Tojiro DP or Fujiwara FKM for home cook (+sharpening stones)

Discussion in 'Cooking Knife Reviews' started by alexane, Feb 26, 2013.

  1. alexane

    alexane

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    Hi

    I have seen this discussed before but please bare with me.

    I'm considering the 210mm Gyuto and both models ( Tojiro DP or Fujiwara FKM ) seem very similar in handle and profile (I usually push cut so the flatter edge suits me) and both seem fairly thin which I like.
    Both are in the same price which is about $80 US so no difference from that point of view.
    I'm a home cook and both knives will be a major upgrade from anything I have used before (like  Masterclass or Berghoff [​IMG]).

    Now the Tojiro uses a "sandwich" of metals having a hard metal in the middle and a softer one at the sides while Fujiwara is a one piece steel.
    I've read that the Tojiro edge is kind of brittle if misused (which I don't intend to but..) or even when using a steel rod which is not ultra fine  (I have used the steel a lot with my previous knives) so my question is if the one piece Fujiwara which is slightly softer (HRC rating 58-59 vs 61) has any advantage in being less brittle and more "tolerant".
    By the way I use a bamboo board and take great care of my knives and avoid hard surfaces.

    What about sharpening, is the single piece better in any way compared to the DP “sandwich”?
    Is steel rod a no go for both these knives or they are different in any way?

    My sharpening skills are fairly good but I don't use water stones apart from one I have for polishing (edited: it is actually a Belgian blue whetstone, about 5000), I have a couple of DMT diamond "stones"  (Dia-Sharp) 325/600/1200 grit  which I use and I like the guaranteed flatness they have.


    Will I be able to use these diamond stones or the Japanese waterstones are a must?
    I might even buy a ceramic DMT at some point , (2200 and 8000) , would that work with these knives?


    Thank you
    Alex


    Updated: here is an image of my steel rod (Masterclass brand), it has microgrooves on it


    Are these garbage rods that damage the knifes?

    I have seen similar ones from brands like J.A. Henckels
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2013
  2. davezatyowa

    davezatyowa

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    I have no direct experience with Tojiro, but the idea that Tojiro knives may be brittle probably stems from its use of VG-10 steel.  VG-10's reputation for 'chippiness' seems to come mostly from Shun knives which have experienced some problems.  Whether this is a real problem with Shun's heat-treat of VG-10, or is simply the result of inexperience/misuse in Shun's large user base, who can say for sure?  I have about 12 knives that use VG-10 steel; only one has shown any chippiness.  It's not a Shun but is a Kai-fabricated blade... Kai being the Shun parent company.  The other VG-10 knives, including some other Kai blades, have had no problems, and have been excellent performers.  

    Re. use of bamboo board: the consensus is that end-grain oriented hardwood boards are best.  Bamboo is suspected of dulling blades more than the better boards, but I don't know if there's any real science on this.  I suspect it matters more that you use sharp knives that require little force, with good cutting technique; that should get you decent edge retention on a bamboo board.  It's mostly board contact that dulls kitchen blades; if your technique is light and smooth your edges are likely to benefit.

    The Fujiwara and esp. Tojiro knives are hard enough to be getting into the grey area, steeling-wise.  Hard steels may suffer more harm than good from grooved honing steels. You may want to consider using either a polished (completely smooth) steel or a good ceramic/borosilicate rod instead.

    [I'll leave further sharpening comments to those with greater expertise re. waterstones] 
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2013
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  3. franzb69

    franzb69

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    fujiwara fkm (the stainless line) would probably respond better to steeling as they are 58 RC, a tad softer than tojiro DP that's at 60RC. but i wouldn't use a steel if at all. I always true my knives now on my finer stones like my 5k and 8k stones.
     
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  4. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    Unless you have a very specific reason for preferring a 210mm knife, get a 240.  We can discuss this if you have an open mind.

    As san-mai VG-10 knives go, the Tojiro DP is neither particularly chippy nor is it particularly chip resistant.  For some reason most chips with these sorts of knives seem to happen when the knife is new and before the owner has sharpened it a few times.  So, if you choose a DP, be extra careful when it's new.

    The DP has -- by any standards -- a large, wide and boxy handle (not quite as boxy or as poorly finished as it used to be, though).  The FKM's handle is pretty typical for a Japanese knife, which is perhaps a little narrow by European standards.  The FKM's handle certainly doesn't get the amount of complaints that the DP does. 

    Neither knife is notorious for really good or really bad fit and finish, but -- given that there's some variation from knife to knife -- the FKM is likely to be slightly better than the DP in that respect.

    It's likely but not certain that the FKM will come sharper out of the box. 

    I feel that the FKM's profile more agile, but that the DP is stiffer.  Despite its stiffness, I don't like the DP's feel, because like all san-mai knives, it feels muted to me.  That's not a majority view of san-mai, but it's not exactly unusual either.  Both knives are reasonably light. 

    The FKM is a mono-steel knife made from an alloy called AUS-8.  The DP (as already said) is san-mai with soft stainless surrounding a VG-10 core.  As others have pointed out, the FKM is hardened to 58 RCH, the DP to 61; but don't make too much out of the hardening.  The big takeaway is that both alloys are hardened to respectively appropriate numbers. 

    The DP will take a very slightly better edge than the FKM; but you're probably not a good enough sharpener to make it happen. 

    You're overlooking a third knife in this price/value/quality class and that's the Richmond Artifex which is more comfortable and made from a better alloy than either of the other two, but doesn't have the same level of visual finish.  As far as my own preferences go, I'd rate the three knives in the following order:  1) Artifex; 2) FKM; and 3) DP, where "1" is best.  That said, they're all very good knives, all a lot of quality for the money, but none of them world-beaters. 

    All three can be profitably steeled as long as you use an appropriate steel and steel with a soft, light touch.  I don't know your steel, but since good rods are so cheap I suggest replacing it with a really good rod like a HandAmerican "fine." 

    All three knives sharpen easily and are undemanding when it comes to sharpening equipment.  I don't know how well a Belgian Blue would work with any of the three knives.  I knew someone who used a Blue with a FKM and really liked it, but I'm not sure how much respect his opinion should be accorded.  In my opinion, it's worth a try as a medium or medium/fine stone in a kit which also includes a coarse and a medium/coarse. 

    DMT diamond stones are NOT good choices for knives of this sort.  A decent set of water stones would be much better. 

    Bamboo is not wood, it's grass.  There are a few problems with bamboo boards, related to the bamboo itself and how much of the board surface will be glue instead of bamboo.  A good wood board, whether long grain or end grain is significantly easier on your knives than bamboo, or anything else for that matter.  However, besides "wood," the other operative word is "good."  Rubber (i.e., "Sani-Tuff"), bamboo, and even composition are no worse than junk wood boards.

    BDL
     
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  5. alexane

    alexane

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    Yes, I have read that about bamboo so I may change it at some point but in general I don't hit the edge to the board , I rather slice things using a cutting motion.
    ok, that shouldn't be a problem, I can avoid using the steel rod for the Japan knife or get a ceramic rod so I guess we can get this out of the equation.
     

    I’m kind of confused about this brittle mentioned in other threads but I’m not sure why I read it for Tojiro DP and not for Fujiwara FKM.
    I think that the harder a material the more it can break instead of bend and if this is a case why a 59 metal is not brittle and a 61 is, the difference isn’t that big.
    This is why I wonder if the sandwich construction is what causes this problem and maybe it is better to get the single metal knife.

    Because of that I also read some recommendation for 20 to 30 degree edge so that the edge lasts more because the 11 or 15 degree don't last much, unless of course this is true for both knives.

    I also read that Tojiro DP uses a 50/50 edge while the Fujiwara FKM a 70/30 , I’m not sure what are the advantages of each one (for a right handed person).


    Also that because of the sandwich construction of Tojiro the uneven edges don’t work very well.

    Normally I would expect the harder knife to hold a better edge longer but at the same time this seems be a problem because the knife is more brittle.

    Alex
     
  6. alexane

    alexane

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    My hands are not very big but on the other hand I have used different knives and never had a problem , I adjust pretty well to different handles.
    I've read about it in another thread with recommendations but I don't have a source where I can buy from at a good price (when shipping cost is added, I’m located in Greece).
    That is very unfortunate, what makes the use of diamond problematic with Japan knives?
    I mean if I do the job with the 1200 mesh diamond and then polish with a water stone will these give good results or I have to use waterstones all the way?
    As in general , is the microgroove steel rod likely to damage steel knives and should be avoided completely or is this just the case when used with the Japan knives?
    The image I have attached in the first post if from my rod and I have to say zoomed in it seems to be quite aggressive and I wonder if I should throw it away because it may be damaging even my cheap knives which have a good edge after sharpening but don't retain it for long (I'm sure that the knife metal is part of that too of course).
    I”m sure it is down to the knife metal but the steel rod may be a part of it
     
    I assume this is not related to a change of angle for the edge but comparing an edge with the same angle.

    If what I read is correct it is about 11 degree so if at the resharpening it becomes 20 degree it will hold more.
    Probably not...yet.

    Thank you all for your help

    Alex

    P.S. my posts are moderated so they take a while to appear ans maybe the order will be messed up.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2013
  7. alexane

    alexane

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    I'm torn about this, I have only owned 8" knives and the length is enough for what I cut at home, I'm not sure if I want my first good knife to be a longer one that may limit it's use.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2013
  8. alexane

    alexane

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    was a duplicate of the previous post
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2013
  9. davezatyowa

    davezatyowa

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    Yes, it can be hard to make the first jump to a longer blade with a good Japanese knife.  I was able to first try a longer blade on a cheaper (but still decent) knife that wasn't too costly. For example, 10" (approx 254mm) Victorinox/Forschner  Fibrox knives are widely used in professional kitchens; they cost about $30, are serviceable and can get quite sharp, and are one way to get a feel for a longer lighter-weight blade.  They can usually be found (here, anyway) at most restaurant supply shops.  If you end up getting a better Japanese blade, the Fibrox knife will still be good to have as a backup or loaner.

    I like the longer knives because they have a longer straight-ish section on back portion of the blade, providing a longer slice for larger items.  If you do any tip-down cutting they act a bit like a longer lever; because they're longer they don't require quite as much vertical lift/motion to get the same effect.  Although I still enjoy using an 210mm knife on occasion (they feel very light and nimble), a 240mm Japanese blade is my current preference for most things.  On a lightweight Japanese knife, the 240mm blade still feels pretty nimble.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2013
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  10. mike9

    mike9

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    From 210mm to 240mm we're talking a little over an inch in length.  I like 270mm for home use - it's closest to the 10" carbon chef knives I'm used to - forgecraft, lamson, dexter, ect.  Decide if you want to devote the few extra movements to carbon.  If you do you will be well rewarded.  I've been trying stainless clad and mono-steel lately and am very impressed, but they are spendy.  If you commit to learning sharpening then AEB-L with a good heat treat can be a great blade.  Artifex comes to mind - affordable, USA made and a good sharpening primer for under $100 delivered.

    Hey - you want a nice Forgecraft 10" Wa-conversion let me know - I have a couple I'm ready to part with. 
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2013
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  11. betowess

    betowess

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    I have a fairly small counter/kitchen space, so I really like using my 8 inch chef knives just fine. FWIW, I use my six inch chef knife a lot too!

    When I have a larger kitchen, I'll probably start using my 10 inch more often. But currently, I don't use my 10 inch as much as my various 8 inch knives which I have four of. If it was me,  I would maybe borrow a friends and try each size to see what works best.

    Regards steels, I know some abroad buy from Chefknivestogo.com.  I imagine there are a lot of choices in Greece for steels and what not too. I like my inexpensive ten inch (smooth) round polished steel by F. Dick. Its called F Dick "Packing House" steel. After reading others did this, I sanded my down with 125 grit sandpaper, progressing down to 400 grit, the wet/dry stuff. Some go all the way to 1200 grit, but I'm not sure why...  They are cheap steels, costing around $22 to $25 USD here in the USA. I saw one on amazon the other day for $22 plus shipping. Mine works absolutely great on my Sabatier carbons.

    So I think you would be smart to find a smooth polished one without the course grooves. Although I am no expert, it is my understanding that the ceramic hones actually abrade the edge a bit whereas the smooth steel will just re-align the edge... so you won't have to sharpen as often. Good luck in your decisions!
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2013
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  12. alexane

    alexane

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    Thank you all for your suggestions.

    After some thought I have decided to go for the Fujiwara FKM 210mm (already placed the order) for some reason I think I will be happier with the one piece steel rather than the VG10 "sandwich".
    About the size suggestion, although the difference of the 240mm is just about an inch I never felt that my old 8" knives were short for what I do so I'll stay in that size for now.
    I haven't thought of that , it is a great idea to smooth any aggressive bumps of the rod although I intend to buy a ceramic version when I can locate one that I like.

    Can someone please explain what are the advantages or disadvantaged of a 70/30 edge vs a 50/50 edge? (the knife I ordered says "Double Bevel Edge 70/30")

    Also please suggest the recommended angle I should use for sharpening , if the original angle is 11 degree do I work at that angle or go for 15 or 20 degree.
    I have read some threads where the suggested sharpening was with the spine just a coin higher that the stone, but that is extremely low like 3-4 degree, for a 44mm height of the blade the 11 degree is about 11mm distance for the spine.

    I have also started considering a waterstone (a budget two sided one for now), what do you think about http://www.ebay.com/itm/Japanese-wh...761?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3376f593e1
    I know it is not too big and I read some things against two sided stones but it should be a definite upgrade from the DMT diamond I have.

    It is a Suehiro1000/3000 , would I be able to sharpen the knife with it to get good results or the results will be mediocre ?

    Thank you

    Alex
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2013
  13. alexane

    alexane

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    5 hours and still waiting for my moderated post to appear in the thread /img/vbsmilies/smilies/frown.gif
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2013
  14. alexane

    alexane

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    Can you please advice me on this.

    I have searched the forum and found the stones mentioned in a couple of posts, I think they are not considered high quality stones and the grid is overrated but on the other hand I'm at the point where I don't want to spend  $150 to buy expensive ones.

    The above 1000/3000 stone will cost about $32 , for a similar amount I can get other stones with a single grade (I have searched for 1000 grit unless you suggest something different) which I suppose are of better quality (and usually bigger size too).

    The question is if a single grid stone like

    Japanese waterstone King K-45 #1000 toishi ICE BEAR

    {Magic Stone}Sharpening Sharpener Waterstone Whetstone #1000 Japan With Stand


    {NIKKEN}Sunstone Sharpening Sharpener Waterstone Whetstone #1000 Made in Japan



    would give better results than the Suehiro combination stone and is so which one of the three.

    I'm not looking for perfection, just something that will make my knife purchase (Fujiwara FKM) worthwhile keeping it sharp enough to enjoy it.

    Thank you

    Alex
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2013
  15. betowess

    betowess

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    I'll give it a crack. I think those two (double sided 1000/3000) will be OK, as the Fujiwara should be fairly sharp out of the box. My Edge Pro essential basic set up came with three shapton glass stones which were said to be the most popular... a 500 grit, a 1000 grit, and a polishing 4000 grit. That 1000 of yours should give you some tooth, which should be good for kitchen cutting. All these different stones have different ratings, but my 500 is suppose to be about 30 microns (kind of a lightly course, medium/fine) the 1000 is 14.7 microns (a fine grit), and the 4000 about 3.7 microns which is an extra extra fine (polishing). I know I can cut paper easy with the 500 grit stone...Caveat, I'm a newbie researching all this so I'm no expert.

    Hope this helps...
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2013
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  16. alexane

    alexane

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    I found another double stone which is in a good price , Japanese waterstone whetstone sharpening stone Naniwa #400/1200 and the size is bigger  178mm L x 50mm W x 30mm H (7" L x 2" W x 1.2" H) so this is an option too.

    But I don't know how usable the 400 grid is for casual sharpening , I mean maybe it is too aggressive and only useful to change an angle or something.

    Alex
     
  17. franzb69

    franzb69

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    get a king 1k/6k (or somewhere in that range) and you'll be fine with that.
     
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  18. betowess

    betowess

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    FWIW, my brand new Fujiwara was really sharp out of the box, so you won't need to do any profiling. I think starting at a 1K and another polish, like the last poster said, will do you fine. Unless you want to work on some of your current knives. But my FKM seems like it had a 70/30 right hand, and its nice and sharp. Hope this helps...
     
     
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  19. betowess

    betowess

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    /img/vbsmilies/smilies/lookaround.gif Sorry dbl post.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2013
  20. alexane

    alexane

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    Well, I don't intent to start messing with the knife is soon as I receive it but since the DMT diamond sharpeners are not a good match for the Fujiwara knife I want to get a water stone and start getting the feel for it (with my old knives) before I need to use it for the new knife.

    The king 1000/6000 is a very good stone but costs about $52 to buy it including shipping so it is kind of high for now.

    I'm currently between the
    Suehiro1000/3000 $31 130mm x 40mm x 27mm)
     and the
    King 1000  $28  (176mm x 52mm x 15mm)

    and I lean towards the king 1000 which should be a better "quality" stone (and bigger) and polish the knife (if needed) using my Belgian Blue stone (it is not a big size but will do) which is about 5000 until I buy a proper polishing stone King 6000.

    The other option that I was seriously thinking was the Naniwa #400/1200 $38 but I strongly doubt that the brand that the seller mentions is correct because I don't see the Naniwa logo (lobster with a V ) anywhere on the package or stone and I see a "water area" brand, in addition there is no 400/1200 combination model according to the Naniwa website.

    Alex