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Thread: When Wa Why?

  1. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by mzer View Post
    Anyway, my question was, perhaps, not well stated. Clearly looking at Japanese knife shops catering to the working kitchen trade there is still an emphasis on yo vs wa while in the knerd world things are reversed. I would love to hear not only why you prefer one or the other, but why you think that discrepancy exists. More along the lines of Iknowyourider's answer.
    I think its mostly as was already stated. Until Japanese knives became popular...western handles were the only choices, and if it didn't have a full tang, it was probably going to be a pretty crappy knife. The 'full tang' thing has stuck around, even though its not necessary...and with it the preference for western handles in most production kitchens.

    To illustrate the fact...I've had a number of facebook friends who go to or have gone to culinary school. When they saw my first kitchen knives...their first reaction was 'wow...nice blades, but...why no full tang??'.

    Its ingrained in them.

    On the balance issue...I think that's not a relevant point unless you're using light weight traditional or unstabilized handle materials. Every one of my stabilized wa handles I've made tips the scale at around 80g, and I've struggled with getting the balance past the choil on the knives they go to, lol. It almost invariably ends up at or just forward of the ferrule.

  2. #12
    Senior Member stevenStefano's Avatar
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    I prefer Western. Just personal preference, I feel like a Western is more a part of the knife, like it's one entity rather than wa handled knives, which feel like a knife and a handle

  3. #13
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    I like both but there is something about a perfect Yo handle (like on my Shig) that makes it feel like an extension of my hand - even though with a pinch grip that isn't very logical I know.

    Of course, while many of my yo handled knives are excellent, none are quite like my yo Shig!

  4. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by mzer View Post
    ...Clearly looking at Japanese knife shops catering to the working kitchen trade there is still an emphasis on yo vs wa while in the knerd world things are reversed. I would love to hear not only why you prefer one or the other, but why you think that discrepancy exists...
    My $0.02...pro kitchen staff does not equal knife nerd, so 1) they come to the shop with the same bias as retail consumer, 2) most wa- handle are higher end specialized knives (deba,yanagi, etc) and the $$$ is a turn off, and 3) wouldn't surprise me if there is a perception that wa handles won't pass muster with a health inspector unless you work in a sushi bar.

  5. #15
    Senior Member quantumcloud509's Avatar
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    For me personally wa handles came into play exactly one year after I stopped using house knives and bought a Wusty Classic set. My first wa handle was the Takeda Large cleaver I believe, changed my world. Even though I have larger hands, I love the amount of control I can get from a wa and that my hond doesnt cramp as much as with a yo handle my .02
    Amat Victoria Curam Fortune favors the prepared.
    "A human being is primarily a bag for putting food into." -George Orwell

  6. #16
    Senior Member aaamax's Avatar
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    I'd say the vast majority of cooks in restaurants don't know squat about food nor do they even care! They most certainly do think they are god's gift to culinary pursuits of the human species.
    So to think that they would at all be inclined to understand the finer aspects of good steel is foley.
    To answer the OP I think that we are just a very small group of enthusiasts that care/notice about detail. As to when Wa got popular in the West (obviously very popular in the East...lol) is hard to say... because it aint.
    I have worked in kitchens since '81 in L.A to Finland and all points inbetween and the ONLY time a coworker had a Wa sported blade was if there was sushi on the menu. I personally started to bring out Wa handled knives in the early '90s.
    Every time I start a new gig, some fool always tries to show their Culinary School cred by scoffing at my "old, dirty" blades then they proudly present a gleaming, full set of Globals or Porsches... To which I always reply "how nice that must be for you."
    Long live Carbon!!

  7. #17

    ecchef's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikemac View Post
    3) wouldn't surprise me if there is a perception that wa handles won't pass muster with a health inspector unless you work in a sushi bar.
    Wouldn't surprise me either. Especially if there is patina thrown in as well. But then, most health inspector don't know sh!t anyway.
    Though I could not caution all I still might warn a few; Don't raise your hand to raise no flag atop no ship of fools. - Robert Hunter

  8. #18
    Senior Member Salty dog's Avatar
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    +1 on the last two posts.

  9. #19
    Senior Member brainsausage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by panda View Post
    WA handles are a lot more agile in use. If you don't utilize varying grips then it really doesn't matter. I happen to prefer blade heavy as well so naturally WA is way to go for me.
    +1
    The AI does not love you, nor does it hate you, but you are made out of atoms it might find useful for something else. - Eliezer Yudkowsky

  10. #20
    Senior Member brainsausage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Salty dog View Post
    +1 on the last two posts.
    +2
    The AI does not love you, nor does it hate you, but you are made out of atoms it might find useful for something else. - Eliezer Yudkowsky

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