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Help a girl choose! (best knife/knives)

Fri Jun 14, 2013 3:53 am

I've been debating this for a while now. I have to, regularly, get paper-thin slices out of sides of cured fish. Right now, it's gravlax. At the moment, I've got the Fujiwara Carbon 240 mm Sujihiki in my shopping cart. (I've been wanting to play around with a carbon steel knife) The price is awesome, and it seems like it may do the trick. At work, I've been using my chef's 12-inch granton-edge slicer (that she got over 20 years ago!), and it gets nice thin slices. My sous chef uses a yanagiba, and he prefers it. I tried it out, and I like the knife, I'd only need to get used to the feel of the knife. And, then another co-worker of mine prefers her sujihiki. I guess, what I really need to hear (see) are people's opinions on these 3 kinds of knives, and what would work best for me in the long haul. I'm looking for something that is the most versatile/best bang for my buck/best shelf-life/best metals/so on. Examples of the kinds of knives, would be much-appreciated (whether they're on the CKTG site or not).

I'm a lowly line cook and so, obviously, my budget is pretty much non-existent. I'm willing to pay a little bit more for a knife that's worth it, but, ideally, people will suggest decently-priced workhorses that sharpen well and retain their edges well.


Re: Help a girl choose! (best knife/knives)

Fri Jun 14, 2013 7:08 am

A yanagi, for me works best for cutting super thin slices of proteins....especially fish. But, I don't do that enough to warrant owning a yanagi. Had maybe a dozen over the years and just never could get used to using one because I used them so infrequently. But, when I did use them, they worked great.

Never used a granton slicer....I think I know what you mean here....one of those bull nose 12" slicers?

I use a suji for anything like this these days. More multi-purpose for my cooking. Still can get thin slices....especially if you put a nice thin edge on it.

At the end of the day, though, you have to be comfortable with any of them.

In that $100 range, the Fujiwara carbon is a good choice. You're not going to gain really anything from any other 240mm suji in that range.

To really step up in performance.....and that would primarily be edge taking ability, F&F, and edge retention....you'd have to get something like this:




Re: Help a girl choose! (best knife/knives)

Fri Jun 14, 2013 7:14 am

First of all, WELCOME to the forum georgieyp!

Now about your knife choice: Personally I think a sujihiki will be your best bet as a great all-around for sushi. Suji's excel at slicing and are generally thin, and are actually used by some as their main prep knife. The Yanagiba and granton slicers are really only good at slicing fish, although you can do prep with them, the sujihiki is going to excel past both of them at prep work. The yanagiba will slice fish a little better than the sujihiki, but the granton slicer will not do any better than your suji with a good edge.

My little question here is: Why not go with a 270mm sujihiki instead of 240? I think a 270 is just going to give you that little bit extra you are looking for sometimes, unless you're working a line with it. If space constraints become an issue, then go with something that best suits your size. As far as knife and steel type, I might go with something other than the Fujiwara for reactivity purposes. Although the Fujiwara 270 was my very first carbon knife, I think it's a little bit reactive as a first carbon purchase for someone in a pro-kitchen, as the smell of the metal is quite strong until a good patina develops.

I will stop here and allow others to chime in. :)

Re: Help a girl choose! (best knife/knives)

Fri Jun 14, 2013 5:49 pm

+1 on the 270mm suji.

I think you'll find the suji is more than able to handle any slicing task you throw it's way. It'll sharpen up better than the 12" beast you're currently using and be nimble enough should you need it for other tasks.

Re: Help a girl choose! (best knife/knives)

Sat Jun 15, 2013 12:07 am

Thanks for the notes (and the welcome!), guys! I've been leaning toward a sujihiki for all of the reasons that you guys have stated! I'm glad that I now have some other people's opinions to back up my instincts :)

As for the reason for my choice of 240 over 270, #1 is price (even $5 makes a difference!), and #2 is space. I like the idea of the 270 mm, but I just feel like it may actually get in my way when I'm, hurriedly, using it on my station. Plus, I was thinking that 270 might be JUST a tad too long for me to handle if I have to use it for anything other than slicing. As for the smell of the metal as it reacts -- I was planning on forcing a patina on it early on, so hopefully this will diminish the problem.

Any other tips on caring for a carbon steel knife?

Re: Help a girl choose! (best knife/knives)

Sat Jun 15, 2013 12:16 am

Hmm, what is everyone's opinion on the Fujiwara FKS Stainless 270mm Sujihiki (http://www.chefknivestogo.com/fufks24su.html)?

Re: Help a girl choose! (best knife/knives)

Sat Jun 15, 2013 9:18 am

I have a Fujiwara FKH gyuto and while it did smell at first, I forced an etching acid patina and have no issue. Also, I rounded the spine and experimented with several forced patinas on it. Of all the patinas I have tried, I like the acid the best.

This was my first carbon knife and I really like it. I now have others, but use the Fujiwara often. The hardness is not as high as my Moritakas and for some tasks I prefer the Fujiwara.

Re: Help a girl choose! (best knife/knives)

Sat Jun 15, 2013 9:30 am

I don't like kullens (the little dimples you probably think of as "Granton"), so don't like the FKS. They don't work for me. You've had advantage with a Granton style knife (Granton edge? Or actualy Granton?), seemed to like it, and that you like it is what counts.

The Fujiwara stainless FKM and FKS series are good quality for their price -- which is entry level. They're good enough knives; better than most of the knives you see in commercial kitchens.

I'd stay far, far away from Fujiwara's carbon FKH series. They don't provide any special benefit for someone in your circumstances, and add a LOT of extra maintenance, not to mention they can discolor and lend an off-aroma to food before they're stabilized (with a patina), but right after sharpening too.

24cm is not an ideal length for a specialty knife used to cut large, super thin slices of fish -- as with gravlax. Longer is very much better. But 24cm and even 21cm, makes a lot of sense for a line knife. If you're only going to have one slicer you've got to choose what works best for you. I used to cut lox with a 10" Sabatier slicer, not to mention all sorts of other portioning, and live to tell the tale. No reason you can't survive 24cm.

Big differences between a yanagiba and suji -- Yanagiba is a stiff, heavy, wide knife. Suji is (wait for it) flexible, light, narrow. If you really concentrated on learning technique you could probably do a slightly better job with a yanigiba than a suji for cutting lox... but it would take some learning, some learning to sharpen, a fairly expensive knife, etc., etc.

The counter-men and women cutting in the few delis I know which still hand slice lox use super long, flexible, inexpensive, specialty knives, like this 12" purpose-made Victorniox Fibrox:

The sushi men I know who do similar cuts use sujis of various sizes during the day, and show off with yanagibas in front of their high-rolling customers at night. I used to hang with a semi-demi-big-deal sushi-ya owner, and he did the same thing. His suji was a 270. The number one guy in the sushi-ya we go to know uses what started as a 240, but is sharpened down to 210. FWIW, when I buy big pieces of cold-smoked fish, or cold-smoke it myself, my current go-to is a (beaucoup expensive) 300. Sometimes I still use one of my old Sabs, but mostly for nostalgia.

If I had the room or reason for another slicer, I'd love one of these:
Although maybe not quite that bent at the handle.

Context, budget and remember Rule 1. Just about anything will do, as long as it's really frikkin' sharp.


Re: Help a girl choose! (best knife/knives)

Sat Jun 15, 2013 9:53 am

+1 on the Kikuichi TKC Performance Sujihiki and any advice from Adam Marr. I just got one of their gyutos and though I have only had it for less than a week I love it so I can really say nothing about its ability to take an edge but it is holding the OOTB edge very well. Also, I wouldn't recommend carbon on a line but that is up to you, you might get too busy too often and miss a lot of chances to wipe the blade. That is just my two cents. :roll:

Re: Help a girl choose! (best knife/knives)

Sat Jun 15, 2013 12:10 pm

Adam Marr wrote:Never used a granton slicer....I think I know what you mean here....one of those bull nose 12" slicers?

Bull nosing is neither here nor there. The term "Granton" is usually used to refer to any knife with dimples (aka kullen); but more properly refers to a knife where the dimples go all the way down to the edge.

Properly or improperly, "Granton" is used for lot for knives made by any number of manufacturers; but there is an actual Granton Knife Company, located in Sheffield, England. And, if you want that type of knife, theirs are as good as any and better than most. The only anti-suction system I know of which works as well is Glestain... and those are beaucoup expensive; and besides I don't like 'em for a lot of reasons.

Here's a Granton slicer:

The reason to bull nose a slicing knife is to prevent accidentally piercing very thin slices if the knife is drawn back too far through the cut, then pushed through. But, as I said, a bullnose really has nothing to do with what makes a knife a "Granton."

Here's a Granton made knife with a Granton edge, and a butcher's tip:

Hope this helps,
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