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Gran8man
03-24-2011, 04:04 PM
So I have finally found a decent source for whole fish and want to explore single bevel knives in greater detail. I have decided that I would like to get a 165 mm Deba and a 270 mm Yanagiba. The up charge for the Hon Kasumi Yanagiba over the Kasumi line is approximately $75 and the Deba $45. What do I really get for my money by purchasing the hon kasumi? Recommendations?

Down the road I would like to get a 210 Kamagata Usuba (if I can ever find good usuba technique videos other than katsura muki) What would the recommendation be at a difference of $90 between the Kasumi and Hon Kasumi lines?

Thanks for the help!

Pensacola Tiger
03-24-2011, 04:59 PM
As I understand it, the difference is that the KS is taken to a slightly higher level of finish, for example, the spine is rounded. Otherwise, the knives are essentially identical. I asked the same question at FF last year, and the recommendation was to go with the KK.

I would suggest that you get slightly longer knives, a 180mm deba and a 300mm yanagiba.

Gran8man
03-24-2011, 05:20 PM
Thanks for the recommendation! My thought on the yanagiba was to go with the 270 mm for my first one to work on technique. I figure that since I have 5 gyuto's I will end up with more than one yanagiba eventually. I was on the fence with the deba length. I figure the largest fish I will process will be around 10 lbs with most in the 3-5 lb range. Even though I have a honesuki I figure the deba will double for breaking down chickens some times. Would you still suggest 180 mm deba?

Do you work with a usuba?

Pensacola Tiger
03-24-2011, 05:33 PM
I have an 180mm deba, and I've sometimes wished for something longer, even though I only break down smaller fish (no monster salmon, for instance). You may well find that a 165mm is sufficient for your needs.

The yanagiba, however, is one knife where length will affect technique. My first yanagiba was a 240mm, and I found it difficult to make an uninterrupted cut in salmon filet. That extra 60mm makes a lot of difference. I'm not sure an extra 30mm is enough.

I have an usuba. It sits, oiled and wrapped, in a drawer.

SpikeC
03-24-2011, 05:40 PM
I saw a Japanese guy on ICJ last night using a usuba to slice some matsutaki mushrooms. He just slide the blade straight down through the product. Michiba massacred him.

JBroida
03-24-2011, 06:33 PM
I have an 180mm deba, and I've sometimes wished for something longer, even though I only break down smaller fish (no monster salmon, for instance). You may well find that a 165mm is sufficient for your needs.

The yanagiba, however, is one knife where length will affect technique. My first yanagiba was a 240mm, and I found it difficult to make an uninterrupted cut in salmon filet. That extra 60mm makes a lot of difference. I'm not sure an extra 30mm is enough.

I have an usuba. It sits, oiled and wrapped, in a drawer.

I agree that 180mm is a good size for a starter deba, but i also happen to think that 270mm for a yanagiba is a good size to learn on. It seems that when most people start with 300 and dont have formal training, there is a tendency to pick up bad habits as the 300 can feel a bit unwieldy. I can do 90% of what i would use a yanagiba for with a 270mm in a professional kitchen and 99% in a home kitchen. Now days i recommend people really wanting to learn how to use the knife start off with a 270mm and go from there.

Pensacola Tiger
03-24-2011, 08:17 PM
I agree that 180mm is a good size for a starter deba, but i also happen to think that 270mm for a yanagiba is a good size to learn on. It seems that when most people start with 300 and dont have formal training, there is a tendency to pick up bad habits as the 300 can feel a bit unwieldy. I can do 90% of what i would use a yanagiba for with a 270mm in a professional kitchen and 99% in a home kitchen. Now days i recommend people really wanting to learn how to use the knife start off with a 270mm and go from there.

Jon, I'll defer to your more experienced recommendation. I am just an egg.

Gran8man
03-24-2011, 08:51 PM
Thanks for the input PT and Jon. The more I think about it the more a 180 mm deba makes sense. Jon what is your impression on the value of hon kasumi vs kasumi? I know I can round a spine but what other differences might there be?

Jon I am waiting for a video series on usuba techniques. All your and KC's videos are great.

riverie
03-25-2011, 01:14 AM
I totally agree with Jon, 210mm for deba and without no doubt 270mm for yanagi. I have both kk and ks and basically on ks you pay extra money for extra kanji engraving.

JBroida
03-25-2011, 06:09 AM
I totally agree with Jon, 210mm for deba and without no doubt 270mm for yanagi. I have both kk and ks and basically on ks you pay extra money for extra kanji engraving.

haha... 210 deba to learn on? Oh well... different strokes different folks i guess ;)

The KK and KS are very similar, but there are some differences people should be aware of... its not just the kanji. There are certain kinds of problems that occur in higher rates with less expensive single bevel knives. Some are fixable (or at least dont effect the way the blade performs)... some are not (or are very difficult to fix). Here are some common problems that i see:

-significant number of high and low spots
-blade not straight (sometimes just tilting to a side an sometimes twisted)
-poorly ground table (and thus problems with the shinogi and sharpening later)
-poorly ground ura (which causes real problems with function and sharpening later on)
-delamination of hagane and jigane (sometimes not immediately apparent... can be a problem or not... depends on the severity and location)
-poor heat treatment (doesnt have to be terrible... can be just a little off sometimes, but still noticeable)
-handle not mounted properly and may have gaps visible


Anyways, you get the idea. I'm not saying this happens all of the time or even that these problems dont occur on more expensive knives... just that i tend to seem them in greater quantity with less expensive blades (read:kasumi vs. hon-kasumi, etc.). My general philosophy is to not get the least expensive blade, but rather the least expensive good blade i can find.

That being said, i've seen plenty of decent KK's and KS's.

Gran8man
03-25-2011, 10:24 AM
Jon thanks for the education. This is the type of information I was looking for, now i just need to make a decision! If I go KS on the Yanagiba and Deba then it will be longer before I can get enough funds for the Usuba. Are there other manufacturers I should consider as a better value? (You can PM me if required by forum rules. I don't mean to get anyone in trouble) I looked at Tanaka but have heard his steel is very reactive and KC recommended either Masamoto or Aritsugu for a Usuba as their QAQC is high and will help guarantee a straight edge. The long and short is that I am leaning towards Masamoto as they tend to be in stock, have high quality and can be sold fairly easily if I choose to upgrade in the future.

I am really intrigued by the Usuba especially the off the board work. I have a Watanabe Nakiri and can do half decent katsura muki on cucumbers though the edge is not as straight as a usuba. I read on another forum about someone making potato chips practicing the horizontal under the finger slice. Is this a common technique? How do you do it without shaving a finger? Is it like slicing fish with a yanagiba only horizontal instead of angled? What other techniques are unique to the usuba? (Sounds like I might have to start a new thread)

Cadillac J
03-25-2011, 12:14 PM
I told myself my knife buying was complete...and although I am sticking to this, the only other knife I will buy is going to be a yanagi...as single-bevels have eluded me all of this time.

Taking the advice of KC, I also planned to get a KK or KS (although I love the look of the Gessin Hide that Jon has, but don't want to pay more than $300).

What other 300mm yanagis do people have experience with that are a good buy in the $250-300 range?

UglyJoe
03-26-2011, 02:48 AM
The Yoshihiros are supposed to be really good. Jon sells some and so does my japaneeds on ebay.