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View Full Version : comparitive analysis of three top name makers



kmr54
12-07-2012, 04:10 PM
I have a rather robust stable of knives including Masamoto, Carter, Hattori, Konosuke, and others. Lately I have been looking into Watanabe, Shigesfusa, and the Kato. I have no experience with these mighty knives, yet I have read at length the types of reviews found on this and other forums. What i am interested in, is a view from a broad spectrum of users (with real experience) of these knives, focusing on strengths and weaknesses and also any intangibles that come with craftsmanship embodied in these knives.

Thanks in advance.

Ken

mainaman
12-07-2012, 04:14 PM
For me:
Kato all in for me, you may not like the weight, I have no problem. This one has the best HT I have seen in a knife. Very long lastong edge froma home cook perspective
Shige second choice, if I was to get one it would not be the thin version
Watanabe- can't comment

tk59
12-07-2012, 05:05 PM
I have not tried something from the Kato line. I've tried several Shigefusas. I wouldn't call any of them incredible cutters although they are nice and the edge they take is great. I've tried a lower end Watanabe that was a very nice cutter although the grind was a bit more uneven than I would have expected. It was also a smallish knife (165-180?) so my perception of the cutting ability might be skewed.

Von blewitt
12-07-2012, 05:34 PM
I've tried 3 Katos, first was a 270 gyuto (currently in a pass around) which was an awesome cutter, but I found the tip a bit fat for my use, second is a 270 suji which I really like, It has a super nice taper, no flex again great cutter! And a 240 gyuto custom ( thinner tip + more height at the heel) and it is the best performing gyuto I have tried! Fit and finish is good but not as good as shigefusa ( custom had the best fit and Finnish by far)
I have tried 4 shig gyutos 2 240 wa's both were thinner than standard both a good cutters but not like the Katos. Both were purchased 2nd hand but f&f was still very good! And the 2 western shig gyutos I have ( both standard 240/210) are my favorite knives! Although not as good cutters as the Katos, they it me perfectly I love the balance, and although I wouldn't call the wa gyutos whippy the westerns feel super stiff and stable a + for me!
I've also have a carter high grade, and if I was going to rate pure cutting ability 1. Kato 2. Carter 3. Shigefusa
But personal preference 1.shigefusa 2. Kato 3. Carter

I have not tried a watanabe either so can't comment. If you would like any other direct comparisons let me know

kmr54
12-07-2012, 05:58 PM
Awesome feedback so far - exactly what i was hoping to get. Please keep them coming.

stevenStefano
12-07-2012, 06:10 PM
Had a Watanabe for a while and found it to be interesting. Might be the best cutting knife I ever owned, took a crazy edge but it was a little heavy for me. I think if I got a 270 I'd love it and I still ponder getting one.

AFKitchenknivesguy
12-07-2012, 06:24 PM
It's been awhile since i've been in the market. What the heck is "the Kato"?

Von blewitt
12-07-2012, 06:37 PM
Yoshiaki fujiwara by kiyoshi kato available from Maksim at Japanese natural stones. there are some in depth reviews on here if you search the forum.

Josh
12-07-2012, 08:02 PM
Wantanabe is my go to J-knife knife - it's tall, beefy, yet thin behind the edge and well ground. The shape, balance point, fit and finish make it in my mind the best go to J-knife for my home cooking.... I have many others, and A-knives (Devin, HHH, Pierre, and many more great names) weren't in your list - you may want to consider them.

Sigefusa - I like the shape, but it's not as tall as I like it. Don't get me wrong... It's a good knife - however - I prefer the less expensive, and more available Wantanabe.

can't comment on the Kato

Lucretia
12-08-2012, 12:15 AM
Haven't tried Watanabe and Kato, but I have 3 Shigefusas: a Western gyuto, an ajikiri, and a KU santoku. If I had to sell some knives tomorrow, the santoku and ajikiri would be on the short list to go. The santoku has great balance, but the F&F was a little disappointing compared to my other Shiges and I'm not sure that I like a KU knife--feels a bit like fingernails on a blackboard as it goes through the food. If it had been my first Shigefusa, I might not have gotten a second. The ajikiri is a nice little knife, just not used as much as some others. Great F&F, great balance once I watched one of Jon's videos and figured out how to hold it correctly. Then we get to the Western gyuto. I love this knife. It fits my hand, is wonderfully balanced, and is a cutting fool. Cutting potatoes with this knife feels as good as mixing up cornstarch and water with your bare fingers. The only negative thing about it is that it is as badly reactive as its reputation would suggest--the absolute worst knife I have for reactivity. So based on my VERY limited experience, there's variation within a maker's knives, as well as variation between makers.

cclin
12-08-2012, 01:42 AM
I have 3 shigefusa, 2 Watanabe & 1 Carter. shigefusa have best F/F & cutting performance, shig kitaeji has little better edge retention than shig kasumi. however, shig kasumi is less food reactive than shig kitaeji. Watanabe is hefty and good cutting knife, F/F feel little rough. I also have a carter high grade; however, in my opinion, F/F is sub-par , for $500+ custom knife should have much better F/F! if I was going to rate by my personal preference #1 shigefusa #2 Watanabe #3 Carter.....can't comment on the Kato.

Cutty Sharp
12-08-2012, 04:41 AM
... Just go to show you - can't ever find a 'perfect' knife I guess. But near perfect is what we want.

Anyways, I'm also interested in a Kato. It's available through JNS, but has anyone encountered other sources?

mainaman
12-08-2012, 08:42 AM
... Just go to show you - can't ever find a 'perfect' knife I guess. But near perfect is what we want.

Anyways, I'm also interested in a Kato. It's available through JNS, but has anyone encountered other sources?
no other sources outside of Japan AFAIK.

maxim
12-08-2012, 09:02 AM
There is 2 sources in Japan one that Von blewitt showed he have only Nakiris thought out of blue steel
http://www.kitchenknifeforums.com/showthread.php/9537-Kato-from-Rakuten

Another is http://www.frkw.com/index060.html
They have 3 Gyutos in stock i think

But they all are completely different (steel too) from what i am carrying and been reviewed here on forum "Workhorse Kato" just to make it clear :D
I been thru 4 prototypes before i put them in the store :)

Cutty Sharp
12-08-2012, 09:31 AM
There is 2 sources in Japan ... But they all are completely different (steel too) from what i am carrying and been reviewed here on forum "Workhorse Kato" just to make it clear :D
I been thru 4 prototypes before i put them in the store :)

Wow, well done! The 4 prototypes - were they all gyutos or, for example, 2 gyutos and 2 sujihikis?

Are you saying that the Katos you sell are partially your own design? If true, then why not give them a distinctive name, as other sellers also do?

How have the Katos you sell been improved compared to the kind available above?

maxim
12-08-2012, 09:53 AM
Prototypes was Pettys and Gyutos over 2 times change, i tested them for about a year so quite long time haha..

No not all my design at all, we did it together with Kato what did what he preferred and what i did, as he is very unknown maker overseas i decided to keep his name on front and just add workhorse at backside, i still like that makers get credit for they work :nunchucks: it may backfire on me later, but probably not because we did so much change :D

Cutty Sharp
12-08-2012, 10:13 AM
i still like that makers get credit for they work :nunchucks:

I agree. Good idea, and if I had a Kato (sadly I don't) I'd definitely want to know who the maker was and for it to say 'Kato' on it, because that's part of what makes the knife interesting and unique. But you could also have named it, ahem, something like 'Gesshin' Kato. ;)

No dig at JKI meant. Rather, Jon's knives come from great makers but have some of his own input into the particular design he sells, which makes it different from other knives the makers produce and probably also better-suited to what his customers want. This in turn can also make the knives more interesting too. Actually, I didn't know this about the Katos.

Now I'm curious. How are the Katos you sell different to the few Kato produces for Japanese buyers? Are they simply different, or are they better?

maxim
12-08-2012, 10:31 AM
Now I'm curious. How are the Katos you sell different to the few Kato produces for Japanese buyers? Are they simply different, or are they better?

I can not comment on that as i sell only one of them :D
Also we go off topic here