Gyuto and Sujihiki

Discussion in 'Cooking Knife Reviews' started by greenguy, Oct 19, 2012.

  1. greenguy

    greenguy

    Messages:
    64
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Line Cook
    So I'm looking to pick up a couple new knives sometime between now and Christmas.  I am a line cook and work the fish station.  I'm looking at Misono Sweden, Kikuichi, and Konosuke.

    Suji:

    When working on the line during service, I like to keep my board clean and uncluttered, so I want just one knife to keep on the board, and I'm thinking the a suji might be a good choice.  Pretty standard knife work during service like mincing/chiffonade herbs, slicing cooked and raw (sashimi grade) tuna and salmon, etc.  Right now I'm using a chef's knife, but I feel I could and should get something better.  My main choice for this right now is the 270mm Misono Swedish Steel.  It's about $250, which is the max I want to spend on a suji.  I hear this is the best Suji out there (for the price at least), is there truth to this?  What other knives are on par or better than this one?  Also, how prone to chipping is this knife.  I'm not worried about it being abused as no one else uses my knives, but can I use this for breaking down a 15lbs+ salmon without worrying?  If not, I have other knives for the job.

    Gyuto:

    For just about all of my prep work. Max price range is about $200.  I have thick heavy SS german knives now, so I would like a much thinner and lighter (laser?) 240mm carbon knife.  I work morning shift, so I do a lot of prep, and found that those heavy knives can get tiring when doing hours of knife work.  So my choices currently are:

    1.  Konosuke White #2

    2.  Kikuichi Carbon Elite

    3.  Misono Swedish Steel, but it's more than I want to spend

    4.  Masamoto Virgin Carbon (at Korin, I think it's the HC?) but i don't think it's the laser i want

    So, I am mainly looking between the Konosuke and Kikuichi.  Does anyone know the type of steel used in the Kikuichi?  How do the Konosuke and Kikuichi compare in terms of steel quality, reactivity, ease of sharpening, edge retention, thinness, weight, etc?  I plan on letting a natural patina form, but will I be able to cut tomatoes, onions, and citrus with these knives without any effect to the food?

    My current knives that I use most often are:

    10" Messermeister Meridian Elite sharpened 70/30 (main knife)

    10" Forschner chef (for heavier work)

    10" Forschner Breaker

    9" Carbon Dexter Filet (just got it and so far I like it)- replaced a 9" Nogent Filet that I just could not get a good edge on, very disappointing

    150mm Misono 440 Petty (also fairly new, and really like it)

    Forscher bread and pairing knives

    Henkels Fine(?) steel

    1000/4000 stone from Korin, planning on getting a 220 and a finer polishing stone soon

    Even though most of my knives are SS, I always clean them after use, especially during service I wipe them off after everything I cut, I feel it's just a good habit to have. I sharpen my Messer twice a week, and everything else once a week.

    I think that's all the necessary info haha.  Thanks!
     
  2. johnr

    johnr

    Messages:
    61
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Former Chef
    Green Guy, if you use a Suji, you should use a less finesse knife for the fish prep work.

    I have broken down many whole fish including 10-25 lb salmon (steaking and fileting). Just my opinion but you already have a nice knife for that ... the Forschner Breaking knife ... thin slices will be much nicer with a Suji/slicer type of knife.

    I may be also on the look out for a Suji, for home use (incl. catering and bbq comps) though and much less expensive than your budget.
     
  3. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

    Messages:
    8,550
    Likes Received:
    199
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    The Misono Sweden is an excellent yo-suji.  Best is another question.  Best for whom?  Best for what?  There's lots of competition in carbon sujis at the price, including  Masamoto HC, Kikuichi Elite Carbon, Konosuke White #2 to name a few. 

    A suji is a poor choice for breaking large fish.  You want something (a) which won't chip on bones, and (b) which is quite a bit stiffer.  On the other hand, it's an optimal choice for portioning.

    The Kikuichi Elite alloy is NKS-52, aka SKS-5 tool steel.

    On your list of gyuto, only the Konosuke is a laser.  It is also the only yo-gyuto on your list, and as far as I know the White #2 series gyuto are not available with a wa handles.  However, the HD, semi-stainless series is.  

    Nothing against the Kikuichi, but the Konosuke is a better knife in every other, objective respect.  Although not a laser, the Masamoto HC is also an exceptionally good knife, and far better than the Kikuichi, with a great, Sabatier-like profile.  It and the Konosuke are the class of the field of knives on your list. 

    T-I's factory edges on the Nogents run the gamut from not very good, to very bad, to horrible, to "Edge?  What edge? I don't got to show you no stinkin' edge."  If you still have the knife you might want to try creating a new edge from scratch.  Reprofile to a flat bevel, 15* on both sides, with a slight 60/40 asymmetry, make sure you deburr thoroughly, and see if that doesn't work for you. 

    BDL
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2012
  4. greenguy

    greenguy

    Messages:
    64
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Line Cook
    I was considering the other suji's you mentioned as well.  At $100 less then the Misono, the Kikuichi seems like a good deal.  Of the four you mentioned, are any considerably better/worse than another, or are they pretty much all on same level?  If the Kikuichi will still take a great edge, then that might be what I am looking for.  It's really only going to be used for a couple hours during service and probably for portioning as well.  Most of my day is spent prepping.

    For the gyuto, the handle on the Konosuke was putting me off a bit, but everything else about it fit what I wanted.  Are there any other similar knives with a western handle?  Does not have to be a laser I guess, but definitely much lighter and thinner than my messermeister.  Also, how does the HD steel compare to White #2? 

    And yeah, I typically use my breaking knife for larger fish, but was wondering if maybe a suji could also replace that, but i wasn't sure if it would be to prone to chipping.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2012
  5. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

    Messages:
    8,550
    Likes Received:
    199
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    How does HD compare to White #2? 
    • They're very close.  HD feels like carbon on the stones, very pleasant, very smooth.  Konosukes are so thin that with a good knife and edge geometries play more of a factor than the alloys' potentials for absolute sharpness, which are very close anyway.  I treat all my knives as though they were carbon, so -- for me -- maintenance is about the same except that I don't rub the HDs down with baking soda every time I sharpen.   I have nothing but praise for either alloy. 
    Is the Kikuichi Carbon Elite "as good" as the other, more expensive sujis?  
    • That's a question I can't answer.  So much depends on your own preferences, how far you let an edge go before sharpening, your sharpening skills, and your maintenance routine.  It's a very good knife, which would work well in a professional environment, but which wouldn't be near the bottom of my personal short list.  Even if I would consider a yo-suji, I'd spend the extra few bucks for a more prestigious alloy.  My advice?  Don't worry about my personal short list, worry about yours.
    BDL
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2012
  6. lennyd

    lennyd

    Messages:
    564
    Likes Received:
    17
    Exp:
    Other
    Have to admit I miss your way of wording things /img/vbsmilies/smilies/crazy.gif I really need to find time to get back here more often.

    Much as that is good advice I believe there is still something to be learned by the preference of others, and especially in respect to products you don't really know about.

    It is sort of weird but after you read enough replies from different members you can sort of figure out certain things and in some way put things into a "online" perspective.

    I remember when I first found this site and was trying to get a handle on what would be a suitable first J knife etc I found a post by a member on one of the brands being considered very helpful as it was from his view from using it everyday at work etc. Not that I intended to have the same use as I had not worked in the business for around 20 years, but adding his input to what I had already from so many others just allowed a better understanding etc.

    Since I am trying to add a suji myself I am finding the comparisons here helpful as well, and since I may not be able to spend on another Konosuke HD (my preference from my experience with the gyuto I already have) I am really curious how the carbon ones compare, and if there are any true standouts that are priced lower enough to make it a no brainer etc..
     
  7. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

    Messages:
    8,550
    Likes Received:
    199
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    There are important things going beyond edge taking and holding properties, geometry and comfort, like aesthetic appeal and "pride of ownership," which go to making a good fit between knife and owner.   I know from my own experiences of seeking advice, that someone rating a bunch of knives 1, 2, 3 makes things more confusing than doing much illumination, because -- after all -- who can you trust?  So many people who give advice want you to use whatever they chose for themselves that after awhile you realize the recommendation is more about them than the knife because they would have liked almost anything they'd bought equally well, so the recommendation becomes meaningless. 

    For a lot of people -- specifically the type of people who seek "expert" advice in knife and cooking forums -- figuring out which recommendations can and cannot be trusted is impossible.  At this stage of the game, you've figured out that when someone says "my XYZ knife stays sharp enough to shave with for a year with only an occasional trip to my Spyderco Sharpmaker," quotes Alton Brown, or -- well a lot of things -- that's someone to avoid.  But most people haven't figured that out, because they simply don't know enough about knives, knife skills, sharpening, sharpening skills or internet self-proclaimed experts. 

    I don't care whether you make the same choices I do or even follow my advice about which knife to buy.  The idea is to give you enough information so that you can figure out what's most important to you, what will work best for you in your situation, and avoid an expensive mistake so that you can better enjoy cooking.  It's just perspective. 

    BDL
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2012
  8. greenguy

    greenguy

    Messages:
    64
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Line Cook
    I had a chance to go to NYC today and got to check out some knives at Korin.  I compared mostly the Misono Swedish and Masamoto HC and found that out of those I liked the Misono gyuto, and the Masamoto suji.  I also found a store that carries Kikuichi, but unfortunately did not have the carbon suji's in stock. While I was there I looked at some knives with Japanese style handles.  The Suisin Inox gyuto handle seemed too big/awkward and I think that has turned me off of the Konosuke White #2, assuming the handles are the same.  So, I think I narrowed down the gyuto to the Konosuke HD and Misono Swedish, and the suji to the Masamoto HC and Kikuichi, and possibly the Misono, but the price is a bit high.  Thank you for your input.
     
  9. lennyd

    lennyd

    Messages:
    564
    Likes Received:
    17
    Exp:
    Other
    I couldn't agree more.

    Reading through the BS takes time, but identifying what is BS is time consuming.

    I think once anyone figures out how to ID self praise, and fanaticism and can then avoid or question those comments it does make things easier.

    Only problem is that some (certainly not many or most) products are actually so good or offer such a value that they can be popular among various users etc and that can make it tough to really know what to believe and what to question.

    But hey this is all part of the fun lol.
     
  10. greenguy

    greenguy

    Messages:
    64
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Line Cook
    Did Konosuke and Masamoto both raise their prices?  I think I saw a note from CktG about Konosuke prices being raised, but I also noticed that Korin raised their prices on the Masamoto Virgin Carbon, and the 270mm suji is now $280...way more than I would spend on that knife.
     
  11. beardedcrow

    beardedcrow

    Messages:
    67
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    Just want to add that the misono swedish sujihiki is a great knife!

    I have zero complaints.

    Cuts very well, very light, and I forced a nice dragon scale patina on the back using toothpicks and a LOT of time drawing the individual scales on there.

    Trying to accent the inside of scales with blood to force blue patina inside grey outline.
     
  12. greenguy

    greenguy

    Messages:
    64
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Line Cook
    Wow, that sounds like an awesome looking patina.  I was actually thinking that I might get the Misono Swedish gyuto, and the suji is between the Misono and Kikuichi carbon, but leaning towards the Kikuichi because it's cheaper, and will be used primarily on the line.  Has anyone used the Kikuichi TKC gyuto?  I've heard it was just a more expensive Carbonext.  Not sure if I still want a "laser" but definitely something on the thin/light side.  Thanks.
     
  13. greenguy

    greenguy

    Messages:
    64
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Line Cook
    Okay, so Korin has their 15% off sale for December, which brings the Misono suji to $200, so I will probably get that.  I've been looking around a bit more at gyuto's, and now I'm more unsure of what I want.  Right now I am considering:

    Misono Sweden $172 (sale at Korin)

    Gesshin Ginga White #2 $250

    Sakai Yusuke $210 (sale at Cktg)

    Konosuke White #2 $238

    The only knife I have held in my hand is the Misono, and my concern is ordering a knife I have never seen in person.  I like the wa-handles on the traditional japanese knives, but not really the bigger bulkier ones found on some of the gyuto's I've seen (suisin).  I think everyone but the Misono would be "lasers."  What are the pros/cons of a laser?  Like I said before, I'm not too sure if I still want a laser.  How much thinner/lighter are some of these knives compared to the Misono?  Thanks again.
     
  14. lennyd

    lennyd

    Messages:
    564
    Likes Received:
    17
    Exp:
    Other
    Well it seems I'm having a problem replying via android as thought I posted here twice, but for some reason they are not here. Guess it could be a service issue as we have had problems on and off since Hurricane Sandy whooped our butt's here. Oh well hope this one sticks.

    First I'm also a fan of the dragon design on the Misono but somehow much as it was a great idea on their part never purchased one yet, but I'm starting my list for a slicer/suji or maybe yanagiba so maybe could be one in my future.

    So I'm also very interested in replies concerning this as well.

    I am not going to be as long winded as in the previous posts that had problems but basically I find no issue with the laser at all. Sure it is much thinner behind the edge than the non laser gyuto I have but spine thickness is not as exaggerated and though it is more flexible it is not as much a difference as I expected and less of difference than comparing my. Fujiwara to my previous Henckels Pro-S.

    When used properly the blade on the Konosuke HD I have is absolutely fine bit also the edge makes it the best cutter I own, and I honestly would sacrifice even more flexibility for the effortless cutting it affords.

    My only possible concern is that thinner also seems to promote additional sticking when cutting. Especially potatoes where if your fast they can end up all over the board ;)
     
  15. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

    Messages:
    8,550
    Likes Received:
    199
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    The Misono Sweden is a very nice knife indeed.  It takes and holds a great edge; has a very comfortable handle; a nice profile; and of course there's the dragon -- which makes the knife especially nice for ceremonial occasions at home; and for a pro's carving station and buffet use.  The only knock against the knife I can think of is that it's extremely reactive compared to other high-end yo-sujis.  IMO the Masamoto HC is a slightly better knife overall, and a K-Sabatier or Nogent is its (very different) equal.

    All hail the Sweden! 

    However, it's not a laser.  The Misono is a thin knife, but -- at pain of repetition -- it's not a laser.  What's the big deal about lasers?  Thin, thin, thin; and that makes them seem sharper.  To help you understand what I mean let me explain the difference between what I call absolute sharpness and perceived sharpness.  "Absolute sharpness is a measure of how thin at the apex (very sharp edges run between 3/1000" and 1/1000") and how true the edge is.  "Perceived sharpness" is a measure of sharpness in practice; i.e. how sharp does the blade cut, how sharp does the blade feel in the cut, etc. 

    Everything else being equal, as a product of their thin bodies lasers will give you more perceived sharpness.  The trade off is that they're so thin they flex a lot -- which means you have to keep them square to the cut, square in the cut, and square to the board.  If you torque the knife it will bend and bind, and consequently won't cut straight. 

    Laser gyuto aren't a great idea for high pressure prep or use on the line, unless you have excellent skills; mostly because time pressure makes for a tight grip, which makes for torquing; which in turn causes binding and unintentional steering; which in turns makes for uneven, non-straight cuts.   But for anyone with solid skills or a home cook who has the luxury of taking the time to get things right and correct them when they first start to go wrong -- not a problem.  That's something of an evolutionary idea in that when lasers first became popular they were recommended for "experts only."  But it seems nearly everyone likes them, so...  We can't all be wrong, can we?  Okay, we can, but...

    Almost everyone LOVES the Suisun Inox Honyaki wa handle.  It is large, though.  FYI the usual solution to a too large handle is too soften your own grip and stabilize the handle more with your finger tips than by wrapping your fingers all the way around it.  But there are always exceptions and some handles just don't work for some people.  If you don't like the Suisun handle, you don't like it -- and besides there's no particularly good reason to pay Suisun Inox Honyaki prices anymore. 

    All of the lasers on your list are extremely good.  Considering that you'll be using the knife for years, I suggest forgetting about the relatively small price differences and using more important considerations -- including looks. 

    I have a Konosuke HD 300mm suji and love it.

    BDL
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2012
  16. greenguy

    greenguy

    Messages:
    64
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Line Cook
    Very helpful replies Lenny and BDL, thanks.  LIke I said before, not being able to actually see these knives in person makes the choice much harder.  BDL, you said what I was thinking about with lasers in a pro setting.  While my knife skills are pretty decent (as the should be for a pro), I don't think I want something with too much flex because of the whole time pressure thing you mentioned, as well as I prep a lot of foods that would definitely cause the knife to flex if not completely square.  It's not something I want to think about when in a rush. The Misono seems to be the best balance, and it did feel great in my hand when I tried it.

    Also, it's kinda stupid, but I like getting a variety of brands so I was looking to get different suji/gyutos, but it's for my job and I need to be practical and get the best tool for the job.  Maybe in a few months from now I will get one of those nice laser to use at home.

    I think I am going to be getting the Misono for both, as they both seem to be the best fit for my needs and I know I will be happy with them.

    So next, I may want to get a new stone.  I assume it's not a great idea to use a steel on these knives, so I would like to get a finer stone to use after every 1 or 2 shifts.  Right now I have a Sun Tiger 220 (just used it for the first time to try and thin out my messer and forschner chefs) and a combo 1000/4000 stone from Korin.  I guessing my next step would be either 6000 or 8000.  I was thinking this 8000 grit: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/na80grsust1c.html  Seems like a good stone to keep at work for quick touch ups.
     
  17. greenguy

    greenguy

    Messages:
    64
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Line Cook
    So I e-mailed Mark at CktG, and he also suggested a Moritaka suji.  It is a lot harder (64ish) than the others, so it will probably take a very steep/sharp edge and hold it for a long time, but I am concerned that it may be too delicate for a line knife and may chip to easily for it purpose.  Also, is it thicker at the spine than the others?  Any thoughts on this?  I keep flip-flopping, but assuming the Moritaka is too prone to chipping for my needs, I think I will be getting the Misono gyuto, and the Kikuichi suji, so I can have the chance to try some different steels/makers.  Also, is this http://www.chefknivestogo.com/na80grsust1c.html  a good stone for maintaining these knives on a daily basis?  Thanks again.
     
  18. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

    Messages:
    8,550
    Likes Received:
    199
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    Knives:

    Moritaka Suji:

    Moritakas have a reputation for shoddy QC, especially the grind, and indifferent F&F.   But reputations don't always keep up with reality, and -- to make things a little more confusing -- the knife universe has an emotional split between Mark and Jon and some criticisms of Mark's stock may sound louder than they otherwise would.   So, it's something you should think of as more rumor than fact, but it's something I'd ask Mark about.  Anyway, I don't like them because they're san-mai.  I wouldn't be overly concerned about Moritaka sujis chipping, at least they don't have that reputation and sujis usually don't take the abuse that causes the problem.  But again that's more fodder for your conversation with Mark. 

    While I love my Kono HD suji dearly, let me throw you a curve ball and suggest that you consider the Misono Sweden as your suji, and not as your gyuto. 

    Misono vs Kono vs Gesshin vs ???:

    You have to decide whether you're going wa or yo, and whether you're going laser or merely thin.  If you want a laser, you won't be getting one with a Misono Sweden.  In the non-laser class the Masamoto HC is a better knife than the Misono, even without the dragon. 

    I've never used a laser yo-gyuto, but have used all of the brands you've mentioned as wa-gyuto.  The Gesshin and Konosuke are a push.  The Sakai Yusuke has slightly less good F&F, but if you buy from Mark instead of Blueway you overcome the biggest problem which is dealer support.  I think saving $40 for a knife you'll use everyday for a period of years is a false economy and would go with the Gesshin or Konosuke.  But that reflects my values and may not reflect yours. 

    Stones:

    My last polishing stone was a Naniwa SS  8K, which I bought used and wore out after about two years.  There are a lot of very nice things to say about the Naniwa SS 8K and 10K, but the first thing which must be said is that they're both VERY soft and prone to gouging.  Experts only! 

    When it did wear out, I replaced it with the best, ultra fine polishing stone I've ever used:  The Gesshin 8K.  It's fast, as much about sharp as it is about shine, splash and go, doesn't need much flattening, etc.  In other words, all the usual virtues and in spades.  However, it's extremely expensive and may be out of your price range.  Further, there's some question in my mind whether it makes practical sense to spend that kind of money on a stone even if you can afford it. 

    The two best, "reasonably" priced stones are the Naniwa Pure White and Kitayama.  The Pure White will give you a better shine and perhaps a little edge [sorry, I can't help myself) in sharpness compared to the Kitayama, the Kitayama will give you a more misty look with a longer wearing edge.  They can be used one after the other -- in either order -- for an ultimate edge, but the pair costs as much as a Gesshin 8K and used in tandem aren't nearly as convenient.

    The Chosera 10K is another really good stone, but is just about as expensive as the Gesshin 8K and not as good.  Perhaps a bit faster than either the Pure White or Kitayama, but otherwise no better, and twice the price. 

    You're probably not going to get much actual sharpening by using an ultra-fine polishing stone to "touch up" on a daily basis.  What you will get is fairly effective truing -- in other words it's the equivalent of using a steel,  In fact, a properly used steel would be faster and more convenient for the Misono Sweden or Masamoto HC.  If you want to sharpen daily -- i.e. raise a burr, chase the burr, and deburr -- you're going to want to start with a coarser and faster stone.   I use a Bester 1.2K, and because the jump from the Bester to the old Naniwa 8K was way too much and the jump to the Gesshin is still -- by just a little -- too much, I use a Chosera 3K in between.  

    If I were putting a new kit together from scratch, I'd forget the Bester and Chosera in favor of a Gesshin 2K.  A good aoto would serve the same purpose as a Gesshin 2K, more cheaply but not as well.  But we're getting into specific sets which is (a) complicated; and (b) not the subject of your question.

    Hope this helps,

    BDL
     
  19. duckfat

    duckfat

    Messages:
    1,354
    Likes Received:
    24
    Exp:
    Retired Chef
    +1.  There's just no need to take that risk when there are so many other viable options.

    Dave
     
  20. lennyd

    lennyd

    Messages:
    564
    Likes Received:
    17
    Exp:
    Other
    Options. I like options lol.

    I have not seen any mention of the CN suji or the apparently much different wa handle version (sorry but just forget the name) that is a carbon core etc from JKI.

    Not sure if the later would be a laser but thought the CN was, and both are on my long list (in the affordable column lol) for a suji.

    Any thoughts on these?

    How about others in the lower price range.

    Like the OP I like to mix it up when it comes to brand or style so much as I do like the Konosuke HD i would like to try something different (plus the current pricing on the HD is a bit of a deterrent too).

    Also much as I am intrigued by carbon the talk of being overly reactive just doesnt sound like fun (sort of why I like the steel on the HD so mucb etc).

    Options? :)