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Need help for a first Japanese quiver!

Sat Dec 28, 2013 1:37 pm

Hi everyone,

Home chef with little cooking experience in a line restaurant ( was prep and line cook at the keg for a whole summer). And now just cook at home for family and friends. I really like it and want to develop my skills and sharpening skills. So i definitely want something to grow with.

I originalli started checking knives as a Sanelli block was on sale, then a friend of mine has a set of Global which infell in love with. Did a bit of research and here is my tastes and approx budget for now.

By reading, everyone seems ro recommend good chef knife , utility knife and bread knife. I have an ok bread knife and dońt really eat bread all that much anyway. Got a wok for christmas and i really love vegetables and meat and that's what I'll be cooking most with the occasionnal fish.

I want something to do everyday jobs cutting/chopping and something to cut through whole chickens and portion a big piece of meat ( like the big pieces they sell at Costco for example)

My budget is +\- 200 $ for knives only. I really seem to like the laser type knives although the cheapest I saw is the Richmond at 215$. Which would mean no utility ( petty is the same right?)

What would you recommend ? 240 gyoto or Santoku? And what about utility knives? I don't mind a knife I need to sharpen bur I think I would mind a knife I have to sharpen everyday.

Thanks for your help!


- Approx 150-200$ or less
- I will learn to sharpen, never did before
- Left-handed
- 240 Gyuto, santoku and or petty (approx 5-6 inch)
- Open-minded!
- Would prefer a chef and a utility knife, but only 1 good chef knife can do!

Re: Need help for a first Japanese quiver!

Sat Dec 28, 2013 2:52 pm

Ok, lots to talk about :)

I really love a 240mm gyuto for just about every thing. I have one each: santoku, nakiri, petty, paring knife, and bread knife; I don't reach for them much, I have 7 240mm gyutos. I would certainly not duplicate roles with a santoku and gyuto, the santoku is a gyuto jr, anything you would want to do with it, you can do with a gyuto. A petty can be nice for many roles but I do not reach for mine much unless I am prepping late night snacks or something like that, then again some could not live without theirs. But I also never cook for less than 4 people.

My recommendation would be for a good quality gyuto, a good stone or two, and some time to learn them, then come back with what you have learned and fill out the collection.

For me this would be the order I picked up knives in:
1) gyuto
1a) stones
2) bread knife
3) slicer
4, tie) petty
4, tie) boning knife
6) nakiri, santoku, kiritsuke, anything else that interests me.

For others 2-6 may be rearranged based on common menu items, but most will start with a gyuto.

My two picks for knives in your price range are both carbon core knives, meaning they will discolor with use and could rust if left wet or dirty. The Goko gyuto is great value, sharpens easily, has loads of character, and cuts like a dream: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/gokogyuto240mm.html. The Goko is a mid weight knife, not a laser, but the extra weight makes it an awesome chopper. The other is the Kohetsu: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/rikoaosu24gy.html. The Kohetsu is lighter and thinner, will have better edge retention, good sharpening characteristics, and has great value for the money.

The Imanishi two sided stone is a common recommendation for budget conscious entry level sharpening kit. The Arashiyama kit is a bit more upscale, but still inexpensive.

My $.02 for your consideration :)

Re: Need help for a first Japanese quiver!

Sat Dec 28, 2013 4:42 pm

Those are all excellent recommendations. There are several good knives in your price range that I could also add. The Tanaka Ginsan is a good knife to learn to sharpen with and it's a fun to use: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/tagigy24.html

Re: Need help for a first Japanese quiver!

Sat Dec 28, 2013 11:16 pm

2nd for the Tanaka Ginsan:

Goko SS Damascus, Mark just announced this today, so not much info yet:

Hatsuyuki 240mm, new as well, not much info:


Sharpening stone:

The Fujiwara FKM 150mm petty is pretty nice, $44, but out of stock.

Re: Need help for a first Japanese quiver!

Sun Dec 29, 2013 10:01 am

One recommended more carbon steel knives and the other more stainless.

IF I'd grab only one knife in my life and it's this one. Iwant my first to not be entry level but good value. Is stainless harder to sharpen?

In carbon knives, I heard white #1 is purer so why do people often prefer bue super?

I heard some guru on a forum I go doesn't like san-mai blades since it has no soul to him. Any other can relate to san-mai vs monosteel?

I prefer to pay 180 than 100 if it's really next step or higher quality finish and blade. I can also learn to sharpen on my crappy old faberware set too.

Another thing, i have experience with the Global knives only as far as japanese jnives go for cutting experience. How would these compare?

Lastly, What would be best to cut through whole chicken and slice pieces of raw meat? 6" petty or slicing knife ? (Btw what is the slicing knife in Japanese world?)

Again thank you so much for your time and excuse me for all the questions. I am really falling in love and I dońt even have the knife yet!


Re: Need help for a first Japanese quiver!

Sun Dec 29, 2013 10:06 am

I forgot, the fact that Im left-handed, is a d shape handle going to bother me? What about 60/40 or 70/30. Sharpened blades. Is it possible to custom order specifically for lefties for somthing like 10-15% up of original price like on JCK?

Thanks again guys.

Re: Need help for a first Japanese quiver!

Sun Dec 29, 2013 11:25 am

Some lefties don't mind D shape handles, others can't stand them. You can remove/flip them over to put the D on the left, or have Mark swap out for an Octagon or oval handle. The blade grind may be more noticeable, but most people don't complain much. You can custom order some stuff thru some makers, but it may take several months and may be more than the 10-15%; some lefty versions are 40% more for single bevel knives usually!

You didn't mention stainless or carbon preference in your first post that I saw. Lower priced carbon generally means a Kurouchi finish, which I find to be on the thick side of knives with a few exceptions. Tanaka Sekiso (all carbon) or Richmond AS Laser (carbon core SS clad) are awesome performers. But near $200, which leaves no $$$ for stones. Same with Goko, Kohetsu, etc, etc, etc. I was trying to stay under $140 to let you get the double sided stone. IF you go to $200 for the knife and can still get the stone, your choices vastly improve!

White #1 is purer steel composition wise and may take a finer edge and be easier to sharpen, but Aogami Super has more carbon, and will hold an edge longer and isn't quite as reactive. Blue steel has more alloys in it that white, leading to a little less reactivity and a little harder sharpening/longer edge holding. I prefer Blue or Super Blue for the steel. You can get an insanely wicked edge with any of them.

I have mono knives and clad knives. I don't really let the mono vs clad debate bother me; 99.99% of people won't notice a difference, yet many will claim they do because some of the guru's can and they want to be like them. Melampus, Boar De Laze and those guys can probably notice a difference. I can't.

Breaking down a chicken is a good task for a 150mm petty since you are a lefty and most honesuki's are righty bias, just don't try to cut thru any bones with any Japanese knife!!!

A slicer is known as a Yanagiba for raw fish for sushi, general purpose slicer is called a sujihiki.

Re: Need help for a first Japanese quiver!

Sun Dec 29, 2013 11:40 am

As a general rule carbon sharpens much easier than stainless. Stainless will hold the edge a bit longer. In generalities. Most people prefer blue steel over white because it is still very easy to sharpen, takes a very acute edge, and has slightly better edge retention than white. There is nothing wrong with San Mai blades in my opinion. A sujihiki is a slicing knife with a double bevel. A yanagiba is a slicing knife with a single bevel. I would recommend the suji for slicing meats, cooked or raw, not frozen, or cuts with bones in them. I wouldn't recommend a suji or a petty for breaking down a whole chicken. You will want something not as thin of a blade. Chipping against the bone with a thin jknife could cause serious damage to the knife. A good boning knife or a honesuki should be used for this. For a first knife purchase, I would recommend, like others above have stated, a gyuto. I would get a San Mai construction with a stainless surface and a carbon core. I also prefer blue steel. This is a very versatile knife. However, don't expect it to do everything. Take care of it and use it properly, it should last the rest of your life. I wouldn't worry too much about 70/30, 90/10 etc... A good 50/50 bevel with one of these knives will cut fantastic. I wouldn't spend the money to convert a knife right out of the gate. I recommend getting one, using it how it is out of the box. Later, when you sharpen it, or have it sharpened, if you'd like to try an asymmetric bevel, pay for it then. Get the initial use out of the knife first. Good luck on your purchase. There are many great knives to choose from and there have been many good ones already recommended. Taz and I were posting at the same time. I'll post mine too anyway .

Re: Need help for a first Japanese quiver!

Sun Dec 29, 2013 11:52 am

Stainless vs Carbon: carbon will typically take keener edges and sharpen quicker; stainless is less reactive and easier to maintain while using; but this is not a clear line, AEB-L for example is a stainless razor steel so it sharpens well and takes a screaming edge, while some higher alloy semi-stainless steels are basically carbon, but don't really stain. Neither is better, I like carbon because the patina gives the knife soul and I love the ease of sharpening; but that is based on preference, not objective performance.

Clad blades: I swear I can feel a difference, many swear I'm an idiot. :) That being said, other design criteria have as much or more influence on the feel of a knife than cladding. My Kohetsu and Tojiro (both clad knives) feel a bit dead to me. My Anryu and Goko (also both clad) feel great. Might be weight, handle, etc. I would not choose based on cladding alone.

"I can also learn to sharpen on my crappy old faberware set too." Yes! Though higher hardness, more wear resistant steels behave very differently than high quality cutlery, so there may be a bit of a learning curve when you move onto the nice knives.

Globals: I don't have experience with Globals, but I understand they use a mediocre proprietary steel. Most of the knives on the site have reputations partly built on their steel quality. Globals have a thin grind which makes them better performers than most western cutlery, but preform below average for a Japanese knife. Again this is my understanding, I do not have personal familiarity with the brand.

Can't speak to lefty issues, I'm on the other team ;)

I think Taz responded to all the other issues better than I could and RedWattle responded faster :)

Re: Need help for a first Japanese quiver!

Sun Dec 29, 2013 11:58 am

A 150mm petty is all I use to break down chickens. It works very well but as Taz mentioned don't try to cut through bones with any J-knife.
Definitely get your gyuto first and go from there.

The Arashiyama stones are great stones that you will have for yeas and not out grow. You can add more to your set as you go and learn.

I'm a lover of carbon steels, they sharpen easier and generally take and hold a better edge. The only stainless I reall y like is AEB-l, has a lot of caracteristics of carbon.
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