Best benchmark or reference classic 240 mm wa-gyuto knife?

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josemartinlopez

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I started a thread about grail knives and received many thoughtful answers, but the thread sounded like it was asking the unanswerable question of how to buy the one knife to end all knife buying. But really, I was hoping to get some benchmarks and frames of reference on what the good knives with a certain characteristic are so I have some points of reference on the knife journey. Yes, I could buy a couple of knives and try them for several weeks, but it would be better to do that with an understanding of what the good starting points are.

Let me try to rephrase the question.

What would you recommend as a good benchmark or reference classic 240 mm wa-gyuto knife, assuming budget is not an issue and assuming decent sharpening skills? This means a generalist, middle-of-the-road gyuto that would generally feel good in hand for both someone knew to Japanese knives and veteran line cooks. Nothing too thick and heavy, nothing too thin. Basically, what are good knives to compare new knives against?
 

ojisan

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If you stick to to wa-handles, Ashi Ginga could be a good starting point.

However, I'd say there is no "classic" wa-gyutos. Most wa-gyutos are relatively new and introduced for non-Japanese markets.
I'd recommend Misono 440 (or UX10), if you want a classic gyuto popular in the Japanese market.
 

Nemo

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Gesshin Gengetsu. Excellent tradeoff between thinness and food release in a middleweight knife. A bit of a yardstick knife for me. Flattish profile. A bit of taper. The SS version has very nice steel. I assume the white2 version does as well. Only minor downside is that spine and choil need a bit more easing.
 

ian

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I started a thread about grail knives and received many thoughtful answers, but the thread sounded like it was asking the unanswerable question of how to buy the one knife to end all knife buying. But really, I was hoping to get some benchmarks and frames of reference on what the good knives with a certain characteristic are so I have some points of reference on the knife journey. Yes, I could buy a couple of knives and try them for several weeks, but it would be better to do that with an understanding of what the good starting points are.

Let me try to rephrase the question.

What would you recommend as a good benchmark or reference classic 240 mm wa-gyuto knife, assuming budget is not an issue and assuming decent sharpening skills? This means a generalist, middle-of-the-road gyuto that would generally feel good in hand for both someone knew to Japanese knives and veteran line cooks. Nothing too thick and heavy, nothing too thin. Basically, what are good knives to compare new knives against?
Ok, here’s what you should do. Buy an Ashi or Gesshin Ginga (light and lasery). Buy something a little more beefy, like this Wakui:


or direct order something from Heiji if you don’t mind a few month wait.

And then if you want, also buy a Yoshikane, from cleancut. Either one of the shirogami ones or the knife labeled “Kashima Sanjo”, which is also made by Yoshikane I believe.

Try those three knives (which you could consider as benchmarks, I suppose) and get back to us. There are so many great knives out there, all of them different, and you are never going to understand what you like until you buy something! All these endless questions are kind of pointless. You’re never going to be able to find the perfect information that will allow you to make the perfect decision, because there is no perfect decision.

Edit: or find a local store in Singapore. I don’t know what’s available in your area, which is why I’m suggesting stores in the US and EU. 🤷‍♂️
 

IsoJ

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It seems that you are trying to hit a jackpot, first knife/buy and it is perfect. I believe there is no such a thing as a perfect knife. Just a matter of taste. If you just want a one good knife, buy some that has allready been recommended and enjoy it and buy another one in when the first has become a petty. Or then you can take a hobby/journey if you have the time and money. Buy one laser, one middle weight and one heavy workhorse and use them. Then you know what your likings are for the beginning and then buy new ones and sell the ones you don't like or start collecting. I wouldn't overthink it if I were you. After all, it is just a knife and the person who holds the knife, cooks the food. Good luck to you whatever you choose to pick.
 

ojisan

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Obviously, considering Japanese were prohibited from eating meat until 1872.
I meant, classic gyutos have western handles. This means if you want a "plain" profiled gyuto, considering yo-gyutos gives you more options, like Misono, Sakai Takayuki Grand Chef, Masahiro, and so on (may be Tojiro as well?). Those are good knives, not too expensive, not too cheap, durable, general purpose, and used by a lot of pros, but with yo-handles. Those are mass-produced knives, but that is good for benchmarking, while wa-gyutos tend to be "artisan" and have some characteristics.
 

MrHiggins

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Try a Sukenari. I owned one in HAP40. It was such a middle of the road knife (in a good way) that I always said it felt like it was designed by a committee. You could do a lot worse than having a Sukenari as your first and only knife.

What others have said, though, is obviously correct. You won't be able to figure out your preferences by asking online questions. And preferences change over time, so what you love today may not be your thing a year from now.

Good luck!
 

daveb

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I think I know where you're going.

Best "benchmark" from my gathering is prob Kono HD2. Others will be lighter, some others will have more heft, some will be thinner, some thicker, it's sorta stainless but will patina.

Newer Gengetsu or Amekiri will fit this role as will Tanaka Ginsen or Cladded Blue.

Not "average" knives by any means, just solid representatives.
 

ThinMan

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Konosuke FM

They are available, not too terribly expensive and excellent cutters and excellent representatives of the Sakai style.

I prefer the ebony and horn handles over the Khii Studio handles some of them come with but either are fine to start.
 

ian

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I think we should be suggesting <= $300 knives, personally... or the suggestion to just pick up a Misono carbon is probably wise. Whatever. I think I’ll stop following all these threads now until a purchase is made...
 

Nemo

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@josemartinlopez , rather than starting a million "which is the grail knife" threads, why don't you fill in the questionaire and see if we can't help you choose a knife?

 

ian

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K, last post.

Just because if you don’t have much experience and don’t know exactly what you want then it’s stupid to go fancier. The more expensive knives aren’t necessarily going to cut better, they’re often just more expensive for a variety of other reasons, eg rarity, fancy finish, being made in a small shop, etc... Some of them have better steel, but you won’t be able to really appreciate the difference until you’ve been sharpening for a while. I’ve already said it many times, but the only way you’re going to find out what you like it to buy something. If you’ve got some funds, pick up a Misono or Mac or something or some wa handled knives like the Ashi, Wakui, Yoshikane, or even Watanabe if you want to spend a little more. Then come back and talk to us in a couple months.
 

ian

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@josemartinlopez , rather than starting a million "which is the grail knife" threads, why don't you fill in the questionaire and see if we can't help you choose a knife?

As much as I appreciate this post, “start another thread” isn’t exactly the advice I would give....
 

josemartinlopez

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The more expensive knives aren’t necessarily going to cut better, they’re often just more expensive for a variety of other reasons, eg rarity, fancy finish, being made in a small shop, etc... Some of them have better steel, but you won’t be able to really appreciate the difference until you’ve been sharpening for a while.
Got it, thanks!
 
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Matus

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I don't really have one - there are way to few makers that can make a good convex grind and they are expensive - the rest is wide bevel grinds of some sort (with a shinogi or with shinogi blended over) or lasers. Many wide bevel knives are lacking in the distal taper department (especially thick tips are very common), most lasers are, well, lasers - as long as the edge is thin and the grind is not completely flat they are all pretty similar - some better than others. Different knives have different strengths and weaknesses - and those are largely subjective. You just need to actually use several different knives, learn what you like, allow your skill and experience to change your preferences and tastes.
 

josemartinlopez

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there are way to few makers that can make a good convex grind and they are expensive - the rest is wide bevel grinds of some sort (with a shinogi or with shinogi blended over) or lasers. Many wide bevel knives are lacking in the distal taper department (especially thick tips are very common), most lasers are, well, lasers - as long as the edge is thin and the grind is not completely flat they are all pretty similar - some better than others.
Thanks, this is a great summary for how to look at those choil/taper shots.
 

Cliff

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I think HD2 and Ginga are benchmark lasers but not 249 Gyutos. For me, that would be a KS. You could think of benchmarks in different styles and weight classes -- Wat and Toyama are also benchmarks, in a different style. What constitutes too heavy, to you?
 

daveb

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249? Sweet effin Jesus - you don't have to know knives to recognize a typo.

He's saying (incorrectly) that a KS is a benchmark 240.

We have an expression in the states "fill in name would make a preacher take a drink" Do you know it?

Yr making me thirsty. :cool:

Buy a knife. Any knife. Own your own benchmark.

BTW KS's suck. Or is the wrong thread?
 

Matus

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No, this is the right thread
 

btbyrd

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Knives vary across a range of parameters and the best way to get a sense of what you prefer is to use a wide range of knives. All knives are compromises and there is no "best." There's "better" and "worse" in particular respects relative to particular purposes and preferences. No single knife is going to provide a good idea of what the "best" profile/grind/thickness/taper/food release/handle/balance/steel/heat treatment is for your purposes. You just have to try some out. You can't just read your way into knowledge that comes primarily through experience. You can get a sense of the things that matter by reading other's accounts, but at some point you just have to jump in and use some freaking knives instead of talking them to death.

Try to keep in mind that what's better or worse depends as much on you (and your desires, skills, preferences and purposes) as it does on the blade. Whether someone should choose a bunka, santoku, or 180mm gyuto (for example) is a question about the user, not the knife. The same goes for whether or not someone should buy a 300mm gyuto. You're not going to know the answer to those questions until you have some first-hand experience from which you can form a sense of your own preferences. Without experience, you're mostly a blank slate -- you don't know what you prefer or don't prefer -- and there are no "right" answers. It's time to use a few knives (or more) and see what works for you.
 

RockyBasel

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Heiji and Toyoma are great knives and the former can be more reasonable in price. These two represent a high level of craftsmanship and non commercial production. You can’t go wrong with either maker. It’s hard to beat those knives, no matter who the producer, of course, personal choices will take over at this high-quality level of artisanal products. - so people may prefer other makers, but the quality of knife is unlikely to be significantly different in my view. This will depend upon finer points, preferences, and also usage and fit for purpose.
 

McMan

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Ok, here’s what you should do. Buy an Ashi or Gesshin Ginga (light and lasery). Buy something a little more beefy, like this Wakui:


or direct order something from Heiji if you don’t mind a few month wait.

And then if you want, also buy a Yoshikane, from cleancut. Either one of the shirogami ones or the knife labeled “Kashima Sanjo”, which is also made by Yoshikane I believe.

Try those three knives (which you could consider as benchmarks, I suppose) and get back to us. There are so many great knives out there, all of them different, and you are never going to understand what you like until you buy something! All these endless questions are kind of pointless. You’re never going to be able to find the perfect information that will allow you to make the perfect decision, because there is no perfect decision.

Edit: or find a local store in Singapore. I don’t know what’s available in your area, which is why I’m suggesting stores in the US and EU. 🤷‍♂️
I think I know where you're going.

Best "benchmark" from my gathering is prob Kono HD2. Others will be lighter, some others will have more heft, some will be thinner, some thicker, it's sorta stainless but will patina.

Newer Gengetsu or Amekiri will fit this role as will Tanaka Ginsen or Cladded Blue.

Not "average" knives by any means, just solid representatives.
I already suggested the OP visit Razorsharp in Singapore and play with some actual knives...
Add these responses up and that's my answer :) You're fortunate to have RazorSharp in your backyard, and I think there's a lot of value in going and handling a fair amount of knives to see what's up and where your preferences are. I don't have that luxury because there's not a store like that in my backyard.
 
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