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Japanese knife wanted. Here are my answers.

Wed Apr 16, 2014 1:23 pm

Hi,

So, I am looking to purchase my first Japanese knife, and I have spent a considerable amount of time perusing the forum for recommendations. Below are the questions you ask that we answer:

1. Are you right handed? -Yes

2. What type of knife are you interested in? Gyuto

3. What size knife are you looking for? 210-240. I have always used 210 before, but I suspect that I might enjoy a 240.
4. Do you prefer carbon or stainless steel? Carbon, stainless, or clad. Any are fine.
5. Do you prefer a western handle or a Japanese handle? I have only ever used a western, but I was thinking that this is good opportunity to become acquainted with a Japanese.
6. How much did you want to spend? For this first knife, $100-$120.
7. Do you know how to sharpen? I am currently learning, but I lack any knives capable of holding a real edge (thus part of the impetus for the purchase).

Specifically, I came across the recommendation for the Goko Damascus (240) as a great deal, as well as the Kohetsu Blue#2 210, and I am somewhat torn. I am also wondering, given that I will likely have a somewhat larger budget in the near (~6 months or so) future, am I better off waiting, and spending more on a better knife then? Given that I am still fairly early in the knife-sharpening learning process, however, perhaps a decent knife that I can learn with might be wise? I confess I love the appearance of the damascus on the Goko, and am leaning in that direction, but I'm curious if I'm missing any other favorites of yours as "starter" knives?

Thank you so much for your assistance!

N

Re: Japanese knife wanted. Here are my answers.

Wed Apr 16, 2014 1:51 pm

Between the Goko and the Kohetsu, flip a coin. I do not like the utilitarian western style handle on the Kohetsu, but based on the descriptions I have read it is a stunning amount of performance at a killer price point. The Goko is a great intro to J-knives because it is laser thin, has the wa-handle, and is a killer price, but it is a lesser steel IMHO (still good, but I love Blue#2).

The second question is more interesting. Waiting for even a modestly larger budget could really open up some options, at ~$200 there is a litany of interesting options. That said, it can be daunting because if you have never used a J-knife before, you may not know what it is you are looking for in a knife. For example, do you prefer light and thin, or mid weight and convexed, long flat sweet spot or generous belly? Buying at the entry level lets you get a feel for a knife so that when you move up the ladder you can come back and say: "love x, y, and z about knife #1, but can you recommend something that does a, b, and c better?"

Personally I would probably go the Goko route if I were in your shoes. I know that what I thought I wanted when I was starting out is not what I like today. Starting modestly will give you time to learn where to go from there. I like the Goko here because it is a bit more of a departure, stylistically from what you are used to and I think jumping further away from the edge of the pool will teach you more.

Hope this helps. Have fun! :D

Re: Japanese knife wanted. Here are my answers.

Wed Apr 16, 2014 2:31 pm

+1

Buy something $100 or below. Both knives you mention are great. You can take your time learning what you like or dislike. Practice your sharpening. Keep doing research. Depending on your situation try to put $5, $10, or even $20 in an envelope every week. This way it hurts less when you end up in the $200 price range.

El

Re: Japanese knife wanted. Here are my answers.

Wed Apr 16, 2014 4:47 pm

love my kohetsu 8-)

Re: Japanese knife wanted. Here are my answers.

Wed Apr 16, 2014 11:50 pm

The Kohetsu Blue #2 would be my recommendation. It would be a fantastic knife to make sharpening easier. The core steel sharpens quickly and easily. You'll forget about the handle once you've put a good edge on it and see how well it goes through food :-). I just did a video on the Kohetsu. It's up on the product page.

Re: Japanese knife wanted. Here are my answers.

Thu Apr 17, 2014 12:21 am

cedarhouse wrote:I think jumping further away from the edge of the pool will teach you more.
Never heard that one before, I like it!

The Goko Damascus and Kohetsu B#2 are both great knives. Kohetsu is a slightly better performing laser than the Goko, but it's splitting hairs. Without using them at the same time alternating cuts(yeah, I'm that nuts) you wouldn't notice a difference. Kohetsu is a not tall enough for my regular pinch grip, but if you use a high pinch or handle/racquet grip the blade is a good height. Keep in mind that this price point you are paying mostly for the blade and price is kept down by spending less on the handle. Both handles are acceptable, though not perfect. Part of the higher priced knives often goes towards a little nicer handles.

Another to consider is the Richmond SAB. Not a laser like the above, but a nice monosteel carbon with a great profile. It's a great way to tryout a profile with a nice flat spot and see if caring for carbon steel is for you. On the surface it looks like another great deal, but unfortunately I don't own one... yet :) http://www.chefknivestogo.com/risab25chkn.html

Whether or not to wait is a tough one. I guess, imo, it comes down to your personality. If you are a curious person like myself and think you may end up with several knives, start out on the low end to get some experience. If you are the type to get a high quality tool and never look back; save your money.

Re: Japanese knife wanted. Here are my answers.

Thu Apr 17, 2014 3:35 am

The Kohetsu Blue #2 is the better knife of the two but personally I would wait, as hard as it is, and buy something @$200+ later.

Re: Japanese knife wanted. Here are my answers.

Thu Apr 17, 2014 3:34 pm

Jeff B wrote:The Kohetsu Blue #2 is the better knife of the two but personally I would wait, as hard as it is, and buy something @$200+ later.


This.

However, I did NOT do this to start. Shoulda.

Mowgs

Re: Japanese knife wanted. Here are my answers.

Thu Apr 17, 2014 10:20 pm

I have the Goko and would probably pick the Kohetsu on this one.

It will be a great entry into good steel and at a good price point. You also won't have to worry about it that much and by the time you really getting used to it and seeing what you like/dislike, you might have enough saved up to get something a little nicer or try a different style knife.

It depends on what you want to get out of it. I went in knowing there would be more knives, so I wanted to get my bearings before spending my whole budget on something I really had no experience with. In the end, there isn't a wrong way to do it.

Re: Japanese knife wanted. Here are my answers.

Fri Apr 18, 2014 2:10 pm

The goko, you may find thin as a "starter" knife. Not fragile perse, just very thin. The damascus is nice, the handle is crap. Sharpness from the box is not so good.
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