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Japanese Knives – What to Buy?

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#1 rgruby

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Posted 26 August 2003 - 12:04 PM

HI,

I just spent waay too much time reading a couple of the knife related threads on here. A couple of knives that were mentioned there, but not really discussed - the Furi east/West model (a roughly santoku style - did I get that right?), and the Kasumi line, particularly their Chef's knives are of interest to me.

Does anyone have any experience/ opinions about these knives?

I have one potential concern about the Kasumi - from the pictures on the web, it looks like it lacks the thick spine of a heavy-duty German model. while this may make sharpening easier, will the Kasumi be able to stand up to chopping through chicken bones and the like as well as knives having a thick spine.

Thanks,
Geoff Ruby

#2 Verbena

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Posted 27 August 2003 - 03:02 AM

HI,

I just spent waay too much time reading a couple of the knife related threads on here. A couple of knives that were mentioned there, but not really discussed - the Furi east/West model (a roughly santoku style - did I get that right?), and the Kasumi line, particularly their Chef's knives are of interest to me.

Does anyone have any experience/ opinions about these knives?

I have one potential concern about the Kasumi - from the pictures on the web, it looks like it lacks the thick spine of a heavy-duty German model. while this may make sharpening easier, will the Kasumi be able to stand up to chopping through chicken bones and the like as well as knives having a thick spine.

Thanks,
Geoff Ruby

ERRRRRRRRRRRR you use a cooks knife to cut bones?? try a cleaver.

I'd personally go for the furi


And your knives would last longer if you stopped cutting bones..hint...hint
Furi will be more sutable for what your looking for :biggrin:

Edited by Verbena, 27 August 2003 - 03:21 AM.


#3 oraklet

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Posted 27 August 2003 - 05:39 AM

if i remember rightly, the handles on furi knives are welded onto the blade, global style, but without the groves - so they might be even more slippery.

perhaps rgruby was thinking of using the spine for "smashing" the bones?
christianh@geol.ku.dk. just in case.

#4 rgruby

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Posted 27 August 2003 - 08:42 AM

Um,

re: chopping bones (I'll figure out the quote thingey later!) - I do use a chef's knife to take off the odd end of a drumstick, etc.

Shouldn't a decent chef's knife be able to handle that kind of application?

Cheers,
Geoff Ruby

PS - I have actually tried a Furi for a bit, and the handle doesn't seem slippery at all, in fact it is really comfortable. The blade itself is very thin and very light - like Global in that sense - and I would be afraid of whacking too many chicken bones with it.

#5 Verbena

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Posted 27 August 2003 - 05:54 PM

Um,

re: chopping bones (I'll figure out the quote thingey later!) - I do use a chef's knife to take off the odd end of a drumstick, etc. 

Shouldn't a decent chef's knife be able to handle that kind of application?

Cheers,
Geoff Ruby

PS - I have actually tried a Furi for a bit, and the handle doesn't seem slippery at all, in fact it is really comfortable. The blade itself is very thin and very light - like Global in that sense - and I would be afraid of whacking too many chicken bones with it.

Here's another quote.................

Yes a good knife will be able to take a knuckle off a drumstick...but after a while you'll have damaged your knife.Each knife has a use..keep it to that use.

#6 JC

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Posted 06 September 2003 - 06:37 PM

Geoff,

Haven't personally seen the Kasumi but if it's like other higher end Japanese cutlery then it will have a very hard, thin and razor sharp edge. Great for veggies and boneless meat but not really meant to go near bone (you risk chipping the edge).

#7 lamington

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Posted 06 September 2003 - 08:55 PM

I like the feel of the Furi handle, but many of them sit poorly on a work surface because the handle is so fat, making some of them a little dangerous when you've put them down for a moment.
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#8 jango

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Posted 06 September 2003 - 11:08 PM

I like the feel of the Furi handle, but many of them sit poorly on a work surface because the handle is so fat, making some of them a little dangerous when you've put them down for a moment.

Reading this, I had to get my Furi onto the surface to see what the problem is. I have the 21 cm chef's knife. The blade lies flat and slightly downwards - so this isn't one of the dangerous ones.

I love this knife. It seems made for my hand and hasn't slipped yet.

#9 Suvir Saran

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Posted 07 September 2003 - 07:55 PM

Geoff,

Haven't personally seen the Kasumi but if it's like other higher end Japanese cutlery then it will have a very hard, thin and razor sharp edge. Great for veggies and boneless meat but not really meant to go near bone (you risk chipping the edge).

I always thought Furi knives were made in Australia. Am I wrong to assume that?

#10 MobyP

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Posted 07 September 2003 - 10:54 PM

If I might suggest something a little more comfortable for sir...

The Japanese Knife Company

If you're in England, these are the way to go. Especialy the Artisan hand made knives - which are quite reasonable.
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#11 lamington

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Posted 08 September 2003 - 12:58 AM

I like the feel of the Furi handle, but many of them sit poorly on a work surface because the handle is so fat, making some of them a little dangerous when you've put them down for a moment.

Reading this, I had to get my Furi onto the surface to see what the problem is. I have the 21 cm chef's knife. The blade lies flat and slightly downwards - so this isn't one of the dangerous ones.

That probably explains why opinions differ about them -- I've only ever used the shorter/smaller knives and they go spinning across surfaces rather easily. Good to know the larger ones aren't problematic!
-- lamington a.k.a. Duncan Markham
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#12 bobdavis

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Posted 11 September 2003 - 08:09 PM

I just received a new Kershaw/Kai Shun 10" chef's knife - very nice. Light, thin, very cool handle that fits my hand well. They're very beautiful as well - a thin, very hard core with 16 layers of forged steel on both sides.

They're pretty easy to find for a good bit off of retail, and I got mine here:

The Chef's Resource (Kershaw Shun Classic Chef Knife)

Nice knife - so far.

#13 rgruby

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Posted 11 September 2003 - 10:51 PM

I see that Alton Brown is endorsing these. They look very much like the Kasumi that I'm interested in. Extremely close in fact.

Anywho, anyone know the situation in Seki? Is it possible that the Kasumi and Kershaw are being made by a very similar process, if not coming out of the same factory??

And, er, I got a Furi East-West (ie santoku style) and so far I like it quite a bit. It is really comfortable to hold, much more so than my 8" Sabatier Chef's knife. It seems sharper, but the blade is much, make that MUCH, thinner, which I think helps it cut through things. Still feels sturdy though. Is better than I thought for doing the rocking motion to slice things, although anything remotely large-ish - a large onion for example - I feel like I'm swinging the knife way up and that it could hurt me on the way down if I'm not careful. I'm sure I'll get used to it, but it does feel a bit different from yer standard chef's knife. And, due to the shape of the blade, doesn't do things like core a tomato (yeah I know perhaps should be done with a paring knife, but there you go).

I'm still considereing Kasumi, Kershaw etc, so any other opinions welcome.

But, the Furi is well worth checking out I think, for the comfort of the handle alone. those of you scared off by the metal handle/weird shape in my opinion that might be the least of the worries with this knife. But, I'm not using it day in day out for hours on end - dunno how it fares in that respect.

Cheers,

Geoff Ruby

#14 Aun

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Posted 29 January 2004 - 01:18 AM

Hi,

Been looking at investing (since they ain't cheap) in a Japanese hand-forged chef's knife. I already own some Global, Furi and Wusthof-Trident but like the look of these Japanese knives. The two I have looked at are made by Hattori and Kasumi. Any one have any experience with these? Anyone have any other recommendations? Or opinions on these Japanese forged (folded steel) chef's knives?


Thanks,

Aun

Edited by Aun, 29 January 2004 - 01:18 AM.


#15 ExtraMSG

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Posted 29 January 2004 - 01:25 AM

You'll definitely want to read through this thread:

http://forums.egulle...opic=34212&st=0

and this one:

http://forums.egulle...showtopic=31903

#16 MobyP

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Posted 29 January 2004 - 01:42 AM

Be warned. I bought an Artisinal hand-made knife from the Japanese Knife Company - it was blissfully sharp, but incredibly brittle. Chips were snapping off the blade's edge regularly. I took it back, and they replaced it, but the new one still chips (and despite how it sounds, I was treating it far more gently than my usual wusthof).
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#17 AzRaeL

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Posted 29 January 2004 - 03:19 AM

i feel as if the Kasumi and Hattori are more for presentation and the joy of using a piece of art. Balance and Sharpness-wise, i've played with Global, Kasumi and the low end Hattori. There's no appreciable advantage of getting a Kasumi or Hattori.

After saying that, would i get a Hattori? Heck yeah! it's beautiful.

Another brand worth looking at is G-Sakai
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#18 commodorewheeler

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Posted 29 January 2004 - 03:58 PM

Hi,

Been looking at investing (since they ain't cheap) in a Japanese hand-forged chef's knife. I already own some Global, Furi and Wusthof-Trident but like the look of these Japanese knives. The two I have looked at are made by Hattori and Kasumi. Any one have any experience with these? Anyone have any other recommendations? Or opinions on these Japanese forged (folded steel) chef's knives?


Thanks,

Aun

I know there's a whole thread on this, but in case you didn't want to read through all 6 pages of it, I've summarized my contributions to it below:

My recommendation depends on how much you want to spend on these knives. If money is no object, I would recommend a Nenox S1 ($300-$400), a Glestain ($200-$300), or a Shinichi Watanabe custom blue steel chef's knife ($200-$300). These 3 are my favorite knives that I've ever used, and the Nenox and Watanabe blades are sharper than anything I've ever tried. Another name to look for is Tokifusa Iizuka, who supposedly makes amazing knives, but they're even more expensive than what I listed above, and I haven't had the pleasure of trying them out yet.

If the choices above are too expensive and you're OK with around $150 a knife, go with Hattori. I also have one of those, and I'm quite pleased with it. If you'd rather go about $100 per knife, try Kasumi or Kershaw Shun, both of those are great as well. From my experience, though, I wouldn't go much lower than that in price for a quality Japanese knife if you're buying from a major manufacturer. Global isn't a bad option either, but you already have some of their knives, you said. I can think of other brands that are supposed to be excellent, but I'm mainly discussing knives that I've actually used here.

The Nenox and Glestain are available at both knifemerchant.com and japanese-knife.com. The Shinichi Watanabe knives are available at watanabeblade.com. Tokifusa Iizuka is available at bladegallery.com and japanwoodworker.com. Best place to get Hattoris is to email the folks at seki-cut.com, and the Kershaws and Kasumis are widely available; they shouldn't be too hard to find.

Edited by commodorewheeler, 29 January 2004 - 04:01 PM.


#19 commodorewheeler

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Posted 29 January 2004 - 04:09 PM

i feel as if the Kasumi and Hattori are more for presentation and the joy of using a piece of art. Balance and Sharpness-wise, i've played with Global, Kasumi and the low end Hattori. There's no appreciable advantage of getting a Kasumi or Hattori.

After saying that, would i get a Hattori? Heck yeah! it's beautiful.

Another brand worth looking at is G-Sakai

Just wanted to offer a differing opinion on the functionality of these different knives. I own at least one knife by each of these companies except G Sakai (I have forged Globals as well as stamped Globals), and I feel I can definitely tell a difference between them. As far as out-of-the-box sharpness goes, the Hattori is noticeably sharper than the rest, the Kasumi is next, the stamped Global next, and, to me, the forged Global was noticeably duller than the rest. I also found the Globals to be a bit more handle heavy than the Kasumi or Hattori, and a little bit heavier overall, especially the forged Global, which has a thicker spine on the blade, too. I don't know if all this makes a difference to you, but I hope it helps.

Edited by commodorewheeler, 29 January 2004 - 04:35 PM.


#20 AzRaeL

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Posted 29 January 2004 - 09:00 PM

Just wanted to offer a differing opinion on the functionality of these different knives. I own at least one knife by each of these companies except G Sakai (I have forged Globals as well as stamped Globals), and I feel I can definitely tell a difference between them. As far as out-of-the-box sharpness goes, the Hattori is noticeably sharper than the rest, the Kasumi is next, the stamped Global next, and, to me, the forged Global was noticeably duller than the rest. I also found the Globals to be a bit more handle heavy than the Kasumi or Hattori, and a little bit heavier overall, especially the forged Global, which has a thicker spine on the blade, too. I don't know if all this makes a difference to you, but I hope it helps.

heh! my next purchase is probably the Hattori Gyuto 24cm (10inch), will probably be paying the equivalent if USD 186 including taxes. are the G series of Global knives really stamped? i always thought that they were forged and then welded to the hollow handle. the GSF series is drop forged meaning the entire knife was created in one go?
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#21 JC

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Posted 29 January 2004 - 10:42 PM

the Nenox and Watanabe blades are sharper than anything I've ever tried

commodore...

Did you ask for the togidashi sharpening with your Watanabe knife?

#22 JC

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Posted 29 January 2004 - 10:45 PM

Be warned. I bought an Artisinal hand-made knife from the Japanese Knife Company - it was blissfully sharp, but incredibly brittle. Chips were snapping off the blade's edge regularly. I took it back, and they replaced it, but the new one still chips (and despite how it sounds, I was treating it far more gently than my usual wusthof).

Moby...

Which particular knife was this?

Any idea what you cut that caused the chipping?

#23 Nathan P.

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Posted 29 January 2004 - 10:56 PM

I'm a couple weeks into using my new Ryusen (same knife as lesser priced Hattori) 240mm chefs and have no regrets. I do find that I prefer a german knife for harder/thick vegetables. For example cutting planks out of a large carrot seems to work better with a bit more heft. Once the planks are cut though, cutting batons and dicing them is great with the much sharper Ryusen. And in fine work there is really no contest. Of course wether the premium for this knife vs. the Shun knife is worth it is up to you. I decided that the I preffered a western style handle and I am of the general opinion that the world is a more interesting place with small busineses and craftsmen around. These factors combined with the gorgeous look of the knife justified the premium for me. In the blog linked above Dean chose the Shun knife (how is it cutting for you Dean?) which also has a VG10 core. My Ryusen is supposedly a bit sharper on delivery due to a lower sharpening angle but in a few month the sharper knife will belong to whoever has the best knifesharpener or sharpening skills.

Good luck in your search,

Nathan

#24 JC

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Posted 29 January 2004 - 10:58 PM

Been looking at investing (since they ain't cheap) in a Japanese hand-forged chef's knife.

Aun...

A true Japanese hand forged kitchen knife is not all that common. Many of the more "commercial" brands do involve machine making operations (plus some hand work sometimes). I think Hattori (for their Unryu series anyway) and Kasumi and Global are like this to varying degrees.

True hand-forged knives are usually made by the smaller workshops or individual smiths, of which there are numerous in Japan but not many are well marketed outside Japan.

Some names have already been given in this thread. Other names I can mention are Murray Carter and Takeshi Saji.

#25 commodorewheeler

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Posted 30 January 2004 - 12:02 AM


Just wanted to offer a differing opinion on the functionality of these different knives. I own at least one knife by each of these companies except G Sakai (I have forged Globals as well as stamped Globals), and I feel I can definitely tell a difference between them. As far as out-of-the-box sharpness goes, the Hattori is noticeably sharper than the rest, the Kasumi is next, the stamped Global next, and, to me, the forged Global was noticeably duller than the rest. I also found the Globals to be a bit more handle heavy than the Kasumi or Hattori, and a little bit heavier overall, especially the forged Global, which has a thicker spine on the blade, too. I don't know if all this makes a difference to you, but I hope it helps.

heh! my next purchase is probably the Hattori Gyuto 24cm (10inch), will probably be paying the equivalent if USD 186 including taxes. are the G series of Global knives really stamped? i always thought that they were forged and then welded to the hollow handle. the GSF series is drop forged meaning the entire knife was created in one go?

You know, you might be right about the Globals. Someone told me about how it was done a long time ago, and I don't remember the details of what they told me or how accurate it was. But I would be really surprised if the handle of the GF series is actually forged from the same piece of metal, or even from the same type of metal as the blade of the knife. It just seems to me that it'd be prohibitively difficult and costly to do, especially since that handle is hollow.

Edited by commodorewheeler, 30 January 2004 - 12:03 AM.


#26 commodorewheeler

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Posted 30 January 2004 - 12:11 AM

the Nenox and Watanabe blades are sharper than anything I've ever tried

commodore...

Did you ask for the togidashi sharpening with your Watanabe knife?

Yes, I did. I think it might be what makes the knives so sharp. But because there were some complications over the types of handles on the knives that I ordered, Shinichi actually sent me a deba as a bonus gift along with the knives I actually ordered from him. The deba definitely doesn't have the polish of the custom knives I ordered (no mirror polish or engraving or ebony handles), and I don't know if the deba had the togidashi sharpening, but it is also super-sharp, to the point that I can't really tell a difference between its sharpness and that of the custom-made knives from him.

Actually, I'm still in touch with Shinichi. I'll drop him an email and see if he gets back to me on whether that deba was togidashi sharpened.

#27 AzRaeL

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Posted 30 January 2004 - 12:12 AM

You know, you might be right about the Globals. Someone told me about how it was done a long time ago, and I don't remember the details of what they told me or how accurate it was. But I would be really surprised if the handle of the GF series is actually forged from the same piece of metal, or even from the same type of metal as the blade of the knife. It just seems to me that it'd be prohibitively difficult and costly to do, especially since that handle is hollow.

all the same, it looks better and handles many times better than a Henckels Twin Select or a Wusthof Culinar.
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#28 JC

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Posted 30 January 2004 - 01:55 AM

commodore...

One more thing, if you want the ultimate in sharpness go for a white steel blade next time. While blue steel holds an edge better, white steel cuts that tiny bit better. Put togidashi sharpening on that and phew!!

You know how people praise the "aggressiveness" of VG-10? White steel might actually surpass that!

#29 commodorewheeler

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Posted 30 January 2004 - 02:00 PM

You know, you might be right about the Globals. Someone told me about how it was done a long time ago, and I don't remember the details of what they told me or how accurate it was. But I would be really surprised if the handle of the GF series is actually forged from the same piece of metal, or even from the same type of metal as the blade of the knife. It just seems to me that it'd be prohibitively difficult and costly to do, especially since that handle is hollow.

all the same, it looks better and handles many times better than a Henckels Twin Select or a Wusthof Culinar.

Yeah, Globals feel lighter than Wusthof or Henckels, and because their handles are hollow, they're not quite as handle-heavy as the Twin Select and Culinar lines. I like the blade shape on Global chef knives better than the blade shapes of the Twin Select and Culinar, too.

#30 commodorewheeler

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Posted 30 January 2004 - 02:04 PM

commodore...

One more thing, if you want the ultimate in sharpness go for a white steel blade next time. While blue steel holds an edge better, white steel cuts that tiny bit better. Put togidashi sharpening on that and phew!!

You know how people praise the "aggressiveness" of VG-10? White steel might actually surpass that!

Yeah, I've heard the same thing. I chose the blue steel on Shinichi's recommendation, because I do want the knife to hold its edge well, but next time I order from him I'll try the white steel.





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