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Santoku and Yanagi

Mon Dec 16, 2013 8:08 am

Hello Chefsknivestogo,

Can you give me a starting point in my search for the proper knives for me? Without having to go into all the blade specifics, which I know too little about, I want a Santoku and Yanagi knife for the type of food prep that I do. I'm am not a professional chef and only cook at home. I'd like the top level knives that are appropriate for my situation.
I do maintain my knives with waterstones, if that has any bearing on the selection or starting point.

Take care,


Re: Santoku and Yanagi

Mon Dec 16, 2013 8:09 am

Hi Roger,

I'm assuming you are right handed?

Also, can you give me an idea of the general price range you want to stay within so I can narrow down my recommendations for you?

Re: Santoku and Yanagi

Mon Dec 16, 2013 8:11 am

....and whether or not carbon is an option.

Not many good stainless yanagi's available and those that are get spendy quick. :)

Re: Santoku and Yanagi

Mon Dec 16, 2013 8:25 am


I'm a lefty and price starts to hurt at $350 per. Or should I get a Gyuto in place of both of those knives? Carbon is an option, yes.

Re: Santoku and Yanagi

Mon Dec 16, 2013 8:31 am

You're in luck, lefty yanagi's command about a 150% premium. :o

Whether you get a gyuto in place of both would have to be your decision.

A yanagi is very purpose built.....to cut raw fish. It does other things somewhat well too.....but it's built to excel at that one task.

If you don't make a LOT of sushi, and don't already have a nice sujihiki, I'd get that before I got a yanagi. A sujihiki cuts raw fish pretty good, but does other things very well too.

A santoku....I simply don't use. I'd much rather have a 210mm gyuto....and use my 240mm gyuto's even more than those. A santoku is just to dainty for me for real prep work. I do have a nakiri that I like to use though.

What other knives do you have?

In order of acquisition, I'd get:


Then start adding the fun knives like yanagi, nakiri, honesuki, etc.

Re: Santoku and Yanagi

Mon Dec 16, 2013 8:33 am

Roger - If you're thinking of the Yanagi for more general slicing purposes, I would look at good Sujihiki's instead. The Yanagaiba's are purpose built for making clean slices of raw fish & other proteins. You'll find a good selection of stainless Suji's at CKTG as well.

A 210 Gyuto is a more versatile knife than most Santoku's. Having said that, I love Santoku's and if you want a knife in the 6.5 - 7.5" range, they are pretty versatile.

Do you have any opinions or sense of whether you want a really light knife, or more of a middle weight (still light) with a bit of heft to the blade? Also, any preference of Western or Japanese (Wa) handle? Wa's will generally be lighter overall, with a bit more blade forward balance vs. Westerns (Yo).

Re: Santoku and Yanagi

Mon Dec 16, 2013 9:01 am

I see. The long bladed knife is for sashimi but would also be for thin slicing meat - soo, Sujihiki then? Are they one side beveled as well?
I like the lighter, thin bladed, front (blade) heavy knives - but I don't want to loose the quality, solid feel.
All I can say abot the handles are that the Wa's look enticing but I have not held any knife with such a handle.

Re: Santoku and Yanagi

Mon Dec 16, 2013 9:03 am


I tossed all my knives but one - a Global G-2 - hence my e-visit to this place :)

Re: Santoku and Yanagi

Mon Dec 16, 2013 9:16 am

Sujihikis are double beveled, but they are thin so they make very good overall slicers for pretty much everything.

If you like blade heavy knives then a wa handle is awesome. Western handles tend to balance around the bolster due to the handle weight, but wa handles are typically lighter in the back and put the balance point further into the blade. Bolsterless western handles will also tend to be a little more blade heavy, but not quite as much as the wa handles. If you use a pinch grip you probably won't care, but wa handles are still pretty comfortable in a racket grip as well.

I like santokus myself as well, but the sheer utility of a longer gyuto would be hard to argue against. But if you like shorter knives, a santoku is pretty hard to beat in my opinion.

Re: Santoku and Yanagi

Mon Dec 16, 2013 9:45 am

Yeah, a sujihiki would be more universal.

Here is a couple of recommendations:

Budget, carbon, western handled sujihiki:


Great knives....introduction to carbon....nice and thin.

A little more high end:


Better steel, real thin, nice wa handle.

If budget allows, the Richmond Laser sujihiki is super nice.

Wa handles take little to no getting used to.

Now, if you already have, and like the G-2 (a Global chef's knife), then I might venture out and get a different knife style. However, if you don't like the G-2 necessarily, try something like the TKC:


Great, great knife. Uses a semi-stainless steel that is fantastic.

If you want a different knife style, I'd start with a good paring knife. The Shun Classic 3.5" is still my favorite factory made.
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