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Gift knife for my wife.

Thu Mar 27, 2014 5:48 pm

Hi,

Wife is a hobbyist cook who uses Henkel and Wustoff knives on a daily basis. She routinely uses either a 6'' chef's or Santoku - I believe because of the nature of the heavy, thick-bladed German knives.

She has decent handling skills (and has taken a professional knife skills course) and I believe she would find a better Japanese knife to be a revelation. I want a sharp blade out of the box, something that holds its edge longer relative to German knives, and is comfortable for an average size woman's hand (she is 5' 4" tall). I am looking for overall excellent value in the $100 - $200 range and don't care about brand hype. It looks to me like a Masamoto gyuto or Mac Pro chef around 9" in SS should be considered. Care to validate or offer further suggestions? I want to get her one delivered no later than April 4 for her birthday. FWIW, if she falls in love with this knife, I will probably purchase several more over time in a range of types/lengths. Who makes each knife will not be important, only the overall value and utility of the knife. I consider these long-term purchases.

So, a few questions:

- My understanding is that with decent knife skills, a longer Japanese all-around knife would be better, correct? If so, what length would you recommend given the info above? We have a very large butcher block counter, so cutting room is not an issue.
- Are those knives labeled "gyuto" and "chef" essentially the same thing?
- Does carbon require more maintenance and care than stainless?
- My understanding from interwebz research is that "whipiness" in ultra thin knives is probably something to stay away from for a hobbyist. True?


BTW, I am not inclined to turn knife sharpening into a hobby, nor will I do it every week. Any suggestions on home sharpeners that are not bank-busting would be appreciated.

Thanks!

Jim

P.S. I will go with a Yo handle this time.

Re: Gift knife for my wife.

Thu Mar 27, 2014 6:10 pm

I'd probably get a 210mm....maybe a 240mm but that's a BIG jump from her current size range.

Between Masamoto VG and the Mac Pro, I'd get the Masamoto every time.

Do keep in mind, though, the Masamoto has a flatter profile which may take some getting used to...but still a better knife and a better value IMHO.

Yes, gyuto and chef's knives are the same generally speaking. A gyuto will usually have a flatter edge profile, where as a chef's knife will typically have more belly/curve to the edge. So the Mac would be considered a chef's knife by most of us....and the Masamoto a gyuto.

No, carbon does not require more care....it just requires it immediately. And if immediately is not available, then you might have a good sized problem.

Not true really.....more true if she, or anyone who uses the knife, is careless. They're not as forgiving when used as a bone cruncher, or a pry bar, or...... If you're coming from a Henckels or Wusthof, the Masamoto VG is a good choice. Not thick at all, but not laser thin. A good compromise for the first Japanese knife.

For sharpening, I'd almost have to recommend a combo stone. Learn to strop to maintain an edge on the high grit side and once every few months use the coarse side to regrind the edge. A simple sharpening with a stone if done somewhat regulary (every two months) will only take 10 to 15 minutes and will provide a better edge than any gadget save some of the really nice one's like the EdgePro or the like.

Re: Gift knife for my wife.

Thu Mar 27, 2014 7:06 pm

Jim, I'd also highly recommend the Masamoto VG 210, but it's currently OOS. At the high end of your budget is the new Kohetsu HAP40 210 Gyuto: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/kohagy21.html. This steel will have very long lasting edge retention.

Another nice option with very easy to sharpen AEBL stainless steel is the Sakai Takayuki Grand Chef 210 Western Gyuto: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/tagrch21gy.html.

Beyond those, I'd probably drop down to the lower priced, but high value standby of Fujiwara FKM 210: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/fufkmgy21.html or Tojiro DP 210: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/tojiro-dp-f-8081.html. Comparison video between these two: http://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=yout ... u5UzzBvARM

Re: Gift knife for my wife.

Fri Mar 28, 2014 1:34 pm

Cool, thanks much for the post.

I am expanding my search a bit...and probably price point too. Now considering Konosuke HD2 along with Masamoto and the Sakai Takayuki Grand Chef. Have dropped the Mac from my list.

Re: Gift knife for my wife.

Fri Mar 28, 2014 2:36 pm

Jim,

I am a home cook and have a Richmond Laser with AS core and love it. The Richmond laser also comes in SS so there are great options.

I agree with a 210. My wife uses a santoku and does not like my 240 Gyuto - just too long for her.

Idahodave

Re: Gift knife for my wife.

Fri Mar 28, 2014 2:58 pm

Not too muddy the water, but if you are considering the masamoto VG, take a peek at the kikuichi TKC. About 20-30 more. Some (potential) upgrades over the VG - stamped kanji over printed, fair bit lighter, somewhat better steel (IMHO). Handles are similar.

That said, I currently own a 240 VG and it is a prepping machine. Holds a good edge for a good length of time (comparing to other stainless I have) and responds well to a ceramic hone. My only objections are that I would rather have the stamped kanji, the weight loss would be nice on the rare times the knife is in my hand for prolonged periods of time, and the chrysanthemum on the TKC is iconic and downright cool.

Re: Gift knife for my wife.

Fri Mar 28, 2014 3:10 pm

Well a gift worthy western handled knife that's easy on the wallet and yet nice looking is the Suisin Inox 210 guyto. Its got a profile that is somewhat western so she should be able to rock cut with it, a style she should be quit proficient with.

http://www.chefknivestogo.com/suisingyuto2.html

The other thing is that its 47mm tall which is a nice height for a 210 gyuto. Many of the 210 gyutos are below 45 mm which is going to feel short for her coming from a western chefs knife. All the recommended entry level gyutos, the fujiwara fkm, the tojiro dp and the richmond artifex are below 45 mm which will feel low for her. Western chef knives are about 1 7/8 inch tall, around 47, 48 mm. I'm probably similar to your wife skill wise, a proficient amateur. I find the 240 gyuto a bit tall and unwieldy, and the short 210 gyutos...short. A nice middle ground is a 210 that's about 47 or 48 mm tall.

The Suisin Inox gyuto is nice and sharp out of the box, thin and is nicely tapered toward the tip which will be a revelation for her when cutting foods. Its balanced like a western knife, is light and will feel very nimble in the hand. The thin tip will slide through onion like she's never experienced.

If you shop around for other knives at lease make sure the height is around 47mm or more. The shorter gyutos are suitable for a more japanese style of cutting, push, pull and chopping.

Only drawback is the steel is not one of the harder ones and will require sharpening from time to time. Good news is that it can be kept sharp easily for a few months by stropping but will eventually need to be taken to stones. Good news is that its cheap enough to include an inexpensive combo stone and still be within your 200 budget.

Re: Gift knife for my wife.

Fri Mar 28, 2014 5:42 pm

Hi all,
Nice forum and one of the best I have seen re: information richness and overall tone. While I was trying desperately not to acquire another hobby (registering on a forum is the first step in the illness!) I felt compelled to thank everyone who has responded so far to my initial query. As I will probably buy add'l knives in the future, it was probably a good investment of time. I want to digest some of what has been suggested here before posting further questions - I've already changed course as a result of your responses, and I want to further educate myself. Thanks again.

-jim

Re: Gift knife for my wife.

Fri Mar 28, 2014 5:54 pm

I know you're biased toward stainless, but I just noticed this knife thanks to another post on the forum. Kohetsu Blue #2: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/kohetsublue1.html

I don't own it but feel that it may meet your needs and the price is very good. The blue #2 steel while reactive is not too much so in my experience. I have two blue #2 knives, one SS clad and the other with a kurouchi finish, and find that the core steel exposed on the edge is fairly stable and has taken on a nice patina. I do wipe them down regularly while using them but not after every cut, then wash and thoroughly dry the knife. No problems at all and not a big change in how I use my knives.

Just a thought. Good luck with the search.

Re: Gift knife for my wife.

Fri Mar 28, 2014 6:41 pm

The kohetsu blue #2 looks like the richmond artifex 210 blue #2. Probably is cos Kohetsu is sort of like their house japanese brand. Yeah that looks like plain, all-about-the-performance knife, very nice.
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