Japanese knife handedness

Discussion in 'Cooking Knife Reviews' started by Lili Deng, Jan 13, 2018.

  1. Lili Deng

    Lili Deng

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    I am a home cook looking for my first good Japanese knife.

    One question I didn't see much discussion during my research is handedness. Most Japanese knives are asymmetric 70/30 blade. I am left handed, and I only found JCK provide option for left handed with 10-15% additional cost. Does it really matter? Or the difference could be neglected most of time?

    I think I should be fine with the sharpness of good entry level Japanese knives. I am more care of the comfort of handle(I have small hand) and relative good edge retention(regularly ceramic rod honing + sharpening on whetstone every a few months under daily home use condition?). I am in Canada.

    Here are currently some options I am looking at:

    1. Fujiwara FKM Guyto 210mm.
    Probably have to get it from JCK. Have to deal with duties, but will have left handed option. Concern is AUS-8 with 57-58 HRC. How is edge retention compare to the other two?

    2. ‎Tojiro DP Guyto 210mm.
    It is probably the easiest one to get. Concern is its handle. I have read some complaints about its boxy handle.

    3. ‎Takayuki Grand Chef Guyto 210mm.
    It seems like AEB-L steel get lots of praise. Does the price increase also provide more comfortable handle? I also found the engraving on Yo handle ones are less appealing than the other two(I appreciate the beauty of calligraphy as some one can read Chinese). Wa handle ones have Japanese engraving and may have 50/50 blade. But it is more expensive(165 vs 220+ CAD on Pualsfinest), only has 240mm+ version, and I am a bit concerned of the handle durability and comfortability.

    4. Other knives from JCK under $180 USD or so?
     
  2. benuser

    benuser

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    First of all, most knives are technically more or less asymmetric, with one side being more or less convexed to ease food separation, and one a bit flatter to allow thinner slices. When the Japanese makers started to produce Western knives, they took the Sabatier as an example. And made it even a bit more left-handed unfriendly by moving the edge to the left. No big deal as culture allowed them to simply ignore left-handers.
    This asymmetric geometry is quite general, even with knives advertised as 50/50 or ambidextrous. In the best case the edge is symmetric. Or the blade is very thin, as with lasers.
    Asking to adapt an edge is no durable solution. Expect serious steering issues to appear after a few sharpenings. And in between, food will stick to the flat side.
    A few makers have blades with an inverted geometry, left side convexed, right face flat, edge off-centered to the right. Misono makes them, and Masahiro as well in their Virgin Carbon series.

    https://www.knifemerchant.com/product.asp?productID=5874
     
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  3. benuser

    benuser

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  4. iceman

    iceman

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    If this is the Tojiro you are looking at, the complaints are from idiots. It's probably one of the best bang/buck knives you could pick. These are some of the stock "house" knives in a coupla restaurants I've worked in where there are NO worries about abuse or theft. It's a very nice knife.

    tojiro-dp-gyuto-210mm-70.jpg
     
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  5. benuser

    benuser

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    Nothing wrong with the Tojiro, but VG-10 isn't that easy to maintain. Quite likely to develop a wire edge, a special case of a burr. For correct deburring VG-10 one has to go through a full stone progression and abrade the burr at every stage.
     
  6. iceman

    iceman

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    OK ... None of the knives I ever used in any restaurant from the "house stock" were ever sharpened on anything other than a Chef's Choice electric sharpener. They do get freshened-up on a rod. NEVER has anyone I've worked with had any "wire edge" or burr problems. Now I'm not sayin' ... I'm just sayin' ... but I think you're talking a little knife-geek overkill here just a bit. (NO offense intended)
     
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  7. benuser

    benuser

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    Two possibilities: those knives weren't really sharp, the bevels didn't meet. See it as a rounded edge. If the blade is thin enough it may still be quite usable.
    Or the blade required constant freshing up with the rod: where a wire edge is replaced by a new one. Wire edges are crazy sharp, they just don't hold.
     
  8. Lili Deng

    Lili Deng

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    Thanks for the info! Can you elaborate a bit more about the quote above?

    "Adapt an edge is no durable solution" means the left handed option provided by JCK won't work well? What exactly does the "serious steering issues" mean?
     
  9. benuser

    benuser

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    If you put a neutral or lefty edge on a right-biased blade, you should expect clockwise steering. Friction on the left bevel is lower than on the right one. With brand new knives or lasers this isn't very pronounced, but when the blade becomes a bit thicker behind the edge, it will worsen. Common problem with jig systems who tend to produce symmetric edges. Nice edges, poor cutters.
     
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  10. aliphares

    aliphares

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    I've never used a left handed knife but according to everyone I know (and BDL, for what it's worth) a 70/30 shouldn't affect it much, you won't feel a difference or have steering issues, but again, this is what I've read/heard, so take it with a grain of salt. The tojiro and the Fuji are both excellent choices. The fujiwara has a slimmer handle and I like it's steel more, even though a tojiro can get slightly sharper. But you'd have to be very adept with sharpening to notice the differences, and like Benuser said, it's not as easy to maintain. I like the grand chef a bit more than either of those. The steel is all around nicer, but you can't go wrong with any of them.
    As for the handles, they're 2 completely different things. It's a matter of preference. I like the lighter was handles, they make the knife feel more nimble and they do feel very comfortable. They're not as flimsy as you'd think, worst case, giving the handle a mineral oil rub will keep it nice and sealed if your worried it's too porous.
     
  11. aliphares

    aliphares

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    I also want to ask you, is there a reason why you want a 210 not a 240? Keep in mind Japanese knives are much lighter, so a 240 would probably still be lighter than a 210 German knife. Especially if it has a wa handle. My first knife was am 8 inch and the main reason I stepped up wasn't because I got better, but because the second I really got used to it I realized it's too small. Unless you really really can't use a 240, whether due a cramped work space or knowing that you absolutely can't use it, I'd think really hard about the size of the blade.
     
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  12. benuser

    benuser

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    Last edited: Jan 14, 2018
  13. benuser

    benuser

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    If you're left-handed, expect food to stick with the flat left face of a right-biased blade. Most European blades still have some convexity at the end of the left face, typical Japanese have not.
     
  14. iceman

    iceman

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    LOL.

    "knife-geek overkill"
     
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  15. benuser

    benuser

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    You seem rather satisfied with your own brainchild, Iceman.
     
  16. iceman

    iceman

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    You talk to everyone like they should have your same interest. You expect them to maintain their knives the same way as you. It's just not in your style to allow people to just be ordinary and get along. You also can't accept anyone having any different opinion than yours. You over-talk everything you say. You have NO concept of simplicity. I'll stop here.

    LOL @ YOU.
     
  17. iceman

    iceman

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    Tojiro DP Guyto 210mm

    [​IMG]5 Excellent knife, August 9, 2017 - verified customer
    The look is wonderful for this knife. It is well balanced, beautiful shape and holding it feels natural. I love this knife. Very sharp, great, smooth design. Handle is well made and smooth.
    [​IMG]5 Great Value, July 28, 2017 - verified customer
    This is the first time I thought it was worth leaving a review for a product. The knife was exactly what it was advertised to be; a sharp knife that holds it's edge for a great price. I strongly recommend this knife for any home cooks who want something relatively light yet still cuts vegetables like butter.
    [​IMG]5 For the money, solid, March 15, 2017 - verified customer
    Looks great, streamlined and sharp.
    [​IMG]5 Excellent for the price, October 28, 2016 - verified customer
    Great line knife. Good balance, sharp, and inexpensive. great all around knife. it can handle most daily tasks without problems
    [​IMG]5 Go-to gift for people who need a real knife, October 17, 2016 - verified customer
    One of the best dollar for dollar knives out there. Out of the box sharp, hold and edge well, sharpens well, light enough for smaller hands and chefs. I get this knife for people learning proper knife skills for the first time, but who really enjoy cooking and do it often. Sometimes I get the paring knife/chef knife combo as well.
    [​IMG]5 Product Review, July 6, 2014 - verified customer
    By far one of the best beginner knives for home use or pro kitchen.

    *** Disclaimer --- I DO NOT WORK FOR TOJIRO OR ANY KNIFE-SELLING COMPANY.


     
  18. Lili Deng

    Lili Deng

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    Thanks for the link, it is very informative. So I guess what you descried is similar as post #25 in the linked thread? I didn't realize that the whole blade is actually right-biased, not just the edge.

    So is this right-biased blade also actually applied on Japanese knives that claims having 50/50 edge? That sounds quite a bad news for me...
     
  19. Lili Deng

    Lili Deng

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    Thanks for pointing this out. Yes, my experience is based on German knife, and I will give 240 wa handle more serious consideration.