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Yanagi advice

Thu Sep 06, 2012 10:22 pm

Hi, everybody. I'm looking for advice on which yanagi to buy.

I'm a home cook and knife hobbyist, and I've decided I'd like to get some sushi knives and learn to use them. Given the relative difficulty of finding sushi-grade fish here in Minnesota and the fact that I'm relatively inexperienced at sharpening single-beveled knives, I'd like a yanagi that's relatively inexpensive, but I'd also like one that's well-constructed and performs nicely.

After doing a whole bunch of research, the knives that have caught my eye are the Masamoto KK (300 mm), the Doi White Steel Dragon (300 mm), and the Doi Blue Steel (300 mm) from CKTG.

I hear the Masamoto is a pretty solid knife, and it has the advantage of being much closer to what I was hoping to pay, but Doi has quite a reputation. How much better of a knife would I be getting for the cost of a Doi? And how do the two Doi yanagis compare? Are there any other yanagis I should be considering instead?

A preemtive thanks for taking the time to consider my questions and deliver sage advice.

Re: Yanagi advice

Thu Sep 06, 2012 11:39 pm

I own both a Masamoto KK and the Doi ao-ko (blue paper steel) yanagibas. The fit and finish of the Doi is head and shoulders better than the Masamoto - the spine is eased and the blade table is mirror-polished on the Doi. Of course, this doesn't translate into better performance at all, just into that nebulous "pride of ownership". Although I wasn't able to compare them side-by-side, when I contemplated buying the Doi, I was torn between the ao-ko I bought and the shiro-ko with the dragon engraving, but was advised by someone who's opinion I trusted that the ao-ko was a better knife.

Of more importance to you is the length of the blade. Slicing sashimi should be done with a single clean cut, not a sawing motion, so getting the longest blade that your workspace can accommodate is important. Cardboard mockups taped to a short knife can be very helpful in determining this. Make sure your space can take a 300 mm. The last thing you want to do with your new yanagiba is to run the tip of the blade into your backsplash.

Hope this helped a little.

Re: Yanagi advice

Fri Sep 07, 2012 1:30 pm

I f you don't want to spend a lot on entry level knives to learn with,try these.
http://www.mercercutlery.com/profession ... collection
I got the 12" yanagiba for about $25!. Good to lkearn single-bevel sharpening. And for home use not a bad knife. If you ruin it,so what?

Re: Yanagi advice

Fri Sep 07, 2012 4:59 pm

Thanks, Rick, that helps quite a bit. Turns out I have plenty of room and could even go longer than 300mm if I was inclined.

Redpoleboy, are those knives actually single bevel, with ura and everything? I'd like something higher Rockwell and preferably carbon for actual use, but at that price I might consider getting one just for the sharpening practice.

Re: Yanagi advice

Fri Sep 07, 2012 6:42 pm

It would be a shame for a Doi knife to see occasional use. I think you should consider something less dressed-up, you could go with a value-oriented Yanagiba, and still get one that will do brilliantly.

I'd get this one:
http://www.chefknivestogo.com/sushyaya27.html
Suisin has great QC and you will get a knife that will work very, very well, and will not be a PITA to learn to sharpen on. Comes with a Saya, too.

Keep in mind, this is the same company that Keijiro Doi worked for until he retired. Very high standards.

Re: Yanagi advice

Fri Sep 07, 2012 9:41 pm

Redpoleboy, are those knives actually single bevel, with ura and everything? I'd like something higher Rockwell and preferably carbon for actual use, but at that price I might consider getting one just for the sharpening practice.[/quote]

Yes,they are single bevel. Don't know ura? What is it? As I said,I got it purely for the practice of sharpening a SB knife and a
little experience with them. It gets real sharp but probably wouldn't stand up to a line job. Mercers are pretty good,especially for the price.

Re: Yanagi advice

Sat Sep 08, 2012 12:41 am

Ura is the backside of single beveled blades

Ura-suki is hollowed grounded concave surface on the backside of single beveled blade

Ura-oshi is the flat surface that goes around the backside of Ura-suki single beveled blade or the flattening/conditioning of the backside of the blade.

Hope this helps :)

Re: Yanagi advice

Sat Sep 08, 2012 8:09 am

I'm also happen to be in the market for a yanagi.

Does anyone have experience with the Sugimoto Kasumi Superlative line?

http://www.chefknivestogo.com/sukasu.html

63-66 hRC on white #2 seems almost too good to be true.

Re: Yanagi advice

Sat Sep 08, 2012 8:54 pm

mckemaus wrote:Ura is the backside of single beveled blades

Ura-suki is hollowed grounded concave surface on the backside of single beveled blade

Ura-oshi is the flat surface that goes around the backside of Ura-suki single beveled blade or the flattening/conditioning of the backside of the blade.

Hope this helps :)

Thanks for the info. I'll remember that one. That being said,as near as I can see there is no concave surface on the back of the Mercer. Sorry.

Re: Yanagi advice

Sun Sep 09, 2012 9:06 pm

63-66 HRC is not too good to be true, it's just a range. Keep in mind that 66 is going to be insanely brittle for any steel. That's generally the trade off--harder steel gets more brittle, but there are alloying elements and heat treat methods that can help some steels get harder without getting too brittle for use(case in point: s30v@61hrc=diamond-hard chipfest, s35vn@61hrc=stainless that acts like carbon).

1095 is like 65-66 before it gets drawn back down to 57-61. You could just leave it at 65, but its so chippy it is fragile.

the main thing with a yanagiba you are learning on is that either
a. you learn from a real human being in person
or
b. you get a yanagiba with solid geometry and qc, so learning doesn't send you on rabbit trails and confound you for a year like it did to me.
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