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Help me choose a Damascus

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

I recently started reading various knife forums to learn something about sharpening. This has introduced me to a subject I never once thought about before: Japanese knives. Reading all about this whole new class of knives has been a real eye opener for me. I have only had Henckel 4 Stars, plus a few beat up Forchner paring knives and a KitchenAide Santuko. I'm not unhappy with my collection, but I guess I have fallen in love with idea of having a really sharp and beautifully crafted J-knife. What I am drawn to are the Damascus blades with the hammered texture. 

 

Here are a few that I am considering for the home kitchen, where I mostly cut up fruits and vegetables.

 

 Togiharu 210mm Damascus Gyutou VG10 with a hardwood handle. $149 from Korin

 

Yoshihiro VG10 Hammered Damascus Set Gyuto 210mm and Petty 135mm for $190  Amazon

 

Ohishi Hammer finish gyuto 210mm  $129  Epicurean Edge

 

GEKKO VG-10 Damascus Petty Knife 140mm  $74  Ebay

 

Tamahagane San Tsubame Micarta Hammered Chef Knife  8" $140   Cutlery and More

 

RYUSEN Tsuchime Damascus  7 inch gyuto $147  JCK

 

 

 The knife I choose is really about the esthetics of the blade and handle. I just find these knives to be quite beautiful to look at, and I think I would enjoy using one quite a bit. The knife I generally reach for is my 6" Henckel utility, so that is why I am not strongly considering anything over 8". In fact, I might just settle for a petty that is 5-7". 

 

When I look at the photos of the Togiharu and compare to the Yoshihiro, Gekko and Ohishi, they actually appear to be the same knife. I know I love the appearance, and all are VG10 core. What else separates them? Should I go with the least expensive in this case? 

 

Basically I am shopping for a nicely made stainless Damascus with hammered blade, nice wooden handle that is reasonably priced. I do not care about prestige names. I'd like it to be something I could preferably sharpen myself at home. 

 

I'd appreciate any advice or tips on my search. I don't think there are any local shops that would have these knives for me to hold (I am woman with small hands). There are Shun and Global available locally, if handling those could give me ideas about how these knives feel. I have never actually used or even held a J-knife. I just know that they are something that I would appreciate in my kitchen, and would like to start with one that I find visually quite appealing, if that makes sense. I know it will be sharper than anything I have ever owned. 

post #2 of 3

Those hammered damascus are good knives. I have a couple of them since years. They are kind of generic with different brands. Good looking, take a superb edge, easy to sharpen. Steel is soft for a Japanese knife, about 56-58 HRC. The handles are not wood but a composite and are on the small size, which may be better for a woman. 

If you want to consider another finishing and steel take a look at this one, a Tanaka Ginsanko (stainless):

 

http://www.metalmaster-ww.com/product/39

 

Finishing is Nashi-ji iron. Nashi-ji means pearl finish. Look here  for a better explanation. This Ginsanko steel is harder and you can feel it. The handle in this case is a typical Wa handle (real Hou wood and water buffalo bolster) very light and easy to get used to. Here're some picks of mine which is a 210 mm. gyuto:

 

New

 

Used a year

 

Kanji and Nashi-ji


Edited by Ordo - 9/7/13 at 8:34pm
Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
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Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
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post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 

Ordo, I will take a look at your suggestions. I did make into Sur Le Table recently and finally got to see some of the knives they carry, and actually handle them. The Miyabli Artisan is a Damascus with hammered finish, and I am not sure I was as impressed with it visually as I had hoped. It doesn't seem quite as flashy as the photos of various knives online. But I guess I should expect this--since when are ads as nice as the reality? But once I cut a few practice carrots I realized that they truly do have a superior blade to Henckel. Wow, much different. I liked the smooth Artisan handle, more so than the Miyabi Evolution or the Shun Classic. I never cared for pictures of a wa style handle, but I did handle the Miyabi birchwood handle and decided that I did indeed like the look of it in person. While they are not a true wa, I can now better appreciate that look and can see myself having a knife like this perhaps in my collection one day. 

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