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 Post subject: Here's a question about a few knives...
PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2014 4:43 pm 

Joined: Mon Jul 15, 2013 2:44 am
Posts: 11
One thing about the video review/description of the high-end Sakai Takayuki 240mm Damascus Wa-Gyuto that struck me was that it was described as very stiff due to the slightly thicker spine but still an excellent cutter due to the taper and the grind. That combination appeals to me! There is a range of cutting skill among the people who will be using knives in my household, including kids just learning to cook, which is why I'm not keen on buying a flat-out laser at this point. My understanding (correct me if I'm wrong!) is that a very thin, flexible knife can be more of a challenge to use. (And anyway, I'll probably buy a laser down the road also...)

But I'm not in the market for a $500 knife! So I wonder if the following knives across some different price points have some of this stiffness/high performance quality, even if to a lesser degree than the Sakai Takayuki:


Are there others I should be considering? Here are the answers to the stock questions:

    1. Are you right handed? Everyone who will use this knife is right handed, except maybe the baby when he gets old enough.

    2. What type of knife are you interested in (gyuto, nakiri etc..) Gyuto

    3. What size knife are you looking for? 240mm/9.5"

    4. Do you prefer carbon or stainless steel? Stainless or semi-stainless. Trust me—in my house, there's too much putting the knife down to rush off and extract some kid from the toilet or something to make me comfortable with carbon...

    5. Do you prefer a western handle or a Japanese handle? Japanese, notwithstanding the Masamoto and the Mac in the above lineup.

    6. How much did you want to spend? $200 up to no more than $300, and that upper limit is only if I fall in love with the knife and it buys me drinks first.

    7. Do you know how to sharpen? Not really. I've been using a Spyderco Sharpmaker on my current knives, which are this set (link) I think. I've posted some questions here and at ChefTalk previously about the EdgePro, but I've been back and forth about whether to give freehand sharpening a go. So actually I plan to buy the relatively inexpensive King 800/​6000 Comb​o Ston​e to practice with on the knives we have before I get around to buying a new knife.
    TLDR; I will know how to sharpen by the time I acquire the knife.

Please let me know if there's any other information I should provide.

One more question specifically about the Richmond SLD 240mm Gyuto: I really like the idea of buying what is essentially a non-laser Konosuke HD (if I am correct about its attributes) but I wonder about the height of the blade. A plus? A minus? A non-issue?

Thank you in advance for your help!


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 Post subject: Re: Here's a question about a few knives...
PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2014 5:06 pm 

Joined: Mon Nov 18, 2013 5:44 pm
Posts: 633
While I can't speak to the knives you list, I can say that there was really no learning curve between using my Goko damascus knife (a laser by every sense of the word) and something like my Tojiro DP or Yamashin santoku as far as the thickness of the blade is concerned. Yes the Goko is a little flexible but it doesn't flex while cutting and keeps a straight line through the food. It isn't like trying to cut onions and carrots with a filet knife. lol

While the laser class is easy enough to use, I will say that there is something nice about a knife with some heft to it that still cuts very well. Lasers are very light (The Goko is 5 oz. for a 240mm blade) so you will actually have to do some (very little, lol) work while cutting because they have no real weight behind them. The food offers almost no resistance, but the blade isn't heavy enough to just fall through. So I wouldn't shy away from lasers because they are thin or more challenging, but I would if you like a knife with more weight.


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 Post subject: Re: Here's a question about a few knives...
PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2014 7:00 pm 

Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2012 7:18 pm
Posts: 350
If by "challenge", you mean a challenge to use properly without damage to the knife, I'd agree. Though I'd agree that the lasers I've used are nothing like a flexible filet knife.

Of course you have a better sense of the other users, and whether they will understand and care enough to use a high quality knife with care. A laser is quite strong if it's used in a straight motion, aligned with the blade. I think the biggest danger is if there is some twisting through the cut. This action isn't a big deal for a thicker blade, but it could be more problematic with a thinner one.

Some people think of all knives as "hard metal objects" that can withstand quite a bit of abuse. And those people should stick with cheap (easily replaced), tough blades.


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 Post subject: Re: Here's a question about a few knives...
PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2014 8:27 pm 

Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 6:20 am
Posts: 2301
Some thoughts...

1) I don't think lasers are harder to use. Lasers have less steel behind the edge, so the edge is more delicate. If you apply lateral pressure or rotational pressure on the edge it may chip. This problem is compounded by the hardness of most high end Japanese steels. This hardness gives these knives their incredible edge taking and hold properties, but make the blades unforgiving of poor knife technique. A knife that is thin behind the edge, regardless of the spine thickness will still be prone to this problem. This should not discourage you from considering a laser, just be honest with yourself about you and your family's knife skills...having realistic expectations will make whatever knife you choose more satisfying to use.

2) Definitely invest in stones. It is a myth that fine cutlery is sharp out of the box and never dulls. Quality cutlery has great steel (takes a great edge and keeps it well for the intended use) and great grinds (the cross section of the blade behind the edge). Great knife owners establish and maintain the sharpness. A 1k/5k progression is typical, but an 800/6k stone can work fine.

2) I have not used the knives you listed but...
a. I like the Tanaka, Kanehiro, and this Richmond Ultimatum: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/riulst25gy.html. These all have good steels and are mid-weight knives.
b. A bit apprehensive about the Masamoto and MAC. With your budget you can get better steels and better craftsmanship.
c. The Richmond SLD and Ultimatum AEB-L appear to be on the thin side compared to some of you other options.
d. There are some beefier knives with western handles that you might consider if you want insurance against chipping, but that is another line of thinking all together.


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 Post subject: Re: Here's a question about a few knives...
PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2014 11:42 pm 
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Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2012 4:17 am
Posts: 4738
Though the Goko is light it is not a laser, it's closer to a middle weight. You should feel a Kono HD.



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 Post subject: Re: Here's a question about a few knives...
PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 12:53 am 
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Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2013 6:00 pm
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CJ - I don't know the ages/abilities of those in your household, but my immediate thought is a 240mm knife is a lot of blade for less experienced users to manage when learning proper techniques/care. I'm going to recommend a combo of a 210 entry level Gyuto or a Santoku and a 240 Gyuto that has some characteristics that you like. The Fujiwara FKM or Tojiro DP stainless Gyutos are a ton of value and performance for the money. The Tojiro DP Santoku is also awesome. I think a Wastern handle while learning is a good idea for younger cooks. Another plus of 2 good knives is multiple cooks can prep and it's good for instruction as well.

For a 240, the Masamoto VG and that Ultimatum are both really nice knives. The Tanaka Ginsan is a good knife, bit it'll need work right OOTB including a good sharpening. See my Quick Look video on the 210 Tanaka Ginsan for more info on this.

The Richmond SLD is a very tall blade at over 56mm. Make sure that's something you want in a knife.


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 Post subject: Re: Here's a question about a few knives...
PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 2:51 am 

Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2014 6:00 am
Posts: 678
Well first off, if many people are using this knife of varying skill levels, I'd go with either a kiritsuke or santoku style, not having the edge poke out will make it appealing to everyone and a much safer blade in my opinion.

240 is also a large, large knife you might want to think of something around the 8-8.5 inch mark or 210 maximum. This will perform exactly the same but will be less intimidating and easier to sharpen.

I'd go with a steel that can hold an edge very well, this will be your workhorse knife. Something with 19C27 steel or VG-10 would be great options, even AEBL.

When you are ready to learn sharpening pick up a white #1 knife, this will sharpen up quickly and give you the results you need to learn the skill.

Sometimes more money equals a better product, with knives you just want something that caters to you. Just because it's more expensive doesn't mean it's better for you.

My reconsiderations:
http://www.chefknivestogo.com/richmond1.html
http://www.chefknivestogo.com/todpdasa16.html

You can do anything a gyuto can with a santoku


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 Post subject: Re: Here's a question about a few knives...
PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 3:07 am 
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Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2012 4:17 am
Posts: 4738
Lunatic wrote:You can do anything a gyuto can with a santoku
:?:



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 Post subject: Re: Here's a question about a few knives...
PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 3:32 am 

Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2014 6:00 am
Posts: 678
Jeff B wrote:
Lunatic wrote:You can do anything a gyuto can with a santoku
:?:



He seemed to be set on a wa-gyuto, but with children around and other cooks I would think a shorter santoku would do the job better with a safer platform. A santoku can perform any task at par or better than a gyuto. Different style, same capabilities. I don't know if I worded it incorrectly at first but that's what I mean.

*Ghostly voice* Goooo withhh a ssssaaaaannnnntooookuuuuuuuuuuuu


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 Post subject: Re: Here's a question about a few knives...
PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 3:52 am 
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Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2012 4:17 am
Posts: 4738
Lunatic wrote:
Jeff B wrote:
Lunatic wrote:You can do anything a gyuto can with a santoku
:?:

He seemed to be set on a wa-gyuto, but with children around and other cooks I would think a shorter santoku would do the job better with a safer platform. A santoku can perform any task at par or better than a gyuto. Different style, same capabilities. I don't know if I worded it incorrectly at first but that's what I mean.
*Ghostly voice* Goooo withhh a ssssaaaaannnnntooookuuuuuuuuuuuu

Actually the knife nuts around here say it just the opposite.
I do agree with you that it may be the better choice given the user base.



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