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Thread: intro & questions: first 'true' japanese knife - help needed

  1. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by rdpx View Post
    I shall consider myself told.

    Good job someone is doing QC on these replies.


    The Masamoto is pretty though, isn't it, Michael? Maybe he will be tempted?

    It's up to original poster (OP). It's an ok looking knife, but from the ones I've seen, they have rough fit and finish, which is always a no-go for me. I want a knife out of the box that has the spine and choil rounded, that's consistently made and ready to go right out of the box. From what I've seen, it doesn't have a rounded choil or spine, and I've read here from people who are knowledgeable, the KS does not have great fit and finish and the grind can vary. Also, I recall someone that I know commenting that the handles on the KS are sometimes not very good.

    I've never used a KS so I'm not one to say about its cutting performance. A number of other people here own them, have used them and really like(d) them. But, I'm not going to recommend it or any other carbon steel knife (or even a clad carbon steel knife). Most of the knives the OP identified are extremely stain-resistant. That leads me to believe that he knows he does not want to deal with the day to day care (not maintenance) of a carbon steel knife.

    Personally, I don't believe in recommending what I like without knowing what the person wants, whether it's food, wine, knives, cars or anything. What I like can be completely different from what someone else likes. And, because I have no personal experience with the knives he listed, I'm not going to recommend any of those listed. And, I also don't know what he's looking for in a knife. So, I'm not going to recommend anything until I know more and the OP asks.

    Also, most of these knives are what I would consider medium thickness knives. They're not thick, but none of these, from what I know, are lasers. I don't recall reading from people much more knowledgeable than me that any of these knives are that thin behind the edge, which is critical in my experience for a good performing knife. But, again, I've never seen or used any of the knives listed.

    As for pretty, pretty doesn't necessarily make a good knife. I wish that were the case, but it's not. Don't get me wrong, a lot of people have said the KS is a great cutter. I just don't know.

    But, since the OP is in Europe, if he's concerned about shipping, he might want to take a look at Bluewayjapan.
    Michael
    "Don't you know who he is?"

  2. #12
    Senior Member rdpx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mhlee View Post
    But, I'm not going to recommend it or any other carbon steel knife (or even a clad carbon steel knife). Most of the knives the OP identified are extremely stain-resistant. That leads me to believe that he knows he does not want to deal with the day to day care (not maintenance) of a carbon steel knife.
    The first one I linked to seems to tick his boxes.

  3. #13
    Yes, it does meet the OP's general requirements. But, without knowing more about what he's looking for in terms of cutting performance, it's hard to say if it's a good match. It's a pretty thick knife at the spine. And, if I recall correctly, a member here previously had issues with delamination or something like that.

    A friend of mine has or used to have that knife. This is someone who has dozens of knives and tried many more, and is an accomplished sharpener. As I recall, he thought it was an okay knife, but not a great cutter.

    For my friend, and for me, a great cutting/performing knife is what we're looking for. I learned what a great cutting knife was from him by using some of the knives he owned and recommended. Hell, if a Shun was a great performing knife, I would recommend it.

    Isn't the bottom line how well a knife cuts? That's why I'm more interested in the performance characteristics he's looking for more than trying to pick and choose knives that meet his basic criteria. And, I will add that I'm not a great sharpener, but even with my level of sharpening, it's easy to see how one knife vs. another is a better cutter. Sharpness is one factor of many that makes a knife a superior cutting knife.
    Michael
    "Don't you know who he is?"

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by mhlee View Post
    Yes, it does meet the OP's general requirements. But, without knowing more about what he's looking for in cutting performance, it's hard to say if it's a good match. It's a pretty thick knife at the spine. And, if I recall correctly, a member here previously had issues with delamination or something like that.

    A friend of mine has or used to have that knife. This is someone who has dozens of knives and tried many more, and is an accomplished sharpener. As I recall, he thought it was an okay knife, but not great.
    A thread on the Fu-Rin-Ka-Zan is here:

    http://www.kitchenknifeforums.com/sh...reliable-knife

    Kalaeb had this to say about them:

    "The knives are not consistant, some reports have excellent fit and finish, others not so much. There are now two options to purchase a thick and a thin. I bought mine when it was only the thin version and it cut well, but was "chippy", and needed to reduce the bevel angle and added a micro bevel to correct the issue. Reports that I have heard suggest the thicker versions do not cut well at all.

    The knife that I had was severly lacking in the fit and finish department, including sharp spine, choil and some delamination issues. I was able to correct all the issues, in a night with some wet/dry sand paper, but is something you should be aware of.

    In short, the knife takes some work to get it primed, if you don't want to put forth the work in a mid $200.00, I would not buy it."


    What about the wa-handled version of the Kagayaki VG10?

    http://japanesechefsknife.com/KAGAYAKIVG-10.html

  5. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Pensacola Tiger View Post
    A thread on the Fu-Rin-Ka-Zan is here:

    http://www.kitchenknifeforums.com/sh...reliable-knife

    Kalaeb had this to say about them:

    "The knives are not consistant, some reports have excellent fit and finish, others not so much. There are now two options to purchase a thick and a thin. I bought mine when it was only the thin version and it cut well, but was "chippy", and needed to reduce the bevel angle and added a micro bevel to correct the issue. Reports that I have heard suggest the thicker versions do not cut well at all.

    The knife that I had was severly lacking in the fit and finish department, including sharp spine, choil and some delamination issues. I was able to correct all the issues, in a night with some wet/dry sand paper, but is something you should be aware of.

    In short, the knife takes some work to get it primed, if you don't want to put forth the work in a mid $200.00, I would not buy it."


    What about the wa-handled version of the Kagayaki VG10?

    http://japanesechefsknife.com/KAGAYAKIVG-10.html
    Thanks for the link and info, Rick. There you go, rdpx.

    (To rdpx - I value what Pensacola Tiger writes. He's used a lot/owned a lot of knives, and I've found his observations to be very similar to what I've experienced or what others have observed and written. You would do well to pay attention to what he writes. Similarly, kalaeb rehandles knives and I've bought a knife from him. His description of the performance of the knife I bought from him was the same as what I observed. Consequently, I value his opinions as well.)

    I've never used the Kagayaki so I can't say anything about it. Rick, you've used/owned one, right?
    Michael
    "Don't you know who he is?"

  6. #16
    Senior Member rdpx's Avatar
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    I appear to have violated some forum etiquette.

    Sorry everyone!
    Will try harder.


  7. #17
    Senior Member Matus's Avatar
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    You guys are just wonderful Let me go through your replies to so that I can also answer the questions that appeared in the process:

    - rdpx -
    http://japanesechefsknife.com/Furink...ries.html#W1-6
    I do like this one - carbon core with stainless cladding could work. The finish seems to look a bit 'rough' on the photos. The blade with 3.8 mm is on the thicker side, but on the other hand is relatively wide so that is probably OK.

    The Hattori FH (solid VG-10) series seems to be highly regarded. I would only prefer less western design.

    - mhlee -
    The long knife is planned most for meat slicing or maybe for large vegetables or such. NOT for hard cheese or salami.
    I would prefer lighter well balanced knife with hight edge retention.

    The knife should not be too thick - that of course partially depends on the width of the blade. Wider blade will probably be thicker on the spine. But it probably should be a bit thicker than my 6" SHUN (VERY thin) given the length will be around 9-10".

    I am not sure about the bevel - I have never used one-sided bevels before, so I do not know what to expect. BTW both me and my wife are right-handed.

    Stainless or not: I do realize that for good reasons most knives available are not stainless, but I am not sure I am ready to handle knife made purely out of carbon steel in a kitchen. Carbon knives really need to be treated immediately after AFAIK use and that just seems a bit impractical. Also - the stain (which can no really be 100% avoided) tends to be 'smelled' on the food sometimes. So - stainless or nearly stainless would be preferred ...

    The Looks: as I already mentioned - I would prefer japanese design with classical handle. The knife should not have rough finish. It should look 'consistent with itself', so to speak (not necessarily 'pretty') - the blade may of course shows signs of the process - in particular if it was hand forged. The mentioned Masamoto KS would probably not pass this part, even though the photos from the link would not suggest that.

    Just an example:
    http://gx2.japan-messer-shop.de/prod...-signiert.html
    http://gx2.japan-messer-shop.de/prod...-rostfrei.html

    Sharpening: right now I have sharpening set from KME sharpeners which allows to clamp the knife and use a constant angle. If that would not be optimal I would be ready (in the future) to get proper sharpening stones.
    I have no problem to sharpen the SHEN knife in a very short time, if that is of any help.

    - Pensacola Tiger -
    Thanks. The KAGAYAKI VG-10 (ES) Series would generally be fine, but I would prefer japanese design.

    ****

    Any opinions on the knives available via: http://gx2.japan-messer-shop.de ? This is so far the largest German shop selling japanese knives that I found.

  8. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Matus View Post
    You guys are just wonderful Let me go through your replies to so that I can also answer the questions that appeared in the process:

    - rdpx -
    http://japanesechefsknife.com/Furink...ries.html#W1-6
    I do like this one - carbon core with stainless cladding could work. The finish seems to look a bit 'rough' on the photos. The blade with 3.8 mm is on the thicker side, but on the other hand is relatively wide so that is probably OK.

    The Hattori FH (solid VG-10) series seems to be highly regarded. I would only prefer less western design.

    - mhlee -
    The long knife is planned most for meat slicing or maybe for large vegetables or such. NOT for hard cheese or salami.
    I would prefer lighter well balanced knife with hight edge retention.

    The knife should not be too thick - that of course partially depends on the width of the blade. Wider blade will probably be thicker on the spine. But it probably should be a bit thicker than my 6" SHUN (VERY thin) given the length will be around 9-10".

    I am not sure about the bevel - I have never used one-sided bevels before, so I do not know what to expect. BTW both me and my wife are right-handed.

    Stainless or not: I do realize that for good reasons most knives available are not stainless, but I am not sure I am ready to handle knife made purely out of carbon steel in a kitchen. Carbon knives really need to be treated immediately after AFAIK use and that just seems a bit impractical. Also - the stain (which can no really be 100% avoided) tends to be 'smelled' on the food sometimes. So - stainless or nearly stainless would be preferred ...

    The Looks: as I already mentioned - I would prefer japanese design with classical handle. The knife should not have rough finish. It should look 'consistent with itself', so to speak (not necessarily 'pretty') - the blade may of course shows signs of the process - in particular if it was hand forged. The mentioned Masamoto KS would probably not pass this part, even though the photos from the link would not suggest that.

    Just an example:
    http://gx2.japan-messer-shop.de/prod...-signiert.html
    http://gx2.japan-messer-shop.de/prod...-rostfrei.html

    Sharpening: right now I have sharpening set from KME sharpeners which allows to clamp the knife and use a constant angle. If that would not be optimal I would be ready (in the future) to get proper sharpening stones.
    I have no problem to sharpen the SHEN knife in a very short time, if that is of any help.

    - Pensacola Tiger -
    Thanks. The KAGAYAKI VG-10 (ES) Series would generally be fine, but I would prefer japanese design.

    ****

    Any opinions on the knives available via: http://gx2.japan-messer-shop.de ? This is so far the largest German shop selling japanese knives that I found.
    First, I hate to burst your bubble, but I don't think you're going to find what's generally considered a "hand-forged" knife, i.e., an artisan made knife, forged and hammered knife, for 300 euros. Second, most "hand forged" Japanese knives are carbon steel. Third, if you're going to use it for vegetables, I would not recommend buying a single bevel knife.

    I can't read German, but from what I see on that website, there are several brands that offer stainless steel knives such as Sakai Takayuki (they carry the Grand Cheff Sujihiki which is made with AEB-L steel, a well regarded steel, which is generally tough, with good edge retention; a number of members here have probably had/used the Grand Cheff Gyuto), Aoki Hamono has two lines of warikomi (carbon clad knife lines of white 2 and blue 2) as well as silver 3 which is a stainless steel. They also have the Suisin Inox Honyaki line which is very well regarded by members here. And Sakai Takyuki has a number of lines of knives that could fit what you're looking for.

    But, aside from looks, balance and high edge retention, what kind of performance are you looking for? Something that slices cleanly and easily, or something that tougher and more substantial? How hard are you on your knives? Do you bang them on boards? And what kind of cutting board do you use?

    If you have knives you're interested in, I would recommend that you (1) translate the description from German to English, (2) explain why you like the knife, and (3) be more specific about what you're going to cut. There are a LOT of vegetables in the world and there's a big difference in hardness and size between cabbage vs. carrots vs. pumpkins vs. rutabaga. And there's a difference between slicing thick slices of ham or roasts versus very thin slices of, for example, smoked salmon.

    And, if you can, I would recommend going to that store to see what you like in person and holding knives and seeing what you like most. Balance is not going to be obvious through photos. They also have a lot of options, but the prices vary significantly.
    Michael
    "Don't you know who he is?"

  9. #19
    One more thing, how stiff of a knife do you want? Completely stiff with no flex, or a little flex?
    Michael
    "Don't you know who he is?"

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matus View Post

    - Pensacola Tiger -
    Thanks. The KAGAYAKI VG-10 (ES) Series would generally be fine, but I would prefer japanese design.
    Scroll down and find the wa-handled versions as I suggested (there are two, a 24 cm and a 27 cm).

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