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Pricing for knives - Masamoto HC, Misono Swedish, Mac Pro, Konosuke HD?

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

Hi all,

 

I'm looking to upgrade from my entry level Victorinox chefs knife and I'm looking between the following:

 

Masamato HC Gyuto 210mm

Misono Swedish Carbon Gyuto 210mm

Mac Professional Mighty 210mm

Konosuke HD Gyuto 210mm

 

I've found fantastic reviews for all 4 knives. I've also had the pleasure of using a colleagues Masamato HC and Mac Pro (albeit a 240mm model), both felt fantastic and obviously a big step-up on what I've been using.

 

My problem is two fold:

 

1. Shopping in the UK it is proving difficult, even online, to find many suppliers offering any of these 4 knives. The ones that do are at ridiculous mark-ups.

 

2. When looking at Japan or US based sellers the prices jump significantly once adding in postage and varying exchange rates.

 

I was wondering what sort of price people have paid for these knives themselves? Or what prices they tend to see them being sold for?

 

Equally if any UK based posters know of suppliers who may be offering these knives for reasonable prices then I'd be delighted for a pointer!

post #2 of 25
Have you looked at japanesechefsknife.com? They have the Misono and Masamoto

Are EU sellers an option, or no?

210mm only?

Cuttingedgeknives UK might be an option but it seems like they tend to stock pretty blingy looking knives and therefore has a bit of price premium for that
post #3 of 25
Thread Starter 

Hi foody,

 

JCK is currently looking like my best option for Masamoto, although they are out of stock for the 210mm. Ideally I'm looking at 210mm for the extra maneuverability yes. They are stocking the 240mm at $212. Is that a reasonable price for the Masamoto HC 240mm or a touch on the high side?

 

My other option on the slightly cheaper side is to go stainless alloy rather than HC. The Masamoto VG is in stock with JCK and going for $161.

 

Suggestions for EU sellers would be much appreciated. At the moment the ones I have found are working a very significant mark-ups though.

post #4 of 25

I'm curious...  What  (in terms of amount of money) are you calling "a very significant mark-ups"?  (I, personally, rarely seem to figure out the "true value" or the "true cost" of a lot of items I buy.)

 

I understand the quest to bargain hunt, but there are some products that one might just have to pay the prevailing price to get exactly what one wants. Unfortunately living in the world economy that we do involves postage, exchange rates, tariffs, taxes, etc.

 

I occasionally buy British products from British sellers because the items I need/want are not generally imported to US. While there doesn't seem to be import taxes, etc the postage and time delays cost money. But never had a problem with getting what I want. And for those British products that are generally imported... I'm often shocked by the price mark-up compared to what I pay in the UK as well as have to deal with "freshness" issues. Those issues are inconvenient at best, though.

 

But finding a British or EU knife purveyor likely would be your best bet!

post #5 of 25
Thread Starter 

Hi Brian,

 

On the most extreme end of the mark-ups I found one UK based website selling the Mac Pro 240mm for £250. Around $320. Ridiculous money in otherwords. This was a fairly well known catering suppliers as well.

 

On other occasions I've had smaller knife suppliers around the country who I've rang offer prices such as £200 ($260) for the Masamato HC 210mm  or £180 ($230) for the Masamato VG 210mm. Whilst not as ridiculous as the price for the Mac Pro above it is still a big mark-up.

 

I'm resigned to the fact that I'll have to pay more than if I were buying in the States or even in Japan, I'm also happy to do so for a superior product I'll work with everyday. It's a case of what mark-up is acceptable and what's ridiculous that I'm trying to get a grasp on though.

 

As a commis who has only bought European (largely Victorinox and some Wusthof) knives it is a completely new market to me.

post #6 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChefANR View Post
 

On the most extreme end of the mark-ups I found one UK based website selling the Mac Pro 240mm for £250. Around $320.

 

check out http://www.chefs.net/prodpage.asp?productid=161

MAC Pro Mighty Chefs Knife 9.5" Code: F141 Price: £207.39

that is still about $268, I can buy it here for $187

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post #7 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChefANR View Post

 

Hi foody,



JCK is currently looking like my best option for Masamoto, although they are out of stock for the 210mm. Ideally I'm looking at 210mm for the extra maneuverability yes. They are stocking the 240mm at $212. Is that a reasonable price for the Masamoto HC 240mm or a touch on the high side?



My other option on the slightly cheaper side is to go stainless alloy rather than HC. The Masamoto VG is in stock with JCK and going for $161.



Suggestions for EU sellers would be much appreciated. At the moment the ones I have found are working a very significant mark-ups though.





I have Misono Swedish Dragon 270mm gyuto and love the profile on it. JCK's pricing for Misono Swedish is good too. Not really sure if I'm qualified to judge how the Masamoto knives are priced, but you're looking at like $70+ difference for the 210mm size and there starts to be other knives that are attractive choices in that range (see Itinomonn below)



I think Koki Iwahara at JCK also stocks Masahiro virgin carbon knives at a good price, just not listed on the website. Contact him directly on those. They supposedly run a bit harder for better edge holding vs Misono Swedish, hopefully @Benuser can chime in on the Masahiro. 



Korin France stocks Togiharu (their house brand?) Virgin Carbon which would be a similar kind of knife



If you start getting into the $200+ range, have a look at the Itinomonn Kasumi knives from Japanese Natural Stones, based in Denmark. I'm guessing you would pay the incl. VAT pricing? The grind on these makes for excellent cutting performance compared to most of the 4 you listed. http://www.japanesenaturalstones.com/itinomonn-stainless-kasumi-210mm-wa-gyuto/ the initial edge should probably be microbeveled more strongly. It is definitely *very* thin at and behind the edge



How are you sharpening your knives?
Edited by foody518 - 6/6/17 at 9:55am
post #8 of 25
I would avoid the Masamoto HC as the QC seems to be unexistent if you consider the numerous very serious Fit&Finish issues that have been reported.
With Misono F&F are exceptional at its price point. Masahiro Virgin Carbons are more basic but without serious flaws. The Masahiro steel is much harder and much less reactive than the Misono one. Misonos have an appealing spear point tip, Masahiros the typical delayed dropping gyuto tip which is less vulnerable and assures greater stiffness. Misonos are clearly blade heavy, Masahiro more neutral.
Neither has a great factory edge and both better get sharpened right out of the box.
Prices are now the same.
post #9 of 25
Thread Starter 

Hi foody,

 

Sharpening wise I work through 3 grades of stone using 1000, 3000, 8000. I sharpen my chefs knives to a 70/30 bevel. I am an inexperienced chef and have a lot to learn about knife care and sharpening but it is a part of the job that I genuinely enjoy so think I am better at it than the vast majority of junior chefs you'd meet. Then again most commis I know neglect kinfe care entirely...

 

Interesting to see both foody and Benuser putting the Misono swedish ahead of the Masamoto HC. It's not a knife I've been able to use at all but looking back over topics on the forum it is clearly a debated topic as to which is better. I do prefer the balance of a blade heavy chef knife so that is very good to know about the Misono, thanks Benuser.


As for going into a higher price range, this is my issue with the mark-ups I'm looking at. It's putting knives such as the Masamoto HC and Mac Pro into a price bracket where I'd be wanting to look at something such as the Masahiro.

 

Realistically for my level of knife skills I would rather look in the below $200 price range though.

post #10 of 25

Sounds good on the sharpening, as long as you understand why you're doing something and executing to your satisfaction.

 

Maybe in years past the pricing between the Misono Swedish and Masamoto HC were similar, but with the vendors I've found, that is not the currently the case. There are other knives I look at in the price range the Masamoto HC occupies.

 

Haven't had an issue with reactivity, like the handle as well.

 

 

As you're looking at 210mm, not sure if these will really run blade heavy. More likely to be pretty neutral balance. 

 

Not sure I understood the next part - Seems like the Masahiro VC and Misono Swedish are priced about the same at JCK.

post #11 of 25
Misonos I've handled had the balance point at 1" from the bolster. The Masahiro above the heel.
post #12 of 25

@Benuser which lengths? 

post #13 of 25
240, 270. I'm not longer sure about the 210, LOL.
post #14 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Benuser View Post

240, 270. I'm not longer sure about the 210, LOL.

That was my thought as well. Looking on JCK, there is a huge jump in blade width between the 210 and 240mm, and nearly 80g weight difference as well

post #15 of 25
Thread Starter 

foody - I can't see the Masahiro VC on sale through JCK. I have just found it on knifemerchant.com for $108, the same as JCK are offering the Misono Sweden. Both the Masamoto VG and HC are running for $60 dollars more than that with the prices I can find.

 

I'm very happy with $108 as a price for a Misono Sweden or Masahiro VC so reckon I'll try to make a decision over the next couple of days between the two.

 

Is there any more advice or comparison between the two knives that either (or anyone else of course!) of you can give?

 

As a commis I naturally get through a lot of prep work, being in a high end French fine dining kitchen it is time consuming mise en place as well so a knife that will be nice to work with over long periods is a must.

post #16 of 25

ChefANR - I don't have any personal experience with the Masahiro. I believe you have to contact Koki Iwahara (the man behind JCK) to ask about them since they are not on the website.

Main comparison between the two is Benuser's post #8 in this thread

 

You'd probably want to tweak the Misono's edge out of the box. It's quite convexed (buffing?). Sharpens up easily. Though not sure what edge retention needs and or what options you have to touch up an edge during the day

Spine and choil are not eased so that might also quickly warrant some sandpaper or files to relieve those 

post #17 of 25
The Misono comes overly convexed out of the box, from buffering, indeed. Get rid of that factory edge and you will be fine.
The Masahiro factory is highly unpredictable. I got a new 240 with an extremely one-sided edge, and a 180 with a more 20 degrees right and 8 left, but still highly off-centered to the left. It doesn't matter. I put a 13/17 degree on it and see if it works.
post #18 of 25
Thread Starter 

Thanks a lot for the advice, benuser and foody.

 

I've decided to pull the trigger on the Misono Sweden 210mm from JCK for $107 - well $114 with P&P but still a good price I believe?

 

It should be delivered later in the week so will give an update then.

post #19 of 25
That's a good price. I've had good experience with fast shipping from JCK as well.
Hope you enjoy the knife!
post #20 of 25
Looking forward to seeing your update!
post #21 of 25
Thread Starter 

Just got home late having been away for a few days to find the Misono delivered. It arrived on Friday which is 4 day delivery from Japan for $7. Pretty exceptional customer service from JCK and parcel force, especially when you add in the very up-to-date tracking they offer with the delivery.

 

As I've got in so late and have been away I very frustratingly don't have anything in to trial the knife on some prep work.... Typical!

 

First impressions OOTB though, I'm very happy with it. The handle is fantastic as I'd been told to expect from Misono. The F&F is excellent as well, even for a guy with large hands using a relatively small knife at 210mm. The handle is very comfortable and the shallower blade which I was worried may be an issue with the Misono does not inhibit my pinch grip.

 

The edge is overly convexed out of the box but not ridiculously so. Sharpening that over buffing out was very easy with a 1000, 3000, 8000 progression on the stones. Even using entry level stones the feel of the knife from them was excellent. This is something I found very interesting moving from a basic Victorinox chef knife to a Swedish. The feel on the stones was much better, especially when finding the factory angle. For now I am sticking to that factory angle as much as my sharpening skills allow but as I gain experience I may alter it if I desire.

 

Having feared that I was making the wrong choice between the 210mm or 240mm I am glad I went for the 210mm as well. The relatively shallow blade and low weight combined with the shorter blade gives it exactly the extra maneuverability I was looking from it. It runs slightly longer in the blade than advertised as well which works well for me as a slight medium.

 

I look forward to getting to let it loose on some prep work tomorrow.

post #22 of 25
Thread Starter 

Out of interest, where would more experience and knowledgeable posters stand on forcing a patina on knives?

 

Given how reactive the Swedens alloy apparently is I have been advised by a couple of people that forcing a patina could be a good way to go. I am very reluctant to do so from what I've read on the subject though.

post #23 of 25

Hot vinegar is the way to force a patina a strong patina quick, bit of paper towel to swab on.  And after that you can make the most incredible designs by daubing on mustard as if doing a textured oil painting and leaving it on a half hour.  But even peeling and cutting up apples will do a job, or blood from any meat.

 

Carbon is a whole 'nother animal from stainless.  Where even a 1K stone can even leave a relatively refined edge as compared to stainless, and do it in far less time.

 

You can use a smooth packer's steel for touch ups, and when that doesn't work so well anymore  then a few stropping strokes an a fine stone will bring the edge back up.  Or just use the stone.

 

Bottom line, the Misono Swede doesn't have great edge retention, but it does get crazy sharp and touchups are so easy that the edge retention is not really an issue.

post #24 of 25

I found the Misono Swedish to patina easily on its own (did not force a patina) and not be particularly rust-prone (the patina helps it resist rust formation) 

post #25 of 25
I've never done it. Just be mindful of what you're cutting. I.e. don't start off with a case of onions or citrus. Trim as much meat as you can get your hands on.

If you do force it, there are different ways- blood, vinegar, mustard, potato, plantains and many others. Again, never done it, never needed to. While you are building your patina (and after) you should keep your knife clean and dry. Not every cut, but maybe every 2 onions depending on how fast you are. Keep a damp towel and a dry towel at your station for this. THere is a JKI video about that.
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