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captaincaed

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As the year wraps up, I'm thinking of the less expensive knives that I've been really happy with. I thought of two that I've been pleasantly surprised with.

1. Murata santoku
1607030156637.png


My first Japanese knife was a Murata nakiri, which I liked at the time as it was such a contrast with Victorinox, Winco, etc. I eventually traded it to a coworker for a TV. After trying a bunch more, I came back around and realized just how easy it was to sharpen, and what a nice edge it took, and how well it held the edge compared to some other steels.

I bought the santoku, and found my memory from 4 years ago was the same. I'm very happy with the steel, and with a coffee patina, I don't get discoloration or off-flavors in my onions.

It took serious accidental abuse and lived to tell about it. After making an amateur mistake with frozen galangal root, the edge bent like a ribbon instead of breaking or chipping. So now it's in for repairs instead of off to the morgue.

On the downside, the grind was thick out of the box. On the plus side, since it has the wide blade road, and so was easy to adjust. It's not a svelte knife, but it's a hard worker.

2. Rinkaku honesuki
1607036203305.png


I eat a lot of chickens and make a lot of stock. After trying several other chicken and boning knives, this is the one I've settled on for now. Has the nice flat back without the delicacy of a true single bevel, comes in righty and lefty, steel holds an edge better than most others. The tip is fine enough for details like easily carving out the oyster. The heel is just tall enough to do what it needs (although I'd love a really tall one like the Yoshi one day).

Basically, it's finished nicely, rounded spine, nice handle fit-up, doesn't come close to breaking the bank, and the profile and grind are as they should be. Really nice after a couple that were much less capable overall.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

What's pleasantly surprised you this year?
 
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ian

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I'm thrilled that this funayuki I redid works well for chicken. It has replaced my Gesshin Heiji honesuki, which is now in the hands of a worthy professional. This $30 project knife suits my one chicken a week needs better than the $315 Heiji, in that I don't feel like a tool using it.

E9D8819A-EC9C-4FAE-A31C-E090F12EEE51.jpeg


I initially bought these EDM stones because I misread a recommendation of @RDalman when I was asking about stones to help me make an S-grind by hand. These suck for iron cladding, but they’re great for a lot of other uses! Most recently I was using this one to do some bread knives. It’s nice that (with a bit of attention) you can shape them to the size of the scallops, and then as you do the knife, they actually conform to the scallops better and better as the stone wears.

F9ECA7DD-F8AB-4B54-A9E8-F0CCAFEBE534.jpeg


I’ve also been pleasantly surprised that sanding down my cutting board with a palm sander seemed to leave it more or less flat. Or at least more flat than before! (Pardon the oil, and there are some scuffs from before.)

D55CDB2A-6571-4AE4-B138-49244397A694.jpeg


I was also happy to rediscover cleavers when @soigne_west sent me a CCK. I had even sort of bought it as a rehandling project, but contrary to my memory, the handle is not terrible looking and is really comfortable. Steel is not the best in the world, of course, but it’s so fun to use. Chop chop chop!

2CDEAF37-C58E-42B4-AD88-D7CF17DDF621.jpeg
 

CiderBear

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This clearance Yoshikazu Ikeda from Bernal I bought earlier this year. It doesn't take any patina whatsoever, and I no longer have a disposable income so I was going to sell it (along with a couple other knives I don't use) to fund this new-found obsession with succulents.

I'm glad I gave it one last go a couple nights ago. Friend gave me a bag of sweet potato, and I was getting tired of trying to hack through it with other stuff, so I grabbed this knife out of curiosity. Low and behold... My jaw dropped when it easily slid through a sweet potato that I was smacking around trying to get off my 240mm Watanabe, lol. I don't know what it doesn't do well, but I'm 100% sure this is my hard produce killer from now on.



(still not convinced that this knife is iron-clad, btw)
 

spaceconvoy

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I'm thrilled that this funayuki I redid works well for chicken. It has replaced my Gesshin Heiji honesuki, which is now in the hands of a worthy professional. This $30 project knife suits my one chicken a week needs better than the $315 Heiji, in that I don't feel like a tool using it.

View attachment 105156

I initially bought these EDM stones because I misread a recommendation of @RDalman when I was asking about stones to help me make an S-grind by hand. These suck for iron cladding, but they’re great for a lot of other uses! Most recently I was using this one to do some bread knives. It’s nice that (with a bit of attention) you can shape them to the size of the scallops, and then as you do the knife, they actually conform to the scallops better and better as the stone wears.

View attachment 105155

I’ve also been pleasantly surprised that sanding down my cutting board with a palm sander seemed to leave it more or less flat. Or at least more flat than before! (Pardon the oil, and there are some scuffs from before.)

View attachment 105154

I was also happy to rediscover cleavers when @soigne_west sent me a CCK. I had even sort of bought it as a rehandling project, but contrary to my memory, the handle is not terrible looking and is really comfortable. Steel is not the best in the world, of course, but it’s so fun to use. Chop chop chop!

View attachment 105153
Always nice to see more CCK stainless love.

My new Sukenari ginsan has been a very pleasant surprise. A nicely balanced middleweight with no distal taper but good convexity and thinness behind the edge. Just a well-ground slab of steel that's so utilitarian it's boring - basically the CCK stainless of wa-gyutos.
 

ian

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oh dang, that's an impressive amount of work in that case
Idk, came like that to me. I hit that side with a bit of sandpaper, but that's it. It's not a smooth finished surface though, so I imagine someone coulda just taken some sandpaper to it.
 

TSF415

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This clearance Yoshikazu Ikeda from Bernal I bought earlier this year. It doesn't take any patina whatsoever, and I no longer have a disposable income so I was going to sell it (along with a couple other knives I don't use) to fund this new-found obsession with succulents.

I'm glad I gave it one last go a couple nights ago. Friend gave me a bag of sweet potato, and I was getting tired of trying to hack through it with other stuff, so I grabbed this knife out of curiosity. Low and behold... My jaw dropped when it easily slid through a sweet potato that I was smacking around trying to get off my 240mm Watanabe, lol. I don't know what it doesn't do well, but I'm 100% sure this is my hard produce killer from now on.



(still not convinced that this knife is iron-clad, btw)
I picked up one of those too and it's one of the best performing knives I've used. Grind and steel are amazing, however mine is SUPER reactive. One of the most reactive knives I have. Takes on a full dirty brown patina after just a few onions.
 

ian

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I picked up one of those too and it's one of the best performing knives I've used. Grind and steel are amazing, however mine is SUPER reactive. One of the most reactive knives I have. Takes on a full dirty brown patina after just a few onions.
The Shigehiro suji I have is hardly reactive at all. Crazy.
 

TSF415

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Recently I pulled out my Masakage Yuki that was the first knife I bought when getting back into knives last year. Pretty impressed with it's performance. Its really thin at the edge with a concave bevel that just falls right through everything.
 

captaincaed

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This clearance Yoshikazu Ikeda from Bernal I bought earlier this year. It doesn't take any patina whatsoever, and I no longer have a disposable income so I was going to sell it (along with a couple other knives I don't use) to fund this new-found obsession with succulents.

I'm glad I gave it one last go a couple nights ago. Friend gave me a bag of sweet potato, and I was getting tired of trying to hack through it with other stuff, so I grabbed this knife out of curiosity. Low and behold... My jaw dropped when it easily slid through a sweet potato that I was smacking around trying to get off my 240mm Watanabe, lol. I don't know what it doesn't do well, but I'm 100% sure this is my hard produce killer from now on.



(still not convinced that this knife is iron-clad, btw)
I love these little discoveries! If you ever do tire of it, I'm alway happy to help out a gardener.
 

captaincaed

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Just a well-ground slab of steel that's so utilitarian it's boring.
I think if members weren't so hooked on the romance behind their knives, these would see a bit more love. This shop put serious work into understanding specialty steel HT from what I can tell, and they're super clean for profile and grind. Of course every one looks the same, for better or worse. No.thread ever devolved into Sukenari over grinds.

They're in a weird spot, just too expensive for beaters, but they make really good beaters.
 

CiderBear

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I love these little discoveries! If you ever do tire of it, I'm alway happy to help out a gardener.
Gardener is... a liberal way to put it. I'm more of the "let's see how many succulents I can fit on the windowsill so that there are some semblance of life in this studio apartment" type. 😂

Noted on that, but this knife probably won't be on the market anytime soon. Some other cool stuff will get listed in the next couple weeks since I'm spending my birthday (yay December baby) & the holidays by myself so do keep an eye out for those :D
 

captaincaed

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Oh my, I'll keep a weather eye.

Also, I'm a black thumb. I managed to kill off air plants and others that a friend said went thru her "Darwinian gardening process". But they couldn't survive me....
 
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GorillaGrunt

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Sukenari YXR7, both the steel now that I actually know how to sharpen and the blade geometry. Chinese cleavers in general, especially the actual Chinese cheap ones. Tadayoshi ryo-deba: I had never had one like this and wasn’t sure what the heck I was going to use it for, then it turned out to be fabulous for butchering poultry. Mahi Totu sujihiki: random house brand cheap and either a really good (or lucky) geometry or just really well suited to how I use it. Kohetsu HAP40: surprisingly good food release for a laser especially from CKTG.
 

Barmoley

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I've been a fan of Sukenari and specifically YXR7 for a while now, glad there are others who like them too.

My surprise is actually my Denka, it is a really good knife. Now, that I had it re-handled it is even better. It didn't really need a re-handle, but I liked it a lot and really glad I decided to treat it to some new cloth as it turned out great.
 

Jeezuinn

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I've been a fan of Sukenari and specifically YXR7 for a while now, glad there are others who like them too.

My surprise is actually my Denka, it is a really good knife. Now, that I had it re-handled it is even better. It didn't really need a re-handle, but I liked it a lot and really glad I decided to treat it to some new cloth as it turned out great.
Been having my eyes on the sukenari too,glad to hear you say so
 

MrHiggins

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I'm liking the Sukenari love on this thread. My first japanese knife was a 240 Hap40 gyuto. Even though I was ignorant of what made a great knife at the time, I knew I had something special.

Sukenari knives seem to have been designed by a corporate committee rather than an individual craftsman so they're totally middle of the road and boring, but they're also really close to perfect. There will always be a special place in my heart for them.
 

Wahnamhong

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I'm just a beginner when it comes to Japanese knives and have only this year started to broaden my collection.

I can name two pleasant surprises. First off, the first knife I'd bought this year in my quest: the Munetoshi 165 petty from JNS. I was a little underwhelmed when I opened the box, and had actually considered putting it on BTS, but decided to stick with it for a few more cutting sessions, and began noticing how I often started grabbing it. Mine is now 3 months old and I haven't even needed sharpening it yet.

Second pleasant surprise: my trusty old Sugimoto SF4030 white #2 195x95 cleaver. This is the knife that I've been using for the past few years, and while at some point I did get the feeling I wanted to broaden my horizon, which I have subsequently done, I'm now noticing how this shape and steel still makes things tick for me. Will remain my default, safe, option for most any cutting task in my kitchen.
 

Barmoley

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Sukenari knives seem to have been designed by a corporate committee rather than an individual craftsman so they're totally middle of the road and boring, but they're also really close to perfect. There will always be a special place in my heart for them.
This is an excellent way of putting it. These knives do seem like they were designed by engineers instead of craftsmen. They are just good at everything, but don't necessarily excel at anything particular. My example just works, no fanfare no drama, just a good tool. Good profile, grind, balance, steel is very good. It is my do anything and don't worry about it knife.
 

captaincaed

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This is an excellent way of putting it. These knives do seem like they were designed by engineers instead of craftsmen. They are just good at everything, but don't necessarily excel at anything particular. My example just works, no fanfare no drama, just a good tool. Good profile, grind, balance, steel is very good. It is my do anything and don't worry about it knife.
You both summed it up perfectly. I can't add anything to improve!
 

ModRQC

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As a recently noob going to experienced user/buyer per default (not saying I am, but handled a LOT of stuff), these two come to mind as great values that are more or less discussed - because of course best bang for bucks Yoshikane does that better than any knife I can think of:

FULL.JPG

230$ CAD - White #1 - Ittetsu - rough knife, well grinded, spine and choil eased to a nice extent, cuts tremendously, comes thin and sharp as hell OOTB, and very easy to sharpen as you'd expect well treated White. Bizarrely this 180mm is the only size Gyuto that I've found profile to be nice - there's something just plain wrong with this brand's 210 and 240mm, every time I see one I'm inclined to throw up. This one has something a bit Masashi to it in a narrower blade.

IMG_5392.JPG

120$ CAD - Virgin Carbon - Masahiro - asymmetrical geometry works so nice with this one that even thick behind and not so sharp OOTB I fell in love entirely. Thick behind is not fault in this case - usually this price yields thin uninteresting V grinds that are all more of the same - but the Masa has some real convexity and some beef enough that you can actually work it out to a tremendous knife. Steel is delightful to sharpen.
 

gcsquared

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This is an excellent way of putting it. These knives do seem like they were designed by engineers instead of craftsmen. They are just good at everything, but don't necessarily excel at anything particular. My example just works, no fanfare no drama, just a good tool. Good profile, grind, balance, steel is very good. It is my do anything and don't worry about it knife.
I am loving this thread. Helps me decide which of my 50 knives to use (first world problem, I know!) As a home cook and not always being available to cook given my day job, I have a scarcity of cutting tasks, so I have to be extra diligent in my tool selection so as not to “waste” an opportunity lol:laughingchef:
 

Alder26

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This clearance Yoshikazu Ikeda from Bernal I bought earlier this year. It doesn't take any patina whatsoever, and I no longer have a disposable income so I was going to sell it (along with a couple other knives I don't use) to fund this new-found obsession with succulents.

I'm glad I gave it one last go a couple nights ago. Friend gave me a bag of sweet potato, and I was getting tired of trying to hack through it with other stuff, so I grabbed this knife out of curiosity. Low and behold... My jaw dropped when it easily slid through a sweet potato that I was smacking around trying to get off my 240mm Watanabe, lol. I don't know what it doesn't do well, but I'm 100% sure this is my hard produce killer from now on.



(still not convinced that this knife is iron-clad, btw)
The coordination between your nails and your tongs is appreciated. Have you sharpened it yet? I have yet to try an Ikeda but have heard good things about the steel.
 

SeattleB

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As a recently noob going to experienced user/buyer per default (not saying I am, but handled a LOT of stuff), these two come to mind as great values that are more or less discussed - because of course best bang for bucks Yoshikane does that better than any knife I can think of:

View attachment 105186
Nice cutting board. Where did you get it?
 

ModRQC

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Nice cutting board. Where did you get it?
Amazon. It's a cheap teak board I got for... what was it... under 60$ CAD for sure. Usually closing to a 100$ CAD which I wouldn't have paid. It's fine if you don't mind... well, yes, teak, but also that it's a mess where pattern and size of each block is concerned. I didn't have any problem with edge chipping, and it feels nice in use. Then again, I just don't chip edges, even over bamboo.

Other side is grooved, no feet obviously. Some work involved in getting it ready OOTB, and not just oiling and waxing. They come with no packaging, a rough surface, pretty dried out, and stickers glued directly to them, one of which leaves a goo that people on Amazon complain they have a hard time to remove. Trick is using a plain sheet of paper to rub it - goo transfers to the paper pretty well. But... would I buy again or recommend? Not exactly. Price was right for 17x12x1.75 (or something) size.
 
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