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Another "which knife" question

Thu Apr 18, 2013 4:21 pm

Hi all,

New here. Reading a lot and getting good info. Here looking for first "good knife" recommendation. A few considerations:

    - Knife will be used by me and the SO, who has hands a little smaller than mine (not a lot smaller). Mine are average sized.
    - Will be used mostly for veggies. Not sure why, but we tend to not cut a lot of meat. No fish ever (bad allergies in the family).
    - I cook almost every night, so the knife will get frequent usage. Last night I chopped veggies for 20 mins. More on weekends.
    - I have an Edge Pro. I'm ordering some of the EP helper tools available here (had no idea those existed).
    - Would prefer to not have to sharpen all the time - something that holds an edge well would be nice
    - I currently have the popular Victronox 10" chef's knife, a Sabbatier Santoku and a Wusthof Santoku. Forschner gets the most use by far.
    - I pinch grip my knives - not sure if that matters. I have ok knife skills, certainly not great or advanced.
    - I have kids in the house. Possible this knife could end up sitting in water. Still would consider CS.
    - No preference for handle style (have not used Japanese style)

Based on what I've read here I'm considering the Shun Classic 8" ($130), Sakai Takayuki Damascus 210mm ($160), or Richmond in the same price range. The Konosuke Wa-Gyuto HD 210mm sounds like a great knife for me, but is a little out of my price range. However, if I'm going end up buying one anyone, better to not spend $130 first.

Edit: also looking at the Tanaka Damascus 210mm ($150)
Edit 2: Answers to the "how to get help" questions:

1. Are you right handed? Yes
2. What type of knife are you interested in (gyuto, nakiri etc..) Chef's, Gyuto
3. What size knife are you looking for? Probably 8", maybe 10", open to input
4. Do you prefer carbon or stainless steel? Whichever performs better in my circumstances
5. Do you prefer a western handle or a Japanese handle? No pref, but have not used a Japanese handle
6. How much did you want to spend? ~$150
7. Do you know how to sharpen? With an EdgePro

Re: Another "which knife" question

Fri Apr 19, 2013 1:43 am

If you think you can boost your budget to get the Kono HD then that is really the best way to go. If it's at all an oprion, wait and save the extra for it for sure.

Re: Another "which knife" question

Fri Apr 19, 2013 9:01 am

I like the Kono HD a lot as well. That would be my choice but there are good choices below that in price.

The Goko is a good knife and is in your price range. It's hand made, is a workhorse and is stainless clan so only the edge will oxidize.
Check out Shaun's video review of the knife here: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/gokogyuto240mm.html

Re: Another "which knife" question

Fri Apr 19, 2013 10:27 am

As a function of bunch of weight/geometry stuff, a wa-gyuto will handle "shorter" than similar length yo-gyuto. Wa-gyuto lasers in particular are so much lighter than yo-gyuto that they handle "shorter" still. If you can use the 10" Forschner comfortably, you'll find a 210cm wa-gyuto too damn short.


If you and your wife have different preferences, don't compromise on hers. Don't try to convert her to your tastes either. Unless you do all the cooking (and maybe even if you do), your job is to make sure she has exactly what she wants.


PS. If you’re afraid you’ll have to overlook it, besides you knew the job was dangerous when you took it (cluck, awk!)

Re: Another "which knife" question

Fri Apr 19, 2013 1:21 pm

Thanks to all three for the replies (Paradox, Mark, BDL). Will look at that other knife Mark suggested.

BDL, I don't really know her preferences. She's fine with the knives we have - she generally wants them sharper than I keep them, so better edge retention is probably preference. And thanks for the balance/length comments - will look at longer blades. Maybe I need to consider two different, less expensive knives to figure out preferences.


Re: Another "which knife" question

Thu Apr 25, 2013 8:01 am

Back again. I waited to long to pull the trigger on the Kono 210 and it's out of stock now. (Was trying to get stones and other stuff lined up.) I could get the 240, but it's beyond my budget for a first knife. The GF likes smaller knives, so also want to see how she likee it. Contemplating the Kanehiro, Sakai, or Masamoto HC.

It occurred to me that I could get a less expensive Gyuto and also get a Nakiri to play with and still be under $150. Artifex carbon and Tsutomu Kajihara Kurouchi both look like great "budget" carbon Gyutos. Mark, do you have the specs on the Tsutomu Kurouchi - wondering how wide it is. Could you compare the two?

Re: Another "which knife" question

Thu Apr 25, 2013 10:17 am

Seems like you're on a good track on getting yourselves some nice knives!

My core recommendation for people not working in a commercial setting would be to buy the best quality gyuto that you can, in the largest size that you can comfortably use on your cutting boards. "Big" cutting boards for the home are generally 12"x18" and for that size, a 240 mm gyuto is a great size. Japanese knives "feel" very different than the typical Western-style knives, or the mass-market knives. I've got a 10" Forshner and a 300 mm gyuto and the gyuto is, at least to the two of us, the more nimble of the two. When I met my wife, she was using a ChefMate 6" -- when I brought over a ~170 mm santoku so I could functionally work in her kitchen, she thought that was big. Now she reaches for the 300 mm gyuto for most tasks. Especially if you start to use a slice action rather than Western rock-and-chop action, you'll appreciate the usable length of the edge.

The gyuto will probably become your main knife. If you pick a good one, you'll have it for years and years. If it helps, divide the price differential between your choices over 365 days in a year and decide that you can make up the difference by not buying coffee once a week, or whatever.

I do like the Masamoto HC knives. The steel takes a great edge and the balance and shape on the ones I've held seem very nice. I've got a 150 mm petty from Masamoto that I enjoy immensely. You do need to be careful with non-S/S knives and things like onions, citrus, and even tomatoes as they can stain very quickly. I can't comment on the others you mentioned as I'm not familiar with them.

No matter your knife choice, I'd suggest getting in the habit of having a prep towel next to your cutting board, both as a safe place to place the knife down, as well as to wipe it down as a habit.

I'd advise against getting a "budget" gyuto and a nakiri. Unless you grew up with Japanese cutting styles or are working in a commercial setting, there is very little that a nakiri can do that you can't do at least as well with a good 240 mm gyuto. About the only think I can think of is "peeling" daikon or cucumber into long, paper-thin sheets. Even the nakiri itself is something of a compromise blade; as I understand it is is a "home" version of a professional chef's usuba, made a little more robust and easier to care for.

When you decide to go for a second knife, I'd recommend a "petty" knife, perhaps around 150 mm. It will find use for dealing with smaller vegetables (shallots, for example) and replacing most of the things that many would use a Western paring knife for. Like the gyuto, a 150 mm petty handles more like a smaller 3-4" paring knife.

At least for me, a 210 mm gyuto is an awkward size. It is a little big for a petty knife, but a little small to work long things like carrots and celery.

Keep the Forshner -- I have reground mine to steeper angles so it feels like it has a reasonably sharp edge. It comes in handy for dealing with things that might end up chipping my good gyuto, from something that might have bones it it to splitting open hard squash. It's also great when someone else is in the kitchen that I don't know how well they understand knife use and care.

Re: Another "which knife" question

Thu Apr 25, 2013 10:50 am

Two concurrent thoughts:

1. You guys rock! Thanks much for the detailed reply and insight. It was helpful.

2. You guys suck! You are giving answers that can only result in me spending more money. The answer I wanted was "yeah, that $100 knife will be practically as good as the $300 Kono, it just won't look as good." But no, you couldn't do this.

And to top that off, I had this conversation with a friend recently:

Me: Looking at new kitchen knife or two. Considering a nice Japanese style knife.
Him: I have a friend who makes knives. You should look at his stuff. He studied knife making in Japan.
Me: (rolling eyes). I'm sure they're very good. I'm looking at GOOD knives.
Him: I think his knives are pretty good. You should check his web site. His name is Murray Carter.

Turns out Carter's shop is about 2 miles from where I work. Trigger pulled on the Kono 240.

Re: Another "which knife" question

Thu Apr 25, 2013 11:30 am

Great choice!

Re: Another "which knife" question

Thu Apr 25, 2013 12:58 pm

Great call, you won't be disappointed!
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