View Full Version : Buying a japanese knife; not sure about what style is best

10-12-2012, 06:31 PM
Right, I recently bought a really nice Mcusta Zanmai-pro knife, but little I knew, it was a right-hand edge, and a strong one at that - and I'm a lefty...
This wasn't in the description, and I only noticed after I already used the knife a couple of times, so I couldn't really send it back. However, I found a very good sharpening service that would 'see what they could do' to at least get the bevel back to 50/50.

Anyhow, now I'm looking for the next knife, it should be a Gyuto, size 21-ish cm. Considering that I'm from europe, I've narrowed it down to 'still to many options', but in my quest to narrow the choice down, some designs struck me a bit.
This has mainly to do with the handle, I'm aware of Western and Japanese-style handles, but some Japanese-style handles seem to have the knife-steel just inserted into the wood of the handle, with little or no finish. I am crazy to think that moisture, food-rests and godknowswhat can accumulate there? It is a bit hard to find good picture on each and every knife I've been looking at, but I mean something like this, click on the top picture and scroll to nr 5, or scroll down and click on the 4th picture: http://www.japanische-kochmesser.ch/11-101-lagige-Kochmesser/Asai-Masami-VG-10-Black:::108_559/Masami-Azai-VG-10-Black-Gyuto-210mm::2812.html

I realize that there are japanese style handles as well that have a a bit more steel between the edge and the handle, like this one (I like this one a lot, but it is quite pricy) http://www.japanische-kochmesser.ch/Messer-sortiert-nach-/Klingen-Form/Gyuto:::179_74_77/Takamura-Hana-Gyuto-210mm::945.html

Another question I have is regarding hammering - it makes, arguably, the knife look prettier (and aesthetics are an issue - I want the knife in the first place to cut well and handle good, but 'the eye also wants something', for sure if I buy something that I intend to use the rest of my life), and some say that it helps in releasing sticky tomato parts release from the blade, but there something more, like strength or whatever?

One of my first choices were the Kai Shun Tim Mälzer series, but I've read too many stories about lacking quality control (chipped blades, cracked handles, that sort of nonsense), and I really don't want to have to send stuff back across Europe, can't really be arsed. However, those series had some lovely hammering, I somehow liked it. On some knives it seems done randomly, on others there is a clear pattern - does this do anything or is it purely aesthetic?

Anyway, my last two choices are these two, I like them both...:



If someone can help regarding my (probably stupid) questions regarding handles or the hammering, or maybe even could say something sensible the options that I've posted, I'd be very grateful. Cheers!

10-12-2012, 07:10 PM
If you end up with a blade with a wa-handle (japanese handle) that is unfinished where the tang is inserted, it is very simple to seal it up with a bit of beeswax or resin.

A hammered finish can help with food not sticking, but in my experience the difference is minimal. Hammered patterns are nearly entirely aesthetic.

I would also recommend a website www.japanesechefsknife.com, even though not in Europe, they have $7 shipping worldwide.

Good luck!!

10-12-2012, 07:44 PM
As Dusty said, JCK is a great place for European buyers, the shipping is very cheap and very fast. Where in Europe are you based? Are you sure you want a 21cm or something a little larger? Perhaps have a look at JCK for a while and see if anything stands out. If you are heart set on the hammered look, the Inazuma (http://japanesechefsknife.com/SPECIALS.html) range about halfway down the page are great value

mr drinky
10-12-2012, 08:05 PM
I know JCK has a few brands with the tsuchime hammer pattern. The Gekko and Ryusen come to mind, but I am sure there are more. A couple of them are in the 'specials' section (http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/SPECIALS.html). Just in case you want to see other options.


10-12-2012, 09:17 PM
this is same knife which you like with much better price + $7 shipping. Its also my first Japanese knife, very sharp ootb, very good f/f but little bit heavy. over all is nice one if you wants VG-10 stainless knife.

10-14-2012, 06:53 PM
Cheers all, it is indeed possible to order from JCK, but first come 7$ shipping costs, then 21% VAT and ~30 euro custom charges. In the end, it is as expensive as ordering from the EU. I'm based in The Netherlands, btw.

I nearly pulled the trigger on a much more expensive (powdered-steel) knife but decided in the end for this one: http://www.mehr-als-werkzeug.de/product/719493/Tanganryu-Hocho-Gyuto-fish-and-meat-knife.htm

Here's a really good offer though, about 120 euros off a great knife, if I didn't have a 18cm knife already, I'd have bought this in a heartbeat!


10-14-2012, 08:57 PM
I know you already bought a knife from somewhere else but in future JCK might still be a possibility. In the UK the Customs charges are very high but Koki sorta finds a way round that if you get me

10-14-2012, 09:26 PM
I know you already bought a knife from somewhere else but in future JCK might still be a possibility. In the UK the Customs charges are very high but Koki sorta finds a way round that if you get me

I think Koki list the shipping item as "gift"; so, it won't be charge VAT/Customs charges !

10-15-2012, 07:29 AM
Koki also lists the value of the knife way lower than actual value so it doesn't get delayed in customs