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OneEyeMan

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A little background:
I've always been into knives, just not kitchen knives.
I'm pretty good at sharpening with my Edge Pro and setting the secondary bevel with my Spyderco Sharpmaker.
We received a set of Hoffritz knives when we got married over 20 years ago.
They're some sort of SS, Western handles, and ground relative obtusely.
They don't sharpen up that easily, or retain the edge for that long.
So, I've been wanting to try a thin angle Gyuto with a Wa handle for a while now.
Here's the standard questionaire:

What type of knife(s) do you think you want?
Just 1 Gyuto to start out. I cut in a rocking motion so I'd prefer some good curve to the blade.

Why is it being purchased? What, if anything, are you replacing?
See above, my Hoffritz knives.

What do you like and dislike about these qualities of your knives already?
Aesthetics- OK, but I'd rather have a Wa handle for different grips plus I think they look better
Edge Quality/Retention- Current Hoffritz knives are adequate at best
Ease of Use- OK, but, as always, they could be sharper
Comfort- I'm not a fan of the blocky, harsh edge western handles

What grip do you use?
Mostly hammer grip, but I'd like to experiment with different grips. Hence the desire for a Wa handle.

What kind of cutting motion do you use?
Rocking

Where do you store them?
Wood block hanging on the wall with individual slots

Have you ever oiled a handle?
No, never needed to.
But I don't have a problem doing it if the rest of the knife meets my requirement

What kind of cutting board(s) do you use?
Usually, Rock Maple, occasionally, other small wood or plastic cutting boards

For edge maintenance, do you use a strop, honing rod, pull through/other, or nothing?
I usually touch up on the Spyderco Sharpmaker.
But I'd like to learn to use a honing rod.
We have a grooved one, but I've read that these aren't that good for Japanese blades

Have they ever been sharpened?
Yes. I had the edges thinned out a while back, and I've kept them up with the Sharpmaker and Edge Pro

What is your budget?
$100 give or take for the Gyuto.
I'll follow up with a parer and a mid size Petty in the future

What do you cook and how often?
I'll mostly use it for veggies, occasionally, beef.
At most, I'll use it 3 or 4 times a week.


Special requests(Country of origin/type of wood/etc)?
I want it to look nice, not blingy, so a tasteful damascus cladding is OK.
Also don't mind the look of that black, unfinished steel some blades have at the spine side.
Also, I don't mind if the core is High C non-ss (or for that matter, the entire blade).
Not too picky about the handle material, as long as it's durable, comfy (Wa), and well sealed around the tang.
My main criteria is ease of sharpening, and edge holding.

Thanks all,
Lenny
 

Lefty

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Lenny, as always, you're going to get a huge number of options and suggestions. So, here are mine:

Tojiro Shirogami gyuto at CKtG. It's insanely affordable, somewhat thicker at the spine, has a nice gentle curve throughout and it's a very nice steel (assuming it's been HT'd properly).
Check out the many Miyabi gyutos at cutlery and more. They have great prices, and Miyabi has some nice profiles, if you ask me. They get better reviews than many expect.
Take a look at the Grand Cheff gyuto as well. Same as above.
Of course, there is also the Fujiwara FKM gyuto at JCK. They're great knives, especially for the price and they're not so hard that rocking will lead to huge amounts of chipping.

Hope that helps a bit, and at the very least, I hope I spark some conversation that will benefit you.
 

OneEyeMan

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Thanks for the info Lefty.
I like the Fujiwara FKM a lot, and it is inexpensive to boot.
But what is a "70/30" edge?
Does it mean that the primary bevel is 70 degrees, and the secondary bevel is 30 degrees?
If so, that's a pretty obtuse and thick blade.

As for the Tojiro Shirogami, I also love it and great price too.
I've read good things about white steel.

Also love the Miyabi Kaizen, great look and recommended to me on another forum.

I can't find the Grand Cheff knives though.

Of the above 3, which would you recommend.
Thanks again.
Lenny
 

stevenStefano

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I don't think there are many wa handled knives at that price range. The Carbonext would be my first recommendation but it is Western handled and the 240 is sold out. What length are you thinking of getting?
 

Andrew H

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I have a knife from the Tojiro shirogami line (the petty) and the steel is pretty reactive. Even after it has a nice patina it still turns garlic brown. As Steven said there aren't many wa options for $100. If you don't mind go western there are a couple of options for you, Fujiwara, CarboNext.

When someone says a knife is 70/30 they can be talking about the grind of the blade faces or the bevel, usually it is the bevel. Basically what 70/30 means is the bevel on the right side of the knife is bigger than the one on the left side. Here is a thread about it (look at the picture second from the left.) The right side has a more acute angle than the left side.
 

OneEyeMan

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I have a knife from the Tojiro shirogami line (the petty) and the steel is pretty reactive. Even after it has a nice patina it still turns garlic brown. As Steven said there aren't many wa options for $100. If you don't mind go western there are a couple of options for you, Fujiwara, CarboNext.

When someone says a knife is 70/30 they can be talking about the grind of the blade faces or the bevel, usually it is the bevel. Basically what 70/30 means is the bevel on the right side of the knife is bigger than the one on the left side. Here is a thread about it (look at the picture second from the left.) The right side has a more acute angle than the left side.
Andrew,
Your link didn't come thru.
I just don't understand why you'd want 2 different bevel angles.
Is this a right handed/left handed thing?
So, 70/30 really means one side is 35, and the other is 15?

As for length, I assume 240 is a good intermediate length.
Don't really know what I want.
What are the benefits/drawbacks of different lengths?

And could you please rate the 3 knives for me?

Thanks all.
 

Pensacola Tiger

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Lenny,

You say you use an Edge Pro, so any asymmetrical ground knife is going to present a challenge to sharpen correctly on it. I'm not talking about the cutting bevel (sometimes called the primary bevel and sometimes called the secondary bevel, but that's the subject of a entirely different thread), but rather the typical Japanese practice of grinding one side of the knife with a pronounced convexity while leaving the other side almost flat. The Edge Pro is designed for knives that have symmetrically ground sides, as most all German, French and American knives are. When you flip an assymentric knife from one side to the other on the Edge Pro, you drastically change the bevel angle, and you would need to change the angle of the stone arm each time you change the side you are sharpening. Not to mention the fact that because a convexed surface will rock, you have to ensure that the convexed side of the blade is held against the stage the same way every time. It's one of the reasons I don't use my Edge Pro on my Japanese knives any more.

So, if you're looking for a Japanese blade, I'd also suggest that you get a couple of waterstones and start sharpening freehand.

As to a recommendation, if you don't mind a 210, take a look at the Sugimoto wa-gyuto at CKTG. It's a steal at $80, shipped.

BTW, welcome to KKF!

Rick
 

Andrew H

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Andrew,
Your link didn't come thru.
I just don't understand why you'd want 2 different bevel angles.
Is this a right handed/left handed thing?
So, 70/30 really means one side is 35, and the other is 15?

As for length, I assume 240 is a good intermediate length.
Don't really know what I want.
What are the benefits/drawbacks of different lengths?

And could you please rate the 3 knives for me?

Thanks all.
That's weird, I could have sworn I linked it. http://www.kitchenknifeforums.com/showthread.php/4829-Asimetric-grinds
In kitchen knives you usually have relatively small angles. Most people here put 12-15 degree angles on their blades (24-30 if you count both.) If you look at the thread you can see that the angle is smaller on the right hand side, but the bevel is bigger. (picture number 2).

240mm is pretty much the standard length on the forum. The knife is big enough to do almost all tasks, but isn't unruly. A 210mm or a 270mm works also works, but it comes down to personal preference. Most people buy 240s.
As for the three knives you are looking at you have one that is stainless, one that is carbon, and one that is somewhere inbetween. The CarboNext can patina, but is not nearly as reactive as the steel in the tojiro shirogami series. The fujiwara is completely stainless, but probably can't get as sharp as the CarboNext or the tojiro.

I'd go with the CarboNext.
 

Lefty

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Good points, as always, Rick.
I'm thinking the Kaizen or now the Tojiro DP. VG10 is what it is, but ithas a loyal following. I'm not sure on the grind for either of these knives, however....
A 1k stone and *gasp* Moritaka might be nice too.
How abut finding a few knives that you like the look of, and telling us what they are. We might be able to narrow it down to two or three, at which point you will just have to take the plunge.
 

Lefty

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I should add one thing. I know that most here swear by 240s and even 270s, but I'll take a 210, thanks.
 

OneEyeMan

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Rick,
Good info; now I know I don't want an asymetrical knife.
I'm also terrible at sharpening freehand.
In all honesty, I want to use the knife and have it easy to maintain, not learn to sharpen freehand.
That's the whole reason I bought the Edge Pro.
As for the Sugimoto, the 1 review of it was less than glowing.
Plus, the reviewer says it is "Single beveled on 90-10/85/15"
What the heck does that mean?
I just want a blade with a primary and secondary bevel, or just a primary bevel.
As for length, 240mm is almost 9.5"
Why do I need a blade that long.
210 or 180 seems more reasonable.
What does the extra length get you? (keep your thoughts about knives gentlemen :rofl2:)
And where do I find the CarboNext knife?
Lenny
 

Johnny.B.Good

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I should add one thing. I know that most here swear by 240s and even 270s, but I'll take a 210, thanks.
I am still deciding what length works best for me (I don't have a 210 yet, only 240 and 270). I will say that my first "Japanese" knife (American made) was a 270 and I was shocked at how light and nimble it seemed out of the box, even though I was used to a much shorter German blade. I don't know what you are using at home now Lenny (in terms of length), but I would suggest you go a little larger (assuming you have the space on your cutting board and in your kitchen) than you are using now and see what you think. As has been said, 240 is a very popular length and probably a pretty safe bet.
 

OneEyeMan

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OK, I'll measure my Chef's Knife at home.
I still need somebody to clear up this 70/30 edge thing for me.
I assume it's just like Rick said, different angles on each side.
Bottom line, I can't (easily) use my Edge Pro on a knife with 2 bevels.
I definitely want a single bevel knife.
Lenny
 

stevenStefano

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If you're looking at VG10 the JCK KV8 with a wa handle is $145 which ain't so bad or $130 with a Western handle
 

JasonD

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Honestly if they just mean that the edge is sharpened at 70/30 it means instead of the point meeting 50% between the "shoulder" of the 2 bevels, it meets more like 70% towards one side. Keep in mind, in this example it only means the cutting edge is sharpened this way. Most of us here put a new bevel on a knife before we even use it the first time. You could quite easily put a coarser stone on your Edge Pro and put a 50/50 "normal" edge on your knife. The only time it gets to be more of an issue is when people start to talk about the way a knife's grind looks. A good example would be this Western Deba in the for sale section: http://www.kitchenknifeforums.com/showthread.php/4866-Fujiwara-FKM-240-mm-Stainless-Western-Deba If you check out the pictures you can see that it is very nearly straight on one side with a huge convex grind on the other to meet at the edge. This is an extreme (and pretty rare) example of what you might call a 99/1 or 95/5 *grind*. Some people *sharpen* this way, but that only means the edge, not the whole shape of the side of the blade.

Any of the knives mentioned would be fine on your Edge Pro, you just might be changing the knife slightly to suit you. That's kinda how it goes with Japanese knives, shown by the tradition of some knives to come nearly unsharpened at all because Japanese chef's always put their own edge on them anyways.

For the size debate, my first gyuto was a 210, and every single one I've bought since then has been a 240. For me, it was more about knuckle clearance/blade height, but I do like a taller blade.

I would also say go for the CarboNext. They seem like a great deal and the only hesitation I have when "new guys" start looking at them, is they are known to have pretty bad edges from the factory. You have an Edge Pro so you should be able to set it up nicely.
 

Johnny.B.Good

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I would also say go for the CarboNext. They seem like a great deal and the only hesitation I have when "new guys" start looking at them, is they are known to have pretty bad edges from the factory. You have an Edge Pro so you should be able to set it up nicely.
Except he wants a wa handle.
 

OneEyeMan

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Except he wants a wa handle.
Yeah, what he said.
Looks like I'm down to these 3:
Tojiro Shiragomi ITK
Tojiro DP
Miyabi Kaizen


I still haven't decided on 210mm vs 240mm though.
But the 240mm Miyabi is out of my price range.

Your recommendations please?
Lenny
 

Pensacola Tiger

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Rick,
Good info; now I know I don't want an asymetrical knife.
I'm also terrible at sharpening freehand.
In all honesty, I want to use the knife and have it easy to maintain, not learn to sharpen freehand.
That's the whole reason I bought the Edge Pro.
As for the Sugimoto, the 1 review of it was less than glowing.
Plus, the reviewer says it is "Single beveled on 90-10/85/15"
What the heck does that mean?
I just want a blade with a primary and secondary bevel, or just a primary bevel.
As for length, 240mm is almost 9.5"
Why do I need a blade that long.
210 or 180 seems more reasonable.
What does the extra length get you? (keep your thoughts about knives gentlemen :rofl2:)
And where do I find the CarboNext knife?
Lenny
Lenny,

I didn't mean to put you off asymmetrical knives, because most all of the Japanese knives are made that way. I just wanted to let you know the hurdles facing you over using the Edge Pro.

Everyone starts out "terrible" at freehand sharpening. It is a learned skill. Think of learning to ride a two-wheeled bike. The rewards are worth the effort, at least in my opinion.

So, you need to look for a Japanese knife that has at least a little convexity on both sides that is ground with a 50/50 or 60/40 bevel. That takes the Sugimoto out of contention. I've looked at my collection, and the closest knife I have to that spec is the Hattori FH series, available at JCK. Unfortunately, it is out of your price range.

I don't have a CarboNext, so perhaps someone who has one can check the grind. I had a JCK VG10 series, and it was almost dead flat on the left side.

Generally, the longer the knife, the more useful it is when cutting large quantities. For your purposes, a 210 may be just the right size.

As far as bevels are concerned, the subject is confusing because there is no recognized standard for even the name of the bevel. Because of this, you are getting hung up on bevel terminology.

OK, I'll measure my Chef's Knife at home.
I still need somebody to clear up this 70/30 edge thing for me.
I assume it's just like Rick said, different angles on each side.
Bottom line, I can't (easily) use my Edge Pro on a knife with 2 bevels.
I definitely want a single bevel knife.
Lenny
I think I see what you're getting at, but please don't say you want a single bevel knife - again there's the terminology getting in the way. Single-bevel knives are a completely different knife from what you are accustomed to. BTW, the Sugimoto is not a single bevel knife, despite whatever the reviewer says. It is a highly asymmetrical knife. I have one.

What you want is a knife that has a 50/50 bevel, and as close to a 50/50 grind as possible, like the Hoffritz knives you have. The problem is that the Japanese don't make their knives like that. The best you can hope for is a 50/50 edge with as little asymmetry as possible.

When you sharpen such a knife with your Edge Pro, unless you reset the angle every time you change the side of the knife you are grinding, you will wind up with a different angle on each side. The higher the degree of asymmetry, the greater the difference. This is reflected in a difference in the width of the bevel.

Now, on a thin Japanese gyuto like the CarboNext, this is going to give you a 60/40 ratio of one side to the other, and in practical terms, this is fairly negligible. It's not perfect, it isn't "pure", but it will cut, and cut pretty well. Better than any edge you had on your Hoffritz.

I hope some of this is helping.

Rick
 

SpikeC

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I would suggest visiting the JCK web site and looking at everything there first, when they say a knife is 50/50 it is close enough that you will not be able to tell the difference, then give Jon at JKI a call and discuss this with him. He will not suggest anything that will not fill your bill. My first J knife was a Takeda 210 gyuto which is out of your price range but is about as 50/50 as it can be for all practical purposes.
 

OneEyeMan

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The best you can hope for is a 50/50 edge with as little asymmetry as possible.Rick
OK Rick, you are helping.
But I must be dense.
What do you mean by your quote above.
How can a 50/50 edge be asymmetrical?
Pix would be awesome!

Spike,
What's JKI?
 

Andrew H

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OK Rick, you are helping.
But I must be dense.
What do you mean by your quote above.
How can a 50/50 edge be asymmetrical?
Pix would be awesome!

Spike,
What's JKI?
JKI is Japaneseknifeimports.com a vendor here.

You aren't being dense, it is just hard to understand. Rick is saying you want a knife with a cutting edge that is even, and with blade faces that are ground evenly. Picture number one on the link here: http://www.kitchenknifeforums.com/showthread.php/4829-Asimetric-grinds
Opposed to a knife with a cutting edge that is 50/50 but a grind on the blade face of 70/30 (picture number 2).
 

stevenStefano

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I am sure it seems hard to understand and I guess it probably does to a lot of people myself included. Basically what everyone is pointing out to you is the limitations of the Edge Pro, you really need a knife that is pretty symmetrical, that is what the EP was designed to sharpen
 

Pensacola Tiger

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OK Rick, you are helping.
But I must be dense.
What do you mean by your quote above.
How can a 50/50 edge be asymmetrical?
Pix would be awesome!

This is a pic looking down the blade of a Watanabe wa-gyuto. Note that the right side of the knife is almost flat, while the left is convex ground.




This is a pic of a Hattori FH gyuto, and you can see how the grind is more symmetrical.



Hope this helps you visualize what I'm talking about. Both knives have close to a 50/50 bevel for the cutting edge.

Rick
 

SpikeC

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Japanese Knife Imports, one of the vendors here.
Posting without reading the rest of the thread............
 

OneEyeMan

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OK, just to be consistent with the terminology, I've labeled the pic what I think everyone means.
Hopefully this is correct.
Andrew,
When you say "Opposed to a knife with a cutting edge that is 50/50 but a grind on the blade face of 70/30 (picture number 2). "
Aren't you really talking about picture 3?
Or am I really going crazy?
Lenny
 

Andrew H

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OK, just to be consistent with the terminology, I've labeled the pic what I think everyone means.
Hopefully this is correct.
Andrew,
When you say "Opposed to a knife with a cutting edge that is 50/50 but a grind on the blade face of 70/30 (picture number 2). "
Aren't you really talking about picture 3?
Or am I really going crazy?
Lenny
Yep, I meant to say picture number 3. Your labels are right also.
 

tk59

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Wow. This thread got long fast! In the sub-$100 range, I'd go with Fujiwara or MAC superior...
 

JasonD

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Hmm.. wa handle.

I had a Tanaka VG-10 (he also does some with Blue#2 cores) Damascus clad Wa-Gyuto at some point. It cut amazingly well but the handle itself felt cheap to me so I sold it off. Heh, I remember actually having a small swell of pride when my idiot coworker asked to borrow that knife, and got mad at me when he sliced a dime-sized piece of his knuckle off. "I told you it was sharp.." Anyways. This was a couple years back when it seemed like Tanaka just "hit the scene" so to speak, at least in our little corner of the internet. There are 210mm versions available for $130 from metalmasterjp (Shigeki Tanka) and it looks like 330mate_com can get the Blue#2 versions (Kazuki Tanaka) for a bit cheaper if you contact him. I don't know who is better or if they really are made differently at all. I believe I got mine from metalmasterjp, though.

Thinking along those lines, I believe there is a Yamawaku 210mm kuro-uchi wa-gytuo in V2 carbon steel for less than $100 too. I've often been interested to try out a Yamawaku, but he doesn't get talked about much around here. Both of which are through ebay vendors which some people don't like the idea of. There's also the Tojiro Shirogami ITK knives which fit in your budget.

The only one of these that I have personal experience with is the Tanaka, and it cut beautifully. It was just the handle was too rough for me.
 

skewed

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CKtG has a Tojiro DP 240mm wa-Gyuto for $100. I just bought a 210mm for a friend and was almost kept it and sent him my older western 210 DP. I like the DP line a lot.

But... I would also look at the Tojiro Shirogami Gyuto. Mark should have a 240mm out soon. I have two of the Shirogami blade and really like them. They are very easy to sharpen to a wicked edge. Just have to have practice good knife hygiene.

Cheers and best of luck,
rj
 
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