Help me choose a sub $200 Wa-Gyuto 240mm

Discussion in 'Cooking Knife Reviews' started by vic cardenas, Jan 10, 2013.

  1. vic cardenas

    vic cardenas

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    I'm looking into buying a 240mm Gyuto.

    Help me decide or offer suggestions of other knives not on my list.

    I don't want to spend more that $200. I'd prefer a Wa handle. But, I'd take a Yo handle if I can get a much higher performer at that price and weight. 

    I have a Wustof 8" Gourmet that this is replacing. I like this knife because it is pretty light. 5.8 oz. Has a thin blade. Gets really sharp. I want to replace it because the edge retention sucks. I want a slightly longer knife that weighs about the same and has less belly. i.e. has more cutting area. I want a knife I won't have to sharpen so much and maybe can get wayyy sharper. Looks better, more exclusive, better steel. etc... 

    Weight and the steel used are my main priorities, besides it being a 240mm and likely Wa handled. I've recently decided I don't really want anything that weighs much over 6 oz. See below. I tend to like thinner blades and lighter handles. 

    Recently, I've bought a Sakai Takayuki Hammered Damascus Nakiri 160mm that I really like. This thing weighs about 6.4 oz. I really like this knife. It's VG-10. Holds an edge well and seems easy to sharpen. I don't really mind that's it's a little heavy and it's a really nice looking knife. It's a little thick but not too bad.  

    I bought a Fujiwara FKM 270mm Sujihiki. I love this knife. My first Japanese knife. It's really light for how long it is. 6 oz. It has a great feel in my hand. Holds an edge well but not as well as the VG-10 Sakai Takayuki. It's really easy to sharpen. 

    I also bought a Fujiwara FKM 240mm Gyuto as a christmas gift for a family member. I bought this because of how much I liked the suji and I wanted to feel it to see if I liked it, knowing full well that I'd be replacing my Wustie soon. LOL.  I decided that I didn't like the feel of this particular knife so well. It felt a little too heavy to me at  7.6 oz. It felt like there was a bit too much weight in the handle, which I don't feel in the suji. The blade on the gyuto didn't feel heavy or cumbersome though. Just the handle.

    Yes, I can sharpen/maintain a knife.

    The main knives I'm considering are... 
    • Richmond Addict 2 with the rosewood handle. This is right at my weight threshold at 172 grams (6.06 oz). It's taller so I can accept the extra weight as I think I will feel it mostly in the heel. It's $170 but out of stock. (I'm not in a super big hurry to buy the knife but would like to by the end of the month. ) CPM154 steel. No experience with this steel but hear it's great. 
    • Sakai Takayuki Hammered Damascus Wa-Gyuto http://www.chefknivestogo.com/satadagy240.html Same weight, 6 oz. AEB-L steel. Again, no experience with this steel but hear it's a great steel, maybe not as good as the CPM154. Also $170. 
    • Gessin Uraku http://www.japaneseknifeimports.com...o/gesshin-uraku-240mm-stainless-wa-gyuto.html A bit cheaper at $155. A little lighter too at 167g (5.89 oz). It doesn't list the steel used. I'm sure Jon will chime in here, or I can ask him.  
    These are the main knives I'm considering. I think handle material is a priority of mine too. The Richmond has a nice handle. The Sakai, doesn't seem to have the nicest handle but not sure. The Uraku is kind of a 'grab bag' of handles as it states. 

    Like I said, I may end up with a western handle, I think I'd consider the Maruyoshi/Hattori HD even though it's a little out of my price range. I don't think I like how Mac's look. Sorry. Maybe a Kikuichi Performance TKC/ Carbonext or whatever else they're called. Masamoto VG? 

    Any others I should consider?  

    Can we talk about these few western handled knives?

    Let's compare the 3 Wa handled knives I've listed and maybe you can suggest others that compare?
     
  2. rdm magic

    rdm magic

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    Wanting a knife thats sub 6oz, 240mm, you're probably going to have to get a wa handled knife.
     
  3. vic cardenas

    vic cardenas

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    I'm fine with that. 
     
  4. jbroida

    jbroida

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    re: gesshin uraku, its not so much a grab bag of handles, but the color of the buffalo horn can vary.
     
  5. vic cardenas

    vic cardenas

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    Jon: Which ones do you have in stock right now? What kind of steel is used on that?
     
  6. jbroida

    jbroida

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    see PM's shortly
     
  7. vic cardenas

    vic cardenas

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    Ok, Richmond Addict 2 vs. Sakai Takayuki Grand Cheff?

    I'm assuming the grand cheff is more in line with what I want.

    I'm assuming the weight is less than 6 oz but have yet to hear back from Mark on any weight (or when Addict 2 will be in stock). 

    Does anybody have any experience with the Uraku?

    I'm scratching the Takayuki hammered damascus off my list and replacing it with the Grand Cheff. I decided I really do just want as thin as possible on my budget. A "faux-laser" if you will.  

    So, revised short list is....

    Richmond Addict 2

    Sakai Takayuki Grand Cheff

    Gesshin Uraku
     
  8. charcuterie

    charcuterie

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    We are in the exact same boat my friend. I like both of these as well for the price. Do you  know who produces the Richmond. I know it is the owner of CKtG but who does the knives for him I know he is just doing the designs.
     
  9. toddnmd

    toddnmd

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    The Richmond Artifex line says, "Made in the USA with our partner Lamson & Goodnow."  I'm guessing Mark works with them for all the Richmonds.
     
  10. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    Lamson makes most of them, but not all. 

    BDL
     
  11. vic cardenas

    vic cardenas

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    I ordered the grand cheff today. 
     
  12. charcuterie

    charcuterie

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    How are the Richmonds? Do you have any? Or just know from here?
     
  13. charcuterie

    charcuterie

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    Please let me know how it is on here. THANKS
     
  14. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    Sure. 

    In the way of "full disclosure," let me start by saying that Mark Richmond and I have a better relationship than "business acquaintances," not exactly close, personal friends, something more along the line of "phone buddies."  I'm also close with two or three people in the knife biz who don't like Mark, CKtG, or Richmond Knives.  I don't think these relationships cloud my judgment, but you might as well know.  

    I've used and sharpened two 240mm AEB-L Artifex gyutos, and briefly used a 240mm CPM 154 Addict 2.  I mistakenly believed that the Ultimatum was similar to the Addict, but with the Sabatier/KS profile I really like and agonized about whether I would buy an Ultimatum or a KS.  A couple of months ago, after I'd displayed my ignorance publicly and on more than one occasion, someone hit me in the head and let me know they were very different knives.  I bought a carbon Ultimatum a couple of months ago and have been using it exclusively as my chef's knife ever since.   

    Each of the knives I used were made for Richmond by Lamson.  However, some Richmonds are manufactured by Konosuke, and -- as far as I know -- Mark may tap other makers as well.   

    The designs are well considered, they each fit their niche well, each is good to excellent bang for the buck within those niches.  All three have good F&F, except that the blades are NOT polished at the factory and show a lot of grind marks.  Consequently, despite the otherwise excellent F&F all four knives appeared somewhat crude; although you may prefer the term "handmade."   Personally, I like a well finished tool which is neither too tarted up, faux Damascus, e.g., or too "rustic," like kurouchi.  Since cosmetics are the least important aspect of a tool as far as I'm concerned, I'm not so unhappy about the appearance that I think it's in any way disqualifying.  However aesthetic priorities vary.   

    The Artifex is a good, light, general purpose knife -- typical of modern Japanese production except they're made here in the U.S.  The Artifex is as utilitarian as a Victorinox, but is better in every performance characteristic, equal in comfort and considerably more expensive.  The Artifex competes in price with the Fujiwara FKM and Tojiro DP.  Just in terms of pure practicality, I think the Artifex is the better knife. 

    The Addict 2 is a good, light, thin (without being a laser), general purpose wa-gyuto.  It is comfortable and agile.  The blade takes an edge very easily and holds it very well -- exactly as you'd expect from appropriately heat treated CPM 154.  There aren't a lot of good wa-gyuto for ~$150.  I suppose the closest competition would be the Gesshin Uraku and Takayuki Grand Cheff.  The Addict doesn't sharpen quite as easily as the Takayuki, but sharpens as well and holds the edge much longer; handling is pretty close to equal.  I've never seen -- much less handled or sharpened -- a Uraku, but trust all things Gesshin.  

    The Ultimatum is not light, but not "mighty" either.  At 7oz, it's a medium weight knife, stout and agile enough for almost any task.  52100 is an excellent carbon, as good as any other carbon alloy on the market.  The carbon Ultimatum is less reactive than most carbon knives.  Edge taking and holding properties are excellent. 

    Once you get past the handle and machi, the blade dimensions are almost identical to a Sabatier chef's, however the Ultimatum is heavily convexed on its right face.  While it doesn't bother me, because my noiseless, "gliding" action tends to clean the knife face, it may pose a problem for other left-handed users -- especially "push cutters."  It certainly renders the knife less "non-stick" for we southpaws.  For righties, the convexing is purely positive. 

    There's been some talk about the profile with some people saying that it's got more belly than a KS. The Ultimatum's is identical to Sabatiers' and similar to Masamoto's along the length of the blade until the tip, where Masamoto is slightly dropped.  All in all, because of its weight and stiffness, in terms of its utility, the Ultimatum is more like a modern Sabatier than a Masamoto, in the sense that they're both the Sab and Ultimatum can happily go from micro-brunoise to splitting chicken... "one knife that rules them all."  But, the carbon Ultimatum is a better, practical knife than a modern, carbon Sabatier.

    On the other hand, if you're looking for a primary knife you have to decide if that's what you want.  At this stage of the game, I wouldn't trade my Konosuke for an Ultimatum, but it's nice to have both. 
     
  15. charcuterie

    charcuterie

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    So essentially what you are saying is the Ultimatum is better than the Addict 2?

    This one is currently on sale for 190 : http://www.chefknivestogo.com/riulst25gy.html

    that would be a better choice than the Addict 2 or the Grand Cheff?
     
  16. charcuterie

    charcuterie

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    Also I have read the Grand Chef uses Swedish steel. What is the hardness rating on the Ultimatum?
     
  17. charcuterie

    charcuterie

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    The grand chef is 58
     
  18. charcuterie

    charcuterie

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    Nevermind just did a trusty ole google search. 61
     
  19. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    The Grand Chefs are made from AEB-L hardened to 58.  Presumably Sakai Takayuki (or whoever makes the series for them) chose a low hardness so the knives would be very chip resistant.  I think it's a little too soft for the alloy -- except maybe for a petty. 

    Ultimatums come in three different alloys:  52100 (carbon), 19C27 (stainless), and Bohler 390 (powdered metallurgical stainless).  The 52100 and 19C27 are hardened to 61, 390 to 62. 

    As a sort of generic on these alloys, 52100 is a very high performing carbon; compared to White #2, it may give up a little ultimate edge taking properties but -- at the same hardness -- it is significantly tougher and less chip prone.  It sharpens very quickly and feels great on the stones.  19C27 is an extremely good stainless.  It's one of those modern stainless alloys which is as good in every respect as all but the very best carbons; but it's STAINLESS.  Excellent toughness (read chip resistance) for such a high performer.  It feels like stainless on the stones.  I hear nothing but good things about Bohler 390, but have never used or sharpened a 390 knife.  In the past I haven't been a big fan of powdered metallurgical steels but would love to have my opinion changed. 

    I have a 52100 and its an exceptional performer.  It occupies the same practical, not quite heavy duty, but all around niche as a Sabatier chef.  That is, it fears no squash and will split the occasional chicken, but is no lobster cracker.  It's roughly the same thickness, the same profile, stiffer, a great deal more convexed on the right side, marginally better at edge taking, much better at edge holding, and all in all is a better blade than a modern carbon Sabatier. 

    On the other hand, the Grand Chef is a laser (or nearly).  The GC is a nice knife but, mostly because it's too soft, it needs more maintenance than other lasers, like the Gesshin, Konosuke, or Yusuke.  That's something of a big deal because one of the things which makes lasers so great is that even when the edges are slightly worn the knives still act sharp.  Unfortunately, that's not true when they blunt from impact.

    The Grand Chef and Ultimatum are very different knives.  If you've narrowed your choice to the two, I suggest choosing the generic type first.  Do you want something heavy enough to do it all; or do you want something extremely thin and light, something which will make 90% of prepping effortless?  You may even want something that's thin, but not quite as thin as a Grand Chef. 

    If I had to choose (and I don't), I'd go very thin.  And, if I were buying a laser, I'd spend a little more for something better than the Grand Chef. 

    Always take Rockwell Hardness numbers with a HUGE grain of salt. 

    BDL
     
  20. charcuterie

    charcuterie

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    What would you put the Ultimatum up against if not the Grand Chef. How is the Ultimatum weight and blade size is it light does it feel light etc?