Hello! I am new here, but I am not entirely new to knives (though certainly not an expert). I live in Germany, though I come from Slovakia. I am not a knife collector, but have a strong appreciation of a well made (and practical) knives. So knives like Mora 2000 or Iisaki Aito have found way to our home (I even got a Ikari from Jukka Hankala to my best friend as a present)
But now to kitchen knives
Browsing around this forum already yielded a lot of information, so I suppose I am on the right address to ask a few question concerning japanese kitchen knives.
So - I have decided to 'upgrade' our kitchen knife selection which currently contains only 2 knives worth mentioning (and keeping) One is Wüsthof Dreizak knife from Soligen with 16cm Blade that is strong enough to be used around bones (not a cleaver though) and the other is Kai SHEN with 6" blade (which I got before the price went up in Germany).
The SHEN was the first attempt to get a japanese styled knife. It's VG-10 core is rather easy to sharpen (I have a sharpener set from KME - not the best, but uses 4" DMT diamond steels) and holds edge quite well. BUT it has a week side too - and that is the toughness. As the VG-10 forms only the core of the knife and the rest (of the every thin blade) is soft stainless damascus - the knife could be bend with bare hands - it ti would remain that way! I do realize that this knife is a slicer, but sometimes one may accidentally apply force transversally and the knife could get bend. It does does not induce much confidence. Therefore before investing in another knife or two I thought I should get more informed first.
So after lengthy introduction - what am I looking for?
- 240 mm (or even 270 mm) long knife - probably Guyto or Yanagiba. Mostly for slicing meat.
- stainless (I know I know ...) or at least weakly staining steel. Maybe stainless-clad carbon steel could work too.
- hand forged (if possible)
- probably with classical handle (octagonal)
- priced up to 300€, I would go for more if it would be 'the one'
- 80 mm knife for little work
- preferably from the same 'series' as above
Here is the question Nr.1 (sort of):
Now the above sounds very general, but I do have questions/points about the steel. Namely - most (many) of japanese knives imported to western world are made in a similar way as the SHEN described above - so a high quality steel in the core of the blade clad with either damascus or plain stainless steel. And that is my problem - after the experience with the SHEN knife I have - I am not sure whether I should trust these designs as it is hard to say whether the cladding supports the knife, or is there just for looks.
I do understand that certain (mostly high-end) steels may actually need that kind of treatment (like SG-2, ZDP-189) because thy themselves they are too brittle. But one mostly sees knives with VG-10 core where the cladding may not be necessary (or am I wrong?).
And so finally question Nr.2:
Which knives should I look at? There are many producers, steel material is not always well mentioned and it is very hard to find how much quality (blade, F&F) am I actually going to get.
To give you an idea - knives I have looked at and liked (many of them are in fact core-clad knives):
- Hattori FH
- Kanetsugu Pro J Series (clad )
- Ryusen Blazen (clad SG-2)
- Hiro VG-10 knives
- Kato sa Masakage Kiri or Hikari (clad VG-10)
- Konosuke Sakura (on the expensive side)
- AOKI Gingami 3 Ichii
- Zensho/Yoshikane SKD Kasumi Gyuto
- AOKI Sakai Takayuki Suminagashi Tsuchime Wa Sujihiki
- Yoshikane SLD Damascus Kiritsuke
Thank you and sorry for a long post