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Looking to buy first Japanese knife :)
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Thread: Looking to buy first Japanese knife :)

  1. #1

    Looking to buy first Japanese knife :)

    Hey all,

    I'm looking to buy my first Japanese knife. I've been reading a lot of articles/forums/etc. and have gotten a pretty good idea, but would like to narrow down a bit. Some that look good so far are Hiromoto, Takeda, and Asai. I am particularly interested in clad Aogami Super, unless there are particular reasons you don't think I should go this route based on my profile below. Thanks in advance!

    LOCATION
    What country are you in?
    USA/Canada


    KNIFE TYPE
    What type of knife are you interested in (e.g., chef’s knife, slicer, boning knife, utility knife, bread knife, paring knife, cleaver)?
    Chef's knife/Gyuto

    Are you right or left handed?
    Right

    Are you interested in a Western handle (e.g., classic Wusthof handle) or Japanese handle?
    Either

    What length of knife (blade) are you interested in (in inches or millimeters)?
    8-10 inches

    Do you require a stainless knife? (Yes or no)
    No but must be clad if not stainless

    What is your absolute maximum budget for your knife?
    $400


    KNIFE USE
    Do you primarily intend to use this knife at home or a professional environment?
    Home
    What are the main tasks you primarily intend to use the knife for (e.g., slicing vegetables, chopping vegetables, mincing vegetables, slicing meats, cutting down poultry, breaking poultry bones, filleting fish, trimming meats, etc.)? (Please identify as many tasks as you would like.)
    Slicing/chopping/mincing vegetables, slicing meats, trimming meats

    What knife, if any, are you replacing?
    Windmuehlenmesser Carbon

    Do you have a particular grip that you primarily use? (Please click on this LINK for the common types of grips.)
    Pinch/Point (for more delicate cutting)

    What cutting motions do you primarily use? (Please click on this LINK for types of cutting motions and identify the two or three most common cutting motions, in order of most used to least used.)
    Chop, rock, slice

    What improvements do you want from your current knife? If you are not replacing a knife, please identify as many characteristics identified below in parentheses that you would like this knife to have.)
    Want something lighter, thinner blade. I also can't deal with the full carbon steel knife - This one in particular rusts very quickly and imparts taste to acidic foods

    Better aesthetics (e.g., a certain type of finish; layered/Damascus or other pattern of steel; different handle color/pattern/shape/wood; better scratch resistance; better stain resistance)?
    No damascus but aesthetics are important. I don't remember what it is called but when Japanese blades are mostly black except for the edge, that is nice. This is not a make or break, though.

    Comfort (e.g., lighter/heavier knife; better handle material; better handle shape; rounded spine/choil of the knife; improved balance)?
    I have larger than average hands so need good knuckle clearance and a decently comfortably large handle

    Ease of Use (e.g., ability to use the knife right out of the box; smoother rock chopping, push cutting, or slicing motion; less wedging; better food release; less reactivity with food; easier to sharpen)?

    Edge Retention (i.e., length of time you want the edge to last without sharpening)?
    Good edge retention is important


    KNIFE MAINTENANCE
    Do you use a bamboo, wood, rubber, or synthetic cutting board? (Yes or no.)
    Yes

    Do you sharpen your own knives? (Yes or no.)
    No

    If not, are you interested in learning how to sharpen your knives? (Yes or no.)
    Yes

    Are you interested in purchasing sharpening products for your knives? (Yes or no.)
    Yes

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    If you have large hands I find a Japanese wa handle works well.Many of the western handle J-Gyuto are too small.

    A thin stain resistant knife is the Gesshin Ginga.Give Jon at JKI a call he is helpful and has some very nice knives.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Benuser's Avatar
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    Welcome aboard! If you're now using Robert Herder's Windmühlens, how do you maintain them? They are just as thin as most Japanese knives, just a bit softer perhaps.
    That said, the Hiromoto AS are a great introduction, just as are the Misono Swedish Carbons or the Fujiwara FKH. All sharpen very easily. Edge retention of the AS is exceptional though. And with full carbons putting a decent patina on them is all you need to prevent taste transfer.
    First thing to do would be to get two waterstones and practice on your Herders. Consider a 800-1200 grit and a 2-3k.

  4. #4
    Thanks for the tips Benuser. The Windmill was my first carbon knife and I was not very diligent at caring for it and it seemed to rust a lot faster than what I had read about carbon steel. I will be getting it sharpened/cleaned up because right now it's in kind of poor condition since I tried to force a patina and that didn't work very well. Do you have any tips on how to maintain it and put a patina on it quickly?

    As for the AS, do you have any recommendations for clad AS knives?

    Quote Originally Posted by Benuser View Post
    Welcome aboard! If you're now using Robert Herder's Windmühlens, how do you maintain them? They are just as thin as most Japanese knives, just a bit softer perhaps.
    That said, the Hiromoto AS are a great introduction, just as are the Misono Swedish Carbons or the Fujiwara FKH. All sharpen very easily. Edge retention of the AS is exceptional though. And with full carbons putting a decent patina on them is all you need to prevent taste transfer.
    First thing to do would be to get two waterstones and practice on your Herders. Consider a 800-1200 grit and a 2-3k.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Benuser's Avatar
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    My Herders aren't that reactive. For a fast patina, degrease the blade with alcohol and apply hot vinegar. Wait a few minutes, and rinse with the hottest water you may get. Repeat if necessary. Finally, wash with soap to neutralize.
    When you don't let your blade wet and dirty rust shouldn't occur with the Herders.
    I like the Hiromotos alot. Great steel and excellent value. Steel isn't so hard that it becomes brittle.

  6. #6
    +1 on Japanese vs. Western handles, and +2 on the Gesshin Ginga line. They are available in Stainless, or White #2. I have a 240 Guyto in white #2 and it is incredible. Very thin so it slices with little effort, takes a killer edge which seems to last a long time. I haven't found it more difficult to sharpen than my other knives, either. Lastly, I LOVE the look of the knife. The geometry is perfect to my eye, the makers mark is this awesome, deep etched stamp of some sort, and the White #2 looks great once it starts to patina a bit. Rounded edges and light weight make it a joy to use.

    Quote Originally Posted by keithsaltydog View Post
    If you have large hands I find a Japanese wa handle works well.Many of the western handle J-Gyuto are too small.

    A thin stain resistant knife is the Gesshin Ginga.Give Jon at JKI a call he is helpful and has some very nice knives.

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