advice regarding Japanese knife

Discussion in 'Cooking Knife Reviews' started by ALFY, Feb 11, 2018.

  1. ALFY

    ALFY

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    I'm looking to buy a knife for my husband... He is not a professional chef, but loves to cook, and I get him kitchen/cooking equipment for gifts whenever I can. His current favorite knives are the Shun DM0706 Classic 8-Inch Chef's Knife and a handmade knife he bought in Japan that I don't know the name of- something he purchased from a hand forger near the fish market in Japan.
    I had bought him the Tojiro DP Gyutou and Global chefs knife several years ago, but i think he's "outgrown" it, so that's the knife I use now.
    I was looking for a knife about the price range of the Shun..I could get him the Shun premier, but I was wondering if I could get a better knife for the price.
    Specifically the one's I was looking at were the:
    Yoshihiro VG-10 46 layers gyuto
    Yoshihiro Blue high carbon steel chef knife (Mizuyaki or Aoko)
    I also tried a friend's Yoshihiro VG-10 kiritsuke sword tip chefs knife and quite liked it, though I don't know if it adds anything...my friend whose knife I used is a professional chef.
    He is right handed, likes the weight of the japanese knives, and the thin-ness. The hand forged knife he bought is made from a single piece of metal.
    I do not want to get a knife that requires a lot of maintanence, like the Korin high carbon steel that rusts if not maintained- he is not good at that.
    If there's any other knife you think would fit the bill, please let me know. I'm not decided on the Yoshihiro brand, I just know other friends who have their gyuto knives and don't have trouble with them.
    Any thoughts or advice would be great. Thanks!
     
  2. brianshaw

    brianshaw

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    Let me address the Shun part of the question and let the others address what you might consider that is “better value”.

    If he likes the Shun Classic then the Shun Premier May satisfy in terms of nicer appearance but will share same performance characteristics. I have 8-inch chef in both and they perform identically, but I have a slight preference for the Premiere handle.

    But if you get him a10-inch of either that might be an noticable difference with a performance change that he may appreciate.

    There are lots of Japanese knives out there to choose from if you looking for something else.

    Enjoy the experience!
     
  3. sgsvirgil

    sgsvirgil

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    The thing about Japanese cutlery is you can find 1000 different manufacturers, most good to excellent, and each manufacturer will have 1000 different knives designed for all different uses. So, this begs the question of what would be the intended use of the knife? Knowing that information will help us make some recommendations.

    If you are looking for a general purpose knife, are you intent on buying a Japanese made knife or would you consider other options? For instance, Wusthof makes some very good chef's knives that are in the price range of the knives that you are looking at. Granted, they don't have the flash or pizazz of a Japanese Damascus forged knife, but, they are quality made, durable and require little in the way of special care.

    However, if you are looking for something a little more exotic, a Kikuichi 8" Sweden Warikomi Damascus would work nicely. The price tag is a few dollars more ($230 range), but, the knife is excellent. I have one and I love it.

    If he already has two knives that he loves, perhaps he could use something else like a good pairing knife or a filet knife? What about a good set of whetstones?
     
  4. Baba Ghanoush

    Baba Ghanoush

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    So your man got a nice handmade gyuto, a Shun Classic 8-Inch Chef's knife, a Tojiro DP Gyuto and a Global chef's knife... well, it sounds to me like he's for all practical purposes rather handsomely equipped in the chef's knife/gyuto department, but what about slicers? Do he own a nice long sujihiki, say like 270mm?

    3 questions:
    1) Where are you at country wise (availability and prices of knives vary quite a lot across borders)?
    2) What sort of food do you prepare and cook in your home (giving a slicer to a vegan or a yanagiri to a home cook that dislikes the taste of raw fish seldom make much sense)?
    3) Do you know your husband's taste in knives (some like big knives/some like small knives, some like curvy knives/some like flat profiled knives, some like Damascus patterned, some like hammer finish... you get the picture)?
     
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  5. ALFY

    ALFY

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    Thanks so much for the replies.
    We do have a Wushtof chef's knife that I use. I like the weight and the feel of it...he does not..is doesn't get sharp enough for him. We do have a whetstone that he uses to sharpen his knives, including the my Wusthof.
    He definitely prefers the weight & feel of a japanese knife to german ones.
    We live in the US. We eat everything. I cook the routine/basic/daily sort of food, but he cooks the weekend/made from scratch sort of thing...really everything: american, french, italian, sushi..
    He likes an 8-9ish inch blade best, but I think that is because of weight- he seemed to like a friend's 10 inch gyuto as well, which was light and well balanced.
    He also has a paring knife and a Honesuki boning knife that he uses, and likes.
    He definitely likes the belly on the gyutos that help with the rocking motion of chopping, so I think a flat knife will be less useful. He has a Santoku knife that he barely uses (since his gyuto apparently does everything that the Santoku can do?). The only other knife he has/uses is a cleaver.
    I think a slicer may be good. something that works well for trimming etc as well.
    I did see him salivating over a friend's knife that was a Fu-Rin-Ka-Zan Kiritsuke...but then stopped after learning how much those knives cost!
     
  6. ALFY

    ALFY

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    a few more details: our diet is, unfortunately, rather meat heavy..lots of fish too.
    I am definitely ok going up a little on the price point, if it is a really nice knife that he will like (which is obviously, subjective).
    Unfortunately, while I can read reviews on types of knives/uses and try a few of them, I don't appreciate cooking knives the way he does.
    I was going to get him bigger dutch oven and a knife.. the current dutch oven we have is the perfect size for 2-3 people, but something a little bigger for when he's cooking for more people. but if its a great knife, then that's fine by itself too.
    A sujihiki may be just the thing...are there any specific ones you would recommend?
     
  7. rick alan

    rick alan

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    The hand-forged Japanese knife, what is it in terms of length and type? What is your dollar limit?
     
  8. ALFY

    ALFY

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    I don't know what the metal type is, it looks like a gyuto but the blade is narrower than the Shun, and it is lighter.
    It was also much sharper than the Shun was out of the box, and stayed really sharp for a while. Even now, it keeps its edge after sharpening for longer than the Shun.
    Unfortunately I don't really have any more details on it.
    I was looking to spend around 200$, but I'm willing to spend around 300$, maybe a little more for a knife that he will really love.
     
  9. Baba Ghanoush

    Baba Ghanoush

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    I'm no bona fide knife expert (far from) but my pick for a very good stainless sujihiki would be the Gesshin Uraku 270mm from Japanese Knife Imports: a plain looking but very well made knife, and at $170 and a saya (wooden sheath) included it's a good deal.

    The owner Jon Broida is sort of legendary for good customer service and a never failing ability to match the customer with the right knife, so call him and he will do anything in his power to match you with the right knife.

    Nevertheless, if I was looking for something more flashy but still very traditional Japanese looking, and if I was not afraid of buying overseas, I would consider the Sukenari SG2 270mm from Knives and Stones in Australia. Nice looking ebony handle and the business end of the blade is made of SG2 steel, sort of an improved version of the VG10 (more durable and less chippy edge, but perhaps somewhat harder to sharpen). However the fanciness comes with a raised price tag of $242 U.S. and shipping and saya not included.

    If I was in the market for something more versatile for trimming tasks (240mm) and wanted something sort of Shun like but still a bit different, I might be tempted to take a chance with the Takayuki VG10 33 Layer Damascus on sale for $149 right now at japany. com (Japanese knife retailer).

    Alas, but the world of kitchen knives is humongous - so many knives at so many places, only one thing to do: pick the knife that fits the man
     
  10. rick alan

    rick alan

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    Actually VG-10 is nothing like SG2. SG2 is a powdered metalurgy steel, gets significantly sharper, holds the sharp much better, and is actually much easier to sharpen. VG-10 does not find a lot of love here, it is very difficult to deburr, and the initial sharpness, once you finally get it, disappears quickly. Neither does much love go to the clunky, thick-edged, big-bellied and over priced Shuns.

    The Uraku is more of a utilitarian knife, thicker at the edge than most of JKI's offerings.

    I'll take it the Japanese knife you have is a gyuto, and likely blue 2, blue super (both carbon), or perhaps one of the Japanese tool steels, such as Aritsugu A series uses (stainless/semi-stainless).

    Perhaps a 270 suji would be a likely next in the progression. The Sukenari SG2 mentioned is a very good choice.

    Note: A flat-edged knife is really far more efficient once you learn how to use them. Prior to the second half of the 20th century all chef knifes where relatively flat profiled. The big-bellied German style that came in after WWII was actually a marketing innovation, not a performance innovation. It meant that inept sharpeners did not have to be so concerned about creating concavity in the edge profile.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2018
  11. ALFY

    ALFY

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    Thanks. That was really helpful. How would you compare SG2 to HAP40 in terms of ease of sharpening? I know it holds an edge for a while, but wasn't sure how easy it was to maintain otherwise?
     
  12. rick alan

    rick alan

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    I've never tried it but by all comparisons I've heard it is much like SG2, but semi-stainless instead of stainless. It will patina some.
     
  13. KenOfPortland

    KenOfPortland

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    I can heat up Campbell’s Chunky Soup in a pot
    So would SG2 be considered at least by some to be the...”cutting edge” of knife blade material then? All those advantages over VG10 certainly sound compelling.
     
  14. rick alan

    rick alan

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    Yes, but you can't go cutting around bone or being otherwise rough with it, or it will chip.
     
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