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Once and Done Japanese Knife

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

Hi All,

 

I recently have gotten the opportunity to start looking at purchasing my first Japanese knife. I currently have been using an 8 inch Henckels Twin Four Star and have been enjoying it as it is my first "real" knife. I have no plans on replacing it, but I have always wanted something high end, crazy sharp, and my own. Not that I won't still take care of the Henckels, but I won't mind a little if it gets beat up.

I am looking for one knife and that is it. In 10 years, I still want to have this knife and be using it. Not looking to start a collection.

I am an avid home cook and where I live I have about 8 different places within 3 miles that can sharpen Japanese knives. I'm not interested currently in learning to sharpen my own knives, but that day could come.

 

Anyway, these are the two I am between:

 

240mm Kikuichi TKC

 

and

 

240mm Masamato VG-10

 

My budget is about the cost of the Kikuichi TKC, but that could stray...

 

Please let me know what you all think and if there are any others I am missing. Remember, I'm thinking long term happiness with no need to "upgrade." Also, OOTB sharpness is important to me as I am not someone who sharpens there own knives, yet. Please don't look down on me!

 

Does that mean a Mac Pro may be my best bet for my one and only Japanese knife?

 

My other question is, what type of steel do I need to use with these? I am pretty positive that the steel I have for my Henckels (Henckels four star steel) isn't adequate.

 

Thank you so much and look forward to hearing from you guys!


Edited by Robenco18 - 1/20/14 at 7:06pm
post #2 of 17

I won't go into comparing the two knives, since, I don't have experience with either of them - but I will comment on the "steel"

 

The rule of thumb is that the "sharpening steel" (it's really a "honing rod", which is what I will call it) needs to be harder than the steel of the knife.  For Japanese knives, that will not include any European honing rods made out steel - the European honing rods are softer than the Japanese blade edges, and you will only end up damaging both knife and honing rod.

 

I like the Idahone ceramic rod.  It's relatively inexpensive ($30 for the 12 inch length) and does a good job.  The main quibble is: DON'T DROP IT!  It is ceramic, after all, and has a tendency to do a little thing called "shattering", at which point you need a new one.  There is a ring on the end of the handle, so you can hang it up safely.  As for length, get the 12 inch length - you will want it.

 

The other two things you will need to look for are some way to sharpen your knives and a good cutting board.  

 

Your shiny new scary-sharp knife will only remain  scary sharp for a short while, before it starts to lose some of that scary-sharpness.  That's just the nature of all knives.  Getting dull is just basic nature when a knife is used.  No one has ever made a knife which won't have some wear.

 

You mentioned that there is a sharpening service nearby.  I am not a fan of professional sharpening services.  Some are good - but I think they are the exception.  Ask if they sharpen by hand - if not, then take your knife away from there - and learn to sharpen your knife yourself.

 

You will find that sharpening the knife yourself isn't all that difficult - and in the long run, you will appreciate your knives better.

 

The honing rod is used to keep your knife properly performing - by microscopically re-aligning the edge of your knife to push the edge back upright.  Honing rods are very good at that - but to sharpen, you need to remove metal.  

 

The basic method is by using sharpening stones.  The best stones are usually considered to be Japanese waterstones.  It does require some knowledge on how to do it, and some practice.  First, look at this link: 

 

http://forums.egullet.org/topic/26036-knife-maintenance-and-sharpening/

 

The author, Chad Ward, also has expanded on the subject in a book, An Edge In The Kitchen, which was published around 6 years ago.  I would suggest you go to your local library and read the book.  The basic information is sound, but quoted prices are way out of date.

 

Also, look at on-line videos by Jon Broida of Japanese Knife Imports, Murray Carter and Chef Knives To Go.

 

For a first stone, consider something in the 800 to 1200 grit range.

 

Then practice with your Henckels to get that knife sharp, then with your new Japanese knife.

 

For the best scary-sharp edges, you probably will need several stones, in increasingly finer grits (and increasingly more expensive prices).

 

An alternative to full-size stones is the Edge Pro Apex.  It's pricey initially, but the stones cost less, and the learning curve is a LOT quicker.  You also end up with a more uniform edge.

 

Now, for a cutting board.  To protect the edges of your knives, get a good quality end grain hardwood cutting board.  Your knives will not speak out, but you will not end up saying #@$%& quite as often (significantly lower risk of edge chipping) - or having to get your stomach pumped quite as often (due to pathogens that are more prone to grow on plastic boards, compared to end grain boards).

 

Hope that helps

 

 

Galley Swiller

post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thank you for all of that great information! Very much appreciated. I already have a Boardsmith end grain cutting board picked out.

 

By the way, does the method I cut food (I think it is the guillotine and slide method) matter in determining the knife I get? I don't do the straight up and down cuts I see a lot in videos of people using the above mentioned knives.

post #4 of 17
i like MACs, never used TKCs and i would recommend against the masamoto. without knowing exactly what your preferences are exactly for knives(spine thickness, total weight,profile) its kinda hard to recommend something else, even though youre not asking for suggestions i feel like theres alot more stuff that could be in the discussion in the $200+ range. mac gets alot endorsements from pretty well respected chefs that wouldnt associate their name with a product unless it was good. plenty of pro chefs are life long mac loyalists.
post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 

why would you advise against the Masamoto? And yes, I've seen a lot of chefs and users on here endorse MACS. Wasn't sure if the TKC would be highly recommended over it as I've read the Masamoto is very similar to it.

post #6 of 17
well i prefer MACs profile,bolster, and handle to the masamoto(i assume youre talking about the VG?)just a more comfortable knife to use in my opinion. sure the tkc is nice too, like ive said ive never used one personally. i would prefer a konosuke HD though.
post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 

Does the Konosuke HD come with a western handle? I do not like the wooden japanese handles. Is there a reason you didn't recommend it initially? Too expensive? I've read the Konosuke HD is practically perfect, etc., but I don't like the handle at all.

post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 

I'm aware this is a bit more than I initially was looking at, but if it is the best and will last me forever, then I'm interested -

 

http://www.chefknivestogo.com/kohd24gyco.html

 

Is this not the same exact knife as the Konosuke HD that is so highly recommended, but with a western handle?

 

Thanks!

post #9 of 17
in the past konosuke HDs were available with traditional western handles. i guess theyre out of stock at the moment. maybe you should inquire with mark and see what is possible. and yes the knife in the link is a kono HD, it just has a funky handle. forever is a long time, are you sure youre ready to make that kind of commitment, lol? theyre well made well regarded knives and as long as you take proper care of them then i suppose they will last an eternity...
by the way, try shooting jon @ JKI an email about recomendations too. his specailty is matching the right knife with the right customer.
post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all of that info!

 

So that corian handle Knosuke HD Gyuto isn't a western handle? I thought it was. What is a western handle then? Thanks!

post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 

Basically I am pretty much settled, for the time being at least, on the Konosuke HD2 with the Wa handle. I use the pinch grip so it should work well for me. Any thoughts? I will be taking it to someone to sharpen until I get around to learning how to sharpen it. I won't use it on bones, frozen food, or anything hard like that. I think it is a good decision.

 

http://www.chefknivestogo.com/kohdwa24.html


Edited by Robenco18 - 1/21/14 at 1:22pm
post #12 of 17

Indeed it is!

I have a HD2 270mm gyuto, a HH 300mm suji and a 240 White 1 Gyuto.

Love them all. this is a great choice!

post #13 of 17

Of those two I greatly prefer the 240mm Kikuichi TKC.  The steel of the TKC is much better than VG10 in my opinion.  It gets sharper, is easier to sharpen and has slightly better edge retention.  I also think it's a pretty knife (subjective, of course).  The TKC will patina but that just adds to the charm for me.

"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
post #14 of 17
At Phaedrus: the Masamoto VG is NO VG-10.
post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 

You know what, I didn't even realize that. I am referring to the Masamoto VG. NOT the VG-10.

 

http://www.chefknivestogo.com/mavgsekn.html

 

And I have settled on the Konosuke HD2 240mm Wa-Gyuto.

 

I'm thinking of that Masamoto VG 150mm Petty Knife and a Shun Classic 3.5inch parer to round everything out.

 

Does your opinion change now that I mean the Masamoto VG and not VG-10? Does Kikuichi make a great/better petty knife?

 

Thanks!

post #16 of 17
There is no such thing as the Masamoto VG 10, as already stated Masamoto VG, is NOT VG 10. It's a misunderstanding, albeit a common one.
post #17 of 17

I spaced that off, too.  Still, hard to go wrong with a Konosuke.

"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
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