Choosing a Japanese Knife

Discussion in 'Cooking Knife Reviews' started by branno, Feb 24, 2017.

  1. branno

    branno

    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Culinary Student
    Hey guys,

    been a home cook for years and decided to make it a career so im about to start an apprenticeship and im looking to get some better quality knives. I've been checking out some of the knife stores in my area and i like the feel of Japanese over German. I've been doing a lot of research to learn more about knives in general and could really use some guidance in deciding what to do.

    unfortunately the variety of Japanese knives in my local stores seems to be limited, at the moment im looking at Miyabi or maybe Yaxell Ran brand mainly because they are the ones I've liked the most from what the stores stock. After looking online I've seen that there is a lot of other brands of Japanese knives out there and im wondering how they compare to those two. i get the feeling that they are the main stream brands that most stores stock and that there is much better brands out there. i worry about buying a knife without getting my hands on it first so i feel somewhat limited to what my local stores have.

    the idea of carbon intrigues me however im not sure how practical it would be in my work place to have to wash/dry it after every use so i not sure about those for now however im definitely open to suggestions if you think there is something that would suit my situation.

    From what i understand the higher the HRC the more vulnerable they are to chipping, I've read that Japanese knives are more likely to chip if not used correctly and that you should only use them on timber boards because they are softer however my work place(and every professional kitchen i've seen) uses plastic boards so im curious to get some thoughts on that, i think i also read somewhere that they are more likely to damage from doing a rocking motion.

    I worry about cutting through bones with a Japanese knife because once again they seem to chip easily so im wondering do i need to keep a German knife on hand for that sort of work.

    I wouldn't consider my sharpening skills to be very good, i've never used a whetstone and i doubt im even using a Steel properly. i intend to learn how to use whetstones so i can properly care for my knives but i worry that at first my lack of experience will just end up doing more harm then good until i get the hang of it. i do have my current knife that i could practice on while i learn but i cant go around with a blunt knife so I'd have to sharpen my Japanese one at some point.

    The place im working in is Italian but i intend to do a variety of cuisines over my career so i don't feel that should play a huge role

    in my knife decision.

    Im not too worried about price as long as its something that will last me for a long time however im also open to the idea of buying something a bit cheaper (still good quality) to start with until i learn how to properly sharpen and care for my knife.

    Im thinking ill just get a Gyuto to start and go from there.

    here are the knives im currently looking at:
    Miyabi 5000MCD https://www.miyabi-knives.com/uk/en/series/knives/miyabi_5000mcd.html
    Miyabi 500MCD 67 https://www.miyabi-knives.com/uk/en/series/knives/miyabi_5000mcd_67.html
    Yaxell Ran http://www.hocho-knife.com/yaxell-ran-69-layers-vg-10-damascus-chef-knife-gyuto-255mm/

    like i said this is just going off of what the stores in my area stock so id like to know what you guys suggest and also your thoughts on buying a knife off the internet without handling it first.

    as keen as i am to get a new knife im not in any rush because i have my current knife which will do the job for the time being.

    so let me know what your thoughts are, cheers
     
  2. foody518

    foody518

    Messages:
    1,063
    Likes Received:
    45
    Exp:
    I Just Like Food
    If having a knife in your hands is a requirement, you're very likely going to be limited to not much more than what you've already found.

    Every knife I've purchased in the last 1.5+ years has been an online purchase. I've not had the chance to see the majority of them in person. 

    Give it some time at your new workplace and see if you feel it'd be possible to maintain a carbon blade there.

    No bones and minimize rocking, especially with the two Miyabis you linked to. Edges on Japanese knives tend to be very thin. On that note, starting with a knife in that price range or with such HRC without some sharpening proficiency doesn't seem like a good fit, especially considering your concerns over usage. Certainly keep something else around for bones.  

    IMO getting a sharpening plan together should be your first buy. This yields greater long term benefit than getting a new knife does. You could also pair this with getting an entry-mid range Japanese knife to experience a thinner all purpose knife but get one a little tougher and not so brittle.

    What's your location? That'll affect pricing for recommendations.
     
  3. branno

    branno

    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Culinary Student
    yea i think this would be the way to go.
     
  4. foody518

    foody518

    Messages:
    1,063
    Likes Received:
    45
    Exp:
    I Just Like Food
    @Branno  you could see if you're nearby to Chef's Armoury or Knives And Stones
     
  5. branno

    branno

    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Culinary Student
  6. foody518

    foody518

    Messages:
    1,063
    Likes Received:
    45
    Exp:
    I Just Like Food
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2017
  7. branno

    branno

    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Culinary Student
    @foody518 Thanks for getting back to me, i was actually just watching those youtube videos /img/vbsmilies/smilies/lol.gif and also been reading up on stones similar to what you mentioned.

    i was looking at the Tojiro DP just as an entry level knife as they seem good for the price but i've gone away from them a bit because design features such the the handle not being uncomfortable.

    i just started looking at the Masamoto VG http://www.knivesandstones.com/masamoto-sohonten-vg-series-gyuto-240-mm/ which seems alright.
     
  8. branno

    branno

    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Culinary Student
    i was actually just looking at those youtube videos and also looking at stones similar to the ones you linked.

    i was looking at the Tojiro DP3 series as it looks like a good entry level knife for the price but i got my hands on one and didn't particularly like it.

    i've started looking at Masamoto VG as a possibility, that Grand Chef you linked looks nice.
     
  9. branno

    branno

    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Culinary Student
    im thinking Masamoto is the way to go, its a similar price to the Takayuki Grand Chef and from what i've been reading it's the better of the two.

    for the stones im thinking cerax 1k and rika 5k with the suehiro ceramic flattening stone medium, my knowledge of stones is pretty much non existent so let me know if they are a good choice. also would you suggest i get a ceramic steel just in case the knife needs a touch up while im at work?

    btw Foody518 thanks for the help, i think i was a bit excited at first about buying a new knife i was getting a bit carried away with wanting to get the best knife i could /img/vbsmilies/smilies/lol.gif  
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2017
  10. millionsknives

    millionsknives

    Messages:
    2,424
    Likes Received:
    367
    Exp:
    Professional Caterer
  11. foody518

    foody518

    Messages:
    1,063
    Likes Received:
    45
    Exp:
    I Just Like Food
    I have both those stones and like em. They are both soaking stones though (10-20 minutes IME) while stones like the Shaptons are more 'splash and go'. 

    On flattening - I have an Atoma 140 which is a pricier option but in general it's easier to do a good job flattening when the flattening device has larger dimensions than the stones http://www.knivesandstones.com/atoma-diamond-stone-flattening-plate-coarse-140-grit/
     
  12. branno

    branno

    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Culinary Student
    did a bit of research and that could be a good option, why do we make these decisions so difficult haha i just need to pick one and go with it.
    is the 140 grit ok for the higher grit stones?
     
  13. foody518

    foody518

    Messages:
    1,063
    Likes Received:
    45
    Exp:
    I Just Like Food
    @Branno if you're worried about the smoothness of your fine stone you can lap it with your 1K stone afterwards and then wash off the mixed grit before use