Shopping Japan Knives

Discussion in 'Cooking Knife Reviews' started by Heinrich, Jun 23, 2018.

  1. Heinrich

    Heinrich

    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    0
    Exp:
    Home cook
    Hello
    I am newbie but would like to buy some knives from Japan.
    This question has been posted lots of times I know.

    It would be nice to have a overview of some knife-makers and their characteristics.
    Been reading lots of threads but really.

    If you have a link of a thread which gives some hints please post it.
    Thank you very much for your answer.

    Heinrich
     
  2. Heinrich

    Heinrich

    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    0
    Exp:
    Home cook
    Like to add knives should be each 100 to 120$
     
  3. Baba Ghanoush

    Baba Ghanoush

    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    8
    Exp:
    Home cooking
    What sorts of knives are you looking for? Purpose? Size? Shape? Material: Carbon or stainless or perhaps semistainless?
    kitchenknifeforums.com is a good source for kitchen knife knowledge and so is messerforum.net if you by any chance read German. Good European based online cutlery shops I have bought from are Japanese Natural Stones in Denmark, Cleancut in Sweden and Knives and tools in the Netherlands.
     
  4. galley swiller

    galley swiller

    Messages:
    470
    Likes Received:
    61
    Exp:
    At home cook
    What country do you live in? Availability of knives is hugely dependent on country of residence. Until we know that, anything we discuss will be meaningless.

    Also, what are your personal sharpening skills and your current sharpening equipment?

    GS
     
  5. jasimo

    jasimo

    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    1
    Exp:
    uk city and guilds 706/3 pastry and larder, exec chef, 2 rosettes award, michelin trained, private
    Hello Heinrich,
    As a professional chef we spend up to 300 usd on knifes each, like a pair of shoes, more you spend; they will last longer.
    As said in before posts, what do you want to perform from your knife, a good 9 inch chefs knife will work for most applications, 6inch chefs knife and 3inch will suit all needs in a basic kitchen, boning, fish filletings and salmon knife only in a pro kitchen plus a semi serrated pastry knife. I have a mix of japanese, german and ceramic, japanese knives are very sharp but brittle, damascus are hand made and perfect for light applications, high layer folds over 100 are expensive an used only for delicate cuts, a hammered 37 leaf will be best for you, a hard core hrc62 core layer knife is good as well for heavy work like chopping small bones, look at these web sites; http://ioshen.co.uk/about-i-o-shen-knives/ www.hocho-knife.com/
     
  6. Heinrich

    Heinrich

    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    0
    Exp:
    Home cook
    Hello everyone
    Thank very much for your answer. Hope you all a great day.
    Yes some more specs would be useful. Mea culpa.

    I eat mostly vegetables. Cook at home. Don't mind to order in Japan or States. I would like to have Japanese handles.

    I would like to have 3 to 4 knives.
    One gyuto or nakiri, santoku, deba, pairing or petty.

    Regards
    Heinrich
     
  7. rick alan

    rick alan

    Messages:
    2,394
    Likes Received:
    151
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    From Jasimo:
    " damascus are hand made and perfect for light applications, high layer folds over 100 are expensive an used only for delicate cuts, a hammered 37 leaf will be best for you"

    ??????????????

    You are after all speaking of faux damascus, as you mention a "core layer" and which is strictly ornamental. The layer numbers mean nothing in terms of performance. A thick blade could have a dozen layers, a thin blade a hundred or more, making layer numbers meaningless. "Hand made" is another question mark, many faux damascus knives are made from mill-rolled FD stock with die stamped basic profile and cross-section profile shaped by stock removal on automated machines rather than [hand] forging.

    Never heard of IO Shen knives, never heard a knife enthusiast mention them, all I can say is the website does sounds like a number I've seen for allegedly Japanese knives that are actually Chinese made knives of dubious quality.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2018
  8. rick alan

    rick alan

    Messages:
    2,394
    Likes Received:
    151
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    Welcome to Cheftalk Heinrich. Since you are on a budget, and will likely also need sharpening stones, firstly consider limiting your initial purchase to one or two knives, like a gyuto and maybe also a petty. You don't need a fancy parer, or santoku which the gyuto makes redundant, and deba is a fish fileting knife and expensive as the cheap ones aren't worth having.
     
    Baba Ghanoush likes this.
  9. Baba Ghanoush

    Baba Ghanoush

    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    8
    Exp:
    Home cooking
    Rick Alan gives good advice, I rather have one good gyuto and a cheap paring knife than 3 to 4 mediocre knives! I use my 240 mm gyuto 80%-90% of the time, the serrated breadknife also gets some daily exercise and my paring knife, slicer and deboning knife also see some action from time to time. However my santoku, petty and 210 chef's sit idle in the block. Of the top of my head I can't seriously think of anything I rather use a santoku or nakiri for than my 240 mm gyuto. I really could use a good slicer, but I spend my good slicer money on a couple of big round chosera whetstones - don't regret that decision, having really, really good sharpening equipment is much better than owning a multitude of dull knives.
     
    rick alan likes this.
  10. Heinrich

    Heinrich

    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    0
    Exp:
    Home cook
    Hello Rick
    Hello Baba
    Thank you for your advises. Yes you are right. So rather spend 250 to 300$ for a gyuto and the rest smaller.
    Will have a look. Can you advise on which ones. Perhabs Beginning from 150$ onwards. Even I should order from
    Japan or USA ok for me.
    Regards
    Heinrich
     
  11. galley swiller

    galley swiller

    Messages:
    470
    Likes Received:
    61
    Exp:
    At home cook
    Heinrich, what country are you ordering from for delivery to? That is a critical question, since each individual country can impose import regulations or there can be significant commercial agreements on particular lines/brands which can also restrict access/importations. Only by knowing where you are can anyone give you good and accurate information.

    Rick Alan is also right that you are also going to need sharpening stones, if you don't already have sharpening skills and sharpening gear. This cannot be emphasized enough. While good knives resist dulling with use longer than poor quality blades, all knives dull with use. That's just reality.

    Also, by knowing where you are, we can then also comment on what type of cutting boards are available. A good cutting board can significantly slow down edge dulling. However, because of weight and shipping cost considerations, good quality cutting boards are almost invariably locally shipped.

    GS
     
  12. Heinrich

    Heinrich

    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    0
    Exp:
    Home cook
    Hello GS
    I am in Switzerland. Hope regulations do not hinder me to get such knives

    Thought to go for a Masakage Koishi's or a Kohetsu Aogami Super Gyuto what are your thought's?

    Regards

    Heinrich
     
  13. Baba Ghanoush

    Baba Ghanoush

    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    8
    Exp:
    Home cooking
    Well Heinrich, there are loads and loads of knives in the price range from $150 to $300, so we better start limiting down the insurmountable choices by establishing some preferences to narrow down the field to a more manageable amount of knives.
    A way to do that is to determine what kind of steel you prefer your new gyuto to be made of. Basically there are carbon, stainless, semistainless and powder steel. Carbon steel has been around for centuries and is the most low-tech kind of steels. Good carbon steels are often cheaper than comparably good stainless steels (good in terms of maximum edge taking and edge retention) and as a general rule carbon steel takes and edge faster than stainless steel. However carbon steels are not all equal. For instance White Steel (shirogami) takes an edge faster than Blue Steel (aogami). Aogami Super (AS) triumphs over Shirogami when it comes to edge holding and wear resistance, but Shirogami sharpens faster and takes a keener edge. Shirogami 1# takes a keener edge than Shirogami 2#, but Shirogami 1# is also more brittle than Shirogami 2#. The flip side of all carbon steels is reactivity (oxidation), some carbons are very reactive some are less, but they all react to exposure to moisture - especially acidic moisture from foodstuff such as onions or lemons. The benign form of reaction is patina (a harmless and in fact protective discoloration of the blade), and the malignant form is rust. A way to deal (partly) with the reactivity of carbon steel is to wrap it in stainless steel using the sanmai- technology. This will protect the majority of the blade, but you will of course still need to take good care of the unprotected part of the blade. That means rinsing the blade in hot water immediately after use and drying carefully - some folks even use a damp towel to dry the knife in between intervals of cutting during more extensive use. If you are fine with that, an AS stainless clad blade is not a bad choice. About the two knives which have caught your interest: The Koishi is pretty curvy, so this blade will be good for rock chopping but less good for straight up and down chopping and push cutting. The Kohetsu seems less curvy (hard to determine from pictures) and thus better for straight up and down chopping and push cutting. Both knives are very thin behind the edge which maximizes the practical sharpness, but will also punish bad technique (chipping of the edge). I have no hands on experience with either knife, but there are many reviews and comments about the knives from people who do.

    About the koishi:
    https://www.chefknivestogoforum.com/masakage-koishi-240-gyuto-review-t10522.html

    About the Kohetsu:
    https://www.messerforum.net/showthread.php?126141-Gyuto-Review-Kohetsu-AS-210-mm
    https://cheftalk.com/threads/looking-for-a-laser.90727/
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2018
  14. galley swiller

    galley swiller

    Messages:
    470
    Likes Received:
    61
    Exp:
    At home cook
    Heinrich, thanks for letting us know where you are. Now, we can intelligently respond.

    Both of the knives you ask about come from Chef Knives To Go, which is based in the United States. Please be advised that the free shipping offer likely does not apply to Switzerland. You should very carefully check with them about shipping to Switzerland before making an order.

    In addition, both knives use Aogami Super as their core steel. This is a carbon steel, which is not stainless and the face of the blade will be reactive until it can be properly patina'ed. You can force a patina with hot vinegar, but then the edge must be re-sharpened on both sides afterwards with a few light strokes on a fine grit (5000 or higher) waterstone to expose the immediate edge again.

    Both blades will also likely have an asymmetric edge, where one side of the edge will have a more acute angle than the other side of the edge. This is common with good quality Japanese blades and allows the knife to be chosen specifically to more closely match whether the final user is right-handed or left-handed.

    Also common with many quality Japanese knives is that the edge provided is not of high quality. This is because the tradition in Japan is for each chef to sharpen his or her own knife to the way that he or she is trained or prefers. That works well where Japanese chefs go through an apprenticeship involving several years, including how to properly sharpen their knives. It doesn't work quite so well if you don't know how to properly sharpen.

    If I were choosing a blade for someone with no experience with Japanese knives, or with sharpening, I would probably recommend a stainless steel knife with a symmetric edge, about 240mm to 270mm in length. The candidate I have in mind is the Mac BK-100. It's a blade with a symmetric 255mm edge, and Mac's "Original" steel (which is made by Hitachi). MAC International doesn't list any sellers in Switzerland, though there are sellers in several European Union nations. You can contact Mac at their Japanese office at http://mactheknife.co.jp/en/contact.html

    You will need several waterstones. First, you will need a fine grit stone of at least 3000 to 5000 grit. This will be the stone you will use for very light sharpening, to maintain an already sharpened edge. Next, you will need a medium grit stone of somewhere between 800 to 1200 grit. This will help you when you need to re-sharpen your blade beyond what the fine grit stone can do. Finally, when an edge gets a chip or is otherwise damaged, you will need a coarse stone with a grit of 400 or so to grind away to form a new edge and to thin the blade. Each of these stones needs to be a minimum of at least 20cm long by 5cm wide.

    I would also strongly recommend getting a Wedgek angle guide system, with the full range of angles from 10 degrees to 20 degrees. If the wedges are then filled in on the back and then mounted on a stick, you will have an excellent way to feel the precise angles you need to sharpen at. These angle guides are available through various Amazon national sites.

    For on-line tutorials, watch Jon Broida of Japanese Knife Imports, on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/user/JKnifeImports

    For a cutting board, I would suggest an end grain birch wood board of a minimum of at least 30cm by 45cm by 5 cm thick. Birch is an excellent material and is likely the best choice of available wood in Europe. Do not try to import from the United States. The shipping costs will be horrible.

    Hope that helps.

    Galley Swiller
     
  15. Heinrich

    Heinrich

    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    0
    Exp:
    Home cook
    Hello Baba
    Hello Galley
    Thank you very much for your precious answers. I start to realize that this is an art and science. With lots of wisdom if you want doing it right. Like having a race car and be everybody and once. From Designer to engineer to driver.

    As newbie stainless might be better. But these two knives seem pretty interesting. Still not sure which ones to pick.

    After that the proper stones and cutting board is mandatory.

    Greetings
    Heinrich
    Wish you great days ahead.
     
  16. rick alan

    rick alan

    Messages:
    2,394
    Likes Received:
    151
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    Many of the knives cktg carries are of dubious quality, shipping and vat would be huge also.

    Japanese Natural stones is based in your area, they have a great selection of knives and stones, but not so many as to make your head spin.

    Knives and Stones is another that carries a convenient assortment of exceptional knives. their Munitoshi and Itonomon knives are very popular, excellent performers, and reasonably priced.

    Japanese Chef Knives has a dizzying collection of knives, but their Deep Impact series are reasonably priced and has gotten some praise.

    Your board does not have to break the bank, edge-grain boards are fine and cost much less than a decent end-grain board. The soft synthetics like the High Soft are just as good as end-grain wood, perhaps better, and also much less money.
     
  17. jasimo

    jasimo

    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    1
    Exp:
    uk city and guilds 706/3 pastry and larder, exec chef, 2 rosettes award, michelin trained, private
    Hi Rick, Your post shows you have no idea what you are talking about, http://ioshen.co.uk/triplex-steel-technology/
    core layers at 62 rockwell grade are now the best choice for pro chefs, damascus layers ensure a true cut, i go to Seki in Japan every year, have a nice katana, has a core! and not chinese i can assure you, a pro chef would never buy a forged pressed knife, only cooks buy them. By the way munitoshi does not exist, but munetoshi does!! get your facts right, seki are developing new tech as we speak, i see your not a chef, thought this website was for chefs!!
     
  18. rick alan

    rick alan

    Messages:
    2,394
    Likes Received:
    151
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    Sorry jasimo, faux damascus layers do absolutely nothing except look blingy, there is simply no kinder way to put that. And your link makes no mention of the faux damascus you referred to in your previous post, making it rather apparent that you, quite amazingly, do not seem to even know what has been coming out of your mouth.

    And you are also making absolutely no sense with the katana statement. Katanas do not utilize any sort of damascus, nor does any core steel on a cutting instrument require anything but the usual San Mai construction of two outer layers to sandwich it, as pretentiously described as "triplex steel technology" in the link you just provided from the Chinese producer suspect Japanese knife company. And "forged pressed", what exactly is that suppose to mean, the faux forging the mass producers do to create a bolster?

    Despite what the name might imply Cheftalk is not merely for chefs and in contradiction to your contrary statement we in fact have home cooks, line cooks, prep cooks, etc and, yes, those with the title chef. There are some professional kitchen workers around here who have broad and excellent knowledge of kitchen knives, but most do not profess such. And many chefs around here are happy to use some of the most unexceptional common knives available, don't know why you would demeaningly relegate such knives to what you simply refer to as "cooks." And this particular forum is simply for any individuals who either want to know about kitchen knives, or have the experience to advise them knowledgeably. Most forums on this site are of this type, but if you want an audience of food professionals only we do have the professionals-only forums. Something for everybody in other words.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2018
    Iceman likes this.
  19. jasimo

    jasimo

    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    1
    Exp:
    uk city and guilds 706/3 pastry and larder, exec chef, 2 rosettes award, michelin trained, private

    Thank you for you sorry statement, it confirms that you mean well; i hope. When i posted a reply to Heinrich, i did not expect a reply from another member to be obtuse and rather demeaning, would have been nice to see a reply saying; hello Jasimo i have thoughts about your post, here is my reply, what do you think!
    I thought i could come on this forum to help and learn something as well, i can see your all to angry, a little politeness will prevail! Cooks do buy cheaper knives, its a fact, all trades men buy the best they can afford as its financially viable.
    I will disagree with your points about seki knives, been their 3 months ago, my wife is from Tokyo, so i will let it rest.
    I will disable my membership, i had second thoughts about this site, whether i should join, when i first applied, wanted to talk about food, but now i was right, not a kind place to be affiliated with. god bless
     
  20. brianshaw

    brianshaw

    Messages:
    3,130
    Likes Received:
    368
    Exp:
    Former Chef
    “ will disable my membership, i had second thoughts about this site, whether i should join, when i first applied, wanted to talk about food, but now i was right, not a kind place to be affiliated with. god bless”

    Please don’t leave. Most members here are polite and professional. Please don’t run off because of one experience you found distasteful.