Which knife to choose as a gift?

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Joined Jun 26, 2019
Hello everyone, I'm heading to culinary school shortly and will start working in a kitchen as well. My godfather offered to buy "the best" knife as a gift and I was wondering which one would you choose?
I was thinking of a Gyuto since I really like japanese ones. I'm starting my journy in the not-my-house-culinary world so I barely know how to sharpen knives with stones. I'll be learning all of this with experience over the next months and years but keep this in mind when suggesting a knife that needs to be sharpened often.
Design wise I'm really in love with Miyabi and Shun knives, although I've read so many threads here with a lot of hate for these two brands. Budget wise it can be anywhere between $200-400 so if a very nice looking knife performs the same as a MAC (example) but it's $100 more expensive, I'd take the prettier one. Also, I'm not considering carbon or knives that require a lot of care for now, just in case.
thanks for your time!



PD: here's a list of the brands that were the most recommended online in no particular order

miyabi
masamoto VG
gesshin ginga
konosuke hd
Teruyasu Fujiwara Denka
MAC
Ryusen Blazen
 
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Joined Nov 18, 2010
Normally, I wouldn't care much about design or Fit&Finish. In the case of a present that's a bit different, I guess. So, you're looking for a stainless chef's knife. A good length is 240mm. Have a look at the Misonos, especially the 440 and UX-10 series. The first rather conventional by design, the last quite innovative. If you go for a Misono, get it from Korin and have the free 'initial stone sharpening'. UX-10 are made of Sandvik's 19C27 which keeps some bite even after the first dulling.
Important: Japanese knives have an asymmetry that's quite beneficial to right-handed users — left side almost flat, right side convexed, edge off-centered to the left. If you were left-handed, order one with the inverted geometry.
 
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Joined Jun 26, 2019
Thanks for the reply, benuser! I was thinking about Misono's at Korin, that's a very plausible option. How different would a UX-10 perform against a Miyabi BLACK 5000MCD67, a BIRCHWOOD - 5000MCD or an ARTISAN - 6000MCT?
pros and cons if price was the same for all of these?
 
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Joined Nov 18, 2010
IIRC, the Miyabis are typically intended for the German market. High tip, fat belly, balance point with the handle. Great for tall rock choppers behind a low counter. Pumping from the shoulder.
The Misono has more the French profile and a forward balance point.
 
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Joined Nov 15, 2012
The Myabi black is a good (Japanese-style) knife, and good deal for very pricey ZDP-189 steel, and 9.5" is just a hair under your PR. Tough to sharpen as it is very abrasion resistent, and doesn't handle poly-boards well as it tends to be chippy, but a good micro-bevel and good technique takes care of that in large part.

For a good performing and good looking knife in a more durable steel (19C27), and if you are in the States, then a Geshin Gonbei hammered, sold out at the moment:
https://www.japaneseknifeimports.com/products/gonbei-240mm-hammered-damascus-wa-gyuto

Geshin ginga is a great choice for a laser (fully stainless), as is the Kono HD (semi-stainless, but close enough).

Also consider Tanaka Ginsan and VG-10 (Tanaka does a good job with this steel).
 
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Joined Mar 1, 2017
There is an old superstition that you should know about. Make sure that when you are presented with the knife that you give your godfather something in return. Anything will do; a dime, a penny, a button.....anything that belongs to you. There is an old superstition that basically says that when a knife is given as a gift, it cuts the bonds of friendship. By giving your uncle something you own in return for the knives, they will not be gift and the bonds of friendship will be preserved.

Ok....now on to your question.

Start with the basics. Choosing a knife is a very personal decision. What may be good for others may not necessarily be good for you. Sure, many people can recommend knives based upon their quality and objective features such as blade style, materials, dimensions etc. But, no one can really recommend a knife to you based upon subjective qualities, especially those that deal with your personal preferences.

So here are some questions you should answer that will help you narrow down your choices and help you target the knife that is right for you.

- Do you want Western or Japanese style?
- How well developed are your knife skills, including the use of sharpening stones?
- What sort of grip do you use?
- What will be the knife's primary job?
- What sort of metal do you want the blade made from?
- What material do you want the handle made from?
- Where do you want the balance point to be?
- What type of bevel do you want?
- What dimensions do you want in the blade (length, height, blade width)?
- What characteristics do you want in the blade i.e. length, flexibility, hardness etc?

Any of the brands and styles recommended in this are thread are excellent choices, including those that you have mentioned. I would recommend that you visit a cutlery store, if you have one nearby, and try out some knives after you've had a chance to answer these questions. I would suggest that you re-arrange these questions based upon your order of preference and go from there.

Good luck! :)
 
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Joined Nov 15, 2012
Oh for lasers I forgot the Ikazuchi, great value, unfortunately also currently out of stock:
https://www.japaneseknifeimports.com/collections/ikazuchi/products/ikazuchi-240mm-stainless-clad-blue-super-wa-gyuto

Geshin also carries Ryusen Blazen, rather pricey though.

My philosophy is adjust your technique to the knife (within reason though, no Germans here). And exception is where for some product you really want a completely flat profile, here I have a very good petty knife I ground a nice flat into. This for producing fine slices of celery, garlic, etc, machine-gun rapid.

As far as handles go, so long as you make your 2 smallest fingers your "power" fingers, keep the rest of your fingers relatively relaxed, you'll have no problem with any handle you'll find on knives recommended here.
 
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Joined Sep 10, 2019
The most essential kitchen tool of all. At every price point, for every kind of cooking lover.
There are different kinds of knives which can choose as a gift available for the kitchen.
All recommended brands that you have mentioned are excellent choices. Even Though, I would like to recommend Global G-2, gesshin ginga and Ryusen Blazen.
 
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Joined Sep 23, 2019
I most definetly agree with sgsvirgil sgsvirgil - drop by a knife store close to you and try out the knives before you decide. As he also said, its to subjective of a choice to base it solely on recommendations.
Fx. I dont enjoy the Global G-2 or the Ryusen Blazen as it is either to uncomfortable or too thick in the tapering - I do though, really enjoy my Konosuke HD2, Konosuke MM, Ashi Hamono Ginga Swedish Steel (this one is a definete addition to your list of knives to try before you decide.) and a lot of other knives.

Put some time and effort into finding the right knife before you put your money on the table. You will be happy for that over the years and your knife will give you much more joy than you can imagine. Its just like Harry Potter and his wands, you'll know when you find the right one.

Good luck out there ;)
 
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Joined Nov 18, 2010
Don't expect too much from trying a knife in a brick-and-mortar shop. You probably learn more about what you're used to than about the one you're actually handling. First impressions might be very wrong, as far as knives are concerned. At home, it takes a week or two to get know one, appreciate its qualities and understand the maker's choices.
Better go now for a middle-of-the-road, as a Misono or Fujiwara Kanefusa.
 
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Joined Jun 26, 2019
sgsvirgil sgsvirgil thanks for the answer! and will do the coin thing.
thanks as well to the rest of the contributers, for some reason I stopped getting emails and forgot about this thread. He'll be traveling next month so I need to get back at it and find the one.
Unfortunately for me, I'm currently positioned in Argentina and no stores that sell these knives let you try them.

- Do you want Western or Japanese style?
Most probably Japanese but I'm open to a good western. My culinary school will give me a Zwilling Western Knife (I think Diplome line).
- How well developed are your knife skills, including the use of sharpening stones?
Knife skills are excelent for a home cook, but I still have a long way to learn. Sharpening is very basic and will want to get into this soon (he's bringing a few KING stones)
- What sort of grip do you use?
Not sure the name, my index finger usually wraps around the blade while my thumb is holding the blade on the opposite side
- What will be the knife's primary job?
All day/Workhorse knife. For culinary school and full time kitchen job.
- What sort of metal do you want the blade made from?
The steel part/decision is what troubles me. I can't seem to decide which one would be the best for me. I wouldn't mind it being reactive but I guess I'd have to take a lot of care and it wouldn't be the best for the use I'll give it.
- What material do you want the handle made from?
I dont mind
- Where do you want the balance point to be?
Centered
- What type of bevel do you want?
Double edged, I'm guessing 50/50? I'm right handed so 70/30 can work too but I guess could be harder to sharpen?
- What dimensions do you want in the blade (length, height, blade width)?
240mm I think will be the right size for this.
- What characteristics do you want in the blade i.e. length, flexibility, hardness etc?
I'd love if it had a good looking, hard blade that can hold the edge for the longest possible and also not very prone to chipping. Ideally a knife that will last many many years.
- Budget?
200-550. If a 500 knife will be years ahead of a 200 one, and will last so much longer and look better, etc etc then I'll get that one. BUT maybe there's a 150-200 one that has very similar specs and makes the 500 one not worth it..
Thanks so much, everyone, for the input :)
 
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