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Gyuto choice: which carbon for sharpening newbie

Mon Aug 06, 2012 6:38 pm

Hello All,

Following up on a Christmas gift of the CKTG sharpening set (Beston 500, Bester 1200, Suehiro-Rika 5K), my wife noticed I've been browsing Japanese knives lately and offered up a new knife for my upcoming birthday. I thought that by reading the descriptions and reviews on this site, along with reading the forum, I'd be able to pick out the perfect knife for myself. I've narrowed it down but find I'm having trouble deciding on the ONE.

For some background: I'm for the most part just a home cooking enthusiast, into everything from basic home cooking, to gourmet dinner parties, to real BBQ. I only have time to cook about 1 or 2 weeknites and maybe 2 more time on the weekend (including making my wifes favorite meal of the week: Sunday breakfast). I also cook for a local organization, once a week for about 10 guys (post-meeting dinner) plus a few times a year for anywhere from 20 - 100 people for various social events. I have zero formal training (although I did work as a prep cook in an italian restaurant for 2 summers in my college days MANY years ago). Therefore, my knife skills are OK but not great. I'm a real novice sharpener. I've used the stones a few times since I got them for Christmas, and I'm now at the point where the knives are actually sharper when I finish then when I started :-).

My present "go-to" knife is a Shun Classic 7" Santoku w/ hollow edge, and everything else is inexpensive Calphalon western knife sets (1 for set for home and one for the road). I think the Gyuto is the right next knife for me, and going to the 240 (instead of the 210) will give me good jump in size from my 7" Santoku. I like the wa style handle on the Shun both for comfort and looks, so only want to consider wa Gyuto's, and prefer a dark (ebony or rosewood) handle over the look of the ho-wood. I tend to be a traditionalist, so am most interested in a carbon steel blade - even though I know this means more care. One of my biggest issues is deciding WHICH carbon steel: Aogami Super, Blue #2, White #1 or White #2? My price range is $150-$250.

Here is my "short" list and thoughts:

1) Moritaka Supreme - Originally my leading choice, but some comments about this steel's hardness/brittleness have me concerned: I am a novice sharpener and knife weilder, after all.

2) Konosuke Fujiyama White #2 - The many great comments on Kono's quality has me interested in this one. I really like the buffalo horn ferrule. Just at the top of my price range. Is White #2 steel "good enough" for my purposes, or is it too difficult to take care of?

3) Konosuke White #2 - Appears to be a budget (less refined) version of item 2 above. Price is definitely attractive, so might be the sweet-spot for a novice like me, but it's only available in ho-wood handle.

4) Moritaka Blue #2 - This is where I was leaning after I was scared off by the AS steel of item 1. Is Blue #2 a better option for a novice then AS or White 2?

5) Tojiro ITK - A fallback position if I just couldn't decide is to buy this with future upgrading in mind.

6) Konosuke Fujiyama White #1 - Would really have to stretch the budget to get to this one, so would only do it if this was offered as the absolute best fit for my needs.


As you can see, I'm very confused right now (I tend to overanalyze everything). So please, any advice you could give would be greatly appreciated !!!

Sincerely,
Paul

Re: Gyuto choice: which carbon for sharpening newbie

Mon Aug 06, 2012 6:50 pm

Look at the Richmond 52100 Addict2 and the Tanaka damascus 240mm. The Tojiro ITK 210mm I found to wedge in foods frequently.

Re: Gyuto choice: which carbon for sharpening newbie

Mon Aug 06, 2012 6:57 pm

Since you are going with Carbon steel anyways, I'd suggest white #2 steel. It's easier to sharpen than Aogami Super, and that is more important than the minor difference in edge retention in your situation.

The Addict isn't a bad choice in your price range and requests--52100 is a great steel. Or do you have your heart set on a Japanese knife?

Re: Gyuto choice: which carbon for sharpening newbie

Mon Aug 06, 2012 7:24 pm

I'd second the Konosuke Fujiyama white#2. Got it about two months ago and I couldn't be more pleased with it. I'm just a amateur home cook, use it every other night and haven't felt that I need to sharpen it yet. Just hone it every now and then. You will not be disappointed.

Re: Gyuto choice: which carbon for sharpening newbie

Mon Aug 06, 2012 7:26 pm

I get lots of questions about this with the words "confused" and "overwhelmed" a lot. :)

Get #2.

Re: Gyuto choice: which carbon for sharpening newbie

Tue Aug 07, 2012 2:07 pm

Thanks all, for the input. It appears that the concensus is that White #2 is a good choice of steel for me.
I do have my heart set on a Japanese knive, otherwise the Richmond Addict would be an attractive option.

Mark,
Your response was very definitive. That makes it easy for me !
The confusion stems from the combination of wide variety of choice and zero experience. The only way to fix that is for me to buy lots of knives over time and try them all out.... good for your biz. :-)
I did notice that on the web page with the Fujiyama series, that there are 2 different 240mm choices (not counting the custom handled beauty): one at $256 and the other at $201.30. Is the only difference between those 2 the ebony vs ho handle? If so, the ho-wood handled model looks like quite a good deal.

Paul

Re: Gyuto choice: which carbon for sharpening newbie

Tue Aug 07, 2012 4:53 pm

Yes the handle is the only difference. The knife is the same. You will love that knife. If you don't I'll take it back with no re-stock fee and no questions asked. :)

Re: Gyuto choice: which carbon for sharpening newbie

Wed Aug 08, 2012 9:10 pm

Hi Mark,
I just ordered the Kono Fujiyama. Went with the ebony handle (my wife decided I was worthy of the extra expense for my b'day).
Please pick me a nice one :-).

Thanks,
Paul

Re: Gyuto choice: which carbon for sharpening newbie

Thu Aug 09, 2012 3:16 pm

On the way...

Re: Gyuto choice: which carbon for sharpening newbie

Fri Aug 10, 2012 12:22 am

I can't wait!!!
The tomato vines are loaded and tomatos just about ready to ripen and be converted to precision slices made w/ the new Gyuto, served with garden basil and local mozz. Yumm
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