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So many knives, so little time

Tue Jul 30, 2013 5:35 pm

Okay, my turn is approaching to retire my once revered Wusthoff knives with some Japanese knives. So, without further ado, on to the Q&A:

1. Are you right handed? Right-handed.

2. What type of knife are you interested in (gyuto, nakiri etc..) Gyuto - possibly a funayuki style - and a petty, for starters. :D

3. What size knife are you looking for? 240 mm Gyuto, probably a 150 mm petty, though I could be persuaded to get a 120-140 mm blade.

4. Do you prefer carbon or stainless steel? Carbon - I love carbon steel - preferably AS or Blue Steel #2, possibly White Steel #1 or 2. Tool steel, like HD-2 would be good. Swedish steel is a possibility - did you know that Japanese Chef's Knives.com lists Swedish as carbon and not stainless? I would prefer it not be san mai, but Damascus is just so lovely.

5. Do you prefer a western handle or a Japanese handle? Wa, wa, wa...

6. How much did you want to spend? For just a Gyuto and petty, $700 and possibly more - definitely more once a set of water stones, an end-grain cutting board (I drive through Plano on a regular basis), and other assorted paraphernalia get thrown in the mix. Not to mention more knives in the future... :lol:

7. Do you know how to sharpen? Yes, though I would need to learn water stone technique.

I have been poring over this CKTG site quite a lot, somewhat to the dismay of my wife, who reminds me that I once thought Wusthof was the end-all, be-all in knives and doesn't understand why I have to sharpen them so much. I have mentally gone through numerous possibilities of knife types and makers. I thought about starting with a petty, Nakiri, and Yanagiba, but have settled on starting with a 150 mm petty and a 240 mm Gyuto. These will be strictly for home use, and I will be the only one touching them. I am very particular about my knives and knife care - I even rinse and dry those stainless Wusthof knives as soon as I use them, so care of a carbon knife would not be a problem for me.

Availability is a big, big deal, because when She Who Must Be Obeyed gives me the green light, that trigger will be pulled quickly. I hope... :roll: Reading about the Tanaka Damascus gyutos makes me drool, but they're not in stock. Konosuke HD-2 makes me want them, but the petty is out of stock (but the gyutos are, so...).

So here is what I am currently drooling over - er, considering:

Takeda Gyuto 240 mm
Takeda Banno Petit 140 mm
Konosuke Fujiyama Blue #2 Gyuto 240 mm, "regular" or Funayuki
Konosuke Fujiyama Blue #2 150 mm Petty
Konosuke Fujiyama White #1 Gyuto 240 mm Ebony
Konosuke HD2 Wa-Gyuto 240 mm (is the Ebony worth another $71?)
Konosuke HH 150 mm Petty
Suisin Inox Honyaki Wa-Gyuto 240 mm
Masakage Shimo Petty 150 mm
Masakage Shimo Gyuto 240 mm
Tanaka Damascus Petty 135 mm or 150 mm
Tanaka Damascus Gyuto 270 mm (the 240 mm is out of stock)


Re: So many knives, so little time

Tue Jul 30, 2013 6:48 pm

Great great post. Thanks so much for giving us what we need to help right up front.

Ok, the Takeda Gyuto is an iconic knife. Get that. I nicknamed him Ironman. :) You might consider one of the really nice custom handled ones we have in stock. They transform the knife looks wise.

Try something completely different in look and feel for your petty. Get the Konosuke Blue #2 150mm petty. It's a beautiful knife with top notch steel. I love that knife.

Re: So many knives, so little time

Tue Jul 30, 2013 8:35 pm

The Kono Fujiyama Blue #2 150mm petty is one beautiful and fabulous knife. That said, a lot of us like a petty that is a bit taller, more like a mini gyuto. The Kono is pretty short at about 27mm tall at the heel. The Masakage Shimo is about 34mm tall, quite a difference for a petty. It's also a mono steel knife (White #2) and has a really wicked patterned look. Not damascus, but very unique looking nonetheless.

I'm certainly not saying one is better than the other. You'll need to decide whether a taller or shorter petty is your preference.

I wish everyone would give Mark this much info to work from....yes - great post.

Re: So many knives, so little time

Tue Jul 30, 2013 10:25 pm

Hey, I've read post after post after post where it's obvious the poster did not even look at the "how to give us the information we need to help you" sticky.

The Takeda 240 Gyuto has been calling me since I first ran across it on the CKTG site. It is simply awesome. The Kono Fujiyamas all look like they should be in the Museum of Modern Art, they are just so incredibly gorgeous. And yes, the Masakage Shimo has an incredible look to it as well.

Blue Steel trumps the White. What is the practical, functional difference in the profile between the Kono and Masakage pettys? If you say one is more like a scalpel, well, I have used scalpels quite a bit in the past.

Re: So many knives, so little time

Wed Jul 31, 2013 2:24 am

JNANI <> #!) Regarding your JCK swedish comment; the Swedes make steel in both variety.

13c26 which is effectively Uddeholm's "AEB-L" which is basically Sandvik 12c27 are all stainless and all Swedish.

"INOX" steel - just an acronym for the French term inoxydable (aka., stainless) - in most high-end JK's is typically HItachi Ginsanko/G3 which is basically Takefu V1 which is basically SWEDISH Sandvik 19c27.

Swedish steel, most generally referenced, is carbon, but they make spectacular SS.

#2) If you want the Tanaka Sekiso 240Gyuto/150Petty, BUY IT! No disrespect to CKTG, but MetalMaster has always had at least one, usually two, in stock for at least the last 3 months... I've watched.. w/vigilance. AND he's less expensive even considering CKTG free s/h. You WILL NOT get CKTG service, but it's in stock.

#3) The practical difference between a short petty (e.g., Fuji150, richmond150Laser, HD/HH150) & taller petty (e.g., 150Tanaka, Richmond150ASLaser, Kanehiro150G3) is: a short profile is simply a push/pull kinda slicer - shaped very much like a large thin steak knife; whereas a taller knife allows not only an effective pull slice, but a much more effective push cut. It also & most importantly to me, allows a rock cut which is functionally moot on a short petty. Short has limitations, taller is more versatile, and a taller 150 is a larger knife overall. When I pick up a short 150 it feels like a toy; a taller 150 feels like a knife. It's personal preference for sure, but I've got over two decades of professional experience that deem a short 150, as a utility knife, useless... FOR ME. For me, is the key phrase! You may love one, but I can't - in a hand full of lives - understand how.

You talk about availability. These knives, particularly the Konos, are out of stock in a heart beat. Unless you're wife has given you permission right now, the current stock is a moot point.

You talk about $700 for a carbon gyuto & petty. Thats a big budget. :) Fujiyamas, Teruyasus, Kiyoshi Katos... come to mind. Not to mention, at no point have we discussed what you look for out of a knife, and you put a $200 Sekiso next to a $300 HD... and to a lesser comparative sense next to a $450 Fujiyama. They're all AWESOME knives, but if you need an all purpose food processor - capable of basically anything, the Tanaka is going to inch out the Kono HD Laser. The laser design @Hrc61 has its limitations, it just doesn't have the durability of something like the thicker Aoniko Tanaka @Hrc 60-61. That said, with a $700 budget, you can get both, HD & B#2, w/sayas & a $150 petty & still be in budget. ;)

First, the Suisin INOX Honyaki is not carbon. That said, it is also my favorite all time knife... by a hair. It is second to the Kono HD which is as near identical in profile to the W#2 series as a hand can make. The HD steel is superior. The HD is less expensive. The HD handle is thin/ the Suisin's is thick (I love it's unique rounded & flared octagon). There is, for me, a je ne sais quoi about the Suisin that leaves me choosing it over the Kono everytime... even if I have to sharpen a bit more often (boohoo).

The Takedas I just can't resonate with. I know his forge is iconic, and if he'd just make a damn gyuto that wasn't a phuckin nakiri w/a pointed tip tacked on the end of it... maybe I could jump on board. But honestly, if I wanted a cleaver, I'd buy one. His sasanoha was a good shot, but it comes up short... literally. In absolute transparency, I have never held a Takeda, but only because I will never spend that kind of money on a knife with that geometry. It's a personal preference kinda thing. If you buy a Takeda, get ready for a HUGE TALL knife. I mean HUGE TALL!

The Takeda petty you reference; I don't know the dimensions, but it looks to me like a 30mm tall knife. Sorta on the cusp for my preference, but too short at that height. The Kanehiro G3 is the shortest I can go while still retaining ultimate versatility... it's all give & take. Even it is RIGHT at that line, but I give up some of the mincing & push cutting ability for the nimble nature it gains because of the less mass. Even knives like the Tanaka Sekiso & the Masakages that are close in height with each other, I'd take the Sekiso 10 out of 10 times due to the entire profile. If you study them, you'll see the Tanaka tapers its height as it moves forward toward the tip, whereas the Masakages carry their height further forward. They are by no means Santokus, but they carry their height in a similar fashion. The Tanakas have that perfect (for me) blend of height at the heel w/shorter & thin tips that allow precise tip work with broader capability at their heels. In my minds abstract, I see a parallel in sharpening a Deba more obtusely at the heel with a more acute tip 2/3. I'm not comparing sharpness; rather recognizing strengths amid the edge length.

Let's address the ebony hsandles quickly. You ask, "Is it worth $71?". Well, if you care about aesthetics while of the opinion a died black handle is aesthetically pleasing, and you enjoy the additional weight the "ebony" handles provide... I reckon so. For me... not in a million years. On the Fujiyamas, the heavier handles theoretically balance the heavier blades, but not for me. You will acclimate to whatever balance you handle, and I want the lightest possible option. A 240 or 270, more so, is going to be blade heavy anyhow... so who you kidding.?!

I don't know how Blue trumps White. Plus, you're "drooling" at Shimos which are W#2 anyhow. You're a home cook that knows how to sharpen; what's wrong with W#1 or #2 in your application.?! I have Kono & Masamoto W#2, and I can get through one 19 hour shift on one edge; I don't see you having a problem with White steel at home.

The Fujiyamas are the crème de la crème; hand hammered light sabers w/impeccable F&F that aren't exactly laser thin. In your budget, WHY NOT GO THERE on the gyuto.?! {the petty is useless (to me) as a utility knife}. You reference gyuto vs. funayuki, but at no point have you referenced your cutting style so we have no idea how to sway you. These Funas, in relation to Gyutos,t are slightly lighter, they carry less height forward towards their tip third (pointier tips), they have flatter bellys. What does that mean? It means it probably doesn't suit you. If you predominantly push/pull cut, you don't gravitate to rocking/gliding through juliennes/chiffonades, you focus a lot of tip work on a large chef's... well, maybe then it fits you. But if you process food in the style I just described, you would be in the SMALL minority of American home cooks. I know nothing about your cutting style, you never mentioned...

In closing the HH is not carbon, and again, FOR ME, too short.

Re: So many knives, so little time

Wed Jul 31, 2013 10:03 pm

I knew I could count on Melampus to tell how the cow ate the cabbage, as they here in Texas - which is exactly what I was looking for. We live in different universes, and I needed that peek into the universe of those who have actually done it instead of read, pondered, and intellectualized about it. Your insights have been invaluable, and I thank you for them.

Alas, the highly anticipated $700 budget was just vaporized by an unexpected expense that is a bit larger. And that doesn't include our friends at the IRS. So my dreams and expectations have to be put on hold a while, and I will "suffer" with my Wusthofs with their need for frequent sharpening so that they can actually cut a while before starting to shred stuff again. Maybe my future holds Fujiyama - but do I need that? Maybe it'll be Suisin (I did say Swedish stainless would be more than fine). Tanakas strike this rank, untrained amateur as a lot of bang for the buck.

As my wife said (while terminating with extreme prejudice the permission she had earlier given), I am not a chef, I'm a guy who cuts things up a few times a week.

Re: So many knives, so little time

Thu Aug 01, 2013 2:01 am

I love Tanaka's, I would get one of those! Thin enough behind the edge to cut well but it has some weight to it that the Lasers don't have. Great all around knife! I have the 240mm, 150mm petty and 165mm Nakiri in the Sekiso series. The petty is pretty thin and very lightweight; the Ginsako Tanaka's are thicker and more robust/heavier. Metal Master is a little less expensive, but shipping takes a lot longer and isn't super inexpensive IIRC; I had some stuff from them shipped from them and IIRC, it was around $25-$30 shipping and took a week or longer ?

Re: So many knives, so little time

Thu Aug 01, 2013 3:57 pm

In the spirit of avoiding swallowing the camel only to gag on the gnat - if you are using Wusthofs, either Konosuke or Takeda will blow your mind (I own both). I concur with Melampus' view on the difference in shape, but I'm not making my living with my knives - just a serious amateur cook. And being able to alternate between slightly different blade shapes created by master craftsmen is a source of satisfaction for me.

Re: So many knives, so little time

Fri Aug 02, 2013 1:36 am

JNANI <> I sincerely appreciate your sentiment. You are welcome, and I'm honored to had helped you. I hope all is well (considering "unexpected expense").

That said, with unexpected expense notwithstanding, maybe $155-$190 is a more attainable figure because as TAZ states - the Tanaka Sekiso is a badass. BAD ASS. It WILL blow your mind. It is no downgrade.
{side note: I did not purchase, but I went through the shopping cart @MM & total cost for the Sekiso 240 to my door in FL was $155.00 Like I said, and TAZ reiterated, you will not get the service you get with CKTG, but... it's an option is all I'm saying. $190 @CKTG is worth it to me, but its just another option... that's in stock}

Re: So many knives, so little time

Fri Aug 02, 2013 1:57 am

Yeah, I had a few knives and a stone shipped from MM, so it was a bit more expensive than 1 knife shipping would be!

Maybe this will help :)

This is my Tanaka with a custom handle and the blade etched with Ferric Chloride :) It performs as good as it looks :)
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