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rgruby

Japanese Knives – What to Buy?

305 posts in this topic

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.

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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.


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.

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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!

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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.

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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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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

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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.

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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!

001_01.jpg

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

HMA-HA04xx-K.jpg

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 (log)

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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.

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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.

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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 (log)

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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.

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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.

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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:

k833.jpg

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

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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

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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.

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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!

001_01.jpg

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

HMA-HA04xx-K.jpg

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.


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www.motorestaurant.com

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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 (log)

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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 (log)

Bill Russell

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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

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