Looking First Gyuto Buying Recommendations

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kerryjones

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Hello!

I'm looking for my first Gyuto knife. I've had a Cutco set for the last ~7 years or so, and more recently in the last 2 getting into whetstone sharpening. I definitely consider myself pretty "new" to the world, but hoping to find something that I can appreciate for many years to come. I'm a software engineer by trait, this is more of a hobby than a profession.

Location: US
Knife type: Gyuto
Right/left handed: Right
Handle: Wa handle
Length: 210mm (~8in)
Steel? Stainless preferred, I don't know much here I think I would like either R2/SG2 or AEB-L/13c26
Max Budget: $550 (but would prefer $200-350)
Intended use: Home
Main tasks: General use/slicing meats/cutting veggies
Replacing: Cutco 8" Chef's knife
Grip? pinch-grip
Cutting motion? Back to front or rocking
Improvements from current knife? Hold edge longer, sharper
Aesthetics? I would love a beautiful knife, attracted to rosewood & black handles, damascus is great but not necessary, stain resistance is nice but not necessary
Comfort? Nice handle material is good, rounded choil would be great, good balance would be great
Ease of Use? Rock chopping/slicing motion of the box would be nice
Edge Retention? I don't know the standards here, but this is definitely important to me
Cutting board? Wood (not bamboo) & rubber
Do you sharpen your own knives? Yes, but I need to learn how to do convex sharpening (definitely beginner here, I've gotten decently sharp, almost shave level)
Interested in purchasing sharpening products for your knives? Yes

SPECIAL REQUESTS/COMMENTS
I would like to have it handcrafted from a Japanese lineage (i.e. should be etched in), it would be meaningful to be able to have something (I was looking for an Anryu like the rest of the world). I have watched quite a few Ryky videos and only recently learned about how much of a grain of salt I need to take. Function of the knife is definitely primary goal, but I partially just want the trophy-aspect of having a nice knife that I can proud of, and can continue to hone my knife sharpening skills.

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I posted a similar question on r/chefknives & got great responses, and simply looking for more opinions before I make a final decision
 

timebard

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I would suggest a Yoshikane SKD gyuto. I have found that I tend to use my 210 and 240mm versions more than any other knife these days.

Yoshis are great but maybe not so much for someone who's rock chopping. S. Tanaka ginsan might suit better but it's out of stock at the moment from KnS. En ginsan from JKI is also out of stock. Hmm...

One thing to note is that a beautifully finished knife and a good knife to practice sharpening skills are a little at odds with each other. If you're still in the early stages of learning to sharpen you'll inevitably scuff up the blade face, sharpen at too high an angle and need to do some thinning, etc, all of which will mess up the finish. Of course, you can make a project of restoring that finish, which is a great learning experience but also a lot to bite off. IMO a plain, rustic finish on a first knife is an advantage in that you don't have anything to discourage you from tuning it up and improving your skills.
 

Nemo

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Yeah, Tanaka Ginsan suits your questionaire answers pretty well.

Would you consider the stainless clad blue2 version?

Yoshi is great but maybe not for rock chopping.

Kurosaki shizuku is also worth a look but also out of stock.
 
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tostadas

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Very thin lightweight "laser" knives are a fun entry into Japanese knives. You can really feel the thin geometry of the blades fall effortlessly through foods. Some good options at the lower end of your budget would be the Takamura R2 and Ashi/Gesshin Ginga Stainless (AEBL).

If you want slightly more weight, but still good performance consider the Tanaka Ginsan as others have mentioned. I personally feel that the Tanaka is lacking in some areas of fit and finish. It's not that hard to smooth things out with some sandpaper and elbow grease though.

If you'd like to take another step up in terms of fit/finish and performance, and higher end of your price range, you can consider work by Myojin (sg2/r2) or Nakagawa (ginsan).
 

Nemo

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Sukenari is also worth a look. Available in a number of different steels including Ginsan and SG2. They have a rep for on-point HT and the ones I have used (YXR7 and AS) are excellent. Their mirror polished damacus looks beautiful from the pics I have seen but I haven't seen it in person.


As mentioned above, fancy blade finishes like mirror damascus can make it difficult to maintain the performance of your knife because you will need to refinish the blade then re etch the steel every time you thin the blade. This obviously discourages maintenance thinning of the blade. Not an issue with a wide bevel and much less of an issue if the finish is less fancy.
 
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Troopah_Knives

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I'm not a Japanese knife guy but ill drop in my $0.02 on steel. If you do a bunch of Rock cutting and chopping I'd steer away from Ginsan and SKD steel (Unless you know its SKD 12) can be prone to fatigue chipping due in part to large carbides. I would go ahead and second @Nemo and recommend Sukenari assuming their SG 2 HT is as good as all their others.
 

JASinIL2006

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Masakage Kumo. It’s VG10, but it holds an insanely sharp edge and the damascus pattern is stunning. I have a 170 santoku and it is an excellent knife. Considering getting a 270 sujihiki from this line because the santoku is so nice.
 

chefwp

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at the top end of your budget, wonderful fit and feel with rounded spine and choil, stainless (ginsan):

slightly cheaper, I have one of these myself, wonderful knife, also stainless (SKD):
 

Infrared

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Satinless clad, still available.
 

kerryjones

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Wow, thanks everyone, this was a lot of fun to read through at the end of the day. I've thrown it all into a spreadsheet so I can compare side-by-side.

I am leaning towards the Yoshikane SKD Gyuto, though hearing everyone on the rock-chopping aspect of it.

The Masakage Kumo is beautiful but I think you're right that while I'm still perfecting my sharpening that getting a knife with damascus may not make sense. The only issue I have with the Takamura R2 is the traditional western handle.

I'm also very attracted to the Kagekiyo Ginsan.

Of course none of this has taken into account availability. Anyway -- thank you all very much, still digging through this.
 

tim huang

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https://www.**************.com/kosusldgy21e.html
konosuke SLD steel 210
1643373092370.png
 

HumbleHomeCook

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I know you didn't ask about a nakiri, but there is an excellent one for sale right now on BST for $85. You cannot go wrong. Not a primary blade but a great addition and dabble into Japanese knives! I've bought from @SolidSnake03 and he is a stand up guy.

 

Delat

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Tons of great choices <$350.

For thin laserish knives: Yoshikane SKD, Shibata Koutetsu R2 or AS, Yu Kurosaki VG10/Cobalt/AS, Makoto Kurosaki, Yoshimi Kato

The Yoshi and Shibata are great push-cutters, wouldn’t recommend them for rocking. The others can rock but I’d be very light and careful with it. You might find once you start using j-knives that you move away from rock chopping; not to say rock-chopping doesn’t have it’s place, but you might not need to do it as much or as aggressively.

For more midweight, tougher, and better at rocking I like my Shiro Kamo R2.

If you feel like stepping up a bit, the Myojin in R2 just has something about the fit and finish and feel in hand that screams quality. When I pick it up, it feels like climbing into a Benz S class while the others are a pretty nice C class.

And if you want something that just looks like a freaking steal; I’d buy it if I didn’t already have one literally in the mail: 20cm stainless gyoto — Fredrik Spåre
 

kerryjones

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Oh, I really like the Shiro Kamo R2 as well.

I see that there's I think two different Myojin, is that Myojin Riki?

Will look into the others, and thanks HumbeHomeCook on link to Nakiri's, I did see those while digging through, I don't think I'm interested in that just yet.
 

HumbleHomeCook

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This is a great thread to explore numerous vendors:


One thing I didn't realize when I first dove into J-knives was just how many suppliers and options were out there.
 

TM001

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I am leaning towards the Yoshikane SKD Gyuto, though hearing everyone on the rock-chopping aspect of it.

It is not difficult to transition to push/pull cutting. I was predominantly a hammer grip knife holder and chopper before buying my first Gyuto.
 

kerryjones

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Great, that makes sense. I hadn't paid much attention to my stroke but been watching it more. I do some push cutting as well as some rock-chops, I haven't tried pull cutting, I don't think it'll be hard to switch
 

Troopah_Knives

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Great, that makes sense. I hadn't paid much attention to my stroke but been watching it more. I do some push cutting as well as some rock-chops, I haven't tried pull cutting, I don't think it'll be hard to switch
I've found if you kinda loosen up your grip with well profiled Gyuto you can get some pretty darn good slicing motion as you rock. I've found this kind of push rock pretty gentle on my edges and helps a lot for tasks when I want to keep board contact
 

Delat

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I see that there's I think two different Myojin, is that Myojin Riki?

His name is Naohito Myojin, and I think he’s calling his brand Myojin Riki or some such thing (Riki might be the particular line of knives, I don’t know). He’s very well known as the sharpener for the Konosuke Fujiyama FM.

He buys stamped blanks and sharpens/grinds them to final shape. There’s a Myojin 240 on BST for a very good price, I think under $400.
 
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