Yanagi Recommendation $200 or under

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Feb 28, 2011
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I've yet to make a foray into traditional Japanese single-beveled knives, but I think that's my next step. As much as I've drooled over the beautiful $1000 blades that some of the forum members possess, I'm neither rich enough nor skilled enough to use anything of that caliber.

People have said various good things about the Masamoto KK, the Yoshihiro honkasumi, and the Tanakas. I'm most likely going to rehandle whatever I purchase, so that doesn't matter so much, and I can give-or-take damascus. What I want is good steel with a good profile and decent finish.

Though I can't speak for the other knives, I have had good experiences with Tanaka Damascus. Blue steel #2 takes a great edge. Solid work horse. The steel looks great too. Handle sux, but whatever. Not a problem if you are going to rehandle.

I thought it was a great deal for the 300mm. The kasumi blades are an even greater bargain. I think the 300mm is only $180. You can get the 270 for $150 too. Try metalmasterjp.

Just know what you are getting into first. ****** handle, great steel that needs a little work to bring out it's full potential. Overall great knife when complete.
my co-worker just get a masamoto kk yanagi. I think it's around $250. I tried and used it the whole shift in sushi bar. I'm really impressed with that knife. It performs just as great as my masamoto ks and even other more expensive knife around $500.
I've been very pleased with my Tanaka blades. The kasumi line for me has been hit and miss - 2 hits (very solid hits, too), one of which is a deba, versus only one miss. The damascus line I've been very pleased with all 3 of them, one of which is a yanagi. The handles, as everyone tends to say, are absolutely nothing special, but I have no issues with them either. Perfectly functional.

I've heard good things about the Yoshihiros, but I have no firsthand experience with them.
Tanaka is usually a good value. I've also been pleasantly surprised with my Yoshihiro Yanagi. I picked it up in an auction for less than $100, so I really didn't mind that I needed to put some work into it. As my one an only single bevel, I'm super pleased with it.
My Tanaka Kasumi in Blue #2 is the knife that changed my life. Sounds extreme, but I'd never held a sharp knife until I got that one in the mail.

I don't have the budget for really high end knives, but that is one that just blows my mind for the price I paid. It's not issue-free--the F&F, which entirely satisfactory, isn't perfect...but for the price, there are no complaints. It's a great Yanagi to get you started, and I have had no desire to replace it.