Thinking about a new knife.
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The Shuns do look very well, but they don't treat their steel as they should.
A few great stainless performers within your budget:
JCK Kagayaki VG-10
Above your budget but with a much better F&F
Give Jon Broida at Japanese Knife Importers a call on Monday. He'll take the time to learn what is best for you. Jon doesn't upsell -he's talked me out of more knives I thought I needed, than knives I actually bought. If he doesn't have what you need, he'll direct you to another merchant.
FWIW, he's a former chef and sells to a lot of people in the restaurant business.
Emailed briefly with Jon and out of the knives he recommended the most appealing to me are the Uraku and Gonbeu hammered damascus. I have read a lot on the Uraku but almost nothing on the Gonbei. I do need somewhat of a workhorse gyuto as I cover a couple of stations with different prep needed for all, covering everything from brunoise of mirepoix to carving salumi. Hoping to have time to call Jon this week but Im on for 8 days straight...
A pragmatist is a man after my own heart. Ultimately, I am a bit disappointed with Shun. The knife does not hold an edge, it has already chipped and the ergonomics, particularly the sharp edges on the spine. Also, the more I use it the more German than Japanese it feels in terms pf performance. Granted, these are all problems that may be fixed taking it to a sharpener. However, I feel I paid good money, money I work hard to earn, for this knife to already be chipping and losing edge. I feel there are more options out there that would offer better value in quality. Jon, could you please pm me with what you have in stock for the Uraku and the Gonbei?
There are many good options for you on a wide price range.
The Uraku is a good one, as is the Masamoto's and Misono's (both carbon and stainless). If you are open to carbon check the Misono Swedish and the Masamoto HC.
As you like french profile, check the Richmond Ultimatum. This is American, Japanese construction and Sabatier profile. There are some steel opitions for both carbon and stainless. I have the 52100 (Carbon) and I love it. Still doesn´t beat my Konosukes but still amazing and more robust. some minor asthetically issues but nothing one can´t really cope with.
A good all round Japanese knife that is touted a lot and see a few of too Are the Tojiro
They have the r Gold 10 inner core and outer wraps. also do Damascus. metal handles (I don't like) and single layer steel too.
VERY good pricing.
I have a couple (almost) and have a few mates with them. Nobody with any complaints apart from the usual "Shit.. That's sharp".
They do the "classic" handles ( Mine) and metal, plus others in different grades of blade and handle.
Another one I like is MAC too. But I don't know how they would stand up to commercial Tojiro do.
High durability? Mac Pro in stainless...masamoto HC in carbon..... Those are real world pro workhorses..... If you're chipping those......it's technique or down right abuse. Tojiro DP is another...
J Broida's service and knives are solid....listen to what he says...I have one of his carbon wa-gyutos and I still feel it's better than some of my knives costing 2x as much.