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Thread: Kasumi/Kitaeji, 210/240mm

  1. #1
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    Kasumi/Kitaeji, 210/240mm

    Hello y'all. I've just come on board though I've been checking in to read from a while back. Great Forum, I've already learned so much from the wealth of experience and the generous spirit of sharing here. Thank you! Well, I'm from Melbourne, Down Under, been an enthusiastic cook for about 50 years, I enjoy using knives and my cutting skills are I'd say above average though no way even near the wizards I have seen on youtube. I don't own any Japanese carbon steel knife, my assortment includes German stainless steel (Wustof, Felix Solingen) and a clutch of Globals. I've used stones regularly from 15 years ago but my technique is basic at best, all taught by Dr Google. The first knife I've "sharpened" was a butter knife (yes, you read that right!), a stainless straight blade with a rounded tip and a pale yellow handle, Sheffield I think. Do excuse this, I was a kid and it was in the 50s. To use the terminology I recall that the edge retention was a bit less than impressive! I'm about to embark on my 66th solar orbit in a few days and I thought I'd give myself a birthday present of a Japanese CS gyuto. I've been edging compulsively towards this jumping off point and I think I'll take the leap. Looking at the prices of what I'm lusting for I'm aware this might well be my personal fiscal cliff that I'm about to jump off!

    Anyway, I've searched and read old threads to avoid boring repetitions and to save everyone's time but I'd really appreciate it if I could get some help on a few issues that I don't understand or am confused about.

    Kasumi/Kitaeji:
    I have plain aesthetics and some of the kitaeji designs seem too florid for me. However, I've read that kitaeji is actually in the construction of the blade which makes it more resistant to bending compared to the plain kasumi finish and is therefore a 'stronger' blade. Can someone explain this? And, in real life applications with a gyuto does this really matter? Isn't the gyuto a strong enough blade anyway? Also, won't the patina that will eventually (and hopefully) build up negate any attractive quality in the kitaeji finish?

    210/240 mm gyuto:
    I cook vegetarian and seafood only, no meats. The chef knife I've been using for years is a ridiculously short 160mm. I'm well aware of its constraints and have been rather impatient with it for a long time. So I thought I'd go longer. From what I've read here 240mm seems to be the clear favourite. I've cut out cardboard templates for both 210 and 240 and handled it this way and that but ended up even more confused. Sometimes I thought the 210 would be more comfortable, the 240 being a bit unwieldy for my purpose; other times I thought perhaps this is because I've been suffering my present 160 and I should just re-train my cutting habits. I know this issue is like asking how long is a piece of string but may I ask to hear some subjective views from all you chefs, cooks and afficionados please?

    Future posts won't be so long and meandering. Promise!

  2. #2
    Senior Member EdipisReks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sambal View Post
    However, I've read that kitaeji is actually in the construction of the blade which makes it more resistant to bending compared to the plain kasumi finish and is therefore a 'stronger' blade. Can someone explain this?
    in all honesty, there is nothing in it. i don't mean hypothetically. even if there was, i'd prefer Kasumi, as it's easier to maintain.

  3. #3
    Welcome to the light!

    With a gyuto, the cladding is on both sides of the knife. Therefore if there's going to be differential relaxation between the hagane and jigane, chances are that things will balance out between the two sides of the blade. So, even if there was a difference in internal stresses or internal strength between the kasumi and the kitaeji, whatever the effect is will be further diminished in a gyuto as compared to some of the single-bevel traditional knives.

    Since you've got a 160 and will likely keep using it, I'd go with a 240 to supplement it. Having that bigger difference between their respective lengths will make it easier to decide when you want to use one or the other. I still use 165 nakiri and santoku from time to time, in addition to 240 and 270 gyutos... but I don't think I'd ever use a 210 if I added one to the mix.
    Len

  4. #4
    Go with a 240mm. Whatever you get as long as you won't be prying apart frozen food or using it to open cans you shouldn't have to worry about bending. If you give some preferences for height handle type and profile that your looking for along with price range you should get some valuable insight on which knives to look at.

  5. #5
    Senior Member JKerr's Avatar
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    Welcome aboard, good to see more Aussies joining the ranks.

    +1 here for a 240mm. At first it'll probably seem huge, but after a couple sessions you'll get use to it and wonder how you got by using something smaller in the first place. I use 26-27cm gyutos and anything smaller just feels weird, even then, now that I'm using chinese cleavers almost exclusively, I actually find it more uncomfortable and oddly enough, tiring, to use my gyutos for large prep sessions. I keep meaning to force myself back into using them so as I'm not too rusty should I switch back in to a western kitchen.

    As for Kasumi vs kitaeji. I don't think there would be any noticeable difference in performance so I'd say it really comes down to whether you value the aesthetics for a knife or not.

    Cheers,
    Josh

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    hello. The more Aussies the better.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by EdipisReks View Post
    there is nothing in it. i don't mean hypothetically.
    Depending on the maker there is.

    Shigefusas kitaeji blades are harder, just cause of that. Ask Maksim for details [I dont remember but I think he uses steel instead for chrome or sumfin]

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    Welcome

  9. #9
    Senior Member EdipisReks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bieniek View Post
    Depending on the maker there is.

    Shigefusas kitaeji blades are harder, just cause of that. Ask Maksim for details [I dont remember but I think he uses steel instead for chrome or sumfin]
    i sincerely doubt there is a practical difference. the Shigefusa kitaejis should also be hypothetically more durable, as the cladding has a more complex reaction to impact, but i also doubt that makes a practical difference.

  10. #10
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    +1 on 240 length. Don't get me wrong, I love and own a few 210 gyutos, but there are times when that is not enough knife IMO.

    And welcome, I'm a newbie as well. Good luck with your purchase!

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