Need Advice in picking knife

Joined Mar 21, 2011
Am looking to upgrade from a random set of henkels and etc that happened to be lying around the house to some sort of japanese style gyuto. I used to be an avid knife collector, and trained in japanese style honing by my grandpa who was a master woodscraftsman. (in japan) So i think in terms of care and sharpening, im pretty ok. I can make almost anything razor sharp.

The only issue is that as im looking around for gyutos, im seeing that the sizes come in 210, 240, and 270mm. Im just cooking at home so i dont really need anything that big.. I do see an occasional 180mm or 170mm, which is more what im looking for, but that limits my selection quite a bit.

Is there a particular reason gyuto or chef knives are that big? Should i just go with a 210 and just adjust to it? Personally, i have never seen anything a 170mm santoku couldnt handle, so the 210 or above size is hard for me to justify.

Next question is about metals. Forgers and craftsmen make knives out of a limited selection of metals. Say if brand a uses metal x, and brand b also uses metal x. If they both made gyutos of the same length, would the only difference be in shape variation and weight distribution? Im seein lots of knives being made with the same material, so its hard to see what the difference is. (apart from the affect of blade design).

All inputs appreciated!
Joined Jan 16, 2011
Different heat treatment will make the same steel act differently.  Each manufacturer will have its own heat treatment regime.  Therefore, each manufacturer's knives will behave differently even with the same exact steel.  This will even go so far as to affect the corrosion resistance of blades made with the same steel.

That being said it still pays to target the steels -- just with the caveat that it would be best to ask around on forums like this for specific manufacturers before you drop the money on a set.  The best steels from what I've been reading are Aogami Super, Hitachi ZDP-189. and AEB-L.  

The Carbonext steel, a new house line from (just search for the word "carbonext" -- it's faster) has been getting very good reviews from people as well.  No one I have read on several forums has positively identified the steel i.e. matched it to a known steel, but from what people have been writing about it, it's a good product.

Can't help you with the sizes, but if money is no object, you could always go for custom.  You could also buy a western deba which comes in shorter lengths.  But then it would be much like using a stubby Henckels without a bolster rather than a Japanese gyuto so I don't know if that is what you would want.

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