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.