Help with the first knife (or two)

Discussion in 'The Kitchen Knife' started by Petr Fornusek, Jan 7, 2019.

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  1. Jan 7, 2019 #1

    Petr Fornusek

    Petr Fornusek

    Petr Fornusek

    New Member

    Jan 6, 2019
    Prague, Czech Republic
    Hey guys,

    I love cooking. Much. I spent in the my home kitchen significant part of my life. One of my beloved cuisines is Japanese, specially sushi. For a very long time I was dreaming about Japanese knife, however always were more important things to buy or pay. Finally I have decided to create some small budget and buy my first (and maybe second) Japanese knife. My plan is to learn how to properly use them and take care of them and in year or two I may replace them for some more representative pieces.

    Below I filled the questionnaire and I would like to kindly ask you to look at it and if you can, give me some suggestions which brand/serie may be good for the purpose I need the knife/knives for.

    Thank you very much for your time ;)


    What country are you in?
    Czech Republic (Europe)

    What type of knife are you interested in (e.g., chef’s knife, slicer, boning knife, utility knife, bread knife, paring knife, cleaver)?
    Since the main usage will be for sushi, I need yanagiba and nakiri knives.

    Are you right or left handed?
    Right handed.

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

    What length of knife (blade) are you interested in (in inches or millimeters)?
    240-270 mm for yanagiba and 150-170 mm for nakiri.

    Do you require a stainless knife? (Yes or no)
    No, preference is carbon steel.

    What is your absolute maximum budget for your knife?
    Because knives will be my first ones, I expect that some mistakes may be made during knife maintenance. Due to this I prefer lower budget knives for start, up to $400 for both or very close to this amount.

    Do you primarily intend to use this knife at home or a professional environment?
    Knives are for home use, but I am cooking enthusiast with big love for sushi :)

    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.)
    Nakiri for vegetables, yanagiba for slicing fish/rolls.

    What knife, if any, are you replacing?
    I have like 15 knives for different purposes, but all are western type. I have nothing special for the sushi preparation.

    Do you have a particular grip that you primarily use? (Please click on this LINK for the common types of grips.)
    It depends on type of knife I'm using. For wider blades usually pinch grip, for smaller/thinner knives Finger Point.

    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.)
    Primarily push-cut, but really it depends on knife I'm using and food I'm cutting/slicing. Apart of chopping I'm using all techniques.

    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.)

    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)?
    Only wish is darker handle but it is not "must". Some pattern on the blade would be fine, but it is not the main reason I need new knives.

    Comfort (e.g., lighter/heavier knife; better handle material; better handle shape; rounded spine/choil of the knife; improved balance)?
    Preference are lighter knives, comfortable for use when I use them all day during sushi parties.

    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)?
    I need them for precise cutting and I expect, that I will need to give them a lot more care than any other knife in my possession.

    Edge Retention (i.e., length of time you want the edge to last without sharpening)?
    I am used to ceramic sharpening steel before every knife use, but I expect (hope), that these knives will hold longer before I will need to sharpen them a bit.

    Do you use a bamboo, wood, rubber, or synthetic cutting board? (Yes or no.)
    Yes, most are synthetic, some are wood ones.

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

    If not, are you interested in learning how to sharpen your knives? (Yes or no.)
    I never sharpened Japanese knife, even I have seen some vids before. Some tips would be appreciated.

    Are you interested in purchasing sharpening products for your knives? (Yes or no.)
    Definitely I will need them.
  2. Jan 7, 2019 #2




    Supporting Member

    Jan 2, 2019
    Hi Petr!

    I have never used a single-bevel Yanigaba so I will defer to one of the other smart people here to help.
    For Nakiri, there are a couple that, while not cheap, will last you an absolute lifetime.

    You can contact Shinichi Watanabe directly (he is very easy to work with) and highly recommend his Nakiri on this page:
    I have the 180mm, but he makes a 165mm.

    Also, in Denmark, Maksim at Japanese Natural Stones has Toyama in stock. Toyama is WONDERFUL blacksmith:
    A little bigger, but an absolutely incredible knife.

  3. Jan 8, 2019 #3




    Well-Known Member

    Dec 12, 2018
    I’ve used a Minonokuni yanagiba when I started out with sharpening and found it to be decent for the price. I bought it from KnifeMerchant online.
  4. Jan 10, 2019 #4




    Well-Known Member

    Apr 14, 2018
    I recently rehandled a Yoshihiro Hongasumi White Steel Hammered Yanagi from echefknife. It’s patterned, not high end and has a dark handle. The owner of it was happy with the performance.

    For a real good deal on quality for price, the young samurai Yanagi from chef knives togo is a great option. It’s made by 2 apprentices in the Doi workshop, which is very well respected. It doesn’t have a pattern and the handle is blah, but the quality of the steel is great for the price.

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