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daddy yo yo
12-29-2012, 06:27 AM
hello,

i am currently searching for a wa-gyuto. although i generally prefer western handles, i would like to try (and own) one single (at least this is what i am telling myself right now) wa-gyuto.

i am a hobby chef, so no professional environment, simply someone who enjoys working with high quality food and knives, cooking for 2 most of the time. my western collection is already complete, including the following knives:
165mm yaxell ran santoku
190mm hiromoto as santoku
210mm wuesthof dreizack classic
210mm hattori kd gyuto
270mm konosuke hd gyuto

all are double-bevelled, semi-stainless or stainless. size-wise i clearly prefer either 240 or 210, 270 is definitely something that i don't use much to be honest.

i am not afraid of using a carbon blade, but haven't tried one yet. patina is something i have just recently started to like - but now i do! also, i haven't yet sharpened a single-bevelled knife, meaning i have no experience with that. but i am willing to learn, if necessary.

i know there are several nice blacksmiths out there who do great or even fantastic knives, some for reasonable money, some for higher prices and some are very desirable but definitely nothing i would want to spend (my budget is under 1,000 US$... if it's even under 500 US$, fine. but if there's something worth spending a little more, why not? i have 2 re-handle jobs in my mind for 2 of my western knives, so...).

from my research so far, mostly here in this forum but also some other sites, i found the following brands very interesting:
heiji
masamoto
mizuno tanrenjo
shigefusa
singatirin
watanabe
yoshihide
yoshihiro
yoshikane

those are quite many, i know, and it shows that i have no idea where to go...

damascus pattern is something nice, but nothing that has to be. no hammer-finish or similar. no black blades. clads are fine. and honyaki also is something that has recently caught my attraction. i know that honyaki is nothing cheap, but there are affordable honyaki knives out there (singatirin, or even watanabe). i generally prefer something handmade, maybe some smaller blacksmiths, family-run maybe, over bigger companies with mass-production. but from the above, none is "big", is it?

so, that is quite confusing and quite much information, i know. but from what i have written, is there anything that you can recommend?

franzb69
12-29-2012, 08:21 AM
check out JKI's stuff as well. his selections are great value for the money afaik. =D

Von blewitt
12-29-2012, 08:59 AM
I don't think you can go wrong with any of those options, I really like shigefusa, but it can be tricky getting one, and i would also add yoshiaki fujiwara ( Kato) and Gesshin Hide to your list. My kato is my best performing gyuto.

jgraeff
12-29-2012, 11:29 AM
Mario or Marko custom only way to go if you want the best performance at a great price.

Pensacola Tiger
12-29-2012, 11:41 AM
Mario or Marko custom only way to go if you want the best performance at a great price.

You're forgetting Tilman Leder (Rottman). Considering the OP's location, it's the best option, IMHO.

statusquo
12-29-2012, 01:08 PM
You're forgetting Tilman Leder (Rottman). Considering the OP's location, it's the best option, IMHO.

Will Catcheside in the UK is also an excellent option.

kalaeb
12-29-2012, 01:22 PM
For me, that knife comes from Mr. Devin Thomas. My 250, san mai has had the number one spot in my block for well over a year. But...you really can't go wrong with any of the above listed options.

jgraeff
12-29-2012, 04:54 PM
You're forgetting Tilman Leder (Rottman). Considering the OP's location, it's the best option, IMHO.

Haven't had an opportunity to try his knives so I can't recommend however I'd love to try one.

On the other hand it'd be very hard to beat Marko or Mario, I have even used some DT and I prefer their knives over his.

stevenStefano
12-29-2012, 04:56 PM
You're forgetting Tilman Leder (Rottman). Considering the OP's location, it's the best option, IMHO.

I agree with Rick. Tilman is a great option for those in Europe, his prices and waiting list are very reasonable.

You can't really go wrong with any of them. It's like a whos who of knife making

eaglerock
12-29-2012, 05:04 PM
I have heard a lot of great things about Marko's knives. i would love to get one myself one day :)

Reede
12-29-2012, 08:07 PM
http://i1144.photobucket.com/albums/o496/ReedEdwards/DSC01714.jpg

mc2442
12-29-2012, 08:13 PM
Anxiously awaiting Marko letting me know I am on deck.

What is Mario's website? I looked threw a few of his posts and did not see a link.

jgraeff
12-29-2012, 11:31 PM
I contacted him through here rrlover I think is his user name.

Both are amazing makers but different altogether. I couldn't choose just one... Money well spent though

chinacats
12-30-2012, 12:15 AM
http://i1144.photobucket.com/albums/o496/ReedEdwards/DSC01714.jpg

That is one sexy knife!

The hekler
12-30-2012, 12:43 AM
I would go with with a kato (never used one but the reviews have been outstanding) or a shigefusa, or a custom maker. I don't think marko can be beaten for price versus quality but be prepared for a lengthy wait. I'm not saying there aren't other great makers out there, there are, but if I was looking for a great gyuto I'd go for one of his.

Lefty
12-30-2012, 02:26 AM
I'm funny, in that I like knives that cut like nobody's business, and are pretty, but still seem like they're made to be beaten up on. Do I have on wa-gyuto to rule them all? Heck no! But I do have my favorite knives. :)

daddy yo yo
12-30-2012, 04:14 AM
hello guys,

thank you very much for your numerous replies! i know that buying a knife has a lot to do with personal preferences, shape, style, grip, cutting motion, and so on. i have not yet thought about a gyuto made by a custom maker but the more i think about it, the more i like the idea, even though i thought i had a clear preference for a japanese-made blade. but why not try something new?

somehow i wonder why i have recommended to others to go for a custom maker instead of buying a stock knife, but have never considered that for me. :scratchhead:

i have heard of basically most of the makers you guys listed in your posts, except tilman leder / rottman. does he have a website? or should i contact him through this forum? can i find a picture gallery somewhere?

daddy yo yo
12-30-2012, 08:19 AM
i would like to add one more thing regarding blade thickness: i would consider my current blades rather thin. would it then make sense to get myself a thicker wa-gyuto such as the heiji (this is thicker, isn't it?)? but then on the other hand, isn't one of the advantages of wa-gyutos over western handles the weight save?

from the japanese gyutos i really like either heiji or watanabe, most likely the honyaki-version. from the custom makers i am quite drawn to marko tsourkan's knives...

jmforge
12-30-2012, 11:08 PM
Zoinks! That is a particular method of construction that I would like to try eventually.
http://i1144.photobucket.com/albums/o496/ReedEdwards/DSC01714.jpg

WiscoNole
12-30-2012, 11:52 PM
One emphatic vote for the Masamoto KS. The profile is second to none and the geometry, weight, F&F, etc. are all way up there. Definitely get the Honyaki if you can afford it. It's my dream knife.

Lefty
12-31-2012, 12:14 AM
I'm really into the KS I got used, from a fellow member and would consider it one of the nicest pure work knives I've used. It's not flashy, but it sure is sharp, light and nicely ground. However, I've been thinking about this a bit and the DT ITK is up there along with the Davis gyuto that went around, anything by Pierre or Butch, and I have very high expectations for the gyuto I have waiting for me, made by my friend Tslil Censor.

This is so subjective, I don't think that even I could settle on my gyuto to rule them all.

daddy yo yo
01-01-2013, 09:00 AM
does any of you know how much d-shaped handles differ among makers? masamoto handles look rather slim...

http://i894.photobucket.com/albums/ac147/claudeh_photo/P1010265.jpg

tk59
01-01-2013, 11:02 AM
Masamotos are indeed slim. On the other extreme, I have a Yoshikane 270 hammered with a monstrous D-handle: 28.5 x 21.5 mm at the ferrule.

bieniek
01-01-2013, 11:42 AM
Guess everyones pick would be different. Could I pick one knife? Yes, but I dont actually own it ;)

If you look for honyaki, you have to accept what comes with the territory. Either you will like it, or you will sell the knife.
Wouldnt blame the producer for it.

I dont like knives with the tip soooo very bendable that feels "soft" and cheap, but some here are claiming edge stability is more important than sharpness... Make your own mind, OP.
Some would say that on the top of the game the sharpness is same and functionality very similar.
I tried just a few knives but it was enough. Long story short, you want great "taste of the edge" take japanese, you want all else [stability, retention blah blah] cause of "compromise" take anyone else.

Cadillac J
01-01-2013, 12:44 PM
On the other extreme, I have a Yoshikane 270 hammered with a monstrous D-handle: 28.5 x 21.5 mm at the ferrule.

You ain't lying! The 270 Yoshikane I used to own had the largest wa handle I've ever seen...it was a monster.

Compared to a 'regular' sized octagon wa handle
http://i46.tinypic.com/k3ona.jpg

And it easily dwarfed the d-shaped on my 240 Yosh
http://i45.tinypic.com/518xl2.jpg

daddy yo yo
01-01-2013, 01:54 PM
If you look for honyaki, you have to accept what comes with the territory. Either you will like it, or you will sell the knife.
Wouldnt blame the producer for it.

I dont like knives with the tip soooo very bendable that feels "soft" and cheap, but some here are claiming edge stability is more important than sharpness... Make your own mind, OP.
Some would say that on the top of the game the sharpness is same and functionality very similar. thanx a lot for sharing your thoughts! i find that quite interesting. also, one of the producers in my list does offer honyaki but doesn't recommend honyaki for utility knives... i'll probably save the extra cash and get myself a custom handle - or a custom knife! :biggrin:

currently, i'd go for a 240mm wa-gyuto from one of these makers:
- watanabe (blue steel #2)
- heiji (sweden steel)
- marko tsourkan (52100)
- masamoto ks

deciding is a tough job!!!

bieniek
01-01-2013, 03:28 PM
one of the producers in my list does offer honyaki but doesn't recommend honyaki for utility knives...

No wonder ;) I think you could take it, just accept what is it.

Either of these should satisfy you in the basic meaning.

The question is, what do you really like in a knife? Most sharpness, most edge retention? Most reactivity? Most looks?

mattrud
01-02-2013, 02:09 AM
gengetsu....marko.....

bieniek
01-02-2013, 04:03 AM
...yoshikane V2 "damascus"...

ChiliPepper
01-02-2013, 04:27 AM
Bah... If you cherish handmade and under 1000$ is your budget, I'd go with a custom. Many good makers hre in the forums, I'm personally interested in Will Catcheside and his full billet-to-knife custom process but there are many excellent professionals to choos from.

jmforge
01-02-2013, 03:08 PM
Okay, guys, I am new at this so help me to understand something. As best as I can tell, "honyaki" roughly translates to "true forged" or in knifemaker speak "mono steel" Is that correct? I also read that honyaki knives are considered more difficult to make and sell for considerably more that their Japanese forge welded laminate cousins. As a western knifemalker, i am wondering whats up with that? In my world, ANYTHING that has been forge welded is generally considered to be more complex and as such, mor e expensive regardless of whether or not it has 2 layers or 22,000. So does this mean that I can charge a LOT more for W2, 52100 or Cru Forge blades if I call them honyaki? :biggrin:

Rottman
01-02-2013, 03:36 PM
Honyaki often means mizu honyaki, i.e. water quenched and the blade is differentially hardened and has a hamon.

jmforge
01-02-2013, 03:40 PM
Yeah, I saw that too. Still raises the same question. When I make a W2 blade with a hamon, any extra cost, which the "market" says cannot be a whole lot, comes from the cost of extra hand finishing. Forge welded or even laminated blades like San Mai would still ALWAYS cost more.
Honyaki often means mizu honyaki, i.e. water quenched and the blade is differentially hardened and has a hamon.

JBroida
01-02-2013, 03:45 PM
Honyaki often means mizu honyaki, i.e. water quenched and the blade is differentially hardened and has a hamon.

actually, i would venture to say the majority are oil quenched

Rottman
01-02-2013, 03:47 PM
Might be. Many Japanese makers harden honyaki knives to the upper limit of the steel (hrc 64-65) and it is often mentioned that they have a loss of 50% (which I don't really buy) due to pure water quenching and bent blades. Together with the extra finishing and the aura of them being the crown of knifemaking by master smiths the honyaki prices are justified.

mpukas
01-02-2013, 03:50 PM
Okay, guys, I am new at this so help me to understand something...

some light reading...
http://www.kitchenknifeforums.com/showthread.php/6868-Honyaki?highlight=honyaki
http://www.kitchenknifeforums.com/showthread.php/5409-Honyaki?highlight=honyaki

jmforge
01-02-2013, 07:44 PM
Mpukas, i understand the difference. It's just that it is completely counterintuitive to anything that I have ever done. In my western world, monosteel knives are easier. But them again, I would NEVER hammer on a cold blade, so it does show how much difference there is between the traditional 16th and 17th Century Japanese techniques and my ultra modern state of the art 19th and early 20th Century techniques. :lol2: I was also surp[ised to learn that while a lot of the tradtionally made japanes knives are forged to thickness and taper, they are not forged to shape.

jmforge
01-02-2013, 07:48 PM
If wonder if HOW they harden the steel is risky? You and I know that we can harden stuff like some of Achim's "special" carbon steel or 52100 to those levels with little or no risk if we have the right gear. I can get W2 pretty close to that out of a Paragon oven and Parks 50, no salt or water quench needed.
Might be. Many Japanese makers harden honyaki knives to the upper limit of the steel (hrc 64-65) and it is often mentioned that they have a loss of 50% (which I don't really buy) due to pure water quenching and bent blades. Together with the extra finishing and the aura of them being the crown of knifemaking by master smiths the honyaki prices are justified.

Rottman
01-02-2013, 08:30 PM
I think most of these stories of bent and unfixable blades relate to single bevel knives where a two layer blade is way easier to fix than a bent monosteel. The whole water quench thing is tradition I guess but as Jon says oil is also (more?) commonly used.

daddy yo yo
01-03-2013, 04:21 AM
i believe (not 100% sure yet) that marko has talked me into one of his gyutos! :hungry:

daddy yo yo
01-03-2013, 05:08 AM
in the meantime and as i can't post in the B/S/T section, if anyone has one of the following wa-gyutos to sell (either 240 or 270), please send me a PM:
- watanabe pro
- heiji
- masamoto ks
- konosuke white #2
- konosuke fujiyama white #2

i am definitely interested in one of marko tsourkan's knives, but i am considering to make a wa-handle myself (just for the experience of doing so), and i would need a blade for that, a used one.

bieniek
01-03-2013, 02:08 PM
all are knives from totally different parts of the universe :D

mpukas
01-03-2013, 02:50 PM
Mpukas, i understand the difference. It's just that it is completely counterintuitive to anything that I have ever done. In my western world, monosteel knives are easier. But them again, I would NEVER hammer on a cold blade, so it does show how much difference there is between the traditional 16th and 17th Century Japanese techniques and my ultra modern state of the art 19th and early 20th Century techniques. :lol2: I was also surp[ised to learn that while a lot of the tradtionally made japanes knives are forged to thickness and taper, they are not forged to shape.

My knowledge of honyaki and bladesmithing in general is severlly limited.
Here's a vid f/ Murray Carter on his 2010 Japan tour, where he visited Mr. Shiraki. At 12:00 he talks about how a honyaki blade is made.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6uTzsoUBMk

daddy yo yo
01-26-2013, 11:06 AM
just wanted to let you know, i made my decision. marko tsourkan 255mm gyuto made of 52100... not a bad choice i believe! patience is a virtue i have yet learn to deal with!

DeepCSweede
01-26-2013, 11:08 AM
You definitely will not regret it. I am waiting patiently for mine to come up. Now I just have to get my project with Mario figured out.

jgraeff
01-26-2013, 04:50 PM
just wanted to let you know, i made my decision. marko tsourkan 255mm gyuto made of 52100... not a bad choice i believe! patience is a virtue i have yet learn to deal with!

It will be well worth the wait!