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Looking for advice on some at home knives

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

Hi all first post here.  I came here after reading tons of great reviews and advice people have given.  Currently I cook nightly at home and lately I have done a lot more work with veggies & fruits.  I usually buy my own meat in bulk and butcher it myself.


For years I had a set of probably $99 Marth Stewart knives from Macy's we got for a wedding gift.  Yeah not great knives but they sorta worked.  Once I started butchering my own meat I ditched the Martha knives and I was given an 6" Victorinox Boning Knife, 8" Victorinox Chef Knife and the 10" Victorinox Breaking Knife.  I pretty much use the Chef Knife for everything.


I have about $200 to upgrade or add to my "set".  I would like to possibly add a Santoku or Gyuto knife (I'm also open to other must have knives). I've heard great thing about all sorts of knives from Shun, to Global, to MAC, Messimeister, Wusthof, Henkels Mercer etc.  Just lookings for some opinions on price-to-quality for what I can spend.  Any advice or opinions will be appreciated.  Thanks in advance!

post #2 of 18

Any preferences to help narrow this down? Carbon or stainless (or either), handle type, aesthetic, lightweight/medium weight feeling, etc.?


What is your maintenance/sharpening plan?

post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the reply.  It is hard to say what my preference is since I don;t have much experience with a wide range of knives.  The Victorinox 8" Chef knife I currently use feels light which is nice but the handle is bulky.  It feels a bit cumbersome for most veggie prep work.  If I cut up or slice chicken cutlets it works okay.  I use mostly a pinch grip but I have on occasion used a hammer grip and finger tip grip when I am lazy.  I don't care what it looks like just that it performs well and feels comfortable and balanced in my hand (for the budget of course).  I like the idea of Stainless Steel since it limits rust vs the Carbon but I like the razor sharp edges that Carbon offers.  I have seen they make hybrids where the edge is carbon but the rest of the knife is pressed stainless which sounds pretty good to me.


I own a Whetstone and use that to sharpen my knife when needed.  I don't do it often as I only use my knife once a day to prep my dinner so I don;t need to constantly sharpen it.  I do hone it with the steel rod and if my new knife needed to be honed using something else I'd be willing to invest or learn how to use a different method.  Any other info I could provide to help with a reccomendation please just ask.  Thanks!

post #4 of 18
What length range are you considering? 8 inches like your current? Or would longer be okay?
Is your current stone an oilstone or waterstone?
One thing that tends to be a good options for touch up maintenance on harder steel knives is just to do strop /edge trailing strokes on your finest stone.
Check out Itinomonn Kasumi gyutos. The ones that are stainless clad, carbon steel core. They are top quality knives at their price point and will absolutely blow your mind for ease of cutting.
post #5 of 18
This would be my recommendation, price is in aud:


I have one (in ginsan steel) and like it a lot.

You'll no doubt be recommended to give Jon at JKI a ring, he will be able to sort you out.

Lots of other very good options too.
Happy shopping wink.gif
post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 

I'd like to stay wit 8inch size (210mm).  I feel most comfortable with that size.  


My whetstone is water one not oil.


I was sort of hoping to get both a gyuto and a Santoku for the $200 range.  I know that gets into the $100 range per knife and those are still considered budget knives but I don't think I use it enough for me personally to justify $200 on 1 knife even though it would be top quality and amazing.  My Victorinox was $35 so spending $100 or $125 ona  knife feels like a big enough upgrade for me.


I was looking at:

Tojiro DP Gyutou which was roughly $65

Misono Moly Gyuto which was roughly $80


That is the extent of what I have seen.  I am not sure what other introductory japanese knife brand are out and around in that range or up to about $125 that would be a worthwhile purchase to try, hence why I came here for expert opinions and advice from those who know way more than I do.

post #7 of 18

Hi Eric - A gyuto will do everything a santoku can and then some, but the opposite is not true, so having both would be mostly redundant in my opinion and I'd get a gyuto and a 1000/3000 combination wetstone if I were you. One sharp knife will be more useful and enjoyable than two dull ones anyway.


I started on Dexters as a butcher, then used a Spyderco santoku for years as a home cook (actually wore it out) and am now using a gyuto instead.


This gyuto is getting high marks for performance at a reasonable price point: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/kapsgy21.html

post #8 of 18

Keep your vics, this is how you fix the handle http://www.cheftalk.com/t/81804/victorinox-forschner-as-starter-knives#post_479457


All you need is one good laser-type/laser-like gyuto to do the specific deeds you describe, to the list I will add the Takamura Migaki.  Also this one https://www.japaneseknifeimports.com/collections/ikazuchi/products/ikazuchi-210mm-stainless-clad-blue-super-wa-gyuto


These and the Itonomon are super cutters but not for heavy work of course or going anywhere near bone, you have the Vics for that.


You will want a 6K+ stone to get the best out of these.




post #9 of 18
Originally Posted by Rick Alan View Post


You will want a 6K+ stone to get the best out of these.


I'm assuming Rick recommended a 6K+ as a finishing stone in addition to lower grit stones. A 6K as an only stone would be an exercise in frustration if sharpening a dull knife. A 1-1.2K will be your go-to sharpening a stone, a 320-400K is a nice-to-have for setting bevels and repairing chips, and a 5-6K is good for extracting full sharpness and/or touchups between sharpenings.


Since you are new to Japanese knives I'd steer you away from lasers (thin, performance cutters that require more care and technique in use) and towards a middleweight in a good stainless or semi-stainless steel (versus carbon, which requires more care). The Tojiro DP you mentioned is a good choice, but the Kanehide PS60 linked above represents a  tangible jump in steel, grind, and fit and finish.

post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 

Appreciate all the feedback and those are some awesome looking knives!


The initial reason for the Santoku is that my wife loves using one because of the smaller blade profile.  All she ever grabs is the Santoku while all I use is the Victorinox Chef knife.  This is why i figured if I get both she has the Santoku and I use the Gyutou and leave the Victorinox knives for heavier work.


The more i have been thinking and talking with the wife the more I think I want to probably start with an introductory level Japanese Gyutou.  I do own a 1000/6000 Whetstone that I use other cheaper quality knives to practice on but I am not master by any means. Last thing I want to do is buy a $150+ knife and mess it up on the stone because of my skills.


This is why I tried to short list some knives under $100 that I seen people post about or recommend. I also am buying from Amazon simply because I have a credit with them I want to use up,, so my options are limited.  I don't want to agonize or draw out this decision but I want to pretty much get something good for the money but also not feel bad if I mess up the knife. The list below is what I seen on amazon.  Not sure how good these brands or actual knives are besides the Tojiro that gets mentioned all the time and the Suisin that lots of people love.   


Zhen 3 layer VG-10 Forged Steel 240mm Gyuto $63 (Have not seen much by anyone on this brand or the quality of the knife)
Tojiro DP 240mm Gyutou$63 (Seems everyone says price to performance on this knife is amazing)
Masahiro 240mm Gyutou$75 (Doesn't say what kind of steel, just Japanese carbon steel. Also not sure about this brand and it's quality)
Misono Moly 210mm Gyutou$79 (the 240mm price is $115 and seems high)
Okami VG10 Damascus blade 210mm Gyutou$90 (I've seen nothing anywhere about this brand of knife and a similar looking one branded Enso is the same price)
Togiharu Moly 210mm Gyutou$102 (Haven't been able to find much on this brand in way of reviews, especially this steel type)
Suisin Inox Western 210mm$120 (amazon doesn't carry 240mm)


part of me keeps saying just buy the Tojiro and learn and you'll be happy but that weee little part of me wants to make sure that I don;t pass up on a better value-to-performance knife, but again my choices are limited because of what amazon carries.  I do appreciate all the help and feedback as I know I am making this choice harder than it needs to be. 

post #11 of 18

I have the 240mm Tojiro DP Gyuto with a Wa handle, it's a solid value and if you don't want to geek out on knives you could get that and be happy.


I'm a knife geek however so I say get the Kanehide PS60 and use that Amazon credit for something else :) it's a step up from the knives you listed. 


Don't be too scared of sharpening, there's not much you can do wrong that can't be fixed by sending it to a pro for a sharpen, it's easier than you think, and Japanese Knife Imports has very good tutorial vids on their youtube channel. 

post #12 of 18
I would cautiously stay away from the Zhen.
Yoshihiro is another brand you can find on amazon.
That Masahiro if it says carbon steel will be fully reactive (non stainless), just fyi
Suisin Inox Western is a good make and fit and finish with a lower carbon less hard steel. Not particularly bang for buck considering the Fujiwara FKM exists. You may be seeing some reviews on people who own the Suisin Inox Honyaki which is a different knife, laser, better steel.
Togiharu is Korin's house brand. My guess is that the Moly is referring to something like AUS-8 (someone please correct me if I'm off on this)

I think the advice to avoid thinner knives initially is partly outdated and maybe too broad brush (just don't torque or force the blade or contract bone). And unsure if a similar to AEB-L type steel is absolutely an upgrade to Tojiro's VG-10. The carbon content differs significantly.

If you don't already, make sure you've got something to flatten your 1000/6000 stone with.

If you weren't bound by Amazon credit I'd second the Takamura Migaki suggestion. But depending on how much credit you have, there are multiple lines of Yoshihiro knives on Amazon.
post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 


Edited by Eric Kondel - 5/17/16 at 7:00am
post #14 of 18
Thread Starter 

I appreciate all of the advice and opinions.  I was actually able to pull the trigger on the Tojiro-Pro DP 240mm Gyuto (it was only $5 more than the non pro dp), I thought it looked nicer than the regular DP and the blade, steel are all the same.  I also picked up the petty knife to replace my pairing knife I am throwing out and I picked up the Santoku because the wife wanted it.  So 3 knives, all decent price I feel and they look great and I am sure I will be quite happy with how they perform.

post #15 of 18

Congrats on the purchase and I hope you enjoy your new knives! 

post #16 of 18

I really would have liked to see you go for one of the higher-end items, I'm sure you could handle it.  But I can see your purchases here satisfied a broader range of considerations, so good choices.





post #17 of 18
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Rick Alan View Post

I really would have liked to see you go for one of the higher-end items, I'm sure you could handle it.  But I can see your purchases here satisfied a broader range of considerations, so good choices.





Hey Rick,


I was debating it a lot.  I kept looking at the Suisin and a Yoshihiro on Amazon and I also loved the Kanehide PS60. In the end it really wasn't about price, it was more about skill-value.  I felt with the Tojiro-Pro DP it would give me a good chance to get my feet wet while improving my knife skills, sharpening skills etc.  I've put Takamura Migaki and a Masamoto on my wish list for Christmas :-)

post #18 of 18
Here's hoping that santa is good to you :-)
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