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    Gran8man's Avatar
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    Masamoto KK or KS

    So I have finally found a decent source for whole fish and want to explore single bevel knives in greater detail. I have decided that I would like to get a 165 mm Deba and a 270 mm Yanagiba. The up charge for the Hon Kasumi Yanagiba over the Kasumi line is approximately $75 and the Deba $45. What do I really get for my money by purchasing the hon kasumi? Recommendations?

    Down the road I would like to get a 210 Kamagata Usuba (if I can ever find good usuba technique videos other than katsura muki) What would the recommendation be at a difference of $90 between the Kasumi and Hon Kasumi lines?

    Thanks for the help!

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    As I understand it, the difference is that the KS is taken to a slightly higher level of finish, for example, the spine is rounded. Otherwise, the knives are essentially identical. I asked the same question at FF last year, and the recommendation was to go with the KK.

    I would suggest that you get slightly longer knives, a 180mm deba and a 300mm yanagiba.

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    Thanks for the recommendation! My thought on the yanagiba was to go with the 270 mm for my first one to work on technique. I figure that since I have 5 gyuto's I will end up with more than one yanagiba eventually. I was on the fence with the deba length. I figure the largest fish I will process will be around 10 lbs with most in the 3-5 lb range. Even though I have a honesuki I figure the deba will double for breaking down chickens some times. Would you still suggest 180 mm deba?

    Do you work with a usuba?

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    I have an 180mm deba, and I've sometimes wished for something longer, even though I only break down smaller fish (no monster salmon, for instance). You may well find that a 165mm is sufficient for your needs.

    The yanagiba, however, is one knife where length will affect technique. My first yanagiba was a 240mm, and I found it difficult to make an uninterrupted cut in salmon filet. That extra 60mm makes a lot of difference. I'm not sure an extra 30mm is enough.

    I have an usuba. It sits, oiled and wrapped, in a drawer.

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    I saw a Japanese guy on ICJ last night using a usuba to slice some matsutaki mushrooms. He just slide the blade straight down through the product. Michiba massacred him.
    Spike C
    "The Buddha resides as comfortably in the circuits of a digital computer or the gears of a cycle transmission as he does at the top of a mountain."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pensacola Tiger View Post
    I have an 180mm deba, and I've sometimes wished for something longer, even though I only break down smaller fish (no monster salmon, for instance). You may well find that a 165mm is sufficient for your needs.

    The yanagiba, however, is one knife where length will affect technique. My first yanagiba was a 240mm, and I found it difficult to make an uninterrupted cut in salmon filet. That extra 60mm makes a lot of difference. I'm not sure an extra 30mm is enough.

    I have an usuba. It sits, oiled and wrapped, in a drawer.
    I agree that 180mm is a good size for a starter deba, but i also happen to think that 270mm for a yanagiba is a good size to learn on. It seems that when most people start with 300 and dont have formal training, there is a tendency to pick up bad habits as the 300 can feel a bit unwieldy. I can do 90% of what i would use a yanagiba for with a 270mm in a professional kitchen and 99% in a home kitchen. Now days i recommend people really wanting to learn how to use the knife start off with a 270mm and go from there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JBroida View Post
    I agree that 180mm is a good size for a starter deba, but i also happen to think that 270mm for a yanagiba is a good size to learn on. It seems that when most people start with 300 and dont have formal training, there is a tendency to pick up bad habits as the 300 can feel a bit unwieldy. I can do 90% of what i would use a yanagiba for with a 270mm in a professional kitchen and 99% in a home kitchen. Now days i recommend people really wanting to learn how to use the knife start off with a 270mm and go from there.
    Jon, I'll defer to your more experienced recommendation. I am just an egg.

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    Thanks for the input PT and Jon. The more I think about it the more a 180 mm deba makes sense. Jon what is your impression on the value of hon kasumi vs kasumi? I know I can round a spine but what other differences might there be?

    Jon I am waiting for a video series on usuba techniques. All your and KC's videos are great.

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    I totally agree with Jon, 210mm for deba and without no doubt 270mm for yanagi. I have both kk and ks and basically on ks you pay extra money for extra kanji engraving.

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    Quote Originally Posted by riverie View Post
    I totally agree with Jon, 210mm for deba and without no doubt 270mm for yanagi. I have both kk and ks and basically on ks you pay extra money for extra kanji engraving.
    haha... 210 deba to learn on? Oh well... different strokes different folks i guess

    The KK and KS are very similar, but there are some differences people should be aware of... its not just the kanji. There are certain kinds of problems that occur in higher rates with less expensive single bevel knives. Some are fixable (or at least dont effect the way the blade performs)... some are not (or are very difficult to fix). Here are some common problems that i see:

    -significant number of high and low spots
    -blade not straight (sometimes just tilting to a side an sometimes twisted)
    -poorly ground table (and thus problems with the shinogi and sharpening later)
    -poorly ground ura (which causes real problems with function and sharpening later on)
    -delamination of hagane and jigane (sometimes not immediately apparent... can be a problem or not... depends on the severity and location)
    -poor heat treatment (doesnt have to be terrible... can be just a little off sometimes, but still noticeable)
    -handle not mounted properly and may have gaps visible


    Anyways, you get the idea. I'm not saying this happens all of the time or even that these problems dont occur on more expensive knives... just that i tend to seem them in greater quantity with less expensive blades (read:kasumi vs. hon-kasumi, etc.). My general philosophy is to not get the least expensive blade, but rather the least expensive good blade i can find.

    That being said, i've seen plenty of decent KK's and KS's.

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