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View Full Version : Suji dilemma: need some experienced advice



Chefdog
01-02-2013, 09:05 AM
Ok, after spending way too much over the holidays, I've readjusted my "needs" and decided to scale back my purchase of a new suji from the $300 range to the $200 range.

The contenders are now kikuichi carbon ($150) and Hiro AS ($225) both 270's.

Questions for those of you who've used them:
Which is the better cutter, geometry, profile?
Is the Kikuichi really as good as they say?
Is there anything other the Hiro does better (other than look badass when thinned and patina'd along the edge) than the Kikuichi for the extra $$$?


What would you guys do? I just need a quality suji for portioning, trimming meat and fish, and slicing of cooked protiens. I teach, so no serious production volume these days.

pitonboy
01-02-2013, 09:13 AM
Kikuichi is just fine, gets sharp, passable fit and finish, can take a beating. Hiro AS probably is a slightly better cutter with better edge retention, but not sure it warrants the extra $75. Hiro will probably hold more resale value than the Kikuichi. You may be able to pick up something used here at a discount if you can wait.

Chefdog
01-02-2013, 09:34 AM
Thanks PB,
I'm surprised to hear that you think the Hiro cuts better. I keep reading such praise for the Kikuichi carbon that I guess I was expecting the opposite. Maybe it's just that its very good considering how cheap it is?
It probably says something that you don't see too many used Hiro sujis for sale, and the ones that do come up go quickly...

I'm not in any real rush, and I always keep my eye on the BST forum.

pitonboy
01-02-2013, 09:48 AM
It's not that the Kikuichi is bad; it's actually quite good for the money. The Hiro is better, but its 50% more in cost, so you would expect something for your money. But is it 50% better?

NO ChoP!
01-02-2013, 10:15 AM
I found the kikuichi carbon 270 handle to be small. Even with a rehandle, it still felt like a petty handle. It was ok otherwise. Not sure how much better it was than a Fujiwara carbon at half the price, though....

eaglerock
01-02-2013, 12:04 PM
Are you open to other knives ?

What about carbonex or suisin inox western.

the kikuichi F&F is not the best :(

Jmadams13
01-02-2013, 12:14 PM
I agree with eaglerock, a co-worker has a kikuichi and the f&f was poor, this coming from a guy with more than one Tijiro IDK knives. I was in the same situation recently, and ordered a CarboNext. Price is similar, with a much better reputation.

Notaskinnychef
01-02-2013, 02:10 PM
I order a carbonext a few months back, great knife, good f&f and jck is a joy to work with, plus their 3 day shipping from Japan for 7 bucks doesn't hurt either.

bieniek
01-02-2013, 03:00 PM
The Hiro is better, but its 50% more in cost, so you would expect something for your money. But is it 50% better?

So if you buy custom for 1000 will it be 400% better than Hiromoto?? :yammer:

OP, what you are going to use this knife for? Slicing meat/fish only?

For 200 dollars, theres pretty many choices, very well made handle on Misono Swedish, overally very nice knives for good money.

Chefdog
01-02-2013, 04:11 PM
Thanks for all the input.
I looked at CarboNext, but I was under the impression that the Kikuichi was a better knife, so CarboNext took a back seat.
Haven't looked at Misono Swedish, I've read that they're very reactive, any truth to that?
Or any other suggestions anybody wants to throw out there are cool.

And any more first hand comments on Hiro are welcome.

Jmadams13
01-02-2013, 04:40 PM
The hattori forum is also an option.

http://japanesechefsknife.com/HattoriForumHighEndChefsKnives.html

Miles
01-02-2013, 04:55 PM
Thanks for all the input.
I looked at CarboNext, but I was under the impression that the Kikuichi was a better knife, so CarboNext took a back seat.
Haven't looked at Misono Swedish, I've read that they're very reactive, any truth to that?
Or any other suggestions anybody wants to throw out there are cool.

And any more first hand comments on Hiro are welcome.

I have a couple of Hiro sujis, a 270 and 300. They're very good, albeit a tad thick. Not baseball bat thick, but just a little bit beefier than I ideally prefer. I've always found them to be excellent performers. It's nothing that a little fine tuning on the stones wouldn't easily sort out, but I'm splitting hairs here. Because of the warikomi construction, they have a decidedly more solid and substantial feel to them, which is not a criticism, just an observation.

I also have a Kikuichi, it's thin, light, but significantly more reactive than Misono. The handle does feel a bit small, so if you have large hands, you might not find it as comfortable. It was my go to at work for quite a while until I decided a 240 would be a better fit. It still sees regular use at home and always gets thrown into my travel kit. The current suji in my work kit is a 240 Misono Swedish. It's very good. Excellent F&F, thin, light, perhaps a bit less edge retention than the Hiros and comparable retention with the Kikuichi but I'm pretty tough on my work sujis. The steel isn't horribly reactive. It's moderately reactive, at best. Mine is currently a fairly evenly hazy blue gray. Because both the Kikuichi and Misono are monosteel and fairly thin and light, they both have a little bit of flex to them. I don't mind that, but it does contribute to a feeling that they're a bit less robust than the Hiros.

Honestly, I don't think you can make a bad choice amongst any of them, including the CN. They'll all do what you want them to do. In my mind, the biggest choice is in construction. Do you prefer monosteel or warikomi? If you prefer the latter, your choice is pretty simple. If the former, then you have a bit more to consider but no matter which one you end up with, I'm sure you'll be pleased with your choice.

Chefdog
01-02-2013, 05:18 PM
The hattori forum is also an option.

http://japanesechefsknife.com/HattoriForumHighEndChefsKnives.html

My go-to gyuto at work is a Hattori 240 FH, and i think its quite a good knife. I have no doubt that the suji is every bit as good, but I really want to try something carbon, otherwise the forum would be a no brainer choice for me.

Miles,
Thanks very much for the detailed response, it helps quite a bit. I'm not terribly fond of too much flex, so that's a negative for the kikuichi. And the idea of putting in a little work to tune in the Hiro a little is actually a plus in my mind. If you're feeling like you don't need both of your Hiro AS suji's, let me know.

Chuckles
01-02-2013, 05:32 PM
I have the kikuichi suji and don't like it at all. It is my only suji so no recomendations aside from the fact that I use my Misono Swedish gyuto over the kikuichi suji for slicing every time. If you wanna borrow the kikuichi for a test drive shoot me a PM. I haven't used it for a year.

Chefdog
01-02-2013, 05:49 PM
Chuckles,
What is it that you dislike about the kikuichi?

eaglerock
01-02-2013, 05:56 PM
I owned the Hirimoto, but as others said it need some tweaking "thinning and maybe a new handle" to be a bad ass :D

Miles
01-02-2013, 06:01 PM
No problem, glad to share my experience.

On the issue of flex, I should say that the Kikuichi has noticeably more than the Misono. The Misono has just slightly more than the Hiros. If you prefer a stiffer knife, the Hiros have least flex of the three. However, if you are leaning towards monosteel, the Misono is close enough to the Hiros that I wouldn't necessarily dismiss it.

tk59
01-02-2013, 06:35 PM
Only two things have ever really bothered me about a suji. 1. flexibility at the machi and 2. thickness behind the edge. The first happens on all laser-type knives with wa handles. They are great cutters but it's just wierd to feel the flex there. The second... Well, I thin my blades with few exceptions.

Chuckles
01-02-2013, 06:38 PM
Hard to put my finger on it, especially since I haven't used it for a while. It just doesn't feel very good in my hand. Maybe weight distribution? I will take it out of the drawer tonight and give it a go. I have a few other knives in its class: Suisin high carbon, Misono swedish carbon. These knives I wish I could use more than I do. I want to use the Kikiuichi when I am looking at it but after I pick it up I wish it was a different knife.

For gyutos I would take the Misono over the Suisin and Kikuichi based on profile (and cool dragon). For a suji - with a more or less standard profile and with dollars to performance as a driving factor - the Suisin high carbon at Korin would be my choice if I were to do it again.

ThEoRy
01-02-2013, 08:26 PM
One of them has a dragon on it. A dragon. :cool2:

Jmadams13
01-02-2013, 11:53 PM
One of them has a dragon on it. A dragon. :cool2:

:plus1:

WiscoNole
01-03-2013, 01:39 AM
- the Suisin high carbon at Korin would be my choice if I were to do it again.

bingo. I have the 240 gyuto and am shocked at the geometry and edge retention for a $110 knife.

ChiliPepper
01-03-2013, 05:30 AM
When I had to choose a suji my train of thoughts was: it needs to be slicing stuff elengantly therefore I want a thin knife, with an excellent edge, a steel with small carbides and that can achieve great sharpness, edge retention comes second as it will not see the use of a gyuto. I ended up with a Sakai Yusuke in aeb-l. Keeping with the current choices in this thread I would go with a carbonext but I have no informed knowledge to support this choice, just personal taste. Looking back at this reply it somehow sucks :)

Chefdog
02-17-2013, 05:25 PM
A little thread revival here.

Please offer your opinions concerning CarboNext, Hiro AS & Misono Swede sujis. Interested mostly in how they sharpen (feel and edge taking), and the geometry, prodile and flexibility of the blades. A lot of you have voiced your opinions of the Hiro, and I know it'll take some thinning to bring out its potential. I guess bottom line is whether or not the Swede and Hiro offer any tangible "improvement" over the CarboNext for the additional $$$ ? FWIW, these wont be taken to anywhere past 5K, so the ability of one or the other to get marginally sharper won't really be exploited.
I have no problem spending more, if I'm getting more knife, but if the CarboNext gives practical the same performance, I can put the difference towards another knife :biggrin:
Thanks in advance.

franzb69
02-18-2013, 12:04 AM
haven't had much experience on my swede but aogami super just takes an amaaaaaaazing edge. =D

can't really say anything about the carbonext but i am interested in semi stainless like carbonext as well.

Chefdog
02-18-2013, 08:49 AM
haven't had much experience on my swede but aogami super just takes an amaaaaaaazing edge. =D

can't really say anything about the carbonext but i am interested in semi stainless like carbonext as well.

This is one of the areas I'm interested in hearing more about. Will the AS in the Hiro take a measurably better/steeper edge than the Swede or CarboNext if they're not taken above 5K? And will it be harder to grind than the others?

FWIW, I'm using Chosera 400, JNS 1K & JNS synthetic aoto. I also have some 1micron BC paste but I havent been using it lately.

franzb69
02-18-2013, 09:16 AM
carbons are carbons in my experience.... not at all harder to sharpen even at slightly higher hardness. the swede is sure is a pleasure to sharpen. i was literally smiling while i was making the motions. i was almost giggly. lol. stainless steel is the only thing that i have a hard time sharpening.

can't tell you if the swede will take a steeper edge since the only misono swede i have is a hankotsu and it's as we know a thick knife and needs to be that way. someone with the dragon should answer this for us. =D

but the blue can take pretty anorexic thinness and still have a tough edge, assuming that you don't bash it all to hell. i only use it on veg and nothing too tough. i have tried cutting frozen bacon and another cured meat that i made with it and it do it well. but that was just an experiment, would not do it again. lol. i've chipped the tip on it and well....that wasn't a pleasant experience. only reason i chipped it was because i tried twisting the tip on the frozen bacon on soft bone and that did it in. (stupid me!!!!!!!!!!!) a big no-no as we all know....lesson learned.

since i sharpened my blue even before cutting said bacon, i still haven't had to retouch it yet. but then again i don't really use it a whole lot anymore since i keep getting other knives to play with.

i haven't taken my blue to 5k. i've stropped it on a natural chinese 12k slate, but i'm not really sure on the actual grit on that thing. after doing that, every slice i made was literally cutting through my board, plastic and wood. biting through it even on lighter strokes. it was, well....disturbing, in a good way! that time i didn't have a suehiro rika 5k yet.

labor of love
02-18-2013, 01:13 PM
with the rising prices of other similar semi stainless knives (konosuke hd, kikuichi tkc) the carbonext seems like an even better deal now than it was in the past. i want to grab something from that line before the inevitable price increase. considering i dont use sujis as frequently as i do gyutos, cleavers and pettys im reluctant to spend as much for a suji. misono sweds are pretty nice, but at $243 vs $139 ill take the carbonext.

Chefdog
02-18-2013, 01:31 PM
with the rising prices of other similar semi stainless knives (konosuke hd, kikuichi tkc) the carbonext seems like an even better deal now than it was in the past. i want to grab something from that line before the inevitable price increase. considering i dont use sujis as frequently as i do gyutos, cleavers and pettys im reluctant to spend as much for a suji. misono sweds are pretty nice, but at $243 vs $139 ill take the carbonext.
Craig,
What's your experience been with CarboNext? Is it just as good as carbon on the stones?

labor of love
02-18-2013, 02:46 PM
well i havent gotten around to getting a carbonext, yet. im just basing my opinion off stevenstevano and caddy, both of whom i trust. steven says his kono hd western and his carbonext are very similar knives, and the f&f is actually better on the carbonext. i love hd steel but theyre popularity has pushed their price up enough now to where i would just go with something else. misono sweds definitely rock but the reactivity just made it difficult to work with for me personally, and im not into patinas, i prefer my knives polished and shiny.

Chefdog
02-18-2013, 09:38 PM
Can anyone comment on how "carbon-y" the CarboNext steel is? Specifically, since it obviously has a decent amount of chromium in it, is it noticeably more difficult to de-burr than a true carbon?
I'm loving my new Suien gyuto, it's just so easy to alter the geometry and thin the blade that I'm leaning towards the monosteel carbon Misono. But the CarboNext is so cheap...
Any issues with the cladding causing problems on Hiro AS knives? I just got my first clad knife (other than a tiny petty) and haven't done any thinning yet, so I'm curious about this as well.

rdpx
02-18-2013, 09:47 PM
Can anyone comment on how "carbon-y" the CarboNext steel is? Specifically, since it obviously has a decent amount of chromium in it, is it noticeably more difficult to de-burr than a true carbon?

Can't compare it to anything as it is my first proper knife. But I can say that I have had no difficulty at all deburring (and generally sharpening) my new CarboNext and I am a rank beginner. It also looks and feels a lot nicer than I was expecting from the photographs I had seen, in a general quality/feel kind of way. I don't know if any of that helps. As I understand the steel involved (according to the JCK webpage spiel), it is still a carbon steel knife.

Benuser
02-18-2013, 10:28 PM
Any issues with the cladding causing problems on Hiro AS knives? I just got my first clad knife (other than a tiny petty) and haven't done any thinning yet, so I'm curious about this as well.
The cladding of the Hiromoto is soft, very soft. Remember one of its purposes is shock absorbing. It's quite abrasion resistant. It scratches easily, but scratches are just as easily removed as well.
Indeed, from time to time you'll have to remove some clad steel to free new core. Otherwise you get the clad integrated into your edge, with funny results - don't ask how I know about that. See it as thinning further behind the edge. It's simply sharpening at a very low angle.
For larger thinning operations, you should know that some stones become quickly ineffective because of the stainless clad. Good soaking and the use of a lot of water may help.

Benuser
02-18-2013, 10:39 PM
By the way: have you considered the Fujiwara FKH 270 sujihiki?? $75, IIRC. Great geometry, thin and relatively stiff. Very reactive and smelly, but that's over with a good patina. To me it was a revelation. I love both the Misono and Hiromoto, but on value the FKH is unbeatable.

Chefdog
02-19-2013, 11:28 AM
I love both the Misono and Hiromoto

Thanks for your input. Any particular qualities that stand out to you about either one that might help me choose? They're very similar price, and seemingly similar performance, so any insight as to subtle differences will help. I don't have too much opinion concerning clad blades, other than I generally appreciate the stiffness. Whether or not I have problems thinning it remains to be seen, but i can say i appreciate how easy a monosteel carbon knife is to thin. FWIW, I'm using 400 chosera as my coarse stone and find it to cut pretty well.
Thanks again

Benuser
02-19-2013, 08:16 PM
You're most welcome, Chefdog. A few elements I haven't found in this thread: I don't know if I would accept at this price point Hiromoto's basic F&F. Under the same circumstances, the Hiromoto scales shrink and the Misono don't. Not that I care...
The Misono has the best finished handle, very beautiful.
This is very subtle: there is some bite with AS, probably due to the tungsten carbides. The Misono edge feels smoother.
Less subtle: the Hiromoto weights 218g, the Misono 180g.
Both are great knives. You can't go wrong.

labor of love
02-19-2013, 08:57 PM
its weird how much lighter swed sujis are than the gyutos.my old misono swed gyuto 240mm was around 250grams.

franzb69
02-19-2013, 10:50 PM
there is some bite with AS, probably due to the tungsten carbides. The Misono edge feels smoother.

that bite just makes me awe at how it feels that much sharper though....

labor of love
02-19-2013, 11:20 PM
that bite just makes me awe at how it feels that much sharper though....

+1. AS really impresses me when its still toothy coming off a 1k stone.

Chefdog
02-20-2013, 12:17 AM
Ok, so the $64,000 question is: Are the Swede and Hiro AS both better than the Carbonext??? Not better "for the money" but are they better? Does the carbonext give up anything to the other two? And does it sharpen as easily?
Ill spend more for a better blade, but it better have some tangible benefits.

franzb69
02-20-2013, 12:34 AM
from what i've read on different threads and different forums, yes it's better. just how much better? i'm thinking edge retention and the kind of sharpness it can give you. i can attest to the thinness of an edge aogami can take.

folks who like patinas say that the patina on carbonext looks ugly. just all different shades of grey.

Chefdog
02-21-2013, 08:54 AM
Thanks for all the replies and information guys. My problem has been solved.

franzb69
02-21-2013, 08:56 AM
let us know what you ended up getting =D

Chefdog
02-21-2013, 10:11 AM
let us know what you ended up getting =D

Sorry, I should've known better...

I posted a WTB, and was lucky enough to be offered a 300mm Hiro AS!! Of course I jumped at the offer.

franzb69
02-21-2013, 10:22 AM
sweet! grats on the purchase!

Benuser
02-21-2013, 10:39 AM
Amazing!

Sorry, I should've known better...

I posted a WTB, and was lucky enough to be offered a 300mm Hiro AS!! Of course I jumped at the offer.

Chefdog
02-22-2013, 08:45 AM
Here it is, courtesy of one of our Canadian chefs. The postman needs to move his ass, because I can't wait to slice something up with this thing. :knife:

http://i1269.photobucket.com/albums/jj596/lydonkey/1E9608D9-3B0E-4142-88A4-3E30E05E1850-1030-000000A9E8288263.jpg

http://i1269.photobucket.com/albums/jj596/lydonkey/A92B80DF-285F-4CEC-B085-2D42EEF51EEE-131-0000000959F76B81.jpg

I usually don't go for looks, preferring to put my money on performance, but this one had both and it really was an offer I couldn't refuse. :thankyou333:

Benuser
02-22-2013, 10:10 AM
What a beauty! Who did the rehandling? Once it has arrived you owe us a pic of the kanji side as well...

Chefdog
02-22-2013, 10:22 AM
What a beauty! Who did the rehandling? Once it has arrived you owe us a pic of the kanji side as well...

This one is the work of Dave, purchased as part of the first group buy through JKS. The handle material is Afzelia burl.

labor of love
02-22-2013, 12:06 PM
nice score. everything you wanted and then some! glad you got a 300 mm. i prefer that length alot.