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Between these two Tojiro, which would you choose?

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LUWerner

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I want to (finally!) buy a Japanese knife, but unfortunately my choices are VERY limited. I need to buy locally, so both because of budget and specially because of very sparse availability my options right now are quite limited. Despite that I managed to source out these two Tojiro models. Though I have zero practical knowledge about Japanese knives, I'm aware that these are not high-end blades, but I think they will suit me nicely. I want a stainless blade for slicing and delicate work, with a more enduring edge, as a compliment for my Solingen blades. Like my other knives whatever I get will be babied and it will not be the only blade available, so it doesn't have to be extra-tough.

These are my two options:

1) Shippu BLACK DP Damascus (model FD-1594):

According to their site, the steel is "VG10 + Low- and High-Carbon Stainless Steel (Oxide black chemical conversion coating)" and has 63 layers of Damascus with a HRC of 60.

2) Zen BLACK 3 Layered Cobalt Alloy Steel (model FD-1564):

Blade steel is VG10 + 13 Chrome Stainless Steel (Oxide black chemical conversion coating).

I know there are a ton of other options out there, probably many better, but as I said, my choices are limited. In fact, I literally have these two options right now. So between these two, is one of them a clear winner compared to the other? If so, why?
 

Hz_zzzzzz

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The profile, handle (balance), and core steel look exactly same to me, and I assume the grind would be very similar too. I would pick the cheaper one which is probably the 2nd option here.
 

LUWerner

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Yep, the Zen is a bit cheaper then the Shippu. Handles seem to be identical, and so far, except for the Damascus pattern on the first, I can't see a difference - and would say that overall performance should also be almost the same.
 

Benuser

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Quite sure the Damascus will look terrible after some use, especially after sharpening. As for the coating of the second one, my guess would be you may get rid of it if needed.
 

inferno

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i would get the non damascus version because that damascus pattern will look like crap after a year or so. it wears off and fades and similar. the other one you can just refresh with a fine sandpaper.
 

LUWerner

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Oh boy... The Damascus will look bad with use?!? I don't have any Damascus blade and was kind of looking forward for this one to be my first... But the knife will not be a drawer queen, it's going to be used, so if the pattern will look crappy with normal use, I don't think it's for me.
Boogers 😣
 

tostadas

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Oh boy... The Damascus will look bad with use?!? I don't have any Damascus blade and was kind of looking forward for this one to be my first... But the knife will not be a drawer queen, it's going to be used, so if the pattern will look crappy with normal use, I don't think it's for me.
Boogers 😣
If you really like it, and feel the aesthetics are worth the difference in cost, buy it! They can always be refinished in the future with a bit of work if you so desire.

But personally, I would go for the cheaper one. Like many of us who have already caught the knife bug, you may be looking for an upgraded shiny toy in the very near future.
 

btbyrd

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I wouldn't worry too much about the finish wearing; they'll both get scratched and scuffed, and I'm not convinced that the damascus blade would look worse than the one with the oxide finish. Apart from the finish, these knives appear to be the same, so I'd just go with whichever one appeals to you most.
 

Nemo

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Get whichever one you like the look of. Or even better, start a new thread with the questionnaire to get some excellent alternative recommendations.

The issue with damascus claddings is that they get scratched up when you thin the knife and will need to be refinished and then re-etched (with a strong acid like ferric chloride), which is a bit of work and reqires you to safely handle a corrosive substance. This ends up pushing you away from regular maintennence thinning (I do this every time I sharpen with a medium or coarser stone, but not for touch-ups on a fine stone) which has the effect of gradually reducing the perfomance of the knife with each sharpening. And when you do finally get around to thinning, it's a bit of a bigger job. This also happens with non-damascus knives but refinishing is often not as involved (or even as necessary) and re-etching is not required.

You CAN also scratch the cladding (damascus or not) with regular sharpening (not involving thinning) if your angle control needs some work.
 

Hz_zzzzzz

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This is how I sharpened my Shiraki the first time. I wanted to thin it just a little bit without scratching the mirror polish, so I set up a fixed angle by taping some coins to the surface. The small bevel created could be used in future sharpening sessions. The angle is about 3.5 degree per side so the performance is not too bad.

I think I read a thread before where just several layers of tapes were used to set up a fixed angle. The idea is same. The thinner the tape layer/coin is, the more acute the thinning angle is, and the wider a bevel you would see. Painting tape and gaffers tape are some options here.

96840E86-C94E-4F2C-966B-1222A523B84A.jpeg

2E862F9D-6AB8-4FD2-B93E-A1332032CF93.jpeg
 
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M1k3

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I want to (finally!) buy a Japanese knife, but unfortunately my choices are VERY limited. I need to buy locally, so both because of budget and specially because of very sparse availability my options right now are quite limited. Despite that I managed to source out these two Tojiro models. Though I have zero practical knowledge about Japanese knives, I'm aware that these are not high-end blades, but I think they will suit me nicely. I want a stainless blade for slicing and delicate work, with a more enduring edge, as a compliment for my Solingen blades. Like my other knives whatever I get will be babied and it will not be the only blade available, so it doesn't have to be extra-tough.

These are my two options:

1) Shippu BLACK DP Damascus (model FD-1594):

According to their site, the steel is "VG10 + Low- and High-Carbon Stainless Steel (Oxide black chemical conversion coating)" and has 63 layers of Damascus with a HRC of 60.

2) Zen BLACK 3 Layered Cobalt Alloy Steel (model FD-1564):

Blade steel is VG10 + 13 Chrome Stainless Steel (Oxide black chemical conversion coating).

I know there are a ton of other options out there, probably many better, but as I said, my choices are limited. In fact, I literally have these two options right now. So between these two, is one of them a clear winner compared to the other? If so, why?
I couldn't find any knife stores based in Brazil with a quick search. Would you mind linking some based there? Then we could look at what's available.

Maybe fill out the questionnaire in a new thread. Does Brazil have high duties/taxes on imports? If so, I'd put a budget for if purchased inside the country and for outside of it.
 

LUWerner

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Gents, thanks for all the responses! I was really torn between these two, but if performance is basically the same, I'll go with the cheaper one (the second one, the Zen). I would REALLY like to have a Damascus blade, but I've been doing some research and it looks like with use most Damascus blades won't look great for long. As I said, I want this one to use it, not for "the collection" - however, if possible I would like it to look as good as possible even being used. So I guess the oxidized Zen would look better in the long run (and I can polish that out eventually - or at least I think I can).

@M1k3 Of course I could import, but not counting the absurd importation taxes that might get slapped to my package, this will not be an immediate purchase. I have some other expenses coming up so new toys will have to wait basically until November (the pandemic is to blame). But then there will be another problem: from past experiences, ordering stuff from abroad after October is asking for stress. The end of the year buying spree clogs up both the postal service and Customs, so packages that would take about 30-40 days to arrive may take (a lot) longer. Honestly, I went through that twice or thrice before and vowed never again to grow more white hairs without a physiological reason.

About the questionnaire, I didn't start with one because my options are really limited, and 99% of your suggestions would be out of my reach. I'm citing what I can actually get.
 

M1k3

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What are kind of knife/knives are you using now?

You could get a Victorinox, Messermeister Four Seasons or Wusthof Pro for now. Research during the upcoming holidays. Get a sharpening stone or 10. Practice sharpening. Then after the holiday shipping madness is over, buy a Japanese Knife. And you have a good "beater" knife also.
 

Dhoff

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Some makers live in Brazil as well. as far as I've been able to research the prices are way lower than most japanese knives in my country.
 

riba

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When you thin, you will either scratch black oxide or damascus, potato potahto it seems.
The first scratches might hurt a bit. Nowadays I like to see my knives used a lot ;)
 

LUWerner

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What are kind of knife/knives are you using now?

Oh, I have a lot of beaters already... Though of those the Ikons are my current dandies. And in all honesty, work VERY well, since I keep them hair-splitting sharp. Though I do have to hon/strop them after every single use. I want a Japanese knife specifically for the hardness.

Some makers live in Brazil as well. as far as I've been able to research the prices are way lower than most japanese knives in my country.
As a rule of thumb, a custom made blade here is exponentially more expensive then either one of these two. A custom would be fantastic, but out of my reach at the moment.

When you thin, you will either scratch black oxide or damascus, potato potahto it seems.
😭😭😭
 

adrianopedro

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I couldn't find any knife stores based in Brazil with a quick search. Would you mind linking some based there? Then we could look at what's available.

Maybe fill out the questionnaire in a new thread. Does Brazil have high duties/taxes on imports? If so, I'd put a budget for if purchased inside the country and for outside of it.
Won't be easy to find this kind of knives in stores in Brazil. Will be easier to buy Zwilling and Victorinox on regular stores here.

But there are a few people who imports and sells japanese knives here, some Munetoshi, Y. Tanaka, Konosuke, M Hinoura, even some Tojiro like the ones from OP.
 

adrianopedro

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Oh, I have a lot of beaters already... Though of those the Ikons are my current dandies. And in all honesty, work VERY well, since I keep them hair-splitting sharp. Though I do have to hon/strop them after every single use. I want a Japanese knife specifically for the hardness.


As a rule of thumb, a custom made blade here is exponentially more expensive then either one of these two. A custom would be fantastic, but out of my reach at the moment.

😭😭😭

There are some good options for custom Japanese knives here in Brazil too, not too expensive either. I live in SP, if you need any help, send me a message.
Normally custom damascus blades are too expensive here, cause because care only about the looks, and don´t consider other stuffs like geometry, and only think about "churrasco" knives.
 

LUWerner

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And what would you guys prefer, one of the Tojiros or this Miyabi (Gyutoh 6000MCT):
 

LucasFur

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Just my honest opinion ... judging by what you have ... dont buy anything ...
Learn to sharpen .... Being stubborn about buying shun/shun look alikes isn’t the best. The knives you chose aren’t cheap ... and there are better options. But between those ... stones is my suggestion.
 

Matus

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For that kind of money I would get stainless Kaeru or one of the cheaper Gesshin knives.
 

Goorackerelite

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tojiros are generally bad buys. Too many of them being produced. If you want something like that, buy a Yaxell mon or something none damascus. The novelty wears off quickly.
 

Goorackerelite

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As I said, more than once IIRC, my options for J-knives are limited. And sharpening is NOT an issue.

That's what I read elsewhere - that Tojiro, Shun and Global are supposedly made for the masses and overall quality fluctuates.
Yes I’ve had a few shuns and only the classic 8 inch was any good.
 

adrianopedro

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As I said, more than once IIRC, my options for J-knives are limited. And sharpening is NOT an issue.

That's what I read elsewhere - that Tojiro, Shun and Global are supposedly made for the masses and overall quality fluctuates.
You can get an Munetoshi (Turumaki) here if you want, I have one and love it
 
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