i am currently searching for a wa-gyuto. although i generally prefer western handles, i would like to try (and own) one single (at least this is what i am telling myself right now) wa-gyuto.
i am a hobby chef, so no professional environment, simply someone who enjoys working with high quality food and knives, cooking for 2 most of the time. my western collection is already complete, including the following knives:
165mm yaxell ran santoku
190mm hiromoto as santoku
210mm wuesthof dreizack classic
210mm hattori kd gyuto
270mm konosuke hd gyuto
all are double-bevelled, semi-stainless or stainless. size-wise i clearly prefer either 240 or 210, 270 is definitely something that i don't use much to be honest.
i am not afraid of using a carbon blade, but haven't tried one yet. patina is something i have just recently started to like - but now i do! also, i haven't yet sharpened a single-bevelled knife, meaning i have no experience with that. but i am willing to learn, if necessary.
i know there are several nice blacksmiths out there who do great or even fantastic knives, some for reasonable money, some for higher prices and some are very desirable but definitely nothing i would want to spend (my budget is under 1,000 US$... if it's even under 500 US$, fine. but if there's something worth spending a little more, why not? i have 2 re-handle jobs in my mind for 2 of my western knives, so...).
from my research so far, mostly here in this forum but also some other sites, i found the following brands very interesting:
those are quite many, i know, and it shows that i have no idea where to go...
damascus pattern is something nice, but nothing that has to be. no hammer-finish or similar. no black blades. clads are fine. and honyaki also is something that has recently caught my attraction. i know that honyaki is nothing cheap, but there are affordable honyaki knives out there (singatirin, or even watanabe). i generally prefer something handmade, maybe some smaller blacksmiths, family-run maybe, over bigger companies with mass-production. but from the above, none is "big", is it?
so, that is quite confusing and quite much information, i know. but from what i have written, is there anything that you can recommend?