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 Post subject: Selecting my knife
PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2014 1:40 am 
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Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2012 7:18 pm
Posts: 7785
Location: Madison Wisconsin
After reading through several blogs, websites, and forum posts I am educated enough to make a purchase on a quality kitchen knife. Before I purchase away, however, I figure it best to first contact you to get a feel for what you might recommend being the knife vendor.

I am looking for a 240mm gyuto. I am not 100% on knowing if I am interested yet in a Kiritsuke style shape, but either way a more traditional japanese handle. I may rehandle in half a year or so anyways, so the handle is something I am not too strict on design or looks. I do have a passion for the more rustic looking knifes, especially kurouchi finish.

I am not a professional chef, nor will I be with this knife. I will not be cutting up buckets of carrots, so it is not like I will notice a massive difference between knives, yet I am a mechanical engineer with a focus on composites and thus very interested in metallurgy and steels. So as one forum poster summed it up for me, it is sort of an academic choice on a nicer blade with solid construction. I have a lot of passion for things with soul, one of the reasons why I traded in my new shun to fund this purchase.

Current budget limits out around $300, but would be happier in the 250 range as I plan to buy a few stones. As such, I have been looking into a yoshikane (skd), but also came across the Takumi Ikeda that you carry.
So to sum things up quickly:
240mm gyuto, wa handle: rustic/kurouchi preferred but not required. Willing to care for it properly be it carbon or semi-stainless. Within that 200-300 price range, but would pay up to $400 for something amazing in the looks department (trying to haggle down a yoshikane sld to that price with a forum poster).

Let me know if there are some options I should look at that differ, or if you would recommend a particular knife. A little bit of looks and flare do matter to me, but the blade has to be a solid performer.

Sorry for the drawn out email, thank you for your time.
Bradley



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 Post subject: Re: Selecting my knife
PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2014 1:50 am 
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BRADLEY <> Howbout a brand new Yoshikane<--link for $300?

As for a Kiritsuke, I would suggest a Konosuke<--link if you go there. They are ground 50/50, and have more radius in their profile as opposed to a largely flat classical design. The KonoW#2 or semi-stainless high-speed tool steel HD line<--link are laser thin & light which can be a positive or negative depending on your perspective. Very nimble, seem sharper than they are, glide through food fluidly, but more delicate as the edges are so thin. Both steels take too sharp edges with far more than adequate edge retention in a residential kitchen & more than adequate in professional environments. That said, they're still silly flat, and you really gotta be a devoted push or pull cutter to enjoy them.

Thing is here... a $250 knife is a different league than a $400 knife.. you need to decide a budget. You do not need to spend $400 to get an incredible knife, but $400 will buy you an incredible knife.

A Kaneshige Anryu<--link is one of my favorite knives on the site. IMPECCABLE GRIND & F/F for $240. Middle-weight that has enough weight to instill strength & integrity in hand, yet light enough to still be quick on the board. He is the blacksmith that Ikeda apprenticed under (that Ikeda KS is a totally different knife though), and a maestro for Masakage, as well. Robust grind on durable Hitachi Blue #2 steel is still thin behind the edge. Best of both worlds; look at the pic.
Image

Then there are super-steel knives like, for instance, Takefu SG2 Powder Metallurgical Steel in a Shiro Kamo<--link.

Image

This is a beast of a knife. I say that in cutting power & durability. It has ridiculous edge retention; not that really matters in a house. It's by no means a laser; thick & stiff. Not so much it wedges excessively, but I know nothing about your cutting style. I just know you're an engineer that has $250 - $400 burning a hole in his pocket.

You like the Ikeda... the Sabatier/Masamoto KS clone? How about a Hitachi Blue Super Steel hardened to Hrc 65 in a light yet stiff rustic kuro-uchi'd package like the Moritaka Supreme<--link?

Sir, I can talk till I'm blue in the face, but I know so little about you or what you need - or at least what you think you need - that it's almost masturbatory circumlocution. I hope I've instigated some internal questioning because it seems we have a way to go before we... or I, can be confident in a recommendation tailored to you.

I gotta go break down & write my orders for tomorrow, but again, I hope to have been the impetus to the genesis of a new line of questions that I look forward to working on later. You need to think about what you do, how you do it, and what special traits you resonate with. LET'S GET YOU THE RIGHT KNIFE.



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 Post subject: Re: Selecting my knife
PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2014 6:38 am 

Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 6:20 am
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I would highly recommend the Anryu Mel mentioned. I purchased mine partly on his recommendation and it is an amazing knife, currently my favorite. In my opinion, the Anryu has a better grind than the Ikeda. I love the Ikeda profile and carbon Damascus cladding, but the Anryu has a better grind. This translates to less sticking, less wedging, and the visceral sensation of more sharpness. Another knife that has wowed, especially at the price point, is the Goko: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/gokogyuto240mm.html. The Goko feels like a stouter, less elegant tool than the Anryu, but it performs extremely well. In fact, for the money I may even say the Goko out performs the Anryu.

Like Mel said, have a look at a few of these and see it they elicit some more questions, or flesh out your preferences a bit then post what you are seeing that works or turns you off...that may help narrow down some choices.


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 Post subject: Re: Selecting my knife
PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2014 2:54 pm 
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With a budget between $250 and $400, there are almost too many knives to narrow it down without something more. :) Not a bad thing, necessarily, but still.

Mel pointed out a couple of really nice knives, and I could as well....perhaps some that differ in a lot of ways. However, I might rather suggest another option:

You don't mention if you have much experience with knives in general. If you've not used quality cutlery of any kind, I might suggest getting something like the Fujiwara FKH....a carbon steel knife, and a really great knife in it's own right.

http://www.chefknivestogo.com/fujiwara2.html

There is also a wa handled stainless version:

http://www.chefknivestogo.com/fufkm24wa.html

Buying this, using it for a few weeks and reporting back to us what you liked, didn't like, etc. will be a big advantage to getting you a knife more suited to your likes, dislikes.

Did you chip the knife? Did you let it (the carbon version) rust? Can you sharpen it well? Do you like how much belly the knife has....more or less belly?!?!

Then, if you so desire, sell it and buy a better knife.

I'm not saying this is the best approach for you....but it's an option I find works well for people in your situation some times.

Otherwise, maybe find 5 of your favorites and ask us about them....we'll tell you more than you probably wanted to know. :)



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 Post subject: Re: Selecting my knife
PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2014 3:22 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 16, 2012 4:42 pm
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Location: USA... mostly.
BRADLEY <> Words of wisdom above.



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