Jump to content


Welcome to the eG Forums!

These forums are a service of the Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to advancement of the culinary arts. Anyone can read the forums, however if you would like to participate in active discussions please join the society.

Photo

Japanese Knives – What to Buy?

Asian

  • Please log in to reply
287 replies to this topic

#31 twodogs

twodogs
  • participating member
  • 217 posts

Posted 30 January 2004 - 04:08 PM

what is the togidashi sharpening?

cheers
h. alexander talbot
chef and author
Levittown, PA
ideasinfood

#32 JC

JC
  • participating member
  • 168 posts

Posted 30 January 2004 - 05:38 PM

twodogs...

See here: http://www.watanabeb...o/togidashi.htm

#33 budrichard

budrichard
  • participating member
  • 1,710 posts

Posted 31 January 2004 - 03:19 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.

As you have correctly stated, true hand forged blades rarely make it our of Japan and are extremely expensive. Murray Carter, a true smith in his own right, acted as an agent in my purchase of a true hand forged 'Sashimi' Honyaki. It is made from Hitachi #1 White Steel with mirror polished blade and ebony and ivory handle and scabbard. In reality it is about as sharp as any good commercial Japanese Sashimi blade. As they say, if you have to ask the cost, you can't afford it! Seriously, we are talking in the low $K's. -Dick

#34 SG-

SG-
  • participating member
  • 391 posts

Posted 31 January 2004 - 05:30 PM

It is made from Hitachi #1 White Steel with mirror polished blade and ebony and ivory handle and scabbard. In reality it is about as sharp as any good commercial Japanese Sashimi blade. As they say, if you have to ask the cost, you can't afford it! Seriously, we are talking in the low $K's. -Dick

budrichard, who did you have make your knife and what length did you decide on? I'm been trying to get a better idea of who the manufacturers are and the options in the higher end knives.

Based on your description almost sounds like you're entering the realm of the swordsmiths? Thanks in advance.

#35 JC

JC
  • participating member
  • 168 posts

Posted 31 January 2004 - 06:47 PM

One key word in understanding why bud's knife is so expensive: 'honyaki'. A honyaki knife is single steel construction as opposed to the more common laminates ('kasumi'). Any hand forged honyaki knife will cost a lot!

Posted Image

Sakai Takayuki honyaki yanagiba. 300mm blade in blue steel. About $1,500.

Posted Image

Masamoto honyaki yanagiba (300mm). $2,136 from Korin.

Based on your description almost sounds like you're entering the realm of the swordsmiths? Thanks in advance.


That's not far from the truth actually since many of the modern day smiths are descended from sword makers. When public use of swords was outlawed in Japan in the late 1800s, many sword makers turned their talents to cutlery to make a living.

Edited by JC, 31 January 2004 - 06:57 PM.


#36 AzRaeL

AzRaeL
  • participating member
  • 551 posts
  • Location:British Columbia

Posted 01 February 2004 - 08:49 AM

Honyaki blades are supposedly more difficult to sharpen aren't they?
Geeeze..and i thought that the kasumi (laminate) was good enough :)
Do not expect INTJs to actually care about how you view them. They already know that they are arrogant bastards with a morbid sense of humor. Telling them the obvious accomplishes nothing.

#37 JC

JC
  • participating member
  • 168 posts

Posted 01 February 2004 - 06:30 PM

Yes honyaki blades are harder to maintain. Generally only recommended for professional Japanese chefs. For the rest of us, kasumi is just fine. I'm sure a lot of Japanese chefs also use kasumi blades since only the top chefs can afford a honyaki one.

#38 budrichard

budrichard
  • participating member
  • 1,710 posts

Posted 03 February 2004 - 03:48 PM

Kenichi Shiraki made the blade which is 270mm long. Generally they come 330mm and wear down over the lifetime of the knife and chef but in my case that won't happen and I was used to a shorter commercial blade. If you have ever handled a 330mm Sashimi knife you will know what i mean.
As i have said, this has nothing to do with sharp and has everything to do with craftsmanship and the value placed on this type of work. A commercial laminate will do just as good but to some the joy of using a product crafted by an individual is worth the expense.-Dick

Edited by budrichard, 03 February 2004 - 03:54 PM.


#39 AzRaeL

AzRaeL
  • participating member
  • 551 posts
  • Location:British Columbia

Posted 03 February 2004 - 06:55 PM

Kenichi Shiraki made the blade which is 270mm long. Generally they come 330mm and wear down over the lifetime of the knife and chef but in my case that won't happen and I was used to a shorter commercial blade. If you have ever handled a 330mm Sashimi knife you will know what i mean.

a 330m Sashimi Knife? that's Insane. One false swipe and you've beheaded the person next to you.
Do not expect INTJs to actually care about how you view them. They already know that they are arrogant bastards with a morbid sense of humor. Telling them the obvious accomplishes nothing.

#40 commodorewheeler

commodorewheeler
  • legacy participant
  • 23 posts

Posted 03 February 2004 - 11:36 PM

Kenichi Shiraki made the blade which is 270mm long. Generally they come 330mm and wear down over the lifetime of the knife and chef but in my case that won't happen and I was used to a shorter commercial blade. If you have ever handled a 330mm Sashimi knife you will know what i mean.

a 330m Sashimi Knife? that's Insane. One false swipe and you've beheaded the person next to you.

Come on, it's only 2 1/4" longer than the 270 mm. :raz:

Realistically, though, I do like my sashimi knives long; it really helps when cutting wider pieces of fish. I think my length of choice is 300 mm, though. Not sure I need the full 330 mm.

#41 JC

JC
  • participating member
  • 168 posts

Posted 04 February 2004 - 02:49 AM

a 330m Sashimi Knife? that's Insane. One false swipe and you've beheaded the person next to you.

You want insane? Check out this line up:

Posted Image

Starts from 180mm and goes up in increments of 30mm. The one on the right-most is 360mm!!

#42 JC

JC
  • participating member
  • 168 posts

Posted 04 February 2004 - 02:53 AM

What's even more insane is that 360mm isn't even the biggest out there.

This place has a 390mm model - http://www.mizunotan...1&strings=AHH01

#43 budrichard

budrichard
  • participating member
  • 1,710 posts

Posted 04 February 2004 - 07:22 AM

As correctly pointed out, these knives are for making square cuts on fish already prepared into blocks in most cases. The long length assures that the entire blade in one stroke can produce the cut. In my case, I was used to a 230mm blade and had tried 330mm and 300mm and knew that they were too long for me to be comfortable with and that 270mm seemed like the best lenght. I also would not wear my blade very much as it is not used and sharpened every day. Some of my Wustof blades are 15 years old and one can see the effects of sharpening on them, so it does happen.
If you are serious about ordering one of these blades, best to find a place that has the different lenghts and try them. Best yet, would to buy an inexpensive knife and become familiar with its intended use and then purchase a honyaki. -Dick

#44 SG-

SG-
  • participating member
  • 391 posts

Posted 04 February 2004 - 09:20 PM

I have a 27cm knife from Korin they suggested as a "learners" knife and find that it's too short for some of the thicker blocks of fish, tend to run out of knife when trying to achieve a single cut. I would probably go for the 33cm for my next knife, just my personal opinion.

#45 inventolux

inventolux
  • participating member
  • 664 posts

Posted 04 February 2004 - 11:15 PM

One key word in understanding why bud's knife is so expensive: 'honyaki'. A honyaki knife is single steel construction as opposed to the more common laminates ('kasumi'). Any hand forged honyaki knife will cost a lot!

Posted Image

Sakai Takayuki honyaki yanagiba. 300mm blade in blue steel. About $1,500.

Posted Image

Masamoto honyaki yanagiba (300mm). $2,136 from Korin.

Based on your description almost sounds like you're entering the realm of the swordsmiths? Thanks in advance.


That's not far from the truth actually since many of the modern day smiths are descended from sword makers. When public use of swords was outlawed in Japan in the late 1800s, many sword makers turned their talents to cutlery to make a living.

The masamoto honyaki 330 cm can be obtaned from these guys if you bug them enough for less than 1000.00. (And it comes with a platinum band around the bull horn handle.) Just buy some akijame seafood just to let them know you mean business.
Future Food - our new television show airing 3/30 @ 9pm cst:
http://planetgreen.d...tv/future-food/

Hope you enjoy the show! Homaro Cantu
Chef/Owner of Moto Restaurant
www.motorestaurant.com

#46 bpm77

bpm77
  • legacy participant
  • 1 posts

Posted 05 April 2004 - 08:58 PM

Hi all,

I'm not sure that this is the appropriate forum, but I figured I'd ask: has anyone had any experience with the Shun line of cutlery? I'm thinking of buying the Shun 6.5" santoku knife as my main kitchen utility knife. I would very much appreciate any opinions on the brand or the knife itself. If this is wildly off topic, my apologies!

Edited by bpm77, 05 April 2004 - 08:59 PM.


#47 bilrus

bilrus
  • participating member
  • 2,257 posts
  • Location:Northern Virginia / DC

Posted 06 April 2004 - 06:31 AM

There have been a number of various threads that discuss knives in general and particularly the Shun knives. You could try to search for those on here.

I recieved the larger Shun Chef's knife and a Shun Pairing knife for Christmas (spurred by a thread on here somewhere) from my wife. She also bought the Santoku for herself (she doesn't do much cooking, but the 10 inch chef's knife is too big for her to handle). I liked it so much I returned the Chef's and kept the Santoku as my everyday knife.

It is much sharper and stays much sharper than my Henckels knives and I love the handle design.

You'll see in those other threads that there are a lot of options, many more expensive, but these are a pretty good value.

Edited by bilrus, 06 April 2004 - 06:32 AM.

Bill Russell

#48 JC

JC
  • participating member
  • 168 posts

Posted 06 April 2004 - 06:47 AM

Yes, do a search on this site.

Here's another forum specifically on kitchen knives that you might enjoy: http://www.knifeforu...=&Board=Kitchen

#49 Chad

Chad
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 1,295 posts
  • Location:Wichita, KS

Posted 06 April 2004 - 07:08 AM

You might also read Varmint's Knife Buying Blog. After much angst and indecision he ended up with a 10" Shun. The blog makes for a great read.

Chad
Chad Ward
An Edge in the Kitchen
William Morrow Cookbooks
www.chadwrites.com

#50 johnnyd

johnnyd
  • participating member
  • 2,325 posts
  • Location:Portland, ME

Posted 07 April 2004 - 09:48 AM

bpm77,
Received exact same knife as a wedding present in Feb. Also received a new Wusthof Chef's to replace the 23 year old one I bought for prep/sous. One meal later and the Santoku is out full time, the Wusthof is back in the box. I bow low and long to the superior Shun spirit and power.

Word of Warning: The second meal I made involved a few cocktails and I ended up shearing off about 7% of my index finger, some nail included. Assuming you do this, expect 8 days for the sub-nail to heal enough for air, and 4 weeks before you can jam on your guitar again...
"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II
Portland Food Map.com

#51 bleachboy

bleachboy
  • participating member
  • 949 posts

Posted 07 April 2004 - 11:41 AM

I have the same 10" Shun that Varmint got -- although I hadn't kept up with the blog and it was pure coincidence. I got it about a week ago, and so far it's my favorite knife by a lot. It's ridiculously sharp and seems to hone perfectly. My wife thinks it's too big, though, so I might buy one of the 8" Shuns for her.

I would not hesitate to recommend the 10" Shun Kershaw.
Don Moore
Nashville, TN
Peace on Earth

#52 johnnyd

johnnyd
  • participating member
  • 2,325 posts
  • Location:Portland, ME

Posted 07 April 2004 - 11:56 AM

BBoy,
Yup! They are sharp! Mine is the 6.5, and I screwed up the second day (see above). I can't imagine the ten-spot without a serious breaking-in phase to adjust habits, heft and hold.
"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II
Portland Food Map.com

#53 sassybat

sassybat
  • participating member
  • 139 posts

Posted 07 April 2004 - 12:00 PM

i bought a 9" slicer for the SO (he loves making sushi), and he adores the knife. it's his favorite knife in the whole kitchen. but now he's afraid of sharpening it because he doesn't want to ruin that perfectly straight edge.... :wink:

#54 johnnyd

johnnyd
  • participating member
  • 2,325 posts
  • Location:Portland, ME

Posted 07 April 2004 - 12:16 PM

I have suffered the same anxiety but found the solution:
If he's a sushi fan, you have a favorite sushi bar. Next time you go, bring the Shun with you and, on one knee (or both), ask the least busiest chef to sharpen it for you while you consume vast quantities of their tasty wares. Profuse apologies with a hint of shinto respect will surely add bonus points.
G'sai!
"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II
Portland Food Map.com

#55 Chad

Chad
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 1,295 posts
  • Location:Wichita, KS

Posted 07 April 2004 - 12:22 PM

i bought a 9" slicer for the SO (he loves making sushi), and he adores the knife. it's his favorite knife in the whole kitchen. but now he's afraid of sharpening it because he doesn't want to ruin that perfectly straight edge....  :wink:

You might want to read and print out our very own eGullet Culinary Institute course Knife Maintenance & Sharpening. It's a pretty good introduction to the mechanics and art of knife sharpening. There's a wealth of information to be found throughout the eGCI.

Take care,
Chad
Chad Ward
An Edge in the Kitchen
William Morrow Cookbooks
www.chadwrites.com

#56 Schielke

Schielke
  • participating member
  • 2,793 posts

Posted 07 April 2004 - 12:43 PM

Could some friendly moderator change the header on this thread to say Shun from Shen.

:smile:

Ben
Gimme what cha got for a pork chop!

-Freakmaster



I have two words for America... Meat Crust.
-Mario

#57 theakston

theakston
  • participating member
  • 212 posts
  • Location:Washington DC (Arlington)

Posted 07 April 2004 - 12:51 PM

I recently purchased the Kershaw Santoku with Scalloped Blade - Shun Classic. It's a great all round knife, but I'm wondering how best to sharpen this style of knife with the scallop edge? Any advice?

#58 johnnyd

johnnyd
  • participating member
  • 2,325 posts
  • Location:Portland, ME

Posted 07 April 2004 - 02:40 PM

Chad,
What a piece! Well done. I was most struck by this:

If you don’t use a steeled edge right away it can actually relax back into its blunted state. The same is true of a blunted edge. If you really degrade the edge of your knife in a heavy cutting session, let it sit overnight before sharpening. It will be in much better shape than it was the day before.

I just KNEW they were living and breathing! I learned some freehand back in the day on a three sided oily thang but can't afford that rig. Your article has shown me alternatives w/in my reach.

Before I got my new 8"Wust, I looked in the phone book and found a promising solution to the broken tip on my old 8"W: "Never a Dull Moment" said he'd grind away the broken tip and re-align the edge... for five bucks. I should have stopped there. It came back with a helacious edge and off-balance, but hey, it's unique! Who else has a 7 and 7/16" Chef's??? (Sorry, I'm new here... (looks around furtively)... there, um, might actually BE people with such an abomination around these parts!) :unsure:

When I got my Shun, it was so beautiful I couldn't quite trust myself to sharpen it myself, and my local sushi bar guys are "honored" that I would allow them the task of honing it for me. I repay them with repeat plates of Toro, Aji, Uni and Men-Taiko, and anything else they throw at me... :wub:
"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II
Portland Food Map.com

#59 PoorLawyer

PoorLawyer
  • participating member
  • 184 posts

Posted 12 April 2004 - 03:24 PM

Can you hone these knives with a regular old steel, or do you need a fancy ceramic one or something? also, do you hone it the same way as a German knife even though the blade is shaped differently?

#60 bleachboy

bleachboy
  • participating member
  • 949 posts

Posted 12 April 2004 - 04:00 PM

I use an F. Dick multicut on mine, and it works great. It's not really a "regular old steel" but AFAIK it's made of the same general materialls as a regular old steel. :blink:
Don Moore
Nashville, TN
Peace on Earth





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Asian