Help With Choosing between Yanagi or Suji & Which One Too

Discussion in 'Cooking Knife Reviews' started by lennyd, Dec 16, 2012.

  1. lennyd

    lennyd

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    Well it seems I am finally ready to try and get to my short list for my next purchase, and I am wanting to replace the Santoku that I ended up rarely using with a dedicated slicer.

    I have been fighting the idea of a more traditional style Yanagi V/S what looks to be the more suitable Suji. I like both for different reasons, and the more I investigate it the more I am feeling either would be a good choice.

    There is also the issues of handle where I am leaning strongly towards traditional or wa and prefer a improved and darker color handle and a decent bolster (water buffalo or?) , but more importantly the steel is proving difficult to decide on.

    I am not opposed to clad or san mai etc, and would not mind something with a little more "bling" than the Konosuke HD, but if it performs nearly as well as the HD I am sure I would be happy if it's more basic too.

    Another point is that I would like to expand my experience into another style, steel type, and even design as I am finding this to be sort of like a journey where you never stop learning and growing etc. So much as I still find I like the Konosuke more every time I use it I am wanting to expand beyond this brand (and the currently much higher prices than I paid last year are not making this a difficult decision lol) .

    Yes price is an issue, and I need to be reasonable as things are just starting to improve around here (personally etc) and I am sure I will be finding all kinds of things I could have spent this money on down the road when the effects from the all salt water that Sandy delivered to my entire area as things start to rust and fail etc so less expensive is better ;)

    So basic requirements are:

    Wa Handle

    240-270mm

    $75-250 ish

    High end SS (vg10 etc)- Semi SS - Blue/white 1 or 2 - Sandvic? - Aogami Super - Any good quality  steel etc.

    Performance with looks

    Value

    Single or dbl bevel is fine, and I have some practice from single tools in the past so no fear for a true Yanagi if that is the direction

    I do prefer something different than the steels I have now which are primarily VG10, Semi SS, and Moly etc. Since I currently have no carbon in the kitchen etc I am really leaning in that direction, but much as I know I can handle the extra care I am thinking I may prefer some sort of SS cladding and am pretty much opposed to a overly reactive steel that stinks everything up.

    Now I have been doing to searching around the net and am finding all those that initially catch my eye are at least $1000 if not $2000 over budget LMAO, but I am also finding some really interesting ones as well.

    There seem to be a couple over at JKI in both VG10 and various carbon in both styles, but I am not finding a whole lot of info on any of the less expensive ones (too bad they don't offer the CN with a WA because at that price I would have likely pulled the trigger already)

    I have even found a small seller online that is offering yanagi's in blue#2 at seriously attractive pricing, but so far he has not answered my inquiry if they offer handle and bolster options and it would be too expensive if I had to have it redone etc.

    So any thoughts, ideas, or even questions just post it up.

    I really need help on this.

    And I thought this would get easier as I became more experienced with the products :D
     
  2. lennyd

    lennyd

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    Any thoughts on the advantages of either type?

    Also how much should a reasonable re handle run?

    And has anyone had experience with the Yoshiro sold on eBay?
     
  3. duckfat

    duckfat

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    The only way I'd opt for the Yanagi is if you are cutting a lot of fish. The suj will do that just fine and has a lot more flexibility, at least for me. I wouldn't want less than 270mm in either one unless it was for some very specific task.

    Re-handles run the gamut depending on who does the work and what you use for a handle but assuming you send the knife out about $200 including freight should put you right in the ball park

    IIR there was problems with the Yosihiro on eBay but that was in the past. That probably has a lot more to do with who you buy from and if their selling seconds.

    Dave
     
  4. scubadoo97

    scubadoo97

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    I did a very asymmetric grind on my Suji. Seems to make slice fish very well and handles other slicing jobs with ease
     
  5. lennyd

    lennyd

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    Duck I totally agree on 270mm min for a slicer, and there have been times when I wonder if it would have been worth it for my gyuto also.

    But definitely for a slicer.

    The re handle isn't something I'm excited about but I did find a great priced yanagi online but with a cheapo handle and bolster.

    I got to figure how to at least create a short list lol
     
  6. benuser

    benuser

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    I'm afraid looking for a bargain single will lead to disappointments while 'opening' it.
     
  7. jbroida

    jbroida

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    fwiw, i dont have any in VG10... i've got some in ginsanko and 19c27, but no vg10
     
  8. lennyd

    lennyd

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    Jon, Yanagi, or Suji?

    I am leaning more towards a suji, but have to be honest there is just something intriguing or alluring about the yanagi.

    Also your videos and especially the one where you compare a white steel to a blue steel yanagi isn't helping :D
     
  9. lennyd

    lennyd

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    That is something I seriously agree with.

    The real point should be value at an avail price point.

    The ones I was seeing online which are from a seller in Japan on eBay etc are claiming to be direct from maker and avoiding the markup and markings from wholesaler who seems to be the brand names we associate with.

    Only negative  beyond unknowns etc is the fact they also use inexpensive plastic furrell and handle.

    If I had extra cash now I would prob pull the trigger on it just to check it out etc, but really need it to put to getting the right one now.
     
  10. lennyd

    lennyd

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    Due to various reasons I do not get to work with as much seafood/fish as I would like (one of my personal favorites for many reasons) but I am sure for most of what I do a Suji would be fine, and unless I by some unexpected change end up doing lots of sushi etc the yanagi I do not think will be as use specific as a suji, but I have to get past why I keep thinking about one lol
     
  11. jbroida

    jbroida

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    no vg-10 in the store at all... dont really like it.  Anyways, with regard to anything that i sell, shoot me a PM, so we dont have to clutter up the thread with stuff like that.
     
  12. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    Jon,

    Specific knives aside, could you talk about the generic differences between yanagiba and suji and when, why and for whom one is better than the other?

    Rich (BDL) 
     
  13. rick alan

    rick alan

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    I'd be very interested in hearing what Jon has to say about comparing yanagi to suji.

    As to blue vs white steel, if Murry Carter's word means anything, then unless you're paying for a top notch blade in white, go for the Blue instead.  The way Carter describes it, blue is much less finiky to forge and heat treat, there are few smiths who can do an adequate job in white, so a mediocre effort in blue steel will be much better all around than a mediocre job done in white.
     
  14. jbroida

    jbroida

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    i started writing a response to this earlier today and got swamped here at work... i'll try and make a blog post about it as soon as i have time... maybe tomorrow.  Sorry it takes a bit longer for me to get things done.
     
  15. lennyd

    lennyd

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    Will do.

    Have to admit I am also looking forward to your thoughts on the differences between and advantages of the Suji and yanagi.

    Far as VG10 is concerned for me right now it is just one of three different steels that are in my set (also the semi SS Konosuke, and moly Fujiwara) and guess this is also another part of why the various blue and white steel yanagi are appealing since I do not have anything carbon at all in the kitchen. Still like I mention earlier I am not excited about steels that create a strong odor that passes onto what is cut like I have read numerous time on the Fujiwara FKH etc. but I know there must be better alternatives that too.

    Thanks in advance as I can only assume your super busy this time of year.
     
  16. lennyd

    lennyd

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    Rick you bring up another thing that I find a bit confusing, and that is the advantages and disadvantages of the white vs blue steel. When reading spec's or review of the steel both sound to be great for most things I find important in a knife (hardening, edge retention, ease of sharpening and so on) and I have seen good info on both on the net, but except for Jon's vid where he compares the performance of two yanagi in both steels (which really makes it a hard choice because both looked to perform excellent) I couldn't really find much beyond the idea that there are possibly better opportunities to get the blue#2 in a great knife at a decent cost.

    You also make what could be an interesting point on the blue too, but also something that requires more input as well

    The seller on eBay did not relist so I am working on memory, but the basic idea in the listing was that this was both white and blue by the same master craftsmen that are actually making the brand names we know etc but without the wholesaler who owns those names marking them up.

    Could have been the best opportunity ever on such items, or the biggest bunch of fluff. I just do not have the knowledge or experience with the steel or product to have a chance at figuring that out from the add or pics etc.

    Good thing is that I am not in a rush, but also will be starting a new position after first of the year that will most likely cause me not to have as much time to enjoy or use anything I decide on as much as I have previously.
     
  17. franzb69

    franzb69

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    explains why there are many japanese bladesmiths use more blue steel than white. at least from the stuff i see on many j-knife sites and ebay.
     
  18. duckfat

    duckfat

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    IMO there's a lot of truth to that. You can see that in the Traditional J-knife line from Masamoto. However by the time to get to the blue steel KA series you've stepped well out of the realm of many, if not most buyers. This is one of the reasons I'm such a big fan of the Masamoto KS series. It's not obscene in price if you wait for a sale and gives good construction and value. If you don't mind a bit more work there's the KA series but those are not hand finished and can be a bit of a project.
    Waiting and watching is a wise move IMO. I couldn't count the times I've seen others get hoodwinked on a fleabay purchase. There's an awful lot of seconds and Chinese knock off's being sold there and by the time you get one ready to roll you may not have saved very much, if any thing. OTOH it blows my mind how much I see some brands selling for now that used to be mainstays on eBay. Like many things in life it gets down to risk Vs reward and finding your comfort zone.

    Dave
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2012
  19. lennyd

    lennyd

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    "fleaBay" Just have to love that!

    I honestly am continually surprised by what is sold there (does anyone remember the guy selling his cats poo lol) and what prices they sell at. My real problem with them is that after all is said and done it is still a free for all, and they give larger sellers real advantages over smaller garage sale sellers (what made them grow and what they are in the first place), and are far from a bargain as unless your a seriously high volume seller you could get full service brokerage service on most larger items for same or less cost/percentage of selling price.

    Oh and most of the above comments take into account their steering or forcing members to use their PayPal money scheme ;)

    Anyhow there still good sellers and buyers etc, but the items are just a little more expensive at honest sellers due to having to cover the costs, and this cuts into value for sure.
     
  20. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    I'm not a user of traditional Japanese knives, so take this as "received wisdom." 

    If you're looking for a bargain, high-end knife, you're probably looking for something very much like a Masamoto KK.  KK is Masamoto's "bang for the buck" series.  KKs are almost identical to KS, but sometimes -- and I stress "sometimes" -- not quite as well as finished. 

    They're made with similar construction; the KK is kasumi and the KS is hon-kasumi.  You can probably get some argument from people who use a lot of high-end Japanese knives, but I don't think there's much of a practical benefit to the user for hon-kasumi as opposed to plain kasumi.  The KK and KS are made with the same types of iron and steel, same weights, heights, widths, same everything pretty much. 

    However, a 270mm KK yanagiba goes for $260 (at JCK and CktG), while a 270 KS  is ($350 at JCK).  Is the hon worth an extra $100?  Maybe for some people, but probably not for you. 

    If I were buying, I'd buy a KK for myself but a KS as a gift. 

    BDL