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What can you tell me about this Masahiro knife from William Sonoma

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

After spending most of my 20s and early 30s eating out for every meal, I have decided that 2014 is the year that I learn to cook.  To this end, I recently took a knife skills course.  I now know that my serrated 5” “never dull” knife is less than ideal, and I would like to buy a proper chef’s knife.

 

I’ve done a lot of reading on this and other forums, and absent other considerations I would probably buy the 9.5” Mac Professional Chef’s Knife.  (I know from my class that a bigger knife feels better in my hands.)

 

That said, I do have some credit at William-Sonoma (~$200), and it would be nice to use it to buy a Chef’s knife.  I have been generally underwhelmed by their selection, and I’m not sure I want a Shun given the potential to chip the blade with improper technique. 

 

I did find this knife, from Masahiro, that looks interesting to me http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/masahiro-chefs-knife/?pkey=cknives-masahiro&cm_src=knives-masahiro.   However, I have found surprisingly little about the knife or brand—especially considering it's supposed to be “one of the three most prestigious knife makers in all of Japan.”

 

Can anyone tell me about this knife; is it $200 well spent, or should I just spend real money on the Mac?

post #2 of 10

Congratulations on recognizing that the 5 inch "never dull" won't cut it.  Now, if I can just get one of my sisters-in-law to do the same (I suspect she was the one who brought the "Miracle Blade" to the joint family vacation house and left it there), life for me would be simpler.

 

I'm also not seeing very much feedback on the Masahiro.  However, I am seeing where Chef Knives To Go is offering presumably the same knife on their web site for $136.50 for the 10 inch size (same steel, same 20-80 edge profile), or 32% less than Williams Sonoma.  No user feedback either site.

 

But mebbe we need to put the cart before the horse here.  Yes, you need more than your proverbial "never needs sharpening knife"  But even with a more conventionally edge knife, you will find that with use comes the inevitable dulling of the edge, So you need to both slow the dulling and to (eventually) reverse it by getting your knife sharpened.  Slowing the dulling process means having a proper cutting surface and having a means of honing the edge.  Getting your knife sharpened means just that.

 

Your knife skills class probably had you at least using some sort of cutting surface.  The best in terms of minimizing damage to your knife's edge are end grain hardwood boards.  Edge grain hardwood boards will be a bit harder on the edges, and will be harder to maintain, as well as more likely to develop grooves which can harbor pathogens.  Bamboo boards are harder on edges than wood boards.  Plastic boards a lower on the desirable chain than bamboo.  Composite boards are basically wood fibers in a glue matrix - almost the worst.  But the absolute worst are marble, granite and glass.

 

You're going to want a good honing rod.  I will shill one immediately - the 12 inch Idahone.  CKTG carries it for $30.

 

In your knife skills course, did you review or (better yet) practice sharpening?  If so, then keep it up - by buying a good quality general grit (800 to 1200 grit) stone of decent size (at least 2" x 8").

 

For a quick sharpening review, I would suggest this:

 

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

 

I would also suggest you look at videos by Jon Broida, Murray Carter and at Chef Knives to Go.

 

Sharpening with a stone takes practice.  But it's not all that difficult.

 

If you want to minimize the learning curve, you might want something like the Edge Pro Apex.  Chef Knives to Go offers a custom kit the "Essentials" with Shapton Glass stones for about $230.  I have it, use it and can recommend it without qualms (except for price - but that can't really be gotten around).

 

In short, a good cutting board, the Idahone and a way to sharpen your knives will have more of a positive impact on your food prep than just getting a new knife.

 

Now, as to Williams Sonoma - and by inference, all retailers.  You have store credit.  My IMMEDIATE advice is to check to see what your options are concerning how that credit exists.  Is there a time factor?  Some credit policies require you to "spend it or lose it".  There might be an "evaporation" policy, where you get charged if you do not use your account - or you might be charged monthly anyway.  Can you cash it out?  Does your state have laws which restrict retailers on how they can deal with such situations?  In short, you need to know what your options are.  For what it's worth, I have no idea about what Williams Sonoma's policies are - but if it were me, I would start digging into the fine print asap, no matter what.

 

At this point, it's almost 2 a.m. for me, so I'm calling it a night.

 

Hope that helps.

 

 

Galley Swiller.

post #3 of 10
Christoph galley gave some good advice in regards to getting started with knives. You will need some way to sharpen at some point. That said, a hone and proper technique can prolong that need, how long depends on too many factors to say. If your looking for something lower priced to start with for sharpening something like the minosharp should work for you http://www.chefknivestogo.com/glmipl3sh.html. If you have the money and don't want to learn to hand sharpen the edge pro is the way to go.
I'm not familiar with the knife you mentioned and the one on cktg looks to be significantly heavier but I'm guessing one of those weights might be off. Also if the WS knife is full carbon you need to ,are sure this is what you want in a knife. It will patina and if you don't like the look of patina it will require extra maintenance. Nothing major just some extr steps. WS has all kinds of stuff you can consider if you don't buy a knife there, although as with their knives they tend to be on the expensive side. I personally am not a fan of shun but its not because of the chipping. I've owned one and never had a problem with chipping. Most japanese knives if used improperly may suffer some sort of chipping. I find shun on the expensive side and am not a fan of the profile. That being said the fit and finish is excellent and they have very good customer support. As far as the Mac goes I own one and am a big fan. I have several other gyutos and still keep the Mac in my rotation. It gets nice and sharp, I like the profile, if you don't pinch grip the handle is comfortable, it's stainless so maintenance is easy. That being said I'm not sure of the price as I got mine several years ago. There are many excellent knives in the 200 range. If you must spend the money at WS and you don't find anything else you like consider the masahiro, just make sure if its carbon that is what you want
post #4 of 10

My bad on confusing the CKTG and the Williams Sonoma 10" blades as the same - weights are different, logos are different.  My mea culpa is that I was sleep deprived (still am, for that matter).

 

However, the steel in both knives is specified as MBS-26, a proprietary steel.  No difference between the two.

 

If you want to maintain the 20-80 bevel, then you cannot use the Minosharp (or any other pull-through, for that matter).  It would make an immediate mash of such an asymmetric bevel.

 

For that matter, I've never seen any pull-through sharpener which was able to consistently do anywhere as good a sharpening as any competent freehand sharpening or the Edge Pro.  Save your money (and your knife's edge) and don't get a pull through sharpener.  In any event, asymmetric bevel knives require hand sharpening by an expert - something you will not find easily.  Pull through sharpeners, electric machine sharpeners, and run-of-the-mill (inept) local "professional" sharpeners are the bane of such specialized blades.  Why Williams Sonoma would carry such a blade when their clientele base is not attuned to such nuances and would not be able to get the knife easily resharpened is beyond me.

 

Buying something because you have store credit comes up every now and then on this and other forums.  Personally, my reaction is that you should not buy something just because of the credit.  I'm guilty of that sin, so I won't cast stones at those who do, but I'd probably recommend looking at a different knife for your first really good knife.  I've glanced through the on-line W-S catalog and was not very impressed.  You might want to use the store credit with something else (if you can't "liberate" the credit into a cash refund).

 

Mac Professionals are no-brainer good.  Of course, you will have to spend "real money". 

 

 

Galley Swiller

post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thank you both so much for taking the time to respond.

 

The point about the knife being one component of a larger system is well taken.  The knife skills class did touch on knife sharpening; however, we did not get a chance to practice.  I had assumed that I would do my best to maintain the edge through honing, but take it in to be professionally sharpened--the knife skills instructor recomended a couple places that would do it right.  Maybe I should learn to sharpen myself, but for the cost of the Shapton Glass--I can afford to get the knife professionally sharpened frequently.

 

In anycase, I have decided to order the Mac and figure out an alternative plan for the William Senoma credit--maybe an end grain cutting board if I can't turn it into cash.

 

One question on the honing rod.  I had thought if I bought the Mac--which I am now doing--I would also buy one of the Mac honing rods.  Is the recomended Idahone a better option for the Mac as well; I'm not concerned about things matching, just want the best tool for the job.

post #6 of 10
I think the idahone would be just as good and is cheaper if I recall. If possible ge a hone at least as long as your knife. I'd be careful about the "professional" sharpeners. Find out what they use to sharpen and if they will sharpen japanese knives around 15deg. Make sure you do some reading on how to use a hone with japanese knives its only a couple of swipes with very light pressure. Read this for a good summary. http://www.cookfoodgood.com/?p=551
I have had good results using a hone with my Mac. In the event you do want to learn to hand sharpen there are many stones for much cheaper than the shapton glass. A lot of people start with a 1000/6000 combo stone. Good luck, I think you will really enjoy the Mac.
post #7 of 10

The longest Mac honing rod is 10.5 inches long.

 

The longest Idahone is 12 inches.

 

Length matters.  Since the honing rod will be used in the future for presumably other knives, and if both candidates are good quality, why not get the longer one - the Idahone.  You won't have to buy another hone if you get a 12 inch (300 mm) blade in the future.

 

 

Galley Swiller

post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 

Your logic makes sense to me; Idahone it is.  As yes, I will be careful about which "professional" I let sharpen my knife--if I go that route--the knife skills instructor pointed out that not all are created equal.

post #9 of 10
I'm confident you would be happy with either honing rod and from feedback here they are the top choices. Plus I'm still using the "El Cheapo" one I added to a order I placed on EBay because it wad too inexpensive not to try and surprisingly it does its job even though it's way too short and far from the best.

Sharpening is a subject in its own, and best initial advice I can offer from experience is that 95% of professional sharpeners will not produce results that are truly acceptable, and the remaining 5% are niche group that includes enthusiasts and some professionals.

Actually from what I have read online and found in person even those professionals who know the difference or right way to handle a quality Japanese knife etc just can not get the results profitability unless they charge a fortune or use a machine. that would be the same machine you can buy for about the cost of ten sharpening at the pro, and best possible result is not anywhere near what a decent novice will get on stones.

See what you find here on a search of the subject, and expect to have many questions, but don't fear as you can do it and are at the right place.

 

"love my country" but "fear my government"  Something is just wrong with this

 

 

 

Looking for info on entry level J-knives? Need help on finding the most bang for your buck? Hope you enjoy learning from the info here, I know I did!

http://www.cheftalk.com/t/63213/tojiro-dp-f-809-240mm-g...

Reply

 

"love my country" but "fear my government"  Something is just wrong with this

 

 

 

Looking for info on entry level J-knives? Need help on finding the most bang for your buck? Hope you enjoy learning from the info here, I know I did!

http://www.cheftalk.com/t/63213/tojiro-dp-f-809-240mm-g...

Reply
post #10 of 10

I think you'll be very happy with the Masa, but you can sure get it a lot cheaper at cktg.  Your $200, if you could cash in the cert, would also get you the Iminishi combo stone, that one got the nod here  as the preferred inexpensive combi.  If you have some time you can look back in this forums previous posts.  Boar d Laze especially left an encyclopedeic amount of knife and sharpening knowledge.

 

Rick

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