Japanese knives when you're not dealing with Global or Shun, or possibly MAC, but I don't have a problem working to fix an issue like that as long as I can get an F&F issue worked out with the retailer.  


When it comes to San-mai vs. Single Steel, I'm less certain.  As I understand it San-mai blades are a laminate of one of the steel alloys sandwiching a core of harder and less corrosion resistant steel?  The long term benefits of one style over the other are not clear at all to me.


I live near enough to NYC to get into the city without too much difficulty, any recommendations on a retailer in the city that either will have a Masamoto KS or a Konosuke HD that I can go and have a look at and see how it fits my hands would be very much appreciated.


Thanks again for the very insightful response.

post #8 of 13

The Ashi Kiritsuke really isn't a kiritsuke.  It's got V edge geometry, which makes it a gyuto with a very flat edge.  Two other lasers with similarly flat-profile are the Konosuke HD2 Funayuki and Konosuke HD2 Kiritsuke.


Funayuki, Gyuto, Kiritsuke.  What's in a name?   "Laser" on the other hand...


A laser is a laser is a laser.  You either want one or you don't; and the first question you have to ask yourself is whether you can live with the flex.  There are other knives which cut just as well but don't put the same premium on keeping the knife square in the cut.  


I can't tell if that profile would be better for you than a more normal gyuto.  Of the three basic styles of chopping:  You can rock anything -- no matter how flat.  Gliding is a little more demanding.  So is push cutting, you need a long flat run to get production.   Based on what you've said, the flat profile could work for you. 


The Kono HD Funayuki is made from a semi-stainless which gets about as sharp as White #2, holds its edge as well, doesn't take on polish quite as well, and feels as good on the stones.  But HD's maintenance demands are about as laid-back as stainless'.       


I don't think anyone in NY sells Konos or the Masamoto KS gyuto. 


I believe, but am not sure, that Korin used to carry the KS gyuto -- if they did, it's not on their website anymore.  But it's surely worth calling them to check.  Everyone online who does sells Masamoto KS seems to be out of stock -- including CKtG and JCK. 


FYI, there's a rumor that Masamoto isn't going to make KS gyuto anymore.  What, if anything, they're going to do in the way of wa-gyuto is anyone's guess.  


Korin does carry the Suisun Inox Honyaki laser wa-gyuto, and if you enjoy going into stores to wave knives around -- it's definitely something you should try.  The Suisun is representative of a group of excellent wa-gyuto lasers.  If you like what you see and feel but want something in carbon or semi, or would prefer to pay a little bit less in exchange for very slightly less perfect F&F, we can talk about the other options.  


Also, if you really like the Ashi Kiritsuke but want a little more belly, the Gesshin Ginga gyuto sold by JKI is -- I think -- made by the same people. 



post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thanks again for the feedback, I do like the profile of the Konosuke HD2 Kiritsuke.  I found that the push cut is the cutting motion I'm most comfortable with, which is a part of what pulled me in the direction of buying a very flat laser with little in the way of belly in the first place.  I'm not opposed at all going with a semi-stainless if I can find one where I like the other characteristics.  I did call Korin, they don't carry the KS gyuto anymore, and they said that they did not believe they would in the future either.


I will go down there this weekend and have a look at the Suisun Inox Honyaki in person, I'm just not experienced enough to feel comfortable looking at a picture online and feeling like I know how it's going to feel in person.


Thanks again for all the help, much appreciated, I will also ask the Korin folks when I'm down there if they have a sales arrangement with Kono even if they don't have them on the floor.



post #10 of 13

As far as I know, CKtG is Kono's only US retailer, and Korin does not have an arrangement.  But ask.  What can it hurt? 



post #11 of 13
Originally Posted by Matt Roux View Post

  I did call Korin, they don't carry the KS gyuto anymore, and they said that they did not believe they would in the future either.



I spoke with Mari @ Korin recently and she assured me they can order any current production product Masamoto makes. AFAIK Korin never carried the KS as a standard stock item. Korin will also special order when they are having their bi-annual sale (which should be soon) and give you the sale price. They now price match as well. I'd suggest heading over to KKF and sending Mari in the Korin sub-forum a PM.

If/When you want a funayuki you will already know exactly what you want and why.

There's a world of difference between a Gyuto and Funayuki.

The Suisin Inox is as good as it gets in the F&F department on a production knife but if your headed to Korin be sure to call first and ask if their sale is starting soon. IIR the sale is usually mid-June/July.



I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
post #12 of 13

The Konosuke HD2 Funayuki is not an actual funayuki.  It's not stiff, not chisel edged, not thick at the spine, and by no means heavy.  it's an anorexic, V edged laser.  Yes, viewed from the side it's flat like a funayuki, but no flatter than, say, a Takeda gyuto. 


In the sense that an actual kiritsuke is a usuba/yanagiba hybrid, the Ashi Hamono Kiritsuke and Konosuke HD2 Kiritsuke are not actual kiritsuke, but are also "V" edged lasers -- just with a flattish kiritsuke-like profiles and tip shapes -- and are more gyuto than they are anything else.  


One of the things I don't like about Korin is inconsistent answers... but when the answer is a good one, it's hard to be too unhappy.  By all means check with Mari in whatever way you can.  If Korin can get you a Masamoto KS that's a very good thing.  I know that you're interested in checking out the knives before purchase.  It will be interesting to see if Korin can find some way to make that happen with the Masamoto KS.  The only place I can think of offhand which might have Masamoto KS in stock is Anzen Hardware in LA's J-Town.  But that's not a lot of help to you, is it?


As I wrote before everyone seems to be out of stock and I've heard rumors that the KS gyuto may be out of production, which would be too bad because it's a frikkin' fantastic knife.  I've always coveted the KS, came within a hair's breadth of pulling the trigger twice, and impulsively bought something else to satisfy one curiosity or another each time.  I shouldn't kick, as the other kinves, a Konosuke HD gyuto and Richmond 51200 Ultimatum are fantastic in their own right, but... 



post #13 of 13

I own two Ashi Hamono a 240 Wa-Gyuto and a 150 Wa-Petty both Swedish Stainless for work

(a bunch of other knives, Sabatier's Ern's etc)


I also own three Fujiwara 150 petty 180 Gyuto 195 Nakiri for home -- great beautiful knives love the finger cut out...no complaints but for work I use the Ashi and I prefer the Ashi to the Fujiwara ... You cannot go wrong with this knife...it is razor smooth and transforms you work... words cannot explain pleasure...


However that said ... I believe the Fujiwara might be stronger and  more durable and a great looking knife the Ashi's are not for show but great for fine work and razor cuts I love the feel and cut.. the steel is strong but brittle any micro chips are easy to fix.  Also easy to maintain.   


The knife that I use all day long every day and cannot live without is the Tadafusa 165 Nakiri... just the right knife for me...guess it is a personal thing. 


Hope that helps.  


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