Matching Moritaka performance

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daveg

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I am new to this forum, however have read lots of discussions about pretty much what I am inquiring about. I was hoping to get advice specific to my situation.

I got a Moritaka gyuto 240 with aogami super about 6 years ago. I am just an amateur home chef, however this knife changed so many things for me! Especially taking down onions the proper way. Somewhat awkward at first with the length, I was considering going back to a 210, but over the time I have had it, I became quite nimble with it, and think I will replace it with another 240.

So why am I considering a different knife? The first issue is the reactivity of the aogami. I knew what I was getting into when I bought it, and I lived in a more moderate climate. I could stay ahead on the maintenance to avoid rust. I have since moved to midcoast Maine about 4 years ago, and live about a mile from the ocean, and am surrounded by a salt marsh. Even when I take the rust off the edge, it seems to re-appear in no time. I need to go to a stainless. Second issue is chippiness. In the beginning I was unaware of how chippy it was, and was cutting on an edge grain board. I now have a boos end grain, and I can handle it better, so this may not be a real issue, but if I am getting something different, I might as well address that if I can.

Which has led me to SG2/R2. I believe this will address my rust concern, and give me a blade which can match the edge retention and ridiculous sharpness I get from my aogami. I understand it might still be a bit chippy, but my understanding is it would be better than what I have.

I would also like something with a bit of bling. Would love it to have a damascus clad, or hammered. This is not my profession, so when I start swing it around the kitchen, I want to have a somewhat piece of art in my hand. This part would definitely not override function, but would be nice.

Also does the hammered edge really help with stickiness? I do a lot of potatoes, and if it does help even somewhat, I would like to include that in my desires. If it really makes no difference, then no big deal not having it.

Christmas gift from my wife, so I would like to keep it under $300

So I have seen the Miyabi mizu, and that seems to fit all of the criteria. Where I have seen numerous posts in the past, is most seem to agree it is a good knife, just there are equal or better alternatives for the same price point, not paying for the brand and marketing. Most everything I buy, I try to get the most functional and best bang for the buck, (I think my Moritaka fits that pattern), however the Miyabi still seems to give me everything I am desiring. (The fact they sell the brand at Macy's does bug me though!)

So I ask, if there are other alternatives to be had for the same price, (under 300) that deliver the same function/aesthetics, what are they?

So far all I have found is the Kurosaki R2 hammered 240 at CKTG. Is this a good alternative, and deliver more bang than the Miyabi? And what I am asking here, what other alternatives are there that I may not have seen?

Thanks all,
 

LucasFur

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Not really sure what your doing for maintenance on the moritaka. Are you hitting the wide bevel during sharpening, over the last few years have you just worked with a microbevel?

I ask because, if your going fancy, something Damascus, its hard to bring back after working on the primary bevel of the knife. something hammered often looks pretty bad after hitting the secondary bevel, I guess you still have KU on the moritaka, so something hammered may be more up your alley? Also about Damascus, often you feel the Damascus through the product. R2 is a great choice coming off AS, its my favorite steel.

Honestly your looking at getting a Takefu/ Echizen R2 blade, and that's great. Probably best bang for buck i know of - and there are a lot of options, and i suggest looking at a lot of them. Just off the bat ...
Yoshimi SG2 -dont own one, but it looks right up your alley. (off the site we dont talk about) - and there is a nice video of it that makes me like it more.


What i have owned ....
I'm a pretty big fan of sukenari (owned x4) , Sukenari does damascus so you do not notice it through product. and they make an R2 - post 2015/2016 always have consistent work. (one ZDP189 @$500 on bst now)
I also really like Takamura/ Blazen line (owned X3) .... not sure if its fancy enough for you. but they are no frills performance cutters.
Can also look at Shiro Kamo off KNS (own 1)- Great value, tall blade, feel the damascus a little, but i smoothed mine out and made some Ferric chloride off a youtube tutorial to etch the damascus back.
Handled a few Kurosaki R2 (used 3) - they are great, not always consistent work though, just make sure you get a good example.
Ashi Ginga stainless Line (played with a 3/4 over the years) --- not R2, NOT going to be similar edge retention - but a lot of people recommend it, not going to be a fancy thing either. (one on BST Now)
NO pressure on the BST suggestions ... they dont fit exactly what your looking for and in the budget.
 

daveg

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I am no expert with the stone, so I did start to get into the secondary bevel and took off some of the KU. It was tough to find the right angle for me. So the suggestion to maybe avoid damascus is great foresight. Or I could learn to sharpen correctly, and keep the beauty of the etch. I planned on using the Moritaka as a "teaching aid" and will attempt to grind through the chips and put the edge back on. Hopefully that will teach me how to be more precise on the stone.
 

daveg

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Yes, Portland is definitely convenient, and thanks, I didn't even know that place existed!!
 

LucasFur

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I am no expert with the stone, so I did start to get into the secondary bevel and took off some of the KU. It was tough to find the right angle for me. So the suggestion to maybe avoid damascus is great foresight. Or I could learn to sharpen correctly, and keep the beauty of the etch. I planned on using the Moritaka as a "teaching aid" and will attempt to grind through the chips and put the edge back on. Hopefully that will teach me how to be more precise on the stone.
100% - Grind down the moritaka on the primary bevels. Its a great knife to learn on as its grind has the built in angle set. Try and keep those bevels wide.

Dont worry too much about Damascus and the etching issue. Its many sharpening away from being an issue, and when it does your local knife shop can fix it ... in 5 years of constant use or something (10 if you split with the moritaka). Also, Sukenari does the grind and HT so that you wont have chipping issues. The others mentioned above are good also.
 

Bensbites

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If Portland is convenient, you can email or call Evan at Strata Portland and ask what he has in stock.
Knives & Stones has the Sukenari R2 in their new US store, but the damascus 240 is $335.
They also stock a large, 188mm santoku, which might be a fun alternative:
https://knivesandstones.us/collections/sukenari-sg2-r2
I can second the suggestion to talk to Evan at StrataPortland. Last time I was there he had a Kurosaki.
 

ChefShramrock

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Kurosaka r2 is an onion assassin. Super thin edge, cuts like a laser. Looks great & is a great value for the money. Shinko kurokumo is a beautiful knife with an attractive handle/fit & finish. Great grind, very thin behind edge. I can recommend either. Comes down to aesthetics at this point..
 

daveg

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At the moment, it seems like the Sukenari is the front runner. With the steel being roughly the same in all examples, and LucasFur mentioning they HT to help against chippiness, that seems to put it over the edge. (yes pun intended). It does not mention in the description, but it also looks to have a rounded choil, pictures of the others do not look as comfortable as the Suk. The blade thickness also seems to be riding in the middle of the pack, and the taper seems to be moderate for the first half, then thin out considerably. One last stop at Strata in Portland, I am nearby tomorrow. All in all, unless Timothy Johnson gets back to me with an amazing canceled order, I do believe I will be passing this off to my wife, so she can surprise me on Christmas morning!
 

daveg

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Also, Sukenari does the grind and HT so that you wont have chipping issues. The others mentioned above are good also.
Now when you say this, do you mean that basically the blade and grind is complete before the heat treat, and others are not?
 

LucasFur

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Now when you say this, do you mean that basically the blade and grind is complete before the heat treat, and others are not?
No ... kinda.
Takamura always go super fine on the edge, so you will have atleast micro chipping. Out of the box, best i can tell is to show how insanely sharp R2 can get. I have shaved my face with one. They do their knives "sakai style" in an "Echizen" steel type, so great choice for other people.
Kamo - Didnt notice any chipping on mine, edge wasn't overly delicate. haven't played with it enough to really know it. also more feeling to the Damascus, kinda like a ribbed cardboard texture.

Usually i work my blades down to a thinness that they will microchip for my use, then put a microbevel and widen back up and balance the performance vs usability. I dont typically have chipping issues. but From the 4 suk's i owned ( YXR / Ginsan/ Hap-40) (still own the ZDP) - None were chippy, and very balanced performance. Something i wouldnt worry about cutting some Parmigiano, maybe splitting a pumpkin. and i dont feel that way with my Takeda (or moritaka when i had one) .. any wide bevel carbons that i own really. And the Damascus feels like a wood varnished shovel handle - if that makes sense ...

Kurosaki is another option .. smooth on the part that touches the food ... grab what you fall in love with.

I'm trying to think what else would work for you ... Akifusa? ... i dont know ...
 

M1k3

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I have never used Damascus in the kitchen, is it sticky or grabby when slicing? I did not consider this.
Depends on the finish of the knife. Some are smooth with no texture and just glide. Some are quite rough and don't glide well.
 

bahamaroot

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I have a Kurosaki Hammered R2, one of my favorites. Beautiful knife and just glides through produce. Is an onion assassin as ChefShramrock put it. No problem with chipping.
 

captaincaed

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Zukenari ZDP is well balanced, well finished. Not a super standout in any category but very good in all categories and lagging in none. One of the few that went from disappointing me at first to making me increasingly happier over time.
 

LucasFur

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I have never used Damascus in the kitchen, is it sticky or grabby when slicing? I did not consider this.
Not sticky, not really grabby ... grind has more a factor for that. -- But it does have a texture. I wouldnt worry too much as people say they forget about it after using the blade for a little while. I wouldnt say it hampens performance ... just ... at least to me ... i Feel it.
 

chinacats

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Just to throw one thing out... it's likely the cladding vs the AO Super that is the cause of the reactivity... hope you get something you enjoy as much.
 

daveg

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Not quite yet. I decided on the Shinko Kurokumo, k and s only has at the Aussie location, so James was going to have one brought to the US for me.

Even though I know my Christmas gift, I probably will wait to open it then. So no reviews quite yet. Will update.
 

daveg

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Im guessing something has been received by now.
Let us know how it is!
-L
Finally! Got it for Christmas yesterday, wildly excited!

Everyone here offered some great advice, and I thank those that helped to contribute to the decision. After weighing everything, I went with the Sukenari 240 gyuto in SG2 from K&S.

First the knife is amazing! Everything I was looking for. James was able to hook me up with one of the snakewood handles, and with the polished damascus it is truly awesome to just look at. Working today, so I haven't had the chance to do much then take some celery and and onion out and just break those down. It is a bit sticky on the crosscuts of the onion, out of the box sharp, however not screaming. I am going to see if Evan at Strata can take care of that for me to get it scary sharp the first time, I may work on it afterwards once I get some more practice on my stones.

Second was the experience with K&S and James! Outstanding CS, even while he was out of the country, and took personal attention to my order to ensure I was able to get exactly what I was hoping for. Anything I buy going forward, I will certainly try to get from him first. Top Notch!

French onion soup this weekend, I will post some pics in the "new knife thread" to show off that handle and blade combo.
 
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