Do you live in the US? The reason I suggested getting in contact with some of the vendors is so they can give you their honest opinion of which knives they think would suit your needs best based on your level of experience, wants, needs, etc. If you can't try out knives or don't have a lot of experience with them, figuring out what you want/need can be a daunting task. Let a professional help
Originally Posted by Gustavo1977
I don't have a lot of experience with non-custom knives. One I do have experience with is a gyuto that receives a lot of praise around here, Shigs. That might be a good choice for gyuto. Kasumi is more budget friendly. Kitaeji is more of a splurge with the damascus. A problem with Shigs tend to be their rarity... They don't tend to be in stock very long. A way to get around this might be to pick one up second hand on the BST here. As a plus, they can be rehandled in the future with a custom handle if you're looking to upgrade it.
If you're thinking custom get in touch with a few of the custom makers on here. Check out their sites, send them emails. Gather ideas of what you like. Discuss what you're looking for with them. They can then give you a quote. I'm not sure if you're thinking damascus or not (might be out of your budget on a custom) but a straight carbon 240 might be doable. The downside like I said is the wait.
Good advice above. Mostly
I'm a leftie myself, so I have had to think thru this stuff too.
One of the things I very early on discovered was that there are renowned makers out there that will not ask the idiotic 50% surcharge for us with a well functioning brain
So I would stay away from any and all makers who adds that tax. (or is it the vendors?)
If you are looking for custom made stuff, you are gambling a fair bit with the end result.
Sure, there are makers out there who will make a fine knife, but how will you know in advance?
No, I'd say go with a truly tested and proven knife geometry of a renowned maker.
One who has made that very same knife a couple hundred times. Or more.
Leave experimentation to the Kool-Aid people.
Now, there are many more knives out there that I haven't tried than what I actually own.
From what I have tried/tested and owns though, I would not hesitate to recommend either Shigefusa or Kato.
I have a variety of both in my kitchen, and they all deliver the goods. For me.
IMHO the custom knives being made in American are as good as you can get, they just seem to be very expensive. Mr. Burke & Thomas, Rader, make magic. I have a knife made by Lloyd Harner & it's amazing!
I for one would like a bit more information: Specifically, what Kono Fujiyama do you have, and what would you change about it? I too am a lefty.
On the one hand I can see why makers do charge extra. They do have to make the knife especially for you, and it will make the process less efficient than it would be to make a right handed knife as part of a large batch. With that said though, I still can't bring myself to pay $1k for a $650 knife with a left handed grind.
Originally Posted by Birnando
If you think extra charges on lefty knives are unfair (although I agree with MAS and understand that why they would charge more), check out Mizuno at JCK.
They don't seem to charge extra for D-shape handle for lefties at least for gyutos and santokus. For example, the Akita Hontanren series gyutos have the same price for left or right-hand versions. You can also make an custom order with more expensive blade material or handle and they also offer honbaduke sharpening service for $18 so it should be good to go OOTB.