Suisin Inox Western, Misono 440, or Mac Pro/other?

Discussion in 'Cooking Knife Reviews' started by G_D, Jul 20, 2017.

  1. G_D

    G_D

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    This is a question you folks get here a lot! I’ve been researching Japanese made Western style chef’s knives for the last few weeks and I’m a little lost with all of the choices and thought a few expert pointers would help.

    I’m looking to purchase a 8” chef’s knife for home use, and it will be my sole chef’s knife. I'd like something that has exceptional fit & finish, and something that can cover different uses rather than needing to purchase multiple knives. In the past I’ve been using Wusthof Classic, Henckels 4 star II, and Global G-series chef’s knives, but I’m looking to step into the Western-style Japanese knife world. I’ve attached a reduced knife questionnaire below that I found on someone else’s thread.

    I would like something that is great for home use, typically cutting mostly vegetables and a little meat. It will get some heavier use from time to time cutting squash in fall etc, but heavy use will be relatively rare. My plan is to sharpen it myself and intend to buy a 1000 & 5000 stone. I’ve done a small amount of sharpening previously, but I’m really a beginner and will need to expand my skills here.

    It’s very important to me that the knife I purchase has excellent fit & finish, and so my short list is focussed accordingly. My preference would be to spend around the ~$100-120 mark for the knife, however if there was a significant improvement then I would be willing to jump up to the $150 mark.

    I’d be really interested to hear from people who’ve used the knives above, and what they’ve found in terms of performance. Does the step up to the ~$150 mark get a significantly better knife than the $110 options? If not, I'd likely steer towards the cheaper option, especially as a starter Japanese knife. How different in terms of performance and sharpening is something like the AUS-8 or 440 steel is compared with the other options like the VG steels? Are these steel types going to have very significant differences that would steer me towards a particular choice?

    Here’s my short list at the moment:
    $100-$110 - I’d be really interested to know what people think of the comparison between these two in particular as they’re top of my list at the moment.
    • Suisin Western Inox 210mm Gyuto. Seems well regarded. Excellent fit and finish. Some questions about the AUS-8 steel. I can get this pre-sharpened from Korin.
    • Misono 440 210 Gyuto. There’s not a lot of comment about this one either in terms of usability or steel. I don’t know where the semi-stainless 400 steel falls compared with the Suisin steel. Wouldn’t come with a pre-sharpening from where I’m looking to buy.
    $140-160
    • Mac Pro 8.5” chefs. Well regarded for the shape/usability and the steel seems respectable too. Good F&F.
    • Mac Pro 8” chef with granton edge. Not sure which is more recommended out of this and the 8.5” Mac knife.
    • Masamoto VG 210. Seems well liked, although perhaps over-priced. Now with plastic handle unfortunately.
    • Sakai Takayuki Grand Chef 210. Generally good reviews, but perhaps not superior to the Mac options.
    Possibly interested in these but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of history regarding the performance and F&F:

    Knives in $130 - $150 range - F&F questionnable??
    • Gonbei AUS-10. From the images online the F&F looks pretty poor, so I’m probably going to rule this out unless others have good experiences with performance and F&F.
    • Kanehide PS60. Seems to get decent reviews for performance, but again, not sure whether performance warrants this over the other options. F&F looks better than the Gonbei from what I can see, but perhaps not up to the Suisin or Misono options?

    Some of the most recommend knives I’ve ruled out completely based on poor or average F&F:
    • Tojiro
    • Fujiwara

    Questionnaire:
    What country are you in? US
    Knife type/size? 210mm Chef’s Knife/Gyuto
    Are you right or left handed? RH
    Western handle, at least as a first Japanese knife.
    Do you require a stainless knife? (Yes or no) Stainless, or at least semi-stainless
    Budget? $100 to ~$160. Prefer the lower end, unless there’s a standout/big jump in performance.
    KNIFE USE? Regulate home use, mostly vegetables, with some meat.
    What knife, if any, are you replacing? Have been using Wusthof classic 8”, Global G-2
    Do you have a particular grip that you primarily use? Use combo of pinch and racket depending on what I’m cutting.
    What cutting motions do you primarily use? Variety - will plan to learn whatever techniques suit the new knife.
    What improvements do you want from your current knife? - Sharp edge, comfortable, holds edge for good amount of time, can sharpen at home.
    Aesthetics? The F&F must be excellent. Overall style/look not as important.
    Edge Retention (i.e., length of time you want the edge to last without sharpening)? I don’t know what’s possible. Interested to hear.
    Do you use a bamboo, wood, rubber, or synthetic cutting board? Yes
    Do you sharpen your own knives? Have done a little. Will learn.


    Sorry for the novel...
     
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  2. millionsknives

    millionsknives

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    Korin and Japanesenaturalstones both have 15% off knife sales right now.

    I'd say take a look at the suisin western inox and the harder togiharus http://korin.com/Knives/Western-Style-Knives_2

    If you open up to the good knife handles there are a lot more options
     
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  3. G_D

    G_D

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    Hi millionsknives - by good handles did you mean japanese style wa-gyoto handles, or do you think there are better options in western style handles? Assuming the former, there didn't seem to be much in the $100-$160 price range with a wa handle and that had an excellent fit and finish? I may have missed some of the options out there though. I would be open to consider a wa handle if the performance, price and F&F were right.
     
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  4. millionsknives

    millionsknives

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  5. foody518

    foody518

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    Sharpenability of the Suisin Western Inox is just fine.

    Was fairly sure the Misono 440 is about as stainless as everything else on your list

    Not positive on how it is executed on the MAC, but the concern is that grantons make for a thicker knife than it need be

    My guess would be the Suisin, Grand Chef, and the Kanehide are more likely to be the thinner grind knives of your list, though I have not seen all of these knives in person.

    How have you been gauging Fit and Finish?

    Check out the Gesshin Stainless wa-gyuto 210mm.
     
  6. G_D

    G_D

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    Thx for the info. I've been able to see the Suisin, Misono (UX10 but assuming its similar to the 440), Mac and Masamoto in person. All of these seem to have excellent quality across both the blade and handle. Handles nicely finished, fits flush and smooth with the tang on all sides, tang is straight and smoothly finished. Blade surface and edges in smooth condition, sharpened edges even etc. The others I haven't seen in person but have either read reviews in the various forums or looked at photos online. Of the ones I've crossed off the list, generally the handle/tang seems a good indicator of poor finish - gaps in between the tang and handle, poorly finished tang and handle, crooked tang etc. I realize that many people aren't so worried about some of these details (purely prioritize cutting), but this is an important aspect for me.
     
  7. foody518

    foody518

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    Take note that for pretty much all of these options, it would help your comfort to ease the spine and choil with some sandpaper or files.
     
  8. G_D

    G_D

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    Thanks for the suggestion. The Gesshin Stainless Wa-gyuto looks nicely finished from the images. I notice it's the same steel as the Suisin (which seems relatively similar to the 440 steel) - AUS-8. Given it's the same steel, Does this knife have any differences that make it superior to the Suisin such as the blade geometry, heat treatment etc, or is it largely a difference in handle style?
     
  9. G_D

    G_D

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    I will definitely plan on doing that regardless of which knife I decide on. The european knives with the bolster never presented an issue for longer cooking sessions, but I found the Global particularly uncomfortable on the choil after some time - even causing blisters.
     
  10. millionsknives

    millionsknives

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    The edge on the suisin western is more asymmetric. The gesshin is thinner.
     
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  11. G_D

    G_D

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    Thanks for the input - I've opened up my future thinking based on the suggestion of a wa handle/thinner style of blade. This time around for the chef's knife I decided to purchase the Misono 440 210mm Gyuto. I got it at a nice price less than the Suisin.

    I have used it a couple of times - it's sharp, handles very nicely and deals with a variety of vegetables quickly and with ease. I like the profile - a nice change from the classic Wusthof. Feels like it'll be a relatively easy learning curve. The F&F is excellent of course. The spine is slightly rounded. The choil is flat but smooth. It'll probably require some rounding to make it comfortable for longer sessions with a pinch grip.

    Now I just need to close out my basic kit with a 150mm petty. Currently thinking a wa handle as per the recommendations above, possibly in carbon steel - although not sure if this is smart or if it's wiser to stick with SS. It looks like there are many options out there for wa-petties in a variety of steels...
     
  12. foody518

    foody518

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    Is it going to be more of a board work petty or an in-hand knife (do blade height and knuckle clearance matter)? Mostly acidic foods or no?
     
  13. G_D

    G_D

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    Likely to be more on the board work than off, although assuming it is comfortable and balanced I could imagine it replacing my paring knife which I use for off the board duties.

    I would likely be cutting a decent amount of acidic food like fruits and smaller veg. I guess this mostly has ramifications for material choice.

    But I'm certainly open to all suggestions.
     
  14. rick alan

    rick alan

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    I use a petty for all the small stuff like garlic, celery, chiffonade and bunch-herbs, etc. If you can use a modified pinch, that is with only your fingertips on the handle instead of wrapping around, then you won't have a problem with knuckles. Otherwise you will need a tall petty (like a pricey Shiro Kamo) or have to work off the board edge.

    I like a thin petty as I also use them for slicing fruit, and thin halves an apple or such in-hand lots easier than thick.

    The Geshin stainless is nice in the sub-$100, but sold out, I'd also want to thin it just a bit. You don't have to buy off cktg, but they display a huge number of petty's:
    http://www.chefknivestogo.comk i/150mmpettys.html
    Check out the other links also.

    I have a carbon Herder peeler, you can get them for around $10 and they are a little monster, as thin as thin can be and really nice steel. I think it an essential addition to the small knives lineup. But for a regular petty, that's going to get a lot of use, something more stainless.
     
  15. millionsknives

    millionsknives

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    I would also say stainless. My petty is used on acidic fruit a lot.