Going from Santoku to Gyuto, recommandations?

Discussion in 'The Kitchen Knife' started by Colonel Mustard, Jun 30, 2018.

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  1. Jun 30, 2018 #1

    Colonel Mustard

    Colonel Mustard

    Colonel Mustard

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    LOCATION
    What country are you in?
    Canada

    KNIFE TYPE
    What type of knife are you interested in (e.g., chef’s knife, slicer, boning knife, utility knife, bread knife, paring knife, cleaver)?
    Gyuto

    Are you right or left handed?
    Right

    Are you interested in a Western handle (e.g., classic Wusthof handle) or Japanese handle?
    Ideally a Japanese handle

    What length of knife (blade) are you interested in (in inches or millimeters)?
    Probably 240mm

    Do you require a stainless knife? (Yes or no)
    No, I'm used to wiping my blade right after use. Many times during a cooking session.

    What is your absolute maximum budget for your knife?
    Really good question. I could have a pretty big budget but around 300 US would be nice. I don't mind more if the performance is that much better but I don't wanna pay a premium just for rarity.


    KNIFE USE
    Do you primarily intend to use this knife at home or a professional environment?
    Home environnment

    What are the main tasks you primarily intend to use the knife for (e.g., slicing vegetables, chopping vegetables, mincing vegetables, slicing meats, cutting down poultry, breaking poultry bones, filleting fish, trimming meats, etc.)? (Please identify as many tasks as you would like.)

    Mainly slicing, dicing, mincing, chopping vegetables (Many, many onions and a lot of garlic) and slicing meat. I use shears and cheaper knives when cutting a whole chicken.

    What knife, if any, are you replacing?

    Not really replacing but adding to a Yoshikane 165mm santoku

    Do you have a particular grip that you primarily use? (Please click on this LINK for the common types of grips.)
    Used to a pinch grip

    What cutting motions do you primarily use? (Please click on this LINK for types of cutting motions and identify the two or three most common cutting motions, in order of most used to least used.)
    Push-cut, some walking, occasional rocking

    What improvements do you want from your current knife? If you are not replacing a knife, please identify as many characteristics identified below in parentheses that you would like this knife to have.)

    Mainly looking for a bigger knife and wanting to go back to a chef's knife profile. Hoping for a thinner point as well

    Better aesthetics (e.g., a certain type of finish; layered/Damascus or other pattern of steel; different handle color/pattern/shape/wood; better scratch resistance; better stain resistance)?

    Comfort (e.g., lighter/heavier knife; better handle material; better handle shape; rounded spine/choil of the knife; improved balance)?

    Ease of Use (e.g., ability to use the knife right out of the box; smoother rock chopping, push cutting, or slicing motion; less wedging; better food release; less reactivity with food; easier to sharpen)?

    Edge Retention (i.e., length of time you want the edge to last without sharpening)?
    As long as possible. It's an important criteria for me as I don't sharpen my own knives and it's quite expensive to have it done.

    KNIFE MAINTENANCE
    Do you use a bamboo, wood, rubber, or synthetic cutting board? (Yes or no.)
    Yes, an end-grain wood board

    Do you sharpen your own knives? (Yes or no.)
    No

    If not, are you interested in learning how to sharpen your knives? (Yes or no.)
    Maybe eventually but I'm not sure I'd have the time and patience.

    Are you interested in purchasing sharpening products for your knives? (Yes or no.)
    Not for now.


    SPECIAL REQUESTS/COMMENTS
    Since I'm trying to buy locally, the ones I've looked at so far are the Masakage Koishi 240mm gyuto AS, the Kurosaki Shizuku 240mm gyuto R2 and the Takeshi Saji 240mm gyuto R2.

    Any thoughts? Looking for a razor sharp edge that will last a long time but aren't we all...
     
  2. Jul 3, 2018 #2

    Colonel Mustard

    Colonel Mustard

    Colonel Mustard

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    Anyone? Any pointers will be much appreciated.
     
  3. Jul 3, 2018 #3

    ThEoRy

    ThEoRy

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  4. Jul 3, 2018 #4

    mc2442

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    I would suggest you look into sharpening. I am one of the least patient people out there, but I find some serenity in sharpening. Time is time, but if you can squeeze it in I think you could enjoy it.
     
  5. Jul 3, 2018 #5

    Keith Sinclair

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    When you get a nice 240 Gyuto learning to sharpen comes with the territory. Powder R2 steel does have good edge retention, however it will get dull after a while.

    Learning to sharpen is not hard. Once you get good at it you will be sharpening every thing around the house.
     
  6. Jul 3, 2018 #6

    Colonel Mustard

    Colonel Mustard

    Colonel Mustard

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    Thank you all for your thoughts on sharpening. I'll look into it. Any favourite video that shows the whole process?

    As for the choice of Gyuto, any thoughts on my three contenders so far?

    - Masakage Koishi 240mm gyuto AS
    - Kurosaki Shizuku 240mm gyuto R2
    - Takeshi Saji 240mm gyuto R2

    I know there are many more to look at but these are the ones that are available locally which I could try before buying. Is there anything I should look for when trying them out?

    Many thanks!
     
  7. Jul 3, 2018 #7

    ThinMan

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    On sharpening, the Japanese Knife Imports YouTube channel has a whole playlist.
     
  8. Jul 3, 2018 #8

    Grunt173

    Grunt173

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    Dull knives don't bring very much at a yard sale.
     
  9. Jul 3, 2018 #9

    Viggetorr

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    I have the Kurosaki in R2 and the edge retention is amazing. It far surpasses the AS knives I have.
     
  10. Jul 4, 2018 #10

    JaVa

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    The Kurosaki is a very good option. It comes well regarded. It'll have very good edge retention with the R2 steel, looks stunning and it's overall a great versatile gyuto.

    Masakage knives have never really seemed that interesting to me, but they do get some love around here, so should be a fine option. Though like already mentioned the AS steel doesn't have the edge retention of the R2.

    I never used any Saji knives; but they can be a bit of a hit or a miss. His grinds can have some variations and F&F can suffer sometimes too. Well, that's the word anyway.

    If you can bump your Budget a bit, the semiSS Gengetsu from JKI would be in your reach. It's definitely one of the long time forum favourites. Great profile, grind, F&F it's all there. Slightly less edge retention then R2, better then AS and definitely good enough to hang in this company.

    Yoshikane SKD tsuchime from EE is a great option too. The SKD semi SS has similar edge retention as the Gengetsu. Not as thin behind the edge, but still thin enough for very good performance and you also get great food release. SUPERB distal taper and a nice thin tip. It's a looker to boot.

    The Gesshin Kagero is a great PM steel option from JKI that's worth your attention. It'll probably have the best edge retention of the this bunch. It's another long time forum favourite. Doesn't get mentioned as often as it used to, but still a great knife for anyone looking for good edge retention.

    BTW nothing wrong with sending your knives out for sharpening. Plenty of guys do it. Though sharpening is a good skill have. You'd be able to get any knife sharp when you want or need to and it's easy enough to learn the basics. But if it isn't for you that's fine regardless of the suggestions. Also consider that sharpening is just another reason to play around with your new shiny toy. ;)
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2018
  11. Jul 4, 2018 #11

    Colonel Mustard

    Colonel Mustard

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    Thanks! I'll look it up.
     
  12. Jul 4, 2018 #12

    Colonel Mustard

    Colonel Mustard

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    That's good to know. How sharp does it get compared to your AS knives?
     
  13. Jul 4, 2018 #13

    Colonel Mustard

    Colonel Mustard

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    :(
    Thank you for the thorough review! I just went to see the knives tonight but they wouldn't let me cut anything with them.:( At least I was able to handle them. Still not sure which one I liked best though.

    A couple of questions and comments:

    - Is there anything specific about the Masakage knives that you don't like or anything I should be aware of?
    - That's good to know about the Saji as it already seemed a bit overpriced to me at about 250 CAD more then the Konosuke with a pretty similar steel.
    - The Yoshikane SKD is the exact one I have besides that mine is a santoku :).
    - What's a PM steel? What reading should I do to really understand which steel gets the sharpest, which one has the best edge retention, which one is more brittle, which one is easier to sharpen, etc.?
    - Thanks for the comment about sending out the knives. But, I'm more and more thinking about trying to sharpen my own knives if I can do it for a reasonable cost. No 900$ stone for me... But overall, whether I sharpen my knives myself or not, I think the sharpness and overall performance of the knife are my main criterias. Great edge retention being a really good bonus.

    Once again, thanks for all the help!
     
  14. Jul 4, 2018 #14

    Keith Sinclair

    Keith Sinclair

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    What knives did you have in hand? At least you can see firsthand if you like the looks. Nothing wrong with Masakage. The knives you are looking at and suggested here will be great cutters. Sharpened and used several different makes of R2 knives. Have a Takamura R2 at home for couple years. I find it easy to sharpen with better than average retention.

    Like the looks of both the Kurosaki and the Gesshin Kagero. In your price range.

    You do not have to spend a fortune at all to get into sharpening. A coarse stone will take off more steel and you don't need it for a thin geometry blade. A good medium stone 1k - 2k will put a nice cutting edge on your gyuto. If you want polish stone you can get a combi stone with two grits.

    Jon's knife sharpening playlist is a good way to learn, you can practice with your Yoshi SKD. You can call him too about stones and powder steel knives.
     
  15. Jul 4, 2018 #15

    JaVa

    JaVa

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    Nothing wrong with Masakage knives. They've seemed just a bit generic to me. To be honest it's based on very little though and I'd probably think differently if I'd used one. With their steady popularity they should be fine knives. I just never looked at them seriously enough to have helpful input on them.

    Yeah, if you factor in the price of Saji knives it doesn't make things better for sure. They are very pretty though.

    The Yoshi (you have) is one of the all time greats for me. The value is just off the charts.

    PM steels (powder metallurgy) aren't made in a traditional method of melting different metals to combine them to make different steels, but rather combining powdered metals (hence the name) and in high pressure producing steel compositions that couldn't be made in the traditional way. So you get new/better properties to steels that you couldn't before (like better edge retention to knives). The ones most used in knives are R2/SG2, SRS15, HAP40 and ZDP189. These can take a very acute edge and hold it for longer then most steels and still are pretty easy to get sharp (except ZDP189 which can be a pain to sharpen).

    What steels get the sharpest? that's such a broad topic and it's not only the steal itself, it's also about how the blade smith heat treats it. But as general rule, the purer the steel is (meaning carbon steels like white steels and blue steels, that have as little as possible other metals added to them), will get the sharpest and also the easiest. Their edge retention is also the worst. The closer you get to a steel being stainless, the better edge retention it'll have, but the harder it'll be to sharpen, because of their wear resistants. So it's always a trade off of different properties. But all this is SUPER simplified and there are so many factors in play (like the heat treat, which determines much of the steels properties) that can trump everything I just wrote.

    My personal preference is a well treated semi SS like the SKD. The compromise between edge retention, ease of sharpening, corrosion resistance etc. Just works for me. But I do like well made PM steels, blues, whites and SS like ginsanko too. having said that, if I had to choose one knife, with all other things being equal, I'd choose a well made semi stainless steel every time. But that's just me and others will feel differently. It's just what qualities you like to lean towards.

    Don't over think it. All of the knives that's been suggested will get ridiculously sharp. In the real world, most couldn't tell the difference, it's that close. All are easy enough to sharpen too. Sure, White2 will be a lot easier to sharpen then R2, but a good R2 isn't that difficult either. Biggest difference is in the edge retention and how they feel on the stones when sharpening.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2018
  16. Jul 4, 2018 #16

    valgard

    valgard

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    If you can go to a Knifewear and take a look personally I would recommend the Koishi. They have some variability so go and make sure to check 3-4 blades at least and pick up one that's very thin behind the edge and has a profile you like ( looked through 5-6 in the Calgary store and they had some big profile and even some grind variability. I really liked mine, very good all around performance.
     
  17. Jul 5, 2018 #17

    Colonel Mustard

    Colonel Mustard

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    I had my three contenders in hand (Masakage Koishi AS, Kurosaki Shizuku R2 (made for Masakage if I understand correctly) and the Takeshi Saji R2. They only had one of each and the edge on the Koishi looked a little bit rough. So I'm not too sure about this one. The Kurosaki felt really well in hand but the damascus pattern is so clean it almost looks etched. Could it be? I've not seen that many damascus knives first hand so feel free to correct me.

    Since I wasn't able to try them out, I'm starting to wonder if ordering online would be so bad after all if I look attentively at all the specs. Being in Canada though, I don't have as much choice. So far, I found Knifewear, Fine Japanese Chef's Knives, Tosho Knife Arts and AI & OM from which I could order without worrying about duty fees. Any thoughts on those sellers (or their knives selection?)

    About the sharpening, I'm pretty sure I'll take the plunge. It doesn't look that hard.
     
  18. Jul 5, 2018 #18

    Colonel Mustard

    Colonel Mustard

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    I just want to say I really appreciate all the time you take for such thorough answers. Of all that you wrote, the hardest part is the "Don't over think it" part. Over thinking is pretty much my way of life. You should have seen me choosing coffee grinders and espresso machines. :confused:

    Now back to my reasearch...
     
  19. Jul 6, 2018 #19

    Colonel Mustard

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    Never mind my comment about the damascus pattern on the Kurosaki. It's actually not a damascus knife. I was thinking of another one I saw.
     
  20. Jul 6, 2018 #20

    JaVa

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    I've had very good customer service from Knifewear. I don't have any experience with the others you mentioned.

    From Knifewear you could take a look at the Haruyuki kuma gyuto which is made from the SRS15 PM steel. If you still prefer long edge retention that is? It's VERY likely the same knife as Akifusa SRS15 just with a rebranded name. The Akifusa is a well known and liked knife. It doesn't look the most exciting, but the performance is there.

    If you can go there again check how it feels Also that the tip is thin enough for you and that it's thin enough behind the edge too.

    I discussed that knife at length with them and came REALLY close to pulling the trigger on it a few years ago. Regrettably I chose something else instead and I still wish I would have chosen this.

    They also have the Shibata Kotetsu R2 K-tip gyuto. It's a very thin and light laser type of knife with great performance. It gets a fair amount of love here. It's made from R2 PM steel so it's another stellar choice for someone looking for edge retention.

    The Mashasi SLD knives would be great too, but they are TALL and the tip is stubby so it won't be the most versatile gyuto out there and might need some getting used to. Worth a peak while your there though.

    Knifewear is big on Masakage knives in general and hopefully someone with more knowledge of them pitches in.
     
  21. Jul 6, 2018 #21

    Grunt173

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    " Knifewear is big on Masakage knives in general and hopefully someone with more knowledge of them pitches in."

    I have two Masakage knives,a 210 Yuki Gyuto and a 240 Yuki Gyuto.Both are very good knives that are very thin behind the edge and I am very happy with my purchase.However,I do know of at least one gentleman ,on this forum,in fact,who hasn't had the same experience as me with his Yuki's.I think his was thick. Now I can say that about my 240 Masakage Mizu and I am still trying to thin that one out so I have made it my practice knife.I guess what I am trying to say is,maybe the Masakage is a hit or miss thing.
     
  22. Jul 6, 2018 #22

    valgard

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    Yep, fairly large variability.
     
  23. Jul 7, 2018 #23

    Colonel Mustard

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    I'm confused. I've been looking at the Kurosaki Shizuku R2 gyuto but they look very different depending on which site you look at and the prices vary a lot as well.


    https://alambika.ca/collections/gyuto/products/kurosaki-megumi-gyuto-240mm (The link says Megumi but links to the Shizuku)

    https://knifetoronto.com/products/yu-kurosaki-r2-shizuku-gyuto-180mm (not the same size but the look should be the same)

    https://cuttingedgeknives.co.uk/brands/yu-kurosaki/shizuku/gyuto-240mm

    Are they really the same knife (besides size) ? Even the claimed hardness isn't the same (62-63 on Alambika, 63-64 on knifetoronto, and 61-62 on cuttingedgeknives). May the real Kurosaki Shizuku R2 gyuto stand up! I just don't want to be buying a lower end version of the knife if ever that's the one I decide to go with.

    The "brand" description on alambika has me a bit nervous:

    Yoshihiro Cutlery started in Japan, over a hundred years ago. Since 2008, they also established themselves in California, and they now offer their knives to the rest of the world. Loyal to the traditions dating back to 700 years ago, the knives are handmade the way ancient swords were.

    Any thoughts?
     
  24. Jul 7, 2018 #24

    lemeneid

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    They're probably all correct though, some Japanese knifemakers will customise their knives for individual retailers depending on the purchase volume and price. So yes, they're the same line, but probably different heat treat, different finishing, etc to cater to their market.
     
  25. Jul 7, 2018 #25

    Colonel Mustard

    Colonel Mustard

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    A couple of questions:
    How was the edge out of the box? Also, is it the Shizuku?

    Thanks!
     
  26. Jul 7, 2018 #26

    Viggetorr

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    The edge was great, I've only touched it up on a ceramic rod since buying it. You could easily shave with it OOTB. I have the hammered version, also called Megumi, but it's exactly the same blade but with a different pattern.
     
  27. Jul 7, 2018 #27

    Viggetorr

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    In theory AS should get a little bit sharper, but I think it's hard to tell any real difference. In any case, after a couple of sessions of use the Kurosaki will be sharper, as the AS will lose it's initial sharpness faster.
     
  28. Jul 9, 2018 #28

    Colonel Mustard

    Colonel Mustard

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    First of all, thanks again for the useful answers!

    Here's what I've achieved so far, new list of contenders (all 240mm gyutos):

    - Yu Kurosaki Shizuku R2
    - Sakai Takayuki Syousin Sakura (Blue 2 with carbon cladding) at Knives and Stones

    Do you guys think the latter would be worth the premium? I did read the passaround thread but was wondering if anyone had anyhing to add (and wondering if the gyuto has ever been found as well). The Kurosaki knives seem to be harder to get by these days so maybe I should just buy it before the prices go up.:) Decisions, decisions.

    Do you think these knives would be ok for a beginner to sharpen? Of course I would first practice on my old Henckels, then on my Yoshikane and eventually on the Kurosaki or Sakai.

    Once again, I really appreciate all the help I've been getting.
     
  29. Jul 9, 2018 #29

    chinacats

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    Personally, I'd just hit up JKI (the same vendor with the sharpening playlist linked above) and get the Gesshin Kagero (mentioned a few times). The geometry is very consistent, the finish is excellent, the profile very nice and Jon will give it an initial sharpening meaning you don't have to worry about how sharp it is when new. I'd also suggest getting a stone from him at the same time. I'm not a big fan of stainless knives (it's a pm, likely SRS15) but this is one knife that I definitely regret selling.
     
  30. Jul 9, 2018 #30

    JaVa

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    I think the OP wants a more interesting look to the knife and maybe the SRS15 knives are too utilitarian in their Style???
    ...but still definitely a +1 for the Kagero.

    The R2 isn't that hard at all to sharpen. I have two from different makers and both are easy enough. Easier then most SS knives.
     

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