help with moderate-budget daily workhorse

Discussion in 'The Kitchen Knife' started by talldrinkofwater, Nov 1, 2019.

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  1. Nov 1, 2019 #1

    talldrinkofwater

    talldrinkofwater

    talldrinkofwater

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    LOCATION
    What country are you in?

    U.S.


    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)?

    Chef's Knife / Gyuto

    Are you right or left handed?

    Right.

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

    Maybe (?) Western, but not the standard flat-sided, riveted form; I prefer a rounded or otherwise curved contour. I haven't been a big fan of octagonal wa handles but haven't ruled them out; and a D-handle might be interesting to try.

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

    210mm, roughly; probably not much longer, but could be just a little bit shorter. Also, I have large hands, so a tall-at-the-heel profile is important.

    Do you require a stainless knife? (Yes or no)

    No. (See my further comments below.)

    What is your absolute maximum budget for your knife?

    If at all possible I'd really like to keep this particular knife <US$300, or even ~US$250. Those aren't hard limits necessarily, but I'd need a lot of convincing to go higher at this time.

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

    Exclusively home.

    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.)

    Slicing vegetables, chopping vegetables, mincing vegetables, slicing or cubing meats, chopping chocolate, dicing or otherwise opening or prepping large fruits and gourds, chopping nuts, etc.

    What knife, if any, are you replacing?

    My standard go-to knife for the last 4+ years has been (and still is) a Shun Premier 8" Chef's knife. I bought this when I knew very little about knives and needed a primary blade to replace everything lost in a divorce. That being said, other than the fact that it's kind of generic, I've had nothing but good experiences with it. No chipping as reported elsewhere, even though I've really used it for just about everything (including fruit with hard seeds, gourd fruit, meats where bones may be encountered, nuts, and so on.) I have a slightly-thicker, and much less expensive, 8" chef's knife in VG-10 -- Euro/Western style profile and handle -- that I use in the few cases when I worry about damaging the relatively thin Shun blade edge, but I haven't had any problems with that either.

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

    Pinch.

    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, slice, occasionally some 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.)

    I'd mostly like to try something a little different than what I currently have. Whatever I get is very unlikely to be a "forever" knife (although one never knows), but is instead just intended to give me some feel for what I might want to seek out in the future. I don't own a traditional gyuto so that's the general direction I'm leaning.

    I have a variety of specialty-use knives that I'm happy with, everything from paring and petty through boning, slicing, and bread. I also have a 240mm chef that I really enjoy using but find a little big as a daily go-to given kitchen and board size constraints as well as the average size of the food products I'm working with.

    So I'm looking for a daily workhorse, probably Japanese (or at least Japanese-influenced), nimble, thin, flat-ish belly, and tough enough to not worry about for most use cases. I enjoy the aesthetics of patinated carbon steels, or various San-mai style low-maintenance claddings, but I'm happy to go with straight stainless for this one too. I'd prefer a high HRC and am looking forward to experimenting with and learning to sharpen some sort of steel that's new to me; besides VG-MAX and VG-10, other current blades I have are 1095, 52100, White #1, and a few minor examples of both stainless and carbon that I'm not really sure about (nothing special).

    I don't have a particular preference for handle material, although I think the common blond Japanese handles are kind of boring. Although most examples are probably above what I'd like to spend on this anyway, the few "stabilized" wood handles I've tried are too much like plastics, losing the original character and feel of the wood, so untreated or simply-treated (stained, lightly lacquered, oiled, etc) wood would be better, or a purely synthetic handle such as Micarta or G-10 is okay too.


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

    Wood (edge grain maple); occasionally plastic as well to prevent cross-contamination and/or board stains, depending on what I'm working with.

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

    Yes.

    Are you interested in purchasing sharpening products for your knives? (Yes or no.)

    More is always better, right? :D

    SPECIAL REQUESTS/COMMENTS

    I think I covered everything. But feel free to ask for clarifications! Thank you in advance.
     
  2. Nov 2, 2019 #2

    fewlio

    fewlio

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    Answer is wood handled wusthof ikon, or Bob Kramer carbon steel, which is on rare sale at cutlery and more:

    [​IMG]

    https://www.cutleryandmore.com/henckels-bob-kramer-carbon-steel/chefs-knife-p123477

    Can also be had in modern Japan style handle, but not in carbon steel.

    Sg2 model can also be had for 240 BUCKS! Micarta handle. These all have rounded spines, but avoid the budget line as its rougher. They're all made in Japan, the thin sg2 chefs and meiji version are the most Asian inspired I'd say.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2019
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  3. Nov 2, 2019 #3

    Echotraveler

    Echotraveler

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    Ive been eyeing the Takamura VG-10 which seems like a thin but rough enough workhorse.

    Also the takamura chromax seems like a great great knife, ive become a takamura fan after owning their Migaki R2 Gyuto



    Currently my workhorse is Tokyo Aritsugu S 210mm Gyuto. They actually ship them directly from the store, i think mine went for $160 shipped and with saya.
     
  4. Nov 2, 2019 #4

    Bert2368

    Bert2368

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    Do you own a nakiri yet?
     
  5. Nov 2, 2019 #5

    M1k3

    M1k3

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    Takamura Chromax/VG-10/R2 aren't workhorses. Really nice lasers though. I have the Chromax, it's tough, for a laser, but, still comcomese with all the caveats a laser has.
     
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  6. Nov 2, 2019 #6

    talldrinkofwater

    talldrinkofwater

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    Yep, I have a decent nakiri. I find myself using it less than I’d originally anticipated.

    I have a bunka too, which is a little clunky (52100 steel; rather thick blade geometry), but I made it in a knife-making class, so it has sentimental value ;) Working on thinning it behind the edge currently.
     
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  7. Nov 2, 2019 #7

    Echotraveler

    Echotraveler

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    i appreciate your opinion on this. As im looking to guide my sous chef towards a nice workhorse. The chromax maybe too brittle at 64rockwell, and a pain for him to sharpen, since he doesnt really own any stones...im the one with the stones. LOL

    what do you suggest?
     
  8. Nov 2, 2019 #8

    M1k3

    M1k3

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    The Chromax isn't hard to sharpen.
     
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  9. Nov 2, 2019 #9

    parbaked

    parbaked

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    labor of love and M1k3 like this.
  10. Nov 2, 2019 #10

    M1k3

    M1k3

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    The Chromax was my first knife worth anything. I also learned to sharpen with it and a king 1k/6k combo stone. Trust me, it's not hard to sharpen.
     
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  11. Nov 2, 2019 #11

    Carl Kotte

    Carl Kotte

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    I really dislike my kaeru 210 sld because of the profile and how it sharpens. Well, we’re all different, right?
     
  12. Nov 2, 2019 #12

    M1k3

    M1k3

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  13. Nov 2, 2019 #13

    Benuser

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    Chopping chocolate and nuts is very hard to the edge. For those tasks have a carbon yo-deba or a soft carbon chef's, so that inevitable damage is limited and may be easily repaired.
    No tasks for a general purpose knife.
     
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  14. Nov 3, 2019 #14

    Keith Sinclair

    Keith Sinclair

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    Used Kamagoro V2 carbon core as workhorse at work blk hammer finish 240mm. Epicurian Edge. No need to baby that blade.

    For high heel & Superb handle at 210mm Kochi stainless clad gyuto. Great knife cannot abuse thin behind the edge
     
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  15. Nov 3, 2019 #15

    MowgFace

    MowgFace

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    Wakui sounds like it’d fit the bill.

    Can be found at many places. Most stainless clad but can also be found in. Carbon clad.

    Migaki Kasumi variation are the thinnest, but Nashiji and kurouchi are great knives as well. Note: kurouchi is usually V2 if I am not mistaken.

    Mowgs.
     
  16. Nov 4, 2019 #16

    jaeysehn

    jaeysehn

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    while Takamura pro isn't necessarily a "workhorse" by normal "workhorse" standards, it is on the beefier side of the takamuras. and since ur only using at home, could be a good option. getting an upgrade on the cutting board could help a lot to diminish abuse on the edge (like end grain or Japanese plastic boards)
     
  17. Nov 4, 2019 #17

    Keith Sinclair

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    I know a lot of people want a do it all knife. Have à couple thicker blades for avocado seeds & other harder foods. Same at work & home,other knives are thin grinds toward the edge. Easier to sharpen and fall through food. Thick or be thin spine grind is important.

    Sounds like you already have rough duty knives. If spending up to 300.00 you have choices for a excellent Japan gyuto with tall heel, nice handle and great grind that would blow away your other knives.
     
  18. Nov 4, 2019 #18

    Dhoff

    Dhoff

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    I will help you my friend. Send that horrible knife to me!
     
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  19. Nov 4, 2019 #19

    idemhj

    idemhj

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    Sorry, if I am deraling this thread, but could you elaborate a litte on that. I have the Kaeru 240 and I like it very much (I also tend to recommend it). I get that profiles are very subjective, what I don’t get, however, is that you dont like “how it sharpens”. What’s wrong with it? I find mine fairly easy to sharpen and with a relatively good edge retention. It is not that we all need to agree, we clearly don’t, it’s just to better understand.
     
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  20. Nov 4, 2019 #20

    Michi

    Michi

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    I was a little surprised by that comment, too. I've used a Kaeru 210 gyuto, and thought that the profile was fine.
     
  21. Nov 4, 2019 #21

    Carl Kotte

    Carl Kotte

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    Yeah, sorry guys inc @Dhoff and @Michi , my comment was very short and not very well put. Very subjectively speaking (I realize that this might not even be comprehensible: it's sure hard to write about these things) my problem with the profile is how short the heel is and the fact that it has a tiny flatspot (or I should say, I think, at least, that is my problem with the profile). It's as if the whole blade had a very triangular shape (not quite like a classic Sabatier, but more like it than most other gyuotos), like a very long petty.
    The problem for me is that with the Kaeru, I cannot push or pull cut properly with it without adjusting my technique a lot. The same thing with rocking. All in all, there are many knives in this price category that I personally prefer over the Kaeru (Macs and Tojiros e.g.)
    As for sharpening, I guess I just expected the knife to feel differently on the stones. As a reference: I like sharpening White 2, and I am OK with sharpening Cromova18 although I do not enjoy it very much. I expected the Kaeru to be closer to White 2 than to Crovoma18 in sense of feel - but it wasn't. I prefer sharpening Macs or Tojiro VG10s over the Kaeru.
    I hope this was clarifying - and sorry OP for continuing to derail the thread!
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2019
  22. Nov 4, 2019 #22

    Michi

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    Fair enough, we all have different preferences when it comes to profile. I haven't sharpened a Kaeru yet, so I can't comment on that aspect.
     
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  23. Nov 4, 2019 #23

    Brian Weekley

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    One of my personal favourite knives. An Anryu Kurouchi Damascus Gyuto. Soft iron cladding over W2 core. Laser...ish with a f&f that supersedes the price. I hav 2-240’s. One for my travelling roll and one for my permanent block. The 240 prices out at $190. CK*G has a 210mm for $170. Can’t beat it for the price and as I prefer reactive blades it’s perfect for me as an everyday work horse.

    9A58D43A-2427-49DF-BBF8-6A263AC06FAF.jpeg
     
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  24. Nov 4, 2019 #24

    JoBone

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    Gihei B2 - $170 - has a nice flat area for push/pull, but also curved toward the front for rocking

    Anryu B2 - $215 if available- is a great knife for the price, better at push/pull than rocking. The above suggestion on his KU finish may work.

    the handles may not be to your liking, but enough under budget that you can purchase a d- shaped replacement
     
  25. Nov 4, 2019 #25

    talldrinkofwater

    talldrinkofwater

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    Thanks everyone for all the suggestions!

    I have to admit that the Kramer seems like a good deal but there's something about those knives that I just don't find visually appealing. I've handled a few Kramer/Zwilling knives briefly in stores but never had a chance to use one. I will say the ergonomics seem pleasant despite my bias against the appearance ;)

    The Takamura and Gihei suggestions seem to fit what I'm looking for, and I lke that they're fairly tall at the heel. The Anrya @ 48mm is closest (I was thinking ~50mm was ideal) and that's a very attractive price point; the Gihei looks pretty great too.

    Thanks again! I'll be sure to update the thread when I decide.
     
  26. Nov 4, 2019 #26

    jaeysehn

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    just a quick comment about the Kramers, if you are buying a carbon one, the wood on the handle tends to shrink a bit and you're left with uneven tang/wood. Often the ones from cutlery and more that are on sale have this issue. just be wary.
     
  27. Nov 5, 2019 #27

    applepieforbreakfast

    applepieforbreakfast

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  28. Nov 6, 2019 #28

    Lazyboy

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    Got the 240 of that. BIG flat spot (which was what I was after). The height is great (if you like that too). White steel easy to sharpen.
     
  29. Nov 6, 2019 #29

    Hz_zzzzzz

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    I really like my Anryu B2 and Wakui but both are not very tall at the heel. And both are more like a middle weight knife than a real workhorse.
     
  30. Nov 6, 2019 #30

    Brian Weekley

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    Hz ... thinking about it you’re right. While I like my Anryu’s very much you really can’t put them in the “workhouse” class. They’re very nice to use in a home kitchen but are really more middle weights.
     

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