Which black Smith is known for making great single bevel knives?

Discussion in 'The Kitchen Knife' started by Koakuma, Aug 11, 2019.

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  1. Aug 11, 2019 #1

    Koakuma

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    Most of the topic on knife forums mostly focus on gyuto, so I’m curious to know more about single bevel knives like yanagiba. Which line of yanagiba would you guys recommend based on your own interest?
     
  2. Aug 11, 2019 #2

    Ochazuke

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    Do you mean blacksmith or brand? There are so many great brands that don’t have a “rock star” blacksmith behind them. Other members/collectors are more interested in particular blacksmiths and would be better suited to answering that question, but if you’re looking for recommendations from people that have used kataba knives professionally, then I and a few others can help you out. Let me know!
     
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  3. Aug 11, 2019 #3

    Koakuma

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    I’m interested in the smiths and the brands. I want to know which black smith that is highly regard for their single bevel knives and which brand/lines they represents. Thanks
     
  4. Aug 11, 2019 #4

    ian

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    Totally misread this... thought it was a thread about diversity.
     
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  5. Aug 11, 2019 #5

    Ochazuke

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    I didn’t ask that very well. The blacksmith is only one part of the process. For instance the person who grinds is just as important.

    Here’s a better question: are you looking for performance or beauty? Because the answers are going to be different.

    For instance: if you work in a high volume sushi bar I would recommend Tsukiji Masamoto. It can take a lot of abuse in a pro environment and keep on working. It’s not really a “high end” beautiful knife though...

    On the other side is one of the “prestige” makers like Shigefusa. I don’t know how those handle because they’re too expensive for me. But people really love to collect them because they’re beautiful!

    I don’t know what you’re looking for though... maybe fill out the new knife recommendation questionnaire?
     
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  6. Aug 11, 2019 #6

    HRC_64

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    [edit: Ochazuke who beat me too it...]

    This question isn't really answereable in a clear way.

    You can find/ask for lists of reputable:

    blacksmiths
    sharpeners
    brands
    shops

    and each of these may be useful indicators of quality, or not, depending on what you are trying to do.
     
  7. Aug 11, 2019 #7

    Koakuma

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    Sorry that my question isn’t very clear. I am not currently looking to buy a knife. I am a professional sushi chef, so I use yanagiba everyday. I am planning to upgrade my current yanagiba in the future. Right now I am more interested in learning more about which black smith/sharpener focus more on single bevel knives like yanagiba. I ask about the brand/line of knives main so I can search for them and read more about those knives. To your question, if I am looking for a knife it would focus more on performance than looks. Thanks for your response.
     
  8. Aug 11, 2019 #8

    Koakuma

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    Let me put it this way then, I've heard about Itsuno Doi focus more on single bevel knives. I would love to know more about him and who sharpen his line of knife for what brand? Maybe this can help you guy start suggesting other black smith/sharpener who focus on single bevel knives. thanks
     
  9. Aug 11, 2019 #9

    rebornhj

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    Which yanagiba are you currenly using?
     
  10. Aug 11, 2019 #10

    Mute-on

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    Toyama 300 Yanagiba at JNS. I have one, and it is very close to my 270 Shig in general grind quality.

    The Toyama is obviously longer, and a heavier construction overall. Very robust compared with the beautiful fitness of the Shig. It’s also about 1/3 the price in today’s market (Shig is kitaeji), and is actually available to purchase!
     
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  11. Aug 11, 2019 #11

    Elliot

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    This is a topic I am super interested in as well. To the question, the general consensus I have come across is that Shigefusa single bevel are near the top and “better” than their double bevel work.

    Otherwise, my understanding is the sharpening and finishing is much more important than it is in double bevel work and the Hide line from JKI, while not super pricey, is quite good.

    Otherwise, I think the names are what you’d expect: Suisin, Nenohi, Doi, Ikeda, etc. At the top top top, you’d see honyaki from Genkai or Tatsuo Ikeda and any work you can find from Keijiro Doi.

    I have used SOME of what is mentioned above, but I’m a home cook with no formal training who dabbles in sushi, so please take my thoughts with that in mind.
     
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  12. Aug 11, 2019 #12

    Ochazuke

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    Other members know way more about the blacksmiths than me. But brands I’ve used for work that I’ve liked are: Tsukiji Masamoto, Gesshin Ittetsu, Watanabe, and Suisin.

    More than just brand name, I would really buy from a vendor who knows what they’re doing and is trustworthy. Even really reliable brands have some product quality variations, so buying from a reputable vendor is a worthwhile investment.
     
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  13. Aug 11, 2019 #13

    Koakuma

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    I’ve been using Tojiro 270mm yanagiba since I started making sushi. Which has been 5 years or so. I see people talking about Shigefusa. Can you guys explain to me what make shigefusa so much better than every other makers out there? The rarity and price of shigefusa, make me doubt I’ll ever be able to buy one. I do agree on buying from trusted sources. I have bought couple knives from JKI and I am very happy with them. And thank you Elliot for your suggestions, I’ll definitely check them out.
     
  14. Aug 11, 2019 #14

    Elliot

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    Again, I am far from an expert here (though I read my ass off), but there are two attributes I’ve read:

    1. Ura: Shigefusa and other higher-end knives will have a well ground ura that will make the knife “work” better, last longer and cut cleaner.

    2. Bevel: less high and low spots, much more even, etc.

    This is a bit more granular than the more obvious things such as quality of heat treat, which leads itself to ease of sharpening and maintenance.
     
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  15. Aug 11, 2019 #15

    Customfan

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    If budget isn't a factor and we are talking about single bevels, then

    - Genkai Masakuni is possibly the closest to perfection I've come across....

    - Kenji Togashi´s single bevels are superb, been able to get my hands on both Honyaki and Kasumi versions and they are very consistent.

    - Keijiro Doi Yanagiba if you can get your hands on one....

    - Kato kasumi Yanagibas also seem to be spot on

    - Also been using an Ikkanshi Tadatsuna with very good results

    - Shigefusa kitaeji´s are high on my list as well.

    But there are others im surely missing....
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2019
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  16. Aug 11, 2019 #16

    HRC_64

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    OP should fill out the knife quesionarie even if its just for window-shopping or long-term research
     
  17. Aug 11, 2019 #17

    Barclid

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    A lot of mixing of Tonya and craftsmen in this thread.
     
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  18. Aug 11, 2019 #18

    Koakuma

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    What is Tonya? If it will help everyone I can try fill out the questionnaire. I really don’t know what I’m looking for at the moment tho.

    LOCATION
    What country are you in?
    United States


    KNIFE TYPE
    What type of knife are you interested in (e.g., chef’s knife, slicer, boning knife, utility knife, bread knife, paring knife, cleaver)?
    Yanagiba/kensaki

    Are you right or left handed?
    Right handed

    Are you interested in a Western handle (e.g., classic Wusthof handle) or Japanese handle?
    Wa handle. They do even have yo handle for yanagiba?

    What length of knife (blade) are you interested in (in inches or millimeters)?
    270mm-300mm

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

    What is your absolute maximum budget for your knife?
    Currently I don’t know my budget going to be.



    KNIFE USE
    Do you primarily intend to use this knife at home or a professional environment?
    Professional

    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.)
    Slicing fish

    What knife, if any, are you replacing?
    Replacing Tojiro 270mm

    Do you have a particular grip that you primarily use? (Please click on this LINK for the common types of grips.)
    Pinch grip with index finger on the spine

    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.)
    Pull slicing, push and pull cutting.

    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.)
    Better edge retention and easier sharpening.

    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)?
    Kasumi finish

    Comfort (e.g., lighter/heavier knife; better handle material; better handle shape; rounded spine/choil of the knife; improved balance)?
    Medium weight, with octagonal handle. As far as F&F go I don’t have a preference. I can polish and rounding spine and choil myself if need be.

    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)?
    For slicing motion and push pull cutting. Easier sharpening would be preferable.

    Edge Retention (i.e., length of time you want the edge to last without sharpening)?
    Be able to last whole day without touching up in a professional setting.


    KNIFE MAINTENANCE
    Do you use a bamboo, wood, rubber, or synthetic cutting board? (Yes or no.)
    Hi-soft board and End grain board

    Do you sharpen your own knives? (Yes or no.)
    Yes

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

    Are you interested in purchasing sharpening products for your knives? (Yes or no.)
    I own 150 grit diamon stone 400 grit suehiro 800 grit chosera 3000 grit chosera and 8000 shapton pro.
     
  19. Aug 11, 2019 #19

    Michi

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    Hideo Kitaoka exclusively makes single-bevel knives, as far as I know.
     
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  20. Aug 11, 2019 #20

    Ochazuke

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    Haha, I think it’s like cars. In terms of getting places, a Honda and a Ferrari will both get you there.

    A cheap kataba knife and an expensive one will both do the job, but with the expensive one you’re (hopefully) getting better heat treatment, grind, finish, overall attention to detail.

    But hey, I drive a Toyota and cut with a Masamoto, so probably not the best person to ask about why you need super fancy stuff...
     
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  21. Aug 11, 2019 #21

    Ochazuke

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    Oh yeah! A ton-ya is a wholesaler. Most people don’t know the difference but the Japanese knife manufacturing sector is waaay more complicated than you might think. There are some individual craftsmen, but there’s also a lot of piecemeal work: where there’s a blacksmith, grinder, handle maker, finisher and more (and every combination you can think of).

    You might have a ton of people make a knife for one seller and have many of the same people make knives for other sellers with a totally different name.

    I just list the brand name or main seller because it’s easier...
     
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  22. Aug 11, 2019 #22

    Koakuma

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    This is really helpful info, thank you for that. I am still pretty new to the world of Japanese knives. But I love to learn more as I go. I do fancy a knife with great heat treatments. But I do not want to chase after something just because it’s rare.
     
  23. Aug 12, 2019 #23

    gman

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    i have his deba and yanagiba in white-2, suminagashi. the blades are beautiful. fit and finish on the handles is nothing special. heat treat seems good, but the bevels on both knives had lots of high and low spots, and it took me a few hours to flatten them out to my liking. overall i'm still pretty happy with them given how (relatively) affordable they are.
     
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  24. Aug 12, 2019 #24

    Michi

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    I have the 165 mm Damascus deba in white #2, with a Shitan rosewood handle with pakka wood ferrule. No issues with high/low spots on mine, and I got a clean finish on the handle. I'm happy with the knife. The Damascus pattern is beautiful.
     
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  25. Aug 13, 2019 #25

    Koakuma

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    Thanks for the review of the Kitaoka, I'll keep it in mind when I do more search. I had a chance to try out the Tsukiji Masamoto, and i really likes the deep ura on it. I think thats a top contender for me when I do decide to purchase a yanagiba. Thanks KKF
     
  26. Aug 13, 2019 #26

    mattador

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    I’d just get the nicest one that JKI offers at my price point. They always seem to be well sorted and Jon goes the extra mile in the QC aspect. I like my single bevels to have an even bevel and ura. Otherwise, you spend a bunch of time making them nice.
     
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  27. Aug 13, 2019 #27

    zizirex

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    I'm a firm believer that Sakai Blacksmiths made the best Single and wide bevel knife.
     
  28. Aug 14, 2019 #28

    dreamwalker

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    Here is this opinion from a fellow sushi chef: get a Honyaki single bevel knife! from Genkai Masakuni or Yoshikazu Ikeda ,Shigefusa old stock yanagiba is well made, but overall not worth for currently price.

    It's just my 2 cents.

    Thanks,
    Mike
     
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  29. Aug 14, 2019 #29

    Elliot

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    So true. I think Shigefusa makes exceptional single bevel knives, but it costs nearly what Sakai honyaki from Kagekiyo or the various places that use Ikeda do... seems silly at that price.
     
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  30. Aug 14, 2019 #30

    Dave Martell

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