Switch to full style
We encourage you to post your questions about kitchen knives here. We can give you help choosing a knife.
Post a reply

Fujiwara carbon any good?

Thu Apr 18, 2013 3:21 pm

Would you recommend these knives for someone new to the knife world? I'm just getting into cooking and the Farberware I bought is quite simply a piece of crap. Are there any others you would recommend? I want something sharp that I can also learn how to sharpen knives on. I've also read good things on Richmond Artifex, Tojiro ITK Kiritsuke, and the Yamashin White #1. Thanks for your help.

Re: Fujiwara carbon any good?

Fri Apr 19, 2013 8:27 am

The Fujiwara is a good entry level japanese knife. They use sk5 carbon steel which is pretty good and easy to sharpen.

My Richmond Artifex carbon is made with 52100 steel which is superior steel for kitchen knives but it costs a little more. It is also easy to sharpen and holds an edge better.

Both of these knives are fully carbon steel so they will rust if you don't wipe them dry after using them. I assume you know this. If you don't want to deal with this try my Richmond Artifex made with AEB-L stainless steel. http://www.chefknivestogo.com/riar21.html

Re: Fujiwara carbon any good?

Fri Apr 19, 2013 10:45 am

Mark, you're not being fair to either knife.

SK4 is barely okay carbon steel. 52100 is very good carbon steel, excellent even. Sucky or rockin' alloy? The choice is yours.

The Fujiwara FKH is a good knife for someone who really REALLY wants a Japanese made, carbon yo-gyuto with decent cosmetics and geometry, wants to keep the cost as low as possible to the nickel, is willing to put up with a few weeks of transferring unpleasant odors to food while the metal stabilizes, and also willing to put up with at least it's (slightly) better than a Henckels edge-holding forever.

The Artifex in 52100 is a much better knife than Mark is letting on. Compared to the FKH, it is a HUGELY better choice, and well worth the extra $15.

Last edited by boar_d_laze on Fri Apr 19, 2013 1:28 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Re: Fujiwara carbon any good?

Fri Apr 19, 2013 12:32 pm

IIRC, the FKH is made of SK-4. The smell issue will remain as long as you don't force a patina. With hot vinegar that's about half an hour.

Re: Fujiwara carbon any good?

Fri Apr 19, 2013 1:20 pm

SK4 is a whole lot like SK5, but with a little more carbon; and without any chromium, moly or vanadium like the improved version of SK5. Consequently, SK4 is more reactive, not as tough, and not as fine grained as New and Improved SK5. Overall, New and Improved SK5 is probably preferable. The whole SK carbon series has a relatively high level of impurities, and is nothing to write home about. Cheap though.

In my experience, the FKH continues to be a reactive and stinky knife even a week or so into a forced patina. Maybe not with the clear the elevator impact it has when it first comes out of the acid and the patina begins, but enough to obnoxiously affect the taste of food.

Also in my experience, patinas don't last forever. Anytime the knife is inadvertently scoured down to bare metal, and anytime the patina shows rust -- which does happen -- the patina should be removed and renewed. It's probably a good idea to clean patinas off every year or so anyway just to see what's going on with the metal, and then force a new one.

Still in my experience:
  • 52100 is MUCH better than SK4 (or SK5 for that matter);
  • The 52100 Artifex blade is a much better performer than the FKH SK5, partly because the Artifex has a better heat treatment; and
  • Because it's edge characteristics are so much better, the 52100 Artifex is a much better overall knife than the FKH; and
  • This is highlighted by comparing the stainless versions; because
  • Even though AEB-L is a better stainless alloy than AUS-8, the AEB-L Artifex is on a "Upickem" par with the Fujiwara FKM.

Hope this clarifies,

Re: Fujiwara carbon any good?

Fri Apr 19, 2013 3:08 pm

I actually like some of the properties of the SK4. Takes a pretty good edge IMO, and holds it okay too. But, yes, that stuff is horribly reactive at first, as in mess with your food a bit. Despite the reactivity, the Fujiwara holds a special place in my heart as a killer budget knife or first Japanese carbon knife. There are worse purchases to be made in the world, for sure.

I'm not making any recommendations with my post, just sharing my opinion the the steel. :)

Re: Fujiwara carbon any good?

Fri Apr 19, 2013 8:30 pm

Soooo...that leaves the Yamashin? ;)

Can't go wrong with that for learning sharpening + you get the White #1 carbon.

Although i've never tried one, seems like a sweet little deal for even the experienced chef.

Re: Fujiwara carbon any good?

Sat Apr 20, 2013 9:09 am

Or the Artifex in 52100...

Re: Fujiwara carbon any good?

Sat Apr 20, 2013 9:14 am

+1 with Shaun's opinions regarding SK4.

It's not horrible, but neither is it as good as some other choices and it does have some definite issues. A western equivalent, although with different issues, might be the 10xx alloy used for carbon Sabatiers.

Not to beat a dead horse or anything (whoa now, easy there Champ, easy big fella), the question here is not, "is SK4 good enough?" It's "which knife is better?" SK4's issues -- reactivity and h/t limitations -- are big enough that they drag the FKH well below the 52100 Artifex's level, even though the FKH is better cosmetically.

FKH vs 52100 Artifex is especially interesting because you don't often find that the blade alloy makes for a clear winner at a given price-point. Rather, its all too common for "knife guys" to over-focus on the importance of alloy identity and lose sight of a knife's gestalt.

By way of contrast and example: The stainless Fujiwara FKM (AUS8), Richmond Artifex (AEB-L), and Tojiro DP (san-mai VG-10) compete equally for very similar customers; each knife with its own distinct personality.

At that same price point, the Yamashin and Tojiro are altogether different kettles of kurouchi, san-mai fish with a different set of compromises. It's probably a good idea to make a decision regarding what type of knife you want, before deciding on the brand.

Just some thoughts,

Re: Fujiwara carbon any good?

Mon Apr 22, 2013 8:26 am

52100 is my most favorite carbon steel. :) I love it's ability to take an edge and how easily it does so.
Post a reply