Yaxell Ran 36010
My choices are limited because I live in South East Asia
Can you guys please help me? Thank you
Hi Holynoshury. Welcome to ChefTalk!
The two Tojiros are easy to find and identify, but the Yaxell Ran 30610 simply draws a blank. However, a review of the Yaxell web site suggests that the number might be 36010 - which is a Yaxell Ran 255mm chef's knife. So, I'm going to guess that 36010 is the number you probably intended.
Both of the two Tojiros are DP's, meaning that they are san-mai construction, with a pair of soft outer layers of stainless steel, with an inner core of VG-10 steel. The Yaxell Ran is a similar knife in that it has a VG-10 core, but with 69 layers total. Since all 3 knives are san-mai, with a VG-10 core, then their performance (based solely on clad vs. monosteel) probably will be similar, all other things being equal.
However, all things won't be equal. One major factor which can vary between knife manufacturers and sometimes between knife batches and even sometimes between individual knives in the same batch is the quality of heat treatment hardening. However, Tojiro has a fairly good reputation for its heat treatment and Yaxell also has a good reputation.
One issue for VG-10 cored steel knives is sharpening. You need to have several stones to properly sharpen, since VG-10 sharpening doesn't so much involve a single step grit sharpening, but a progression of stones to reduce the burr created by sharpening at each (increasingly higher) grit level, until you get to your final edge polishing level.
If anything, I would suggest that the Tojiro F-502 would be the odd-knife-out in terms of design and style. It is a nakiri - a knife intended strictly for vegetables. If you are looking for something more "chef's-knife-like", then the other two knives would come to mind.
Comparing the Tojiro F-809 and the Yaxell Ran 36010, I would probably prefer the Tojiro. First, the Tojiro is a 3-layer knife. I have in the past said that I simply do not care for Damascus knives. Once a Damascus blade gets scratched up (and trust me, EVERY knife in the course of being used will sooner or later get scratched up), then the only way to restore the Damascus is to first polish out the scratch and then to use etching fluid to restore the Damascus. A major pain - which I do not think is worth it.
Also, the Tojiro is much the less expensive knife of the two knives we are looking at.
If you are looking for Yaxell's version of a 3-layer VG-10 cored knife, then consider the Yaxell MON 36310. It's 255mm long and the same blade profile - but it's also less expensive than the RAN and less of a show-off knife and also less of a theft target.
You said that your choices are limited. Do you have the ability to order knives through the internet from outside of your country?
If you can buy from outside your country through the internet, then what would be your budget?
If you are willing to consider a good monosteel knife, then you might also consider a MAC BK-100, which is a MAC brand 255 mm knife from their Chef Series. 2.5mm thickness, so it has good stiffness and it uses precisely the same steel as the MAC Professional chef's knives (gyutos). The price range (at least here in the United States) is more than the Tojiro, but less than the Yaxell Ran or the Yaxell MON. One possible drawback to the MAC BK-100 is that it is a taller blade than the Tojiro or the Yaxell's.
You also did not mention how you are going to maintain your new blade. How will you be honing it? How will you be sharpening it?
Hope that gives you somethings to think about. Please let the rest of know what you think.
Years ago, i can't remember the forum, somebody talked about the moral superiority of Chinese cleavers. It was fun but there's something about that simple, steel rectangle, that you end up loving it.
hahaha I wouldn't say anything smug as that. For me, it's about stability. Where these super light weight lasers go this way and that with the flick of your wrist, a cleaver only goes exactly where you intend it to. So reproducing very fine cuts is easy. Then there's the exceptional knuckle clearance and safety, the garlic smashing capability, and doubling as a bench scraper and spatula.
Hmmm... talk about coincidences. I have a Tojiro F-521 on its way to me right now. I'm waiting for it to arrive (I ordered it from Australia) and right now, it's somewhere between the Port of Entry and my mailing address. Where exactly, I don't know.
The (now 3) Tojiros you have mentioned each have different characteristics.
The F-502, as mentioned before, is a vegetable knife which looks like a small cleaver. Unless you are going to strictly do vegetables, then I would not buy it as my primary knife. It's just too specialized.
The F-809 and the F-521 are both 240mm blade length gyuto's. Since I don't know your local prices, I can only guess their relative pricing from the US market pricing. Amazon offers the F-809 today for $57.90 (shipping included in the USA, taxes extra). Amazon does not directly offer the F-521, but through their marketplace (by way of a web page only accessible through a Google search for "Tojiro F-521"), the F-521 is offered by multiple vendors for prices beginning at $165.16 (including shipping) with all vendors shipping from Japan (though Customs duty is not covered). And I do not know of any U.S. based retailers who offer the F-521. If I bought the F-521 through eBay, ther lowest offered price would be $175. All eBay vendors offering the F-521 also ship from Japan. In short, the F-521 is about 3 times the price of the F-809 for U.S. customers.
Is the F-521 worth it? For a beginning chef, I would probably say no. Best to get some experience under the belt with the F-809 and develop your skills, especially including your sharpening skills. As a culinary student on your internship, your income is probably not all that much. Putting down the difference in the relative cost of the F-521 means that you are not able to buy that much extra needed gear, including good sharpening stones.
Once sharpened properly (and as long as you don't abuse VG-10 steel, such as cutting against bone or through frozen foods), many users have found that VG-10 will start off after sharpening on stones to be extremely sharp, then will become just slightly duller (though still very sharp by European knife standards) and then "plateau out" to a somewhat longer term at a noticeably higher sharpness level than European knives, such as Zwillings or Wusthof Ikons. And that's the F-809, once properly sharpened.
To see some very good sharpening videos, watch Jon Broida here: https://www.youtube.com/user/JKnifeImports
To read a very good summary on sharpening, read Chad Ward here: http://forums.egullet.org/topic/26036-knife-maintenance-and-sharpening/
Hope that helps
Of course, I would also be curious to find out if any of the MAC knives are available to you, especially the MAC BK-100. To me, that knife would be an excellent workhorse knife which would last you for years. And easier to sharpen (in my opinion) than the Tojiro F-809, with an edge just as potentially as good.
The MAC knives you have listed are from the "Professional" series. Very good quality - but expensive. The "BK-100" is a model from the "Chef" series and is about 40% less, but uses exactly the same steel, heat treatment and blade thickness. Compared to the "Professional" MBK models, the BK models are a bargain.
As for the cleaver, normally if you mentioned "2 Lions", I would think of one of the French Sabatier manufacturers. However, there is a separate Chinese knife manufacturer who uses a "2 Lions" brand, and is completely different from the French manufacturer. Take a look at this thread: http://www.chowhound.com/post/chinese-cleaver-id-909544
If it's the Chinese "2 Lions", then see if there is anything which is like "4Cr13". That will tell you the type of stainless steel used. "4Cr13" is a very widely used stainless steel used in Chinese broad knives (the proper name for a "Chinese cleaver"), and is a very low end steel.
Generally, I am not a fan of mass market stainless steel broad knives. I would not consider them as.very good in either taking or holding an edge.
On the other end, a non-stainless "Carbon steel" Chinese broad knife is something I WOULD seek out. They can take a good edge and (as long as you use them for slicing and not whack chopping), are almost ideal. The only caveats are that you need to develop a good patina surface, and then you need to take care of them IMMEDIATELY AFTER USE, by IMMEDIATELY washing them and hand-drying them.
Hope that helps