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 Post subject: Looking for Gyuto recommendations
PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 1:03 am 
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Joined: Tue Apr 30, 2013 10:57 pm
Posts: 97
Hi all,

New fora member.

I've been a serious home cook for 15+ years, and after a fair amount wear and tear, I'm finally ready to make the leap to a stronger, thinner, and more modern chef knife. I'm looking forward to retiring my well worn 10" Wusthof Classic to secondary or even tertiary use ... after a long overdue re-profiling and bolsterectomy.

To answer the standard questions:

1. Are you right handed?

A: Call me sinister, cuz I write and cut lefty in the kitchen ... but as required by tradition, I studied Iaiado righty. ;)

2. What type of knife are you interested in (gyuto, nakiri etc..)

A: At the moment, I'm looking for a Gyuto. Shape-wise, I like a little Germanic belly in my chef knives, but for the right knife I'm happy to drift a bit more French.

3. What size knife are you looking for?

A: I'm used to a 10", so I'd probably be happy with either a 240mm or 270mm.

4. Do you prefer carbon or stainless steel?

A: I've done my time with soft german stainless steels, and I'm ready for an upgrade. I'd like a modern steel with a 60+ rockwell, but I'm also happy to sacrifice a little high end performance for a very modest amount of resistance to staining and chipping/breakage. I currently dont have any plans to sharpen beyond say, 10/15 a side.

5. Do you prefer a western handle or a Japanese handle?

A: Definitely western, preferably water & stain proof. I use a standard pinch grip, so I dont like a lot of excess neck length (which some Japanese blade have) between the front of the handle and the back of the blade, or sudden changes in diameter between same.

6. How much did you want to spend?

A: For my initial jump into modern steels, I'd like to stay under $250 USD.

7. Do you know how to sharpen?

A: Up until a week ago, I'd have considered myself 98th percentile for owning a well dished 1000 grit global whetstone, a diamond steel, and a drawer full of non-serrated knives that can all cut ripe tomatoes without making an unholy mess. Now, after having just read Chad Ward's book, I realize I have a lot more to learn before I can turn a thin piece of newsprint held at arms length into ethereal filligree. :oops: :lol:

I'm getting ready to order an Apex Edge Pro, which seems like a good step in the right direction.


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 Post subject: Re: Looking for Gyuto recommendations
PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 1:09 am 
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Joined: Tue Apr 30, 2013 10:57 pm
Posts: 97
This is an example of the style of Gyuto I've just started looking at:

Akifusa Gyuto 240mm

I could use a few more recommendations.


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 Post subject: Re: Looking for Gyuto recommendations
PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 8:10 am 
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Joined: Wed May 09, 2012 3:59 pm
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Location: Cape Town - South Africa
The Akifusa is one serious contender - I had the whole set at one stage - passed it to my Dad when I upgraded.
One of the best edge retentioners out there, tough - good profile/geometry - not laser though - but not thick either.
Good value for money - would you be able to sharpen it??

You will be hard pressed to find a better performer in this price range.

http://www.epicedge.com/shopexd.asp?id=85649

:)



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 Post subject: Re: Looking for Gyuto recommendations
PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 9:34 am 

Joined: Wed Dec 12, 2012 6:58 pm
Posts: 64
I use Akifusa every day at work. But I would not recommend it to you if you do not cook at least for 2,000 people a day. Akifusa is a knife that will stand any test. The only down side is handle. Mark offers a lot of knives which are not inferior to Akifusa, and maybe even in some respects superior.


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 Post subject: Re: Looking for Gyuto recommendations
PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 2:00 pm 
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Joined: Tue Apr 30, 2013 10:57 pm
Posts: 97
vovaskitchen wrote: I use Akifusa every day at work. But I would not recommend it to you if you do not cook at least for 2,000 people a day. Akifusa is a knife that will stand any test. The only down side is handle.


Can you elaborate on this a bit ?


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 Post subject: Re: Looking for Gyuto recommendations
PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 4:57 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 29, 2013 5:46 pm
Posts: 217
The Edge Pro Apex is an excellent system. Get stones which are better than stock. Currently the Shapton GS are getting a lot of buzz and there seems to be some dissatisfaction with the Chocera. However, if you're an effective freehand sharpener already, you may be better off just replacing your stones. Hard to say.

Ditch the diamond steel. It's a knife eater. Get an Idahone fine ceramic, a MAC "Black," or an F. Dick polished. The Idahone is one of the two best deals in the entire knife universe. Some knife alloys are too strong and insufficiently tough to be trued on a steel; that restriciton includes most knives made from uber-hard alloys. In that case, you'll have to strop to true. We can talk more about this once you've decided on a knife.

As a low-volume, home cook, it seems to me that you're overrating edge holding as a characteristic. How important is it to you to only sharpen once every 14 weeks instead of going through the horrible drudgery of sharpening every 11? Instead, pay more attention to edge taking, edge geometry, ease of maintenance, profile, handle, weight, agility, overall ergonomics, and even looks. Those things make an everyday difference whose lack can't be compensated with a (very) little extra attention.

Think twice about buying a san-mai, three-layer, laminated knife. Compared to the single-steel you're used to the feedback is muted and dampened. Some people don't notice it, others don't mind, but others find it obnoxious. Makes me meshuggeneh. Buy a 1# bag o'carrots, get them and your ass down to your local SLT, and compare any two of their laminated knives with any two of their "single steels." While in-store demos can be confusing in a lot of respects, it won't take long to get a feel for the feels.

Wusthof sets a very high standard for F&F and comfort. Many Japanese knives do not, some do. Here are three which will look and feel familiar enough to have you comfortable from the giddyup, and will hugely outperform the Wustie in every other respect:
  • Kikuichi TKC;
  • MAC Pro; and
  • Masamoto VG.

At first blush, considering what you've written, the TKC seems close to no-brainer.

BDL


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 Post subject: Re: Looking for Gyuto recommendations
PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 6:50 pm 

Joined: Wed Dec 12, 2012 6:58 pm
Posts: 64
You certainly be surprised, but a lot of people working in the professional kitchen have dull knives. I sharpen my knives myself and where I work my knives are slightly sharper than others. Any good knife can be turned into bad if you do not know how to sharpen it. I own few gyutos, and Akifusa is my workhorse that I use and abuse all the time. I like to watch videos on YouTube when someone sharpens his knife, then dices a couple of onions, few tomatoes and then shows that his knife stays sharp as ever. Every day I dice / julienne over 100lb of onions, 50lb of tomatoes, 40lb of bell peppers, on cheapest plastic cutting board.

It is also very common for others to borrow my knives, and Akifusa is the knife that I strongly do not worry to be damaged.

I totally agree with boar_d_laze, and if I would be in the market for my first japanese knife I would do exactly as he advises. TKS is probably closest relative to Akifusa with a more comfortable handle.


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 Post subject: Re: Looking for Gyuto recommendations
PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 6:51 pm 

Joined: Wed Dec 12, 2012 6:58 pm
Posts: 64
"TKC"


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 Post subject: Re: Looking for Gyuto recommendations
PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 11:02 pm 
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Joined: Tue Apr 30, 2013 10:57 pm
Posts: 97
boar_d_laze wrote:The Edge Pro Apex is an excellent system. Get stones which are better than stock. Currently the Shapton GS are getting a lot of buzz and there seems to be some dissatisfaction with the Chocera. However, if you're an effective freehand sharpener already, you may be better off just replacing your stones. Hard to say.


After inputs from several here on the fora, I've already added the Shapton GS to my shopping list. :)

boar_d_laze wrote:Ditch the diamond steel. It's a knife eater. Get an Idahone fine ceramic, a MAC "Black," or an F. Dick polished. The Idahone is one of the two best deals in the entire knife universe. Some knife alloys are too strong and insufficiently tough to be trued on a steel; that restriciton includes most knives made from uber-hard alloys. In that case, you'll have to strop to true. We can talk more about this once you've decided on a knife.


Sound advice ... the Idahone 12 was/is already on my list.

boar_d_laze wrote:As a low-volume, home cook, it seems to me that you're overrating edge holding as a characteristic. How important is it to you to only sharpen once every 14 weeks instead of going through the horrible drudgery of sharpening every 11? Instead, pay more attention to edge taking, edge geometry, ease of maintenance, profile, handle, weight, agility, overall ergonomics, and even looks. Those things make an everyday difference whose lack can't be compensated with a (very) little extra attention.


Just because someone's not a high volume prep grunt (I used to moonlight as one a few years back to help a friend's catering business get rolling) it doesn't mean they're incapable of appreciating a good knife made from a good high end steel, and perhaps wanting to try a few. Same deal for a non-barber being interested in a high end straight razor. Anyway, you're 100% spot on about geometry and ergo of course - I mentioned above that I'm comfortable sacrificing a little high end performance for a little extra forgiveness.

boar_d_laze wrote:Think twice about buying a san-mai, three-layer, laminated knife. Compared to the single-steel you're used to the feedback is muted and dampened. Some people don't notice it, others don't mind, but others find it obnoxious.


Ooooh, good point. Yes, some tactile feedback is important to me, and it didn't occur to me that some lamination techniques could mute that to varying degrees.

boar_d_laze wrote:Wusthof sets a very high standard for F&F and comfort. Many Japanese knives do not, some do.


Yeah, I've been noticing that, now that I've started looking ... it's the primary reason why I've been leaning towards western style handles with smooth well integrated interfaces.

boar_d_laze wrote:Here are three which will look and feel familiar enough to have you comfortable from the giddyup, and will hugely outperform the Wustie in every other respect:


Thank you very much ... I will read up on all three. :D


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 Post subject: Re: Looking for Gyuto recommendations
PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 11:15 pm 
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Joined: Tue Apr 30, 2013 10:57 pm
Posts: 97
TKC looks pretty sweet - good geometry (check), thinner than my German but not laser (check), right price point (check), feedback indicates good ergo fit & finish (check). It just bumped up to the top of my list. :mrgreen:

Continuing to read up on the others ...


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