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Dieter01
04-09-2012, 04:00 AM
Gyuto:
I am looking to buy a 210mm Swedish Inox Stainless Heiji gyuto. I really like the profile of the blade but I'm not sure about thickness. I've been told that his "standard" knife has roughly 3mm spine thickness midway down the spine. The spine of his knives taper quite a lot from the handle to tip but this sounds substantial to me. He will of course make the knife thinner upon request and getting one that is 2mm across the spine at the same measuring point is no problem. Is that what I want though? Several people have said that the grind is awesome and makes this knife a super cutter despite the somewhat beafy spine, and that it thins very nicely towards the edge. I am afraid that by specifying a thinner knife I no longer get part of what makes this knife so great. Currently I am leaning towards keeping the standard size in order to get a more solid heel but rather specify a slightly more thinned tip. Any thoughts on that?


Since I live in Norway its a lot cheaper to buy directly from Japan (ie jck, bluewayjapan or japan-tools). So limiting my choices to those three vendors I would also like to buy a Suji and a deba. I sort of like having knives from different makers and not a set but looking at my options and the feedback on knives made by Heiji I'm considering getting these two other knives from him as well. If you think I should be looking at other options let me know...

Suji:
Looking for approximately 270mm length. I will use this as a meat slicer primarly and occationally for work on larger fish. I understand the Heiji is probably a bit less flexible than some others, is that right and how do you think it will affect performance when using it on salmon and other fish? I am not too worried about having a carbon suji, is there a noticeable upside or should I just go stainless here as well?

Deba:
I was originally looking at the Suisin Inox Honyaki deba but ordering a Heiji will be a much better deal for me due to import tax, shipping cost etc. The Heiji deba is not available in stainless though, just carbon. I am looking at a 180mm size, I mostly do small fish unfortunately hehe (1/2lb - 10lb). After a fishing trip the knife will be used at a filet station we have set up, using seawater to rinse during the job. After all is done I will bring it back to the house and clean it properly using freshwater. How does carbon steel and this type of environment sound?

Marko Tsourkan
04-09-2012, 07:54 AM
Heiji is an interesting knife. i was quite skeptical about its thickness myself, so I had to borrow one to study it and see if it lives up to its reputation.

The knife cut well, but it was heavier then most knives in this size (around 210g at 210mm) and some amount of downward pressure had to accompany push/pull cuts through dense stuff like apples. Food separation was excellent but if you are looking for a knife to fall through food, this might not be one.

M

heirkb
04-09-2012, 09:17 AM
I bet you could get a Heiji deba in the semi-stainless that Heiji uses. I'm not sure, but since he's done other single-beveled knives in semi-stainless, it seems like he'd be willing to do the same for the deba.

As far as cutting with Heiji goes, I love mine. As Marko said, it'll struggle a bit in really dense apples, sweet potatoes, parsnips, etc. Some part of me really thinks this has to do with technique to some extent, because another more experienced member here (who loves thin knives as well as his Heijis) said that he really doesn't have any trouble cutting sweet potatoes with his Heiji gyuto. Also, I had a chance to use a Gesshin Hide gyuto very briefly and even though that thing is 4mm+ at the spine, it had no trouble at all cutting through apples, sweet potatoes, etc. In fact, it cut better than most things I've tried (including the few "lasers"). That leaves me not too certain about what can be said about thickness. Seems that a thick spine with one grind doesn't have the same effect as a thick spine with another grind.

For the suji, maybe Mattias will write something here. He hasn't been around, but I remember he posted that he really enjoyed slicing with his Heiji (even though his was just a gyuto).

Marko Tsourkan
04-09-2012, 09:23 AM
There is an inverse relationship between food separation and ease of cutting on most knife geometries.

Heiji's geometry is geared for best food separation.

I am very intrigued about this geometry.

I can't say it comes without shortcomings, but for people who value food release over ease of cutting (knife falling through food without downward pressure), Heiji should be given a close look.

M

heirkb
04-09-2012, 09:38 AM
I think that the losses I've experienced with regards to ease of cutting have been very specific (and I'm still not sure if they're my fault or the knife's fault). For example, it is just as easy for me to slice a potato, cut onions, etc. with my Heiji as with a super thin Rottman that tk59 sent me. The things where the super thin knife did better were big beets, dense apples, sweet potatoes. So the loss of cutting was only on the densest foods. Given that my Heiji is really not that thick (3mm at the heel) and that others don't have too many issues even with thicker Heijis, I'm really inclined to think that some of this is technique. I could be wrong, though. I haven't extensively used very many knives, though I've tested a dozen or so now (which is what I'm comparing the Heiji to).

tk59
04-09-2012, 10:29 AM
Interesting. I hadn't seen the stainless ones. I don't know why you'd want one when the semi-stainless are so easy to care for. As far as cutting, I find Heijis are excellent at most tasks. I have only had issues with thick carrots or celery, etc. cracking before the knife makes it through . They don't crack if I use the tip to finish the cut but I find that less than ideal. I also don't like to cut huge, hard objects like butternut squash. It's not like it won't cut them but I definitely prefer thinner knives for this. The sweet potato thing is wierd, too. Maybe my sweet potatoes are more dehydrated than yours...

Dieter01
04-09-2012, 11:13 AM
Interesting. I hadn't seen the stainless ones. I don't know why you'd want one when the semi-stainless are so easy to care for.

I was under the impression that this was the semi-stainless. Maybe someone else could confirm that Swedish Inox Stainless Steel = SDK11 = semi stainless.

Dieter01
04-09-2012, 11:16 AM
I bet you could get a Heiji deba in the semi-stainless that Heiji uses. I'm not sure, but since he's done other single-beveled knives in semi-stainless, it seems like he'd be willing to do the same for the deba.

I did ask for the deba in stainless but according to So Yamashita at japan-tool: "This one will have to be with the carbon steel. SW INOX cannot be made with kataba construction unfortunately"

Dieter01
04-09-2012, 11:19 AM
You guys list a few points were the Heiji has a slight drawback to a thinner knife. What about the opposite, where does it excel and perform better?

Also, what about the carbon deba and saltwater environment... Is that an accident waiting to happen?

tk59
04-09-2012, 11:35 AM
Swedish Inox never means SKD anything. It's usually an AEB-L/13c26, 19c27 type steel. As Marko mentioned, release is very good. It also goes through a lot of things very easily and feels nice and substantial. As heirkb mentioned, it arguably outperforms some highly regarded thin knives. It is a great cutter. It also has very good edge holding, sharpens easily and gets very sharp with minimal effort. I love the edge more than pretty much any stainless out there.

Rottman
04-09-2012, 11:47 AM
Also, what about the carbon deba and saltwater environment... Is that an accident waiting to happen?

No experience with carbon knives in saltwater environment but marine surroundings will corrode regular 18/10 kitchen stainless steels so on boats etc. alloys with higher chrome contents will be used.

heirkb
04-09-2012, 12:59 PM
I did ask for the deba in stainless but according to So Yamashita at japan-tool: "This one will have to be with the carbon steel. SW INOX cannot be made with kataba construction unfortunately"

Hmm...what about this knife (http://www.japaneseknifeimports.com/kitchen-knives/heiji/gesshin-heiji-300-mm-semi-stainless-yanagiba.html), then?

Dieter01
04-09-2012, 01:57 PM
Swedish Inox never means SKD anything. It's usually an AEB-L/13c26, 19c27 type steel.
Sorry for posting a link to a different forum but this discussion (http://www.knifeforums.com/forums/showpost.php?post/2270057/) suggests that the semi-stainless is SKD11 and also that this is the only stainless Heiji works with. I have been trying to confirm that though...


No experience with carbon knives in saltwater environment but marine surroundings will corrode regular 18/10 kitchen stainless steels so on boats etc. alloys with higher chrome contents will be used.
It will not be left in this kind of environment when not in use, just for the time it takes to gut and filet the fish.


Hmm...what about this knife (http://www.japaneseknifeimports.com/kitchen-knives/heiji/gesshin-heiji-300-mm-semi-stainless-yanagiba.html), then?
Good question...

berlino
04-09-2012, 02:26 PM
Sorry for posting a link to a different forum but this discussion suggests that the semi-stainless is SKD11 and also that this is the only stainless Heiji works with. I have been trying to confirm that though...
Just try and shoot that certain German importer a short mail, as far as I know he's on good terms with Mr. Heiji. God, I've been eyeing this onel (http://www.japan-messer-shop.de/Kochmesser-Formen/Gyuto/HEIJI-Schmiede-Gyuto-21-cm-Klinge-mit-Honbazuke--handgeschmiedet-und--signiert--rostfrei.html) for a while now...

Chef Niloc
04-09-2012, 03:00 PM
I bet you could get a Heiji deba in the semi-stainless .

no I have been asking for years, he won't(/ can't?? )Make them in SS, wish he would

tk59
04-09-2012, 04:53 PM
...the semi-stainless is SKD11 and also that this is the only stainless Heiji works with...I don't know if it's SKD11 (11-13% chromium) or SKD12 (4-5% chromium) but the hagane on these knives stains very readily and for this reason I would be inclined to call it semi-stainless rather than stainless. SKD12 is clearly semi-stainless. Typically, 11-13% chromium will yield a pretty stainless knife but with that much carbon in the SKD11, enough of it may be locked up in carbides to make it stain...

G-rat
04-09-2012, 05:09 PM
no I have been asking for years, he won't(/ can't?? )Make them in SS, wish he would

This makes me so sad...my heiji Gyuto is amazing...want a deba...been planning on heiji semi stainless custom...sad

Dieter01
04-26-2012, 01:09 PM
I'm still considering this purchase. Part of the reason is that I would like to try free-hand sharpening on a single bevel knife (I use an EP now for my other knives). The Heiji deba is a bit more expensive than I would ideally have liked for a practice knife but when I look at the alternatives I'm not sure they would actually be that much cheaper... My first question is how sharp is this knife going to be when it arrives? I have been told that Heiji knives are sharp when they arrive, not like most other Japanese knives. I would like some kind of benchmark to measure against when I start sharpening myself...

Second question is... Should I get carbon or semi-stainless suji? I will pretty much only use ot to slice fish and meat so I've been leaning towards carbon. Is the difference in sharpness / ease of sharpening worth the extra cost (and potential hassle) of carbon vs stainless?

heirkb
04-26-2012, 01:44 PM
I bet some of the more experienced guys can tell you about steel. I'm still not good with commenting on that stuff.

One thing I do know, though, is that Heiji double-beveled knives are best sharpened when they arrive. The edge feels very toothy and will cut, but is very fragile (in my experience with 3 Heijis). Not sure about the single-bevels.

I'm always looking for an excuse to add a new Heiji, lol...210 gyuto? 270 or 300 suji? I could go for any of those. I just wish I cut more meats so that I could justify a (bigger) Heiji suji.

mpukas
04-26-2012, 05:57 PM
I'm still considering this purchase. Part of the reason is that I would like to try free-hand sharpening on a single bevel knife (I use an EP now for my other knives). The Heiji deba is a bit more expensive than I would ideally have liked for a practice knife but when I look at the alternatives I'm not sure they would actually be that much cheaper...

If this is your first single bevel knife and you haven't free-hand sharpening one already, I strongly suggest you get yourself a less expensive deba to experiemnt and learn on, and not risk ***** up something really nice. BWJ sells a reputable brand, as well as Yoshihiro. I bought a super cheap 210 yanagi f/ BWJ to learn on, and there's lot more to sharpening a single bevel knife than a double bevel one.

btw - I'm leaning towards getting a Heiji gyuto as my next knife as well. I'm leaning towards semi-stainless. If I were getting a suji, and most likely some day will get one, I'd get semi-stainless as well. Primarily for the jigane being less-reactive, not so much the hagane. Jon and many others say that his semi-stainless takes and holds such a great edge, that I feel why bother w/ carbon?