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Need help finding the right gyuto for a wedding registry

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

Hello! I've been researching the best japanese chef knife and initially settled on the Mac Pro 9.5" french chef's knife, until I started noticing that all the great endorsements for Mac seemed to be from posts ~5 years ago, and more recent posts seem to disregard the company now. Has quality diminished, or price gone up too high for the quality? It's on the high end of my budget at $185. $200 would be my max.

I've also been looking at the Miyabi Kaizen, Masamoto VG, and possibly the Misono 440 or UX10 (though that's getting even pricier, and I'm not sure I'm prepared for asymmetrical blades yet).

 

I'm open to other suggestions though, and would love an option that's a little more eye catching (damascus? Japanese handle, maybe?). It's probably shallow, but I'm a little disappointed with the rather plain look of the Mac.

For reference, my only "good" knife at this point is a Shun Edo 6.5" Chef's, so that's my starting point. I have had some minor issues with chipping, but was able to get it out on a whet stone. I plan to develop my own sharpening skills too, and would prefer a knife with good edge retention but also easy sharpening.

 

I also have a paring and bread knife from Victorinox, which are pretty cheap but get the job done well for the few times I use them (99% of the time I'm using the Shun)

 

Also, as a limiting factor, this will be going on an Amazon registry so it should preferably be something that can be purchased through Amazon. Brands I've seen on Amazon mentioned here and elsewhere: Miyabi, Misono, Masamoto, Yoshihiro, Mac, Suisin

post #2 of 5

Hi, m-w-p!  Welcome to ChefTalk and congrats on your upcoming wedding!

 

Maybe I should get something off my chest right away - I simply don't like Damascus.  It's flashy, all right.  But that flashiness will only last for a short while after you start using it.  Then it's going to look awful from getting the surface all scratched up.  If you want to restore it, then you have to polish the scratches out, then use etching acid to bring the highlight out again.  Save yourself a lot of aggravation and just get a good, honest unadorned knife where the scratches will be honorable.

 

You referred to using a whetstone to take chips out of your Shun.  Let me ask what your current sharpening set-up is, in terms of the stone(s).  It may also be that you might want to see about expanding your sharpening inventory.

 

For many of the knives you refer to above, I only have the MAC Pro that you first saw.  However, my experience is that it's a very good workhorse.

 

Many of the knives you reference above are discussed by Boar de Laze on the following blog web page:  http://www.cookfoodgood.com/?p=190

 

You should be advised that the Masamoto VG is NOT a VG-10 steel knife.  The steel is instead "Hyper-Molybdenum-Vanadium" and is apparently proprietary to Masamoto.  The Masamoto is also with a 70-30 bevel (not mentioned on Amazon's page).

 

Hope that helps.

 

 

Galley Swiller

post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 

Hi and thanks!

 

Regarding sharpening, I previously used a borrowed Shun 300/1000 water stone, and I now have the King 1000/6000 stone and a ceramic honing rod. Definitely still in the learning phase of sharpening though. Would an asymmetrical 70/30 knife be a little out of my experience level at this point?

 

I fear I'm going too deep down the rabbit hole as I research this stuff, starting to convince myself that I need an asymmetrical carbon steel blade (a la Misono Swedish, Masamoto HC), but with my current sharpening skills and good-but-not-perfect knife maintenance (I've been known to leave a knife dirty overnight on occasion), I'm thinking maybe I should back off and stick with something a little easier to maintain/sharpen/learn from? I feel like the Mac Pro would be good for that?

 

I guess what I need is something high end enough to feel like I'm getting a real knife that can last and be a joy to use, but not so high end that it's beyond my ability to maintain/appreciate/make full use of.

post #4 of 5

It's too bad I can't find the kikuichi tkc on amazon, but the sakai takayuki is there, great steel.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Sakai-Takayuki-Grand-Gyutou-240mm/dp/B008UIX50G/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1437750792&sr=8-4&keywords=sakai+takayuki+grand+chef

 

 

 

Rick

post #5 of 5
Quote:
 I now have the King 1000/6000 stone and a ceramic honing rod. Definitely still in the learning phase of sharpening though. Would an asymmetrical 70/30 knife be a little out of my experience level at this point?

 

In my opinion, definitely not.  If you can sharpen at 25 degrees you can sharpen at 12 degrees.  That's about the two angles you'll need to hit for a Misono UX10.  I have two and I think they're great knives.   I know that they are quite popular with some of my friends that are pro Chefs in serious kitchens and that's how I came to own mine.  There're lovely knives without any major faults, but they are kinda commercial grade and not all that special or exciting.  The real questions for your Gyuto should be Wa handle or western, stainless or carbon (the UX10 and loads of other great gyutos are stainless), how exotic or arty/crafty do you want your knife to be, how sturdy do you need your blade to be, and the probably the biggest question is how much are you ready to spend?  Once you break into the world of super-thin, hand crafted gyutos with wa-handles your options widen out quite a bit.  


 

Quote:

I guess what I need is something high end enough to feel like I'm getting a real knife that can last and be a joy to use, but not so high end that it's beyond my ability to maintain/appreciate/make full use of.

 

 

Based on that criteria my advice for a first serious Japanese gyuto would be consider a wa-handled one with an extra-hard (around 61 HRC) swedish stainless blade.  A knife like this strikes a good compromise between price, ease of maintenance/care, and cutting performance.  Sakai Yuske, Ashi Hamono "Ginga" and Konosuke all make really nice gyutos that fit this description.  From what I know I would rank them in descending order just the way I listed them above, but they are extremely comparable and lots of people would disagree with my ordering.  I doubt you could go wrong with any of those three.  These knives also strike a good balance between ductility and hardness (tough not chippy) and as I mentioned they are stainless so you don't have to be vigilant about wiping them down or leaving them dirty or wet.  They all have Wa handles so soaking them in the sink overnight or putting them into the dishwasher is a very bad idea still. All of these knives are lightweight with very thin blades and are frequently referred to as 'lasers' so you wouldn't want to use any of these to hack a whole chicken in half or slice a frozen galangal root.  250ish price range.  Keiichi at Blueway Japan on Ebay is good place for the Yusuke or the Gingas.  Jon at JKI Bev Hills also sells his own line of rebranded Gingas for a bit more than Keiichi and 'Chef Knives to Go', a.k.a. Mark Richmond stocks white #2 Yusukes and carries a whole range of Konosukes. 

 

Congrats on your wedding. 

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