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JPizzzle

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Hey all,
I'm in the process of working out the details to order a shig western in the Kasumi finish. I would have this baby rehandled with something special. Anyway, I'm not a knife expert and my current showcase is the devin thomas western itk gyuto in black lacewood-Excellent knife!! I have never used a carbon before, and would be willing to wipe off immediately after and in between use. I guess i'm just wondering if this is a good knife for me. It's nice not having to worry about stainless as much, but am worried that the trade off to carbon might not be worth it-especially coming from a DT AEB-L. Also, It's not cheap, after rehandling it's prob going to run around $800. Is the performance diff worht the switch to carbon. Do shigs live up to the hype or should I just get a custom from one of these great knife makers. Thanks, and any help is appreciated.
 

JPizzzle

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Oh, thanks for the articles, I've read one of them before, but the latimes one will be a good read. I've asked dave about a rehandle, i've also spoken to marko to see if he would be interested in trying a western, I know adam has had some good results as well. For some reason I've always prefered western's to wa's (unfortunately for my wallet). Thanks oivind!

The shig is awsome

Read this: http://*****************.com/2011/01/great-gyuto-shoot-out.html
and this: http://*****************.com/2011/01/forcing-patina-on-shigefusa-240-kasumi.html

I also love this article of Shigefusa: http://articles.latimes.com/2001/mar/29/news/cl-43936

Who the hell is doing the rehandle job?
I would have bought one of marko if you would have wa ;)
 

oivind_dahle

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You need both ho and wa!
Trust me, they are both awesome, and you use it after your own mood :)

Here is mine Shig:


 

watercrawl

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Is the performance diff worht the switch to carbon.....Do shigs live up to the hype
No for the performance, yes for the hype.

Whether they're worth it or not is something you need to resolve on your own.

Will it perform better than your ITK western handle? No! It would not cut better, nor retain an edge any better than your ITK. I have a kind of unique ITK version, but assuming the blade has similar properties to the other ITK gyuto's, the two would have similar geometry once you put a proper edge on the ITK (thin the shoulder a bit) and DT's AEB-L retains an edge with the best of them.

A Shigefusa, to me, is about having a knife completely hand crafted and still be among the best made kitchen knives on the planet. If you take into account the craftsmanship of a Shigefusa, western handled gyuto....then you start understanding the price. $800 wouldn't be a sneeze compared to the cost of a Kramer and would be in line with a true custom from many of the other makers. Carter would be in that range, DT would be for a mono-steel blade (educated guess on that one), Bill Burke would be over that, etc. You get the idea.
 

oivind_dahle

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IMO Shigefusa is a better cutter than DT ITK :) Far better :)
It also gets sharper :)

The only con on shigefusa is that it is reactive, but once patina is there its no problem. I love my shig :)
(yeah, I also got 2 DT ITK)
 

TB_London

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I have a 270 Wa ITK and thanks to Adam, a rehandled 240 western shig. They are both exceptional knives, in regards to appearance and performance. To say that one is far better than the other in terms of cutting performance i would debate, though this may highlight deficiencies in my sharpening or technique.
The shig is exceptionally well made and finished, and i feel really privileged to own and use it. I rotate it with a few other gyutos, i have more than i need but not as many as i want :), and it is such a pleasure to use. Although it is thicker than a lot of my knives it falls through everything effortlessly, keeps an edge for a respectable amount of time and now that i have forced a patina is relatively unreactive. The one thing i notice with mine is the cladding is soft, really soft, and it doesn't take much to put a few scratches in, which due to the direction of the finish, heel to tip, stand out. However the patina does a lot to conceal these.
The choice between a shig and a custom is difficult, and not a choice i would like to make.....
I'll try and post some pictures, but my photograpy is poor at best, so they will in no way capture the awesomeness :D
 

tk59

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IMO Shigefusa is a better cutter than DT ITK :) Far better :)
It also gets sharper :)
Frankly, the only part here there that I can really agree with is that the Shig might cut a bit better but not much better. This is really highly dependent on the edge you put on either of them.

The only con on shigefusa is that it is reactive, but once patina is there its no problem. I love my shig :)
(yeah, I also got 2 DT ITK)
This is a pretty big con, imo. I've tried the DarkHoek patina formula and mine still reacts. Perhaps, I'm just not skilled in the art of patination. If you get a Shig, get it because that's what it is, not because it will blow any other sub-$1k knife out of the water, because it doesn't.
 

JPizzzle

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ahhhh, what a tough spot.....ok. first, oivind, you shig is beautiful, wow.....I'm tempted to switch to a wa, hah. I'm pulled in many different ways at the moment about this.

Pros: Beautiful, handmade Japanese craftsmanship, great performance, "shigefusa" lore
Cons: First the headache of "reactivity," and I don't particularly like the patina look

ah, what a great dilemma to have I guess....If I don't grab a shig maybe i'll think of custom, thanks for the feedback so far guys!
 

JPizzzle

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well, now that i think about it maybe a patina isn't that bad, lol
 

Tristan

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Don't like reactivity, don't want to worry about patina, don't buy carbon. Or get a cheaper one and see how you feel first.

Nothing worse than buying an expensive knife you plan to use, only to have it sitting rusting away in a drawer. If you plan to buy it just to have it and sharpen it once in a while and use it to kill a patch of hair on your left forearm, or a stack of A4 paper you have lying around... then by all means?
 

stereo.pete

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I had the chance to handle a couple of Shigefusa's when I ate at Salty's and I have to admit they are incredibly well finished. Now at the same time so is my Devin Thomas ITK 270mm Gyuto. Shigefusa's have this lore about them being difficult to get, incredibly well finished and also amazing performers. I just ordered one and when I get mine I'll let you know what I think of it. I really don't think you can go wrong with a DT, a Shige, a Yoshikane, hell any number of great knives being manufactured in Japan and here in the states will keep you happy. Take some time, continue to do some research and then open up that wallet and have some fun.

P.S. Carbon is not a big deal at all. Keep in mind the retailers and manufactures are quick to add the scary disclaimer because they need to in order to protect themselves. I use carbon knives daily and as long as you wipe them dry after you finished cutting you will never have a rust problem.
 

TB_London

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With shigs it's not so much the rust as the black sludge.....
I have a couple of carbons and my shig was the worst offender until the darhoek patina was built
 

maxim

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I really dont know why all this fuzz about reactivity of Shigs... i never had this problems, and never build a patina on them ether. Just wash them with hot water and thats it !
About performance and cutting abilities i never meat a knife that cut so well !! and so thin behind the edge like Shigi is. Balance and thickness of the spine to the edge is just perfect and very hard to beat. So for me its just best performer out there !
And not to talk about they FF thats just flawless !
 

Marko Tsourkan

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One can find weaknesses in every knife, regardless how famous is the maker. It all depends how much they bother you.

M
 

Marko Tsourkan

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One of these days, I will do a rope cutting test for a Shigefusa gyuto to analyze an edge retention and steel toughness and compare it with knives made from other steels, such as 52100, AEB-L, W-2 and so forth. Hopefully this will help to dispel myths and take the discussion from the realm of personal opinions into a realm backed by data. I also will do a separated test for a cutting surface, to see how much eng-grain surface extends cutting a ability of a knife.

M

PS: Note that my preferences for Shigefusa over other makers is based on their superior grind, fit and finish, and not on other factors, such as sharpness, edge retention and so forth. I think these factors are necessary for a full picture.
 

oivind_dahle

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Marko: Feel free to compare it to my knives :) The Carter you can abuse when you get it in a week :)
 

MadMel

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One of these days, I will do a rope cutting test for a Shigefusa gyuto to analyze an edge retention and steel toughness and compare it with knives made from other steels, such as 52100, AEB-L, W-2 and so forth. Hopefully this will help to dispel myths and take the discussion from the realm of personal opinions into a realm backed by data. I also will do a separated test for a cutting surface, to see how much eng-grain surface extends cutting a ability of a knife.

M


PS: Note that my preferences for Shigefusa over other makers is based on their superior grind, fit and finish, and not on other factors, such as sharpness, edge retention and so forth. I think these factors are necessary for a full picture.

I eagerly await the results of the test :)
 

Marko Tsourkan

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I have a full plate of projects, so this will take a while, but I have been thinking about it for a while and have all equipment needed for a test.

I was told, a good steel will produce 1000+ (I have heard Bill Burke knives produce 2000+ cuts!) cuts before re-sharpening, so these kinds of tests will be very time intensive.

I also want to test how much stropping/touching up extends cutting ability of the knife.

Oivind - I think I want specifically to compare Shigefusa with 52100, and other tool steels that are obtainable in US. I will get to Carter and other Japanese makers at a later time when my plate is less full.
M
 

oivind_dahle

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Nice Marko

Im entering this with 4 knives. I really want to know what they preform :)
 

oivind_dahle

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Im in with

AEB-L (Devin)
52100 carbon steel core with 416 stainless steel sides (Burke)
1084 and 15N20 (Pierre)
White Core, Stainless laminated (Carter)
 

MadMel

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It's ok dude, take your time. It gives me more time to save up some $$ lol.
 

Marko Tsourkan

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I believe Bill tests his knvies, so you can get the performance info from him.
 

lancep

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I have a 240 Shigefusa (wa handle) and the ITK 240 wa. I don't know that I've used and sharpened them enough to have a bullet-proof opinion, but here's my experience to date. First, the Shigefusa is a much larger knife in the same 'size.' IIRC, I measured my Shigefusa at a cutting edge of 255 mm, whereas the ITK is less than 240; height of the Shigefusa is also substantially greater, so you're getting 'more' knife with the Shigefusa in the same 'size'. Side-by-side, the ITK almost looks like a sujihiki compared to the Shigefusa. [However, I think the western handled ITK do measure larger than their wa-handled brethren.]

I also find the Shigefusa seems to hold a better edge; I find the ITK edge tends to roll over a bit faster when hitting the cutting board. Perhaps this is just due to the original edge weakness from the hardening/tempering process of the ITK.

I find myself using the Shigefusa more often; the one thing, however, as noted by others, is the reactivity of the Shigefusa cladding. My wife and I have a favorite dish that uses alot of very thin cut cucumber; let me just say that the stink created by the Shigefusa when cutting cukes is amazing. Even after doing the darkhoek patination, the cukes still create a smell. No real problem with onions, but cukes..... So, for this dish I use the ITK. It it a very nice knife, great F&F, and I am glad to have it, but I prefer the Shigefusa for most tasks. However, I don't know that I would pay the freight for a western handled Shigefusa, as the upcharge is huge. I would recommend trying a Shigefusa wa, if you love the blade then you can sell it (or not!) if you really want a western handled version.
 

Cadillac J

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I find the ITK edge tends to roll over a bit faster when hitting the cutting board. Perhaps this is just due to the original edge weakness from the hardening/tempering process of the ITK.
Have you sharpened your DT? How would you rate your sharpening proficiency?

The only reason I ask is because the last thing I would of said the ITKs do is roll their edges...and that's even when really thinning it out.
 

rockbox

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Have you sharpened your DT? How would you rate your sharpening proficiency?

The only reason I ask is because the last thing I would of said the ITKs do is roll their edges...and that's even when really thinning it out.
+1

I do know that the new ITKs are a lot thinner than the first batch but I don't see why the edge would roll. Where the knifes sharpened at the same angle?
 

lancep

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I have maintained the factory angle on both of the knives; I have not taken them down to any lower grits, have just used a Chocera 10k for touch ups, plus stropping on HA green solution on leather.

Again, it may be the ITK suffers from edge weakness due to the hardening/tempering process; the edge has definitely rolled in spots, since I can see it in the proper light and also feel it with my fingertip.

When I get the time, I may take the ITK down to a 1k or so level and work it back up.

My sharpening skills are, IMO, quite good though no doubt below those of some here. I do leather working, which requires very sharp knives and frequent re-sharpening, so I get a fair amount of practice.
 

ravichopra

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There seems to be a huge variety of experience here. I've got a 240 western handle kasumi Shigefusa gyuto. I've built up little more than natural patina from regular use and have almost no reactivity issues at all. Whether with onions, acidic fruit (grapefruit, lemons, limes), or cukes I get no black gunk. I do sometimes get a little reactive orange/brown gunk built up on the sides of the blade, but it cleans off easily and none sticks to the food or affects smell or taste.

For care, I just wash the knife off with hot water and soap, dry it thoroughly, and usually give it a quick wipe with camellia oil before storing in the block.

I can't comment on DT's knives (other than to say they're gorgeously photogenic and have a marvelous rep), but the Shigefusa has been nothing but a joy to use. While thick at the bolster it has a famous distal-taper and thins to a whisper towards the blade edge. It takes a frighteningly sharp edge VERY easily, has beautiful balance and weight in the hand and is easy to maintain. I finally talked my wife (who typically uses MAC pros) into trying it and she didn't want to put it down despite it being a lot longer and heavier than she's accustomed to.

I like it so much I'm taking one of Marko's 150 wa-pettys.
 

Cadillac J

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When I get the time, I may take the ITK down to a 1k or so level and work it back up.

My sharpening skills are, IMO, quite good
If you feel comfortable in your skills, my suggestion would be to start at your coarse stone and grind your own edge into your ITK through your regular progression--it will turn into a much different beast than it currently is, will be a much better comparison point to your Shig, and you shouldn't have any issues with the edge rolling.

I had one from the first batch that were a bit thicker, and I thinned behind the edge which very significantly improved cutting performance without sacrificing toughness.
 

stereo.pete

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If you feel comfortable in your skills, my suggestion would be to start at your coarse stone and grind your own edge into your ITK through your regular progression--it will turn into a much different beast than it currently is, will be a much better comparison point to your Shig, and you shouldn't have any issues with the edge rolling.

I had one from the first batch that were a bit thicker, and I thinned behind the edge which very significantly improved cutting performance without sacrificing toughness.
I currently own the ITK that Jarrod is talking about and I can attest to the cutting performance of the knife. It is the sharpest knife out of my collection and continues to amaze me with the edge that Jarrod put on it.
 
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