Favorite stainless laser? (I'm really liking the Takada Ginsan Suiboku and Raicho No Ren R2)

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Which stainless laser do you like most from the photo?

  • Shibata Kotetsu R2 240

    Votes: 3 21.4%
  • Suisin Inox Honyaki 270

    Votes: 1 7.1%
  • Takada No Hamono Suiboku Ginsan 240 (from Syoukon Hamono)

    Votes: 8 57.1%
  • Myojin R2 240 (Homebutcher resin handle!)

    Votes: 1 7.1%
  • Raicho No Ren R2 240 (from Tower Knives Japan)

    Votes: 1 7.1%

  • Total voters
    14
  • Poll closed .

josemartinlopez

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Takada Stainless Laser Pictorial (2021 10 09).jpeg


Can I ask what people's favorite stainless lasers are again? I'm a home cook and enjoy a lighter knife and simple vegetable work, so I enjoy stainless lasers.

So @akafat got me all excited about the Takada No Hamono Suiboku Ginsan that I pinged Syoukon Hamono to grab one to try out. When a non-laser guy keeps telling you about his favorite laser, you listen. (I'm normally too lazy to take photos but he got me all excited.)

I need to find time to write down my thoughts (I had wanted to maintain a blog for this but life happens), but the short of it is that the Takada is amazing. It's the lightest "240" gyuto I have at 142 grams (might be a fluke, @akafat's is 160 grams) and it glides through product. I tried chopping a small onion into thin rings to saute, for example. The mirror finish is also beautiful, and you have to love that wavy line (that won't be covered by patina). I'm looking forward to playing with this for a few days.

The Takada is up there with my favorite laser, the Raicho No Ren R2 (from Tower Knives Japan). It's just a very different laser, also with a great finish, having a full 240mm blade length, and weighing about 215 grams (nice, heavier ebony handle).

In the photo:
- Shibata Kotetsu R2 240
- Suisin Inox Honyaki 270
- Takada No Hamono Suiboku Ginsan 240
- Myojin R2 240 (yes, with the Homebutcher resin handle I don't particularly like)
- Raicho No Ren R2 240

I've tried a bunch of stainless lasers and lighter knives that are not strictly lasers, such as Yu and Makoto Kurosaki (I should have added Makoto to the photo, oops). I also like lighter stainless non-lasers, and the Tanaka Ironwood is one of my favorites. I also like lighter stainless knives from Western makers such as Will Newham and Alex Horn (though Will is actually in the East not the West...)

I think I've stocked up on enough stainless lasers that I'll have fun trying everything over the next few months, but happy to check if I've missed any must-tries. Still a few weeks to complete the 2021 bucket list, right?


Takada Ginsan Weight (2021 10 09) (1).jpeg
 
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I haven’t used a Takada but feel like it would be a knife that suits me pretty well.

I have a hd2 which is pretty great. A kono GS+ I got rid of was a favorite.

my favorite is a kip Abe-l. I also have a Jamison chopp which is pretty nice for a western knife. The grind isn’t themost complex so there is some sticking.

I wouldn’t consider the myojin I have a laser. Great knife and grind but I think it’s more of a light middleweight with a really thin edge.
(If you want to trade that 240 with a funny handle for a 210 with a nice handle let me know 😂)
 

josemartinlopez

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Oh yeah, I passed on Ashi Ginga because You recommended the Suisin Inox Honyaki
 

josemartinlopez

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Would an Ashi Ginga, Takamura be redundant with the knives I mentioned? People mention Takamura as another classic laser. I was going to look into why, but was looking for distinctive lasers like the Takada.
 
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Haven’t tried a Takada but among your options I would prefer the myojin. Takamura is also great (IMO grind better than Sakai lasers in 210) but just a bit too small to me. Yoshikane is not laser but it cuts more laserishly than those classic lasers.

One thing that I’m hesitant about Takada is their cladding line on the right side (kanji side) is usually very high and even higher than on the left side, which indicates a lefty grind, or maybe an off the center grind/forge. I don’t know. I’ve been waiting for a Takada batch that has equally high cladding line on both sides or has lower cladding line on the right side. But haven’t seen one yet.
 

josemartinlopez

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Yeah, forgot to mention one reason I haven't tried Takamura is the R2 only goes to 210.
 

nexus1935

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One thing that I’m hesitant about Takada is their cladding line on the right side (kanji side) is usually very high and even higher than on the left side, which indicates a lefty grind, or maybe an off the center grind/forge. I don’t know. I’ve been waiting for a Takada batch that has equally high cladding line on both sides or has lower cladding line on the right side. But haven’t seen one yet.
Yeah the cladding lines do vary quite a bit (especially the latest batch of White #1's on Hitohira). I was excited to pick up this 210mm Ginsan on BST though and it's cladding line is low and pretty symmetrical:


It runs short of 210mm, so it's quite a nimble knife and not quite comparable to 240's. But I'm enjoying it nonetheless - it's a thin blade throughout, but not so much that the edge feels delicate like a Shibata can (where you can hear even the slightest twist on the OOTB edge).
 

Jovidah

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As Dave said, the ginga or any of the other monosteels warrants a try. Simply being monosteel vs clad makes for a noticably different 'feel' on the board.
Takamura is on the complete other end of the perspective when it comes to cutting feel (at least my R2 Migaki); the cladding is super soft resulting in a very 'soft' and dampened feel. Personal preference whether you like that or not but to me it feels mushy.

My Yoshi SKD I would describe as 'laser with a fatter spine'... worth considering if you are okay with its other caveats.
 

Qapla'

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Yeah, forgot to mention one reason I haven't tried Takamura is the R2 only goes to 210.
Depends which Takamura in R2.

 

daniel_il

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I like mostly the hd2 and ginga because they have a slight convex and the steel just feel tough.

shibata AS also feels sturdy enough for me, greet cutter.

kobayashi was ecxellent cutter and very well made but too delicate for me, and its the kind of blade that everything got stick to it....same as the myojin.

and as being said, the most laserish without being consider a laser is the yoshi SKD.
 

josemartinlopez

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So which Takamura line would you try if you’ve already tried the range of stainless lasers? Consider the 240 pro or damascus R2?
 
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Glad you like it JML!

Comparing the B2 and S3 versions, I found I love the S3 more, for its light weight and easy maintenance. I get to appreciate the beauty of Takada finish, without covering of patina.

Before this Takada, Takamura uchigumo is my all time favourite stainless for its nice dammy pattern and spot on heat treatment of that SG2. It gives me a lot of fun using it except for thinning and etching. This Takada is good as well, especially for its mirror finish, which gives less friction when cutting through thick fruits like mango and pineapple.
 
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One thing that I’m hesitant about Takada is their cladding line on the right side (kanji side) is usually very high and even higher than on the left side, which indicates a lefty grind, or maybe an off the center grind/forge.
I found this when I was searching for Takada, B1 and white1 version especially. I think these are made by Tanaka. B2 and silver 3 are made by Nakagawa, and are generally better on evenness of bevel line each side. Not sure if it's because of different makers.🤷‍♂️
 

josemartinlopez

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Thanks @akafat, I didn't realize that you were referring to Takamura when you were comparing to a R2 dammy laser!
 

josemartinlopez

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What drives me nuts is the plain ho wood handle on such a beautifully finished blade. This Takada is begging for an appointment with @JoBone .
 

JaVa

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I'm mainly a 240s guy, but regardless the Takamura R2 210 (my only in that size) is really wonderful. And as my only 210 offers something different in the company of al my 240 lasers. Absolutely worth a try regardless of size.

My favourite stainless laser is a S Tanaka ginsan migaki and a S Tanaka B2 migaki. James @ K&S had a try out batch of them a few years back and those are insane in the laser category.

He added a Tanaka migaki back to his inventory some time ago, but I think that one with it's (about) 200g weight is closer to Tanakas normal offerings in thickness rather than a laser.

I think Ikazuchi looks interesting for a laser and I've always wondered about the lack of interest regarding it? Looks actually very very similar to my Tanaka lasers.
 

JaVa

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Just remembered that I've seen some comments over the years that the Shibata Kotetsu is almost like a wa kiritsuke version of the Tanaka R2.
 

josemartinlopez

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My favourite stainless laser is a S Tanaka ginsan migaki and a S Tanaka B2 migaki.
How is S Tanaka ginsan compared to S Tanaka R2, which is not laser-ish even if it's a thinner blade?
 

JaVa

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How is S Tanaka ginsan compared to S Tanaka R2, which is not laser-ish even if it's a thinner blade?
Never had the pleasure of using a Tanaka R2.
...but I have about 7 or 8 S Tanaka knives (owned a few more) and all of them have superb grinds and heat treats. All of them are very smooth cutters. There's some variation in profiles though and some might be a bit too curvy for my liking others have been great.
 

WiriWiri

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What drives me nuts is the plain ho wood handle on such a beautifully finished blade. This Takada is begging for an appointment with @JoBone .

Not a great fan of Ho handles tbh, but I’d be wary of changing so hastily on such a light blade. A bit of forward balance distinguishes the ’ideal’ laser for me - suspect your Takada wouldn’t feel quite as smooth and eager to go through product without it.
 
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