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Re: which nakiri?

Wed Mar 26, 2014 10:41 am

"I own a Tanaka and honestly...I don't know what all the rage is."

The Tanaka is the only nakiri I own, so I do not have other nakiri profiles with which to compare, but the Tanaka has a better than entry level KU finish, aogami #2 which is probably my favorite steel, and is very thin. I think the Tanaka gets a lot of props for offering a lot in an inexpensive package. Only the Yamashin and Tojiro ITK undercut it for price. While I have not handled the ITK nakiri, I do have their petty, and the Tanka beats it hands down.

If you don't like the profile or height I think that is totally legit. There is an extremely popular knife I own that I really do not like, but it is a profile issue, I can readily acknowledge that the steel is awesome, the FnF are extremely good, and it is an aesthetic masterpiece, I just do not enjoy using it.

I would be happy to entertain other contenders at this price point, but I just don't get a lot of excitement out of nakiris, so I vouch for the one I do own and use.

Re: which nakiri?

Wed Mar 26, 2014 1:15 pm

Thanks for your response Cedar. I've owned probably 4 or 5 different Nakiri's over a period of about two years, and I find them to excel exactly at what they're described as being, a vegetable knife, for more reasons than just cutting through things without effort. Recently I've kind of taken a liking to my Fujiyama at the tip for moving through small vege's quickly, but it still doesn't quite have the reliable mid to forward 'heft' and flat edge that my heavier Nakiri does, for reliably chopping 'all the way' through green onion skins, without having to pull them apart, or slice them, etc. The Gyuto is an exceptional knife tho, and more well rounded than the Nakiri no doubt.

Tanaka was the first Nakiri I ever owned. I bought it off Ebay for $40 or something. It's very light, very thin, short and has a significant tapering style profile (higher in the heel than the tip). Probably by ~ 5mm which means, to cut flat, your wrist has to be slightly angled in a forward-like fashion, which I find uncomfortable. In fact, I've personally found the exact opposite to be comfortable for me; a slightly fatter profile at the front vs the heel, which gives a nice, weighted forward chopping sensation at the tip and you can assume a more natural wrist position. I also find Tanaka to be short, and have slightly cut my knuckles when chopping faster. The knuckle clearance isn't there vs a taller, more rectangular cleaver.

All Nakiri's are known for being thin knives and will generally cut through vegetables very easily; something that the Tanaka does well, but something that most thin knives do well. Another big thing is Nakiri's have to be somewhat stiff for me, and the very thin Tanaka's aren't. You have to put weight against the blade when crushing garlic or other vegetables and I found I was repeatedly have to bend the knife back into shape, which I also didn't like.

Anyways, I like the heavier Usuba-style Nakiri that I have now, it's almost exactly what I've come to to like, apart from a few things like high quality F&F, etc.

Re: which nakiri?

Wed Mar 26, 2014 2:19 pm

I wonder if I would find a flatter nakiri more comfortable to use? I do not consider the Tanaka profile a problem, but then sometimes you have to have a solution to realize there was a problem.

I use a bench scraper and usually use that for crushing garlic and the like so the knife's rigidity is a bit of a non issue for me.

I do find my nakiri to be awesome with veggies, I just tend to reach for my gyutos much more quickly.

Re: which nakiri?

Wed Mar 26, 2014 2:39 pm

If you were to try a different Nakiri, I'd suggest the Yamashin. $60, 55mm, Shirogami #1, totally different profile, and a bit more heft.

I've thought of picking one up to try for kicks, cause it's got everything I know I'd like (other than a bit more weight) at a nice price point.

Re: which nakiri?

Wed Mar 26, 2014 3:03 pm

The Tanaka Sekiso gets shorter in the front, but I've never had an issue with it being too short or anything. The Tanaka Kurouchi is a bit taller and doesn't get shorter at the front as much as the Sekiso does. Yes, the Sekiso is very thin; the KU Tanaka is a bit more robust throughout, but it's still thin. I prefer thin Nakiri over a thick Nakiri. I haven't experienced having to bend the Tanaka's to straighten them out yet?

I have some pics in this thread of the Tojiro ITK Shirogami Nakiri (sans handle), Fujiwara Terayasu Nakiri, Tanaka KU and Tanaka Sekiso. You can see the profiles of each and the Tanaka Sekiso gets shorter at the tip. I use it a lot and never have an issue with it or knuckle clearance.

I would vote Tanaka KU or Murata Nakiri. I got to see a Murata Funayuki and the grinds were nice and thin, lacquer over the KU helps it last longer. I prefer Blue steel to White steel and I like thinner Nakiri's.

The Tojiro Shirogami is a bit fatter/heavier all around, which I find negates the point of a Nakiri, which to me is to effortlessly glide through foods like a laser. The Fujiwara Terayasu worked well, but was a little thicker than either Tanaka; the Goko White #1 should be very close to the FT Nakiri from what I have seen in the grinds. I have a Yamashin nakiri and I liked the profile, but was lefty bias with the grind and I didn't care for how it cut; it was a bit thicker and again, I don't like thick Nakiri's. I want thin and light. The Kajihara Funayuki I had was again lefty bias and would steer slightly in thicker/harder foods, like the Yamashin. It was thicker and I reground the whole entire blade.

Re: which nakiri?

Wed Mar 26, 2014 3:14 pm

I've got a Tanaka Kurouchi Nakiri too, as that was recommended by a few on this forum, and was the first knife I bought from CKTG along with a Kohetsu santoku. Only nakiri I own or have ever used so my experience is limited to this one data point. Given that, I like the knife and enjoy using it. Certainly a different experience than a gyuto but I like that sometimes. I've not found the profile to be an issue and agree that while the slightly taller heel compared to the tip is different, I end up adapting to it quickly.

Overall I'm satisfied but as I said it's one data point from a new Japanese knife user.

Re: which nakiri?

Wed Mar 26, 2014 5:27 pm

@ Taz mostly. :) Those have been my experiences with said Nakiri. At first I liked how light it was, but nowadays I've come to prefer the opposite when it comes to cleavers...I like height and a bit of weight. I want something that digs in and makes it through skins. When I use my Tanaka, it feels like a cheap toy (no offense to anyone). :) And I don't like that I can't crush garlic with it, without it being bent. That's unacceptable for me, cause I eat a lot of Garlic.

All the Nakiri's I've had, even the heftier ones, have been thin enough behind the edge to accomplish said task without any major issues. When my current Nakiri (6.5" - 192g) hits the chopping board...it lands with more of a whack than a tik...it digs in,...it feels like it's sharing more of the work with me, rather than me having to exert excessive wrist motion, pushing an excessively light knife thru things.

Anyway, that's what I want from a Nakiri these days....which almost sounds like more of an Usuba feel.

Re: which nakiri?

Wed Mar 26, 2014 7:25 pm

Ah, ok. I like light and thin, but hate it when the stuff sticks into the boards! My Tanaka KU has a heavy bone handle on it, so it adds the weight to the handle, so the blade is nice and thin and the handle part has some oompf behind it. I use the Sekiso when I am cutting softer stuff normally and the AS Laser or Tanaka KU when I am doing bigger stuff. I don't cut stuff with hard skins usually; its usually onions, peppers, mushrooms, brocolli, carrots, potatoes, etc. I don't normally crush garlic; I slice the ends off, peel it and then dice it down. Lately I've been using the Tanaka R2 240mm for veggies; it's laser thin and just glides right thru stuff very easily. I found the thicker Nakiri's to wedge more when I cut thru sweet potatoes where the thin ones slip thru a little easier.

Re: which nakiri?

Wed Mar 26, 2014 9:10 pm

seems like tanaka knives in general are highly praised here

Re: which nakiri?

Thu Mar 27, 2014 7:23 pm

well takeda or masakage yuki would prob be only one of the two knives I would buy and I would buy a yuki nakri if they had some in stock.
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