Opinions on Yoshihiro Aogami #2 Gyuto

Discussion in 'Cooking Knife Reviews' started by squaredcircle, Feb 5, 2017.

  1. squaredcircle

    squaredcircle

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    Hey folks!

    I'm new on the forum /img/vbsmilies/smilies/chef.gif and need some opinions on the following knife.

    http://www.echefknife.com/knife-ste...dding-and-rosewood-handle.html#horizontalTab1

    It should extend my lineup by becoming the new go-to knife and will be the first knife worth more than 50 bucks in my possession. I have spend a lot of time to get a good picture of the market and manufacturers, as well as to find the answer to what I actually want from a knife. The yoshihiro knife is the one that seems to combine my criteria best, as such it is as of now the most promising candidate. However, information on detailed specs are pretty much non-existent and the pictures on their website leave something to be desired. I have contacted them already for more details, but have yet to get the answers I was hoping for (still on it). Meanwhile I would like to collect some opinions from people who have far more experience than I have and can probably evaluate the situation better by multiple magnitudes.

    What I am looking for:

    - 210 / 240 Shirogami or aogami core with stainless clad (would prefer shiro), migaki finish preferred

    - Lefty grind or as symmetric as possible

    - Tendency to thinner geometry, but no laser

    - Sharpness > sharpening = toughness > edge retention

    - Octagonal wa handle, wood preferred, don't like horn (handle aesthetics are important to me)

    - Good fit & finish

    - Cost should not exceed 300$ unless the quality returns are very tangible

    I sharpen myself and have two no-name coarse stones and a nice 1000/4000 grit combi stone. Mainly I am interested in your estimation of the knife's performance and quality. Maybe someone has even had the chance to take a look at it in reality? Do you think I would regret the purchase? What do you think regarding the price to value relation (note there is a saya included)?
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2017
  2. foody518

    foody518

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    Hi SquaredCircle, welcome to CT

    Have not had experience with that particular yoshihiro knife. I'd keep at contacting them, maybe even a phone call during business hours. 

    Another knife that fits your criteria (aside from the horn... I guess you're referring to the ferrule material? It feels nice) is the Gengetsu White #2. Ridiculously good cutter. Use with a bit of care while getting used to it compared to your current stuff. Also consider Itinomonn Kasumi V2 if you can catch it whenever it restocks, or the Wakui Shirogami.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2017
  3. millionsknives

    millionsknives

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  4. mike9

    mike9

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    I've had a lot of high end knives come and go over the years and the Itinomonn kasumi in V2 has turned out to be one of my favorites.  
     
  5. millionsknives

    millionsknives

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    Yep!  Itinomonn of the few gyutos I kept (I reach for chinese cleaver 99% of the time).  It is a fantastic cutter, thin behind the edge, easy to sharpen and at the price I am not afraid to use it.

    The only thing that is annoying is thinning stainless steel cladding but that is a problem with ALL stainless clad.  It's the price you pay for the convenience of not rusting so much.
     
  6. squaredcircle

    squaredcircle

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    Thanks for the recommedations and answers! /img/vbsmilies/smilies/thumb.gif

    I noticed, that I may not have emphasized my left-handedness enough, which is why I prefer grinds for leftys or mostly symmetrical and octagonal handles. So there's a problem with D shaped handles as they usually come for right handed persons. Another problem is, that I value aesthetics higher than I probably should. Without going into details this leads to all of the recommended knives getting rehandled either by me or by a service should I take one of them. This in turn leads me to the following assessments.

    Toyama Noborikoi, Syousin Chiku and Wakui are out. Too expensive with rehandling and in the case of the Syousin Chiku it would be a tremendous waste to get rid of such a high quality handle (I won't go into detail why I dislike the horn).

    The Itinomonn on the other hand could be a very real option. Since I am located in the EU it is a lot cheaper than the others, even compared to the Yoshihiro. This would easily leave enough room for a nice rehandling. However it is out of stock atm.

    I have also checked other EU vendors, but most are rather disappointing in their offerings, especially when considering that very few stock handles are in the category that I am looking for. As a result I pretty much accepted that I'll most likely have to pay taxes and fees either way or have to pay for a new handle. I was planning to do the purchase within the next few weeks, do you think the Itinomonn could be back in stock soon? Lastly the Yoshihiro still stands as a competitive candidate and any reasonable opinions on it are welcome (I hope they'll give me some actual measurements and a choil shot soon).
     
  7. millionsknives

    millionsknives

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    I didnt notice a too asymmetric grind on itinomonn and it is thin behind the edge. You shouldnt rule out lasers too fast because they are particularly good for lefties. The grind on lasers is so flat and thin on either side it doesnt steer as much.
     
  8. foody518

    foody518

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    I'm also a lefty. Not a noticeable problem in usage with any of the knives I've mentioned. Correct for any steering with your stones.

    As Millions mentioned, lasers can be a boon to lefties since there is less material to grind asymmetrically. And some of these great cutters that aren't lasers can be just as thin right behind the edge, sometimes thinner. Both kinds of knives can stick into your board if you're not paying attention and adjusting your technique.

    Have one knife with a righty D-handle, feels fine in use. The handle is gripped lightly anyways, and a light sanding is always a possibility.

    Can you explain more of what you're looking for in handle aesthetics? You've just mentioned aesthetics twice without going into anything particular. Color? Feel? 

    Contact Maksim at JNS and see if he's got a timetable on Itinomonn gyuto restock time.
     
  9. squaredcircle

    squaredcircle

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    I am not overly worried about the left / right handedness on grinds but the more lefty friendly I can get, the better it is. The reason why I am not aiming for laser knives in particular, despite their good reputation is due to my lack of experience and very limited knive selection at home. This knife will become the only really good one I own for probably quite some time. As such I want it to be able to handle most tasks worry free and ideally with a bit of tolerance towards my most likely lacking knife skills. Another thing is that food release seems to be much better in slightly thicker knives, with still good performance. Overall it seems like a fitting tradeoff.
    You are right, I apologize. I guess the reason why I didn't go further into the topic is because it is so hard to describe and very subjective. Let's see... I am looking for something that stands out visually. Preferably with nice whirly patterns and natural tones in the materials. There should be some color contrast between ferrule and handle and usually I like a theme of two main colors plus maybe a neutral metal spacer. Caps at the end or bigger wood spacers can look very good. This generally applies when they do not introduce a third non-neutral color. Overall I tend more to brighter creamy colors, not necessarily though. Stabilized burl woods in particular are a beautiful material, sometimes it can even look gorgeous when color dyed, but that is somewhat hit or miss. Some nice woods from the top of my hat are maple, tigerwood, redwood and ebony. Next to the materials themselves I definately want the handle to have minimal gaps at the ferrule, spacers and cap. The tang's seal should also be well done and even. The preferred shape, irrespective of the functionality, is definately an octagonal wa handle (don't like the D shape even if it could work). Nice roundings on ferrule and end, smooth finish.

    I can not really say a lot about the feeling, because I have not held nearly enough of those materials in hand, let alone a knife with such a handle. Unfortunately I have no shop anywhere around here where I could go to test some knives in person :/

    Even when a handle goes against the general idea, it could fit my idea of beauty, but it's impossible to describe every little detail, since I don't even know it all myself /img/vbsmilies/smilies/lol.gif. Some I don't like include the standard ho wood and black ferrule ones (bland), those with horn ferrule (just dislike it) and the burnt chestnut (not ... graceful enough I guess) which you often see over at JKI.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2017
  10. millionsknives

    millionsknives

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    What you're describing mostly is entering custom handle territory especially when you want metal spacers (100% no way to do this without epoxy, non standard construction for japanese) and exotic woods.  Exotic woods btw all weigh more than ho wood so expect the balance to shift toward the handle.  That's not good or bad, but unusual for japanese push cutting profiled knives.  You see handle heavy in more western rocking high belly profile knives.

    I think the best you can find in your price range will be a dark colored handle and ferrule.  My philosophy is to buy for the blade. You can always rehandle later, but you might find you get attached to the ho wood handle even.

    Do you have a wood shop or know anyone handy?  It opens your options tremendously. 
     
  11. foody518

    foody518

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    If you're worried about the potential fragility of lasers, then I'd hesitantly say the other knives suggested should invoke similar worries for how thin behind the edge they are. There is a slight trade-off to being such great cutters. And to almost hope the Yoshihiro you're looking at would be not as thin behind the edge as these.

    Frankly, with the Yoshihiro being one of the few exceptions, it looks like you're going to be looking at custom made handles, particularly to combine your blade preferences with such a handle. I can think of the Knives And Stones ebony + blond ferrule + nickel spacer that is offered on some of their selection that is one of those exceptions. If you were okay with carbon (not-stainless) cladding, then the Sakai Jikko Akatsuki with the upgraded handle option is close to ticking most of your boxes but it'll be out of budget when factoring in import fees most likely. James at K&S also had a stainless clad blue #2 Tanaka offering recently that sold out really quickly. Could be worth contacting him and asking when the next stock is in, and if it's possible to customize that handle further.

    Maybe a separate knife budget and then handle materials + making +installation budget? Get a knife that cuts the way you want it to first. If you haven't actually held a nice ho wood plus pakka-wood or horn ferrule before, see how it looks in person before judging, then see if you need that extra mod.
     
  12. rick alan

    rick alan

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    I was going to mention the Tanaka also.  It gets high praise, and very affordable.

    Horn is really wonderful material, properties on the whole comparable to some of the better engineering plastics, and far more attractive aesthetically, a natural wonder, and that is not a cornball thing to say.  It compliments a fine steel blade, whereas a metal ferrule can only look an inadequate relative in comparison.  That's one way of looking at the aesthetic anyway.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2017
  13. foody518

    foody518

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    Two knives which are not 'lasers' 

     
  14. squaredcircle

    squaredcircle

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    I expected as much and can live with that. Unfortunately I am pretty much living in no man's land when it comes to these things.
    That's obviously true. I was overthinking the matter, the point of failure in case something goes wrong will be the edge, which chips away. Being thicker towards the spine is not going to help that by much if anything. It's not like the blade would need to withstand huge lateral forces along its whole cross section, unless serious abuse is happening. For me that means that I am just okay with either, assuming the food release statement actually holds true for most of the non-laser knives.

    The Sakai Jikko Akatsuki does look tempting, but considering the price point I can't justify it at the moment. Regarding further options for handles James had informed me that there is currently nothing in sight that matches my preferences, aside from the handles readily available.
    Hmm, I may reconsider it. But for the time being I'll stand by my wood preference.

    Oh and I got answer from JNS for restock estimation of the Itinomonn. Sadly he couldn't give me any estimates and doesn't know when to expect the next delivery. A shame really, since that one is also very promising. I will most likely not buy anything until I have further information on the Yoshihiro anyway, so I can compare it better to the others (or until I've given up in case they stay stubborn). Depending on how that turns out, I may just decide to delay the whole purchase. I'd much rather wait than get the next-best thing (within reasonable time that is).
     
  15. scott livesey

    scott livesey

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    replacing a handle is a tricky operation and you may end up spending more for the new handle than you did for the original knife. try looking at American makers, some may have finished blades without handles and be able to add maple or tigerwood handles.
     
  16. millionsknives

    millionsknives

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    Wa handle is easier to replace than a western handle...

     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2017
  17. foody518

    foody518

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    Most the American custom makers I can think of make knives in monosteel stainless or monosteel carbon, or they don't deal with the desired blade aesthetic. And the $300 (does this include import/customs fees to EU?) price point for a decent length chef's knife is certainly a challenge.
     
  18. squaredcircle

    squaredcircle

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    Stainless mono is something I would consider, however I have known stainless all my life and would like to breach into new territory. Mono carbon is something I would like to avoid, since I do not want the potentially high reactivity and don't like full blown patinas. 

    For easier calculations I gave the 300$ budget excluding any additional import fees and taxes (and also in $ because I expected that to be the currency I will most likely buy in). For any non-EU imports I expect approximately 30% on top of the original price including shipping, which can be a real showstopper. With all the conversions and fees the Yoshihiro would come in at ~325€, while the Itinomonn would be around at 200€, which leaves some room for improvements.

    My actual budget is pretty much as high as it needs to be and as low as it can be. According to my research so far I expect to get away with something under 400€ overall investment. Higher than that begins to be uncomfortable.