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Upgrading from a Fujiwara FKM gyuto

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

Hi all

 

Need some recommendations on an upgrade. I've been using a Fujiwara FKM gyuto 210mm for a few years now and am thinking of upgrading to a better knife.

 

There is nothing I dislike about the Fujiwara - love the weight, sharpness, feel. The only thing that bothers me is that I have a few chips on the blade. To be honest, this is more my fault since I basically use it on everything.

 

I am setting the budget at about $120-$150. Not sure if this is realistic, so I am hoping from some guidance from the wise folks here. This will be for home use. In addition, I have been toying with getting a cleaver (or something similar) for the rougher stuff so that the gyuto stays in better shape.

 

Thanks!

post #2 of 5

Since chips can be repaired very easily, it sounds like you're in the throes of new-knife fever rather than have a pressing need to replace knife which won't function.  That's fine.  It just lets us know that you're looking for a higher degree of satisfaction than merely filling a void.

 

Your budget is a little tight for a meaningful step up from the FKM, which is a good knife in its own right -- not to say there aren't options.  However, choices like the Suisun Inox Western and Kagayaki CarboNext (both excellent, btw) are as much lateral moves as improvements, only doing one or two things better than the FKM.    

 

If the $150 is arbitrary and you can spend a few bucks more, the number expands.  Even going as far as $160 will make a difference (e.g., $155 for a 240mm Gesshin Uraku), but $200 and under is chockablock with great choices.  

 

Before rattling off any more names:

  • Do you sharpen your own knives or send them out?
  • Do you have a good sharpening kit?  Or are you going to invest in that as well?
  • How would you rate yourself as a sharpener on the continuum of beginner to expert?

 

  • Do you steel your knives to true them?
  • How often? 
  • What kind of texture on your steel?  Diamond?  Medium?  Fine?  Packers?
  • How many strokes of knife on steel does it usually take you to hone the knife?

 

  • Do you have a good, wooden board?
  • How large?

 

  • Would you rate your knife skills as beginning, naive, adequate, or good?  Please talk about them. 
  • Do you use a pinch grip?
  • When cutting crisp aromatics into sticks or dice do you prefer to rock chop, push cut or glide?  ("Whichever is better" doesn't work for this specific situation; yes, I really am trying to pin you down.)
  • Are their particular knife profiles you especially like? 
  • Are their handles you'd point to as ideal?

 

  • How important are F&F and cosmetics compared to pure performance?  Note that there's nothing wrong with wanting a good looking knife. 
  • Is there some look you find particularly desirable?
  • On a scale of adequate, good, great, how comfortable was the FKM handle for you? 
  • What do you consider the most important aspects of performance?
  • How would you rate the comparative importance of edge properties (edge taking, edge holding) vs ergonomics?

 

  • Are semi-stainless or carbon possibilities?  Or, stainless only?
  • Single steel?  San-mai?  Don't care?  Don't know the difference?
  • Would you consider a 240mm knife instead of 210mm?
  • If not, why not?

 

  • Would you consider a wa-gyuto?
  • If not, why not?

 

  • Do you have a heavy-duty backup for portioning ribs, thick gourds, etc?
  • Robust do-it-all?  Or thin and light but a little flexible?

 

  • How's the rest of your knife kit?  
  • Got everything you need?
  • How do you store your knives?

 

BDL


Edited by boar_d_laze - 7/15/13 at 7:07am
post #3 of 5
Quote:
There is nothing I dislike about the Fujiwara - love the weight, sharpness, feel. The only thing that bothers me is that I have a few chips on the blade. To be honest, this is more my fault since I basically use it on everything.

I'll gladly pay you a magnum bottle of Bollinger if you find another Japanese knife at that price, that can take such a lot of abuse and can be restored so easily on cheap stones like a King 1000/6000. My opinion on the Fujiwara FKM; absolute best value for money!!! I have a wide variation of Japanese knives, so I know what I'm talking about.

post #4 of 5
I agree with my predecessors. It won't be easy to find within your budget a knife performing better than your FKM. Of course, would you be interested in carbon, or a 240, there are some good options.
Or perhaps does your FKM needs some serious thinning after a few years of use? Tell us about your sharpening practice.
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 

Sorry for the late response, I've been away for work.

 

BDL is right, it's definitely more a "want" than "need" =). My budget was more arbitrary - if there are really decent ones under $200, I could stretch my budget that way.

 

Response to the questions:

 

  • Do you sharpen your own knives or send them out?

- Sharpen on my own with a JCK 1000/4000 whetstone.

 

  • How would you rate yourself as a sharpener on the continuum of beginner to expert?

- I would say passable. I'm basically learned from video and forums.

 

  • Do you steel your knives to true them?

- No

 

  • Do you have a good, wooden board?

- Edge grain bamboo, about the size of a 15 inch laptop. I oil whenever the board feels dry (I don't know if this makes any sense!) I would like a bigger one but is limited by the small kitchen benchtop.

 

  • Would you rate your knife skills as beginning, naive, adequate, or good?  Please talk about them. 

- I would say adequate, using a pinch grip. Not quite sure what to elaborate. I cook 3-4 days a week, so mostly veggies and boneless meat.

 

  • When cutting crisp aromatics into sticks or dice do you prefer to rock chop, push cut or glide?  ("Whichever is better" doesn't work for this specific situation; yes, I really am trying to pin you down.)

- Push cut and chop.

 

  • Are their particular knife profiles you especially like?
  • Are their handles you'd point to as ideal?

- I really like the way my Fujiwara FKM feels, if that helps. I definitely do not like how the Global knives feel.

 

  • How important are F&F and cosmetics compared to pure performance?  Note that there's nothing wrong with wanting a good looking knife. 
  • Is there some look you find particularly desirable?

- No preference at all.

 

  • On a scale of adequate, good, great, how comfortable was the FKM handle for you? 

- Good - I have no idea what a "great" knife would feel.

 

  • What do you consider the most important aspects of performance?
  • How would you rate the comparative importance of edge properties (edge taking, edge holding) vs ergonomics?

- Ergonomics - if it feels weird, I'm forever adjusting my grip. I'm probably not sharpening as often as I should, so maybe edge holding is better for me.

 

  • Are semi-stainless or carbon possibilities?  Or, stainless only?

- I live in Singapore, so lots of humidity and heat. Does carbon tend to rust?

 

  • Single steel?  San-mai?  Don't care?  Don't know the difference? - No idea.

 

  • Would you consider a 240mm knife instead of 210mm?

- I'm 50/50 on this, only because my benchtop space is quite limited. Equally important, the Mrs. has small hands so a 240mm might be daunting for her.

 

  • Would you consider a wa-gyuto?

- Have never held one, so not at this point.

 

  • Do you have a heavy-duty backup for portioning ribs, thick gourds, etc?

- I do now =). It is a no-name chef's knife that I basically used for sharpening practice. I've been meaning to get a cleaver.

 

  • Robust do-it-all?  Or thin and light but a little flexible?

- If you mean for the gyuto, thin and light. I'm just not a fan of heavy knifes for general usage.

 

  • How's the rest of your knife kit?  

- A coupe of banged up chef's knifes when I need to Hulk smash!

 

  • Got everything you need?

- Wouldn't mind a cleaver and petty, but I'm fine otherwise.

 

  • How do you store your knives?

- Wooden block

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