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theorange
09-06-2012, 01:25 AM
Hello All,

So I'm a newcomer to the Japanese knife world, and I'm looking to get my very first Gyuto. I've had an 8 inch Zwilling chef's knife for a while, which I like, but I bought a Monzaburo 240mm Kiritsuke (yeah, I know), and now I'm pretty much hooked, so here goes:


What type of knife(s) do you think you want?

240 non-stainless gyuto

contenders:

Kumagoro V2 Kurouchi Hammer Finish (epicedge (http://www.epicedge.com/shopexd.asp?id=84321))
Watanabe AoKo (watanabe (http://www.watanabeblade.com/english/pro/gyuto240keyaki.jpg))
Monzaburo AoKo (aframes (http://yhst-27988581933240.stores.yahoo.net/monzaburo-wagyuto-aoko-240mm-blade-kn240.html))
Yoshikane V2 Tamamoku (aframes (http://yhst-27988581933240.stores.yahoo.net/yoshikane-wagyuto-240mm-tamamoku-pattern-blade-kn240.html))


Reviewing the list, it's really between the Kumagoro and the Watanabe. I've got a Monzaburo in the same steel, and I want to try something different, and the Yoshikane is a pretty thick knife.

Why is it being purchased? What, if anything, are you replacing?

Cause I NEED it :lol2:. I want a slightly longer knife to replace/complement my 8inch Zwilling Cronidur.

What do you like and dislike about these qualities of your knives already?
Aesthetics- prefer wa handles. don't really like damascus, but the tamamoku looks amazing
Edge Quality/Retention- no complaints, but I want to try out a harder knife
Ease of Use- AoKo has been easy enough to care for.
Comfort-

What grip do you use?

pinch

What kind of cutting motion do you use?

rock, slice

Where do you store them?

drawer holder or saya

Have you ever oiled a handle?

no

What kind of cutting board(s) do you use?

bamboo

For edge maintenance, do you use a strop, honing rod, pull through/other, or nothing?

rod

Have they ever been sharpened?

No, but I'm going to invest in a setup.

What is your budget?

$200 - $600

What do you cook and how often?

Mostly vegetarian stuff - lots of thai. some fish. I cook at home most days



Thanks, and great forum!

chinacats
09-06-2012, 02:32 AM
Welcome theorange! I'm sure you will find some folks here who can tell you more about your choices. Good luck!

edredlee
09-06-2012, 04:35 AM
Between the four, I'd choose watanabe. One thing to note is that watanabes are monsters (I have a 270) and are certainly not thinner than yoshis(also a 270 in skd). They are both fantastic cutters with very different geometry.

Mingooch
09-06-2012, 08:17 AM
Dont own a watanabe, but do own a Kumagoro. Was one of my first jknives. Still reach for it and enjoy using it. Have had it rehandled, looks nice, cuts well.

Messy Jesse
09-06-2012, 10:22 AM
Look into Masamoto KS and Mizuno Blue 2 from JCK. I've been very happy with both.

Taz575
09-06-2012, 01:10 PM
I picked up a 240mm Tanaka Sekiso Blue Steel Damascus gyuto a few weeks ago and have been loving it. Great Convex grind, very nice edge OOTB (it still sticks into my cutting board!) and the convexing really helps with less sticking/wedging. When cutting foods, you can actually see the blade pushing the material out of the way. Blade is almost 3mm wide at the spine, but it cuts better than my 1.9mm spine Kanetsune.

It's got a nice blue/purple/gold Patina going now:
http://i254.photobucket.com/albums/hh102/Taz575/T3-1.jpg

chinacats
09-06-2012, 01:22 PM
If you think you would like the V2 steel, you may want to consider the Kochi brand. Mine is a great cutter and very comfortable in hand...

Lefty
09-06-2012, 01:52 PM
Good call, Taz!
The Tanaka passaround gyuto really impressed me!

theorange
09-06-2012, 05:46 PM
Wow, thanks for all the great info! Funny you should mention Kochi, as this guy (http://www.japaneseknifeimports.com/kitchen-knives-by-type/gyuto/kochi-240mm-kurouchi-wa-gyuto.html#) has also caught my attention, and the price isn't nearly the leap it would be to the Watanabe. How concerned should I be about cleaning/maintaining a "reactive" Kurouchi blade? The finish doesn't look too rough, but I don't want something I'm going to have to scrub for five minutes every time I use it.

jackslimpson
09-06-2012, 05:59 PM
I'll add one detail: as much as I love my Yoshikane 240mm gyuto, I wish the blade were taller towards the heel. It's almost caught between being a gyuto and a sujihiki (this may be overstating the matter, but is illustrative). This may be true with the Kumagoroo as well, as they've always looked similar. Watanabe's always looked taller to me.

Good luck on your choice.

Cheers,

Jack

Cadillac J
09-06-2012, 07:00 PM
my Yoshikane 240mm gyuto [...] It's almost caught between being a gyuto and a sujihiki

See, and this is one of the reasons I love my 240 Yoshikane SKD gyuto!

keithsaltydog
09-07-2012, 12:33 AM
Dont own a watanabe, but do own a Kumagoro. Was one of my first jknives. Still reach for it and enjoy using it. Have had it rehandled, looks nice, cuts well.

I also have the Kumagoro 240,put a Steph.handle on it.It is a large 240 seems bigger,used it quite a bit at work holds an edge well.Not a Lazor,more of a beefy workhorse blade.They have gone up in price since I bought mine 4yrs. ago.To me it is a cool looking knife as well.

All your picks are good,whatever BS larger Gyuto you get,I think you will like the steel.

chinacats
09-07-2012, 12:54 AM
Wow, thanks for all the great info! Funny you should mention Kochi, as this guy (http://www.japaneseknifeimports.com/kitchen-knives-by-type/gyuto/kochi-240mm-kurouchi-wa-gyuto.html#) has also caught my attention, and the price isn't nearly the leap it would be to the Watanabe. How concerned should I be about cleaning/maintaining a "reactive" Kurouchi blade? The finish doesn't look too rough, but I don't want something I'm going to have to scrub for five minutes every time I use it.

The kurouchi finish actually helps to make that part of the blade less reactive...meaning the only real patina taking place is below this--the area where the cladding meats the core steel. The finish on mine is relatively smooth with just enough material there to help reduce stiction. I find the V2 not be extremely reactive, no smell though it does produce good color. It requires no more or less maintenance than any of my other carbon knives--actually the same care I would give a stainless knife.

Good luck!

Pensacola Tiger
09-07-2012, 01:07 AM
What makes you think the Yoshikane tamamoku is thick? It's no willowy laser but it is not in any sense a thick knife. It compares very favorably to a Shigefusa.

Rick

theorange
09-07-2012, 07:12 PM
After looking at around at everyone's suggestions (JCK took a while, since I hadn't been there before), and watching Jon's video about the Kochi knives, I think I'm fairly convinced about a Kochi. Unfortunately, he's out of stock, so I'm going to have to wait, and maybe work on a sharpening setup.



What makes you think the Yoshikane tamamoku is thick? It's no willowy laser but it is not in any sense a thick knife. It compares very favorably to a Shigefusa.

Rick

If I recall, it's right around 5mm at the handle and ~4mm at the heel. Honestly, I was just surprised by this profile, and I thought a typical number was ~3mm without so much beefing up at the back.

Pensacola Tiger
09-07-2012, 07:49 PM
If I recall, it's right around 5mm at the handle and ~4mm at the heel. Honestly, I was just surprised by this profile, and I thought a typical number was ~3mm without so much beefing up at the back.

It's a forged knife, and the thickness at the handle is meaningless - it's an artifact of the process of making the knife. It has no effect on the geometry of the knife. Neither is the thickness of the spine by itself a good indicator of how a knife will perform. Of much more importance is the grind - is there a distal taper, how thin is the knife behind the edge, is the blade flat ground or convexed? I once had a custom chef's knife that was, for all intents and purposes, a flat plate of steel with no perceptible grind at all. It had a sub 3mm spine, so by your criteria, it should have performed well, but it was one of the worst performing knives I've had the misfortune to use.

Unfortunately, it is difficult to measure these things but easy to measure spine thickness, so spine thickness has become an easy way to compare knives, although not a very useful one, in my experience. The same thing happened with Rockwell hardness where it was widely held that the higher the HRc the better, but thankfully that has lost its popularity.

The worst part of all of this is that there is really no good way to evaluate a knife other than through someone else's opinion or by actually using the knife. My suggestion is to get to the point where you can participate in some of the passarounds that are offered at KKF so you can use a knife for a week and evaluate it. If you don't mind some additional expense, buy a knife, and if it doesn't meet your criteria, sell it on B/S/T - you will lose about 20% of what the knife cost new, but, as someone once remarked, you can look at that as the cost to "rent" the knife.

Rick

mhlee
09-07-2012, 08:00 PM
It's a forged knife, and the thickness at the handle is meaningless - it's an artifact of the process of making the knife. It has no effect on the geometry of the knife. Neither is the thickness of the spine by itself a good indicator of how a knife will perform. Of much more importance is the grind - is there a distal taper, how thin is the knife behind the edge, is the blade flat ground or convexed? I once had a custom chef's knife that was, for all intents and purposes, a flat plate of steel with no perceptible grind at all. It had a sub 3mm spine, so by your criteria, it should have performed well, but it was one of the worst performing knives I've had the misfortune to use.

Unfortunately, it is difficult to measure these things but easy to measure spine thickness, so spine thickness has become an easy way to compare knives, although not a very useful one, in my experience. The same thing happened with Rockwell hardness where it was widely held that the higher the HRc the better, but thankfully that has lost its popularity.

The worst part of all of this is that there is really no good way to evaluate a knife other than through someone else's opinion or by actually using the knife. My suggestion is to get to the point where you can participate in some of the passarounds that are offered at KKF so you can use a knife for a week and evaluate it. If you don't mind some additional expense, buy a knife, and if it doesn't meet your criteria, sell it on B/S/T - you will lose about 20% of what the knife cost new, but, as someone once remarked, you can look at that as the cost to "rent" the knife.

Rick

+1 to everything written. Seriously.

If there were a Hall of Fame of posts, this would belong in it.

theorange
09-07-2012, 10:00 PM
Some helpful info for sure. I wasn't trying to give the impression that I didn't think it would perform well. I can trust that custom makers with generations of experience know better than a rank newcomer such as myself what comprises a superior knife. Still, it strikes me as a curious shape, and I would love to get my hands on a knife like the Yoshikane so I can get a feel for it. That said, I don't know that I feel confident enough yet to buy something like this without holding it, particularly since it's quite a price jump.

Andrew H
09-08-2012, 11:15 AM
Some helpful info for sure. I wasn't trying to give the impression that I didn't think it would perform well. I can trust that custom makers with generations of experience know better than a rank newcomer such as myself what comprises a superior knife. Still, it strikes me as a curious shape, and I would love to get my hands on a knife like the Yoshikane so I can get a feel for it. That said, I don't know that I feel confident enough yet to buy something like this without holding it, particularly since it's quite a price jump.

I'd just get a yoshikane from Maksim. http://www.japanesenaturalstones.com/Zensho-Yoshikane-SKD-Kasumi-Gyuto-240-mm-p/613.htm

theorange
09-16-2012, 06:57 PM
Just got chinacats' Kochi!

bieniek
09-16-2012, 08:54 PM
It's a forged knife, and the thickness at the handle is meaningless - it's an artifact of the process of making the knife. It has no effect on the geometry of the knife. Neither is the thickness of the spine by itself a good indicator of how a knife will perform. Of much more importance is the grind - is there a distal taper, how thin is the knife behind the edge, is the blade flat ground or convexed? I once had a custom chef's knife that was, for all intents and purposes, a flat plate of steel with no perceptible grind at all. It had a sub 3mm spine, so by your criteria, it should have performed well, but it was one of the worst performing knives I've had the misfortune to use.

Unfortunately, it is difficult to measure these things but easy to measure spine thickness, so spine thickness has become an easy way to compare knives, although not a very useful one, in my experience. The same thing happened with Rockwell hardness where it was widely held that the higher the HRc the better, but thankfully that has lost its popularity.

The worst part of all of this is that there is really no good way to evaluate a knife other than through someone else's opinion or by actually using the knife. My suggestion is to get to the point where you can participate in some of the passarounds that are offered at KKF so you can use a knife for a week and evaluate it. If you don't mind some additional expense, buy a knife, and if it doesn't meet your criteria, sell it on B/S/T - you will lose about 20% of what the knife cost new, but, as someone once remarked, you can look at that as the cost to "rent" the knife.

Rick

How truthful is that? Amazing thanks

From myself I could just add that even though you could buy a knife thinner from a custom maker it is very possible it will perform the actual cutting worse than thicker [theoreticaly] japanese knife

Pensacola Tiger
09-16-2012, 08:56 PM
Just got chinacats' Kochi!

Congratulations, you will enjoy that knife.

Rick

chinacats
09-17-2012, 10:14 AM
On the way, hope you enjoy!

Cheers

Lefty
09-17-2012, 03:00 PM
Very cool! I love seeing the community at work!