Need advice on buying Japanese slicers

Joined Jun 13, 2009
So I'm currently in the market for slicers.  I plan on using for it slicing fillets, garnishes, and any other work that I cannot do on a mandolin. My co-workers and chef have given me some info but I'm looking for more advice from other people who have a lot of experience with Japanese knives. Like the different type of blade materials, handling and how well they maintain an edge. I know the basics but stuff like  virgin steel, stain resistant steel, and Molybdenum has me wondering whats the difference and how much they reflect durability of the blade, edge, and overall sharpness.

My budget is around 160 USD.

Knives I'm looking at right now:

CN5424 Masamoto High carbon steel Sujihiki 240mm

Misono Swedish Carbon Steel Sujihiki

Tojiro-DP Sujihiki

Korin Stain-Resistant Yanagi

Both of the knives below, I can potentially get a 40% discount on.

Miyabi Fusion Slicer

Shun Pro Sho Yanagiba Slicer,+8&#188-&

Any advice would be appreciated!

Joined Dec 23, 2004
Those are some excellent choices.  First off I'd probably suggest you avoid the yanagi unless you're somewhat experienced with sharpening on waterstones.   Single beveled knives require a different technique for cutting and sharpening.  That said, they are very useful, especially for slicing raw proteins.  Of the knives you list I'd be most inclined to go with the Tojiro if you want stainless or the Misono for carbon.  The Tojiro will take a pretty good edge; probably not quite as good as the Misono in absolute terms, but very nice.  The Tojiro will stay sharp longer if you're cutting a lot of acidic stuff, otherwise the Misono might have a slight edge.

I'll assume that you checked the health regs in your municipality and confirmed that carbon knives are permitted in your kitchen.  If so, the choice between stainless and carbon is a personal one.  I use both at work.  To be honest I find that the best edge retention of any of my knives is my Akifusa 240mm gyuto (by Ikeda).

One thing I'd also suggest is that you consider a 270mm.  IMOHO if you're going 240mm you may all well get a gyuto.  240 is kinda short for a slicer, and certainly isn't ideal for stuff like prime rib.  Of course, if you don't plan on using it for that just get what you're most comfortable with.  But most people find once they use them that the lightness and agility of a Japanese knife lets you use a much longer length that you thought would be ideal.  Honestly, a 300mm Suji is still easy to use.
Joined Oct 9, 2008
Masamoto makes some of the finest knives in the world, bar none. If this is a style you like, I'd say jump on it.

Phaedrus, there's this rumor around -- I bought into it too -- that some jurisdictions ban carbon steel in pro kitchens. This appears to be merely rumor. BDL poked into it, lawyer that he is, and had an explanation -- it's around here somewhere -- for why this is an extremely unlikely ban. The reason to avoid carbon steel is that pro kitchens are often very tough environments for carbon, as you know. But it's not likely that there is any absolute bar.
Joined Dec 23, 2004
Yeah, I wouldn't be surprised at that, Chris.  I've been told by cooks on the boards that their local laws forbid it but I've never attempted to verify it for myself.  In more than 20 years in the kitchen I've never had a health inspector so much as glance at any of my knives, even the more exotic ones.  Just throwing it out there. 

I definitely wouldn't recommend a carbon knife for doing heavy fruit prep, like prepping Sunday brunch for a hotel.  I think it's a good idea to use stainless for many things.  But for cutting meat, raw or cooked, I say go carbon if you prefer it.  I honestly don't have a preferrance either way.  In my experience Aogami is great but there are several stainlesses that I find to the just as good in practical terms.  IMOHO much (but not all) of the knock on stainless knives in general stems from outdated info and urban legend.
Joined Feb 13, 2008
There's very little reason not to have a carbon slicer.  They don't see anywhere near the amount of corrosive cutting that a gyuto or petty do, and because they're not the go to knife during the crush, there's usually time to rinse or at least wipe down.

Given your price range, I assume you're talking about the Masamoto CT as opposed to the Masamoto HC. 

I like the CT, and Kikuichi Elite about equally, but like the Misono Sweden just a little better.  The Sweden and Elite seem to be made with one 1095 variant or another and have very similar edge characteristics.  The Masamoto is probably Takefu V2, which isn't all that different.

The Sweden has the best geometry, the best handle, and (of course) the dragon.  The only downside with the Sweden is that it's a bit more reactive.   

The CT is a Masamoto.  Don't get me wrong, it's a good knife but it suffers in comparison with the Masamoto HC which is most likely the ultra pure V2C -- just as good as one of Hitachi's white or blue steels.  If you're interested in any western handled Masamoto it's a very good idea to let the e-tailer know that you expect a handle which fits very well, as Masamoto seems to have gone through a period of weak QC in this area, especially in knives designated for export.  

The Kikuichi Elite is very similar to the CT in that there's really nothing you can point to as being wrong in any way; but F&F can be variable.  Some Kikuichis are great, some not so much. 

You might also consider some of the better carbon Sabatiers.  There are a few really outstanding French slicers.  Compared to the Japanese knives they require more steeling, but will stay off the stones longer.  They get just as sharp.  I really like the looks of the Nogent (have a couple, but not a slicer), and have owned used both a K-Sab and a "Canadian" more or less forever.  Great knives.

10" is an absolute minimum.  That means 10" with a French knife and 270mm with a Japanese.  24cm is convenient for trimming, but too often it means that you'll end up sawing, rather than cutting with a single draw.  30cm is even better if you have another, shorter knife for trimming and portioning smaller pieces of food.  Why 10" is okay and 9-1/2" is too short is just one of those things.  But trust me, it is one of those things.

I'm not sure what other knives you have in your roll, and how you sharpen them.  You're going to need a good set of waterstones to sharpen the Japanese knives.  You can get away with a really good oilstone set for the French knives (surgical black polish at a minimum), but a really good waterstone set will do a better job.

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