Knife recommendation - Gyuto or Kiritsuke 240mm $200-600

Discussion in 'The Kitchen Knife' started by Sobriquet, Jan 1, 2019.

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  1. Jan 1, 2019 #1

    Sobriquet

    Sobriquet

    Sobriquet

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    LOCATION
    What country are you in?

    United States

    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 or Kiritsuke (if I can still rock it without hurting the tip). I greatly prefer taller knives.

    Are you right or left handed?

    Right handed

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

    Japanese (preferred)

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

    Approx 240mm.

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

    I’d like a stainless clad knife with a carbon or high-performance core


    What is your absolute maximum budget for your knife?

    $600 USD, but I would prefer to keep it to around $350 or less if I can get what I want for that.


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

    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.)

    Veg prep (chop, slice, mince), slicing meat, skinning fish

    What knife, if any, are you replacing?

    n/a.

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

    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 want more of a laser - wedging is a problem with my current knives. Something that will glide through onions when cut horizontally.

    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)?

    I’d love Damascus or a smoother blacksmith’s finish (something other than just a monosteel look). Would love a dark wood handle with a contrasting spacer (but not required). Must be either well sealed or easy to seal to prevent tang rust.

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

    I’d like a balanced or slightly blade-heavy blade. I find taller blades more comfortable to work with.


    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’m tired of things wedging and would love better food release. I need something that’s not too hard to sharpen for an amateur. I’m an above average home sharpener (I think), but by no means an expert.


    Edge Retention (i.e., length of time you want the edge to last without sharpening)?

    I’m a home cook, so so long as it’s easy to touch up, this isn’t the highest priority attribute.

    KNIFE MAINTENANCE
    Do you use a bamboo, wood, rubber, or synthetic cutting board? (Yes or no.)
    Mostly poly boards. My wife insists on boards that’ll go in the dishwasher.


    Do you sharpen your own knives? (Yes or no.)
    Yes. I have various stones ranging up to about 4000-6000 and a DMT duo stone (green/red). I have a white ceramic honing rod.


    If not, are you interested in learning how to sharpen your knives? (Yes or no.)

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


    SPECIAL REQUESTS/COMMENTS

    I prefer taller knives, so I’ve been looking at the 240mm Takeda Gyuto at CKTG. I would jump at that, but I’m worried about comments I’ve read about recent quality control and also the relatively short flat section. I do love that it’s like a zero grind to sharpen, so I’d probably have more success with that.


    I also like the look of the Sukenari HAP-40 240mm Gyuto at JCK (not sure if I’m allowed to link – I’m new here.). It’s more than I want to spend, and it doesn’t have the height of the Takeda. It also is HAP40, which I’m not sure how difficult it is to sharpen.
     
  2. Jan 2, 2019 #2

    McMan

    McMan

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    Two points:
    (1) you're going to be hard pressed to find a clad laser. Most lasers are monosteel. I'd call the Izakuchi a laser and it's stainless clad, but it also has a radius profile without a flat spot--great for rocking but not for push cutting.
    (2) If you're doing a lot of rocking, you'll want to go gyuto not kiritsuke (which has a lower tip). Kiritsuke are great for push cutting and not good for rocking.

    If we stick closely to the letter of the law about what you wanted--stainless or damascus clad, good for push cutting/rocking, dark handle w/ contrasting spacer--these guys fit the bill (though neither are lasers):
    http://www.knivesandstones.com/sukenari-sg2-r2-gyuto-240mm-damascus/
    This one is in stock:
    http://www.knivesandstones.com/shinko-kurokumo-r2-damascus-gyuto-240mm-by-shiro-kamo/
    I haven't used either so can't give feedback.

    If you're willing to go for a knife that's not a laser but is nicely thin behind the edge and a great performer, and also forgo some of the bling for handle and cladding, it's hard to beat Gesshin Gengetsu for stainless clad white#2. I like Wakui a lot for stainless clad white, too. I've used both and still do. Keep in mind that neither of these is a "laser", though both are nicely thin behind the edge and wedging isn't much of issue. You could always change the handle with a custom later...

    It doesn't tick the boxes in terms of looks, but I think a Masahi Kobo in SLD steel might be the perfect knife for you in terms of performance--it's got a huge flat spot (great for push cutting), a high/round tip (ideal for rocking), and good edge retention (good for poly boards). Not a laser by any means, but also nicely thin behind the edge.

    If you're hard set on a pure laser, then buy a pure laser: a Gesshin Ginga 240, pop on a custom handle and you're still way under budget :D
     
  3. Jan 2, 2019 #3

    Sobriquet

    Sobriquet

    Sobriquet

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    Thanks for your thoughtful, helpful response. Can you help me understand the difference between "laser" and "nicely thin behind the edge?" My Yoshimitsu Fugen White #1 tall Nakiri is as sharp as I've ever used. If I order something from JKI, would I want to have them rehandle, or does another artisan do that? If it doesn't have much "bling," am I better off with a low-reactive mono steel or a clad carbon?

    Would a Takeda 240mm medium gyotu be a mistake? I hear you on the Gyuto vs Kiritsuke. I'll give up on the k-tip.
     
  4. Jan 2, 2019 #4

    HRC_64

    HRC_64

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    What are your current knives that are wedging?
     
  5. Jan 2, 2019 #5

    HRC_64

    HRC_64

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    This is a "thin behind the edge" but not at the spine grind,

    A couple classic examples...

    One would be a Masamoto KS with ~3mm spine

    [​IMG]

    Second, similar to knives like Kono fujiyama, totally different knive,
    (old ones were wide bevels)

    But that have pretty thin grind just behind the edge,
    and again a ~3mm thick spine

    http://s1060.photobucket.com/user/salemj1/media/IMG_6905_zps765b1236.jpg.html

    Kono HD2, a true laser is much flatter grind, thinner
    (lighter knife all the way to the spine)
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2019
  6. Jan 2, 2019 #6

    MrHiggins

    MrHiggins

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    The Sukenari HAP 40 from JCK was my first Japanese knife and it changed my world (since then, I've gone through about 30 J knives and have kept 10 or so).

    I ended up giving mine to a buddy who got a chef gig in Napa and he loves it too. I would highly recommend it. It's not a tall knife, however, coming in around 50mm. It's also 240mm long, but that's measured from the machi, not the heel, so it come in short in length, maybe around 230mm from the heel.

    On a scale of 1-10 with 1 being a true laser and 10 being a work horse, I'd put the Sukenari at a 3.

    Last, hap 40 is a breeze to sharpen, no worries there.
     
  7. Jan 2, 2019 #7

    LucasFur

    LucasFur

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    Sukenari hap40 ... I have a k-tip great knife not a laser.
    Takeda ... quality issues were 2016-2017 best I can tell ... end of 2018 seems to be good. I love my takeda full stop.

    For what you said you wanted ... Kotetsu R2 but if you want more a general all purpose knife with extra height the shiro kamo from kns. It has a permanent spot in my collection as a beater and is for me the best all rounder. Takedas are more "laser" focused. Maybe grab from Tosho(Canadian) and they can hand pick one for you, I know they just received a batch.

    Cheers.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2019
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  8. Jan 2, 2019 #8

    McMan

    McMan

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    HRC_64’s points/pics are helpful here.

    A laser is a very thin knife. Full stop. Everything is thin, from spine to edge. As a result, it’ll fly through food. It’ll also have poor food release because there is little room for the grind to do much on the sides of the knife to combat sticking.

    When I say “thin behind the edge”, I’m referring to what things look like a few mm behind the edge. I’m not referring to the spine or mid-blade. So, many different types of grinds can still be thin behind the edge. In other words, a laser will be thin behind the edge, but midweights can be thin behind the edge, too.

    You could ask JKI… maybe they have something cool in stock. James at Knives and Stones has very nice handle options too. There are a handful of handle makers that do very cool work and could whip up a custom for ya.

    Depends. Mono will be a thinner knife generally and clad will be thicker. Stainless clad looks cool once a patina sets in because the edge patinas but the cladding doesn’t.

    I wouldn’t say “mistake”… but from what you mentioned in the questionnaire, I think there might be knives that tick more boxes a bit better. You mentioned that you want “Something that will glide through onions when cut horizontally.” This doesn’t have to be a laser, but it must be something with a very thin tip.
     
  9. Jan 2, 2019 #9

    Nemo

    Nemo

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    Be aware that lack of wedging and food release are a tradeoff. This is because the grind features that allow food release (commonly blade face convexity) require blade width. So you can have a laser with very little wedging and poor food release, a thick workhorse grind with some wedging (depending on what you have been using, probably still less than what you are used to) and excellent food release, or various widths of middleweight which will be somewhere in between. Note that most generic Western knives (including the expensive ones) tend to both be thick behind the edge AND have poor food release. You'll probably be better off from both points of view with a good Japanese style knife.

    Also be aware that rock chopping does not get the most out of thin, hard, Japanese style knives. The edges are hard and thin. Sideways forces on the edge can make them chip (especially lasers). If you do rock chop, don't rotate the knife while the edge is in forceful contact with the board. Likewise, walk chopping is not a good idea, nor is scraping food with the edge (flip the knife and scrape with the spine instead). Besides, these type of knives respond best to knife techniques like push slicing and guillotine and glide rather than rock chopping.

    The Shiro Kamo Syousin Suminagashi is a middleweight which is still reasonably thin behind the edge and has pretty good food release for it's width. It's a tall blade. The R2 PM steel is not that hard to sharpen (easier than Western stainless, not as easy as carbon steel). It loses it's 'just off the stones' sharpness pretty quickly but maintains a very usable edge for so long that you may end up looking for an excuse to sharpen it. The damascus (suminagashi) pattern is pretty muted. The profile is a gentle curve and it can be used as a rock chopper, although its blade height may limit this depending on how tall you are. The spine and choil are eased but could do with a bit more rounding. The rosewood handle is functional but not super pretty IMO. It balances forward of the pinch grip.

    KnS has an upgraded version (Shinko Kurokumo) with a nicer ebony handle, a rounded spine and choil and a slightly deeper etch to the damascus finish. Pretty fair value IMO. The heavier ebony handle brings the balance point closer to the pinch grip.

    The Sukenari is indeed a little thinner and a little less tall than the Shiro Kamo, with commensuratly poorer food relrease. Mine is a K-tip in YXR7 steel. It has a fairly flat profile and is not ideal for rock chopping. Not sure how the traditional gyuto profile compares.

    If you want an interesting aesthetic on an almost-laser-thin knife, you could do a lot worse than look at the Kurosaki R2 Shizuku. A very thin wide bevel knife with a quite attractive "diamond damascus" pattern (which really looks more like a type of hammered pattern to me). It comes with a rosewood handle. Mine came from KnS and I paid to have an upgraded ebony handle.

    If you are happy to look at a slightly less tall knife, the Tanaka Nashiji is defintiely worth a look. Stainless clad ginsanko (stainless) or blue2 (carbon). A thin middleweight wide bevel, with an attractive "nashiji" (pearskin) finish above the wide bevels. The KnS versions (except the "ginsanko lite" version) come with ebony handles and a rounded spine and choil.

    If I could only have one of these knives (fortunately, not currently a realistic restriction), it would probably be the Shiro Kamo (mainly because I value food release over ultimate thinness).

    Yes, there are so many choices and so much delicious complexity. It's why some of us end up with dozens of knives.
     
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  10. Jan 2, 2019 #10

    Nemo

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    I should add, if you are able to accept an average height knife, you should have a close look at Gesshin Gengetsu. Stainless clad white2 (carbon) or stainless clad semistainless. It's a moderatly thin (a little thicker than Tanaka Nashiji) middleweight with excellent food release for its thickness. The profile is pretty flat and the spine and choil are eased but could do with a bit more rounding and it's a pretty plain blade finish.... but the thinness vs food release performance tradeoff is really excellent. The burned chestnut handle suits the knife's aesthetic in my view.

    The semistainless is easy to sharpen and has reasonably good edge retention. I expect that the White2 version would be super easy to sharpen, with less edge retention, but probably very easy to touch up.
     
  11. Jan 2, 2019 #11

    Jon-cal

    Jon-cal

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    I’d probably skip the Takeda. I have one and love it, but if you’re looking for a laser that will do easy horizontal cuts a Takeda isn’t it. At least mine isn’t anyway. The food release is phenomenal though.
     
  12. Jan 2, 2019 #12

    Benuser

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    Just wondering why you consider a kiritsuke — I guess you mean a double bevelled blade with a kiritsuke tip — for general tasks. The ones I've seen were flat, deadly flat, and whether with slicing or chopping, the low tip hinders and gets damaged. They look spectacular but are only usable for push cutting. And impressing neighbours.
     
  13. Jan 2, 2019 #13

    Dave Kinogie

    Dave Kinogie

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    For what it's worth I recently gifted a friend an Ikazuchi 210 for Christmas and got to use it very briefly, but it's up there with the sharpest knives I've ever used. Only got to cut a couple lemons, mince a couple cloves of garlic and chop some green beans, so can't comment much on edge retention or wedging, food release, but I was blown away by my initial use in comparison to price point and fit and finish.
     
  14. Jan 2, 2019 #14

    ThinMan

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    If you want a Takeda, get a Takeda. It is a great knife and one of the classic Japanese knives, albeit quite idiosyncratic. It is very thin yet has great food release. Takeda maintains stiffness in the thin blade with the height.
     
  15. Jan 2, 2019 #15

    JaVa

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    +1 for The Shinko Kurokumo.
    Not a laser but the thin behind the edge grind makes it cut like one. Other then that it makes all the other wishes come true. Tall, great cutter, damascus, SS, balance is blade heavy, clad with "high performance" R2 core, dark handle with contrasting spacer, etc. plus made by a reputable smith to boot and you get to deal deal with James who's a super nice guy.

    If you want to go for something that costs a little less, the Syousin Suminigashi is the same knife just a little less fancy. like Nemo pointed out.

    Masashi also makes tall laser like gyutos that seems to fit the bill and could be worth a look. I haven't used one but they do come highly recommended around here.
     
  16. Jan 6, 2019 #16

    Sobriquet

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    I've been spending a lot of time looking at the recommendations you guys made and hunting around based on your advice. I also really paid attention to how I cooked this week. I realize the last couple of years with Japanese knives have changed my knife habits away from rocking - I'm not doing much of it anymore. It was mostly push cutting.

    Accordingly, I'm looking for something with a flatter section and less curve, but without going K-tip. I also reflected that I'm not going to be happy with it unless it outperforms the VG-10 I have, so it's worth trading some of the "bling" for what really counts - performance. I'm taking a hard look at these two knives. Do you guys have opinions on one over the other? One is R2, the other Blue 2 (which I'd prefer I think). If I could find similar options in AS, I'd want to consider those too, but I haven't found any.

    http://www.knivesandstones.com/shinko-kurokumo-r2-damascus-gyuto-240mm-by-shiro-kamo/
    http://www.knivesandstones.com/tana...uto-240mm-with-custom-octagonal-ebony-handle/

    Throwing one more in that doesn't have a blade aesthetic that does much for me, but seems to deserve mention:

    https://www.japaneseknifeimports.co...engetsu-240mm-stainless-clad-white-2-wa-gyuto
     
  17. Jan 6, 2019 #17

    JaVa

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    The Tanaka isn't SS clad. They used to be very reactive (I have one of those). The new ones are much more settled down. But going by your preferences maybe not the best option. Oh and all Tanakas are known to have a curved edge profile so there's no flat spot either. GREAT knife though!

    Gengetsu needs no introduction in these parts. Solid reputation as a solid performer. But (again going by your preferences) the semiSS version might be a better fit. I haven't yet used one yet (regrettably). Someone with experience will chime in I'm sure.

    Since the Gengetsu W2 is on the table you could check out the Wakui W2 too. It's flat, tall, thin behind the edge, laser like performer etc. just not the most exciting visually, though personally I'm a fan of the hazy kasumi finish. Seriously good knife!

    The Kurokumo doesn't have the longest flat spot, My Syousin Suminigashi version has maybe about 20-30% flat spot, but other then that still seems to match pretty perfectly with your wish list.

    But from the knives mentioned going by pure performance my pick would be the SemiSS Gengetsu. Not that it should matter as the knife is for you and you should get the one that intrigues you the most.
     
  18. Jan 7, 2019 #18

    Taramonia

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    If you're looking at the K&S Tanaka, I would look at either Nashiji version as both are SS clad. It's not dammy or kurouchi, but it's very much not monosteel looking. They are both just fine for push cutting, while leaving you some wiggle room to rock some herbs or what not. Just purchased a SS Clad kintaro (which is AS) but don't want to ring in on it just yet till i get to run it through a few paces.
     
  19. Jan 10, 2019 #19

    Sobriquet

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    Just wanted to update the thread and say thanks. I ordered a Kintaro 240mm Gyuto in stainless clad AS with the last rosewood handle JKI had.

    https://www.japaneseknifeimports.co...m-stainless-clad-blue-super-kurouchi-wa-gyuto

    It'll ship Friday - they're putting the first edge on it for me. Josh and Jon at JKI were a pleasure to deal with - great customer service.

    It came down to that knife, the Gengetsu (which I think was the best fit performance-wise, but didn't float my boat aesthetically), and the Kochi Kiritsuke 240mm, which was also great but didn't have as nice of a handle.
     
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  20. Jan 10, 2019 #20

    Taramonia

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    I actually would have like the burnt chestnut handle but after a little use have been really pleased with the Kintaro; I think you'll like it
     

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