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View Full Version : Which gyuto/santuko to buy?



kate
06-20-2012, 12:30 PM
I want to buy a good ($200 or less) chef's knife/santoku. I know nothing! I love to cook but have got along for 30 years with crappy knives. suddenly, I want a good one, and i want it to be pretty (sorry. . .I know it's silly, but still. . .). At first I thought. . ."what's the big deal? Go to Williams-Sanoma and buy a knife." I'd never even heard of a gyuto before two weeks ago. I began researcing forums/reviews, etc., and now I'm so confused I don't know what to buy. Please someone help!!

Here's some info about me: I have a small kitchen, small surfaces, small cutting boards. I, too, am small and have small hands. I want a knife (after researching, I think I want a santoku, despite the majority of what i read telling me the gyutos/chef's knives are the only way to go). I am NOT an expert knife user. I want an all-purpose knife for cutting vegies, fruits and meat/chicken. I would not be using this knife for de-boning. I'm not in the kitchen hours every day, but I do enjoy cooking, and often cook for foodie friends. Despite never having an issue with my crappy knives, I now want a "good" one. This much I know: I prefer a Japanese knife, really sharp, one that is easy to use, keeps its edge, is pretty to look at (sorry), and has a traditional handle. I know nothing about sharpening, but I know I can learn.

After reading . . I can't even remember where, I thought I would buy an Akifusa gyuto; but then I changed my mind and decided on a Yoshikane. In both cases, the reviews/postings were from 5 - 6 years ago; nothing more recent. If I buy a santuko (my current preference) I want a 7" blade; if it's a gyuto, 8". I once had a 240mm heavy, cheap chef's knife and HATED the length. But like I said, I'm no expert.

Yesterday, I held W-S's Shun Hiro and Shun Edo santoku knives (7") and LOVED the feel, the design and the lightness of both; especially the Edo. But I don't want to pay $250. Besides, I looked on Amazon at reviews of the Shun (Shun in general, no specific knife) and the negative reviews gave me pause). I also held the Global which I did not like. I'm not even clear why.

I'm sorry if this is the same old question posted yet again. Thanks for any suggestions you can give me.

oivind_dahle
06-20-2012, 12:40 PM
http://www.cartercutlery.com/japanese-knives/kitchen-cutlery/stainless-fukugozai-series/61sun-stainless-fukugozai-funayuki

Will serve you for years. Will look a killer with patina developing on the edge :)

jm2hill
06-20-2012, 12:44 PM
http://www.cartercutlery.com/japanese-knives/kitchen-cutlery/stainless-fukugozai-series/61sun-stainless-fukugozai-funayuki

Will serve you for years. Will look a killer with patina developing on the edge :)

+1 to this if you can wait for him to get some stock in.

tk59
06-20-2012, 01:04 PM
I would recommend the Inazuma line from Japanese Chef Knife or Togiharu hammered damascus from Korin.

Benuser
06-20-2012, 01:10 PM
Every knife will get dull. How are you going to sharpen?

obtuse
06-20-2012, 01:11 PM
What tk said, or gekko from jck

Eamon Burke
06-20-2012, 01:22 PM
Carter Funayuki.

chinacats
06-20-2012, 01:42 PM
If I buy a santuko (my current preference) I want a 7" blade; if it's a gyuto, 8". I once had a 240mm heavy, cheap chef's knife and HATED the length. But like I said, I'm no expert.

Only thing I would add is that most people would also hate an old heavy 240 chef's knife. Japanese knives in the same length would be lighter and more manageable. Sounds like you would still like something shorter which is understandable...I too would recommend the Carter though it might not be so 'pretty,' unless you find beauty in how it cuts--then it is stunning!

If you did want a 240, there happens to be one here used...

http://www.kitchenknifeforums.com/showthread.php/7110-F-S-Hiromoto-24-cm-AS-gyuto

add
06-20-2012, 02:00 PM
What tk said, or gekko from jck

+ 1... 210 gyuto.



You won't get pretty from Carter for $200.

oivind_dahle
06-20-2012, 02:07 PM
210 is to long for her. 180-190 is a great size.

markenki
06-20-2012, 02:29 PM
Check out the Al Mar Ultra-Chef 7" Damascus Santoku (AM-UC7). Epicurean Edge as well as some other retailers carry it. I bought one recently as a gift for a friend. It's pretty, has very good fit and finish, is stainless, and cuts well.

Enjoy the hunt, and please do let us know what you end up getting.

Regards,

Mark

wenus2
06-20-2012, 02:35 PM
Inazuma line from Japanese Chef Knife
this.

Go here:
http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/specials.html

Look for the heading "Inazuma" in yellow about half-way down the page.
Add 180mm wa santoku to your cart.
Buy.
Continue on happily with your new knife.

And congrats on not buying the Shun Edo.

El Pescador
06-20-2012, 02:46 PM
http://japanesechefsknife.com/HATTORI.html

both the Kf series and the HD series are good looking and well made. They're both made out of stainless also so knife hygiene isn't as critical as a carbon blade.

Lefty
06-20-2012, 03:15 PM
Carter Funayuki, for sure.

Crothcipt
06-20-2012, 03:17 PM
Btw welcome to the forum. I just bought a Carter Funayuki and I think it will be a good fit.

Lefty
06-20-2012, 03:19 PM
Good call. Where are my manners?

Welcome to KKF! :D

WiscoNole
06-21-2012, 02:17 AM
190 mm Hiromoto G3 santoku from japanesechefsknife.com

Although the AS version would be pretty with a patina on the core.

kate
06-21-2012, 11:53 AM
Thanks for all the responses. I think I'll buy the Iazuma Santuko from Japanesechefsknives.com. But before I pull the trigger, what do you think of the Hammer Stahl santuko? They're currently offering a "2 for 1" deal until the end of June: http://www.hammerstahl.com/foodandwine I checked a couple reviews of Hammer Stahl, and wasn't that impressed, but thought I'd ask you all before I purchase the Iazuma. Does anyone have any knowledge of their knives?

Since the Iazuma is such a reasonable $$, I figure I can save some money and put it toward a good gyuto in the future. These forums have convinced me the gyuto is a "must have" even for the amateur cook.

obtuse
06-21-2012, 01:30 PM
Stay away from anything that has granton edges and anything that is made of high carbon German steel aka x50crmov15

Johnny.B.Good
06-21-2012, 01:32 PM
I would pass on the "2 for 1" Hammer Stahl special Kate.

El Pescador
06-21-2012, 01:43 PM
Thanks for all the responses. I think I'll buy the Iazuma Santuko from Japanesechefsknives.com. But before I pull the trigger, what do you think of the Hammer Stahl santuko? They're currently offering a "2 for 1" deal until the end of June: http://www.hammerstahl.com/foodandwine I checked a couple reviews of Hammer Stahl, and wasn't that impressed, but thought I'd ask you all before I purchase the Iazuma. Does anyone have any knowledge of their knives?

Since the Iazuma is such a reasonable $$, I figure I can save some money and put it toward a good gyuto in the future. These forums have convinced me the gyuto is a "must have" even for the amateur cook.

2 things...NO on the Hammer Stahl, and instead of the santoku then later a gyuto, why not just buy the gyuto? They are both used in the same way in the kitchen and most feel that the shape of the gyuto is a better all around performer.

Benuser
06-21-2012, 02:37 PM
+1
And how do you intend to maintain your new knife?

Eamon Burke
06-21-2012, 02:51 PM
Hammer Stahl = :nono:


I've never seen or used one, and don't care to.

add
06-21-2012, 03:17 PM
The Inazuma looks like a fine choice for getting your feet wet.
Good, easy to care for steel, real wood handle, engraved kanji, and a wonderful vendor.
Very "Japanesy"...

But would still encourage the 210 gyuto over the Santoku.

Comparatively, they are both 2mm at the spine so they are thin cutters.
There is only 13 g difference in weight (negligible).

However, the extra 30mm in length will make the gyuto a much more versatile knife yet not enough to cramp you.

* Someone mentioned the Hatorri HD Santoku.
That was my first real Japanese kitchen knife.

Wonderful fit/finish and took a great edge.
But was placed aside fairly quickly after using something longer and thinner (they are 3mm at the spine).
Knife would wedge a bit and w/o added length you are somewhat handcuffed in your cutting motions/options...

kate
06-21-2012, 05:00 PM
I did it!! I bought the Inazuma. . .only, under all the pressure, I bought the Gyuto (210) instead of the santuko. It was $128. Hope I'm not sorry!! Thanks for all the advice; I really appreciate it. This forum was most helpful!

99Limited
06-21-2012, 05:12 PM
Well done, Kate!

SpikeC
06-21-2012, 05:17 PM
Good for you! Excellent choice, I was thinking about the usefulness of the pointer tip while cutting some avocado last night. There were a few bruised spots that I wanted to remove and the tip of my knife made it much easier to trim the bad without wasting the good!

echerub
06-21-2012, 05:17 PM
Enjoy your new knife! :)

add
06-21-2012, 05:21 PM
If you didn't, it never hurts to ask Koki to do a quick once over on the individual knife before he ships... other side of the world and all.

You should be fine regardless.

bikehunter
06-21-2012, 05:54 PM
I did it!! I bought the Inazuma. . .only, under all the pressure, I bought the Gyuto (210) instead of the santuko. It was $128. Hope I'm not sorry!! Thanks for all the advice; I really appreciate it. This forum was most helpful!

Excellent choice.

kate
06-21-2012, 05:58 PM
thanks for the tip. I just wrote to them and asked them to do that.

Crothcipt
06-21-2012, 08:17 PM
Gratz on the new purchase. You will happier with it than the wall hanger you were looking at.

Lefty
06-21-2012, 10:34 PM
Great first Japanese knife!
Thin, sharp, pretty, Japanese. Sounds like a winner to me!

Johnny.B.Good
06-21-2012, 10:50 PM
Congrats Kate!

Let us know what you think of it once you have had a chance to use it a little...

steelcity
06-30-2012, 09:46 AM
I see many positive pushes for the Inazuma/Gekko. How does this knife compare to the Gesshin Ginga? I like the finish better on the Gekko.

steelcity
06-30-2012, 09:47 AM
Looking to get a petty knife

ThEoRy
06-30-2012, 11:40 AM
210 is to long for her.

No it's not. These knives are way lighter than she was used to. I think she made a good choice. Now, how to sharpen that knife.....?

wenus2
06-30-2012, 01:11 PM
I see many positive pushes for the Inazuma/Gekko. How does this knife compare to the Gesshin Ginga? I like the finish better on the Gekko.
The Inazuma fit this scenario, pretty and less expensive, but still a fine knife. It seemed to be exactly what this user was looking for.
However, those that I saw suggest the Inazuma (including myself) would buy the Ginga, given the option.
It doesn't look so grand to some, perhaps, but is still a handsome knife and will perform better (at a higher cost).

The Gekko would be my last choice of the three, it's steel is less desirable to me so I wouldn't buy it for myself. It does have its place though. It is the type of knife I might gift, because it would still make for a great "first J-knife" - the western handle is familiar and vg10 requires little care.

tk59
06-30-2012, 01:18 PM
The Inazuma fit this scenario, pretty and less expensive, but still a fine knife. It seemed to be exactly what this user was looking for.
However, those that I saw suggest the Inazuma (including myself) would buy the Ginga, given the option.
It doesn't look so grand to some, perhaps, but is still a handsome knife and will perform better (at a higher cost).

The Gekko would be my last choice of the three, it's steel is less desirable to me so I wouldn't buy it for myself. It does have its place though. It is the type of knife I might gift, because it would still make for a great "first J-knife" - the western handle is familiar and vg10 requires little care.+1

add
07-13-2012, 12:28 AM
Congrats Kate!

Let us know what you think of it once you have had a chance to use it a little...

Helloooo... ?

kate
08-02-2012, 04:37 PM
Sorry for the many weeks delay. I now have my new Inazuma gyuto and I really like it. I have to admit I haven't used it a ton because I want to keep it new and it takes some getting used to for a rookie. Crazy I know. However, I am using it and have some questions now that I am. #1 How should I sharpen it? Do I need a stone? If so, what kind/size? All I have is a honer. #2 The end of the handle, where the blade enters the wood, looks unfinished to me. Is that typical? Can I do anything about that without incurring big $$? thanks for your help again.

jayhay
08-02-2012, 05:15 PM
Sorry for the many weeks delay. I now have my new Inazuma gyuto and I really like it. I have to admit I haven't used it a ton because I want to keep it new and it takes some getting used to for a rookie. Crazy I know. However, I am using it and have some questions now that I am. #1 How should I sharpen it? Do I need a stone? If so, what kind/size? All I have is a honer. #2 The end of the handle, where the blade enters the wood, looks unfinished to me. Is that typical? Can I do anything about that without incurring big $$? thanks for your help again.

Hey Kate,

I'd suggest a stone. Something simple to get you started would be a King 1000/6000 grit whetstone. Fairly inexpensive and can handle the job just fine. Lots of great videos around the web showing technique. Jon at Japanese Knife Imports has posted a few helpful videos on youtube. And unless you have a good quality ceramic honing steel, I wouldn't use it on the knife. Basic made-of-steel honing rods can damage a good edge. Idahone makes a good fine-grit ceramic honer for around $30 if you need one.

And generally speaking, Japanese handles have less fit and finish than western types. Where the blade enters the wood on the handle is usually the roughest part of the finish, so I'd say it's typical. Sometimes you can see a bit of glue, or it just looks a tad rough as you say yours is. Some sandpaper can help to clean things up, depending on the issue, if your so inclined. I've heard a lot of people have the same gripe as you when they get their first wa-handle. So in my honest opinion, use and enjoy the knife, and maybe try to forget about the imperfect handle. The blade was affordable, so have fun with it and use the heck out of it :)

kate
08-02-2012, 06:16 PM
thanks for the response. i'm taking your advice & buying the Kin 1000/6000 grit whetstone. how often do I need to shartpen the knife?

shankster
08-02-2012, 06:52 PM
Welcome to the forum and congrats on the new knife!
<how often do I need to shartpen the knife?>Depends..could be once a week,month or year.
Whenever you feel it's not cutting as well as you expect(ripe tomatoes are a great gage of sharpness) and you don't necessarily have to take it to the stones,a quick stropping on some newsprint,cardboard or phone-book will revitalize the edge for a while.
Enjoy!!

tk59
08-02-2012, 07:59 PM
I'd recommend using permanent marker on the bevel as soon as it doesn't cut particularly well and then work the edge gently on the 6k stone, inspecting often to make sure you are hitting your bevel consistently. You will also need something to flatten your stones (very coarse diamond plate or drywall screen).

wenus2
08-02-2012, 08:50 PM
#2 The end of the handle, where the blade enters the wood, looks unfinished to me. Is that typical? Can I do anything about that without incurring big $$? thanks for your help again.

That's normal for a Japanese blade. A beeswax fill is the common solution. I have done 3 knives with a beeswax tealight candle I got at farmers market for $1, and I could do as many as 10 more with it. Doesn't get much cheaper than that.

A combo stone is a good idea for sharpening, I will suggest this one though: http://www.japaneseknifesharpeningstore.com/product-p/combo1x6x.htm
Dave says to consider it instead of the King, so I do. :)

Glad you like the knife, enjoy!

kate
08-03-2012, 03:43 PM
Welcome to the forum and congrats on the new knife!
<how often do I need to shartpen the knife?>Depends..could be once a week,month or year.
Whenever you feel it's not cutting as well as you expect(ripe tomatoes are a great gage of sharpness) and you don't necessarily have to take it to the stones,a quick stropping on some newsprint,cardboard or phone-book will revitalize the edge for a while.
Enjoy!!

how do you sharpen on newsprint, etc? somehow, i can't picture it.

chinacats
08-03-2012, 03:59 PM
Maybe someone will point out a video for how to strop. There are many sharpening videos, but not sure I have seen one for stropping. It is a simple way to refresh an edge without a full sharpening. Would be a good way to learn to hold an angle for sharpening as well. It is a very useful technique.

Cheers

tk59
08-03-2012, 04:12 PM
how do you sharpen on newsprint, etc? somehow, i can't picture it.Put your knife to whatever your stropping medium is going to be (something with some abrasive particles like cardboard or bamboo board, etc.) and instead of rubbing the blade on the stone in both directions, just do it with the edge trailing. Personally, I prefer to use a finishing stone to do this, if there is one available. It's just a lot faster; a couple swipes and your good to go.

shankster
08-05-2012, 04:22 PM
I think salty has a stropping video somewhere out there....

JBroida
08-05-2012, 07:07 PM
Put your knife to whatever your stropping medium is going to be (something with some abrasive particles like cardboard or bamboo board, etc.) and instead of rubbing the blade on the stone in both directions, just do it with the edge trailing. Personally, I prefer to use a finishing stone to do this, if there is one available. It's just a lot faster; a couple swipes and your good to go.

you can do this on non abrasive things as well

Benuser
08-06-2012, 05:49 AM
you can do this on non abrasive things as well

What medium do you have in mind?

JBroida
08-06-2012, 01:37 PM
i tend to use unloaded newspaper a lot... i've also use unloaded leather, canvas, etc.

Benuser
08-06-2012, 01:44 PM
Newspaper with a lot of black ink is my favourite - slightly abrasive, though...
Thanks for the clarification, Jon.