Usuba - money no object
Hello new forum!
I am looking for opinions about Usubi. Money is an object but I want to start at the top and work down in decision making. I am looking at the nenohi usubas. I have a western petty nenohi and f&f is quite good and I am wondering whether their Japanese style knives are good as well. My reference is Suisen as most of my knives are these. I get the impression that Nenohi is comparable or better. Any comments would be appreciated.
Jon at JKI just launched his own line called Gesshin. He has a kamagata usuba. Looks nice, I have no first hand experience, but Jon seems to like them :D
He will probably add them to his vendor section here shortly.
Jon also carries the Suisin Denshyo series. I have to say I was very, very impressed with the details that were put into the design of this line. They are clearly a cut above the rest in this regard. Perhaps he can special order an usuba for you.
I have never used a usuba, but I was just thinking that you might be able to find something more dazzling than a nehoni for a lower price. I have read a few reviews of the nehoni steel that were less than impressive, and it just seems like for that price you should really get something amazing. Of course the nehoni specialty seems to be relatively decent steel with really nice fit and finish and nice handles. Of course if you want something stainless with a nice handle, that may be a good choice for you, but if it were me, I would look at something with nicer steel, maybe aogami or shirogami from a smaller maker. Yeah, the fit and finish may not compare, and non-stainless isn't for everyone, but I think a great knife could be had for a lot less than the nehoni.
Money is no object brings up the possibility of a honyaki, but I would definitely recommend against buying a honyaki. I use a honyaki as my yanagi out of necessity, and I bought a honyaki usuba to go with it, but I ended up selling it short time after I bought it. I just never used it so much that I needed the edge retention of a honyaki, and they are a pain in the ass to sharpen. The need for any honyaki should be discussed in another thread completely, but my point is that even when I was making tempura full time, and cutting vegetables four hours a day, a good kasumi did the job until the end of my shift. Most vegetables aren't that hard to cut.
I especially recommend a kamagata usuba for someone who doesn't do Japanese food all the time because the tip gets used more. Japanese chefs don't have to do things like use a knife tip to cut out the stem of a tomato or onion as much as western chefs do, so they can get away with a square Kanto-style usuba. For most other people, having the tip of a kamagata usuba is a necessity.
I have a 210 Ginsanko Usuba that falls through an onion - even after I sharpened it and I have a mix of white, blue, inox, steels and one honyaki blue 300 mm yanagi. I like them all and I am impressed with the edge retention of the Ginsanko. ia2tokyo makes a good point and I due prefer kamagata which is more useful to me. I am open to opinions about other makers besides those mentioned as well - I wanted to take a break from suisin. I am fortunate to own six of their knives including kiritsuke and funyaki (sp?). The Gesshin looks nice; I am also looking at Masamoto though I am wary of the fit and finish as I have a gyoto which (as a guy who uses salt and has a dog) has a nice blade but a bad bad fit and finish.
The 210 is heavy and very forward balanced. The knife does the work so I don't object to this, however, I am looking to trim to a 195mm. BTW, can anyone identify the knife in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E2_qPq4ib4k The technique is nice and relaxed and accurate....
BTW, this is what got me interested in nehoni:
a few points for your consideration........just because u buy a high end single beveled knife does not mean you won't have to correct things thru sharpening.......i would also consider an usuba one of the hardest knives to use and to sharpen.....ryan