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Santoku vs Nakiri


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#1 mgaretz

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Posted 08 December 2011 - 08:43 AM

I'm thinking about getting a new Japanese knife. I have a Wusthof classic santoku with a 15 degree edge (that I put on with my new edge pro). It's my main knife. But I am thinking of replacing it or adding to it with a knife with better steel/ performance.

So should I get a different santoku or a nakiri? What does a nakiri do better for vegetables than a santoku?

I'm considering a Mac santoku and/or nakiri, and sur la table has a nice shun premier santoku on sale right now. Trying to stay under $100. Will I notice a big difference vs what I have now?

#2 Dakki

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Posted 08 December 2011 - 10:19 AM

If have a santoku, do I need a nakiri?


Nope. A santoku is a general-purpose knife and will do vegetables. A nakiri is a vegetable knife.

I own examples of both and I'm not too enthused by either (YMMV). A gyuto/chef's works better for me than either but if I was used to a santoku and preferred it to a chef's I'd just get another one.

I'm not personally familiar with the Wusthof line but I understand they're built quite a bit thicker than the typical j-knife. As far as the Shuns go, they're KAI's premium export line, also thicker than typical j-knives (but thinner than Euro knives). I have a few and one of them (a santoku in fact) chips if you look at it funny. The rest don't have this problem so maybe I just got a lemon, but I don't recommend them for this reason.

As far as performance differences with what you have now, a thinner blade will go through materials more easily, but to get the most out of it you'll have to lower the angles. 15 degrees is further than I'd care to go on Euro knives, but any decent j-knife will take a 10 degree back bevel and a 15 degree microbevel, which in my hands feels considerably sharper than a 15 degree straight bevel, lasts about as long on the same knife and invites a good polish and more frequent touch-ups, with predictable results.

$100 is quite a good budget for a knife if you're willing to go for the lesser-known brands, IMHO. Have a look through JCK and see what strikes your fancy?
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.

#3 Hassouni

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Posted 08 December 2011 - 10:22 AM

A nakiri is closer to a traditional Japanese kitchen knife (which would be an usuba), whereas a santoku is kind of a compromise. Personally I've never used a nakiri, and I don't think I'll need one, owning a gyutou.

What I can say is, once you go Japanese, you will never go back to Western knives

#4 dcarch

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Posted 08 December 2011 - 03:11 PM

Whenever I have some time, I hope to finish making these. The long one is a 12" blade.

Metal is 1095 high carbon steel.

I use mostly Chinese cleavers, so these may be very useful.

dcarch

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#5 Hassouni

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Posted 08 December 2011 - 03:48 PM

Wow, that board is beautiful and of course so are those blades. The two on the left look like yanagi, and the one on the right, is that a menkiri?

#6 Dakki

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Posted 08 December 2011 - 05:17 PM

Posted Image


Nice blades, but that is the best cutting board.

I'm making knives too, a chef's from 01 and an hachuela (sort of a cross between a chef's and a meat cleaver) from 1055. I'll upload a pic one of these days.
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.

#7 dcarch

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Posted 08 December 2011 - 05:50 PM

Thanks guys. I made that board from tree braches from my garden.

The knives I want would come to more than $2,000.

So I bought #32.00 of 1095 steel to make my own.

I will need to get $7.00 of charcoal to harden them.

dcarch

#8 ojisan

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Posted 10 December 2011 - 11:35 AM

I'm thinking about getting a new Japanese knife. I have a Wusthof classic santoku with a 15 degree edge (that I put on with my new edge pro). It's my main knife. But I am thinking of replacing it or adding to it with a knife with better steel/ performance.

You might consider a cleaver, such as the standard size Kagayaki or small Sugimoto

Monterey Bay area


#9 mgaretz

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Posted 10 December 2011 - 07:06 PM

Yesterday I had nice conversation with a lady at chefknivestogo.com and ended up ordering a Tojiro DP santoku with the Damascus style finish. It will arrive in a few days. $80 shipped.

Then this morning I got a private sale offer from cutleryandmore.com for 25% off their already low prices on the Tojiro DP line (not Damascus). I ended up ordering a 9.5" sujihiki, 8" gyuto and a 6" honesuki. All for about $140 shipped. I couldn't resist!

Today I also tried out some shun classics, some Miyabi fusion and kaizen knives, and a shun premier santoku.

I liked the shun premier. Very nice knife. Comfortable handle, looks beautiful and cuts well. On sale for $99.95 at SLT but they didn't have any. I'm on a list. It's an option if I don't like the Tojiro. I didn't care for the shun classics. They seemed heavier and thicker than my wusthofs and only seemed to cut marginally better. I didn't think I'd like the handles but they were fine. The Miyabis were nice to look at, but didn't cut any better than my wusthoffs, maybe a bit worse, and the fusion handle was uncomfortable in my hand.

I also tried a wusthoff nakiri. Yuck. It was heavy and thick.

I'll report back when the Tojiros arrive.

#10 Dakki

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Posted 10 December 2011 - 09:56 PM

Very nice, mgaretz. Tojiro makes a handsome knife. If I was located somewhere with reasonable shipping I'd be ordering knives like crazy too.
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.

#11 dcarch

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Posted 11 December 2011 - 06:26 AM

Very nice collection of knives.

Don't forget to get a few quality sharpening stones.

dcarch

#12 mgaretz

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Posted 11 December 2011 - 06:52 AM

Very nice collection of knives.

Don't forget to get a few quality sharpening stones.

dcarch


I have an EdgePro with the 220, 320, and 600 stones. (equivalent to 700, 2000, 5000 grits in the Japanese system)

#13 mgaretz

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Posted 11 December 2011 - 06:57 AM


I'm thinking about getting a new Japanese knife. I have a Wusthof classic santoku with a 15 degree edge (that I put on with my new edge pro). It's my main knife. But I am thinking of replacing it or adding to it with a knife with better steel/ performance.

You might consider a cleaver, such as the standard size Kagayaki or small Sugimoto


Thanks ojisan. I do almost no chopping so I'm not sure what I'd do with a cleaver.

#14 ojisan

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Posted 11 December 2011 - 01:06 PM

Thanks ojisan. I do almost no chopping so I'm not sure what I'd do with a cleaver.

A thin cleaver is used for anything that you would use a gyuto or santoku - not limited to chopping.

Personally, I would sink 90% of my budget on the one knife that I be using 90% of the time, and choose a 240mm Hiromoto AS gyuto. Along with a paring knife or even a honesuki, I would be set.

I do alternate between a cleaver and a 240 Hiromoto HC gyuto (no longer available) as my "90%" knife.

Monterey Bay area


#15 ianinfrance

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Posted 11 December 2011 - 01:43 PM

Yesterday I had nice conversation with a lady at chefknivestogo.com and ended up ordering a Tojiro DP santoku with the Damascus style finish. It will arrive in a few days. $80 shipped.

We've got two in that range, the Santuko for me and the Usuba for my wife who does most of the veg prep. Wonderful knives, take a good edge and are excellently balanced.

Can't speak for the others you got, but I'm sure you won't regret the Santuko DP. That said, a blade sharpened single profile at 15° is obviously going to be sharper.
All the best

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#16 mgaretz

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Posted 14 December 2011 - 05:42 AM

The santoku arrived on Monday - very fast considering I ordered it Friday afternoon pacific time and it came from Wisconsin. Kudos to CK2G.

So far I like it. The handle's a tad chunkier than my Wusthof and a has a less rounded handle edge at the back, so it bites a bit into the heel of my palm. I may get used to it or try rounding the edge a bit. The blade is nice, out of the box it seems a bit sharper than my Wusthof (recently sharpened). I may get brave and try a light touch up with the 600 stone on the Edge Pro, but we'll see.

The rest of the knives are due Thursday.

#17 Karri

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Posted 14 December 2011 - 11:54 AM

By my experience Tojiro knives are really good, the pro series western style chef's knife I have holds it's edge amazingly well. And I use it for everything in the kitchen, from mirepoix to deboning. But on a sidenote can I ask you how happy are you with the Edge Pro? I browsed the website and noticed there were two different lines for the sharpener. Are there mentionable differences?
The perfect vichyssoise is served hot and made with equal parts of butter to potato.

#18 Dakki

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Posted 14 December 2011 - 12:33 PM

Fundamentally, the Professional can go to lower angles (6 degrees vs 10 on the Apex) and can take a special attachment for sharpening scissors, etc. The base is also of a different design.
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.

#19 Karri

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Posted 14 December 2011 - 01:21 PM

So with the pro one can make sharper but less durable knives. Useful for maybe filleting from a kitchen standpoint. And which one do you have Dakki, and have you been happy?
The perfect vichyssoise is served hot and made with equal parts of butter to potato.

#20 Dakki

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Posted 14 December 2011 - 01:29 PM

I have the regular Apex, and I could not be happier with it.

The Professional is rather more expensive (about twice, I think) and I guess I'm a bit conservative when it comes to edges. 10 back/15 microbevel with a good polish whittles hair and that's about as much as I ask from any of my 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.

#21 Karri

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Posted 14 December 2011 - 01:35 PM

I noted that the non-"pro" came with a lot less stones. How many do you personally feel you need? Are you a home chef?
The perfect vichyssoise is served hot and made with equal parts of butter to potato.

#22 Hassouni

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Posted 14 December 2011 - 01:46 PM

Congrats on the Tojiro, I have two and I love them - a DP gyuutou and a Shirogami carbon steel petty (that I'm finding challenging keeping rust free, but GOD is it sharp). They're a great value for the money, it's hard to imagine much better performance.

What do you plan on using the honesuki for? It's meant for cutting up chickens, isn't it?

#23 Dakki

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Posted 14 December 2011 - 01:59 PM

I noted that the non-"pro" came with a lot less stones. How many do you personally feel you need? Are you a home chef?


I'm no chef of any kind, just a cack-handed bungler. :raz:

Looking at the website, the Pro 1 kit ($375) looks roughly comparable to the Apex 2 kit ($190), the major differences being the 10" vs 8" hone and of course the base design which allows more flexibility in angles on the Pro.

The stones are the same between the two systems and you can buy extra stones as you go.

I originally bought the base kit (Apex 1) and basically built up to Apex 4. I'm not a big fan of the polishing tapes, so for my money, the Apex 3 ($225, 5 grades of stones) is the one to get, unless you're planning on using the scissors attachment or duplicating the comically thin factory edges as perpetrated by some high-end j-knife makers, in which case you'll need the Pro base.

Edited by Dakki, 14 December 2011 - 02:00 PM.

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.

#24 Karri

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Posted 14 December 2011 - 02:20 PM

Ah pardon my confusion, you were talking about the whet stones. (See I made a funny!) There seems to be some application to sharpening scissors, but as I see it it's a lifetime of sharpened scissors to pay that back. And I am unable to see the use of a 6 degree edge, except the wow-factor...
The perfect vichyssoise is served hot and made with equal parts of butter to potato.

#25 ojisan

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Posted 14 December 2011 - 05:15 PM

The Edgepro Professional won't sharpen knives any sharper than the Apex, and both can be adapted to the same (unrealistic) low angles via riser blocks.

The difference between them is that the Pro is heavy duty and made from machined parts, and the Apex is made from plastic castings in order to make it more affordable while keeping the same functional design.

If you want a logical explanation why someone would switch from the Apex to the Pro, I don't have a convincing reason to justify the price difference. It's like asking a photographer why she/he shoots with a Leica M, when there are plenty of other cameras out there that are a lot cheaper and "just as good".

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#26 Karri

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Posted 14 December 2011 - 05:27 PM

Almost daily use, pro would sound better. And my apologies for derailing this conversation.
The perfect vichyssoise is served hot and made with equal parts of butter to potato.

#27 mgaretz

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Posted 14 December 2011 - 09:58 PM

By my experience Tojiro knives are really good, the pro series western style chef's knife I have holds it's edge amazingly well. And I use it for everything in the kitchen, from mirepoix to deboning. But on a sidenote can I ask you how happy are you with the Edge Pro? I browsed the website and noticed there were two different lines for the sharpener. Are there mentionable differences?


So far I am very happy with it. Practiced on some beater knives to get used to it. I was finally able to get performance out of my Wusthofs that I hadn't been able to achieve with the factory edges, a Spyderco Sharpmaker or an EdgeCraft 1520. I can't speak to the difference between it and the Pro version, but it appears others have.

#28 mgaretz

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Posted 14 December 2011 - 10:02 PM

I noted that the non-"pro" came with a lot less stones. How many do you personally feel you need? Are you a home chef?


I just got the basic kit with the 220 and 320 stones (since I already had a ceramic hone from DMT) and added a 600 stone to my order.

One thing the basic kit did not include was the DVD. Can anyone comment if there is more/better info on the DVD than on the YouTube videos?

#29 mgaretz

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Posted 14 December 2011 - 10:11 PM

Congrats on the Tojiro, I have two and I love them - a DP gyuutou and a Shirogami carbon steel petty (that I'm finding challenging keeping rust free, but GOD is it sharp). They're a great value for the money, it's hard to imagine much better performance.

What do you plan on using the honesuki for? It's meant for cutting up chickens, isn't it?


Yes that's what it's for (a boning knife) and it is intended to replace my Wusthof curved boning knike. Since the honesuki is a straight blade, I have read that it's also useful as small utility knife (petty) and I plan to also use it as such. I like the Wusthof boning knife for slicing the fat layers off beef like brisket and also for cutting beef into chunks, like for stew. So I'm hoping the honesuki will be useful for that too.

#30 Hassouni

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Posted 15 December 2011 - 10:20 AM

Please do let us know how it fares on chickens, and whether it chips or anything if you try cutting through joints.