Best Value 240mm Gyutos

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btbyrd

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I have a friend looking to buy his first 240. When I first started out on this journey, there were many nice 240mm options in the $200-ish range. I bought my Anryu hammered 240 for $199 back in the day. But the market is no longer like that (and certainly not for Anryu's knives). Sure, there are great values out there if you're okay with kinda charmless but still-very-nice mass produced yo handled factory knives like the Macs, Tojiros, or lower end Misonos. But are there any 240s in the $200 range that really stand out?
The kind of knife I'm interested in would ideally have the following characteristics. Please feel free to list other good-value 240s that might not have these characteristics.
  • San mai construction with stainless cladding
  • A core of well-treated white/blue/AS steel or some sort of higher end stainless (or semi-stainless) alloy
  • A non-janky wa handle. No plastic ferrule please. No janky install.
I'm not even super picky about grind or profile. Still, with these minimal requirements, I'm kind of at a loss as to what's good out there. Thoughts?
 
Hinoura and Matsubara are my favs that meet your criteria in the 200-300 range. Hinoura has been increasing in price lately so may be closer to the 300 end now.
 
This one pretty good, I have 270mm version as my beaters knive. It’s stainless clad blue 2. Good heat treatment IMO. There’s also Wa handle version, but I prefer full tang construction when comes to abusive tasks.
 

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Hitohira TD SLD Tsuchime Gyuto 240mm

These hammered finish OEM ones in SLD are pretty nice, I’ve handled them in person and the grinds looks reasonably thin with nice thickness at the spine coming out of the handle. I’ve been meaning to pick one up or a Kaeru SLD to use as a beater.

The OEM Stainless clad Aogami super ikazuchi/harukaze/other brand names 240 mm gyuto is also under $200 if you’re looking for something more lasery.
 
When I was in this position a few years ago I bought my girlfriend a Sukenari Gin 3... but prices have gone up a bit since. Kaeru might be an option? Recommended that to another friend and he was most content. Both are quite 'normie-proof'.

Slightly over budget, especially since 20 dollar shipping will come on top.. but BWJ has a 240 white steel ginga:
Ashi Hamano Ginga White Steel Wa-Gyuto Japanese Knife 240mm | eBay
 
IMO one of the best values out there at the moment is Harukaze in G3 for $130. I have one and like it a lot. But it's also stainless and you were after carbon. Another good value is Makoto (clad laser), but these are now VG7 (can't comment, haven't tried) and they used to be AS (a very good knife/value if you can find the AS version).

Big +1 for Wakui. (After a quick scan, looks like these are tough to find--not as easy to find as they once were.)
I also like Masakage Yuki for a SS-clad carbon knife, but I think I'm in the minority here. (After a quick scan, looks like these are mostly sold out too.)
I've heard good things about the Yoshimitsu ($220), which is blue2 and SS-clad, but haven't tried one myself.
 
Masakage is basically the perfect price range, san mai, hitachi steel and at least decent wa handles. Almost doesn’t need a hands on look. I believe they’re a knifewear x takefu collaboration, and there’s a few lines to choose from (varying steel and finishes.. smiths include kurosaki, y. Kato, I think anryu’s label and a couple others). My personal choice would be the shimo. Kurosaki grinds them thin thin, and I love the reactive cladding.

The grinds are all concave, some deeper than others, but overall product is decent. Maybe a little rough around the edges and some medium-large overgrinds.

If it’s absolutely critical that you get a hands on assessment, this is sort of round about, and you/he want to order from knifewear Edmonton, I can go pick out the least janky or at least inspect the knife before it gets packed up and shipped.
 
IMO one of the best values out there at the moment is Harukaze in G3 for $130. I have one and like it a lot. But it's also stainless and you were after carbon. Another good value is Makoto (clad laser), but these are now VG7 (can't comment, haven't tried) and they used to be AS (a very good knife/value if you can find the AS version).

Big +1 for Wakui. (After a quick scan, looks like these are tough to find--not as easy to find as they once were.)
I also like Masakage Yuki for a SS-clad carbon knife, but I think I'm in the minority here. (After a quick scan, looks like these are mostly sold out too.)
I've heard good things about the Yoshimitsu ($220), which is blue2 and SS-clad, but haven't tried one myself.

I bought my Wakui Shiro2 stainless-clad nakiri as a cheap test to see if I even like nakiris, and I'm just super impressed with it especially for the price. I think it was around $200 - $250 or thereabouts. Really impressive performance and solid f&f. His Shiro2 actually far surpassed my expectations based on previous experience with Y Tanaka's Shiro2.

I thought I heard Wakui was hiking prices though? It's a steal in the $200 - $300 range. If it gets into the $300 - $400 range there's a lot of really good competition. If you're after a thin, Yoshikane-equivalent cutter, I'd jump on one before the price goes up.

https://www.aiandomknives.com/products/toshihiro-wakui-white-2-gyuto-240mm-magnolia-handle
 
The Yoshikane and its inheritors white 2 is way better than Y. Tanaka white 2 IMO. Maz I guess is part of that chain too and I enjoy his white 2 as well.
BTW, worth noting that shiro 2 could be misconstrued for Takefu Shiro 2 which is slightly different.
 
I've tried a few in this price range. Thanks to the responses here, looks like I should have a few more on my radar!

Lots of personal preference in what follows, but out of the gyuto I've owned in this price range, my favorite was a Wakui, followed by Kaeru, followed by a Tsunehisa Ginsan nashiji. I'd contrast those three as follows: Wakui had the nicest F+F, some flat in the profile without overdoing it, nice distal taper, a great all-around knife. My Kaeru has a pointier tip, a curvier profile, the SLD is darn near stainless, and also nice distal taper. My Tsunehisa profile is on the curvier side, spine is basically 2mm the whole way until the tip. Wakui and Tsunehisa might sharpen a little easier, but it's really not a big difference.
 
I want to thank everyone for their suggestions! You put a lot of knives on our radar that weren't there before. The ones my friend is most interested in right now are: Hirohita SLD, Masakage Yuki, M. Kurosaki Ryusei, and the Tunehisa. The Tunehisa would maybe be my choice of those, but it's a touch short at 48.5mm above the heel.
If I was personally shopping for a 240 with these constraints, I'd wait and watch the BST forum while trying to save up a bit more. There's an awesome looking Masakage Koishi up for $250 right now, which is totally the kind of knife I can get behind as a first 240. Echizen brands seem to be focused on filling something close to this market niche. I'll report back with what he ends up with. His current nice knives are a 210 Takamura Chromax and a very nice 180mm K&S Tanaka Santoku.
 
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