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Japanese Knives – What to Buy?

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244 replies to this topic

#211 Hiroyuki

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Posted 29 June 2010 - 03:08 PM

Thanks for your report!

My Shigefusa nakiri is still razor-sharp, and I still enjoy working with it.

Properly sharpen Japanese knives... That's my problem, too.

#212 Hiroyuki

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Posted 03 July 2010 - 11:11 PM

I bought a Shigefusa kitaeji 180-mm "petty" (paring) knife from Yoshizawa Riko at last!
Both beautiful and practical.

#213 David A. Goldfarb

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Posted 04 July 2010 - 05:00 PM

Anyone ever bought anything from chefknivestogo.com ? They look like they have a good selection of Japanese knives at fair prices, but the only mention I could find here is a plug from a friend of the owner's.

#214 Dakki

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Posted 05 July 2010 - 04:13 AM

I bought a Ken Onion 10" chef's from them once, about 3 years ago. Didn't like the knife, passed it along.

No problems with the site or service, might use it again.
This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

#215 scubadoo97

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Posted 05 July 2010 - 07:57 AM

Anyone ever bought anything from chefknivestogo.com ? They look like they have a good selection of Japanese knives at fair prices, but the only mention I could find here is a plug from a friend of the owner's.

I have not personally purchased from them but there is a lot of positive feedback on foodieforums and knifeforums, two boards with a high number of Japanese knife enthusiasts

#216 Willspear

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Posted 05 July 2010 - 02:13 PM

lets put it this way if you want an item and they have it you are a fool for shopping anywhere else online.

fast shipping and competitive or better pricing and on the rare occasion some sort of unforseen issue arises they are super fast to remedy the situation.

easily one of the best internet vendors I have ever dealt with

#217 mr drinkie

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Posted 06 July 2010 - 10:08 AM

I also recommend Chefknivestogo. Mark is very active on knifeforums and is very responsive in terms of customer service. Also, if you are a member of knifeforums, there is a 5% discount for members. japanesechefsknife.com is also good.
I like to say things and eat stuff.

#218 victornet

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Posted 06 July 2010 - 04:06 PM

I purchased a Hattori petty from CKTG - great service, and Mark's presence on the 'In The Kitchen' forum at Knife Forums is really helpful. He's always looking to bring cool goodies to market, even when he sometimes has to accept very slim profit margins. His current project, commissioning a semi-custom carbon knife by Devin Thomas at an affordable price is just one reason to support him.

#219 mr drinkie

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Posted 06 July 2010 - 09:48 PM

I agree fully with your assessment of Mark from CKTG, and I cannot wait until those Devin Thomas knives get in. He also has started carrying the HandAmerican glass honing rods, which is nice . Chef Knives to Go is quickly becoming the 'candy store' for knife nuts.
I like to say things and eat stuff.

#220 scubadoo97

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Posted 07 July 2010 - 06:36 AM

The Devin Thomas knives are certainly the ones I lust for at the moment.

#221 Guy MovingOn

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Posted 17 May 2011 - 04:29 AM

If you really want a bargain in a Japanese knife take a look at these. They are the Tosagata brand and for the money you get really good knives for a super cheap price. They are rough around the edges (no pun) but I'll tell ya, the blades are really good and they are sturdy knives. The Satsuma knife is a new one they started offering and looks like a great prep knife. The Atsu Deba is super tough. I have the small chopping knife and it's done a great job so far.

I looked at that website... How can they have blue steel knives at such a high RC and be soooo cheap??

#222 scubadoo97

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Posted 17 May 2011 - 07:42 AM

they are very rustic and the handles are really cheap crap but they work well. I have a couple of santoku/kirisuke like knives in blue steel that were under $40 each and stay very sharp and resist chipping. I got them as beater knives but use them quite a lot for regular prep work.

#223 Mano

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 08:10 AM

Six months ago I purchased my first Japanese knife, a Kagayaki Carbonext gyuto, 240 mm which is a western version of a traditional Japanese chef’s knife. The handle is essentially the same as my Wusthoff as opposed to the stick-type or “wa” handles. Japanese knives have stronger, thinner and lighter blades. This Carbonext has a 15 degree 60/40 bevel compared to a 30 degree 50/50 for a western knife. The flatter profile blade makes more contact with food.

Overall, j knives are more maneuverable and require far less force when cutting. A light grip allows for better feedback and the sharp edge and thin blade smoothly cuts through tomatoes, onions and proteins.

At the upper end of entry-level j knives it cost $128 + $20 for a magnolia wood saya (wooden sheath), which you have to know to ask for in an email. Two synthetic water-stones for sharpening were another $100 and should last a lifetime.

After using it daily for everything but boning I love using this knife. My sharpening skills are just developing but takes and holds a terrific edge. A CIA and French trained chef at a cooking class was impressed with balance, performance and “wished my knives were this sharp.”

During the first few weeks my learning curve was slow as I want to move faster than my ability allowed so I made more mistakes and cut myself more than usual. Slowing down gave better control. Cuts are thinner and cleaner.

Subsequently, I bought a honesuki (boning knife) and sujihiki (slicer) which I’ll report later.

The Carbonext is the Camry or Accord of j knives. Plain, very good in all respects and affordable.

Edited by Mano, 23 May 2011 - 08:24 AM.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”
Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

#224 paulraphael

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 04:42 PM

Those look interesting. I'm curious about tool steel knives but haven't ever had one.
FWIW, there are many, many great Japanese knives available right now. Several are contenders for the title of Camry or Accord. Typically, last year's contender will have gotten popular and then expensive, and so a new unknown will appear, seemingly out of nowhere, as the next great bargain.

#225 Hassouni

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 09:49 PM

I have a Tojiro DP gyuto, 240mm. I think it's wonderful, though it's due for a sharpening. I'm strongly considering a deba for fish and poultry butchering purposes, as well as either a nakiri or usuba.  It's the latter two I have questions about:

 

1. I've read on here and elsewhere that a gyuto can do everything a nakiri can and more - so what advantages does a nakiri have?

2. ditto re: an usuba is only for certain techniques, and there are many things it cannot do. I am not particularly interested in katsuramuki, so given that, what are the pros and cons of an usuba?



#226 scubadoo97

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 10:37 PM

The usuba is a single beveled knife. Can be super sharp but fragile. The flat edge profile of the nikiri makes it good at vertical chopping

#227 Dakki

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 11:01 PM

As scubadoo97 says, usuba edges can get crazy sharp but but are fragile. If you're not doing reconstructive surgery on vegetables, I'd skip it.

 

I have a decent-quality nakiri packed up somewhere. I think it's intended as a general purpose knife, similar to chef's/gyuto, santoku and Chinese cleaver. Setting the santoku aside (I still haven't quite figured out what Japan was thinking), for my money the nakiri is not as useful as the other two - chef's allows you the full range of techniques we're all familiar with and the cleaver is clearly superior for vertical chopping, where the nakiri should shine compared to the chef's. Nakiris are also on the short side, which makes slicing anything bigger than an orange awkward.

 

You already have a perfectly good GP knife and in your position I would either invest in something more specialized or save my money.

 

 

Just IMO, YMMV, etc.


This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

#228 James Hine

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Posted 13 December 2013 - 04:24 AM

An usuba can do rotary peeling which is possible with a very good quality nakiri such as a Kato or Shigfusa.  

 

The biggest difference between the two is the blade profile; Usuba's are very flat which makes them difficult to use on anything apart from leaf vegetables and thin slices.  Nakiri's have a slightly curved blade which is more like a santoku so they are easier to use and much more versatile.  

 

Why have an Usuba?  They can cut very very fine slices of onion and do a killer chiffonade but they are challenging to use.  

 

Why have a Nakiri?  Dunno really but mine is a delight to use on cabbage and lettuce and makes vegetable prep a breeze.  



#229 scubadoo97

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Posted 13 December 2013 - 04:59 AM

I have an inexpensive Carbon kiritsuki that has a very flat profile.

If I'm slicing a basket of mushrooms as an example, I find I can do a vertical chop/slice much faster with this profile compared to my gyuto

#230 seaspace

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Posted 19 December 2013 - 09:15 PM

i'd recommend inquiring and shopping here: www.epicedge.com/‎. the owner, daniel, is very engaged with japanese knife manufacturers and trained in knife sharpening in japan. he's fond of bu rei zen knives, as am i. i own a 3" paring and an 8" nakiri from them. when i can afford it i'll replace my 8" german chef knife with one of theirs. the blades are so sharp you bleed just looking at them, and they're tough.

 

another source is http://korin.com/. they are very much "to-the"trade". i haven't purchased knives from them but have bought quite a few other items. 



#231 Dakki

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Posted 20 December 2013 - 10:55 PM


 

Why have a Nakiri?  Dunno really but mine is a delight to use on cabbage and lettuce and makes vegetable prep a breeze.  

 

Hehe, I came up with another reason:

 

My youngest brother has been hassling me to "lend" him one of my good knives for cooking class (he's studying to be a nutritionist - don't get me started) for a few months now. In conversation I determined he's not just interested in the functional qualities of the knife (the school issues them Forschners), but he wants something "special." I wasn't about to part with one of my flashy damascus jobs so I got him an inexpensive carbon steel nakiri instead, as a Xmas gift. I figure he'll get to brag a bit to the girls in class about his "special" knife and maybe learn some proper knife care in the process, CS being more or less ideal for learning how to sharpen.

 

I just finished the hot vinegar treatment and started sharpening the thing - I think I'll put a 70/30 back bevel at 15 degrees and a 20 degree microbevel.


This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

#232 scubadoo97

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Posted 21 December 2013 - 03:17 AM

Should make it sing!

Hope he has good knife skills. Curl those fingers if you like them

#233 dcarch

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Posted 21 December 2013 - 06:21 AM

 


 

Why have a Nakiri?  Dunno really but mine is a delight to use on cabbage and lettuce and makes vegetable prep a breeze.  

 

Hehe, I came up with another reason:

 

My youngest brother has been hassling me to "lend" him one of my good knives for cooking class (he's studying to be a nutritionist - don't get me started) for a few months now. In conversation I determined he's not just interested in the functional qualities of the knife (the school issues them Forschners), but he wants something "special." I wasn't about to part with one of my flashy damascus jobs so I got him an inexpensive carbon steel nakiri instead, as a Xmas gift. I figure he'll get to brag a bit to the girls in class about his "special" knife and maybe learn some proper knife care in the process, CS being more or less ideal for learning how to sharpen.

 

I just finished the hot vinegar treatment and started sharpening the thing - I think I'll put a 70/30 back bevel at 15 degrees and a 20 degree microbevel.

 

 

Show us the picture. 

 

Please?

 

dcarch



#234 Dakki

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Posted 21 December 2013 - 10:04 AM

Sorry, already wrapped. Maybe on Wednesday.


This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

#235 phatj

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 08:58 PM

I got two more Japanese knives for my collection for Christmas, both Misono Molybdenum - an 80mm parer (which I asked for specifically) and a 145mm boning knife. My others are a Kanetsugu Pro-M 240mm gyuto, which is my daily driver, and a Shun Classic 150mm petty (which I don't know what to do with - the blade is too long to be useful for paring, and too short to be useful for chef's knife tasks - but it's beautiful).

 

The gyuto originally was wickedly sharp, and still, after three years, is a much better tool than the heavy Henckels that I used previously, but I've learned that I've been mistreating it in my efforts to sharpen it. It came with a convex, rather than beveled edge, and my Spyderco is designed for a beveled edge. Can I keep at it with the Spyderco and eventually convert the edge to a bevel and thence to superior sharpness once again, or should I switch to sandpaper and a strop? 



#236 Dakki

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 09:28 PM

No harm to your knives in using the Spyderco, particularly with the UF stones, although the built-in 30/40 angles might be limiting. Sandpaper/strop would require learning a new set of skills; I suggest practicing on the Henckels before you try sharpening your good knives.


This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

#237 bishamonten

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Posted 28 December 2013 - 09:08 AM

i'm looking for a yanagi for action purposes only,not daily use though,couple hours a day of show cooking,i was wondering if i could find something with a katana-samurai style handle,is something like that in the market?

i'm in europe,and i still havent found anything like that,if you had a recommendation of brand/merchant whatever,it would be great,thank you



#238 Dakki

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Posted 28 December 2013 - 05:20 PM

I don't think silk cord wrapping would last very long in kitchen use. Tsubas and such would get in the way of any reasonable grip, too.

 

There's a few "traditional" blade shapes available (kiritsuke, funayuki, usuba, nakiri), and all sorts of finishes and damascus patterns. If you want something flashy I say start from that end of the knife.


This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

#239 ahpadt

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Posted 14 January 2014 - 06:43 PM

Im looking for an all-purpose 8-9" chefs knife. Been reading around all sorts of forums. In my local kitchen supplier store I saw an extremely handsome Miyagi 600D knife, but the general reputation of this brand seems to be not good value for money, although they look really nice. On forums a lot of people seem to recommend Mac knives, as they supposedly are good value and have a good structure.

 

Im not very family with Japanese or Western-style Japanese knives. At home I use a generic Global chefs knife. It's okay but I hate the handle.

 

Should I immediately assume that I must get hold of 1 or 2 whetstones if I buy a knife like this? Spending £100-150 on just the knife is already quite enough, although I understand a good knife should last forever.

 

I understand that the best way is to go to a store and hold the knife, however I am only able to do this with the Miyagi's, as I cant find any retailer except online that sells Mac's. I am based in the UK.

 

Is chipping an issue with these knives?



#240 scubadoo97

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Posted 14 January 2014 - 06:53 PM

First get the whetstones or jigs and learn to sharpen your existing knives. They can achieve new life and sharpness. Then once you have that under your belt and still want a new knife you will be better able to maintain it.

It doesn't matter what knife it is except maybe serrated. They all need sharpening on a somewhat regular basis





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