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Looking for suggestions on new Japanese knives

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Hi All,

 

This is my first post. I found the forum while searching for Japanese knives. Gotta love Google.

 

I've owned my curent Hattori HD knives for about 8 years or so. They're a VG10 knife and I can still cut slices off a full sheet of paper with ease. I take really good care of my stuff. The blades are not worn at all. Having said that, I'm a home cooking enthususiast not a Chef so my knives see much less use. 

 

I'm looking to upgrade to a better quality Japanese knife with a western handle. I only use three knives (gyotu, santoku and petty) but I'll also buy a Nakiri. 

 

I'm hoping someone has some suggestions as far as knifemaker, steel etc. My budget is up to $400/blade (that's MAX). IIdeally I'd like the knife to be decorative, maybe a damascus blade, but it's not necessary. 

 

Thanks!

J.

post #2 of 6

Hi @cruzmisl and welcome to ChefTalk. 

 

Please fill in this questionnaire lifted from another knife forum as best you can and you'll get much more specific recommendations.  Especially curious about what improvements over the Hattori HD you're looking for.  Are you looking to go to carbon?  Just a change of pace in looks?  Is food wedging?  Edge retention?

 

Are you looking for all those styles of knives or just one in particular? What length?

 

My experience is that sharpening for performance and maintaining the looks of your knife sometimes are at odds.  To thin your knife and scratch it up, then polish it etc is a lot of work.  The prettier your cladding is the more work it will be.

 

 

LOCATION
What country are you in?


KNIFE TYPE
What type of knife are you interested in (e.g., chef’s knife, slicer, boning knife, utility knife, bread knife, paring knife, cleaver)?

Are you right or left handed?

Are you interested in a Western handle (e.g., classic Wusthof handle) or Japanese handle?

What length of knife (blade) are you interested in (in inches or millimeters)?

Do you require a stainless knife? (Yes or no)

What is your absolute maximum budget for your knife?



KNIFE USE
Do you primarily intend to use this knife at home or a professional environment?

What are the main tasks you primarily intend to use the knife for (e.g., slicing vegetables, chopping vegetables, mincing vegetables, slicing meats, cutting down poultry, breaking poultry bones, filleting fish, trimming meats, etc.)? (Please identify as many tasks as you would like.)

What knife, if any, are you replacing?

Do you have a particular grip that you primarily use?

What cutting motions do you primarily use? Push cut? Rock chop? Slicing?

What improvements do you want from your current knife? If you are not replacing a knife, please identify as many characteristics identified below in parentheses that you would like this knife to have.)

Better aesthetics (e.g., a certain type of finish; layered/Damascus or other pattern of steel; different handle color/pattern/shape/wood; better scratch resistance; better stain resistance)?

Comfort (e.g., lighter/heavier knife; better handle material; better handle shape; rounded spine/choil of the knife; improved balance)?

Ease of Use (e.g., ability to use the knife right out of the box; smoother rock chopping, push cutting, or slicing motion; less wedging; better food release; less reactivity with food; easier to sharpen)?

Edge Retention (i.e., length of time you want the edge to last without sharpening)?



KNIFE MAINTENANCE
Do you use a bamboo, wood, rubber, or synthetic cutting board? (Yes or no.)

Do you sharpen your own knives? (Yes or no.)

If not, are you interested in learning how to sharpen your knives? (Yes or no.)

Are you interested in purchasing sharpening products for your knives? (Yes or no.)



SPECIAL REQUESTS/COMMENTS

post #3 of 6

My best advice is to explore different knives.  From your brief description, it sounds like you've been in a western handled, double beveled, VG-10 bubble.  Nothing wrong with that, they're good knives and perfectly usable, but when it comes time for shopping for anything else, you don't know what you want.

 

Try different steels, different lengths, different thicknesses -lasers to more hefty knives (but thin behind the edge)

 

I think different task specific styles, like honesuki or sujihiki, etc. (not to mention single bevel styles) would be more useful before getting another gyuto or santoku.

 

This way you'll get a better idea of what you like in a knife. If you still want to replace one of your gyuto, santoku, or petty, you'll have a much better idea of your own preferences.

post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MillionsKnives View Post
 

 From your brief description, it sounds like you've been in a western handled, double beveled, VG-10 bubble.  Nothing wrong with that, they're good knives and perfectly usable, but when it comes time for shopping for anything else, you don't know what you want.

 

MillionsKnives, you're absolutely correct. I bought the three Hattori's years ago and was very satisfied so I never felt the need to look any further. I knew there were 'better' knives but I was satisfied with what I had so why bother. 

 

Fast forward ten years and I started looking for a Nakiri. Once I started researching, I got the itch and figured I could sell mine on eBay and get some new stuff. I won't keep my existing knives. Trouble is so many steels, so many manufacturers and I'm out of the loop (like I was ever in) so I come to the experts for advice. 

 

As far as steels, I don't have a preference but want something thin and hard that can accept a ridiculously sharp edge.  

 

Below is the completed questionairre if it helps. I also don't have to have the same brand of knife. If one brand makes a great nakiri and another makes a fantastic petty I'm fine mixing it up.

 

LOCATION
What country are you in? USA


KNIFE TYPE
What type of knife are you interested in? Gyuto, Santoku, nakiri, petty

Are you right or left handed? Right

Are you interested in a Western handle (e.g., classic Wusthof handle) or Japanese handle? Western

What length of knife (blade) are you interested in (in inches or millimeters)? 280mm for Gyotu and the others are standard sizes (4" petty)

Do you require a stainless knife? Any material is fine as long as it meets my requirements

What is your absolute maximum budget for your knife? Probably $1200 for all four



KNIFE USE
Do you primarily intend to use this knife at home or a professional environment? Home

What are the main tasks you primarily intend to use the knife for (e.g., slicing vegetables, chopping vegetables, mincing vegetables, slicing meats, cutting down poultry, breaking poultry bones, filleting fish, trimming meats, etc.)? (Please identify as many tasks as you would like.)

General kitchen tasks but no butchering-choices too delicate for that

What knife, if any, are you replacing? Hattori HD Gyotu, santoku, petty

Do you have a particular grip that you primarily use? Pinch

What cutting motions do you primarily use? Push cut? Rock chop? Slicing? Push cut/slicing

What improvements do you want from your current knife? If you are not replacing a knife, please identify as many characteristics identified below in parentheses that you would like this knife to have.) 

Better aesthetics (e.g., a certain type of finish; layered/Damascus or other pattern of steel; different handle color/pattern/shape/wood; better scratch resistance; better stain resistance)? 

Comfort (e.g., lighter/heavier knife; better handle material; better handle shape; rounded spine/choil of the knife; improved balance)?

Ease of Use (e.g., ability to use the knife right out of the box; smoother rock chopping, push cutting, or slicing motion; less wedging; better food release; less reactivity with food; easier to sharpen)?

 

Keen edge, nice steel pattern and generally something that looks unique and special

Edge Retention (i.e., length of time you want the edge to last without sharpening)? I'd sharpen every few months or sooner if necessary



KNIFE MAINTENANCE
Do you use a bamboo, wood, rubber, or synthetic cutting board? Yes (wood)

Do you sharpen your own knives? Yes-wickededge

Are you interested in purchasing sharpening products for your knives? Sure

post #5 of 6
A common problem with sharpening jigs is that over time, the knives will get thicker. That's just due to how they are constructed, they're thicker at the spine than edge. Eventually the knife will be fat and start wedging in food. As a home cook not sharpening so often, you might not notice for years. If you stick to very thin knives you won't notice for even longer.

Check out the gesshin ginga line, they are on the thin side. There are western handle options, in stainless or carbon. Shipping is free in the US over $100.
post #6 of 6
These are very nice knives, I have the 210 gyuoto.


http://www.thebestthings.com/knives/takamura.htm
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