Should I keep the miyabi birchwood sg2 or get the Masamoto KS 240mm Gyutou?

Discussion in 'Cooking Knife Reviews' started by kuma, Jul 24, 2012.

  1. kuma

    kuma

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    I recently visited the local Sur La Table to get a new 240mm gyutou or 10 " chefs knife and really fell in love with the Bob Kramer handle on his reproduction chefs knives. I didnt really dig the blade on the Shun however, and upon reading criticism it seems as though it is prone to major chipping, so Im glad that I avoided it. I also saw the Henckles Kramer Carbon, but was turned off by the brass in the handle. I dont know if that should be a a big deal to me, but I dont understand the introduction of a lead based metal in  a cooking tool held during the majority of a shift. I ended up getting the Miyabi Birchwood handle 240mm gyutou because it was the size that I truly wanted at a more affordable price. 



    After bringing it home and trying it out, I must say that I'm pretty underwhelmed. Out of the box its fairly dull. The display at the store was sharper, obviously due to them putting it to a stone, but it just doesnt seem as though it should be so dull that it cant break tomato skin 4"-6" from the heel. 



    Anyway, I have a buddy who has a brand new Masamoto KS 240mm who has buyers remorse on the price, and its a blade that I've always wanted. Can anyone speak to it personally? I have never owned a White #2 blade. How does the metal stand up? Does it hold an edge well/how hard is it to sharpen? I think that I am going to return the Miyabi and snag the Masamoto. I just wanted to make sure it was the right call. 



    If anyone else believes there to be a better 240mm gyutou at that price point (200-350) please let me know. 



    Thanks in advance. 
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2012
  2. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    Yes, it's absolutely the right call -- as long as you're willing to put up with carbon in a work situation.  The KS is a truly great knife. Just frikkin' magic.

    BDL
     
  3. kuma

    kuma

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    Thanks for the response! I've read some of yours on other threads and you're very helpful. When you say deal with the carbon, do you mean in the sense of its going to patina? What is your favorite steel for the workplace? I've seen you mention your favorite bread knife, but out of curiosity, what's your favorite gyutuo? Lastly, how do you think the masamoto ks holds up against the Takeda AS or konosuke?

    Thanks again.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2012
  4. wagstaff

    wagstaff

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    I feel like I could pretty much answer "for" BDL your particular questions... but I won't.  I won't deprive you or me of the pleasure of his more detailed response.

    But just to assuage any hesitation... carbon steel knives require the same attention as others, pretty much, just sooner.  No laziness.  Rinse and towel dry after cutting.  Don't leave it on the board wet when you have dinner.  If you're cutting acidic things, rinse and towel try something like immediately. Now. 

    You have a variety of options with patina formation (whether to force or not to force).... BDL has one take on that.  I'm not sure, as a home cook, I'm with it any more, but I'll let him talk it through and then decide. 

    The Masamoto KS is not a thick knife by any means, but it's not a "laser" like the Konosuke is.  I lust after knives both thicker and thinner... but would LOVE to have a Masa KS.  It's a classic profile, an "ideal" for lots of folks.  I know profile can be a matter of taste, so you might or might not be lots of folks. 

    I've never held or seen the Takeda AS... so I'll hold my tongue on theories as what that's all about.

    White #2 is known to be easy to sharpen and to get pretty damn absurdly sharp. It might not hold an edge as long as some of your other options. (Personally, as a home cook, I'm finding that *in fact* edge retention is far less important to me than I thought at first.  I don't get enough sharpening practice in because my knives, which have "average" edge retention, have very good edge retention! If you're cooking in much larger volumes or against harder boards, or are otherwise particularly hard on your edges, maybe this will be different for you).
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2012
  5. kuma

    kuma

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    Great response thanks! So a follow up, what's the main difference between white #1 and #2 steels (and also the corresponding konosuke lines?)

    Thanks!
     
  6. wagstaff

    wagstaff

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    I'm nothin' like an expert on the different steels (Hitachi or otherwise). 

    Theoretically, the whites will be easier to sharpen and maybe even get sharper than the blues (ok, so I'm starting to answer your Takeda question -- might as well finish: the Super Blue ("AS") in the Takeda will theoretically have the best  edge retention of any we're talking about, get very hard, and be more difficult to sharpen; maybe not get *as* sharp as the whites -- but at this level, we're talking about beyond-me sharpening skills required to notice, so I'm just talking about what I've read. And hopefully remembering correctly.  I hope someone more expert than I corrects me if I'm wrong!)

    White #1 has more carbon than #2; it is harder (assuming heat treatments are done right on both) which means better edge retention than 2, probably; but it's more brittle (i.e., more likely to chip).

    I think for home use we're getting into realms of theoretical differences -- or, more importantly maybe, differences between what particular knife makers do well. For a pro? I'm not sure -- except "easier to sharpen" is a big deal as a beginner sharpener; yet... longer edge retention is a bigger deal for someone who works in a pro environment.

    The Konosukes will have a similar but not the same profiles as the Masamotos, and they'll be thinner knives. Some people chase thinness for its own sake, some prefer the robustness of something slightly less thin, and perhaps a bit more leeway in modifying the grind ("convexing" the blade face and such).   .... I'm in over my head.  I don't have a true laser (like the Konosuke) gyuto; and the Masamoto KS is another of those "future dream purchase" knives.  I've got about 5 of those...

    NOTE: you are a Line Cook, I'm not... you go through a lot more volume of food than I do on an every-day basis.  This makes me think edge retention is probably far higher up your list of priorities than mine.  Something to keep in mind. The Masamoto White #2 has less edge retention than the other knives we're discussing (if I have all of this right).
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2012
  7. kuma

    kuma

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    Thanks again for the help. I happened upon the Konosuke HD line and I'm starting to wonder if this isn't a better route for daily use in the kitchen.
     
  8. wagstaff

    wagstaff

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    It's a beloved steel all right... your technique has to be consistently good (or at least not ever bad) so as not to torque/twist the knife in the cut on hard veggies when you're in a hurry on the line.  It's a very thin knife.  I've held them... not used.

    I hope BDL weighs in.  Or Jon on the various steels.

    You gotta invest in sharpening stones, too, if you're not set up already.  (Just a bit of budgeting advice -- I don't know if you have this taken care of).
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2012
  9. kuma

    kuma

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    Yeah I've done so. I wouldn't mind them weighing in either ha. The funny thing is, I found a konosuke gf 240mm with custom handle and saya cheaper than my miyabi with the SLT discount.
     
  10. kuma

    kuma

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    Alright,I have officially returned the miyabi, and i plan to either order the masamoto ks, the konosuke hd or the mizuno hontanren today. Im leaning towards the konosuke due to rave reviews and the fact that it just seems like it will hold up better in the kitchen. If anyone believes to the contrary please let me know!

    My main thought now is the Hd steel or blue?

    Also I will say, if anyone cares to give insight, I've owned many d shaped handles, but never an octagonal. Is there any major benefit from one over the other?
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2012
  11. twyst

    twyst

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    I own both a konosuke HD and a masamoto KS gyuto.   My recommendation in a professional kitchen would have to be for the konosuke, the luxury of being able to not worry about babying your knife in a pro kitchen goes a long way.  The masamoto is a fantastic knife, but the relaxed upkeep of the konosuke just makes it more desirable.   I also prefer the shape of the kono because it has a little more belly, although I think most people prefer the shape of the Masamoto.
     
  12. kuma

    kuma

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    Thanks, just out of curiosity do you, (or anyone else) have any idea why these blade's steel looks to be a different color? Also, do you prefer the D-shaped handle or the octagonal? 

    https://toshoknifearts.com/shop/knives/konosuke-hd-wa-gyuto-240mm-maple-handle-0
     

    https://toshoknifearts.com/shop/knives/konosuke-hd-wa-gyuto-240mm-rosewood-d-shaped-handle

    Thanks, to be honest Im kind of digging the rosewood look, but it seems people prefer the octagonal. 
     
  13. wagstaff

    wagstaff

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    I could theorize that the blades look to be a different color because of a) the lighting, or b) they're not both showing the HD steel. The latter happens a lot on the internet.  One picture for the profile, or the handle, or whatever. In spite of the steels being different -- same picture.

    D-shaped handles are meant to be for (usually) right handed user.   So the curve of the "D" nesltes into the palm of your hand.  Supposedly more comfortale than something with edges, like a square or... wait for it... an octagon.

    I've never found an octagonal handle to be in any way uncomfortable. And I prefer they way they lok to a"D'. 

    Whether a "D" will be uncomfortable to a lefty who uses your knife, who knows.  That won't be the most important asymmetry to worry about, either, though.
     
  14. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    Same steel, different lighting. 

    Octagonal, for me.  I have a super soft pinch with barely any pressure from my last fingers, and come over the top so I don't have much more than the finger tips on the handle.  A "D" doesn't fit that grip well, it's more for people who like to wrap their palm around the knife.  What you'll like, quien sabe?

    If you've never used carbon you might want to think twice before making a KS your go-to in a pro kitchen.  If you clean your station after every ticket you won't find a carbon knife any sort of problem. 

    I think the 270mm Masa KS is an ideal knife; but as much as I like it I like a few lasers just as much.  E.g., the 270mm Konosuke HD, 270mm Kono Shiro2 and maybe Kono FF; Tadatusna Inox and Shiro; and the Gesshin Ginga.    

    I'd like to give one of the premium steel Richmond KS closes a try. 

    I"ve got a few Konosuke HDs, and really like them.  Like I said, "ideal."  Love lasers, and love the "original" Kono profile which suits my Sabatier-trained action extremely well.  I probably wouldn't like the "new," flatter profile nearly as much.

    If you've never used a laser you might want to think twice before making a Kono your go-to in a pro kitchen.  The issue is flex.  If you always (as in always) keep your knife square in the cut -- flex isn't an issue.  If you tend to pronate, torque or get out of line when your in a hurry, a little flex can make your knife bind.  So, the underlying issue is skills.  If you can rely on your skills to never desert you, you should be okay.  If not, go with something a little thicker and stiffer.  Lots of good choices.

    Sharpening, sharpening, sharpening.

    BDL
     
  15. kuma

    kuma

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    Thanks again for taking time to respond. I did pull the trigger on the 240 kono hd, but now you're making me wish I snagged the 270 hah.

    Which gyutous would you say run a bit thicker/are made for the heavier duty jobs?

    Lastly, would you recommend a 150mm or 180mm petty (from the same line) to complement my 240?
     
  16. kuma

    kuma

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    Speaking of sharpening, if you wouldn't mind answering, what is your preferred method of keeping your HDs sharp?
     
  17. twyst

    twyst

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    I was under the impression the "new" kono shape a couple of sites were offering were the same shape as the masamoto KS, is that not the case?
     
  18. kuma

    kuma

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    Oh wow I just looked into that and you look to be right. That may have suited me a bit better, but oh well, I'm sure the regular will be more than fine. It arrived today, I'm just not home from work.

    Has anyone seen the newer shape in person?
     
  19. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    Konosuke Profiles:

    It was my impression that (a) the new Konosuke was flatter than the old Kono which I own; (b) the old Kono  is flatter than my Sabatiers;  and (c) my Sabatiers are the same as the Masamoto KS.  It's possible that I'm wrong about the new Kono and/or that there's a newer new Konosuke. 

    My knife skills "training" (if you want to call it that) was with Sabatier chef's knives in the early seventies.  A few years later, I started a catering business and replaced my carbon knives with some stainless Henckels because I thought they'd be easier to maintain.  Almost a decade later I rediscovered my old Sabs and realized how much more I liked them -- partly for their French profile.  The Henckels altered my action in a way appropriate to their shape, but the Sab profile suited my old, trained action so much better. The Sab action, which is kind of in between "rock chop" and "push cut" was more comfortable, and more agile.  It didn't rock so much that I felt like I was pumping the handle, and wasn't so flat that it made a bunch of noise by tap, tap, tapping on the board. 

    The KS, like every other Masamoto chef's feels the same to me.  It should, it's cloned from a Sabatier.  My original Konosuke HD was sufficiently similar that it didn't ask me to adapt -- at least not enough enough to notice. 

    If you don't already have an established chopping action and aren't too lazy (guilty) or too unambitious (guilty) to change it, bear in mind that any good knife will impose its own efficient and comfortable action, if -- like adapting to any new tool -- you "listen" to what the knife tells you.  There is no best.  My suggestion though is that you go for a knife with a reasonably middle of the road French profile; i.e., nothing too flat and nothing too German.

    For some reason, guys who get seriously into Japanese knives often obsess about very flat profiles.  If you're more interested in cooking than the knives themselves and not interested in developing a particularly Japanese skill set, that's probably not a good idea.  Flat edges make too much noise, I hate them.  But as always, one BDL is more than enough.  I'm not encouraging you to do what I do, only to examine all your options.

    As to sharpening:

    I've got four complete sharpening sets, oil stone; synthetic water stone; EP with Chosera stones; and strop. 

    I usually use my water stone set to sharpen my Konosukes.  The set currently consists of a Beston 400, Bester 1200, Chosera 3000 and a Gesshin 8000.  I got the Gesshin recently and am too excited about it not to use it.  In the past, when my old Naniwa SS 8000 was the polishing stone,  I'd sometimes skip it in favor of loaded, balsa strops after the 3K, with 2u boro and 0.25u diamond (both from Hand American).  Both edges are awesome, and both are vast overkill. 

    If I were putting together a new, ultimate water stone kit, it would be Gesshin 400, Gesshin 2000 and Gesshin 8000.  I wouldn't recommend that though unless you were both seriously interested in sharpening and didn't mind dropping a lot of change.  Your best choices for a set are going to depend not only on what you want to do with your new whatever, but with your other knives as well.

    As a sort of blanket recommendation for someone with good knives and a reasonable budget:  Beston 400; Bester 1200; Takenoko 6000; non-skid pad instead of a holder; drywall screen -- or if you can afford it, a DMT XXC -- for flattening; and an Idahone fine ceramic hone, plus either a wine cork or a felt block for deburring.

    BDL
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2012
  20. wagstaff

    wagstaff

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    Is it also possible the Masamoto KS is flatter than the Sabs?  I have a terrible  eye for profiles in pictures, so I'm not at all sure.  It appears to me the KS is flatter than the HC (yo-handled). And the HC is the same as the Sabs.

    I have not seen the newer/flatter Konosukes in person.