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 Post subject: Re: Gyuto Advice/Recommendation?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2014 2:10 pm 

Joined: Sun Jul 29, 2012 1:36 pm
Posts: 249
Location: NY, NY; New Haven, CT
I only have experience with the Konos here...I know what Kikuichis have to offer though, I think, as I shopped for some of their other lines in the past.

I would just like to re-emphasize (as I'm sure it has been said before) just how different these knives are from one another. My sense is that the two Konos are actually much more similar that most people would like to admit—I don't base this on the steels, which are obviously different, but the fact that users of both steels seem to have nearly equal impressions of these knives. I can't remember ever reading a single post where you couldn't literally substitute HD and HH, with the obvious exception of posts where they are describing the steel itself. I think this even extends to sharpening, in fact: people seem to really like the ease, quickness, and edge retention of the HH just like the HD. The HD may be marginally better in some ways, but no one mentions this unless they are trying to compare them; otherwise, compared to other knives and steels, I think these are very, very close. I have two HD2s and no HH knives. I'd buy the HD2 gyutos again. But I've also thought about getting an HH petty rather than an HD petty in the future—and this when price is no object.

On the other hand, the Takamura is a western handled knife all the way. People love this knife, but it has balance and weight characteristics that are wholly different than a Ho handled Kono—ESPECIALLY if you're comparing a 210 Takamura with a 240 Kono. It is also has a PM core, which I hear has a different board feel and different sharpening characteristics. While these are supposed to be very thin and nicely ground, it is hard to imagine that, with the different handle, balance, and bolster, these really feel anything like a Kono. I think these are apples and oranges.

Likewise on the Kikuichi. Kikuichis have a reputation for a particular board feel: very still and very hard for their thinness. They also have a very rounded, continuous edge with a shorter radius (i.e., more belly, but spread out across the entire edge rather than just the front third like a German profile) than the Konos, at least to my eye. I like how my Konos actually feel like graphite: hard and stiff, but with a bit of give and cushion without feeling flimsy weak or compromised (kinda like a graphite gold club, perhaps, although I don't golf). My little personal experience with Kikuichi knives – especially with the full tang – is that the board feel is considerably more direct through the handle. You'll get a sharper, more direct feel of any kind of percussive hit against the board, and it will feel less dampened in your hand as a result. This may be just what you want, or it may result in more fatigue than you want. Obviously, another terrific knife – these all are, by reputation – but I really think this is a different beast than the Konos, especially, again, with the western handle and full tang (although here, the longer length means that the balance and bolster will probably have less of an effect on feel and balance with a pinch grip than the Takamura 210, at least when comparing to Wa handles). I'm also very suspicious that the geometry of the knife is 50/50...they look (in images) to have more of a masamoto VG geometry, which has more of the grind/taper on the right side, regardless of the actual edge bevel. Light reflections certain give this impression, as does my experience with handling some other lines in the past (and this is a very traditional company with a long history, and it is traditional for grinds and geometry to be slightly asymmetrical in this way). This may be a concern for a lefty...or it may not. Someone like Steve can speak to this more than I can, since he's a lefty and knows this knife from personal experience. (Hopefully he can also correct or confirm my suspicious, since he also owns a masamoto vg and knows exactly what I'm writing about).

Oh, I just had another thought—someone who knows sharpening should comment on the R2 core of the Takamura. I don't know if this will sharpen as well as the others on your combo stone. It may sharpen better, or R2 may be a little more finicky (as a PM) as regards to the type or grit level of stones...

Anyways, these are all great knives. I'm just trying to help exaggerate the important differences and minimize the less important ones. Happy shopping!



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Ownership experience: Konosuke, Masamoto, Tojiro, Wusthof, Henckels, etc.
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 Post subject: Re: Gyuto Advice/Recommendation?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2014 4:01 pm 

Joined: Sun Jun 01, 2014 12:01 pm
Posts: 80
Thank you for all that info.

Regarding sharpening, I would prefer the easier the better due to me being new to the skill however, that isn't a deal-breaker if the rest of the knife is ideal. Granted if I'm very torn between two and one is noticeable easier to sharpen without any major downsides I would take that into account of course.

In terms of fatigue and the different feel of the TKC, I'm not really concerned about that aspect. I will be using the knife every day however, we are not talking about something like a 4hr stint of dicing onions, I'll be doing home cooking so the prep work is much less from a volume and time standpoint.

These knives are all very different yes, the problem for me is that I can see myself using and enjoying all of them making the decision that much harder. All of them have some definite up-sides to them and it's just a matter of trying to learn as much as I can about them.

Here are a few more points or things to maybe help in the knife suggestions. I currently use plastic boards, the OXO type with the little rubber gripper bottom, it's basically just a plain plastic type board. I actually like these and other plastic food service type boards (what you often find in restaurant kitchens or commercial places) because of their simplicity and ease of maintenance. I like that I don't need to oil them or really do anything to take care of them aside from washing. I enjoy that I can just stick them in the sink to wash them clean and store them away (small 1bed apartment kitchen so space is an issue).

That being said, knowing that I use these type of boards would something like the TKC maybe be better? My only concern is damaging something like the HD2 on them. I don't bang or misuse the knife but I don't really want to go down the end grain wood board route....

Additionally, I will be cutting the occasional squash (no bones or meat butchering, this is the hardest thing I think I would be cutting), say an acorn or butternut. Is that something that is a distinct NO for something like the HD2 or the Takamura? The TKC looks like it would be fine for that purpose....


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 Post subject: Re: Gyuto Advice/Recommendation?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2014 4:32 pm 

Joined: Sun Jul 29, 2012 1:36 pm
Posts: 249
Location: NY, NY; New Haven, CT
This may sound crazy, but from what I know about the OXO boards I've used, they are really, really soft. Using very sharp knives on them can cause considerably more gashing than you may be used to...possibly. Actually, allow me to correct myself: this as more to do with the thinness of the edge than its actual sharpness, actually, so when I say "very sharp knives," I don't mean your usual knives are not sharp, but that they are probably not as thin behind the edge, and they probably won't stick or gash as badly or deeply as your new one will.

This isn't to say to stop using your board or plastic boards—I understand and respect your preference given that you know the disadvantages as well. But you should seriously consider investing in one of the more expensive synthetics, especially the nice ones now offered by CKTG and those that have been offered by Korin for a while. Some of these are classified as "rubber," but they feel very similar (actually, remarkably better and more consistent) than plastic. They're quite expensive (think good end-grain), but they have all of the other conveniences you're looking for in a board, they're better for your knives, and they'll gash a lot less in the long run. Otherwise, there are also major differences even between low-priced plastic boards. It would be worth educating yourself on the differences if you plan on going that route again for your next board.

Most owners of HDs that speak up about the issue of squash have no problems (that isn't to sat that EVERYONE feels comfortable with it, but I certainly manage and I know plenty of others do, too). It does take some more care or practice or technique than some other blades, though...I wouldn't say more "effort," although realistically, you do have to be more careful which equates to effort! In real-life usage in a home kitchen, it is very hard for me to image that the differences between these knives would make any noticeable difference as regards your board or what ingredients you "can" tackle, although I do think the Konos are probably the most delicate of the bunch and may require a little bit more attention at first.



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Ownership experience: Konosuke, Masamoto, Tojiro, Wusthof, Henckels, etc.
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 Post subject: Re: Gyuto Advice/Recommendation?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2014 5:17 pm 
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See this thread for a discussion: jk-knife-skills-talk-to-me-t6757.html


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 Post subject: Re: Gyuto Advice/Recommendation?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2014 11:35 pm 

Joined: Sun Jun 01, 2014 12:01 pm
Posts: 80
Very informative thread! Finished reading through it and it was very helpful in assessing how I use a knife. I definitely feel that my cutting style and technique could use some work. Despite that, I actually felt a good bit better after reading that since the vast majority of things that were discussed as bad or poor technique I, for some instinctive reason, don't do. I guess without thinking much about it I have developed decent (not good or great) technique that at least seems to not put my knives at much risk....or myself for that matter.

In reading that I do feel much more confident about the HD2 as well especially regarding squash etc...

Back to the cutting boards for a brief moment, although this is cheaper board, do you think this would be a decent option at the very least?
http://korin.com/HomeUseCuttingBoard_L_ ... ory=286082
I figure if Korin is selling it the board must be at least acceptable for use on their knives and J knives in general.

Also, all the boards on this site are wood....


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 Post subject: Re: Gyuto Advice/Recommendation?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2014 11:54 pm 

Joined: Sun Jul 29, 2012 1:36 pm
Posts: 249
Location: NY, NY; New Haven, CT
I played around with some of the "hi-soft" boards listed here:

http://korin.com/Kitchenware_2/Cutting-Boards_2

which are described as a vinyl compound, but actual act as rubberish boards. (Note the Asahi rubber boards, which are crazy expensive.) They all seemed nice (but are expensive). In store, they had several options/grades that were wildly different prices. I'm not recommending these per se, but they are worth looking into. They are much, much closer to wood than your basic polyethylene. They're also thicker, heavier, and still scar from cutting. And you'll want a board that is at least big enough to hold your knife comfortably across the diagonal, which may get quite expensive...

The plastic board you found seems fine. You can get similar boards all over the place, and for cheaper. The key is the type of plastic (I forgot them all now, but there's differences between Polyethylene and Polypropylene). I bought this board, for example: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0001U ... UTF8&psc=1

I think your OXO is poly-p, where as harder styles that scar less (but may be harder on your knives and/or be more slippery) are usually poly-e.
I wouldn't recommend it necessarily, but I also hate plastic boards in general! Otherwise, it hasn't warped, holds up well, and doesn't gouge easily. However, like many harder plastic boards, it has a textured surface and is very slippery when wet. One of the advantages of some of the more advanced synthetics (like the Korin boards) is that they are softer, absorb shock like wood, and are nice and grippy. I would be nervous buying one without trying it, however.

And don't assume that because Korin sells it, it is good...or even ok. Like any company, part of what they sell is what customers demand or ask about, which isn't always the best stuff! And my guess is that there are other suppliers that offer similar products for cheaper. I just happen to live in NYC part-time and visited Korin recently...I wouldn't suggest them over any other retailer in this case.



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Ownership experience: Konosuke, Masamoto, Tojiro, Wusthof, Henckels, etc.
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 Post subject: Re: Gyuto Advice/Recommendation?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2014 1:52 am 

Joined: Sun Jun 01, 2014 12:01 pm
Posts: 80
The board you linked to is Poly-E though, isn't that the one you said said was or may be harder on knives? Just curious in this regard since it seemed a bit contradictory but I may be reading it wrong as well.

The thing I have about Poly boards is that I can easily store them and move them all the time as needed as well as being able to pop them in the sink or dishwasher for a real good clean. I'm a microbiologist by trade and as a result this ability does put my mind at ease a bit. I have seen enough research for and against wood but to me, it's much easier, safer and simpler (less maintenance) to simply have 2 cheaper plastic boards (raw vs. ready to eat) than expensive wood and 1 cheaper plastic for raw.

Anyhow, regarding the Korin thing, it's not that I believe anything they sell must be good but that it at least wouldn't be harmful to the knives. I can understand the boards being decent or average but I would find it hard to believe they would sell cutting boards that would actively be damaging or really harmful to the knives (glass for example). I know customer demand factors in but this just seems highly counter-intuitive to have/sell items that harm your own products thereby diminishing the customer's experience and overall lowering their value in your store/products....

I am unable locally to try any of the rubber type boards and the money I feel is a bit too much to just *wing it* on them.

I may be swayed over time to consider wood again but it would mostly likely be at a much different time and in a very different kitchen (ie much larger)


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 Post subject: Re: Gyuto Advice/Recommendation?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2014 2:08 am 

Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 6:20 am
Posts: 1522
Full disclosure, I have not handled the Kikuichi TKC or Takamura and have only owned the Kono for a few weeks now so please blow me off if you please....

Both the Kikuichi and Kono HD are semi-stainless. From what I have read from people who have owned them for some time, they will darken slightly but not a lot (assuming they are well taken care of).

They Kikuichi and Kono are probably not super dissimilar from one another in terms of the blade. Having not handled the TKC I cannot speak authoritatively but the specs do not read like the knives are that different from one another. The biggest difference by a long shot is the TKC is yo handled (western) and the Kono is wa. A big part of the weight differential between the two is a result of the handle. For example, the 240mm Kono HD in wa handle is listed at ~4.7oz, the 240mm Kono with corian yo-handle is listed at 8.4oz.

Of the reviews of the Takamura it does not sound like sharpening will be super difficult. PM steels can be hardened harder and their composition can make them more abrasion resistant, but which steel is in question still matters. In this case R2 does not have a super reputation for abrasion resistance. Any cost in terms of sharpening will also be partly offset by the fact that increased wear resistance will mean better edge holding and more time between necessary sharpenings.


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 Post subject: Re: Gyuto Advice/Recommendation?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2014 2:43 am 

Joined: Sun Jul 29, 2012 1:36 pm
Posts: 249
Location: NY, NY; New Haven, CT
I did link to one that was harder on knives. :) I use the board for raw meat, so my knives come in very, very little contact with the board (often, when I clean raw meat, I work above the board, such as cleaning a chicken or portioning, where the knife hardly touches the board at all). Also, since I sharpen my own knives, I'm not all that concerned—I use my cheaper knives, and I can always sharpen them if something goes wrong! It's not like it's that big of a deal, anyway...it's a cutting surface, it's softer than steel, and its convenient. :) It would be different if I had to prep hours a day every day!

I hope I don't sound disrespectful of your choice about poly. Honestly, I'm just trying to offer you more options and suggestions. And my reason for suggesting you try the boards first is because I sympathize with the fact that it is a lot of money, and I know from experience that the boards really do feel quite a bit different than plastic ones (and may not even be dishwasher safe in any "real" sense, even if they say it is "okay"). The truth is, I just want you to have options in case you feel dissatisfied with your current boards after getting your new knife—I'm certainly NOT suggesting that you buy a new board before trying out your knife first—you've made your priorities and working habits clear, and I totally respect that. However, torquing is a serious concern with JK knives, especially at first, and softer boards where the knife can get stuck exaggerates the problem of torquing considerably, so this is not just an aesthetic choice. Also, as a microbiologist, you already know that having micro serrations in a plastic board that doesn't dry quickly is less sanitary than in a wood one that does, so I suspect you'd be interested in preventing this as well.

I get what you mean about Korin, too. I know for a fact that some of their boards are for professional kitchens. My point isn't that the product would be "harmful" in a tragic sense, but merely that they will try to satisfy their customers needs, even when they wouldn't use the product themselves. For example, there are plenty of people on this forum that use poly boards at work all week long, but definitely prefer wood for personal use. As you state, poly boards have all sorts of advantages, especially in food service environments. This doesn't mean, however, that in terms of the knife, they are somehow less negative. They are, like most decisions, a compromise, and one that a store like Korin might recommend for a professional kitchen, but not really recommend for home use if possible. Who knows? I don't! Like I said, I use a poly board at home for certain things, and I'm not ashamed of it and don't think it damages my knives. But I also do firmly believe that it is not an ideal surface for knives, and I avoid using it as my primary board for this (among other) reasons. That's my point of compromise; everyone's is different.

Back to knives: I disagree with Cedar in this case, which is rare (as he knows!). I do think there are appreciable differences between the TKC and the Kono, even though I haven't spent time with the TKC (but have with some other western Kikuichis). The profiles of the knives are different, the heat treats are different, and the handle, balance points, and lengths are significantly different. It is true that the edges themselves are likely similar, and I agree on this point, but the overall feel of the knife in use is something that would be immediately obvious every time you picked one up. Likewise, from experience, I feel that there is a gigantic difference between my masamoto vg 210 and my Kono HD2 210. Granted, the masamoto is not semi-stainless, but in many other ways related to profile, balance, thinness, and feel, and length differences (Konos run short, Masamotos and Kikuichis are accurate or long), this is very similar to a comparison between the 240 TKC and a 240 Kono HD. I only mention this because I feel like I highjacked the thread and want to get you back onto knives. :)

[I definitely agree with Cedar regarding the Takamura, although I still think someone like Ken or Jason B may have some advice regarding whether or not your combo stone would work as well with R2 steel as it might with some of the others. Either way, it wouldn't be something that would stop you from enjoying the knife...but it may keep you from getting the most out of it for a while.]

I think I'm done with this thread—somehow I've ended up saying way too much! I think others have better ideas to contribute at this point. But if you have any additional questions or whatever, please do not hesitate to send me a PM. Happy shopping, and good luck!



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Ownership experience: Konosuke, Masamoto, Tojiro, Wusthof, Henckels, etc.
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 Post subject: Re: Gyuto Advice/Recommendation?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2014 2:47 am 
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Posts: 354
Location: Philly
Deciding on if you want a workhorse knife or a laser might help narrow down your choices.



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