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Why buy a gyuto over a santoku?

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Uncle Mike

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Could be that the bolster needs to be ground down. Put the Wusthoff edge down on the cutting board with the heel (bolster) down. Can you see daylight between the edge and the board? If you sharpen it enough, the edge moves up the blade, but the bolster doesn’t, so there’s a gap between the edge and the board because the bolster is hitting the board and the edge isn’t.

Red is bolster I’m talking about. Yellow is the edge. (This knife doesn’t have the problem I’m describing).



Japanese knives don’t have these bolsters.

Also, if you want a Santoku, then that’s what you should get!
 

refcast

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The versatility of the gyuto is the curve and the more narrow in height tip.

Curvature helps with meat: More curve means you can cut better as it dulls, so more tougher or wedging food items can be cut better. It's why the scimiter is curved because you get extra cutting length, which is great for meat, which needs sharpness and can't just be split like veggies.

Narrow thin tip wedges very little: Like a lot of people say, the less wide tip has less surface to drag on the thing we're cutting. This is good for precision stuff, horizontal cuts, peeling. It's like having another knife for detail work. It's also great as a way to make the first cut into dense items.


The trade-off is it's not efficient in the push-cut compared to the push cut king, the nakiri (and usuba, maybe kiritsuke), and the follow-up, the santoku. This efficiency seems to be your priority. A lot of people cut different, too though. For instance, a lot of people do spring onions with the tip of the gyuto with more wrist action, which helps to not crush the spring onion as much (but is, yes, more effort I guess to some).

It's not a big deal. If you need a bigger main knife, the options are pretty much only gyuto (and then you have the chinese cleaversssss!!!!)
 

Benuser

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so saying that a continuously curved gyuto is the way a good gyuto is made is imposing one's own preferences on others.
Large deadly flat spots are simply uncommon with Japanese makers, quite common though with French. Not imposing my own preferences — what do you know about them? I find the suggestion unpleasant.
 

Benuser

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Could be that the bolster needs to be ground down. Put the Wusthoff edge down on the cutting board with the heel (bolster) down. Can you see daylight between the edge and the board? If you sharpen it enough, the edge moves up the blade, but the bolster doesn’t, so there’s a gap between the edge and the board because the bolster is hitting the board and the edge isn’t.

Red is bolster I’m talking about. Yellow is the edge. (This knife doesn’t have the problem I’m describing).



Japanese knives don’t have these bolsters.

Also, if you want a Santoku, then that’s what you should get!
Quite common with old or neglected Westerns with a fingerguard. The extreme form of it is the reverse belly.
 
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Cashn

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I prefer a Gyuto over a santoku because I feel it gives me more options when cutting. Any knife that property sharpens can accomplish any basic cooking goal.
 

_HH_

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Ah you guys have been so helpful - thank you!

UncleMike - thanks for your helpful picture. My knife is similar to the one in your picture in that it doesn’t not have a reverse belly, but this was useful to check and not something I would have considered. Thanks!

I feel the issue may be more to do with poor technique on my part than any specific problem with the knife itself. Not having had any formal training I will see if I can find some resources on how to chop and use a knife properly in case it’s something which can be improved wth a change in technique.

Thanks very much for all your responses :)
 

AT5760

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You can find some great videos online concerning different techniques and grips. Having recently moved from a German-style chef's knife, to a gyuto, I've found that adjusting technique a bit can make a world of difference on a different knife. My gyuto is much more versatile than my chef's knife. Good luck with your new santoku!
 

Cyrilix

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Large deadly flat spots are simply uncommon with Japanese makers, quite common though with French. Not imposing my own preferences — what do you know about them? I find the suggestion unpleasant.
I mean, you basically dictated what a well made gyuto should be so I said that's what you think a well made gyuto should be, but to me, that would not be a well made gyuto. It would be one that fights against my push cuts.

I have a Takamura Hana and a FKM for gyutos and both of them have sufficiently large flat spots.
 

Elliot

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I am late to this party, but for the sake of the original question: I don't hate on Santoku the way many knife enthusiasts do.
Do I prefer gyuto? Yes. That being said, I have two Santoku and use them quite regularly. I am not really sure of anything they do better or differently than my gyuto, but I just like having different knives. Let's not forget to have fun and use what ya like using.
 

Luftmensch

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After reading the forum for the past few weeks I haven’t found a really good reason as to why gyuto are more useful than a santoku given my criteria
You don't have to justify your own preferences. Enjoy what you enjoy! Bugger the rest.... Although, if you can afford to, I would encourage experimentation just for the fun of it. And maybe you'll learn something new!

Being a novice it may just be something I have to use and compare side by side to really ‘get’ why one is better than the other, as from reading and looking at blade profiles I can’t seem to get it clear in my head!
:p

Welcome to the forum! Experience is the best way to do it. I would hazard a guess that almost nobody here owns one knife... Further, if they did and were so certain that one profile was the 'best'... they'd be buying tickets to their own show.



As a post note, there are some really knowledgeable KKFers (I know how that sounds :D) in NZ. They might have purchasing advice. If the retail market in NZ is small, you might find shipping from across the pond in OZ reasonable? But heck... its a global world...
 

_HH_

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You don't have to justify your own preferences. Enjoy what you enjoy! Bugger the rest.... Although, if you can afford to, I would encourage experimentation just for the fun of it. And maybe you'll learn something new!



:p

Welcome to the forum! Experience is the best way to do it. I would hazard a guess that almost nobody here owns one knife... Further, if they did and were so certain that one profile was the 'best'... they'd be buying tickets to their own show.



As a post note, there are some really knowledgeable KKFers (I know how that sounds :D) in NZ. They might have purchasing advice. If the retail market in NZ is small, you might find shipping from across the pond in OZ reasonable? But heck... its a global world...
Thanks for your post Luftmensch - I’ll let you know how I get on and what I end up with!
 

dough

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I’ll just add one more thought if you break your tip off enough or large enough it’s much easier to give it a santoku style tip. I also find western style chef knives have a different profile and feel then gyuto but santoku have a similar feel to gyuto. If I need a shorter knife bc space is an issues I tend to prefer santoku to gyuto bc they tend to have more height and a sturdier tip. Anyway here is hoping you love your santoku and try other styles in the future.
 

Benuser

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I've used myself a 190mm Hiromoto, and it had enough upswing to allow using 'guillotine and glide'.
Some gyutos have a tip that low that you can't.
 

dsk

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No mention of masashi profile. Quirky, but I personally like it and might be a decent fit for OP. They offer both 180mm gyutos and santoku that are so close in profile it almost looks like a height difference and tiny difference in tip curve.

If you like santoku that's what you get. Many advocate nakiri but I honestly disliked it and prefer the santoku for a small knife. That said, experimenting with a 180mm ish gyuto wouldn't hurt, cause you just might love it.
 

Itsjun

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well, even in modern days now, gyuto comes with different belly and profile.
So it doesn't necessarily mean gyuto > santoku.
It all comes down to personal preference, feel to the knife and stuffs.

Personally I own a santoku, but i dont really use it, is because of how thick it is.
 

_HH_

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Sorry to resurrect an old thread, but wanted to thank you all for your help and let you know I just ordered a Tanaka 180mm ginsan gyuto.

I realised I don’t really know anything about knives at this point, so starting with a well-regraded ‘standard’ blade shape will give me an idea of what a decent Japanese knife can do. I’m sure it won’t be the last knife I buy and there’s plenty of time for getting into more esoteric blade shapes and steels in the future.

Thanks again for your help!
Henry
 

Luftmensch

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Horrifying. Right-wing terrorism is not something that ever crosses my mind when I think of progressive, diverse & beautiful NZ. Condolences to families and friends affected by the attack. My thoughts are with them.
 

Foltest

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Well, I transitioned to 240 guyto from 165 santoku. To me, santoku is awkward for meat preparation, because of lack of length. Imo the main benefits are length and narrow tip that helps a lot when it comes cutting to sticky stuff
 

Pila

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Santoku is popular at the west because most people think it is related to a Guyto but smaller. That is absolutelly wrong. Also, we can often read and hear Santoku is a professional Japnese knife. No, it is not. It is a (women's) home cook knife created to replace Nakiri and Deba, created by the politicians for a political cause. There is a longer explanation with evidence which I did for an article I wrote. But: a Santoku is still a knife and it will still cut!

My mother made us wonderfull meals and she never used neither Santoku, nor Guyto nor Chef's knife. I had proper knife training years ago, but I quickly adapted most of it to me beng lazy and wanting to cut with as little force as possible. If I tried using my mother's old knives in her way, I would be lost and quickly injured (as she was, often). So: you can cook with any knife, but a proper knife training can help you in doing job better, easier and safer. Even if you only use it as a base and modify it. First, you must know the rules.

In any job; there are different tools suited for different jobs. Yes, you can tear the brick wall down with a small hammer, but really? Would you really try doing it that way? Without some training, we are unable to envision proper (as in most efficient and safest) knife size and shape for particular jobs. People without knife training believe smaller (10 cm pairing typically) and less sharp knife is the best and afest one. Big mistake!

One can do most things with any knife. Due to some articles I am working on, I test and reexamine knife use. One test I did was cleaning and deboning entire chicken with: 15 cm 9 dps petty, 21 cm 9 dps Gyuto and 6,6 cm outdoor knife I am using as a pairing knife. While German flexi 15 cm boner beats them all, I can almost as good and almost as qu8ickly clean and debone entire chicken without breaking any bones with any of these knives. Guyto is annoying and dangerous in this use, despite many years of me using it

That being said; I did not have a desire to try deboning a chicken with a 24 cm Gyuto or even longer Kiritsuke, nor Santoku, nor Nakiri nor Chinse cook's knife. I will likely at least try them, but I expect them to fail. I could do it if I had to, as long as the knife is sharp. But, I prefer to do it safe and efficent.

One is not safer by using smalelr knife. One is safer by having decent knife skills, sharp knife and properly sized and properly lit cutting area. And only then: using well suited knife for the task.
 

Lotmom

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I personally find the lack of a fine, pointy tip really reduces the "tacticool" factor of my knives. That, and speed holes. ;)

In all seriousness, I don't think my advice is any different than others' in this thread. You do you. If you have a santoku that you love and do good work with, there's no reason to switch to a guyto. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. That being said, I do personally find a Gyuto profile much more useful. The aforementioned fine, sharp tip really helps for doing fine work eg: very fine dicing for onions. I feel that with a santoku, I just don't get that precision. Another argument I've heard (which I don't agree with, but oh well) is that a Gyuto shape allows you to see the tip better so it's easier to accurately place your tool.


As will all things in this hobby, though, YMMV
 

DitmasPork

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After reading the forum for the past few weeks I haven’t found a really good reason as to why gyuto are more useful than a santoku given my criteria:

1. I like short knives
2. I don’t rock chop
3. I don’t care if my knife doesn’t look pointy

The main arguments against a santoku seem to be that they can’t rock chop, are too small, or ‘they don’t look badass like a bunka’ (which I find amusing given they seem to be almost the exact same shape but one has a K-tip).

Given that I don’t rock chop, and already have a western chef’s knife, is there any reason - other than personal preference - as to why I should buy a gyuto over a santoku as my next knife?

I like the idea of having one knife which can do most things, and seeing as I’m not going to get a Nakiri and am going to hang onto my chef’s knife, it seems to me that a santoku with its flatter heel section may be more helpful for veg prep without losing the ability to cut protein.

I’d love to hear your thoughts if you can give me any advice one way or the other.

Thanks!
Henry
Personally I prefer gyutos, about 75% of my knives are gyutos. That said, recently I borrowed a friend’s Mazaki santoku and have really enjoyed using it, I can appreciate the value of it’s being shorter in length to my gyutos, its nimbleness, etc.

I don’t chase knives with a “one knife which can do most things” idea in my head, simply because pretty much all of my gyutos can do most things, ...so can this santoku—even cut sashimi with he santoku the other day. A good santoku can do most things, so can a good gyuto or Chinese cleaver. Depends on how/what you cook, the technique you use, etc.

I’d choose a gyuto over a santoku, and tend to recommend gyutos and chef’s knives over santokus, just personal tastes, extra blade length is handy for a pile of veg, etc.

If curious about santoku, you can always go to a discount store and get a mass produced santoku for under $10 to see how you jive with the shape—before investing in a handmade santoku. Using/testing a santoku, with your own hands will inform you much more than any opinion from KKF or any other source.

Santokus are quite wonderful, not better or worse than gyutos, just different. Get them both IMO, along with a suji, petty and nakiri. Life goals.
 
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Keith Sinclair

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A lot is about knife skills have watched Chinese debone many chickens with a cleaver for banquets.
 

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