New Knife (multiple?)

Discussion in 'The Kitchen Knife' started by BennyShoga, May 17, 2019.

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  1. May 17, 2019 #1

    BennyShoga

    BennyShoga

    BennyShoga

    Member

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    Location:
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    LOCATION

    USA

    KNIFE TYPE

    Gyuto + ??

    I'd like to put together a decent set of knives that will get us through all our basic cooking needs. We cook Japanese or Chinese almost every night. I'm thinking possibly a gyuto + paring knife + an inexpensive bread knife (don't eat a lot of bread but might be nice to have when we do). Also really interested in Nakiri's. Very open to suggestions on this front though.

    Are you right or left handed?
    Left-handed but I hold the knife with my right-hand.

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

    What length of knife (blade) are you interested in (in inches or millimeters)?
    Open to suggestions here but I'm leaning towards a 240mm.

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

    What is your absolute maximum budget for your knife?
    400 ea.


    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.)

    As mentioned earlier we cook a lot of asian food (primarily Japanese, some Chinese). The ability to do fine and precise cuts is something I'm really hoping to gain. We don't do any deboning or breaking down, and if we do ever need that I'll use our old knife for that.

    What knife, if any, are you replacing?
    Currently I have a Kiya Gyuto (link) that was given to my wife and I as a wedding present. I believe this is a 210mm

    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.)
    Slicing, Push Cut

    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.)
    A bit longer, Japanese handle, thinner, lighter

    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)?
    Always good if it can look nice but it's not a primary concern.

    Comfort (e.g., lighter/heavier knife; better handle material; better handle shape; rounded spine/choil of the knife; improved balance)?
    Lighter with a comfortable handle is key. I'm limited on my experience with different handle shapes.

    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)?
    After I get this new knife I want to learn how to start sharpening my knives with a sharpening stone. So something that would be less likely for me as a first-time sharpener to mess up. Good food release would also be a very appreciated feature.

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


    KNIFE MAINTENANCE
    Do you use a bamboo, wood, rubber, or synthetic cutting board? (Yes or no.)
    Yes

    Do you sharpen your own knives? (Yes or no.)
    Yes. Used a simple hand-sharpener up until this point, looking to start using a sharpening stone.

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

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


    SPECIAL REQUESTS/COMMENTS
    Thank you for getting this far and reading my post! Really appreciate any advice you would be willing to share with me.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2019
  2. May 17, 2019 #2

    Customfan

    Customfan

    Customfan

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    Hi Benny, welcome to the knife nut thunderdome!

    No, not a set....

    IMHO Knives are like pots and pans, I have different brands and sizes depending on what I think is the best one.

    Its a good idea to evaluate makers and brands individually to find the best of each kind.... most of us have a hodgepodge of blades, each, very good at what it does... once you've tried different options, then you will find a favorite (A lot of us have been searching and comparing for years!).

    Since y0u want precision and will be cooking japanese in general, home use probably look at a Mazaki from K&S ($250) to start and later on a Masamoto KS.... then maybe something heftier but lets take it one step at a time.

    This will give you a starting point in steels, grinds and profiles... they are not hard to find right now and are not expensive

    Then i would start looking at single bevels, maybe a medium sized deba.... seems like you need it (ther ae some recent posts that discuss this in detail).

    Then I would look at a Chinese cleaver (even something from CCK) these are fun and inexpensive, as you become proficient you can upgrade....

    Let us know how it goes, good luck and don't be afraid to try......
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2019
  3. May 17, 2019 #3

    BennyShoga

    BennyShoga

    BennyShoga

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    Thanks for the reply, Customfan. I think when I put "Set" in the title I was thinking about assembling my own group of knives, but the word choice was probably misleading. I just updated it to hopefully be a bit more clear.

    Is this the knife you mentioned? http://www.knivesandstones.com/mazaki-white-2-gyuto-240mm/
    It looks like this is carbon steel? If this is correct, what do I need to keep in mind for caring for this type of steel?
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2019
  4. May 17, 2019 #4

    M1k3

    M1k3

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    I'd say maybe Takamura Pro 240mm Gyuto and the Migaki Petty? Gesshin or really anything from JKI is really good.
     
  5. May 17, 2019 #5

    CoteRotie

    CoteRotie

    CoteRotie

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    I do a lot of Japanese cooking (or preparation when it's not cooked.)

    JKI is great, I have these from JKI and recommend them:
    Gesshin Hide 300mm Yanagiba in blue#1 (For sashimi)
    Gesshin Ginga 270mm Sujihiki (stainless double-bevel slicer)
    Gesshin Kagekiyo Gyuto 210mm blue #1 Gyuto

    I also have a Hinoura white #1 165mm Nakiri, being white steel this thing gets scary sharp.

    A good value Gyuto that I have in stainless clad Aogami super is the JCK Natures Deep Impact Series Gyuto.

    For Katsuramuki I have a Masamoto 185mm Usuba in White #2. This has soft iron cladding and is pretty reactive until it develops a good patina.

    I have a bunch of other knives as well, but they don't see as much use as the ones above. You'll get lots of good suggestions here, these are just the knives I have experience with and like.

    You can get a huge amount of information from watching Jon's videos and reading his website. Here's a link to some knife care information on JKI:

    https://www.japaneseknifeimports.com/pages/about-knife-care
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2019
  6. May 17, 2019 #6

    Customfan

    Customfan

    Customfan

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    Yes, JNS also has a version of it (not in stock) that is a good as well.... JKI also has some good options, what you cold also do is call Jon at JKI and tell him what your need, he has a good selection of blades and videos (like Cote suggested). Those are also good blades....

    For care, just mineral oil after you are done, you just need to clean and dry your blade after use, they will develop patina and this is just fine.

    JKI also has some kits, or sets of stones that are a good for beginners.

    Good luck!
     
  7. May 17, 2019 #7

    BennyShoga

    BennyShoga

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    I've seen some mentions on here about the Kaeru line of knives from JNS. Do you folks think a 240mm Gyuto and 150mm Petty from this line would work well for me? Or would I be better off with something from JKI since I'm in the US?
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2019
  8. May 17, 2019 #8

    parbaked

    parbaked

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    Kaeru are very good knives (I have a 210 gyuto) and a 240 & petty will work great.
    No worries buying from JNS. Maxim ships fast and you will have your knives in 3-4 days.
    Also no sales tax from JNS.

    I see you're in SF.
    Bernal Cutlery is having a 1st anniversary party for their Oakland store tomorrow (Sat)...20% off everything in the store...
     
  9. May 17, 2019 #9

    BennyShoga

    BennyShoga

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    This is a great tip, thank you!
     
  10. May 18, 2019 #10

    rickg17

    rickg17

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    $400 each is too much when starting. I've recently (in the last year or so) been dipping my toes in the J-knife world and here's what I did:

    • 210mm Wakui Migaki gyuto. Love this. Relatively thin but not laser-ish. Sharp out of the box and a real joy to use.
    • 165mm Hiraki from Tadefusa. I like this knife because it's a thicker version of a petty. Nice when I just need to do some quick light cutting.
    • 165mm petty from Munetoshi via JNS. Silly good cutter. Thin, nimble, great finish. Handle's a little short but I have large hands. I'd strongly consider the Munetoshi gyuto based on the performance of this. As others have said, you get delivery in 3-4 days from Maxim.
    • 165mm nashiji nakiri from Teruyasu Fujiwara. Really sharp, lovely but less used unless I'm doing a lot of veggies.
    Pricing on these was, respectively, $180, $100, $100, $100 give or take a few dollars (not including shipping). That's why I think $400/knife is too much - you'll get rarer knives and some of them will likely be slightly better but you need to know your preferences and have experience to judge whether you like the difference. For most home cooks who are looking for knives to use, not to collect, I think you can do almost everything you need to do for under $200 per knife.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2019 at 5:26 PM
  11. May 19, 2019 at 6:34 AM #11

    Carl Kotte

    Carl Kotte

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    +1
     
  12. May 19, 2019 at 2:42 PM #12

    Tanalasta

    Tanalasta

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    Wow. What a budget!

    Having recently been in a similar position and graduated from a set of Shun (which now are fantastic cutters having been sharpened on a set of stones)... and who has definitely ignored a knife budget when starting out.

    I've found that it is very hard to decide on a Gyuto until you've tried a few to see what the nuances are. Jon at JKI i've found to be amongst the most helpful and provided you give him accurate information, will usually steer you towards a recommendation and/or discuss why and why not.

    240mm Gyuto:
    I have the Mazaki, Toyama stainless clad blue (240/210mm), Syousin Sakura Ginsan, Ikeda Honyaki Blue, Shun 8 inch classic.

    I think the Toyama and Mazaki are my favourite. They are very different blades. The Toyama is a lot lighter and nimble, is well made and cuts beautifully. I'm yet to hear someone 'not' like a Toyama gyuto on these forums. The 210mm sometimes feels small but I reach for it often instead of say, a Santoku. The Mazaki just powers on. It feels substantial, especially with a K&S ebony handle, is well balanced but progresses to a very fragile, thin taper. The profile however suits most cutting styles. I see a lot of Gesshin recommendations also (e.g. Ginga for a laser, Hide for their semi-stainless and thicker grind, Kagekiyo for beautiful F&F as well as quality and Ittetsu ...when you can get one). My Syousin Sakura and Honyaki really don't get much use ... and they're FAR from cheap blades.

    150mm Paring: If you have a Santoku or another paring knife, it depends upon what you need this for. I find I rarely reach for it over one of my existing other knives... Heck, a steak knife will sometimes do. The last time I reached for a paring knife was today to score a fresh fillet of Barramundi.

    Reconsider stainless. For a home kitchen, especially if others may use your knives it makes sense. Or at least a semi-stainless. This is from my experience reaching for the Shun vs Toyama vs the Mazaki vs the Shun. (stainless VG-10, vs stainless clad blue vs white)

    A little over your budget, but reading your requirements and pushing the budget, I'd say a Toyama 240mm Gyuto would work beautifully.

    On a more cheaper budget, have you considered the Tanaka Ginsanko from K&S?

    Re: JNS - I've purchased a set of stones, two Toyama's off him and although his website was sometimes a little hard to search/navigate for 'in stock' options and his email responses far and few (or curt), I've never had a problem with delivery or purchase.

    Do you do much slicing? A Nakiri or ... Cleaver are also a suggestion.

    You have a lot of options in your price bracket. Happy shopping!

    You really need to budget in a set of sharpening stones. Makes a huge difference... especially if you're going to fork out $400 a knife. I'm still learning (on my Shun's at the moment) but a hand sharpener is a very good way to make a $400 knife cut like a $50 knife.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2019 at 2:51 PM
  13. May 19, 2019 at 6:10 PM #13

    HRC_64

    HRC_64

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    Agree that $400/per is too much to spend for someone who has no professional-skills, a develope cutting style, or work requirements.

    Thats not to say alot of home cooks don't own expensive knives, but they are only useful IMHO if they fit your at least a developed personal cutting style. Japanese knives in general are much more specialized what german/french knives, and which ones you like or want to use really depends on them being properly selected and set-up for you and your personal needs. Thats part of the fun in chasing the perfect blade, but its not a great idea to just throw $1000 around on two knives and a set of stones until you really know what you re doing. There are plenty of great $200-300 knives that you can develop skills on and will become useful quiver knives down the road, and will introduce you to the various pro/con of size, weight, grind,steel options, etc.

    I'd also caution to add, for many people, the "most used knife" is not the most expensive knive, the rarest, or last one they would ever sell...Instead it tends to be the lightest, lowest maintenance, most verasatile (when task is unknown, etc)...a "good enough" but not irreplaceble type utility blade. When more formal, structred work is required than other knives come out...but in general, they get probably 1/2 to 1/3 of the cutting time split amongst them.

    This is true almost invariable no matter what overall class of knives you are using...be they inexpensive or exotic.
     
  14. May 19, 2019 at 6:51 PM #14

    rickg17

    rickg17

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    I'd also add that technique will often trump blade i.e. the minor differences between blades will be overshadowed by someone's skill or lack thereof.

    I personally also think that spending more than $200-$250 on a blade is, for a home cook, a waste if viewed in strictly performance terms. It may be worth it for better aesthetics, collectable value, etc but A $500 knife isn't going to be significantly better than a $250 knife... but it might be rarer, might have more labor in it (Damascus finish, lovely handle, etc). This is true of most products - there's a point of diminishing returns where the very minor differences aren't a matter of performance per se but of other things that are important to that minority that's fanatical about the products (knives, wine, art, whatever).
     
  15. May 19, 2019 at 9:07 PM #15

    ThinMan

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    OP. Spend whatever you want. It’s your money.

    Despite some of the advice on this thread, in general a $400 gyuto will be better than a $200 gyuto.

    Calling Jon at JKI is always a good idea.

    Of the knives mentioned so far, Toyama.
     
  16. May 19, 2019 at 9:29 PM #16

    rickg17

    rickg17

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    Got any logic.........


    DB edit: Rick - you may be right - but like a lot of things it's not what you say but how you say it. We don't play that way.

    I'm sure the OP got the gist of what your were saying.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 20, 2019 at 4:05 PM
  17. May 19, 2019 at 10:13 PM #17

    ThinMan

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    Who are you to decide what a waste of money is for someone else?

    Have you compared a Kochi and a Toyama? I have. Toyama cuts better. Of course there is a tremendous amount of subjectivity to all of this which is why we can’t all agree on the best knife or the best knife for the money.

    Also, one can generally easily sell wither knife if one decides it is not for you.

    Are you also questioning my suggestion to call Jon at JKI?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 20, 2019 at 4:06 PM
  18. May 19, 2019 at 10:55 PM #18

    HRC_64

    HRC_64

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    Plenty of people hate the tip on Toyama and Watanabe...{etc}

    Probably recommend a Konosuke FM b2 if you want a inoffensive
    you can resell that maxes out a $400 budget..

    ...or Takayuki Ginsanko, etc

    More realistically, I'd say something like a mazaki is gonna be plenty of knife.

    a couple years ago, most $1000 knife was a$400 knife and $400 were $300 anyway ;)
     
  19. May 20, 2019 at 2:23 AM #19

    ThinMan

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    I made a general comment, which you apparently took personally and you jumped on me.

    I took the bait and probably should not have.

    I apologize if I caused you offense.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 20, 2019 at 4:08 PM
  20. May 20, 2019 at 6:17 AM #20

    M1k3

    M1k3

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    This bickering helps OP how? :confused:o_O
     

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