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Thread: asymmetric versus symmetric gyutos

  1. #1
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    asymmetric versus symmetric gyutos

    First off, I am a home cook and so I suspect I don't cut in a day what some of you guys cut in an hour and that may explain why my question seems a little dumb - in which case I apologize in advance.

    Anyway it seems to me that while some of my high end knives are clearly ground quite asymmetrically and cut fabulously well, some are much more symmetric - some are even basically 50/50 - and seem to cut equally well for me.

    My question is the difference between, equally masterfully made, quite asymmetric and pretty symmetric ground knives, really *that* significant to you guys??

    If so what is the difference?

    Or, is it just a matter of taste and so some of you pros can just simply prefer the feel of one kind of knife grind to the other??

    TIA

  2. #2
    Senior Member chinacats's Avatar
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    I think almost all good gyutos are asymmetric to some degree...but you should read this. Seems to me that I prefer fairly asymmetric personally though I am not a pro.

    http://www.kitchenknifeforums.com/sh...-The-REAL-DEAL
    once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right

  3. #3
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    If you like the way it cuts, that's the only thing that matters. All of my favourites are asymmetrically ground, I am also a fan of the A-type/Sugimoto geometry (completely flat left face, convex right face).

    Do you have any Japanese blades that are close to 50/50?. Most gyutos have fairly pronounced asymmetry.

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    My Mac Pro is really a better version of a European knife and so is 50/50, cuts darn well. Not sure what my miyabi 7000mcl is but it's pretty symmetrical as well as is my akifusa powdered steel as is my do. My beloved Devine really isn't all that asymmetric either.

    I read Dave's thing and it great but I still am confused because I can line up a bunch of my well made knives that go from 50/50 to about 80/20 and they all seem to cut like a dream - given how sharp they all are.

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    Senior Member Benuser's Avatar
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    All good European chef's knives have a clear asymmetry in their grinding: left face flatter, right face more convexed. The Japanese took over the Sabatier model, and developed it a little further.
    As the Japanese seem to simply ignore the fact that some of us humans happen to be left-handed, they didn't need to find an intermediate solution for both right- and left-handed. It allowed them to have the grinding's asymmetry more pronounced by offcentering the edge to the left.
    In my poor unskilled hands though even the Sabatiers and Sheffields perform much better with some asymmetry in the edge, just following the grinding.

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    That's an interesting point, my more or less symmetrically groudn knives do have the more convex/flat feature but the angles on teh edge vary in their symmetry.

    So the best knives basically match the convex/flat asymmetry of their grind to their angle asymetry at the edge??

    Still, I find it interesting that going from an OOB 80/20 to an OOB 50/50 doesn't really seem to make that much different to me assuming the knife is equally high quality...

  7. #7
    Senior Member Benuser's Avatar
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    The edge should follow the blade's geometry. That isn't always possible. Producers don't want to make right- and left-hand versions; right-handed end-users share their knives with left-handed.

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    Which leads to the question: suppose the manufacturer has *not* followed the grind geometry very well on the edge or its an old dirty carbon knife one bought at a yardsale, how does one figure out what angle to sharpen at in order to follow the geometry best do that? The Magic Marker trick certainly helps to make your angles follow the factory grind but other then sending it to Dave or Jon to fix the edge (:- ) ) how do amateurs make the edge go along with the grind higher up - just magic marker way up the spine??

  9. #9
    Senior Member Benuser's Avatar
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    An old or a new blade, it isn't that different. I don't take a OOTB edge too seriously. With an old knife, first some profile correction will take place -- abrading a lot of fatigued steel as well -- followed by a lot of thinning on both sides.
    For both old and new, have a look at the dominant, convex face, and imagine it to flush with the very edge. As for the left face, give it the bevel, or deburr at the angle it needs to have the edge stabilized knowing the blade's steel. Or find out by trial and error, with microbevels perhaps, what kind of edge the steel can take and hold.
    If you have both sides thinned, the exact angle at which you sharpen the final edge won't matter that much, nor will it be very hard to find a good solution.

  10. #10
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    Symmetric and asymmetrically ground blades can both cut well. The reason for using asymmetry is to maintain thinness while adding convexity to the food release side of the blade. It's just trading sticktion problems for steering issues. Which one bothers you more? That's the real question.

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