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 Post subject: Too many to choose from.
PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2013 1:52 am 
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Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2012 7:18 pm
Posts: 7894
Location: Madison Wisconsin
Hi,

I am looking for a Japanese knife and recently discovered your website. You have a great selection (almost too much as noted above) and some very informative videos and tutorials. I've also checked out your forum and despite all the good info on it and the website, I'm still having a difficult time choosing. Some background....

1. I'm a home cook, typically for 1-4
2. Right-handed
3. Know how to sharpen
4. Have 6 & 8 inch Lamson Sharp chef chef knives, an old 10" Sabatier carbon chef, Henckels santuko, Bark River Petty Z and various other utility/paring knives.
5. Cook mostly with veggies, chicken and sometimes seafood & beef
6. I tend to like shorter knives that are lighter and "handy" so I usually grab the Lamson 6" chef or the BR petty
7. Want something for food prep and do less rocking type cutting and more push cutting

So I'm thinking:

- a nakiri or santuko (I don't use the Henckels santuko hardly at all because it feels too big and bulky)
- like the idea of a Wa handle but would okay with western
- no preference for steel type; carbon is okay as I take care of my knives
- no preference for a finish; kurouchi is okay (& would be my first)
- since this is my first Japanese knife I would like to stay in the ~$50-$130 range

The difficulty is that there are about a dozen of each knife type (nakiri and santoku) that you have in stock and which I think could work. They have fallen into two groups - one costing $50-$80 and the other $90-$140. To help me decide:

- between the nakiri and santuko, what would you recommend? Is there an advantage to having both?
- is there a marked difference and/or improvement if buying from the higher priced group? My natural bias is toward a knife in the +/-$120 range because I think you get what you pay for but then wonder if this little bit more $ really gets me a lot more knife. Lots of folks seem to like the fairly inexpensive Tojiro knives but if you said that a $160 knife was an "ideal" first choice for my purposes then I'd seriously consider it. I have a price range but am open to suggestions.
- what steel would be a good starter steel with overall good edge retention, toughness and ease of sharpening?

On a different note, does it make sense to stay with a particular knife maker for the various styles (gyuto, santuko, nakiri, petty, etc.) or do different makers have strengths with a particular style of knife? I'm asking because if I like this first one, I plan to purchase more Japanese knives to basically replace my current western style knives in regular use.

Thanks for taking the time to read this and hopefully offer suggestions.

Cheers,
Henry



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 Post subject: Re: Too many to choose from.
PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2013 2:00 am 
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Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2012 7:18 pm
Posts: 7894
Location: Madison Wisconsin
Hi Henry,

Try a lower priced nakiri. They're fun and it's nothing like what you currently use.

The Tanaka is a good one and it's a whole lot of knife for the money: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/takuna16.html



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 Post subject: Re: Too many to choose from.
PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2013 5:57 am 

Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 6:20 am
Posts: 2296
I like Mark's recommendation. I have the Tanaka Nakiri and it is an awesome knife.

The Tanaka nakiri is very thin behind the edge and performs well outside its price point. The steel, while reactive, takes a scary edge and, in my home use, retains its edge well. The kurouchi finish on the knife is more refined than most entry level kurouchi finishes. It is a fun, characterful knife to use.

At a higher price you would likely find better steels, better fit and finish, and more attention to construction, grind, and the like. That said, some of these improvements in higher priced knives are cosmetic, some make the knife more demanding to use and maintain, and some are difficult to appreciate without a common frame of reference, ie an entry level Japanese knife. The Tanaka is nice because it is inexpensive, has no superfluous frills, and performs above its price tag.


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 Post subject: Re: Too many to choose from.
PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2013 1:13 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 16, 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 3849
Location: USA... mostly.
HENRY <> No surprise to anyone here that I'm not going to advocate the Nakiri selection. If you chose to move ahead with a Nakiri, well then I agree with the Tanaka recommendation. I own two Tanaka Kurouchis, and love them. I have also been very impressed with the Yamashins<--link as a low price point entry level product. At the top end of your budget resides the stainless steel laminated Hitachi Blue Super steel core Kohetsu<--link of which is a remarkable piece of craftsmanship.

No Nakiri though is going to offer you the versatility of a Gyuto. You do still work with chicken, beef, and seafood and although you can surely process proteins with a Nakiri, a gyuto does so much more adeptly while still push cutting with aplomb, rocking capably when need be, & walking seamlessly. Something I'd consider is quite simply, a nice Japanese knife, even if it was a carbon copy profile of what you have, will ultimately be such a different animal... don't worry about overlap. I would typically be cautious about recommending a laser to a JK virgin, but typically a Nakiri is going to have such a thin edge... that concern is mostly moot here.

I recommend you jump on the Kohetsu Santoku<--link. It is a tall 7.25" Gyuto that will offer you the small nimble package you desire, but with a versatility to tackle a broad range of tasks.



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 Post subject: Re: Too many to choose from.
PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2013 1:51 pm 
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Henry - +1 on the Kohetsu Santoku as my top pick as well.

If you want a great performing, more modestly priced Santoku, the Hiromoto AS Santoku 190mm is very nice in a Western handle: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/hisakn19.html.

In the same price range, the Goko Santoku 165 is very nice as well, but little shorter than the other two: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/gosa16.html. It's a bit more rustic, but a great knife nonetheless. Personally, I like the extra length on the 180-190mm Santoku's.


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 Post subject: Re: Too many to choose from.
PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2013 7:22 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 16, 2013 3:42 pm
Posts: 109
Location: Boston, MA
To All,

Thanks for your comments and recommendations. I just placed an order for the Kohetsu Santoku and the Tanaka Nakiri - decided I'd give myself a nice Christmas present. I'm really looking forward to using each. If they're as nice as I expect, then it will probably mean the beginning of a replacement phase for my knife collection. Change is a good thing!

I've also joined the forum. Lots of great information from many helpful and very knowledgeable members. Thanks again for everything.

Cheers


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 Post subject: Re: Too many to choose from.
PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2013 7:26 pm 
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Joined: Thu Apr 26, 2012 5:13 pm
Posts: 2957
Location: CT
2 of my favorite makers!!! Tanaka and Kohetsu!


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 Post subject: Re: Too many to choose from.
PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2013 7:27 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 16, 2012 4:42 pm
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Location: USA... mostly.
TOTO <> Welcome over, and you are going to be blown out of the water by the Kohetsu. Not discounting the Tanaka in anyway, but you'll see what I mean... ;)



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 Post subject: Re: Too many to choose from.
PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2013 7:58 pm 

Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 6:20 am
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I have the Tanaka and a Kohetsu gyuto...you will be happy!


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 Post subject: Re: Too many to choose from.
PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2013 9:41 pm 
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Henry - I looked up your avatar/name, cool!

Great choices. Post back and let us know how you like them!


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