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Yoshikane v Mac v Takayuki

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chrisg

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I am looking for a Chef's Knife, I cook probably every day, though I am no pro-chef. Don't really have a budget.

I have been looking at the:

Mac Ultimate Chef 9"
Yoshikane 240mm Gyuto Hammer Finished
Takayuki Grand Chef 240mm

Are there pros and cons for these knives? Is any one better? I don't really have a budget, but I don't think its necessary for me to spend more than $300 for a Chef's knife as I am no Iron Chef (though can make probably one of the best omelets!)

Also, are there recommended cutting boards for use with these knives?

Thank you

PS - If there is a better alternative to these knives I'd like to know - in my research these were all very highly regarded however the posts that they came from were a few years old.
 

Candlejack

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Well, i'd never go with a mac.
They're easy to sharpen and you don't have to worry about them, but i find them mediocre at best.
 

The hekler

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BOARDsmith as far as a cutting board, custom made pieces by a member here that are head and shoulders above anything else. As for the knives I haven't used any of the ones you mentioned so I can't speak to one being better than the other.
 

Pensacola Tiger

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Welcome to the forum.

To preserve the edge as long as possible, end-grain maple, cherry or walnut boards are preferred. The BoardSMITH brand is the most recommended. David is a craftsman making these boards pretty much one at a time. (http://www.theboardsmith.com). If you want to skimp on a board, then look at Boos or another maker. Try to stay away from bamboo - it's not wood, it's grass, and there is a lot of glue used to make the boards, which is hard on your knife. Hard rubber, like SaniTuff is also acceptable.

I'd suggest that you do a bit more research into your selection of a chef's knife (gyuto). Not that there is anything wrong with the three you mention, but there are a lot of other knives that, in my opinion, are better values. Do a little more reading of the threads in this forum and you'll see what I mean.

If I had to pick one of the three, it would be the Sakai Takayuki Grand Cheff. I have a Yoshikane, and it is a good knife, but it is not anywhere near as light and nimble as the Grand Cheff. The MAC is a good workhorse in a pro environment, and it isn't a bad knife, just not a great knife.

Don't forget that any knife is only as good as its edge, and budget for a waterstone to sharpen it. If you are just starting out, a combination stone line the King 1000/6000 is a good stone to start with.

Rick
 

tk59

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I've used all but the GrandChef and as others have said, they are okay. I actually don't like the Ultimate series as much as other lines of MAC. They basically just have big, heavy handles and thicker blades. You want "the best" 240 gyuto under $300? I'd probably go with a Kochi from Japanese Knife Imports. The only drawback for you might be the fact that it is not stain resistant. For stainless, I would probably go with Gesshin Ginga stainless or save myself some cash and go with a Suisin INOX. I tried one recently and I have to say, I was pretty impressed with the performance and fit and finish independent of cost.
 

Peco

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I got yoshikane 150, 210 in SKD12 and a 240 SLD in black damascus. Easy to sharpen and cuts like a dream. On top of that yoshi's can be bought for a reasonable price. Take a look here: www.japanesenaturalstones.com ... this is Maxim's store (from this forum). He has a few SKD's in stock ... if you can live with custom specs. instead of standard.

And ... welcome
 

Cadillac J

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I liked my Grand Cheff early on, but sold it after trying other lasers like Konosuke HD/white#2 which you can pretty much get for the same price now and had better edge retention.

Currently I have the Yoshikane SKD hammered and am loving it--its a more robust knife overall with no flex versus the thinner knives, but the geometry is awesome and the SKD steel holds an edge longer than my other steels. Just out of the knives you listed, I would go with the Yosh.

However, there are so many other options outside of what you mentioned, but its almost impossible to narrow it down without any other info: yo/wa handle, curvy/flatter profile, carbon/stainless/semi-stainless, etc.
 

chrisg

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Great, you all made this even harder on me!

See, after a lot of research, most of which was done in this forum I believe, those were the three brads I thought everyone was raving about!

Ok, so:
Konosuke
SuisinINOX
Gesshin Ginga
Kochi

These are now the brands I should be looking at... anything else to add to the list???? :scared4::razz:
 

Peco

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Great, you all made this even harder on me!

See, after a lot of research, most of which was done in this forum I believe, those were the three brads I thought everyone was raving about!

Ok, so:
Konosuke
SuisinINOX
Gesshin Ginga
Kochi

These are now the brands I should be looking at... anything else to add to the list???? :scared4::razz:
? You got 3 answers suggesting yoshi = most recommended - and then you change your mind and it's not even in your list ... now I'm the one who's confused ;)
 

chrisg

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Haha, well since there were all those other suggestions, and also the comment of "knives of better value", I thought I'd continue my research. But now I am also looking into the rest of the lineup of the Yoshikane as well.
 

tk59

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The truth of the matter is there are very few people that have tried a lot of knives and still love their Yoshikanes. I have one and it's a nice knife but I'd rather use a TKC/CarboNEXT, Glestain, Suisin INOX, Hattori HD, and the list goes on. All of these knives are cheaper, too. I have friend with a western version and the same conclusion. She prefers a Kanetsugu Pro M/Pro J which are also less expensive. I'd also consider a Blazen (or Akifusa/Artisan), CarboNEXT, Inazuma, etc. Good luck!! Yoshihiro is another nice one. Similar to the Kon/Gesshin Ginga is the Sakai Yusuke. This is reminding me of the first time I decided to "upgrade" from a Glestain. The options were bewildering, haha.
 

Cadillac J

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The truth of the matter is there are very few people that have tried a lot of knives and still love their Yoshikanes. I have one and it's a nice knife but I'd rather use a TKC/CarboNEXT, Glestain, Suisin INOX, Hattori HD, and the list goes on. All of these knives are cheaper, too.
Sorry TK, but I don't think you can make that claim as a 'truth'. I've bought and sold many knives, and have been an advocate of lasers for a long time (and still am), but I'm really enjoying my SKD Yoshikane a lot and would recommend them to anyone.

I love my CarboNext and probably prefer it over the Yosh most times, but it is not because I consider it to be better...its just my preference for lighter/thinner knives, but others prefer the opposite.

The V2 Yoshikane that I'm shipping to Len next week has some of the best geometry I've ever seen, and is one of the best natural cutters I've come across--many people do still love their Yoshikanes.
 

add

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Another Yoshi lover here.
I can't speak to the other two knives on your short list.

Are there thinner, higher performance cutters?
Yes, there always is the next thinner, lighter, and better value knife.

For a great edge holding, balanced knife where grams aren't critical to a home cook, it fits a large niche here.

The allure for me on this knife remains the Wabi of this knife though--
Grey two-toned steel, dark patina on the edge, the hammer marks, excellent finish work- rounded spine and choil.
Yes, even the weight, for me at least, adds to the essence and character of the knife.

Picking it up just feels like old world Japan strength... the '57 Chevy of mighty gyutos.

Damn, I think I just went and made myself horny to use it tonight. :D
 

bikehunter

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Another Yoshi lover here.
I can't speak to the other two knives on your short list.

Are there thinner, higher performance cutters?
Yes, there always is the next thinner, lighter, and better value knife.

For a great edge holding, balanced knife where grams aren't critical to a home cook, it fits a large niche here.

The allure for me on this knife remains the Wabi of this knife though--
Grey two-toned steel, dark patina on the edge, the hammer marks, excellent finish work- rounded spine and choil.
Yes, even the weight, for me at least, adds to the essence and character of the knife.

Picking it up just feels like old world Japan strength... the '57 Chevy of mighty gyutos.

Damn, I think I just went and made myself horny to use it tonight. :D
What "add" said!!!!!
 

G-rat

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Horny huh? Be careful you don't cut yourself...

Another Yoshi lover here.
I can't speak to the other two knives on your short list.

Are there thinner, higher performance cutters?
Yes, there always is the next thinner, lighter, and better value knife.

For a great edge holding, balanced knife where grams aren't critical to a home cook, it fits a large niche here.

The allure for me on this knife remains the Wabi of this knife though--
Grey two-toned steel, dark patina on the edge, the hammer marks, excellent finish work- rounded spine and choil.
Yes, even the weight, for me at least, adds to the essence and character of the knife.

Picking it up just feels like old world Japan strength... the '57 Chevy of mighty gyutos.

Damn, I think I just went and made myself horny to use it tonight. :D
 

Peco

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I have had: Carter, heiji, mac ... and I now have: shigefusa, nobuyasu, aoki ... and I still like my 3 yoshi's a lot!
 

Amon-Rukh

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I can't comment on most of the knives being listed here, but I will echo the previous sentiments about the Mac: I own a chef series gyuto and it's a very serviceable knife. It's pretty much good in every respect but without ever crossing into "great" territory. There are definitely more exciting options out there!
 

NO ChoP!

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The Mac Superior and Pro line are very good entry level Japanese knives. I would take a Mac over a Shun or Global, even a Tojiro or Fujiwara stainless any day.

You wont go wrong with any of your new choices; the question is, what do you want in a knife? Laser? Mighty? Carbon? Stainless? Wa? Western? Etc...

The $300 park is very large, with some that may be considered iconic even...
 

boar_d_laze

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Going back to your old list, the AEB-L Grand Cheff is a good knife which sharpens extremely easily. The MAC Ultimate is fantastically overpriced, but the MAC Pro is another very solid, "good first knife," attractively priced, and well supported. The Yoshikane does nothing for me. In that general price range and class of knives (yo, stainless, mass produced), I think the Kikuichi ITK, MAC Pro, Masamoto VG are top of the list; and if you're already a good sharpener you can add the Kagayaki CarboNext to the list.

If you're looking for a "first, very good chef's knife" with the idea of using it primarily for cooking, the idea that a knife isn't exciting won't bother you much. If, on the other hand, "pride of ownership," and/or hobbyism plays a significant part in your choice, say so.

In your next group of "three brads" (which presumably means "four knives"), I'm not sure whether you're referring to the wa or yo models. In any case, the Gesshin, Konosuke HD and Suisun are all excellent lasers -- but they're not exactly fungible. There are a few other excellent knives in this class. Tadatsuna makes excellent wa and yo lasers, but somehow Tad didn't make your list. And in wa only, the Konosuke Shirogami is a helluva good deal.

For your part, you're not making this any easier. If you want advice that's tailored to you, you must offer some information about yourself and either go into some detail your knife likes and dislikes or admit that you're a seeker who hasn't really formed opinions. The alternative is continuing to offer lists of things you might or might not like while a bunch of guys tell you what they like for themselves -- not the sort of thing which is actually helpful.

BDL
 

bikehunter

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Bwaha...excellent advice, but when was the last time you heard anyone except a lawyer use the word "fungible", BDL? ;-) Kinda like...temerity.
 

Deckhand

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Going back to your old list, the AEB-L Grand Cheff is a good knife which sharpens extremely easily. The MAC Ultimate is fantastically overpriced, but the MAC Pro is another very solid, "good first knife," attractively priced, and well supported. The Yoshikane does nothing for me. In that general price range and class of knives (yo, stainless, mass produced), I think the Kikuichi ITK, MAC Pro, Masamoto VG are top of the list; and if you're already a good sharpener you can add the Kagayaki CarboNext to the list.

If you're looking for a "first, very good chef's knife" with the idea of using it primarily for cooking, the idea that a knife isn't exciting won't bother you much. If, on the other hand, "pride of ownership," and/or hobbyism plays a significant part in your choice, say so.

In your next group of "three brads" (which presumably means "four knives"), I'm not sure whether you're referring to the wa or yo models. In any case, the Gesshin, Konosuke HD and Suisun are all excellent lasers -- but they're not exactly fungible. There are a few other excellent knives in this class. Tadatsuna makes excellent wa and yo lasers, but somehow Tad didn't make your list. And in wa only, the Konosuke Shirogami is a helluva good deal.

For your part, you're not making this any easier. If you want advice that's tailored to you, you must offer some information about yourself and either go into some detail your knife likes and dislikes or admit that you're a seeker who hasn't really formed opinions. The alternative is continuing to offer lists of things you might or might not like while a bunch of guys tell you what they like for themselves -- not the sort of thing which is actually helpful.

BDL
In this group of three brands aforementioned why are they in fact not fungible dollar value or personal preference. If dollar value is omitted which order would you rate them. Or referencing your next statement other knives in this class. What would a reasonable person consider the ultimate laser if price was a moot issue.
 

EdipisReks

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The truth of the matter is there are very few people that have tried a lot of knives and still love their Yoshikanes.
i've tried and owned a lot of knives, and i still love my V2 Yoshikane. a different knife steel (and it's kitaeji, not hammer), but i'm sure the geometry and profile is very similar between the V2 knives and the tool steel knives.
 

tk59

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i've tried and owned a lot of knives, and i still love my V2 Yoshikane. a different knife steel (and it's kitaeji, not hammer), but i'm sure the geometry and profile is very similar between the V2 knives and the tool steel knives.
Yeah, I did make it sound like Yoshikanes are bad knives. While I didn't really mean that, I would still say more people consider their Yoshikanes to be their second string knives rather than their first string in that general price range for one reason or another.
 

EdipisReks

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you don't like the Shig/Yoshi geometry, though, right?
 

obtuse

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my first real Japanese knife was a yoshikane SKD 240mm gyuto in hammer finish. I have owned many other knives since then. I will never sell my yoshikane. I still think it's one of the nicest knives I own; I even bought one for my dad. my only concern for a new user would be that it chips easily. if you're rough with your knives I would look elsewhere. this warning applies to many other knives too. I would plan on having one nice knife and one beater for going through chicken bones etc. I don't think you'll be disappointed in yoshikane, konosuke, or any knife that JKI sells. I would like to suggest considering the CarboNext line at JCK if you want to get into Japanese knives and not spend to much money at first.
 

Andrew H

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There's a big difference between the yoshikane kasumi knives and the yoshikane hammer finished knives.
 

tk59

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I have no personal experience with Yoshikane other than the hammer finished variety, myself. My own is a nice knife but I really have no desire to pick it up and use it. When I bought it I thought it would be Heiji-like but my Heiji is a significantly better cutter.
 
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