Looking for Gyuto advice

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Northwoods

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Hey everyone. I'm new to the forums, and looking for some advice on choosing my first Gyotu. I live in the US, and am a home chef- I enjoy charcuterie, smoking, pickling, fermenting as well as cooking a wide variety of cuisines. For the last fifteen years or so, I have been using a set of Wustof classic knives. Two and a half years ago, I got my first whetstone and started my hand sharpening journey, and am now looking to explore the world of Japanese knives.

LOCATION
I live in the US.

KNIFE TYPE
What type of knife are you interested in? Gyuto or Santoku
Are you right or left handed? My wife and I are both left handed.
Are you interested in a Western handle or Japanese handle? Japanese, primarily.
What length of knife (blade) are you interested in (in inches or milometers)? 210 or 240. I was originally thinking 210, but some of the threads in this forum have me thinking I might be better off in with a 240. This is for my cabin kitchen, though, which is small- the counter is only 5' long, and most of our cutting boards are 12x16.
Do you require a stainless knife? No.
What is your absolute maximum budget for your knife? $210 usd

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 slicing, chopping , mincing vegetables, slicing meats- general meal prep. I have other knifes for paring, trimming, de-boning, carving, and cutting through bone.
What knife, if any, are you replacing? A ****** sontoku I bought for sharpening practice, and a backup to a chef's knife for prep work
Do you have a particular grip that you primarily use? Generally, on a chef knife, I use a pinch grip.
What cutting motions do you primarily use? Push and pull cut, chop, occasionally rock
What improvements do you want from your current knife? I want a decently easy knife to sharpen (50/50 bevel being the main consideration), something that can be a good daily performer and isn't too delicate (with the understanding that I won't abuse it and no one without decent knife skills will touch it), able to hold an edge at least a week or two being used for 1-2 meals a day, bonus points for cool looks but focus on usability and performance- my preference in aesthetics is less high polish, more organic character, but I do like some stainless knives.

KNIFE MAINTENANCE
Do you use a bamboo, wood, rubber, or synthetic cutting board? Yes. What sort of monster do you think I am? Bamboo and synthetic mostly.
Do you sharpen your own knives? Yes. Working on getting better constantly. Knives are always hand washed and dry on a dedicated surface or with a towel.
Are you interested in purchasing sharpening products for your knives? Absolutely. I have King soaking stones as my current regular stones, would consider upgrading for the right knife. Looking into getting a strop.
 
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Blerghle

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Takamura Chromax has been a popular recommendation lately for western handled stainless in that price range. It's available in a few places.

If you're willing to go with a wa handle, Tanaka ginsan and Wakui stainless-clad white #2 are well regarded. Others here could speak better to how much of a right-hand bias they have. It looks slight to me in the choil shots but idk. With a pinch grip, I wouldn't worry too much about octagonal handles being a distraction.

JKI has Gonbei as a full-stainless, Western handled option that should be pretty friendly to rocking. The Kochi line is probably more appealing but goes beyond the price parameters here.
 

Northwoods

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Thanks for the help!

The Chromax is definitely a knife I have been looking at, but I am always skeptical of the 'steel of the day', particularly if formulas aren't disclosed. I would love to hear from other lefties, but I don't think most oval/octagonal handles would't be a problem. I cut pretty well with my right hand.
 
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Blerghle

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Also, I prefer a wa handle and prefer to steer clear of stainless.
I think Wakui is best regarded in that price range for new carbon core with cladding, but don't know about symmetry. If you are open to used, the BST section can be your friend. For another $50-60, Kochi looks like it fits what you're looking for pretty strongly. There is a thread not far down of someone looking for stainless clad carbon for $200, which is worth a read.
 

Benuser

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As you're both left-handed, you may consider a knife with an inverted geometry. Knives come generally with the right side convexed, a much flatter left side, and in the case of Japanese blades the edge off-centered to the left. Irrespective of the edge, a left-handed will experience poor food release with the flat left face.
Traditionally Japanese culture tended to ignore left-handed, to put it mildly. Have yet to see a truly symmetric Japanese knive, except for some lasers.
Misono and Masahiro both make versions for left-handed, with a convexed left side, a flatter right side and the edge off-centered to the right. Their knives have Western handles, though.
 

Nemo

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As you're both left-handed, you may consider a knife with an inverted geometry. Knives come generally with the right side convexed, a much flatter left side, and in the case of Japanese blades the edge off-centered to the left. Irrespective of the edge, a left-handed will experience poor food release with the flat left face.
Traditionally Japanese culture tended to ignore left-handed, to put it mildly. Have yet to see a truly symmetric Japanese knive, except for some lasers.
Misono and Masahiro both make versions for left-handed, with a convexed left side, a flatter right side and the edge off-centered to the right. Their knives have Western handles, though.
Exactly this
 

Northwoods

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Also, I prefer a wa handle and prefer to steer clear of stainless.
Let me walk the latter part of that back a bit- all my current knives are stainless, and many of the knives I have been looking at are stainless, or stainless clad, but I am not opposed to carbon steels.
 

Blerghle

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Let me walk the latter part of that back a bit- all my current knives are stainless, and many of the knives I have been looking at are stainless, or stainless clad, but I am not opposed to carbon steels.
As a modestly priced, solid quality left handed carbon gyuto, you could do a lot worse than Misono Sweden Steel. As any of us here would attest, once you get started down this road you're likely to develop more particular preferences and often more expensive tastes. But this would give you a quality knife under budget and help you determine if you're comfortable with full carbon. Masahiro are also very good value, as Benuser mentioned.
 

Northwoods

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As a modestly priced, solid quality left handed carbon gyuto, you could do a lot worse than Misono Sweden Steel. As any of us here would attest, once you get started down this road you're likely to develop more particular preferences and often more expensive tastes. But this would give you a quality knife under budget and help you determine if you're comfortable with full carbon. Masahiro are also very good value, as Benuser mentioned.
Thanks for the advice, everyone. After the comments here, I decided to take a little bit more time with my purchase to learn a little more and consider the options. I spent a lot of time observing myself, and came to a couple of conclusions:

Left-handed blade: My wife and I are both lefties, but I can do most things with both hands and with most tools often switch hands based on approach. I do a lot of things right handed because I am right eye dominant: I use a right handed hockey stick, I shoot rifles and shotguns on my right shoulder, etc. However, because I can position things on a cutting board however I want, and because I like a clean hand and a food hand, I almost never use a kitchen knife with my right hand.

Carbon Steel: Honestly, given the amount of reactive metal in my life, I've been curious about carbon steel knives for a while. I think my cast iron pans and carbon steel knives are actually easier to take care of then many of their modern counterparts, and I love their performance.

Blade geometry: I've just in the last few years gotten into hand sharpening, and while I feel I have gotten good at it, shifting from a 50/50 to a 70/30 intimidated me a bit. But, after talking to a few friends who assured me I would be fine, I decided to take the plunge. I took Blerghle's advice and got the left-handed Misono Swedish in the 210mm length. I've had it for a couple of months now and my wife and I both love using it. Thanks for the help, everyone!
 
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