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Looking for Japanese 5-51/2" Santoku sub $100

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

I'm a cook and finally got sick of using the house knives, and ordered a set of Wusthof knives.The one knife that the set does not include that i need is a small Santoku. I think its a good opportunity to try a Japanese blade. I want a good quality blade, but i'm no pro chef and work is in Detroit, so i won't want a knife that is begging to get stolen. Was thinking maybe a Zhen 5" VG-10, not sure if they're considered a good brand.

Edited by Atatax - 1/8/15 at 11:07am
post #2 of 15

I can't think of many santoku that length.  150mm=5.9 inches and that's a common size for petty knife.  Santoku are usually 165mm-180mm+. What are you using it for? Maybe consider a 150mm petty knife?

post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 

petty knife would probably be fine as well. Mainly just dicing, and very thin slicing of cured meats, cheeses, and veggies for salads and charcuterie.

post #4 of 15
I think the santoku typically comes in a 7" but here is a reputable brand 125mm (4.9") vg-10 santoku... reasonable price too by my estimation.
post #5 of 15
A narrow blade like a petty will work better with charcuterie and cheese, less dragging than with a wide blade like a santoku.
post #6 of 15
By the way, if you were looking for a petty and are fine with carbon steel, you might consider this one. Narrow, very light, crazy thin, not too fragile.
post #7 of 15

I've handled and sharpened two Zhen knives, both VG-10 san mai (non-Damascus) 270 mm gyuto's.  My impression is not really all that high.  Both knives had a small bit of twist to the blade, and the edges on each were crudely sharpened.  It took a bit of work with my Edge Pro to get each of them to a good edge.  I thought at that time that the other usual suspects (Richmond Artifex, Tojiro DP or Fujiwara FKM) might be a better candidate for a low priced gyuto.


With the prices right now on, I now more strongly feel that a Tojiro DP is a much better value than a Zhen.


If you're interested in my detailed appraisal, then read my post (2nd to last) on the Chef Knife To Go forum here:


(Sorry if I'm not posting it all here, but I'm a bit pressed for time this evening and hope that the detail I gave in my post on the CKTG forum -  would give you the critical info.  Also, to say the least, what I wrote a year ago was an example of my overly long windishness in writing that I'm somewhat loathe to inflict on the readers here)


But I hope it helps.



Galley Swiller

post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 

So to try to clarify, the smallest thing after a pearing knife i will have after my knives arrive will be a 7" santoku. basically i'm looking for something when a 7" santoku will be larger then ideal. I'll look into the suggestions in this thread now and get back if i have any more questions, thanks guys.

post #9 of 15

I use my 165 mm Hiromoto AS santoku almost daily! Very thin, ultrasharp(ened). I had to restore the nose because it fell out of my hands and the tip broke, well, actually, the knife did nothing, I accidentally dropped it. So it's shrunk into 160 mm.


Hiromoto AS 165


Yep, I even use it to cut (never chop) chocolate.

post #10 of 15
Indeed, a nice little bastard! Takes a terrific edge, and is not too brittle thanks to the relatively moderate hardness -- 62Rc or so. A nice repair job, by the way.
post #11 of 15

He did say cheap guys.  If you don't mind carbon, these I hear are a very good bargain.  V-2 steel is similar to white steel, not as pure, slightly better edge retention, easy to get screaming sharp.  If you're right handed I'd consider the [single bevel] yanagibas.




post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 

ok, i think i'm just going to get the 150mm Tojiro DP Petty

Edited by Atatax - 1/9/15 at 7:13am
post #13 of 15

My concern here is how thin the blades are behind the edge.


The Masamoto VG is around $100, the Suisin Inox is around 70, not sure exactly how they compare.  Never owned either but I'd say they are both likely nicely thin.  Performance wise it looks like the next step up costs you $150.


Here is what's available from Tojiro.  Never owned can't say exactly what the geometry is, but probably not bad.




post #14 of 15

One more decent choice:


Tojiro's VG10 will hold a good edge for a quite a while.  While the Artifex's edge retention may not be as good, it's AEB-L stainless will take a sharper edge and get that edge with less effort, much like a carbon knife.




post #15 of 15

Oops, I just noticed that in my first comment there is no link to what I was referring to.  It likely doesn't matter now, but just for the heck of it....




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