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View Full Version : Is Shigefusa worth the price?



Cookin808
03-23-2012, 11:48 PM
Thinking about adding a 270mm Shigefusa yanagi to the stable of work knives and just wanting to get feedback to see if this knifemaker lives up to all the hype. Or do you think there are others out there in the same price range that are of better quality? Any information is gladly appreciated.

jm2hill
03-23-2012, 11:52 PM
can't comment of other knives in the price range, but I love my shige and it cuts absolutely beautifully.

Cookin808
03-23-2012, 11:55 PM
Also thinking about the Gesshin Hide in Blue #1 as an alternative...any comments on this knife as well?

WildBoar
03-23-2012, 11:58 PM
I have a Shigi nakiri and a petty. Nakiri is Kitaeji probably wasn't worth the $ vs a non-dammy-clad version, but I can say the blade is very nice. The d-handle is decent enough, but not on the level of a custom maker or one of the rehandling guys on this forum. The petty is a kiro-uchi, and was definitely worth the $.

I have not used one of their gyutos, bit the bulk of the info seems to be very positive. In that price range (~$500 for a non-dammy 240?), there are a lot of decent gyutos, yet the owners of the shigis generally indicate it is their best cutter or their favorite.

As far a yanagis go, I have yet to hear anything remotely bad about a Shigi. It's more of a 'if you can afford it then buy it.'

The hekler
03-24-2012, 12:07 AM
Love my shige yanagi... I would spring for the 300mm if I was in your position though. I think out of the entire shige lineup the yanagi is really a step above. For the record I have two shige gyutos and a 300mm yanagi while the gyutos are great knives I reach for my ealy more often but my yanagi I wouldn't trade for the world. To be fair I haven't used any other yanagis so it might not be as special as I think, also I don't see why a yanagi would come in blue #1, aren't the blue steels used in applications where durability and corrosion resistance are favored over strictly the sharpest possible cutting edge like a white #1? Seems for a yanagi I'd wouldn't be worried about corrosion or durability.

EdipisReks
03-24-2012, 01:14 AM
i don't have a Shig yanagi, but my Shig gyuto is wonderful.

JKerr
03-24-2012, 01:30 AM
No experience with Shigefusa yanagibas either, but I use one of his kasumi usuba and I reckon they're worth it. Granted I've never used anything of the same level of workmanship, closest would be either Mizuno or Tadatsuna honkasumi, but there's really no comparison. Personally, if I had the coin to spend, I wouldn't hesitate to grab something else from Shigefusa; kasumi anyway, not particularly interested in damascus.

JohnnyChance
03-24-2012, 01:39 AM
I have a Shigefusa kasumi gyuto and would buy another Shigefusa knife. Perhaps a single bevel kitaeji, if I wanted something fancy. Are they worth it? Well that is something that each purchaser has to evaluate. I bet if you called Jon at JKI, he would have something for you that cuts just as well and you wouldn't have to worry if you were getting a "thick" one or a "thin" one or anything like that. And it will certainly be less reactive than the Shige, haha. You would probably be perfectly happy with it and it would probably be a better value (and you would get it a lot sooner). But if you lust for a Shige, nothing else is really going to quench that.

Chef Niloc
03-24-2012, 03:28 AM
Yes

stereo.pete
03-24-2012, 09:05 AM
Yes

Ditto! There's something about Shigefusa that is quite amazing. My 240mm Gyuto was obviously forged by hand but it's build quality is absolutely perfect, no flaws and every taper from the spine to the choil is a work of art. I have a Saya that was made with my Shige and the blade clicks into place perfectly within that saya and stays put without any sort of pin. The handle is incredible well put together or a D Handle, simple but elegant at the same time. I would like to add another one to my collection when the funds are available.

I compare Shige's to BMW M cars, they are amazing performers but they don't have all the bell's and whistles of let's say a top of the line Lexus that parks itself. Shige's are focused on performance #1, and bling has a secondary option with the Kitaeji line.

dough
03-24-2012, 09:41 AM
yes

Pensacola Tiger
03-24-2012, 10:08 AM
Yes, Shigefusa knives are worth the price.

tk59
03-24-2012, 10:23 AM
For single bevels, I don't think you can go wrong with either Shigefusa or Gesshin Hide. Shigefusa are thinner, according to what I've read. That probably translates into a nimbler knife, if you think that might be important to you. I've personally seen a few of the Gesshin Hide yanagiba and I will say that I was not able to find any flaw in the construction on any of them. I will say that possibly the most surprising cutter I've ever used is a Gesshin Hide gyuto. Amazing performing knife... Anyway, back to yanagiba. The most comfortable and best finished yanagiba I've seen is Suisin densho. I really haven't seen anything else with that level of thoughtfulness put into the user comfort.

lowercasebill
03-24-2012, 11:08 AM
i have a 360 Shigefusa yanigi ... my pride and joy .. and so sharp out of the box .

bechler
03-24-2012, 01:03 PM
Where can you buy Shigefusa's?

Chef Niloc
03-24-2012, 01:29 PM
Shigefusa and Heiji are my two favorite J makers, go figure they trained together. Having a Shigefusa's = sexy, functional beauty at its finest. Heiji's knives don't have the sexy curves that shig has but they have there own some what rustic beauty. Both makers have a magical way of just making a knife that "works", they just go about it a different way. I find myself reaching for my Heiji yanigi first, but my shig deba is my goto deba ( don't have Heiji deba).

Peco
03-24-2012, 01:34 PM
but my shig deba is my goto deba.

Nice :D - what size?

Pensacola Tiger
03-24-2012, 01:51 PM
Where can you buy Shigefusa's?

They are not easy to find.

Maksim of JapaneseNaturalStones.com has had some lately.

Japan Woodworker had some yanagibas in stock just last week.

Aframestokyo.com has had some for sale in the past.

Put a WTB post on the B/S/T subforums here and elsewhere - you might get lucky.

mainaman
03-24-2012, 02:30 PM
Yes definitely worth it.
Shige yanagis are thinner than usual yanagis, for me that is a nice bonus.

gentlecook
03-24-2012, 03:41 PM
Shige yanagis are thinner than usual yanagis, for me that is a nice bonus.

thinner at spine or more norrow at the heel ?

add
03-24-2012, 03:49 PM
I compare Shige's to BMW M cars, they are amazing performers but they don't have all the bell's and whistles of let's say a top of the line Lexus that parks itself. Shige's are focused on performance #1, and bling has a secondary option with the Kitaeji line.

You mean over priced, over engineered, ghastly expensive when it comes to repair and maintenance, and often purchased as a status icon?

:wink:

Peco
03-24-2012, 04:03 PM
Who is this Shigefusa guy :scratchhead: :aikido: :thumbsup:

schanop
03-24-2012, 05:06 PM
Nah, don't get onto the queue.


Then when I need to get another one it would be a bit quicker..

mainaman
03-24-2012, 06:09 PM
thinner at spine or more norrow at the heel ?
thinner spine.

andoniminev
03-25-2012, 07:22 AM
I don't see why people still mention Shigs reactivity. Yes it is very reactive but that is a god thing because it builds patina very quickly and once it has built patina it doesn't react to anything. So for me it is not an issue but rather good feature because it builds patina literally for hours and than you have a hell of a beautiful and laser sharp weapon. The quality is over the top. Worth each euro.

Peco
03-25-2012, 07:25 AM
Glad you like your beast :D

andoniminev
03-25-2012, 07:51 AM
Glad you like your beast :D

No I don't like it, I love it :viking: planning to buy another one probably a Kasumi or kuro uchi to try them as well

Mingooch
03-25-2012, 07:52 AM
You mean over priced, over engineered, ghastly expensive when it comes to repair and maintenance, and often purchased as a status icon?

:wink:

Dont know what u mean. I am on my 3rd BWM, barely had any issues ever. All held their value, drive well, were reasonable to fix and maintain. Worth every penny to me and I am not rich.

Peco
03-25-2012, 07:53 AM
Saw your youtube video - looks like an awesome sword you got there :D

Marko Tsourkan
03-25-2012, 07:55 AM
Shigefusa is not an optimal knife for professional kitchen or for sloppy home cooks, as it requires maintenance even if you build up a patina (I am referring here to Western style knives in kasumi or kitaeji )

Edge retention is better than White steel, but not as good as AEB-L, 52100, A2, etc.

It is however, one brand that is consistently well finished (I have seen many Shigs) and almost without flaws (very minor if any). Unlike most Japanese makers, Shigefusa pays close attention to details and finish on their knives and their heat treatment is very good - sharpening is very easy.

Whether it is worth the money, it's up to what you are looking in a knife.

If you are looking to get a knife from a very reputable Japanese maker, made in traditional way (forged, heat treated by eye, hand finished, engraved kanji), it might be worth it.

If you are looking for a performance knife that requires minimum maintenance and has a superb edge retention, there are better alternatives for the money.

M

Peco
03-25-2012, 08:16 AM
Shigefusa is not an optimal knife for professional kitchen or for sloppy home cooks, as it requires maintenance even if you build up a patina (I am referring here to Western style knives in kasumi or kitaeji )

Edge retention is better than White steel, but not as good as AEB-L, 52100, A2, etc.

It is however, one brand that is consistently well finished (I have seen many Shigs) and almost without flaws (very minor if any). Unlike most Japanese makers, Shigefusa pays close attention to details and finish on their knives and their heat treatment is very good - sharpening is very easy.

Whether it is worth the money, it's up to what you are looking in a knife.

If you are looking to get a knife from a very reputable Japanese maker, made in traditional way (forged, heat treated by eye, hand finished, engraved kanji), it might be worth it.

If you are looking for a performance knife that requires minimum maintenance and has a superb edge retention, there are better alternatives for the money.

M

Funny, the shig I sent to the US a few weeks back had very little reactivity (only on the blade), fine edge retention, nice finish etc. I'm sure a shig will perform well in a pro-kitchen - with a little care (obviously one would care if the bought one - it's a gem). There must be a reason why shig is so treasured among many people. Some might not consider it custom - I do - the man makes the knife himself and has more experience than most knifemakers will ever get ;)

Marko Tsourkan
03-25-2012, 08:29 AM
I am talking in objective terms here. We all have preferences, but what's asked here is an honest advice with cons and pros.

I have owned a number of Shiges (still do) and followed what people said about them for years. I don't know anybody who uses one in a pro environment as their go-to knife for reactivity reason (Western style knives). Low carbon cladding is going to be more reactive than core steel, and unless you replace it with stainless, as Carter and other makers do, reactivity will be an ongoing issue. KU are better in that regard, as cladding is only partially exposed.

Devin has done comparison on Shige's edge retention vs White steel and 52100 and my reference is partially based on that, and partially on my own experience and what I have told by other users.

M

Peco
03-25-2012, 08:41 AM
I understand your point! Still one has many tasks during a day in the kitchen - a lot where the shig could be used. The cladding - from what I've heard you're spot on - very reactive. The kasumi as we all know is less reactive. I personally prefer some kind of stainless cladding - just to be on the safe side because things can be hectic in the kitchen sometimes = forget to wipe of the knife for 15-20 min = not good if a shig is used. Still ... they are awesome knifes - I think.

Chef Niloc
03-25-2012, 09:05 AM
Shigefusa is not an optimal knife for professional kitchen or for sloppy home cooks, as it requires maintenance even if you build up a patina (I am referring here to Western style knives in kasumi or kitaeji )

Edge retention is better than White steel, but not as good as AEB-L, 52100, A2, etc.

It is however, one brand that is consistently well finished (I have seen many Shigs) and almost without flaws (very minor if any). Unlike most Japanese makers, Shigefusa pays close attention to details and finish on their knives and their heat treatment is very good - sharpening is very easy.

Whether it is worth the money, it's up to what you are looking in a knife.

If you are looking to get a knife from a very reputable Japanese maker, made in traditional way (forged, heat treated by eye, hand finished, engraved kanji), it might be worth it.

If you are looking for a performance knife that requires minimum maintenance and has a superb edge retention, there are better alternatives for the money.

M


Funny, the shig I sent to the US a few weeks back had very little reactivity (only on the blade), fine edge retention, nice finish etc. I'm sure a shig will perform well in a pro-kitchen - with a little care (obviously one would care if the bought one - it's a gem). There must be a reason why shig is so treasured among many people. Some might not consider it custom - I do - the man makes the knife himself and has more experience than most knifemakers will ever get ;)

No I have to agree that a shig is not my 1st pick for work, very reactive, kanji is much worse in this regard. If you are behind a sushi bar and can wipe the blade after every cut, and dry it befor you put it down for a rest then I could see it being used in a pro way. His non-kanji knives are fine in a pro shop, I use 2-3 every day.

vai777
03-25-2012, 11:00 AM
I have owned about 15 different shigefusa blades...they are all a step (a large step) above other makers in the same price range...if you want cheap...go Masamoto KK...best value in the market considering the quality control. If you want something higher end than shigefusa be prepared to spend a lot. I would say Doi blades are a step above the shigis...but then again they run $800 plus...

tk59
03-25-2012, 11:31 AM
...they are all a step (a large step) above other makers in the same price range... ...go Masamoto KK...best value in the market considering the quality control...A step (large or otherwise) really means nothing. Exactly what quality(ies) of single bevel knives (I'm assuming only single bevel. Correct me if I'm wrong.) are you referring to where the Shig excels above others in the same price range?

vai777
03-25-2012, 11:59 AM
A step (large or otherwise) really means nothing. Exactly what quality(ies) of single bevel knives (I'm assuming only single bevel. Correct me if I'm wrong.) are you referring to where the Shig excels above others in the same price range?

It's significant in performance, edge holding and geometry, even out of the box they are pretty much good to go. The taper is always perect on both single and double bevel knives and the finish is superior to any other kasumi line made..

vai777
03-25-2012, 12:00 PM
so yeah...its a step above...

bechler
03-25-2012, 12:04 PM
A step (large or otherwise) really means nothing. Exactly what quality(ies) of single bevel knives (I'm assuming only single bevel. Correct me if I'm wrong.) are you referring to where the Shig excels above others in the same price range?

How does the Gesshin Hide Yanagi compare to the Shig? From what I've read this knife seems to be just as good.

http://www.japaneseknifeimports.com/kitchen-knives/gesshin-hide/gesshin-hide-300mm-blue-1-hon-kasumi-yanagiba.html#

vai777
03-25-2012, 12:27 PM
How does the Gesshin Hide Yanagi compare to the Shig? From what I've read this knife seems to be just as good.

http://www.japaneseknifeimports.com/kitchen-knives/gesshin-hide/gesshin-hide-300mm-blue-1-hon-kasumi-yanagiba.html#

havent tried the gesshin stuff...frankly a lot of the newer lines I haven;t tried, I'm only referencing stuff like masamoto, mizuno tanrnjo, watanabe, ittosai, aritsugu, nenohi, suisin, ect... The best band for the buck is the masamoto KK line..without question...the sharpness out of the box is garbage but put in a little work on the stones and it will cut just as well as anything else out there...you want something comparable to the shigi and around the same price point...Masamoto KA...

tk59
03-28-2012, 05:48 PM
It's significant in performance, edge holding and geometry, even out of the box they are pretty much good to go. The taper is always perect on both single and double bevel knives and the finish is superior to any other kasumi line made..Interesting. I've used a few Shigs (double bevel only) and I find their performance is nice but not amazing. Edge holding is okay. I wouldn't say it blows other carbon steels out of the water or anything. I will agree that the finish is very nice.

Eamon Burke
03-29-2012, 12:41 AM
My shig gets the workhorse treatment at work. Of course, I'm a caterer, not doing line work.

phan1
04-01-2012, 10:01 AM
I don't own any Shige gyutos, but I do have their yanagiba and yes, it's worth the price. Mostly it's because they're so unique; absolutely nothing handles like the shigefusa. It's thinner and lighter than other brands and the profile is pretty unique as well. It really feels like an extention of your hand, and I don't have that "fits like a glove" feeling with any other knife I own. It's a really special knife that really can't be compared to any other brand (Aritsugu, Konosuke, Masamoto, etc.). I'd recommend a 300mm one to compensate for its lightness.

And I just have the kasumi version. The kiteji wouldn't be worth the price for me because no knife is worth $700. Of course this is just personal bias and the fact that there are just too many other things I could do with $700 (like buy more knives :)) than to spend it all on one knife.