Man seeks Nakiri, looking for love around 180 x 60 mm...

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Location
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Turns out I love rectangles and while I'm not into monogamy, I only need a few partners to feel complete.
There's a sweet spot in between my 165x50 mm Santoku and 210x88 mm cleaver.
I suspect I'd love 180-195mm, 60-65mm height, in a lighter weight setup. TF-style finger tuck to let me adjust balance seems a win.

What should I try? I filled out the questionnaire to keep it simple:

LOCATION
Amsterdam, Netherlands

TYPE
Type - Nakiri
Handed - Left
Handle - Small pref for Japanese handle
Length - ideal 180-190 mm (guessing, based on 165 & 210 mm use)
Height - ideal 60-65 mm (guessing, based on 55 & 90mm use)
Budget - depends on how well it fits; if I can try fall in love, up to 1k for a lifer


USE

Env - home
Tasks - veg slice, chop & mince
Replace - supplementing/supplanting CCK #3 (thin 210mm cleaver) & TF Mabs 165mm Santoku
Grip - pinch
Motions - push cut, chop, rock
Improvements - <3 the cleaver rectangle, but too tall/bulky at times and the Santoku too small
Aesthetics - prefer clad carbon
Comfort - I adore (and leverage) the finger space in the TF, prefer similar flexibility in a bigger Nakiri;
prefer belly on the flatter side; other aspects I have less experience with
Ease - clean release is nice - both my main knives have mediocre release
Edge Retention - yes please! I can and do sharpen, but prefer to cut in the kitchen; this >> aesthetics for sure and would extend my budget.


MAINTENANCE

Cutting surface - butcher block maple
Sharpen - yes I do (was furniture maker, already have up to 12k stones, strop, etc.)


SPECIAL REQUESTS/COMMENTS

I put those up top.


CANDIDATES SO FAR
  • Watanabe Pro Nakiri AS (180 x ~56)
  • Toyama 180 AS (180 x ~59)
  • Okubo kajiya nakiri bocho 180mm
  • Moritaka AS Long Nakiri 180 -- the profile seems spot on, nearly cleaver but not quite
  • Takeda NAS Nakiri 180
  • Yu Kurosaki "Juhyo" 180x71mm Chuka Bocho
  • Kurosaki KU Cleaver - Large Nakiri 175x72mm Aogami Super
  • Customs
 
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Say no more brother:


https://knifejapan.com/okubo-kajiya-nakiri-bocho-180mm-aogami-2/


I have both that and the Watoyama Pro "180" nakiri. Did a little side by side vid and writeup here:

Post in thread 'Knife Japan: What's notable, worth buying, etc.?' https://www.kitchenknifeforums.com/...s-notable-worth-buying-etc.65378/post-1071314



Feel free to holler with any questions. Okubo can grind it lefty for you. Steel is every bit as good or maybe better than Wat Pro/Toyama. I prefer the Okubo grind as it has better food release on hard stuff.
 
I would highly encourage researching and reaching out to @MSicardCutlery and @Knot Handcrafted and commission something. Both are active on the forum, have many examples of their work here, and both do rectangles often. I have firsthand experience with both gentlemen and they make excellent stuff.

As a lefty, and with some specific spec desires, things get pretty limited on the common market. Your budget puts well within the window of either maker. You could buy one from each and have probably still have money leftover even after all the potential fees and shipping.
 

Just had a read on your review, looks intriguing.

Knife making for dummies question here - are most japanese knives bias-ground for righties?

My naive assumption was that grinds are typically symmetric, and not something to worry about unless going for a deba or other specifically handed knife. (Further googling suggests ... it varies?)


I would highly encourage researching and reaching out to @MSicardCutlery and @Knot Handcrafted and commission something.

I like the way you think. I'm a touch wary of going custom without having handled a couple pieces in that 180 range to be sure, and wonder how difficult a (lefty) resale ends up if it's not love at first slice.

Adding @martinhuber into that list as I came across him as a rectangle maker as well.
 
Following the threads a bit, I also add to my potentials:
  • Okubo Nakiri 180
  • Moritaka AS Long Nakiri 180 -- the profile seems spot on, nearly cleaver but not quite
  • Takeda NAS Nakiri 180
  • Yu Kurosaki "Juhyo" 180x71mm Chuka Bocho
  • Kurosaki KU Cleaver - Large Nakiri 175x72mm Aogami Super
I hadn't done much mini cleaver searching so far, but these may be promising. The Yu Kurosaki I could potentially get a feel for if it comes back in stock at Meesterslijpers.
 
Just had a read on your review, looks intriguing.

Knife making for dummies question here - are most japanese knives bias-ground for righties?

My naive assumption was that grinds are typically symmetric, and not something to worry about unless going for a deba or other specifically handed knife. (Further googling suggests ... it varies?)




I like the way you think. I'm a touch wary of going custom without having handled a couple pieces in that 180 range to be sure, and wonder how difficult a (lefty) resale ends up if it's not love at first slice.

Adding @martinhuber into that list as I came across him as a rectangle maker as well.

I understand that but you're going to have the same potential issue no matter what you choose. If you spend a comparable amount on something more customized as you would on something off the shelf, at least you have a better shot of it being what you like. And a well executed and lovely custom I would think is easier to off load if needed. Reselling any knife is a dicey business these days though.

Martin Huber is also an excellent option!

At the very least, I'd reach out to all of them, initiate a conversation, and get a feel for pricing.

Grind bias varies from maker to maker and sometimes knife to knife, but it is usually there to some degree and always right hand biased unless stated. Japanese chefs are traditionally trained (forced) to use their right hand for cutting hence the scarcity of left hand or truly neutral grinds. Some vendors will say "50/50" ground but just be careful with that as sometimes it is accurate and sometimes less so. Might be good to confirm. How much you notice it in performance I think will vary depending on how pronounced the bias. Lots os the lefties here report some knives being no issue and others quite noticeable.
 
Knife making for dummies question here - are most japanese knives bias-ground for righties?

Mostly yes. I've had the odd occasion where I've gotten a knife ground for a lefty.

This can be complicated by the fact that someone like Myojin, whose grinds on gyutos tend to be ok for us lefties, grinds nakiri very right biased in my experience.

What you will find is the knives are ground flat on the left side and convex on the right. Poor performance for us lefties, but stores will list them as ambidextrous.
 
Ive got an custom nakiri available made from bakerforgeandtool steel.
Im closeby amsterdam so if interested you can always comeby and take a look.

Total length: 295mm
Blade length: 175mm
Blade height: 60mm
Spine thickness: 2,3 tapered to 1,4mm
Total weight: 167 gram
22903B67-6D07-4AAC-A36E-743F128388ED.jpeg
 
Hello fellow lefty, thanks for making this thread, I was about to make an almost identical one. You've got a great list there and I'm really interested in the Okubo now. The only knife I'm looking at that you don't have is the Kochi https://www.japaneseknifeimports.com/collections/kochi/products/kochi-180mm-kurouchi-nakiri. There's a stainless clad version as well, although Jon did mentioned they come a big thicker, so ask him if you have a preference.

I'm a big fan of my 240 Kochi Gyuto and one thing I really appreciate is that as far as I can tell it's dead on a true 50/50 grind. I've run into a lot of "50/50" knives that, as someone else mentioned, are actually convex on the right and flat/hollow on the left, leaving us leftys as second class citizens.
 
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Ive got an custom nakiri available made from bakerforgeandtool steel.
Im closeby amsterdam so if interested you can always comeby and take a look.

Total length: 295mm
Blade length: 175mm
Blade height: 60mm
Spine thickness: 2,3 tapered to 1,4mm
Total weight: 167 gram
View attachment 302727
OP is a lefty, and the choil looks to be right handed
 
@SwampDonkey Thanks for that feedback on the Kochi, and the Wat/Okubo video was great to see. I'd also prefer something a bit closer to 60mm in height. I'm not great a reading choil shots, but it looks like the Okubo might be a little more convex on one side than the other. If that's true do you notice any steering? Also the Kochi looks a bit slimmer, how do they compare in cutting performance?
 
@SwampDonkey Thanks for that feedback on the Kochi, and the Wat/Okubo video was great to see. I'd also prefer something a bit closer to 60mm in height. I'm not great a reading choil shots, but it looks like the Okubo might be a little more convex on one side than the other. If that's true do you notice any steering? Also the Kochi looks a bit slimmer, how do they compare in cutting performance?
My Okubo is 180x63 mm, very much a convex workhorse grind but honestly it kicks the hell out of the Kochi. The food release is like 2 tiers better, stuff just falls off the blade or stays put on the board, the weight of Okubo helps it power through cuts and does most of the work for you (234 g vs 185 g Kochi and the Kochi has a significantly heavier handle). No steering noticeable to me.

Just looking at Okubo choil vs Kochi choil would have you pick Kochi hands down, but there's something voodoo in the grind and it really is a great cutter. I wish the grind on the Kochi nakiri went a little higher up too, in practice I felt the shoulders where a little low even though it doesn't look bad from choil. At one point I had the Kochi 240 gyuto, bunka, and nakiri all at once and felt the 240 grind was much better executed than the nakiri.
 
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Indeed @oso_hambroso and @SwampDonkey -- the experience seems to always tell a better story than the pic, thanks for sharing them.

In lieu of having an actual blade with similar geometry, I'm about to cut an old cereal box to "size and shape" to get a sense of what height I _really_ want. The situation I want to solve is eg, slicing a wedge from a cucumber or such, it sticks, and I want it to stay on the board. With the CCK cleaver I can't trivially/safely just reach and nudge (short fingers), so 90mm is too much. But I do want the tallest blade I can comfortably use, as I love the clearance.

Other suggestions welcome :)
 
I messaged Michael at Knife Japan and Okubo offers multiple heights, so you've got a bunch of templates to make and try out:
Okubo Kajiya kurouchi nakiri 180mm (blade height 50mm~55mm)
Okubo Kajiya kurouchi nakiri 180mm (blade height 60mm)
Okubo Kajiya kurouchi nakiri 180mm (blade height 65mm)
Okubo Kajiya kurouchi nakiri 180mm (blade height 70mm)

He said they're out of stock on handles at the moment and you can send them a message on their contact form to get on their waiting list.
 
LOL, I suspect he copy pasted, since he wrote the exact same thing to me :)

I asked about the handle-free option too, which is possible in a much shorter time span. I could definitely make a handle but lack the tools/workshop right now...

I've also pinged a few makers to get a sense of prices and ideas, so it's all in the flow right now!
 
To round off this thread for a while, I ended up talking to a handful of makers here. There are too many good ones to choose from so I had to reluctantly say no to a bunch. I hope to get back to them all in the future... but may not need an expensive addiction, so we'll see!

In any case, decided to go with 1 "nearby" custom maker, and 1 "traditional" japanese maker. @SylvainM is working with me on the custom, and @SwampDonkey 's review convinced me to go for the Okubo (180x70) via Michael at KJ.

The most fun part so far was making a quick prototype to figure out the upper bounds of a comfortable height for my typical cutting action. It's definitely not a full expression of the final shape -- while it is ARM, I'm not going for a perfect rectangle!

It sounds like the Okubo will land a bit after ARM, and the SylvainM blade will definitely be later, but I'll be committed to my rectangles for the foreseeable future :)

IMG_3137 chopped.jpeg
 
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