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Metal choice questions

Wed Dec 18, 2013 5:25 pm

1. Are you right handed? Yes
2. What type of knife are you interested in (gyuto, nakiri etc..) 210 mm gyuto and 150 mm petty
3. What size knife are you looking for? see above
4. Do you prefer carbon or stainless steel? Not sure
5. Do you prefer a western handle or a Japanese handle? Japanese
6. How much did you want to spend? Up to ~$600 for both knives
7. Do you know how to sharpen? I have some stones and have dabbled with them a little bit.

I am a home cook looking to upgrade my knives. I was worried that some of the thinner laser type knives would be too prone to damage or chipping for me. So, I have been looking at the Kanehiro knives. There are two metal choices (Aogami super and ginsan) and I was wondering if anyone could give me some details on the differences for the two metal types.

I know that the ginsan is stainless and the Aogami super is carbon and will require a bit more care. I was wondering if there are trade-offs for going with the ginsan in terms of absolute sharpness, longevity of sharpness, or durability.

I purchased a yamashin knife and some sharpening stones last year as an introduction to japanese knives. So far, we have done pretty well keeping the yamashin from rusting. A couple of times a little rust spot has developed, but it was pretty easy to remove. I have tried sharpening it once with so-so results. So, it seems like I could handle the carbon knives if there were advantages of the aogami super over the ginsan. On the other hand, it would be nice to have the ginsan in case we forget to immediately clean the knives after cutting something acidic.

My thinking was to get a gyuto and a petty from the same maker, but that is not an absolute requirement.

Lastly, are there other knives in the same price range that I should be looking at? Some of the other brands I have been looking at are: Masakage Koishi, Kajihara Damascus, Kikuichi Swedish Warikomi damascus, Kamo (currently out of stock), Sakai Takayuki Damascus Wa (a little above my price range, but a beautiful knife).

Thanks for any comments,

Re: Metal choice questions

Wed Dec 18, 2013 5:52 pm

Joel - I think those Kanehiro Ginsan models are awesome choices on your part. Kanehiro really does a nice job with both their Aogami Super (AS) and Ginsan steels. The knives are top notch, great performers. Their Ginsan should have a nice balance of sharpness, edge retention, and strength.

As far as chipping or damage, these are not lasers, but they're still thin at the edge and you'll need to exercise proper technique when using them. This basically means no torquing or putting any side ways force on the knife edge when cutting, especially if the knife digs into your board a little, when it's newly sharp, as can happen. Don't cut frozen foods, and try not to let the knife slam through harder ingredients and bang into the cutting board - control your cuts. Don't cut through bones, etc.

Use, wash, dry, store appropriately ---- repeat...

Re: Metal choice questions

Wed Dec 18, 2013 7:44 pm

Hey Joel - I have owned the AS model & had the opportunity to test drive the Ginsan(made the product video). In the hand, they look & feel pretty identical to one another. Which shouldn't be a surprise since they are made by the same blacksmith. The Magnolia wood handles have a pleasantly coarser feel to them as opposed to Ho, ensuring a confident grip in hand, but is by no means rough at all. I think it compliments the stiff characteristic of the blades very well.

They come with serviceable edges, but really should be sharpened. AS is the superior steel in just about every way. If you improve your sharpening skills though, it shouldn't really matter. They are both thin right above the edge, and IMO, that is more important that absolute sharpness. If I was choosing between the two, the deciding factor for me would be if I wanted the benefits of stainless or not over carbon. I have a preference towards carbons for a majority of my work, but it was a pleasant surprise testing the Ginsan and not having to worry about the blade AT ALL!

Re: Metal choice questions

Wed Dec 18, 2013 10:10 pm

Hi Joel and welcome to the forum. The Kanehiro AS are great knives and remember the AS is clad in stainless so the carbon is only exposed at the edge making maintenance slightly less daunting.
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