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Wed Apr 24, 2013 9:54 am
I've got what is probably one of your most asked questions: Which 210mm gyoto should I buy? I have looked at all of the ones you have to offer and have a few favorites, I just need your input.
Fit and finish are pretty important, so rough handles, or cheapish components like plastic ferrules, to keep cost down aren't ideal for me. Something that had care put into it, even if (especially if) it is a simple looking tool.
I don't have a big preference in steel, both stainless and high carbon would work for me. Keeping a carbon knife from rusting can't be too difficult. The main thing I'm looking for is something that sharpens relatively easily, holds a reasonable edge, and can be repaired in a straight-forward way. A steel I won't outgrow. I have an Atoma 400 diamond stone, and Shapton Pro 1000/5000/8000 stones.
Some of the knives I have considered include the Tojiro DP, the Sakai Yusuke Gyuto, the Moritaka Gyuto, the Fujiwara Carbon Gyuto, and the Konosuke HH Stainless Wa-Gyuto. The Sakai and Konosuke knives look the best to me, aesthetically, with their Ho wood handles and buffalo ferrules. I'm looking at knives under $200, essentially, and would love your input/insight on these knives.
Wed Apr 24, 2013 10:29 am
Of the one's you like.....the Konosuke wins in every category that matters to a knife. Except that it's out of stock.
The one thing I will not is that these knives tend to run short and feel small. The 210mm wa-gyuto's from Konosuke and Sakai Yusuke seem very dainty in hand. If that's what you're after, great....but if you've had a 210mm western gyuto and expect a similar knife but with a wa handle, you might be surprised at how small it feels.
Wed Apr 24, 2013 10:56 am
If im not mistaken the Sakai Yusuke has a printed kanji, not an engraved one (like the Konosuke). That was something that i considered when deciding on a knife in this category.
Wed Apr 24, 2013 12:09 pm
The 240s run short for Konosuke and they are in stock. That would be my recommendation since we have them in stock.
Thu Apr 25, 2013 2:42 pm
The Konosuke is a "laser." Lasers are not like other knives in that they are ultra thin.
In terms of what I call "perceived sharpness" laser geometry is a big plus. In addition to the benefits gained from thinness, both knives are made from really good alloys which are appropriately treated, etc., etc. The only limits on sharpness for either will be your ability to sharpen.
Lasers are very, very, very, very light. That's a good thing, because they're so agile and non-fatiguing. That they are so light makes them completely dependent on sharpness and not at all on mass.
Their anorexic construction also makes them fairly flexible. Flexibility, in and of itself, is not an inherently good thing for a gyuto, but is not a deal breaker either. If you tend to bind your current knives by racking them to one side or the other in the cut, or by torquing them in the cut (which usually results in unintentional bias cutting), you'll want something stiffer. I've learned from talking to a lot of people that those things tend to be bigger problems for people in professional kitchens working under a lot of time pressure than for home cooks.
The laser's combination of light weight and flexibility means they won't respond well to extra effort on the part of the user, because that -- like an overly firm grip -- tends to unintentionally steer, rack and torque the knife.
Ironically, people who worry about whether their skills are up to using a flexible knife are less likely to suffer from flexibility than those who are overly confident. Perhaps not so much "ironically" as "predictably."
A laser isn't for everyone, but if you're willing to take the time to keep the knife sharp, and to acquire good skills (including a soft, pinch-grip), it's a damn good way to go.
The Tojiro DP is an entry-level knife, and in an entirely different category from the Konosuke. If you're willing to pay for a Kono, you don't want a Tojiro. The Fujiwara FKH has some very serious issues which are a product of its barely mediocre alloy. I doubt if it's a good choice for you. Actually, since you seem primarily interested in a wa-gyuto, why bother at all?
Carbon doesn't really require that much more care than stainless, but it does require its care NOW! NOT LATER! NOW! DAMMIT!!! That's either something you can live with or not. If you can, you'll get a more pleasant and smoother feel on the stones, and possibly a little extra bang for the buck -- but not that much else. Everything else being equal, modern, high-quality stainless alloys take and hold an edge as well as modern, high-quality carbon and semi-stainless alloys.
Hope this helps,
Thu Apr 25, 2013 5:43 pm
Konosuke makes great knives, both in terms of performance, as well as fit and finish, at least the ones I've had my hands on. I can't comment on Western-style handled knives from them as I've only had the Japanese-handled ones in my hands. Both their carbon-steel and stainless knives seem to take and hold an edge well.
I haven't had a Masamoto carbon-steel gyuto in my hands in a couple years, but I remember having a very good impression about its balance and shape (it was probably a 240 or 270 though). As I recall, it is a good balance between super thin and hefty. Their steel, in my opinion, is excellent, even in the moderate-priced grades of their line. If you are considering carbon-steel knives, it would be on my short list to put your hands on.
BDL is dead on with the care required for carbon-steel knives. If you don't already have a habit of wiping your knife as you work, you may find yourself with a strangely stained one even as quickly as you took the minced onions from the cutting board and got them starting to wilt in the pan. That said, good habits and making sure you always clean them and keep them oiled for storage, they can easily become your favorites.
On sharpening any of these, going from 1000 to 5000 is going to be quite a jump. On my knives I go from 2000 to 6000 (Shapton glass stones) and there is always a lot of care required on the 6000 to get out the marks left by the 2000. I'm a believer in the fewer steps you can take, the less chance for getting one of the grind angles a little off, the better the end result. 8000 may be a little sharp, especially if you use a slicing action rather than a chopping action.
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