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 Post subject: Gyuto Advice-knife that holds edge longer than v10
PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2014 1:09 pm 

Joined: Sun May 04, 2014 8:28 pm
Posts: 5
Hi CK2G,

I am a relative newcomer to Japanese chef's knives, and I need advice. I want to upgrade from my current Shun.
I'll run through the questions, then write a short explanation--any advice would be welcome!

1. I am right-handed.
2. Gyuto.
3. Longer than 8'' (what I have now).
4. SS
5. Western handle is what I have right now, but I'd be willing to switch.
6. $200-$300
7. No, I take my knives to the guys at union market in dc, but I'd be willing to learn.

Right now, I have a Shun 8'' Classic chef's knife I bought about 2 years ago, which is vg10 clad. It is a good knife, but I would like to move to a chef's knife that is sharper ootb, and holds an edge longer. I also want my next chef's knife to be longer--originally it was an adjustment but now I wish I had more knife real estate. I am a home cook who has taken a knife skills class. The problem is that I don't have enough experience with Japanese knives to know what a good next knife would be, and by good I mean a really sharp knife, with superior edge retention, with a similar heft to my Shun, although even on heft I think I would be okay moving to a knife with a heavier heft.

Additionally, I have a general question about the steel out of which a knife is made--what would be the advantage of switching away from vg10 to another material? Does anyone feel strongly about a certain knife steel over vg 10?

Any advice would be great. Knives I'm looking at but have no reason to preference besides favorable reviews/research are
Misono UX 10 Gyuto 270mm and the Tanaka Damascus Gyuto 240mm. Sorry in advance for the wall of text and thank you for reading!


 Post subject: Re: Gyuto Advice-knife that holds edge longer than v10
PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2014 1:32 pm 

Joined: Tue May 01, 2012 3:37 pm
Posts: 595
Location: Pensacola, FL, USA
A PM (Powder Metallurgy) steel knife will be a step up from VG-10 in terms of edge retention. One like the Haruyuki SRS-15 knife, which has been sold under the Akifusa and Ikeda names as well.

Check out the review of the knife (under the Akifusa name) on ZKnives: ... g240.shtml

You also need to be aware that OOTB sharpness is not a good criteria for choosing a knife.

 Post subject: Re: Gyuto Advice-knife that holds edge longer than v10
PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2014 1:44 pm 
Site Admin
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Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2012 1:18 pm
Posts: 10864
Location: Madison Wisconsin
Rick's pick is a good one for a western handle gyuto that is stainless and holds an edge well.

If you want to try a good wa handled knife check out this Kanehiro Ginsan. It breaks your budget by a little bit but it's an excellent knife:

Mark Richmond
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 Post subject: Re: Gyuto Advice-knife that holds edge longer than v10
PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2014 1:52 pm 

Joined: Sat Mar 01, 2014 1:15 am
Posts: 3050
Location: Raleigh, NC
VG 10 is actually okay knife steel, if a tad dated. We usually give Shun the cold shoulder for other reasons.

PM steels have what you want. In line with that, the edge on a Kohetsu in HAP40 will last a long time. While it is semi stainless, it requires no more care than most people pay to their nice knives. It's a tough knife to own if you plan to learn sharpening on it.

Finally, how long are you getting out of these sharpenings? How hard do you work your knife? I've found VG-10 to hold an edge alright myself. It looks like you mean DC Sharp, which looks 100% legitimate, but the job done is hard to judge without testimony.

 Post subject: Re: Gyuto Advice-knife that holds edge longer than v10
PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2014 2:17 pm 

Joined: Tue Oct 29, 2013 3:21 pm
Posts: 427
I really like the cheaper Tanaka Kurouchi profile and blade. The Tanaka Damascus comes with a much higher quality finish. I would highly recommend that blade. You must accept that it is not stainless and will re-act with foods. Putting a patina on will only do so much. If you feel that wiping the knife down frequently and not letting it stay with moisture is a problem by all means go with a stainless, or semi stainless option.

The Tanaka holds a great edge and takes a beating. If you have a 300$ budget you should absolutely consider 100$ of the budget on sharpening stones. You can practice on the Shun and see results and translate that over to sharpening your new knife.

The Shun is a very handle heavy knife. The Japanese knife will be less robust feeling but speedy chopping details will be much more easy with the Tanaka. Good luck. Paying to have your knives sharpened adds up, over time the stones will pay for themselves.

 Post subject: Re: Gyuto Advice-knife that holds edge longer than v10
PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2014 5:48 pm 
Forum Moderator

Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2013 12:00 pm
Posts: 4638
Umberto, I didn't find the Shun Classic knives to be all that handle heavy. Most of them were akin to a Western handle, or even lighter with a balance point at or in some cases slightly forward of the bolster. They're handle heavy compared to many Wa handled knives, if that's what you mean.

Greg, as others have mentioned, a PM semi-stainless or full stainless steel might be your best option. AEB-L is a very good steel and might have slightly better edge retention than VG-10, but not anythink like R-2 or HAP40 PM steel.

If you're a home cook, you might consider a stainless clad knife with an Aogami (Blue) Super core carbon steel. Only the core steel exposed at the edge is reactive. You have a number of options in this type, including the:
Kohetsu AS 240 Gyuto:
Richmond AS Laser 240 Gyuto:
Hiromoto AS 240 Gyuto:

The Kohetsu HAP40 240 Gyuto has been mentioned already:

 Post subject: Re: Gyuto Advice-knife that holds edge longer than v10
PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2014 6:17 pm 

Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 12:20 am
Posts: 4209
A few points to ponder:

1) VG10 was a top of the line steel some years ago, today it is regarded as a quality middling steel. The Aogami Super (AS) steel knives you see recommended above use something of the gold standard in steel. AS is carbon so it is reactive (not stainless), sharpens easily, takes a very keen edge, and keeps the edge a very long time. Powdered Metallurgy (PM) steels like the HAP40 and SG-2/R2 keep their edge much longer than traditional steels but at the expense of ease of sharpening and keenness of edge. A high quality stainless like AEB-L will sharpen fairly easily, keep its edge well, and keep an edge as well as any other steel. To put a little perspective your Shun in VG10 is a bit tough to sharpen, takes an OK edge, and keeps it reasonably well. So depending on what characteristics you are looking for, any of the above steels would probably be considered a step up.

2) The Shun Classic have a lot of belly compared to most other Japanese profiles. This means the Shun will likely rock better, but at the expense of a long, flat "sweet spot" for chopping. So make sure you look at the profiles and think about your usage and assess how you think a new knife will fit in. If you feel short of real estate, a flatter profile knife, even in the same length may feel much more useful to you.

3) Japanese handles (wa-handles) are lighter than their western (yo) counterparts. This means that wa handled knives will generally be lighter overall than yo handled knives and the balance point of a wa handled knife will be further forward of the handle than a yo handled knife. For old school folks, the balance point exactly on the bolster is a "perfectly" balanced knife. For many Japanese knife enthusiasts the forward balance of the wa handle lets the weight of the knife work for you when cutting. You might consider whether you like the idea of that, then consider if you would like to try something new and see if it works better for you.

4) Learning to sharpen can really increase your appreciation of quality cutlery. You will notice the upshot of many quality steels is how they perform when sharpening. If AS steel sharpens beautifully and you don't sharpen, then this will not be an upgrade for you. For the ambivalent masses, a $20 Wally World special is as good as any knife, because with out upkeep a dull knife made with great steel is still just a dull knife. A PM steel will keep an edge longer than most anything else, so if you are outsourcing your sharpening, this would extend the time between visits.

Hope this helps! :)

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