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Wa or Yo Handles?

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Lefty

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All of this talk about a certain knife and recent "hot knives", has me wondering - on a gyuto, do you prefer a Wa or Yo handle?
I, so far only own Yo handled gyutos, but I do have a Wa handled 'pettysuki' on the way.
What do you guys prefer and WHY?
 

oivind_dahle

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Like Chad Ward I grab my wa when I feel sporty.
Anyway: You gotta have both, but yo is often more expensive and popular than wa :)

I use yo 70% and wa 30%
 

Forlan

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The only handle that you should use , Is that which suits you the best. As far as the qus about me. I love using yo handles.
 

echerub

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I'm a wa handle fan. They look better and feel better to me. However, I'll go with yo handle for anything that I might handle with grimy hands - like my garasuki, for example.
 

cnochef

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Personally, because I have sm-med hands, I prefer yo handles overall and especially on larger knives. I find the wa handles on larger knives too long and unwieldy for my taste. I don't mind wa handles at all on smaller knives like petty and honesuki though.
 

NO ChoP!

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Wa for finesse. Yo for duty work. But honestly, I dont actually hold on to much of the handle, so it could probably be a duck taped tang and it'd be fine.LOL
 

so_sleepy

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I prefer yo handles or westernized-wa style knives. I.e Kramer and Shun. I don't like wa handles where the tang is an extension of the spine.
 

Michael Rader

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Great thread. I've been wondering about this for a while. I've exclusively made western style handles and want to start crafting the Japanese-styled blades and handles. So, I know what a wa handle looks like, but, forgive my ignorance, what is a yo handle? Is this the oval or egg-shaped one as opposed to the octagon wa handle shape?
-M
 

mattrud

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I use both, I do not have a preference, but having been purchasing more wa handle knives recently, but like both.
 

Lefty

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I'm actually really surprised at the number who prefer Yo (western) handles.
In theory, they are more ergonomical, but we don't grip the knife like a hammer...
I wonder why so many are drawn to the Wa handled konosukes, suisins, etc.
It must be the looks....
 

mhlee

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From what I've observed, a "yo" handle is a generic term for a western handle. That's all.
 

Lefty

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So, which do you prefer mhlee?
 

WildBoar

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I like both, but as mentioned above it does not matter much if you do not fully grip the handle. Since I only had western-handled knives until last year, I've been picking up some wa- and hybrid-handled knives. I really like the wa on my ITK 240 gyuto and Pierre 300 suji, and the western on the DM-rehandled 240 Hiro gyuto. From the knives I have handled so far, the wa handles are less likely to be too bulky/ blocky then the western handles used on lower cost j-knives.

At this very moment, I prefer wa for bigger/ longer knives, and western or hybrid on smaller (paring) knives.
 

Jim

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As a unrepentant pinch gripper the only handle I hold "as designed" is my slicer, other than that, wa me.
 

ecchef

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At this very moment, I prefer wa for bigger/ longer knives, and western or hybrid on smaller (paring) knives.
Interesting. I generally prefer that as well. One thing I can't get used to is wa handle on big debas. Just doesn't feel secure enough.
 

SpikeC

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My Takeda was my first Wa handle, and I like it a lot, not for the look, butt for the feel. I have fairly large hands and the Wa handle feels more agile to me. I have no problem with Yo(mama?), just really like the Wa(wa).
 

Cadillac J

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I prefer and like wa handles more(octagonal to be exact), but a western handle is just fine for most knives.

Even though I don't pinch grip, so my fingers are on the handle most of the time, the handle type really isn't THAT important to me. I think wa handles lend better to gentle grips because of how they feel/fill in the hand.
 

UglyJoe

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I will only buy wa handled knives from now on. One of the biggest deals to me is that they are light and there isn't as much steel in the handle, so the balance point of the knife is usually more forward, something I much prefer in a knife, particularly a longer knife.
 

Pensacola Tiger

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Great thread. I've been wondering about this for a while. I've exclusively made western style handles and want to start crafting the Japanese-styled blades and handles. So, I know what a wa handle looks like, but, forgive my ignorance, what is a yo handle? Is this the oval or egg-shaped one as opposed to the octagon wa handle shape?
-M
Half your question was left unanswered.

The oval or egg-shaped cross-section handles are commonly called "D-" handles. They've sort of fallen out of favor with us knifenuts since they aren't ambidextrous, although my left-handed wife doesn't complain (much) when she has to use a D-handle made for a right-hander. My opinion is that a D-handle is more comfortable than an octagon.

I can't wait to see what your wa-handles look like.

Rick
 

festally

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Depends on the type of knife / grip. With heavy cleavers, boning knives, I use a hammer grip and prefer a yo-handle. It feels more secure (less likely to slip or twist) and easier to clean. With light grip type knives, I’m not holding the handle, so it doesn’t matter as much. I do like the look of a wa-handle and their ability to magically deter my in-laws (aka the knife killers) from using them.:happy1:
 

Michael Rader

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Thanks guys. Now I need to start learning Japanese... Okay, I can learn a few words and terms, shouldn't be too difficult. And, Rick, I'll be sure to post some pics this Summer. I have some gyutos with wa handles coming up...
-M
 

mhlee

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So, which do you prefer mhlee?
I generally prefer western handles for gyutos, fillet/boning knives, and wa handle knives for slicers (although the only true "slicer" I have is a yanagiba). For a cleaver, I feel that I would prefer a wa handle versus a western handle - I use a Dexter Carbon Steel Chinese Cleaver at home and would like a cleaver with a better, but similar handle.

But, the type of western matters A LOT. I have a 240 Hiromoto AS from Dave from the second group buy, and I LOVE that handle. I have a 240 Western Gyuto from Devin Thomas, and, while I like that blade more, I like the handle less than Dave's.
 

JohnnyChance

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I prefer a good octagonal Wa handle in appearance, comfort and ergonomics. I like how on an octagonal handle has big flat sides everywhere, so whatever angle I am cutting at, I can put my thumb on a nice flat surface. Like if I am slicing something horizontally, parallel with my cutting board, I like putting my thumb on the side of the handle that is now facing upwards.

The key in that statement is "good". Cheap octagonal handles are terrible. While cheap western handles may be boring in appearance, they are usually still perfectly functional and somewhat comfortable. Cheap octagonal handles especially can be very very bad, misaligned with the blade and uncomfortable to use.

I have several very nice westerns and they are just fine, just prefer wa.
 

mpukas

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In general I prefer western handles. But more important to me is how the handle is in the overall knife. I think the handle has to have to right balance of size and weight to match the blade. On laser gyuto's a wa "D" handle is just perfect. On my 12" Wusthof chef's the western handle is a tad on the small side for such a big heavy blade. On the Hattori FH 270 gyuto, the slimness and elegance combined with the tapered full tang perfrectly matches nd balances the blade.

I thought I would prefer octagonal wa handles to "D" handles, but I actual like "D" handles better.

One thing I don't like about wa handles on a gyuto vs a yo handle on a gyuto (at the least small number I've used) is that the distance from the end of the handle to the choil is longer, resulting in a shorter blade length. The yo handle gyuto's I have compared to the wa handles gyuto's are the same length overall, but have a longer blade length.
 

Michael Rader

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This is good. While we're talking about handles, how do you guys like the "pinch-grip" on western style handles with bolsters or integral bolsters? More comfortable than the stick-on wa handles, or not?

**** shameless pic alert *******



(My newer ones are a bit more rounded on the corners) It just seems like the rounded transition into the handle here would be more comfortable than the abrupt edge of the wa handle. The one knife I have with a wa handle isn't terribly uncomfortable, but I only use it a few minutes here and there, not for hours.
-M
 

RRLOVER

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I love a Wa handle.I like my knives blade heavy and a Wa will help with that.
 

WildBoar

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Michael, that handle looks very uncomfortable! Please, before you hurt somebody, send that knife to me so I can take care of it! :jumpy:

But to answer your question, when I grip the wa gyuto or suji I have, my index finger drapes over the 'abrupt end' of the handle. It is perfectly comfortable. But as some others have mentioned as well, my grip on a wa handle is probably lighter then the grip I use on a western handle.

Western vs wa does not really affect the comfort of my index finger, thumb, etc. But too thick or way too thin does affect it (I have an old western that is too thin, and one that is too thick).
 

mhlee

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This is good. While we're talking about handles, how do you guys like the "pinch-grip" on western style handles with bolsters or integral bolsters? More comfortable than the stick-on wa handles, or not?

**** shameless pic alert *******



(My newer ones are a bit more rounded on the corners) It just seems like the rounded transition into the handle here would be more comfortable than the abrupt edge of the wa handle. The one knife I have with a wa handle isn't terribly uncomfortable, but I only use it a few minutes here and there, not for hours.
-M
I agree with you Michael. That's why I prefer western handles. I use a pinch grip for gyutos.:thumbsup:
 

apicius9

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I use a pinch grip on most knives and by now feel pretty comfortable with bot types. But for heavier gyutos or my 240 Western deba, I could not imagine a wa handle. On my 270 Watanabe I stuck what is almost a hybrid handle, and that is one of my favorites.

Stefan
 

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