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View Full Version : What to buy - 1st Carbon Knife



Shinob1
04-16-2012, 11:40 PM
I am thinking that I want to try a carbon blade. I've been eyeing the Tojiro ITK blades since they are cheap and the reviews seem favorable.

I'm torn between the 120mm petty and the 165mm nakiri. I think that I need the petty moreso than a nakiri. There have been a few times where I would have liked a smaller knife and think that petty in white #2 could fit the bill.

I should mention that this knife will also be used for me to practice sharpening, so ease of sharpening and burr removal are important to me. My ideal budget is 50-75 tops with shipping.

Any advice is appreciated! :thumbsup:

Lefty
04-16-2012, 11:45 PM
Given the choice between a Tojiro ITK and my choice in this price range, a Yamawaku...well, yeah. You get what I'm saying.
The Tojiro gets nicely sharp and is stupidly thin, but there's a lot of flex in the blade and it's just a cheap knife...however, the Yama feels great in the hand, is sturdy, thin and wickedly sharp. Hands down, my choice in this price range!

Shinob1
04-17-2012, 12:27 AM
Thanks for the tip. I'm googling that maker now to see what I can find. Do you guys think I should hit up our B/S/T? I know the budget is low on this purchase, but I don't want to spend too much in case I don't like carbon or I run into some sharpening issues as I'm learning.

SameGuy
04-17-2012, 12:50 AM
I don't know what's not to like about carbon. Just keep a wet dish rag and another dry cotton rag handy when using a carbon knife. I give a quick wipe with each between each vegetable type, and after raw meat I use dish soap and a rinse, then wipe dry. It's a new habit to adopt, but it's not difficult or tedious. The pluses far outweigh the minuses.

Ontravelling
04-17-2012, 12:51 AM
I second the Yamawaku in that price range. Blows the Tojiro ITK away. The ITK is just a clunker and stupid thick behind the edge, where the Yamawaku is actually really thin. Much superior geometry. I feel like it gets sharper too. I bought the Nakiri then followed that with a 210 yanagiba and a 165 Deba. I think they're all great deals. I also own the ITK 120 Petty and just gave away my ITK 210 Gyuto.

My experience is a lot different than Lefty as far as the Tojiro it seems. Mine have had NO flex at all and are very thick.

Also, the Kurouchi is much much better on the Yamawaku. ITK is pretty bad looking IMO

Lefty
04-17-2012, 10:41 AM
Sounds like a bit of inconsistency in the Tojiro grind, to me. Another good one to look at might be a Tanaka KU from Mark, or eBay.

mikemac
04-17-2012, 11:49 AM
....Any advice is appreciated! :thumbsup:

A different approach, and I'd ask you to clarify your budget, and your daily users.

If your daily user is a 240 gyuto, get a 'better' quality 240 from the B/S/T forum, and screw your budget. If you like the knife, then you're done with this purchase. If you don't, then a 240 gyuto is probably one of the easier items to re sell on B/S/T. If you purchase a super budget priced blade that no one else is interested in, and don't like it, it's not going to re-sell very easily...but if you did like carbon, then you'ld probably want to step up in quality, which means this purchase would kind of be a waste....

macmiddlebrooks
04-17-2012, 12:11 PM
I have an almost new 180mm Konosuke nakiri in the semi-carbon HD steel that I'm willing to part with for not much more than your stated budget. PM me if you're interested.

obtuse
04-17-2012, 12:50 PM
I'd up your budget and go with a sakai yusuke white no.2 or ashi white no.2 from jon.

stevenStefano
04-17-2012, 01:04 PM
What about a Watanabe? They do some pretty cheap smaller knives

stereo.pete
04-17-2012, 01:11 PM
If you can tolerate a yo/western style handle, the Fujiwara FKH line is a great way to jump into the world of carbon knives at a really good price. That is what I started with and still use my FKH Gyuto daily. They don't create a burr very fast compared to higher quality (more expensive) carbon steels but the skills you develop sharpening it will really make you appreciate its' challenges as well as better knives as you progress down the road. By no means is it difficult to sharpen, it just isn't as easy as some of the really nicely heat treated carbon steels out there.

Regards,

Pete

Cadillac J
04-17-2012, 01:30 PM
What about a Watanabe? They do some pretty cheap smaller knives

Not trying to push it at all, but I absolutely love my Watanabe nakiri which was like $50. It was my first carbon blade and I still have it, with no intention of selling it. The handle is as basic as it gets, the ferrule came loose and moves around, etc....but after some tweaking and thinning, it takes a wicked edge and cuts extremely well. Sharpening and burr removal are as easy as any other steel...always felt like white#2 to me. Not a knife most would appreciate right off the bat, but one that grows on your over time.

There are many options either new or used that would fit the bill, but I think you need to decide what type of knife you want first: gyuto, nakiri, petty, etc.

Shinob1
04-17-2012, 02:12 PM
Thanks all for the advice and comments so far. I should have said before, but my daily is a 210mm Yoshihiro in SKD 11 that I purchased from Jon. I still enjoy this knife and won't be looking to replace the Gyuto slot until later. I do realize at this budget I won't be buying anything that's fantastic, but I'm okay with spending this in order to see if I like carbon and to use for sharpening practice.

The reason for such a small budget is that I'm afraid I may not like carbon. I have read that people can taste carbon after preparing/cutting food, that it can have an odor, and the obvious rust issues from improper care. So I'd rather have less up front costs and worse case, I don't prepare much food with it, but use it as a blade for sharpening practice. If I fall in love with carbon, I'll end up keeping that knife and look into perhaps upgrading my Gyuto. What would really be great is if I could try a carbon knife for a couple of weeks. But I don't know if any foodies or knife junkies in my area, so I figure buying an inexpensive one is the next best route to go.

It seems like Watanabe, Fujiwara and some knives from Jon have made list to check out. Is the general consensus to stay away from the Tojiro altogether?

As for what kind of knife, I'm really open on that. However I don't want another gyuto for sure. My preference is a petty because they tend to be cheaper and I think I could benefit from a smaller knife. But if there was just a great deal on something else, I'd consider it.

Eamon Burke
04-17-2012, 02:34 PM
I say buy an Old Hickory knife and play with it, since this is just to try out carbon steel at all. Then, when you see how fun and cool carbon steel is, you can buy a good knife!

JBroida
04-17-2012, 02:39 PM
for what its worth, the yoshihiro wa-gyuto is not SKD11... those ones are the santoku and nakiri... the wa-gyuto is a moly stainless... but nonetheless ;)

Shinob1
04-17-2012, 04:14 PM
for what its worth, the yoshihiro wa-gyuto is not SKD11... those ones are the santoku and nakiri... the wa-gyuto is a moly stainless... but nonetheless ;)

Doh! I remember looking at that nakiri and reading SKD11 and mistook the wa-gyuto for SKD11 as well.

NO ChoP!
04-17-2012, 04:57 PM
I agree the ITK finish is not so good. Korouchi is horrendous and the handle is as cheap ad it gets. I do feel the steel is nice and the geometry is decent. I have purchased many as gifts; they are by no means thin and flexible, infact rather thick at the spine with a decent convex grind....

Vertigo
04-17-2012, 09:07 PM
I agree the ITK finish is not so good. Korouchi is horrendous...
Ok, how horrendous are we talking here? I've been eyeballing the $60 ITK 210 as my low-budget alternative, for times I just wanna hack some mold off the cheese and call it a day. It costs next to nothing for white steel and I don't mind doing some work to get it in shape--but if the KU is just gonna bleed black bits all over my food it might be a deal breaker.

Lefty
04-17-2012, 09:13 PM
Weird...when I bring my Tojiro Nakiri home from work to sharpen it up, I'll take a pic or two to show how easily it bends and show how crazy thin it is.

SameGuy
04-17-2012, 09:19 PM
I may be one of the few that doesn't like the "rustic" look of kuro-uchi, so to me the Tojiro nakiri looks only somewhat less nice than the rest of the KU nakiris I've seen. I paid a little extra and got a kasumi-finished nakiri.

Shinob1
04-17-2012, 09:49 PM
What do you guys think of this one (http://www.japaneseknifeimports.com/kitchen-knives/zakuri-165mm-blue-1-kurouchi-tosagata-bocho.html#)? Price is right and I think I would enjoy using it.

stereo.pete
04-17-2012, 10:01 PM
Go for it!

SameGuy
04-17-2012, 10:07 PM
I don't know much about it, but if you've fancied a santoku, this looks to be a smaller version. Good price for blue 2 steel. If the F&F are anywhere near reasonable, it looks like a great way to try out carbon!

Andrew H
04-17-2012, 10:27 PM
What do you guys think of this one (http://www.japaneseknifeimports.com/kitchen-knives/zakuri-165mm-blue-1-kurouchi-tosagata-bocho.html#)? Price is right and I think I would enjoy using it.

I've been eyeing that knife for way too long. Do it!

K-Fed
04-17-2012, 10:30 PM
One of the guys at work has that knife. Takes and holds a fantastic edge. The boys at zakuri do nice things with blue steel.

Shinob1
04-17-2012, 10:32 PM
Add to cart. :doublethumbsup: can't wait for it to get here.

Lefty
04-17-2012, 10:57 PM
Great choice! Congrats.

labor of love
04-18-2012, 12:01 AM
Add to cart. :doublethumbsup: can't wait for it to get here.
theyre blue one steel is great for the price. not to reactive and the edge retention is great. good choice.

Shinob1
04-18-2012, 12:05 AM
How are their edges OOTB? I'm wondering when I get the knife to start at a 1k or a 5k when I sharpen it for the first time.

labor of love
04-18-2012, 12:33 AM
my petty came with a good edge. i sharpened it anyway to reset/raise the bevels.

Lefty
04-18-2012, 12:37 AM
Ask Jon to tweak it for you. Who knows....

skewed
04-18-2012, 01:25 AM
That should be a great intro-to-carbon knife for you. The Zakuri that I have came with one of the best ootb edges I have ever received.

Shinob1
04-18-2012, 08:30 PM
Knife just shipped. Can't wait! Is there anything I should be mindful so as to not have the knife rust? Will wiping it dry with a towel be enough or should I oil the blade after using it? Is there is a primer on carbon knives?

JBroida
04-18-2012, 08:35 PM
give me a call and i can explain all about it in more depth than i have time to type here

SameGuy
04-18-2012, 10:31 PM
I know Jon will give you much more detail, but I have a simple routine. I have a couple of cotton terry bar mop towels handy in the kitchen; after each veggie type, I give the knife a quick rinse, then wipe well with one towel and dry it completely with the second. When I'm done with prep I wash the knife right away with dish soap and a sponge, rinse and wipe dry again. I then let the knives sit out for a while before putting them away for the night. It doesn't take but a couple of extra seconds during prep, and one less thing to wash up later on.

shankster
04-18-2012, 10:41 PM
I keep an old phone book handy,especially when I'm sharpening.Just slip your knives in between the pages,the paper will wick the excess moisture away.

Lefty
04-18-2012, 10:45 PM
I have a poop load of carbon, and I just give a quick wipe if I'll be setting it down for more than 30 seconds or so. I also wipe if I'm going from an acidic food to another food, just to avoid staining my product. Honestly, it'll become second nature. I also do the same thing with my stainless knives, but I don't remember if this was a habit I had before getting into carbon or not.

SameGuy
04-18-2012, 10:48 PM
I keep an old phone book handy,especially when I'm sharpening.Just slip your knives in between the pages,the paper will wick the excess moisture away.


I like that idea. And you can strop with it, too. ;)

shankster
04-18-2012, 11:28 PM
I like that idea. And you can strop with it, too. ;)

Exactly! two birds with one stone..

SameGuy
04-18-2012, 11:35 PM
How many different (competing) phone books you get in T.O. now? We get two white pages and three yellows. Doh.

shankster
04-18-2012, 11:40 PM
we don't get that many so I don't throw them out anymore(or untill they get really knarly..)

BTW,do you shop at l'Emoulier in Montreal?? looks like a great shop.