Wed Nov 21, 2012 2:04 pm
Hi guys @ CKTG,
I really appreciate you have a forum here where people can ask questions. It would be great if there were a large user community answering these question. That point has not been reached, but if you do things well, it only takes time. But to be honest, I’m a bit disappointed in the answers I get to my questions. This is no criticism to anyone here, since I appreciate people taking the time to answer my questions.
The point is I'm a prospective knife buyer. In a real-life shop I’m able to feel the knives and I can quite easily feel what’s best for me. CKTG has a much better selection of kives, but it's an internet shop. Then I really depend on the feedback from other people (and particularly people from CKTG).
I was/am looking for a top gyuto. It should be stainless and have an ergonomic Western handle. Originally I posed a question on the Misono UX-10, which I thought would be top notch: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=1392
. Fortunately I got a warning that the steel of the UX-10 was not so great (for my purposes, I love sharpening, so would like a knife that takes a keen edge). I then asked what the alternatives would be. No answer.
Then I mailed Mark R with the same question. He posted my mail on the forum and answered it. viewtopic.php?f=4&t=1416
. Unfortunately he seemed to have misunderstood my question. I posted this on the forum. No answer.
Finally I decided to pose my question again in a dedicated post: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=1434
. One person replied with the answer “get a rehandled Artifex”, but that was already the answer I got in my first post. I was looking for alternatives, although it's surely an option.
So my immediate question is: could anyone please answer my question? (Best phrased in the last post.)
But my more long-term question would be: I love this forum, since I’m into knives and knife sharpening. How can this forum be improved so that questions can be answered in a better way? That’s also in my personal interest, since I love kitchen knives and would probably order more in the future.
Wed Nov 21, 2012 7:07 pm
The issue you are having is that your criteria are more vague that you think, and your question is entirely subjective. What is the top knife that:
is fully stainless
gets very sharp
has a western handle
That is exactly like saying which is the very best, top car that:
has a 5 year warranty
can get up to 100 mph
has 4 doors
I think the best way to improve this forum to avoid this problem from happening again is to have a carefully considered questionnaire written out so the field can be narrowed down.
As for your knife, if those are the three criteria you need, and you subjectively like the Misono UX10, then get that. It is fully stainless, will get very sharp(as most knives will), and has a large-ish western handle. I don't know if I would call it ergonomically dreamy, because the spine and whatnot are pretty sharp on those, but I don't know if that is an issue for you(nothing some sandpaper can't fix).
Other people don't like the UX10 for a number of reasons, none of which were listed as concerns by you:
1. They are expensive. They were much cheaper not long ago, which adds to this feeling.
2. They are heavy in comparison to other Japanese knives.
3. The steel is not very hard.
4. They are right-hand specific.
So maybe you should just get the UX10.
Wed Nov 21, 2012 10:22 pm
There aren't many Western handled knives in GOOD stainless steels. AEB-L and S35VN are two choices for GOOD stainless. That leaves the Artifex in AEB-L, Sakai Takayuki Grand Chef in AEB-L and the Shaun Fernandez S35VN steel gyuto's. I got to play with a Sakai Takayuki Grand Chef Kiritsuke and it was pretty nice F&F wise.
Other knives like the Konosuke HH, Hiromoto and other brands G3, etc are OK, but the steel isn't up to AEB-L and S35VN. The Suisin Inox Western has steel that may be at a lesser level than the other knives. Most Western handles knives are in a Vg-10 core/SS panel damascus, and I don't really care for VG-10. Kikuichi TKC and the Kono HD are Semi Stainless knives in Western style handles, but in your original post, you don't want a semi stainless. 19C27 is OK, but I like AEB-L/13C26 better due to the finer grain size and the way it sharpens up and holds an edge.
So there are 3 choices in a Western handled knife with GOOD stainless from CKTG. Artifex, Fernandez and the Sakai Takayuki Grand Chef. Only the Grand Chef has a metal bolster. But you want a handle for larger hands and the stock Artifex have thin (1/4" thick or so) scales, so they wouldn't be the best choice for larger hands. I can rehandle them in Black Micarta not too much $$$ that will fit a larger hand better, but still have the same black handle look and not be as costly as the stabilized burl woods. I dunno how large the Fernandez handles are since I haven't handled them yet (I think the handles maybe a bit longer possibly?), but the stock Artifex won't work well for your larger hands. So that leaves the Grand Chef and the Fernandez if they are bigger than the Artifex, but it's hard to tell from the pics.
You gotta compromise in the steel and get a knife with a lower end steel and bigger handle, or get the Artifex and have it rehandled to fit your hands better, or see if Shaun can make you up a larger handle for his S35VN series. Or get the Grand Chef. It's not that the forum knowledge base is limited, it's that the choices for what you want are very limited. But fair warning, most Western style handles from a factory are NOT very ergonomic. They are rounded on the edges and the front is tapered, but they still feel very blocky in the hand. I doubt you will find any knife will have an ergonomic Western style handle from the factory for big hands. They will need some work, which you can easily do yourself with files and sandpaper to make them more comfortable, but they won't be as ergonomic.
I got to play with a UX-10 and the customer wanted it re handled. As far as ergonomics, I wasn't very impressed with the UX-10, especially for all of it's hype and reputation and cost. F&F on the stock Artifex and even on the Fujiwara series was on par with the UX-10 in terms of the handle fitting the tang and bolster. The UX-10 had a little cut out for the pinky towards the birds beak on the handle, but you can do that yourself with a half round file, some sandpaper and about 10 minutes of time. The rehandle I did on the UX-10 had much nicer F&F handle wise to the tang and bolster and the handle melted into the hand and felt much less blocky. Factories aren't going to spend a ton of time on the handle shaping/contouring because everyone has a different hand size/shape. They go with what feels good for a large portion of the population. I sharpened up the UX-10 and the steel didn't feel all that special. The AEB-L is easy to sharpen, and holds an edge for a good amount of time.
Outside of CKTG, there still aren't many choices. Gesshin Ginga Western Stainless or their Powder Metal Stainless steel Gesshin Kagero are 2 other choices. The Gesshin Ginga has better F&F than the Kagero series.
The problem is that the Western handled knives with high end stainless just aren't found too often. Without going full custom, there just aren't many choices out there. Most have OK handles and OK steel, but it's rare to get the Good steel and Good handle, especially for larger hands.
Sat Nov 24, 2012 2:07 am
MARK <> I'm totally online with Eamon.
I remember your post & chose to not respond because it was so vague. I've written "books" as responses to vague questions just like yours covering options for different combinations of possibilities that the question actually presents... extremely time consuming & very frustrating.
Irrespective of my rhetoric, I hope Eamon & Tim have given you more faith in our little community here. And honestly, I think it's awesome that the owner of a company, Mark, took time to not only respond to you direct, but to spend even more time posting it on the forum to give you a larger audience. Pretty rare nowaday.
Sat Nov 24, 2012 12:57 pm
I've stopped making recommendations on knives a long time ago. Unless I'm asked about a specific knife I have owned or used I usually don't offer an opinion.
As far as the question posted.......... Togiharu. I'm partial to the hammered damascus. Sold at Korin.
Sat Nov 24, 2012 10:16 pm
Salty, he said in the first post he doesn't want VG10.
But those Togiharus are pretty neat. Blingy too.
Sat Nov 24, 2012 10:47 pm
What's up with that?
Sun Nov 25, 2012 4:36 am
The hattori forum and takeshi saji vg10 knives are excellent. I've heard outstanding things of the kagayaki stainless line as well. Recently people have spoken up of the hirimoto stainless, too.
Basically, the steel isn't as important as what the maker does with it....
UX10 is a fine knife I'm sure, its price point outs a huge bullseye on its back....
Mon Nov 26, 2012 4:25 pm
Yes the Ginsan Hiromoto is a good knife. It gets overlooked. I'm thinking of having some custom handles done on those just like the AS line. It would make a standout knife for the money.
Fri Nov 30, 2012 8:47 pm
Thanks everyone for your answers, particularly Tim and Eamon for your extensive and helpful answers.
The ability to take a great edge is the most important criterion for me. I know AEB-L and I've never seen a stainless knife I could get sharper. I didn't know S35V was in the same class in that respect. (I do know S30V pretty well and that sucks.) Definitely no VG-10, too. G3 (Hiromoto) certainly is an option. And I hear good things about the Konosuke HH, but nobody seems to know what steel composition they use. Mostly people seem to guess it is 19C27. And really, that is my problem with the Misono UX-10 too.
So I guess it'll be a Sakai Takayuki Grand Chef or a rehandled Artifex. Tim, I'll post a separate question about Artifex rehandling.
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