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View Full Version : Because of you, I sold my Shun. Now help me! :)



RavenFire
08-30-2012, 06:04 PM
I bought an 8 inch Shun Premier on a great deal... ($100) While determining if I should buy it, I got hooked on the look and feel...

Then I came on here and researched (whoops!)... Saw how lowly Shun was thought of, so it's on it's way back to the retailer..

Now, I'm the kind of guy that really likes to jump in with both feet... And I'm ready to start replace my Henckle's Twin Select knife block.
I've signed up for chopping lessons as well as sharpening lessons, and am thinking of purchasing a knife from my local store, 'knifewear.com', but am open to any other suggestions. I live in Canada though, so shipping + taxes can come into play from US stores...

I've been looking through the gamut. Takeda has entered my sphere of attention based on positive reviews, as well as the Mr. Itou's at JCK. And then the Konosuke - Sakura is especially appealing.
But each has their downsides
I've seen some people speak negatively of Takeda's quality control recently - curved blades, bad handles.
Mr. Itou has western handles (I think I want wa's).
And one of the big J-knife retailers has just stopped carrying Konosuke for some unknown reason...

Are there any current 'must buys' in the $300-$700 range?
Is it foolish to get a Takeda when my budget is up to around $700?


What type of knife(s) do you think you want? Japanese 240mm Gyuto for general home kitchen use - with something 'unique' about them - eg: Damascus blade or a rustic look

Why is it being purchased? What, if anything, are you replacing? I have impulse control issues and I really, really want a *great* Japanese knife. I used to think Henckle's were excellent and spent $1000 on a Henckle's Twin Select (metal handled) knife set. This will replace my current Henckle's chef knife (and I guess technically, my 8 inch Shun Premier that I got rid of )

What do you like and dislike about these qualities of your knives already?
Aesthetics- Nice and unique looking
Edge Quality/Retention- It's okay - only have to sharpen once a year
Ease of Use- easy enough
Comfort- comfortable enough, don't use 'em for long

What grip do you use? I'm adaptable, but will be taking a chopping class from a shop that specializes in J-knives

Where do you store them? - Currently a knife block, open to suggestions - thinking of a bamboo covered magnet.

Have you ever oiled a handle? - If I need to, I will...

What kind of cutting board(s) do you use? Poly cutting boards, but will probably pick a nice larchwood cutting board up

For edge maintenance, do you use a strop, honing rod, pull through/other, or nothing? Honing rod currently for my henckles, stones for my knew j-knife after I take my class

Have they ever been sharpened? Yes

What is your budget? ~$700 give or take

What do you cook and how often? The knife will be used almost daily. Veggies and meats, no deboning, not much for sushi. General 'kitchen knife'

Special requests(Country of origin/type of wood/etc)? Japanese 'style' and unique.. EG: pitted blade, damascus, etc.

Really, I'm looking to be told what to buy, and from any of the big retailers or my local shop...
Thanks in advancefor any suggestions!

knyfeknerd
08-30-2012, 06:26 PM
Welcome Raven, you're in good hands here. For 700$ you can get a few great knives, or a great knife and a good sharpening setup.

JasonD
08-30-2012, 08:43 PM
Yeah $700 is plenty of money for 2-3 really excellent (but more common) knives, or 1-2 and a very good sharpening setup.

For something a little different, you could check out the Yoshikane kuro uchi damascus knives at JNS or maybe the Tanaka R2 ironwood knives. There's nothing wrong with Takeda, if that's what you're looking for (though I guess there were some reports of quality control issues. I know he has a much better reputation than Moritaka for QC). If "rustic" is your thing then you could also check out Murray Carter or Zakuri knives. There's also a Shig in the BST section that would be excellent, and is certainly pretty rare. Or the Butch Harner 240mm in the BST section. Also super rare and looks to be ground crazy thin.

There's tons of really cool stuff out there!

echerub
08-30-2012, 08:57 PM
So you'd like a wa-handled gyuto that looks distinctive, and edge retention is secondary. A few more questions....

- Do you know if you'd like to stick with stainless steel all the way through, or are you up for going carbon, or would stainless clad carbon be the best balance for you?
- Do you care if the distinctive looks are done by hand or does that not matter? (some damascus patterning is done by hand, some isn't)
- What kind of distinctive look appeals to you most - damascus patterning, hammered look, kurouchi blackened look, or funky wood for the handle?
- Do you specifically want a Japanese maker or is American also under consideration?

Cutty Sharp
08-30-2012, 09:11 PM
- Do you specifically want a Japanese maker or is American also under consideration?

Or a Canadian, Len!!

RavenFire
08-30-2012, 09:17 PM
JasonD
Yeah $700 is plenty of money for 2-3 really excellent (but more common) knives, or 1-2 and a very good sharpening setup.

For something a little different, you could check out the Yoshikane kuro uchi damascus knives at JNS or maybe the Tanaka R2 ironwood knives. There's nothing wrong with Takeda, if that's what you're looking for (though I guess there were some reports of quality control issues. I know he has a much better reputation than Moritaka for QC). If "rustic" is your thing then you could also check out Murray Carter or Zakuri knives. There's also a Shig in the BST section that would be excellent, and is certainly pretty rare. Or the Butch Harner 240mm in the BST section. Also super rare and looks to be ground crazy thin.

JasonD:
Thanks! I do quite like the look of the Yoshikane kuro uchi damascus, but haven't heard anyone really talk about it? It's been added to my list though.
I thought people tend to prefer the takeda over the tanaka? The Tanaka does look better to me though..

I'll check the BST section.. I tend to usually scare away from bst because I don't have the skills to determine if the knife has been abused or has any serious flaws, and hope that a new one wouldn't have that issue.
That being said, I should check it out...


So you'd like a wa-handled gyuto that looks distinctive, and edge retention is secondary. A few more questions....

- Do you know if you'd like to stick with stainless steel all the way through, or are you up for going carbon, or would stainless clad carbon be the best balance for you?
- Do you care if the distinctive looks are done by hand or does that not matter? (some damascus patterning is done by hand, some isn't)
- What kind of distinctive look appeals to you most - damascus patterning, hammered look, kurouchi blackened look, or funky wood for the handle?
- Do you specifically want a Japanese maker or is American also under consideration?

Echerub:
Heh, I'm pretty easy going.... distinctive looks can be done by hand, I'm good with any of the metals - as long as they're quality.
Handle wood is the least important.... I'm definitely more about the blade. I tend to like damascus patterning and a hammered look.
I'd take a kurouchi blackened look if it was an absolutely unbelievable knife. However, if there was damascus or hammered of near equal quality, I'd prefer the damascus/hammered....
American is fine as long as the style is Japanese...

Cutty Sharp
08-30-2012, 09:19 PM
Handle wood is the least important.... I'm definitely more about the blade. I tend to like damascus patterning and a hammered look.

Absolutely. Handles come and go, and people mess with them too much. It's all about the blade.


American is under consideration as long as the style is Japanese...

Okay, well, Carter is Canadian anyway

Hattorichop
08-30-2012, 09:47 PM
If you live in Calgary you should stop in at Knifewear and check out some of the Masakage products, you won't be disappointed. Handling and using different knifes will give you a better idea of what it is that you are looking for. I have a bunch of knives that the guys are recommending and they are all good options (Carter,Tanaka,Masakage and Takeda) but what it really comes down to is what feels the best to you.

If you like rustic you should check out the Masakage Kato San Koishi gyuto, I have the 240 and it is one of my favorites.

brainsausage
08-30-2012, 10:56 PM
I'll check the BST section.. I tend to usually scare away from bst because I don't have the skills to determine if the knife has been abused or has any serious flaws, and hope that a new one wouldn't have that issue.
That being said, I should check it out...

Hi Raven, welcome to the forum:D

I think you'll find that the B/S/T listings on this forum to be very informative in regards to overall condition and history of the knife. As well as the fact that there is wealth of knife aficionados here who know how to properly care for and sharpen a knife, which translates typically to a very well cared for knife. And you have the added bonus of having a solid line of communication with the seller. If I was you, I'd bide my time for a bit, watch the B/S/T for a bit, and I bet something will pop up that looks desirable. Jon at Japanese Knife Imports is excellent to work with as well, very knowledgable and won't try and sell you on something just for the sake of grabbing some cash.

Just my two cents. Good luck on your search!

Johnny.B.Good
08-30-2012, 11:32 PM
Welcome to the forum Raven.

Check out the knife and gear galleries: http://www.kitchenknifeforums.com/forumdisplay.php/72-Knife-amp-Gear-Galleries

I would advise you to take your time before deciding to spend too lavishly on your first great knife, as your likes/dislikes will probably evolve after a little time on the forum (mine certainly did).

mr drinky
08-31-2012, 12:16 AM
JasonD:
....I thought people tend to prefer the takeda over the tanaka? The Tanaka does look better to me though..



Just wondering since Tanaka was thrown out there as an option...are there a lot of Tanakas on the market since he died? Last time I checked, most vendors were sold out. Just saying.

Lastly, Pierre Rodrigue is one of the most reasonably priced custom makers (and Canadian). I'm not sure if that is an option, and you might have to use your other knives till the blade arrives many moons later ;)

k.

Crothcipt
08-31-2012, 12:30 AM
Just wondering since Tanaka was thrown out there as an option...are there a lot of Tanakas on the market since he died? Last time I checked, most vendors were sold out. Just saying.

Lastly, Pierre Rodrigue is one of the most reasonably priced custom makers (and Canadian). I'm not sure if that is an option, and you might have to use your other knives till the blade arrives many moons later ;)

k.
His son took over, and you can still find his low lvl stuff around. I haven't looked for any R2 since his death.

Johnny.B.Good
08-31-2012, 12:37 AM
...are there a lot of Tanakas on the market since he died? Last time I checked, most vendors were sold out. Just saying.

Looks like TBT still has the full line/s in stock.

mr drinky
08-31-2012, 12:56 AM
Looks like TBT still has the full line/s in stock.

Interesting.

k.

chinacats
08-31-2012, 03:34 AM
How about something like...

http://www.kitchenknifeforums.com/showthread.php/8081-HHH-Nose-to-Tail-Damascus-Guyto-unused

jaybett
08-31-2012, 05:15 AM
Welcome to the Forum.

There is a learning curve to using and sharpening Japanese knifes. Most of us learn from our mistakes. Higher end Japanese knives, can have harder steels. While this will improve edge retention, the edge will chip, with improper technique. There is no way to get around mistakes, when learning to sharpen. It is a lot easier to stomach the learning process with a knife that costs $100-$200, then $500.

Japanese Chef Knifes, JCK, has a series of entry level knives. The most popular is the CarboNext line. JCK has fast shipping at a low price. They know how to value knives to keep import fees to a minimum.

Jay

Josh
08-31-2012, 07:01 AM
Welcome RavenFire!
I'm with you on the impulsive bit. No Doubt.
I've got a couple of years under my belt now, and if I knew what I know now (and I had the same hopes as you) here's what I'd do... for what its worth anyway!

#1 - pick up the phone, call Devin Thomas and book a spot in line for a Damascus Gyuto. (and put aside some cash every month while you wait)
#2 - you're going to need to feed the habit while you wait. $700 is a lot to play with. I wish I started with Watanabe and Carter, not Tojiro DP and Hiromoto. My collection is much broader than this - but with $700.. that's where I'd start.
-Get Watanabe 240 Gyuto $400 from the maker
-Get a Carter Nakiri or (and) shortish funayuki $220-$400+

#3 - get to know your new knives.
#4 - get sharpening stuff after your class. practice on the cheapest one first.... when you get comfy, move up through your j-knives.
you may want to make sure you are stocked up on band-aids... if you're not used to scary sharp!

RavenFire
08-31-2012, 11:03 PM
If you live in Calgary you should stop in at Knifewear and check out some of the Masakage products, you won't be disappointed. Handling and using different knifes will give you a better idea of what it is that you are looking for. I have a bunch of knives that the guys are recommending and they are all good options (Carter,Tanaka,Masakage and Takeda) but what it really comes down to is what feels the best to you.
If you like rustic you should check out the Masakage Kato San Koishi gyuto, I have the 240 and it is one of my favorites.

Yeah, I was definitely going to check out knifewear (that's where my classes are, and you get 10% off with a class....)
What scared me, is I couldn't find Masakage Kato San Koishi anywhere other than knifewear - so I couldn't get any real reviews.... it did look great though!


Just wondering since Tanaka was thrown out there as an option...are there a lot of Tanakas on the market since he died? Last time I checked, most vendors were sold out. Just saying.

Lastly, Pierre Rodrigue is one of the most reasonably priced custom makers (and Canadian). I'm not sure if that is an option, and you might have to use your other knives till the blade arrives many moons later ;)

k.

I'll check with Pierre. Canadian would definitely be good - probably save me some import fees and taxes..... One problem with impulse, is you don't want to wait!!! :)


How about something like...

http://www.kitchenknifeforums.com/showthread.php/8081-HHH-Nose-to-Tail-Damascus-Guyto-unused

Oh my! That is gorgeous!!!!!! I'll have to research HHH and see how their steel is.. Because I do want to use it daily :D
How would it compare to a Devin Thomas or a Shigefusa damascus (which has caught my eye thanks to the B/S/T forum) knife?


Welcome to the Forum.

There is a learning curve to using and sharpening Japanese knifes. Most of us learn from our mistakes. Higher end Japanese knives, can have harder steels. While this will improve edge retention, the edge will chip, with improper technique. There is no way to get around mistakes, when learning to sharpen. It is a lot easier to stomach the learning process with a knife that costs $100-$200, then $500.

Japanese Chef Knifes, JCK, has a series of entry level knives. The most popular is the CarboNext line. JCK has fast shipping at a low price. They know how to value knives to keep import fees to a minimum.

Jay
Heh, I was thinking of practicing my sharpening on my Henckel's before I give them to my brother... Gets me 9 knifes to practice on :) Whatever knife I buy, I'll get a pro to sharpen for the first year while I cut my teeth on everything else sharp around my house.....


Welcome RavenFire!
I'm with you on the impulsive bit. No Doubt.
I've got a couple of years under my belt now, and if I knew what I know now (and I had the same hopes as you) here's what I'd do... for what its worth anyway!

#1 - pick up the phone, call Devin Thomas and book a spot in line for a Damascus Gyuto. (and put aside some cash every month while you wait)
#2 - you're going to need to feed the habit while you wait. $700 is a lot to play with. I wish I started with Watanabe and Carter, not Tojiro DP and Hiromoto. My collection is much broader than this - but with $700.. that's where I'd start.
-Get Watanabe 240 Gyuto $400 from the maker
-Get a Carter Nakiri or (and) shortish funayuki $220-$400+

#3 - get to know your new knives.
#4 - get sharpening stuff after your class. practice on the cheapest one first.... when you get comfy, move up through your j-knives.
you may want to make sure you are stocked up on band-aids... if you're not used to scary sharp!

Thanks - that's some good information.... I'll check the Watanabe.. His workshop looks interesting, and his prices are affordable.. Might be something to bolster my collection with...

Saccogoo
09-01-2012, 03:02 PM
I bought an 8 inch Shun Premier on a great deal... ($100) While determining if I should buy it, I got hooked on the look and feel...

Then I came on here and researched (whoops!)... Saw how lowly Shun was thought of, so it's on it's way back to the retailer...

Sorry to hear that. That's a really nice price on a nice knife that has superb fit and finish and really good looks. Probably should have kept that, then used the remaining $600 bills out of the $700 that you've stated that you have budgeted, picked up some stones or such and a couple of different profile blades such as a Nakiri, Petty/Paring, Sujihiki, etc.

The Shuns get the business around here because they got popular. It's not that high carbon, non-stainless knives are anything new, it's just that people who aren't in the industry are finally getting a taste of them due to the recent (last decade or so) introduction and subsequent popularity of knives like Global and Shun, which have provided somewhat traditional Japanese blade styles with modern steels such as VG-10 that provide a harder edge than what most people have previously experienced with traditional European steels. Stepping into harder, thinner steel is just a logical progression if that's the hobby you want to immerse yourself into.

However, harder and thinner steel isn't necessarily a better thing depending upon what skill level you are with your knife skills/food prep and could end up being money wasted if you don't have said skills. (Imagine driving a Camry for the past ten years, they someone giving you a Lamborghini Aventador. The car would be a complete waste in the hands of someone who didn't know how to utilize that power and drivability.)

(And not having skills/having skills in the kitchen isn't really dependant upon your ability to turn a carrot into dust with a knife. One of the best chefs I've ever known worked with a single, ancient 8" MAC chefs. That's it. Didn't ever use any other knife and his food was spectactular.)

That being said, if you want to spend $700 on a single blade, it's easy enough to do, as evidenced by the excellent suggestions in this thread.



Really, I'm looking to be told what to buy, and from any of the big retailers or my local shop...
Thanks in advancefor any suggestions!

Probably not the best way to purchase a knife, but the most of the people around here have a good understanding of knives, knife steel and what applications would be best for those things. You'll get some pretty decent advice from this joint.

A good knife is a lot like an acoustic guitar, in that you really don't know how it's going to feel and perform until you have it in your hands and work with it. Unless you are collecting it, I'd really try to get the knife under your fingers to see if it's really what you want, especially if you are dropping 700 bills on it. That's a lot of money to be tied up into a single knife to have it not feel good when you get it into the food.

(Back to lurking.)

cclin
09-01-2012, 03:28 PM
take this one"Devin Thomas 24 cm 52100 Wa-gyuto" http://www.kitchenknifeforums.com/showthread.php/8187-F-S-Devin-Thomas-24-cm-52100-Wa-gyuto

Johnny.B.Good
09-01-2012, 05:15 PM
(Back to lurking.)

Welcome to the forum!


take this one"Devin Thomas 24 cm 52100 Wa-gyuto" http://www.kitchenknifeforums.com/showthread.php/8187-F-S-Devin-Thomas-24-cm-52100-Wa-gyuto

This seems like a great idea to me...

slowtyper
09-01-2012, 05:41 PM
I've got a great condition 240 takeda kiritsuke (double beveled, so more like flat profile gyuto) if you are interested. I"m in Toronto so it would ship from Canada.