Budget Workhorse Recommendations

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yummycrackers

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It looks like over the past few years I've mostly leaned towards thinner, lighter knives (Shibata, Yoshi, Tetsujin...) and I was told that I might be missing out on the delights of a heavier workhorse for softer produce. With that in mind, what are some budget workhorse knives that people enjoy? As much as I'd love to get an iron-clad Toyama, those are just beyond my post-doc budget, unfortunately. Not planning on acquiring anything in the near future, but would very much like to hear what people have to say on the topic, especially since we have a similar thread for Western makers.
 
Thank you, all! The Wakuis do seem to have a very good price to fit-and-finish ratio. Munetoshi, Tadafusa and Okubo I'll have to look into more. Would all of these still be quite thin behind the edge, despite the convex grind? What are people's thoughts on distal taper when it comes to workhorses?
 
There's only so much thin BTE that you can fit into a heavy convex grind but Wakui Tsuchime does a decent job at the tradeoff.

Don't expect laser like performance though. This is a different grind, good at different things.
 
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I’ve been happy with my Kaeru I recently got.
SLD Kaeru might have a thick grind but it’s on the light side (under 200 gr). Besides the thick grind, I think it should be midweight to heavyweight to have the real feel of being a WH, which means cutting stuff with the knife for hours without worrying it is going to be chipped.
 
SLD Kaeru might have a thick grind but it’s on the light side (under 200 gr). Besides the thick grind, I think it should be midweight to heavyweight to have the real feel of being a WH, which means cutting stuff with the knife for hours without worrying it is going to be chipped.
JNS has it listed at 215g, I haven’t weighed mine but it’s definitely close to that for the 240mm.
It is substantially heavier than any other 240s I own. But I get that a WH might be closer to 250+ for some
 
I don’t think he was because he specifically said Wakui WH and showed a knife with Kasumi non dammy. But maybe I’m misunderstanding his IG hints. Yeah price increase, not sure if it will cost more than Toyama dammy, if they’re still 300 grams I would pass on them for sure but it’s something to keep an eye on.
 
Oh wait it's you yummycrackers?

Hmm ahaha, uh the okubo will be great. Convex right and flatish left side, weighty and tall with thick spine near handle. Reminded me a lot Watanabe, but more rustic, and harder steel (yes actually harder in board feel, "clink" noise when I put it down, and in sharpening, glassier). Had wakui, hinoura, Watanabe KU and kasumi, heiji, some workhorse tf. Otherwise a western maker would be fine I think, but I've often preferred Japanese edge feels more. Okubo, mine came with a near zero edge, some low spots and a shoulder but cut amazingly, there are some cutting videos in Japanese, I think Knife Japan has a video, and i linked it somewhere on kkf here too
 
Oh wait it's you yummycrackers?

Hmm ahaha, uh the okubo will be great. Convex right and flatish left side, weighty and tall with thick spine near handle. Reminded me a lot Watanabe, but more rustic, and harder steel (yes actually harder in board feel, "clink" noise when I put it down, and in sharpening, glassier). Had wakui, hinoura, Watanabe KU and kasumi, heiji, some workhorse tf. Otherwise a western maker would be fine I think, but I've often preferred Japanese edge feels more. Okubo, mine came with a near zero edge, some low spots and a shoulder but cut amazingly, there are some cutting videos in Japanese, I think Knife Japan has a video, and i linked it somewhere on kkf here too
Sounds nice! How heavy is the Okubo gyutos compare to Toyama?
 
The only Giheis I have had (HAP40 santoku and nakiri) are almost laser thin.

Are other lines thicker?
 
Munetoshi gets my full-throated support here. I've said all this before elsewhere but to save you searching: Convex grind with some meat behind the edge so it's super sturdy but cuts excellently and takes a killer edge. Some of the very best shirogami #2 I've tried for both toughness and edge retention. Good weight and forward balance; my 240 is 215 grams. Good food release.

20221208_161426.jpg


I had a 2022 profile Mazaki 240 from K&S that was quite workhorsey but the Munetoshi blew it out of the water. It was kinda wedgey on carrots etc and I was never really happy with it. The new Mazaki's are beefy but super thin behind the edge, I love my 2023 240 at 216 grams and it's a great cutter but I don't feel the same robustness as the Munetoshi. Plus they're so inexpensive.

Here is 2022 maz:

20221213_234218.jpg




Cleancut has Munetoshi 245 for €134 and you don't get hit with VAT when ordering from them.

https://www.cleancut.eu/butik/knifetype/gyuto/gyuto_munetoshi-3782-3783-detail
 
Wakui Tsuchime. The Kurochi Wakuiare said to also be fairly heavy.
I had a kurouchi V2 iron clad Wakui. These are superb but actually more midweighty (my 240mm was 185g) with laser-like performance.
Come with a delicate zero grind.

Anybody tried the Ikenamis from knife-japan?
Their weight is similar to the Wakui WH but not even half price and B2.
 
SLD Kaeru might have a thick grind but it’s on the light side (under 200 gr). Besides the thick grind, I think it should be midweight to heavyweight to have the real feel of being a WH, which means cutting stuff with the knife for hours without worrying it is going to be chipped.
That's interesting, because as someone who only ever cooks at home and therefore has a maximum of maybe one hour prep-time on decent boards, etc., chipping isn't much of a concern. What I'd be after is mainly 1) food release and 2) a bit of heft to aid with momentum going through softer ingredients.
 
That's interesting because as someone who only ever cooks at home and therefore has a maximum of maybe one hour of prep time on decent boards, etc., chipping isn't much of a concern. What I'd be after is mainly 1) food release and 2) a bit of heft to aid with momentum going through softer ingredients.
I am in the same, home environment. Less than 1-hour prep Or so.

Are you strictly going with Japanese makers or do you consider Westerns too?

For the same reason u posted this, I have a knife ordered from @eddworks which will soon be here. I do have japanese knives (Fujiyama, Nakagawa both sharpened by Myojin). I have some Hatsukokoro Yoake & Komorebi (which can be more on the Work Horse style), but considered Eddy as his work looks dope with good performance. And it’s within the budget. Went with a monosteel 52100 workhorse grind yet thin BTE.
 
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