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Knife recommendation

Mon Dec 09, 2013 12:53 pm

Right handed. Want gyoto 240. Can handle carbon from a cleaning perspective and don't have a carbon/SS preference. No handle preference. Budget $150-$250. No sharpening experience but have easy access to professional service in Chicago. Willing to learn sharpening but want to spend my time cooking rather than sharpening. Use a chefs knife a lot for a variety of tasks...have a set of really old Henckel knives. Also bought a 6 in MAC 3 years ago to see if I'd like the J knives and I do.

Considering the Hiro 240 because it appears to be a good entry level knife---relatively inexpensive, combination of carbon for good edge and SS for less fuss. Better idea?

What's the learning curve for basic sharpening skills? What's the best way to learn? Watching U-tube and practice on my old knives?

Wisdom appreciated.

Re: Knife recommendation

Mon Dec 09, 2013 1:31 pm

Hi Scot,

In response to your question which knife to start with, here are my recommendation

1. Konosuke HD 240mm Gyuto 320$
2. Richmond Laser Aogami 240mm Gyuto 215$
3. Richmond Kohestu Aogami 240mm Gyuto

I have the first two knives. They are similar but the konosuke holds its edge better and the Richmond kohetsu is a great starter if you do not want to sharpen every other day. Keep in mind 2 and 3 are work horse knives the Konosuke is not.

Good Luck

Chef Chris

Re: Knife recommendation

Mon Dec 09, 2013 1:46 pm

Hiromoto AS is a good starter knife. There are better values out there, per say, but it's not a bad knife. The steel is great, it's clad, and it's western handled (which is what you're coming from). It doesn't have a really great handle, the F&F is so-so, and the geometry isn't as thin as we typically like right behind the edge. This last attribute, though, isn't really a bad thing for a newbie to high hardness carbon steel knives. It allows the knife to be a little more robust and less prone to chipping.

I do like Chris's recommendations as well, although all of them are really laser knives.....very thin at and behind the edge. These knives will chip easier and not meant to be used as wrecklessly as we use western knives.

To use a sharpening stone to get a sharp knife is easy. Chasing the white rabbit that is a killer edge, is a life long dream....err passion. :)

Watching YouTube is good, asking questions is too.

Another really good option is the TKC:


Re: Knife recommendation

Mon Dec 09, 2013 1:50 pm

Scott - The Kono that Chef Chris mentions is the Ebony handled model - more $$ and heavier handle. I'd go with the regular Ho/Buffalo handled model if you're seriously looking at this knife: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/kohdwa24.html. It's $268 w/o a Saya and closer to your price range.

The Richmond Laser AS 240 and the Kohetsu AS 240 are both great knives. It depends on whether you want a true laser (very thin and light) or a bit more of a light-middle-weight (Laser AS). The Kohetsu is quite the value for the construction/performance.

The Hiromoto is a very good knife - IMO Chris' recommendations will be better performers (and lighter) if you don't mind the Wa handles.

On sharpening - just make sure your professional service knows how to deal with nicer Japanese knives with higher end steel (ie. waterstones). If they even mention the words "belt sander" and your JKnives in the same sentence, don't give them your JKnives to sharpen - just my opinion :-).

It's not that hard to learn to sharpen. Get a good starter set with coarse/medium/fine stones and a plate to flatten them, maybe a stone holder and work on your and others old knives for practice. If you are a home user vs. a pro, you can probably get away with stropping for a while on your new knife(s) while you are learning. You can even strop on newspaper on a hard flat surface like a granite countertop.

Re: Knife recommendation

Mon Dec 09, 2013 1:59 pm

Last things first,

"Watching U-tube and practice on my old knives?" Exactly!

The first few times you sharpen, it will take a while. As your confidence increases you will become fairly quick. How long it takes to get quick varies, but it took me about a a half dozen sharpening sessions to feel confident in what I was doing. In the mean time, I was still getting serviceable edges, but I was moving slowly and having to repeat steps to correct mistakes.

Most on this forum will strongly recommend developing your sharpening technique. Outsourcing your sharpening is costly (in the long run), you have down time getting the knives to them, waiting for them to finish, then getting them back, and worst of all, most "pros" are of fairly poor quality. Simply put, most users have never handled a genuinely sharp knife, so there is little demand for local shops to do a decent job. Sharpening yourself makes you the quality control inspector of your kitchen cutlery, or for that matter your workshop, pocket knives, etc.

The Hiromoto seems a good pick, but I do not have first hand experience with it though. Two knives I own and strongly recommend in this price range and with this feature set are the Katsushinge Anryu hand hammered and the Kohetsu. Both have carbon cores with stainless cladding. The Anryu has more aesthetic character while the Kohetsu is the lighter and thinner of the two. I am biased toward the Anryu, mostly because of the look, but also because it feels a bit more substantial, comfortable to me, but that is subjective. I also have a Goko on order, which seems to compare well with the Anryu and is a bit less expensive, but I do not have it in my hands yet.


Do be aware, all these knives, in addition to being carbon, are thinner and harder than your Henckles. They will easily outperform their western counterparts but are more delicate. Use your Henckles for bone in cuts, hard produce, or frozen food, and never apply lateral loads to the edges. Careful of the reactivity issue and the limits of the edge and anything you get will wow you.

Have fun,

Re: Knife recommendation

Mon Dec 09, 2013 2:31 pm

For knife sharpening Mark has a good series on the CKtG site: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/knshforne1.html

Of course there are many, many, MANY different opinions on sharpening knives and the processes involved, but Mark's vids cover the basics very well and should give you a solid base to build on and develop your own techniques over time.

I have been sharpening my own knives for a long time, but I had never used a Japanese waterstone before. These vids (along with others on their use) definitely helped in learning how to use a waterstone and feel more comfortable using a sharpening style I had never used before. I also practiced some with my Forschner Fibrox 8" chef's knife until I was comfortable with the motions before I touched my Japanese knives to the stone. It didn't take long before my Forschner was sharp and I was ready to go to the better knives. I also found out that my King stone is a very muddy and messy stone, but it works! lol

Re: Knife recommendation

Tue Dec 10, 2013 10:02 am

Thanks for your help in helping me select a knife while making me feel more comfortable about sharpening. I was really concerned about all the technical stuff I was reading on the message board about sharpening.

I'll give the Richmond laser a try...don't think I could go wrong with any of your recommendations.
As A Yoga teacher focus and concentration are critical qualities which would appear to help me become a competent knife sharpener. I'll take a look at Marks vids and practice on the old knives as suggested.

Last question. What is the best way to store the knife? My block won't work and I'm assuming attaching the knife to my magnetic holder attached to the wall is a bad idea.

Re: Knife recommendation

Tue Dec 10, 2013 10:27 am

Magnetic holders are fine, but if they have metal surfaces they can scratch the blade. You can be as careful as you like but eventually there will be scratches. It won't harm the knife and is purely cosmetic, but it will still bother many people. lol If the surface is wood or plastic with no metal to metal contact there should not be any issues whatsoever. If nothing else choose "With Saya" in the drop down menu and for an extra $30 you'll get a nice wooden sheath to protect the blade.

And don't worry too much about the focus and concentration while sharpening. They are indeed good things to have when starting while you learn, but eventually your muscle memory will take over and you'll be watching TV, movies, or YouTube while sharpening because you don't really have to think about it anymore. lol And don't worry too much about keeping an exact 15 degree angle or whatever. Just find an angle comfortable to you and don't worry too much about the number of degrees. A consistent angle is more important than the exact degree of angle itself. A good, consistent 20 degree angle will cut better than a "wobbly" 15 degree angle. ;) That is why experienced hand sharpeners give a range of about the angle they sharpen is and not an exact number. Plus doing it by hand you will never have a perfectly straight angle, but it will be close enough not to make a real difference.

Re: Knife recommendation

Tue Dec 10, 2013 2:52 pm

For storage I use a magnetic knife strip, but it has the magnets embedded in wood, so there is not metal on metal contact. Something like this: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/bamboo-ma ... -rack.html.

The advantage to storing this way is nothing will rattle around with the knife and chip the edge, or worse cut you when you reach for it. Also, the knife has air flow around it so it will remain dry and corrosion is less likely.

You can also use something like this if you have drawer space: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/meindrknho.html. The knife will not rattle around and there is some breathability. I used these when I had no wall space over the counter and the kids could get under a magnetic rack. I have wall space above the counter now, so even if the blade manages to fall, an earthquake or something, it will fall on the counter.

In a pinch a saya or something like this will work if you need to be able to toss a blade on a shelf or in a drawer: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/chkngu10.html. The knife will be protected as will you, but any moisture left on the knife will have no way to escape. Not a catastrophic situation, you should dry thoroughly anyway, but not ideal.

Re: Knife recommendation

Tue Dec 10, 2013 3:55 pm

Scott wrote:...

Considering the Hiro 240 because it appears to be a good entry level knife---relatively inexpensive, combination of carbon for good edge and SS for less fuss.Better idea?

Perfectly acceptable choice Scott. This was my first Japanese knife a few years back, but in the Santoku format. I had it professionally sharpened by someone who really knew what they were doing prior to me receiving it. The thought process was that way I'd know the true potential. Sliced my fingers the first few times using it because the thing was so dang sharp that it forced my technique to improve. When I pick it up now it does feel big and thick, but it is a great knife with great steel at a great price. The edge stayed sharp for quite some time as well.
Sometimes it's better going from a Ford to a Porsche rather than straight to the Ferrari. Much more fickle and less margin for error.
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