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 Post subject: Santoku or Nakiri for my wife
PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 9:43 pm 
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Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2012 7:18 pm
Posts: 7895
Location: Madison Wisconsin
My name is Mike, and I’m in the process of looking for a Santoku or Nakiri style knife for my wife for her birthday coming up in February. She is a big home cook, and watches every cooking show known to man, so I thought I would get her something that she would really like and appreciate (we’ve been married 20 years, so we’re at the practical stage, not flashy…LOL!). Our kitchen knives are 20 year old Henkels, which have served us well, but I was wanting to get her something really different. The reason I’m looking at a Japanese knife is that I practice martial arts, Wado-ryu specifically, and am fascinated by their mastery of steel before the technology behind the steel was really understood from a scientific point. I’ll also point out that I’m a mechanical engineer by education, so I find the forging process as super interesting, also.

I was hoping that you could steer me in a direction for a knife with the following requirements 1)above style 2)traditional non-riveted handle 3)I would like to for the blade to have some “character”…not just a one shade, stainless still looking thing…I know that is a crappy description, but it’s about the best I can do without trying to look up every Japanese term…..I don’t mind if the blade turns gray or black with age, exposure to acids in foods 4)under the $200 US range.

That should be a decent starting point….I think. I got your name and website off of a knife forum. Said you were a knowledgeable guy that was a great help, so I thought I would pull your ear for info.

Thanks in advance,

M



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 Post subject: Re: Santoku or Nakiri for my wife
PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 9:48 pm 
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Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2012 7:18 pm
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Location: Madison Wisconsin
Hi Mike,

Take a look at the Masakage Mizu nakiri. It's in your price range and is hand made. The steel is excellent and I think your wife will enjoy it: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/mamina16.html

The other one that is really nice is the Shigefusa. I love this knife: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/shigefusa.html



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 Post subject: Re: Santoku or Nakiri for my wife
PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 10:11 pm 
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Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2012 4:17 am
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Something cool in a good stainless, Sakai Takayuki Damascus: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/satadana160.html



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 Post subject: Re: Santoku or Nakiri for my wife
PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 10:53 pm 

Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 6:20 am
Posts: 2301
I own these two gyutos: the Anryu Hammered, http://www.chefknivestogo.com/kaanasgy24.html; and the Goko, http://www.chefknivestogo.com/gokogyuto240mm.html. These are some of the most characterful, high performing knives I have at the moment. There are nakiris and santokus in both lineups, though some are out of stock.

Here are the product pages: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/anryuhammered.html; http://www.chefknivestogo.com/gokoknives.html.


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 Post subject: Re: Santoku or Nakiri for my wife
PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 11:05 pm 

Joined: Mon Nov 18, 2013 5:44 pm
Posts: 633
I still love the look of the Sakai Takayuki Hammered Damascus line... beautiful knives!

A recommendation thread doesn't feel complete though without a Goko thrown in though, lol : http://www.chefknivestogo.com/gona16.html

That is the Goko 165mm nakiri. Handmade knife with white #1 steel so it can get molecule splitting sharp, a relatively thick spine (like the other Gokos in this series) and an excellent grind so it cuts like a much thinner knife but retains a strong feel. The handle is D shaped for a righty which might be a consideration if your wife is a lefty, but I don't believe the D is too pronounced in this series.

And because they have loads of potential,

Yamashin santoku: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/yawh1sa16.html

Yamashin nakiri : http://www.chefknivestogo.com/yawh1na16.html

Both are handmade with white #1 steel so they can get VERY sharp, just know that it will take some work to get them to where they need to be. I own the santoku so I guess you could say I have a soft spot for them. lol I would say steer clear if you want a knife that will drop your jaw out of the box, but if you want a knife to work with and show some love to with great results for your efforts, Yamashins are excellent for the price. Good knives to learn how to sharpen and thin blades with.


Edit: Cedar beat me to the Goko recommendation. lol


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 Post subject: Re: Santoku or Nakiri for my wife
PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 7:57 pm 

Joined: Tue Jan 07, 2014 3:48 pm
Posts: 1
This is Mike, the originator of the question...went and created an account so I could answer all of you. Thanks so much for your time and input. All the information is almost overwhelming....especially for a techy person.....with each new bit, I have to go and look into something else! Nothing like making an informed decision. I do like the "hammered/scale" look...does make a great visual piece, along with the functionality. And the damascus is beautiful.

While you guys are offering up info, I might as well ask how many stones do you have to maintain your blades? Boy, that comes out sounding really odd, doesn't it? LOL! But seriously, if you aren't using the knive inappropriately (causing dings/nicks to the edge), you should only require a few to "hone" the edge, right? I don't mean to sound stupid, just consider me a little ignorant on the maintenance of japanese blades....I'm reading all I can right now as time allows. (I will add that I have two teenagers in the house, thus for me to even consider the knife always being used appropriately is insane).

Thanks again for your time and inputs. Glad to see the passion of people.

M


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 Post subject: Re: Santoku or Nakiri for my wife
PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 8:25 pm 

Joined: Mon Nov 18, 2013 5:44 pm
Posts: 633
To be honest I am very new to Japanese knives as well and so far only have four in my collection at the moment. lol Fortunately that has the benefit of gaining some first-hand experience in knowing what I want and expect out of future knives. ;)

That being said, so far I have just been using a cheap King 250/1k combo waterstone (I have yet to even touch the 240 side) and homemade leather and balsa strops with compounds to sharpen and maintain my blades. You really don't need a whole lot to get a VERY sharp edge and refine it.

Of course what you need to maintain an edge and what you want are two different things. ;)

After using the King stone I am finding I want a less muddy, cleaner stone. That is just me though as the stone is doing a great job and a LOT of people love to play in the mud. lol I also don't want a stone I have to soak. It isn't too big of a concern, but I like to be able to grab and go, not grab, wait 15-20 mins, and then go. As of late my "allowance" has been blown on knives, but when the bank stops crying and I am sure my wife won't cause me bodily harm, I want to get a set of Shapton Pro stones like these: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/shpro3pcset.html

Or maybe even just the two stone set as I do have other coarser (non-waterstone) stones that would work for blade repair. Either way I need to get a flattening plate as well.

Long story longer, you can go as simple or as complex as you like with the stones. Just make sure you have at least a 1k, a flattening plate, and some way to refine the edge after the 1k some either by way of a finer stone, strops, or both. The last part after the 1k isn't totally necessary, but I would HIGHLY recommend it. Now which stones to get... well, that has as many answers as there are sharpeners. It's totally dependent on the user. ;) I would say get something inexpensive (something like this http://www.chefknivestogo.com/imtwosi1kst.html) and start from there. Then you can work your way up once you know what you like or do not like about your current stones. Or even a complete set that you can add on to as you go, like this: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/knshcoset.html


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 Post subject: Re: Santoku or Nakiri for my wife
PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 8:48 pm 

Joined: Sat Jan 04, 2014 8:57 pm
Posts: 600
I started with an Arashiyama 1000 and the Suehiro Rika 5000, plus some diamond compound on a balsa strop. I have heard more recommendations for the Bester 1.2K than the Arashiyama, but the SR seems to be a perennial favorite around the 5-6K grit level.

I think DefMunky's advice is all good. I'd say that getting more than a 1K, a 5-6K, and a strop is overkill for a beginner, as that combination allows you to get a great edge that you can futher refine with future purchases as desired. Whether you go for individual or combo stones seems llike largely a matter of budget.

Do get something to flatten your stones, whether that is a DMT plate or a DIY solution like sandpaper over a sheet of glass.

Erik


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 Post subject: Re: Santoku or Nakiri for my wife
PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 10:41 pm 

Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 6:20 am
Posts: 2301
Agree with all that has been said so far. For normal edge upkeep, the 1k/5k progression is pretty standard. Strops are generally preferred for realigning the edge, ie sharpening steel, and are used daily or near daily. A diamond plate is also pretty standard entry level kit for keeping the stones flat, though there are other ways to accomplish this task. Anything coarser than 1k is generally used for repairs of significant chips or to reset the bevel. You do not need a coarser stone to do this job, but it is a time saver. For most people new to sharpening, even if you need to repair a damaged blade, it is better to err on the side of a higher grit stone, say a 1k. It is better to make a mistake slowly while learning, than quickly. Anything higher grit than 5-6k is generally only need in task specific applications or just to play around. Straight razors are not considered shave ready until you are past the 10k range or so...for example.

Here are some common entry level sets:
a. Imanish combo stone, a one stone solution: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/imtwosi1kst.html
b. Arashiyama starter set, very popular due to high value for the money: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/4pcshstset.html
c. Bester/Suehiro Rika starter set, also very popular due to high value for the money: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/3pcstoneset.html
d. Bester/Suehiro Rika/Stone holder/flattening plate/etc starter set, pretty much anything you would need is included: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/knshcoset.html


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