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braindoc

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It started innocently enough - a CCK cleaver, a Tojiro bread knife, an inexpensive Fujiwara 270mm Sujihiki for the occasional whole brisket.

But then came a Kanehide PS 185 bunka, Kurosaki Shizuku R2 210 gyuto, Masakage Kiri 135 ko-bunka, and a Kohetsu blue#2 150 honesuki. We have lots of western style knives that are not getting much use, Henckels, Wusthof, et al.

Sometimes, though, I find myself reaching for a knife with a high tip and longer belly - namely one of our old Ken Onion for Shun/Kai chef’s knives. We have a 6” and an 8” - the latter shown here:

C8127A0F-DB14-4458-84A1-0945CDC1CCD8.jpeg


Unfortunately, there are ridges running along the sides of the bolster near the spine making it uncomfortable after a few minutes of cutting. I think the ridges show up well enough on the photo.

I’m looking for a 210mm gyuto with similar blade geometry. At first, I thought it was the heft of the Onion that I liked but the more I think about it the more I’m convinced it is the shape.

Location: USA

Knife Type: Gyuto, 210mm; I’m a lefty and wife is righty; wa handle; prefer stainless/semi-stainless or stainless clad; budget up to about $300

Knife Use: Home; slicing proteins and vegetables, some meat trimming, prepping salads, mincing/chopping herbs and lots of garlic, onions, shallots, etc.

Pinch grip; locomotive or push/pull, and some rocking.

The 185 bunka is my wife’s go to knife. I’ll switch around based on the product and which cutting board I grab.

Looking to replace the Ken Onion chef’s knives, as explained above, for a more comfortable handle. Hoping for superior food release, improved edge retention, and a lighter weight knife.

Knife Maintenance: Wood and synthetic cutting boards. Have started sharpening with Naniwa stones, need to practice more.



I’ve read a great deal about 210 v. 240. I thought I’d go for the 240 this time, but now I’m more convinced I’ll stay with another 210. I cannot remember the last time I wished I had a longer knife. We rarely deal with large squash, whole watermelons, or other big items. Speed and quantity are not big issues at home so I can certainly take a little longer to get things done with a smaller knife. More importantly, we often just grab smaller cutting boards AND I want my wife to be comfortable. I doubt she would be likely to use a 240.

I’ve been looking at the Gihei and Kohetsu HAP 210mm Gyutos on CKTG. Any older review somewhere suggested that the Kohetsu was not a true 50/50 grind. Accurate??

Have been looking at other websites, but not all have photos that show the blade geometry very well.

Which other knives should I consider?

I’ve learned a huge amount from this forum and can’t wait to hear what you all think.

Thank you.
 

braindoc

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Thanks M1k3. Assume you mean the Kramer Meiji by Zwilling? I’ll have to take a look next time I’m near the Sur La Table. The Kramer knives on his own website are way over my budget.
 

daveb

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There are a few lines of Kramers that are priced for real people. I don't know them well cause I can't abide a knife that has more belly than I do.

Some gyuto have enough belly for a little rocking. Tanaka ginsan or blue clad are a couple I esp like. The Gesshin Stainless is a low priced gyuto that will rock with you if used as such.
 

M1k3

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Thanks M1k3. Assume you mean the Kramer Meiji by Zwilling? I’ll have to take a look next time I’m near the Sur La Table. The Kramer knives on his own website are way over my budget.
Yeah, the zKramer's. It's the closest knife to your Shun's profile I can think of that's not outrageously expensive and without a ridiculous bolster.
 

braindoc

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There are a few lines of Kramers that are priced for real people. I don't know them well cause I can't abide a knife that has more belly than I do.

Some gyuto have enough belly for a little rocking. Tanaka ginsan or blue clad are a couple I esp like. The Gesshin Stainless is a low priced gyuto that will rock with you if used as such.
Thanks. I’ll look closely at the Gesshin knives at JKI as well as Tanaka.

If my waistline keeps expanding there won’t be any knife with more belly. Good thing my wife says it is a sign of how well she takes care of me.

BTW, any thoughts about the HAP knives I mentioned?
 

braindoc

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Yeah, the zKramer's. It's the closest knife to your Shun's profile I can think of that's not outrageously expensive and without a ridiculous bolster.
So it’s not just me that thinks there is an issue with that bolster.
 

M1k3

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So it’s not just me that thinks there is an issue with that bolster.
No. I worked with someone that had one. Cut with it a few times. Sharpened it a few times. Pinch grip sucks. Angle of the handle sucks. The bolster goes to far down and to wide.
 

daveb

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I used to cater for a local culinary store. They carried the Ken Onion Shun and later the Rain series. Way be suck. Give them to someone you don't like.
 

@ftermath

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These two come to mind:

Shun Hiro SG-2 Gyuto

Kramer Euroline

The Kramer is also available in carbon steel. If you shop around, it may be available cheaper elsewhere. The Shun Hero is available only from Cutlery and More, as far as I know.
I ordered a full set of those Shun Hiros back when I first started down this path. I was blown away (at the time) by their sharpness and the finish on the blades. The handles were a bit over the top for me (too flashy) and I sent them all back because I felt they were just too expensive😂. From a blade perspective, they just might work for the OP. I also had a zKramer Carbon and his SG2 variant. The Damascus Kramer was far thinner than the 52100 and I pretty much hated it all around. I enjoyed the Carbon Kramer though and I love that steel. The 8” rocks very well. I highly recommend buying the knife in person or after speaking with someone on the phone holding the knife you are ordering. The Carbon zKramers had major issues with fit and finish on some runs because the wood was shrinking, leaving the pins and bolster uneven. Mine was flawless though so I know good ones are out there.
 

Carlo

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You mentioned the Gihei 210 HAP 40. I’ve not handled that model but I LOVE the Gihei Blue #2, it takes and holds an amazing edge, has geometry that works for me, and is totally bulletproof. It’s on my “never sell” list. I would always encourage someone to try a Gihei but that said, my knife is definitely not a rocker, it excels at push cuts, tip draws, and chopping.

That said, the HAP 40 gyuto for sure has different geometry and might be a better rocker.
 

braindoc

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Thanks for that info Carlo.

i have no antipathy towards Shun, but I just think I want something from a smaller producer.

Now some measurements: with the heel on a flat surface, the tip of the Onion is ~ 35mm off the surface, compared to about 16mm for the tip of the Kurosaki I have. i realize that the deep belly is not standard or typical for j-knives.

I’ve reached out to several knife dealers. A couple had nothing to suggest, but I have gotten some recommendations-

NOLA | VG-10 Suminagashi | Gyuto 210mm

Sakai Takayuki Homura Kogetsu By Itsuo Doi Gyuto 210mm12457880158309 (This one is way over budget.)



Amy thoughts about these? Or should I just forget about this and just start cutting differently?
 

rob

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Just be aware a knife with quite a lot of belly and a high tip are usually more suited to a rock chop cutting style.

With this rocking style of cutting you tend to walk the blade across the chopping board as you move through the item you are cutting.

This can put a fair amount of lateral stress on the knife edge and if using a Japanese knife with a very fine(fragile) edge you have the potential for chipping or at least micro chipping.

I thing the Kramer is a solid recommendation.

PS i have one of those Ken Onion Shuns and agree they are very uncomfortable, the handle angle is too high, and there are gaps around the bolster making it very hard to effectively clean the knife.
 

chiffonodd

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This is a tough question because as others have mentioned, j knives are not (as a general matter) particularly conducive to rock chopping -- at least not the carefree go nuts rock chopping that you can get away with if using a henckels or wusthof or whatever. Don't get me wrong, you can still do it if careful not to "torque" the blade, and I definitely do it (carefully!!) when mincing garlic, herb, ginger, etc. In those instances, the amount of belly on almost any typical gyuto will suffice for the type of controlled rock chopping that you'll be doing with your gyuto.

That said, some gyutos definitely have more belly than others. I would consider looking into the akifusa wa-gyuto 210, as the wa-handled line of this knife always looked to me like it had a bit of a higher tip than "normal" and a touch of curve to go with it. It's in stock in a few places:




That said ... this is still a very thinly ground knife, and the SRS15 core steel is heat treated to probably 64 HRC. And although SRS15 is not as brittle as some PM steels (I owned a knife in the western handled akifusa series and I didn't find it chippy at all), you'll still wanna be careful.

I'll leave you with a few more pics of this knife to show what looks like the higher tip and belly that I'm talking about:



[




Look promising?

Good luck finding what you're looking for!
 

chiffonodd

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Strange-looking profile, innit? Almost like two quite flat areas joined by a bend.
I guess most blade profiles could be described as two relatively flat areas joined by a bend 🤣 but yeah the akifusa wa-gyuto definitely has a distinctive profile. That hump near the tip that rises above the spine and then sinks fast to an almost sheepsfoot point is pretty unique. Kinda reminds me of the sheepsfoot version of my EDC benchmade mini-griptillian:



🤷‍♂️🤷‍♂️
 

braindoc

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This is a tough question because as others have mentioned, j knives are not (as a general matter) particularly conducive to rock chopping -- at least not the carefree go nuts rock chopping that you can get away with if using a henckels or wusthof or whatever. Don't get me wrong, you can still do it if careful not to "torque" the blade, and I definitely do it (carefully!!) when mincing garlic, herb, ginger, etc. In those instances, the amount of belly on almost any typical gyuto will suffice for the type of controlled rock chopping that you'll be doing with your gyuto.

That said, some gyutos definitely have more belly than others. I would consider looking into the akifusa wa-gyuto 210, as the wa-handled line of this knife always looked to me like it had a bit of a higher tip than "normal" and a touch of curve to go with it. It's in stock in a few places:




That said ... this is still a very thinly ground knife, and the SRS15 core steel is heat treated to probably 64 HRC. And although SRS15 is not as brittle as some PM steels (I owned a knife in the western handled akifusa series and I didn't find it chippy at all), you'll still wanna be careful.

I'll leave you with a few more pics of this knife to show what looks like the higher tip and belly that I'm talking about:



[




Look promising?

Good luck finding what you're looking for!
Chiffonodd: I appreciate the warnings from you and rob about rocking these knives. Which knife is that in the bottom photo?
 

chiffonodd

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Chiffonodd: I appreciate the warnings from you and rob about rocking these knives. Which knife is that in the bottom photo?
@braindoc the bottom knife is the gesshin kagero, which is widely understood to be the "same" (with perhaps upgraded F&F) as the akifusa line. Some shop in Japan (Hokiyama, maybe?) makes this knife as an OEM blade and then it gets rebranded by various retailers. I've seen it sold under the name harukaze, haruyuki, akifusa, sakon ryuga, kagero, etc. It's a very highly regarded series and just an interesting quirk of Japanese manufacturing/distribution/retail that it gets rebranded by various retail outlets.

The gesshin kagero pictured at Japanese Knife Imports is currently sold out, unfortunately. But you can still get the akifusa version from Epicurean Edge, linked in my post above.

The best thing to do in this situation is probably to call one of these retailers and ask what they think about a gyuto that might be particularly suited for rock chopping, maybe tell them that the profile on the akifusa/kagero looked interesting in that regard based on that high tip. Jon Broida at Japanese Knife Imports is super good with questions. Customer service at Epicurean Edge is not as available in my own experience but they are definitely a legit outfit that sells great product.
 

braindoc

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chiffonodd: I thought it looked familiar.

My hesitation with the Akifusa is this comment on the Epicurean Edge website: “The 'D' shape handle fits comfortably and securely in the hand and is best used by a right-handed user.” I’m a lefty. The JKI version looks like it has an octagonal hadle.
 

chiffonodd

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chiffonodd: I thought it looked familiar.

My hesitation with the Akifusa is this comment on the Epicurean Edge website: “The 'D' shape handle fits comfortably and securely in the hand and is best used by a right-handed user.” I’m a lefty. The JKI version looks like it has an octagonal hadle.
The JKI version has a ho wood octo handles yeah. Who knows, maybe they're due for a restock soon? I would still call Jon and ask his thoughts.

But I also suspect that the ZKramer might be the only true rock chopper in the j knife world.

Just call JKI and Epic Edge, they'll set you straight!👍
 

Up_dog128

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Well, I'm gonna buck the conventional wisdom here (& I think that 'conventional wisdom' often means 'hearsay'), and say that I rock chop with nearly all of my gyutos. In fact, I only buy them if they have a bit of belly and lack an outrageously long flat spot. I've used a fair number of jknives, and most of the common steels, and I haven't seen any issues with chipping. Granted, that could be cuz my technique is not so heavy handed (I do work in the kitchen), but I rock them like a crying baby and walk them like a dog.
I'd say with $300, you could get a really nice knife with a more versatile profile than a Kramer. I'm curious if anyone who's owned a Kramer can speak to it's weight & food release, since those are big concerns if yours.
 
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braindoc

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Well, I'm gonna buck the conventional wisdom here (& I think that 'conventional wisdom' often means 'hearsay'), and say that I rock chop with nearly all of my gyutos. In fact, I only buy them if they have a bit of belly and lack an outrageously long flat spot. I've used a fair number of jknives, and most of the common steels, and I haven't seen any issues with chipping. Granted, that could be cuz my technique is not so heavy handed (I do work in the kitchen), but I rock them like a crying baby and walk them like a dog.
I'd say with $300, you could get a really nice knife with a more versatile profile than a Kramer. I'm currently if anyone who's owned a Kramer can speak to it's weight & food release, since those are big concerns if yours.
Hey Up_dog - I like how you think. Any specific recommendations for me?
 

nwshull

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Chelsea Miller has a big curve, plus you can get a lemon grater on the side, with only mild tetanus risk!
 

Up_dog128

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Well, braindoc...
That's a nice knife, no doubt. But in your OP you mentioned wanting stainless or semi-stainless, and shirogami is just about in the other end of that spectrum. I know it's not reactive cladding, but it's a very reactive cutting edge, and that's really where it matters the most. White 2 steel probably isn't going to hold an edge as well with rocking as some other steels. I think that you and chiffonadd were on a good track with the stainless Tosa blades, and another thing that comes to mind is a Shigeki Tanaka ginsan; the handles can be not so good, but getting it from K&S bypasses that problem
 

Benuser

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Haven't handled the knife, but from the pictures I see quite a flat gyuto and would be most surprised if it were really ground symmetrically — even when a retailer were to describe it as ambidextrous.
By the way, French and German profiles are very different. Has all to do with 'guillotine and glide' vs. rock-chopping and walking. The gyuto is a further development of the flatter French profile.
 
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