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View Full Version : If you had $500-600 to spend on a deba/yanagi...



UglyJoe
05-31-2011, 01:30 PM
Hey guys, my birthday is coming up and I should be getting something between $500-600 of spending money, which means new knives, obviously. :thumbsup: I've been wanting a deba and yanagi for a while. Just as an informal poll, if you had that much to spend and wanted to get a decent combination of those two knives what would you get? I've been looking at the Yoshihiro knives as a starting place, as well as at the Tanaka knives at metalmasterjp's site. Unfortunately the latter haven't been available for a while. I'm looking for something well finished, not damascus, and in the 300-330/180-210 range for the yanagi and deba respectively. Eventually I plan to buy a Shig yanagi down the line, so I don't mind the yanagi being more of a workhorse/lesser quality blade, though I still would like it to be finished well. The deba on the other hand will probably be the only deba I ever buy, so something nicer would probably be better here. In fact, I might end up only buying a deba at this time, it really depends on how much cash I actually have to spend.

What do you guys think?

SpikeC
05-31-2011, 02:54 PM
I wonder how much a deba from Butch would cost?

tk59
05-31-2011, 03:55 PM
From an earlier thread somewhere, I remember a lot of folks saying to spend your money on the yanagi and get a cheap deba. I know you said you were more interested in a workhorse yanagi but the nicest yanagi I've ever held was the Suisin Densho. It just felt great compared to the others I've had the opportunity to handle. I also liked the Gesshin Hide quite a bit. Both appeared pretty much flawless but the Densho felt particularly good.

Potato42
05-31-2011, 04:51 PM
Since you asked what I'd do... It would be a Watanabe yanagi without a doubt. Looks like it would be a little more than half to two thirds of your budget. I have never really used a deba so can't comment there. I don't own one, and never really needed one. I have an akijiri I like though, sorta like a super mini deba.

mainaman
05-31-2011, 05:09 PM
I would get a shigefusa yanagi, they are great great knives.
For deba I would get a Hon Kasumi white 2 , very well made and cheap price.

Lefty
05-31-2011, 05:13 PM
I second the Suisin. I mean, I started a freaking thread inspired by one a couple weeks ago!

Seb
05-31-2011, 06:09 PM
AFAIK, Metalmaster Takeshi is still in business but he is not operating from ebay but his own site <http://www.metalmaster-ww.com/>. I'm guessing that ebay commissions are eating too much into his margins which are already being squeezed by the falling USD.

oivind_dahle
05-31-2011, 06:11 PM
Id hit the shig at once. Contact DrNaka and make your day complete.
Or I would talk to Jon. He can find you one out of this world :)

UglyJoe
05-31-2011, 06:22 PM
AFAIK, Metalmaster Takeshi is still in business but he is not operating from ebay but his own site <http://www.metalmaster-ww.com/>. I'm guessing that ebay commissions are eating too much into his margins which are already being squeezed by the falling USD.

Yeah, his site is what I was referring to. All of his relevant Tanaka knives are out of stock right now.

That Suisin Densyo looks amazing... Would eat up my whole budget but that looks like a hell of a knife.

Mattias504
05-31-2011, 11:53 PM
If I was to have $600 to spend on a yanagi/deba, I'd try to spend about $400-$450 on the yanagi and the rest on the deba. Debas IMO are intended to be handled roughly and do all of your heavy work. Because of this, you will wear it out faster with use than a yanagi (but obviously thats with heavy use.) Also, you dont really want to be beating up a knife that is too expensive.

As far as brands go, Shigefusa's yanagi is the best one that I have ever used. Amazingly thin and cuts with little to no effort. They are pricey and would push your budget a bit but well worth the money. After that, I'd recommend Konosuke as I have one and it is also incredible. You can also customize your knife with steel choices and handle options via Jon @ JKI.
For a deba, the hon kasumi at EE seems to be highly recommended. Also, Yoshihiro. I lucked out in that department by finding a vintage white steel deba on eBay years and years ago for $20. The best bargain ever..

JBroida
05-31-2011, 11:59 PM
If I was to have $600 to spend on a yanagi/deba, I'd try to spend about $400-$450 on the yanagi and the rest on the deba. Debas IMO are intended to be handled roughly and do all of your heavy work. Because of this, you will wear it out faster with use than a yanagi (but obviously thats with heavy use.) Also, you dont really want to be beating up a knife that is too expensive.

As far as brands go, Shigefusa's yanagi is the best one that I have ever used. Amazingly thin and cuts with little to no effort. They are pricey and would push your budget a bit but well worth the money. After that, I'd recommend Konosuke as I have one and it is also incredible. You can also customize your knife with steel choices and handle options via Jon @ JKI.
For a deba, the hon kasumi at EE seems to be highly recommended. Also, Yoshihiro. I lucked out in that department by finding a vintage white steel deba on eBay years and years ago for $20. The best bargain ever..

i hate to be the odd guy out here, but i happen to think the deba is just as important as the yanagiba... i've tried quite a few, from cheap ones to relatively expensive ones... the deba i use most cost about $400 when i bought it years ago. People often say they are meant to be used roughly, but thats not the way i was taught when i was learning in Japan. In fact, the deba might get the most use out of any knife japanese chefs use... so you notice more when it is a good knife or not. Little details can make a bid difference here... the grind, the heat treatment, fit and finish (though this less so than the first two), and so on. Anyways, no matter which way you go, i would urge you not to skimp on the deba... having a nicer one has made my life a lot easier more than once.

Mattias504
06-01-2011, 12:32 AM
Good point, Jon. I agree with you but as far as $600 total money to spend, I'd have to give the majority towards the yanagi. Ideally, you'd have $600 for the yanagi and $400 for the deba. :)

JBroida
06-01-2011, 12:47 AM
for sure i get the budget issue... i just wanted to make the point that the deba is not just a beater knife that you can get away with skimping on... that seems to be what many people say on here, but in my experience almost everyone who has any classical training with one will be more of the opinion i just shared. Also, i dont thing that $600 is a bad budget... i think you can get a good yanagiba AND deba for that price.

UglyJoe
06-01-2011, 03:46 PM
I understand the budgeting issue for the deba vs. yanagi, but these are going to be pleasure knives more than used knives. That is to say, I don't do a lot of fish (mostly because the fish here sucks) and although they will be used, 95% of my knife use is already covered in my current collection. As such I'm looking more (particularly for the deba, as I said before) for keeper knives that I will enjoy aesthetically as much as for their performance.

Currently, I am looking at the Yoshihiro lines for the deba, but I'm a little confused about the F&F differences between them. Yoshihiro cutlery on ebay sells 2 lines, the kasumi line and the hongasumi line. There is no doubt the hongasumi line is much better finished (see hongasumi (http://cgi.ebay.com/Japanese-sushi-chef-knife-YOSHIHIRO-Hongasumi-Deba-210-/390134367319?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item5ad5d20457#ht_6404wt_1215) and kasumi (http://cgi.ebay.com/Japanese-sushi-chef-knife-YOSHIHIRO-KASUMI-Deba-21cm-w-/390301892416?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item5adfce3f40#ht_6255wt_1215)); it's blue #2, octagonal handle, and the spine/choil are better finished, as well as the knife overall having a better polish. What I'm unsure of is the line at JCK (here (http://www.japaneseknifeimports.com/kitchen-knives/yoshihiro/yoshihiro-210mm-white-2-deba.html#)). It's white #2, like the kasumi line, which is fine by me, but with an upgraded handle and better F&F. What's hard for me to tell from the pics is how the F&F compares to the hongasumi line offered at the ebay store.

I was hoping that someone out there had handled both the hongasumi line and the line Jon offers and could comment on the differences, if any, besides the steel. Jon, I know this strays into bad territory for you, so if you have a comment or something to add via PM I'd appreciate it as well.

Unless something else comes up I'll probably end up buying one of these two debas, and then (if they ever come back in stock) a Tanaka yanagi. The Densho looks amazing, and it's between that and a Shig that I will buy for myself as a graduation present for... well, myself, if I can ever manage to finish grad school.

JBroida
06-01-2011, 03:51 PM
i got your PM and apologize for the delay in getting back to you... i will try to respond via PM a little later today

UglyJoe
06-01-2011, 03:57 PM
Jon, it's not a problem. That post was mostly to see if anyone else had handled both lines of knives, not a push to hear from you. I know you'll get back to me when you can! :)

Kentucky Jeff
06-01-2011, 04:47 PM
For $600 you should be able to get a Deba and Yanagi in the Masamoto KK line. While this line of knives is not as highly regarded as say a Shig here they are high quality traditional kasumi knives. If you don't have sharpening stones the extra money you save buying the Masamotos will be well spent on a pair of good waterstones to get you started. Buying a high quality j-knife without a way to sharpen it is like buying a cool sports car and not having any money to buy gas--you aren't getting any benefit in either instance.

UglyJoe
06-01-2011, 04:50 PM
I'm loaded on sharpening stones. Good to go. I find Masamoto to be overpriced, even the KK line.

Citizen Snips
06-02-2011, 10:51 PM
i have to agree with jon. i do think that spending more on a yanagi is probably more realistic, i believe my deba gets more use than any other knife i use with the exception of the all-purpose gyuto. i absolutely love my 210 mioroshi and i have used it on everything from de-boning or 5pc chickens to 35lb wreckfish. i would not skimp and get some beater deba and also believe that getting both of them is very possible in the $600 range

Messy Jesse
06-03-2011, 01:23 PM
Have to agree about the deba.

Mine gets so much use. I ran the fish section for awhile and it saw more use than a yanagi. I have a Masamoto KK 180mm and couldn't be happier. I've used it on everything from mackerel to chicken wings to half a Yellowfin tuna.