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Lefty
04-29-2011, 09:24 AM
All of this talk about a certain knife and recent "hot knives", has me wondering - on a gyuto, do you prefer a Wa or Yo handle?
I, so far only own Yo handled gyutos, but I do have a Wa handled 'pettysuki' on the way.
What do you guys prefer and WHY?

oivind_dahle
04-29-2011, 09:34 AM
Like Chad Ward I grab my wa when I feel sporty.
Anyway: You gotta have both, but yo is often more expensive and popular than wa :)

I use yo 70% and wa 30%

Forlan
04-29-2011, 09:41 AM
The only handle that you should use , Is that which suits you the best. As far as the qus about me. I love using yo handles.

echerub
04-29-2011, 10:06 AM
I'm a wa handle fan. They look better and feel better to me. However, I'll go with yo handle for anything that I might handle with grimy hands - like my garasuki, for example.

cnochef
04-29-2011, 10:14 AM
Personally, because I have sm-med hands, I prefer yo handles overall and especially on larger knives. I find the wa handles on larger knives too long and unwieldy for my taste. I don't mind wa handles at all on smaller knives like petty and honesuki though.

NO ChoP!
04-29-2011, 10:22 AM
Wa for finesse. Yo for duty work. But honestly, I dont actually hold on to much of the handle, so it could probably be a duck taped tang and it'd be fine.LOL

so_sleepy
04-29-2011, 11:01 AM
I prefer yo handles or westernized-wa style knives. I.e Kramer and Shun. I don't like wa handles where the tang is an extension of the spine.

Michael Rader
04-29-2011, 11:16 AM
Great thread. I've been wondering about this for a while. I've exclusively made western style handles and want to start crafting the Japanese-styled blades and handles. So, I know what a wa handle looks like, but, forgive my ignorance, what is a yo handle? Is this the oval or egg-shaped one as opposed to the octagon wa handle shape?
-M

mattrud
04-29-2011, 11:17 AM
I use both, I do not have a preference, but having been purchasing more wa handle knives recently, but like both.

Lefty
04-29-2011, 11:25 AM
I'm actually really surprised at the number who prefer Yo (western) handles.
In theory, they are more ergonomical, but we don't grip the knife like a hammer...
I wonder why so many are drawn to the Wa handled konosukes, suisins, etc.
It must be the looks....

mhlee
04-29-2011, 11:31 AM
From what I've observed, a "yo" handle is a generic term for a western handle. That's all.

Lefty
04-29-2011, 11:46 AM
So, which do you prefer mhlee?

WildBoar
04-29-2011, 12:06 PM
I like both, but as mentioned above it does not matter much if you do not fully grip the handle. Since I only had western-handled knives until last year, I've been picking up some wa- and hybrid-handled knives. I really like the wa on my ITK 240 gyuto and Pierre 300 suji, and the western on the DM-rehandled 240 Hiro gyuto. From the knives I have handled so far, the wa handles are less likely to be too bulky/ blocky then the western handles used on lower cost j-knives.

At this very moment, I prefer wa for bigger/ longer knives, and western or hybrid on smaller (paring) knives.

Jim
04-29-2011, 12:30 PM
As a unrepentant pinch gripper the only handle I hold "as designed" is my slicer, other than that, wa me.

ecchef
04-29-2011, 12:42 PM
At this very moment, I prefer wa for bigger/ longer knives, and western or hybrid on smaller (paring) knives.

Interesting. I generally prefer that as well. One thing I can't get used to is wa handle on big debas. Just doesn't feel secure enough.

SpikeC
04-29-2011, 01:03 PM
My Takeda was my first Wa handle, and I like it a lot, not for the look, butt for the feel. I have fairly large hands and the Wa handle feels more agile to me. I have no problem with Yo(mama?), just really like the Wa(wa).

Cadillac J
04-29-2011, 01:58 PM
I prefer and like wa handles more(octagonal to be exact), but a western handle is just fine for most knives.

Even though I don't pinch grip, so my fingers are on the handle most of the time, the handle type really isn't THAT important to me. I think wa handles lend better to gentle grips because of how they feel/fill in the hand.

UglyJoe
04-29-2011, 02:04 PM
I will only buy wa handled knives from now on. One of the biggest deals to me is that they are light and there isn't as much steel in the handle, so the balance point of the knife is usually more forward, something I much prefer in a knife, particularly a longer knife.

Pensacola Tiger
04-29-2011, 02:21 PM
Great thread. I've been wondering about this for a while. I've exclusively made western style handles and want to start crafting the Japanese-styled blades and handles. So, I know what a wa handle looks like, but, forgive my ignorance, what is a yo handle? Is this the oval or egg-shaped one as opposed to the octagon wa handle shape?
-M

Half your question was left unanswered.

The oval or egg-shaped cross-section handles are commonly called "D-" handles. They've sort of fallen out of favor with us knifenuts since they aren't ambidextrous, although my left-handed wife doesn't complain (much) when she has to use a D-handle made for a right-hander. My opinion is that a D-handle is more comfortable than an octagon.

I can't wait to see what your wa-handles look like.

Rick

festally
04-29-2011, 03:25 PM
Depends on the type of knife / grip. With heavy cleavers, boning knives, I use a hammer grip and prefer a yo-handle. It feels more secure (less likely to slip or twist) and easier to clean. With light grip type knives, Iím not holding the handle, so it doesnít matter as much. I do like the look of a wa-handle and their ability to magically deter my in-laws (aka the knife killers) from using them.:happy1:

Michael Rader
04-29-2011, 03:27 PM
Thanks guys. Now I need to start learning Japanese... Okay, I can learn a few words and terms, shouldn't be too difficult. And, Rick, I'll be sure to post some pics this Summer. I have some gyutos with wa handles coming up...
-M

mhlee
04-29-2011, 03:53 PM
So, which do you prefer mhlee?

I generally prefer western handles for gyutos, fillet/boning knives, and wa handle knives for slicers (although the only true "slicer" I have is a yanagiba). For a cleaver, I feel that I would prefer a wa handle versus a western handle - I use a Dexter Carbon Steel Chinese Cleaver at home and would like a cleaver with a better, but similar handle.

But, the type of western matters A LOT. I have a 240 Hiromoto AS from Dave from the second group buy, and I LOVE that handle. I have a 240 Western Gyuto from Devin Thomas, and, while I like that blade more, I like the handle less than Dave's.

JohnnyChance
04-29-2011, 04:21 PM
I prefer a good octagonal Wa handle in appearance, comfort and ergonomics. I like how on an octagonal handle has big flat sides everywhere, so whatever angle I am cutting at, I can put my thumb on a nice flat surface. Like if I am slicing something horizontally, parallel with my cutting board, I like putting my thumb on the side of the handle that is now facing upwards.

The key in that statement is "good". Cheap octagonal handles are terrible. While cheap western handles may be boring in appearance, they are usually still perfectly functional and somewhat comfortable. Cheap octagonal handles especially can be very very bad, misaligned with the blade and uncomfortable to use.

I have several very nice westerns and they are just fine, just prefer wa.

mpukas
04-29-2011, 04:29 PM
In general I prefer western handles. But more important to me is how the handle is in the overall knife. I think the handle has to have to right balance of size and weight to match the blade. On laser gyuto's a wa "D" handle is just perfect. On my 12" Wusthof chef's the western handle is a tad on the small side for such a big heavy blade. On the Hattori FH 270 gyuto, the slimness and elegance combined with the tapered full tang perfrectly matches nd balances the blade.

I thought I would prefer octagonal wa handles to "D" handles, but I actual like "D" handles better.

One thing I don't like about wa handles on a gyuto vs a yo handle on a gyuto (at the least small number I've used) is that the distance from the end of the handle to the choil is longer, resulting in a shorter blade length. The yo handle gyuto's I have compared to the wa handles gyuto's are the same length overall, but have a longer blade length.

Michael Rader
04-29-2011, 05:37 PM
This is good. While we're talking about handles, how do you guys like the "pinch-grip" on western style handles with bolsters or integral bolsters? More comfortable than the stick-on wa handles, or not?

**** shameless pic alert *******

http://www.fototime.com/CA7AFB8A7378921/standard.jpg

(My newer ones are a bit more rounded on the corners) It just seems like the rounded transition into the handle here would be more comfortable than the abrupt edge of the wa handle. The one knife I have with a wa handle isn't terribly uncomfortable, but I only use it a few minutes here and there, not for hours.
-M

RRLOVER
04-29-2011, 05:44 PM
I love a Wa handle.I like my knives blade heavy and a Wa will help with that.

WildBoar
04-29-2011, 05:46 PM
Michael, that handle looks very uncomfortable! Please, before you hurt somebody, send that knife to me so I can take care of it! :jumpy:

But to answer your question, when I grip the wa gyuto or suji I have, my index finger drapes over the 'abrupt end' of the handle. It is perfectly comfortable. But as some others have mentioned as well, my grip on a wa handle is probably lighter then the grip I use on a western handle.

Western vs wa does not really affect the comfort of my index finger, thumb, etc. But too thick or way too thin does affect it (I have an old western that is too thin, and one that is too thick).

Lefty
04-29-2011, 05:53 PM
I love a Wa handle.I like my knives blade heavy and a Wa will help with that.

The answer is a balsa wood western handle ;)

mhlee
04-29-2011, 05:56 PM
This is good. While we're talking about handles, how do you guys like the "pinch-grip" on western style handles with bolsters or integral bolsters? More comfortable than the stick-on wa handles, or not?

**** shameless pic alert *******

http://www.fototime.com/CA7AFB8A7378921/standard.jpg

(My newer ones are a bit more rounded on the corners) It just seems like the rounded transition into the handle here would be more comfortable than the abrupt edge of the wa handle. The one knife I have with a wa handle isn't terribly uncomfortable, but I only use it a few minutes here and there, not for hours.
-M

I agree with you Michael. That's why I prefer western handles. I use a pinch grip for gyutos.:thumbsup:

apicius9
04-29-2011, 06:27 PM
I use a pinch grip on most knives and by now feel pretty comfortable with bot types. But for heavier gyutos or my 240 Western deba, I could not imagine a wa handle. On my 270 Watanabe I stuck what is almost a hybrid handle, and that is one of my favorites.

Stefan

JohnnyChance
04-29-2011, 06:58 PM
This is good. While we're talking about handles, how do you guys like the "pinch-grip" on western style handles with bolsters or integral bolsters? More comfortable than the stick-on wa handles, or not?

**** shameless pic alert *******

http://www.fototime.com/CA7AFB8A7378921/standard.jpg

(My newer ones are a bit more rounded on the corners) It just seems like the rounded transition into the handle here would be more comfortable than the abrupt edge of the wa handle. The one knife I have with a wa handle isn't terribly uncomfortable, but I only use it a few minutes here and there, not for hours.
-M

You do slightly different or modified grips with different styles. I almost exclusively pinch grip with westerns, with wa handles I sometimes grip the handle entirely as opposed to gripping part of the blade. Kinda like a grip you would use on traditional single bevel knives with the fore finger along the spine. The flat sides give me extra control compared to most western handles. I love the shape of your westerns and am looking forward to trying one. I like the big flat spot you have near the bolster on the side of the handle, where some westerns are more rounded. Would let me put my thumb there when making horizontal slices.

I think that having a fully rounded spine and choil is more important on a wa handle. While always nice, they really help make a wa handle extra comfy. My DT ITK is my most comfortable knife to use. The spine and choil are fully rounded, not just "eased", the handle is the perfect size, the corners are rounded just enough, and the finish smooth but not slippery. Apparently, this Devin guy really seems to know what he is doing.

Michael Rader
04-29-2011, 08:05 PM
Thank you, Wild Boar, I just hate having that thing lying around... Here, let me grind it down... okay, got it... and dip it in rubber... all right and now, we've got a handle that is comfortable and absolutely everyone will love :-)

It is really quite interesting how there is no perfect handle, for every person, for every knife, for every purpose. It's a good thing and one that will keep us makers on our toes. I like it.
-M

Vertigo
04-29-2011, 08:25 PM
Aesthetically I prefer a western handle, though functionally it doesn't really matter to me. I use the blade to cut, not the handle, and I hold the knife accordingly.

Lefty
04-29-2011, 08:33 PM
I hear ya vertigo...
How's the Misono treating you these days? I'm still loving mine. (great handle on it, by the way).

Vertigo
04-29-2011, 09:23 PM
I hear ya vertigo...
How's the Misono treating you these days? I'm still loving mine. (great handle on it, by the way).
All day, every day at work and still going strong.

http://www.souppilgrim.com/orglif/masanew.jpg

The lighting doesn't do the patina justice. It's damn near black at the right angles.

Lefty
04-30-2011, 12:50 AM
I've found that with mine, as well. It photographs MUCH lighter!
It's a beautiful knife. So far, it's my favourite, bar none!
My pic looks almost patinaless!
http://i1209.photobucket.com/albums/cc399/Lefty-T/f02a1a35.jpg

Andrew H
04-30-2011, 06:56 AM
Lefty, looks like you have an excuse for a bigger board to me :thumbsup:

oivind_dahle
04-30-2011, 08:24 AM
What could be coool, was to wote for who makes the hottest yo and wa handles :)

Andrew H
04-30-2011, 08:32 AM
What could be coool, was to wote for who makes the hottest yo and wa handles :)
Who will win? Stefan or Marko? The showdown of the century.

mhenry
04-30-2011, 09:38 AM
Lefty, That board is awesome!!!

Lefty
04-30-2011, 11:15 AM
Thanks Michael! I love this board!
It's actually my new one and it's as big as I can handle, Andrew! Haha. My favorite size is 18"x12", and that's what you see here!
Thanks for trying to help a brutha out! :D

Customfan
04-30-2011, 05:13 PM
Both types of handles.. Wa mostly for detailed work and Yo for prep as well as faster chopping. Depends on the knife, I find myself using Wa for Sushi Maki's and sashimi exclusively.

That board rocks!! :ovg:

FryBoy
04-30-2011, 08:27 PM
All my current knives have Western or Yo handles. My first good knives 40 years ago were Wusthofs, and when I finally graduated to Japanese knives I found the Western handles to be familiar. A few years ago I bought some Wa-handled knives but eventually sold them. They weren't terribly expensive, but I just never adapted to them (old dog, new trick, I guess). Worse, I had problems with them -- one handle came off and had to be reattached, one developed rust as it wasn't well sealed, and I didn't particularly like the feel of the unfinished wood, which tended to get rather grungy. I find that Western handles are not only more comfortable, they're far better attached to the blade, generally more durable, and the balance is more to my liking (I prefer the light feel of a knife that's balanced at the choil rather than blade heavy as to me that makes it seem more nimble). Lastly, I really don't understand the assertion that Wa-handled knives are better for detailed or fine work, but then maybe I'm just a bit too crude for that. Just my opinion, of course, and I hold no ill will toward the Wa crowd.

Salty dog
04-30-2011, 08:31 PM
Wa......!

Marko Tsourkan
04-30-2011, 09:30 PM
It depends on your cutting preferences.

For a pinch grip - Wa especially if your knife is blade-heavy. For a more conventional grip when you don't extend your grip past the bolster (even if you put your index finger on the spine) - Western handle. I like both, but I think wa handle is more appropriate for single-beveled knives - for both look and functionality. In my opinion, octagonal Wa or D handle gives you a better control, particularly on a straight down cuts with a single-beveled knives.

M

shankster
04-30-2011, 09:48 PM
I will only buy wa handled knives from now on. One of the biggest deals to me is that they are light and there isn't as much steel in the handle, so the balance point of the knife is usually more forward, something I much prefer in a knife, particularly a longer knife.

+1. I really like D shaped handles.Very comfortable.

Eamon Burke
04-30-2011, 10:31 PM
I prefer western handles. They look good to me, and I don't much care for how the handle feels--if I start noticing the handle when I'm using it, I realize that it's time to sharpen the edge.

mr drinky
04-30-2011, 11:20 PM
When I used a PC I liked Yo handles, but now that I use a Mac I like Wa handles. Just kidding.

I am tending toward Wa handles these days, but it may be a phase. I like the D-shaped handles and I am still fond of the shun classic handles.

K.

oivind_dahle
05-01-2011, 04:02 AM
I hate D handles!
For me the only wa is octagon handles. I love Markos well made octagons, and his unique design. Simple but elegant and out of this world. I believe he outclass the octagons of Devin and even the octagons of konosuke and other japanese makers. What makes Markos wa so elegant is that he also makes matching saya. Im really looking forward to what Marko makes next.

Ive never tried semi octagons like Konosuke HD, so I cant tell if I like em or not. However oval wa sucks!

For the western handles Im truly impressed by

Rader
Burke
Dave

Actually Im so impressed by Rader handles that he hit my "list to buy"!

Salty dog
05-01-2011, 06:01 AM
Wa......!

And a D guy.

stereo.pete
05-01-2011, 07:35 PM
My first foray into Japanese knives was with the western style handle but recently after using a gyuto with a Stefan handle and my Konosuke Petty I have fallen head over heals for wa-handles.

RRLOVER
05-01-2011, 08:49 PM
Kramers wa/meiji handle is my favorite,I really need to learn how to make one.

Marko Tsourkan
05-01-2011, 09:02 PM
Kramers wa/meiji handle is my favorite,I really need to learn how to make one.

Watch the video.

RRLOVER
05-01-2011, 09:14 PM
Watch the video.

I did,but that won't make it any easier:smile1:

NO ChoP!
05-01-2011, 09:54 PM
Being a lefty, I'm not a "D" fan. I had one, that was right hand biased, and I sanded it down to an oval...
I like the octagons, because you have a good grip on the knife, no matter how you may be manipulating the blade.
I find the HD semi-octagon to be very comfortable.... its kinda like a dual sided "D" handle....

Marko Tsourkan
05-01-2011, 09:59 PM
I did,but that won't make it any easier:smile1:

You have an idea how it is made, the rest is practice. I might make a similar to meiji for 150mm Shige petty, once I am done with the batch of handles I am working on. I think I will make it smaller (proportionally) than Bob's. The handle on Kramer's 8.5 gyuto is massive. Mario, have some nice mosaic pin?

M

RRLOVER
05-01-2011, 10:03 PM
I only have the mosaic pins that I made ATM.

Pensacola Tiger
05-01-2011, 10:41 PM
You have an idea how it is made, the rest is practice. I might make a similar to meiji for 150mm Shige petty, once I am done with the batch of handles I am working on. I think I will make it smaller (proportionally) than Bob's. The handle on Kramer's 8.5 gyuto is massive. Mario, have some nice mosaic pin?

M

Marko, once you get your technique developed, I have a couple of knives I'd love to have you make meiji style handles for.

Marko Tsourkan
05-01-2011, 11:36 PM
Marko, once you get your technique developed, I have a couple of knives I'd love to have you make meiji style handles for.

I won't copy it 1:1, but will borrow some of the elements of meiji (which in turn were borrowed from D shape Japanese handle). Can't reinvent a wheel.

M

so_sleepy
05-01-2011, 11:51 PM
The handle on Kramer's 8.5 gyuto is massive.

M

Marko, what are the dimensions of that handle? The handle on my 10" Kramer Meji is a little tall at the ferrule but does not strike me as over-sized. I wonder if he makes his handles proportional, or perhaps has fixed sizes that aren't ideal for some blades.

Marko Tsourkan
05-02-2011, 01:29 AM
Marko, what are the dimensions of that handle? The handle on my 10" Kramer Meji is a little tall at the ferrule but does not strike me as over-sized. I wonder if he makes his handles proportional, or perhaps has fixed sizes that aren't ideal for some blades.

I haven't taken measurements of the handle, but I am pretty sure it's similar size to yours. Massive might be a slight exaggeration, but the handle is bigger than the biggest wa handle I have (came with 270mm Shigefusa gyuto).
From the brief time I used the knife, the handle felt comfortable to hold, though I don't know how it would fair after hours of cutting. I generally prefer knives with not very tall machi and a bit smaller handle.

M