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first knife: Fujiwara Denka?

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captaincaed

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You could purchase from EpicEdge rather than direct. You'll pay a non trivial premium (looks like a 210 Denka is $710) but my understanding is that they do some initial QC and send back examples with major issues.
Also get a round, polished spine and choil.

My 2c. I think a mid step between Shun (which is a good, not great gateway knife) and the Denka would be wise. I had good cutters like Carter, Ginga, Asai, Yoshikane before. The contrast with other professional knives is what makes it stand out for me.

If it were me.
Start with a stainless clad white steel knife with a wide double bevel, either Wakui, Kochi or Yoshikane. Enjoy the contrast with Shun. They all cut amazing and don't break the bank. You can learn to thin the bevel. Learn to sharpen white steel. It has the same stainless clad carbon core package the Denka has. Once you can do that for 6mo, jump to the Denka and enjoy the contrast. It'll blow you away.
 
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valdim

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I started collecting knives this May and I have gone through so many knives to finally hone in on what I like. I have spent thousands, and my average knife price point so far has been around 440 per knife

I deliberately avoided Denka due to polarized opinions on it and most importantly it’s quality and rework issues - where people sent them back to Japan.

However, some insightful and knowledgeable people on this forum persuaded me to take the leap of faith and get one. I was going to get one this week, but got distracted and got a Heiji and Togashi instead - both very expensive knives. So maybe in a couple of weeks, I get the Denka

Know that at that price point, you could be getting many spectacular knives including Some Honyaki.

When I stay I started with knives, I did not start with $100 knives, I went straight to $300, 400, 600, 800, knives. But price point has less to do with it. It has more to do with what is your style and preference. I prefer my knives with a bit of weight.

Others like lighter, thinner knives. It has to do with how you cook, how much you cook, if you are prepping 6 hours a day or if you cook for fun every so often. If you are a Pro.

I am not sure owning a Denka will help you figure out what you like, other than the fact that you got a Denka - well, why not get a blue steel Togashi sharpened by Tosa? I mean you can’t go wrong with that knife! It is perfection

If you really want to go all out, I would get a Denka and get two other great knives like a Watanabe, Togashi, Y. Tanaka, or Toyama or Fujiyama - the epitome of the finest form of knife making. Stay away from Chelsea Miller (my lesson learned in another thread:)) These Knives will be a bit less expensive, but you may actually like them more

Great to learn about your self in this journey as well, and of course, the knives you prefer and that fit your style

It’s a great journey full of discoveries. That’s why WTS booms here, people out-grow some knives, others never reach for them and end up selling them - no matter the price or prestige- and others discover what they really like, which often is not what you think you ought to like

My concern is that given the hype around Denka. You may actually be under-whelmed. Because expectations and hyper-hype ( TFTFTFTFTF... I love that btw!)

But go out be bold and splurge - you only live once
+1
At the end of the day, what you lose is some cash - the difference between your buying price and your selling price.
 

RockyBasel

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Denka should be your last knife....
It is for me - the last

the only ones I have not gone through are Shig and Kato- but because I can’t get them. Denka is going to be pretty much one of the last knives I will get

Current favorite is a 207 gm blue Y Tanaka dama- love it! It sells for about $600, but I got it at the JNS sale for 325 - a real steal. Just got it last week.
 

DitmasPork

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It seems that TF Denkas are one of the few top choices in this regards...
Denka can be a very good knife! However, there're many "top choices" to be had, which ones are depended on your tastes and objectives. If I'd bought a Denka as my first knife, I would still have continued to buy knives in search of better knives. I'll change my tune from my earlier comment—think you should just 'commit' and buy a Denka, use it, enjoy it, then go out and buy another good knife. Don't be worried about getting a lemon, that's just over thinking things—if you do get a lemon, accept it as a learning experience. FWIW, my Denka is great, and worth all the hype.
 

microtech

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This is quickly turning into another OP absent thread. ****.it.
Probably a case of being overwhelmed by the answers
Some really thoughtful advice in the answers though. But OP nowhere to be found:) just us sports fans:)
Plenty of other people reading the thread are learning things, though. OPs start threads, but they don't own them (much as that surprises some of them) nor are they the only ones who benefit from the ensuing posts.

No, I'm still here, still reading and digesting all the posts. Also still at work so will give a more fruitful response once I'm off.

It hasn't even been a full day yet. Tough crowd haha
 
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lemeneid

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There are many Denkas out there. They definitely won’t have the best F&F, but I guarantee they are all the best cutters I’ve ever used. I still have a “bad” one in my collection and it’s the best cutters I’ve got. The only thing that beat that was my perfect Denka 😉

There isn’t really a “lottery” nowadays. Their knives have improved leaps and bounds over the years. When I was there last year, I inspected 20 knives and they were all mostly perfect. Buy with confidence!
 

lemeneid

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You could purchase from EpicEdge rather than direct. You'll pay a non trivial premium (looks like a 210 Denka is $710) but my understanding is that they do some initial QC and send back examples with major issues.

More power to you if you want to jump straight into the deep end, but for the same money down you could buy three popular lower cost knives, figure out what you like and don't, sell/trade the ones that don't speak to you on BST, try a few more, and have a lot more to inform what you want in a top performer at the $500+ mark. It's also much less intimidating to figure out sharpening and thinning on cheaper knives!
Sorry but no. All retailers get the sh1t knives. Your best bet is still to go direct. They don’t “pay extra” for a better job. The only one with the better finish is Morihei but he has since stopped selling those “fine finish” blades.
 

daddy yo yo

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Sorry but no. All retailers get the sh1t knives. Your best bet is still to go direct. They don’t “pay extra” for a better job. The only one with the better finish is Morihei but he has since stopped selling those “fine finish” blades.
Maybe they stopped because of quality issues?!?? :p

On a side note, I have 3 Morhihei/TF knives, which are good. F&F is ridiculous, the handles, well, even I could do better... They do cut though... the blades, not the handles! :LOL: A fourth TF (Nashiji) is on its way. And maybe I could have a weak moment if I was in Tokyo again. Last year I didn't even care about visiting TF.
 

Alwayzbakin

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While I think there have been a handful of valid reasons given to try other knives instead, I disagree with some of the dissuasion.
Are you sure you can put up with non-stainless?
For me, compared to the soft cladding of my other reactive knives, the AS core steel is quite hassle free, I can barely get it to take a noticeable patina.
The two challenges I'd see in starting with a Denka are that you'll immediately jump into the need to not only sharpen well but thin and rework a blade very well, and you'll also have to have enough experience to judge cutting performance to see how your blade reworking is going.
The one I got was certainly the thinnest near the edge of any knife I have. Mine and many others I’ve seen (from what I can tell from choil shots) keep that thinness for a decent ways above the edge as well. Taking into account the edge retention, I think there’s a long life on a lot of these before they need thinning. Sure he (as well as I and anyone else for that matterl) will have to do it eventually, but, as mine is concave through almost the entire grind, I would imagine thinning just behind the edge is an easier job to execute than on a convex bevel. Granted, polishing the bevel on stones will likely require more work than other options besides the concavity alone, as low spots seem to be a frequent issue, but sandpaper/fingerstones/whatever 40oz has up his sleeve is always an option for when that time comes.

I think mine is a great low-maintenance, really smooth cutter with steel that takes a great edge with little effort and seems (so far) to hold it very well. That said I do agree with others that there are other great knives out there to try—some I like better as an overall package, and some just have different positive qualities and styles.
Worst that can happen is you turn around and sell it (they seem to move eventually if not fast on BST) and try something (or two for that price) of a different style
 

microtech

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Thank you everyone that has given input! it’s genuinely appreciated 🙏

The reason I settled for 210mm is because we have a junk 9.5” carving knife that seldom gets touched. The same might apply if I picked up a 240mm.
I’m also ok with the high maintenance required of carbon blades. I still baby my Shun SG2, treating it like it's a delicate carbon blade.
My sharpening skills are non existent, but excited to learn and try. Looking to pick up a Gesshin 400, 2000, 6000 grit set, or Chosera 400, 800, 3000 with Atoma 140
I already have a walnut and maple end-grain cutting boards.

What I mean by skipping “sequential upgrades” is avoiding purchasing knives by price point and incrementally increase my budget in search of a better one, while constantly dumping the previous one. Cost is only a small part of the equation, and availability takes precedence. I plan to have only one main kitchen knife and a few other types, rather than owning 20 flavors of gyutos.

Sure, I’ll be missing out on the discovery journey to finding out what my true preferences are. There are no shortcuts of going through a handful of varieties. Perhaps I won’t find my perfect knife. But I’m ok with that, as long as it’s relatively close enough.

I fully understood the inconsistencies and F&F issues when considering this knife. But I didn’t want that to turn me away from how great its HT and cutting potential. I do expect to be sending this off to someone to rework the F&F and tuning (recommendations for blade rework and custom handle? Forty Ounce was mentioned earlier).

So despite the general consensus that TF isn’t a good knife to start out with, I think I’m still going to take the leap of faith into the deep end anyways. After I get it back from being reworked and if I’m still dissatisfied, I will sell it and consider Watanabe or Konosuke Fujiyama, or perhaps other ones too. But if it’s the knife I realistically expect it to be, then my journey ends there.


TFTFTF :D
 

lemeneid

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Thank you everyone that has given input! it’s genuinely appreciated 🙏

The reason I settled for 210mm is because we have a junk 9.5” carving knife that seldom gets touched. The same might apply if I picked up a 240mm.
I’m also ok with the high maintenance required of carbon blades. I still baby my Shun SG2, treating it like it's a delicate carbon blade.
My sharpening skills are non existent, but excited to learn and try. Looking to pick up a Gesshin 400, 2000, 6000 grit set, or Chosera 400, 800, 3000 with Atoma 140
I already have a walnut and maple end-grain cutting boards.

What I mean by skipping “sequential upgrades” is avoiding purchasing knives by price point and incrementally increase my budget in search of a better one, while constantly dumping the previous one. Cost is only a small part of the equation, and availability takes precedence. I plan to have only one main kitchen knife and a few other types, rather than owning 20 flavors of gyutos.

Sure, I’ll be missing out on the discovery journey to finding out what my true preferences are. There are no shortcuts of going through a handful of varieties. Perhaps I won’t find my perfect knife. But I’m ok with that, as long as it’s relatively close enough.

I fully understood the inconsistencies and F&F issues when considering this knife. But I didn’t want that to turn me away from how great its HT and cutting potential. I do expect to be sending this off to someone to rework the F&F and tuning (recommendations for blade rework and custom handle? Forty Ounce was mentioned earlier).

So despite the general consensus that TF isn’t a good knife to start out with, I think I’m still going to take the leap of faith into the deep end anyways. After I get it back from being reworked and if I’m still dissatisfied, I will sell it and consider Watanabe or Konosuke Fujiyama, or perhaps other ones too. But if it’s the knife I realistically expect it to be, then my journey ends there.


TFTFTF :D
If this is to be your only knife then good choice! You absolutely don’t need to get it thinned after getting it. Enjoy the knife as it is, it’s sharp enough and the cutting experience is most certainly unique amongst the knives I own. Most knives cut well, but they feel “sterile” in feel. The Denka is definitely a very lively knife and it urges you to cut more and more, that’s what I got out of it.

It also sharpens up buttery smooth, no other knife I have sharpens up so easily and keeps its sharpness. I think @inzite summed it up best, Denka has the peak sharpness of white steel with the edge retention of R2, and it’s a pretty close description.

Anyway F&F issues are meaningless to me. I’m not buying a drawer queen, I’m buying a knife to cut sh1t up and current TFs don’t have any of these.

TFTFTFTFTFTFTFTF
 

EShin

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Thank you everyone that has given input! it’s genuinely appreciated 🙏

The reason I settled for 210mm is because we have a junk 9.5” carving knife that seldom gets touched. The same might apply if I picked up a 240mm.
I’m also ok with the high maintenance required of carbon blades. I still baby my Shun SG2, treating it like it's a delicate carbon blade.
My sharpening skills are non existent, but excited to learn and try. Looking to pick up a Gesshin 400, 2000, 6000 grit set, or Chosera 400, 800, 3000 with Atoma 140
I already have a walnut and maple end-grain cutting boards.

What I mean by skipping “sequential upgrades” is avoiding purchasing knives by price point and incrementally increase my budget in search of a better one, while constantly dumping the previous one. Cost is only a small part of the equation, and availability takes precedence. I plan to have only one main kitchen knife and a few other types, rather than owning 20 flavors of gyutos.

Sure, I’ll be missing out on the discovery journey to finding out what my true preferences are. There are no shortcuts of going through a handful of varieties. Perhaps I won’t find my perfect knife. But I’m ok with that, as long as it’s relatively close enough.

I fully understood the inconsistencies and F&F issues when considering this knife. But I didn’t want that to turn me away from how great its HT and cutting potential. I do expect to be sending this off to someone to rework the F&F and tuning (recommendations for blade rework and custom handle? Forty Ounce was mentioned earlier).

So despite the general consensus that TF isn’t a good knife to start out with, I think I’m still going to take the leap of faith into the deep end anyways. After I get it back from being reworked and if I’m still dissatisfied, I will sell it and consider Watanabe or Konosuke Fujiyama, or perhaps other ones too. But if it’s the knife I realistically expect it to be, then my journey ends there.


TFTFTF :D
Congratulations on a probably very good choice - let us know about your impressions once you get it!
As others have said, Denkas have a really low reactivity compared to many other carbon steel knives, and at least my Denka takes a beating, so caring for it shouldn't be a problem at all.
Maybe it won't be your perfect knife - but the search for the holy grail won't ever end anyway, so I think you're making a smart move. About reworking: As lemeneid and some other's already said, chances are that you'll be perfectly happy with it just as it is, so try it out for a while before deciding on any further steps!
As for sharpening, get a cheap knife to start out with!
 

Corradobrit1

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Congratulations on a probably very good choice - let us know about your impressions once you get it!
As others have said, Denkas have a really low reactivity compared to many other carbon steel knives, and at least my Denka takes a beating, so caring for it shouldn't be a problem at all.
Maybe it won't be your perfect knife - but the search for the holy grail won't ever end anyway, so I think you're making a smart move. About reworking: As lemeneid and some other's already said, chances are that you'll be perfectly happy with it just as it is, so try it out for a while before deciding on any further steps!
As for sharpening, get a cheap knife to start out with!
Good suggestions. And if you do rework, make sure the Pro you choose knows what they're doing. I've handled one Denka that was ruined by a poorly executed 'thinning' job. Its the subtleties in the grind and profile that can make or break performance.
 

josemartinlopez

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What I mean by skipping “sequential upgrades” is avoiding purchasing knives by price point and incrementally increase my budget in search of a better one, while constantly dumping the previous one.
Heh, I certainly hope this isn't a thing, sounds insane and there's not necessarily a correlation between price point and performance above the $200-300 range. Good luck OP.
 

josemartinlopez

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There isn’t really a “lottery” nowadays. Their knives have improved leaps and bounds over the years. When I was there last year, I inspected 20 knives and they were all mostly perfect. Buy with confidence!
Is this the candid 2020 update? If you want to take the Denka plunge, you should just go to their website and not try to get them to send you a dozen photos so you can look at the blade road?
 

DitmasPork

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Heh, I certainly hope this isn't a thing, sounds insane and there's not necessarily a correlation between price point and performance above the $200-300 range. Good luck OP.
What do you mean by "not necessarily a correlation between price point and performance above the $200-300 range."? There is IMO.
 

josemartinlopez

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Heh, I approach 3-Michelin meals and a memorable street stall with equal enthusiasm.
 

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