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Japanese Knives – What to Buy?


rgruby
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remember those knives that were on sale on TFL.com? they were mac knives and had kellers signature on them? did anyone here ever have them? were they any good? what's the word on mac knives in general? trotter + keller + ripert love them...

also, can someone recommend me a knife kit built from japanese knives? im not a sushi chef, just a cook who wants to start off at the right foot and dont know anything about japanese knives other than theyre sharp as hell. my knife kit right now comprises of mainly wustofs so yeah.

i'm thinking for a knife kit (to whoever'll go thru the trouble of actually picking stuff for me) a paring knife, an 8 inch chefs, a santoku, boning + fillet. for 5 knives, i'm willing to spend around $500, i guess.

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remember those knives that were on sale on TFL.com? they were mac knives and had kellers signature on them? did anyone here ever have them? were they any good? what's the word on mac knives in general? trotter + keller + ripert love them...

also, can someone recommend me a knife kit built from japanese knives? im not a sushi chef, just a cook who wants to start off at the right foot and dont know anything about japanese knives other than theyre sharp as hell. my knife kit right now comprises of mainly wustofs so yeah.

i'm thinking for a knife kit (to whoever'll go thru the trouble of actually picking stuff for me) a paring knife, an 8 inch chefs, a santoku, boning + fillet. for 5 knives, i'm willing to spend around $500, i guess.

Mac make very good knives. They're very well regarded. You'll see a lot of them in restaurant kitchens. I have several. They don't have the cache of some of the other Japanese makers but they're really solidly made from good materials and feature good fit and finish at a price point which is very working cook friendly. Another good maker if you're looking for stainless knives at a very reasonable price is Tojiro. They can be purchased through Korin Trading. (korin.com) I'd also take a look at japanesechefsknife.com, epicurianedge.com, and knifemerchant.com. The combination of those four sites will give you a very good mix of Japanese makers.

I'm not a fan of "kits". I much prefer to find the right knives and not depend on someone's opinion of what would be best for me. That said, you might be better off skipping the santoku since it's so close in size to an 8" chef. If you were to go with a 240mm/9.5" gyuto, then a smaller santoku might make more sense, but it seems a bit redundant. As far as paring knives go, the Shun classic 3.5" parer is very well regarded, although, for a third of the cost, Mac makes a very good parer, as well. Mac also makes an inexpensive fillet/boning knife and a bread knife both of which which I like a lot.

My suggestion is that you visit knifeforums.com and foodieforums.com for info on Japanese kitchen knives. There are a couple of threads in the archives which address the question of what should be included in a good starter knife kit. Whatever you do, don't forget to include a couple of good basic waterstones in your budget. They're crucial to making sure those knives are sharp and stay that way.

-Mike-

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remember those knives that were on sale on TFL.com? they were mac knives and had kellers signature on them? did anyone here ever have them? were they any good? what's the word on mac knives in general? trotter + keller + ripert love them...

also, can someone recommend me a knife kit built from japanese knives? im not a sushi chef, just a cook who wants to start off at the right foot and dont know anything about japanese knives other than theyre sharp as hell. my knife kit right now comprises of mainly wustofs so yeah.

i'm thinking for a knife kit (to whoever'll go thru the trouble of actually picking stuff for me) a paring knife, an 8 inch chefs, a santoku, boning + fillet. for 5 knives, i'm willing to spend around $500, i guess.

Mac make very good knives. They're very well regarded. You'll see a lot of them in restaurant kitchens. I have several. They don't have the cache of some of the other Japanese makers but they're really solidly made from good materials and feature good fit and finish at a price point which is very working cook friendly. Another good maker if you're looking for stainless knives at a very reasonable price is Tojiro. They can be purchased through Korin Trading. (korin.com) I'd also take a look at japanesechefsknife.com, epicurianedge.com, and knifemerchant.com. The combination of those four sites will give you a very good mix of Japanese makers.

I'm not a fan of "kits". I much prefer to find the right knives and not depend on someone's opinion of what would be best for me. That said, you might be better off skipping the santoku since it's so close in size to an 8" chef. If you were to go with a 240mm/9.5" gyuto, then a smaller santoku might make more sense, but it seems a bit redundant. As far as paring knives go, the Shun classic 3.5" parer is very well regarded, although, for a third of the cost, Mac makes a very good parer, as well. Mac also makes an inexpensive fillet/boning knife and a bread knife both of which which I like a lot.

My suggestion is that you visit knifeforums.com and foodieforums.com for info on Japanese kitchen knives. There are a couple of threads in the archives which address the question of what should be included in a good starter knife kit. Whatever you do, don't forget to include a couple of good basic waterstones in your budget. They're crucial to making sure those knives are sharp and stay that way.

thanks for the insight re: the sites, mac knives and tojiros. i'll look into those.

re: kits. it seems that in this site, when i say kit, it means getting a bunch of the same brand (correct me if i'm wrong). thats not what i mean when i say kit, when i say kit, i mean a collection of knives, not necessarily the same brand. i also agree with you on the part not taking others opinion too heavily, but on the topic of japanese knives, i believe i've got no other choice as i have no personal access to them, only through the internet. i'm basing my necessities on what i've got in my present knife kit (bag)

again, thanks for the help!

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Questions:

Is the "kit" for your use only?

Do you have need for a bread knife and/or slicer?

I'm assuming that since you included a boning knife you will use it? How often? Use for boning chickens?

Why did you list an 8" chef AND a Santoku? I ask this because many people feel they need both but there's really very little need for both. Spend your money for something else.

Do you plan to do your own sharpening?

Do you prefer stainless steel, carbon steel or a mix of both for your blade material?

Your responses will help me first choose the styles that will fit all your needs then we can move on to brand selection. As Miles said, personal opinions are just that. I can gaurantee that you will be seriously overwelmed with all the suggestions and choices. People will recommend based on their experiences just like me. It will be rare that someone will recommend a crap knife or brand so keep that in mind. Many of the suggestions will work just fine. I highly suggest to not get bogged down in the details but rather go by simple stats as blade material (SS, Carbon, both), handle type (western or traditional), fit & finish (build quality) and overall appearance/aesthetics. That's it really. I've been buying Japanese knives for coming up to 4 years now and my first took me over a month to decide on. Believe me when I say it can be stressful or enjoyable just to get to the point of pulling the trigger (pressing the Add To Cart button). :biggrin:

I think you can get a great set of knives for your budget. Just don't forget to establish a NEW budget for sharpening stones for some day. If you don't want to do your own then I have a couple of places you can send them to that trust implicitly with their ability to properly sharpen Japanese knives. The mall knife shop is not one of them.

K, let's get started.

Bob

Edited by Octaveman (log)

My Photography: Bob Worthington Photography

 

My music: Coronado Big Band
 

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But proceed with great caution. Paying attention to Octaveman will get you what you need, in the price range you specified, and they will be really great knives. Then you will start getting the knives you WANT! Hold on to your wallet, YOU WILL WANT a lot.......trust me, you will want a lot.

And prepare to learn how to sharpen your own blades, the right way........more money he forced me to spend, and worth every penny! :blush::biggrin:

"It's like Betty Crocker and Charles Manson had a love child" - Anthony Bourdain
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Questions:

Is the "kit" for your use only?

Do you have need for a bread knife and/or slicer?

I'm assuming that since you included a boning knife you will use it?  How often?  Use for boning chickens?

Why did you list an 8" chef AND a Santoku?  I ask this because many people feel they need both but there's really very little need for both.  Spend your money for something else.

Do you plan to do your own sharpening?

Do you prefer stainless steel, carbon steel or a mix of both for your blade material?

1. Yep, the kit's just mine and I'll probably stab whoever uses them (with something else, not the knives)

2. I'm thinking more of slicer, and I'll probably get a slicer instead of a chef's...

3. Yup, boning for chickens, lamb etc.

4. To answer 2, I'll probably get a slicer instead of a chefs, but if I can fit it into budget, I'll get a chef's too (but a santoku is higher in my list.)

list is probably 1. santoku, 2. fillet, 3. boning, 4 &5 paring & utility. last is the slicer/chef

5. yup, own sharpening until i move onto a bigger town/city

6. i dont know the difference...

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Generally, people fall into two general camps...the Santoku camp and the Gyuto Camp. I've tried Santoku's and as a result, I am deeply entrenched in the Gyuto camp for several reasons.

First and biggest reason, the Santoku only gets so long by pretty much all manufacturers. This means that the longest it gets (with very few exceptions) is 6.5 inches or 165mm. You may find one that gets to 180mm but it's rare and quality of brand may be an issue. This is a problem from an efficiency standpoint if your food is bigger than your knife. My preferred length is 270mm. But I would recommend someone starting with a 210mm minimum and a 240mm (the most purchased size) for the newbie to Japanese knives. Balance on these is right at the bolster so they will be perfectly balanced. This is pretty much the same for most high-end brands.

Another reason to get a longer knife is that Japanese knives are made to slice. They perform well with the tip on the board method or the push cut method. I've read stories of people trying to push straight down in a pure vertical motion toward the cutting board and they say the knife sucks because it didn't cut the food very well. To this I say, put the knife back on top of the tomato and without using ANY downward pressure, use your thumb and forefinger to hold the back of the handle and slowly push forward. All of a sudden that knife will slide through that tomato and get to the board with extreme ease. The slicing motion with no downward pressure is what gives pure joy to the user. I was giddy the first time I did this. Now invision a 7" cabbage that you want to cut up with your 6.5" knife. Sure it can be done but is it ideal? No. Way too small and inneficient. **There is nothing a Santoku can do that a Gyuto can't** The gyuto is more versatile.

Second, I hate the tall profile. The gyuto resembles the classic French shaped chef's knife that is very efficient, fast and comfortable to use.

Third, being so small, they are way Way WAY too light for me. A knife that's only 5 ounces scares me. I want to know where my knife is at all times. I like my gyuto's to be anywhere from 10-12 ounces.

Okay, I'm done. :biggrin: Please keep in mind this is my opinion and there are plenty others out there that are FOR santoku's but it hasn't swayed me.

1. Okay.

2. A slicer is good to have. I highly recommend the MAC SB105 10.5" roast slicer/bread knife.

3. The Tojiro DP is a surprisingly good boning knife for the money.

4. Let's here what you think of the above first before we choose brand/style.

5. Okay, if we fit stones into this budget then we'll go with a very good set of stones. Shapton Pro series are considered by many to be the best. Fast cutting, no soaking, long lasting.

6. Stainless steel (SS) is just that. Pro's: Easy to keep looking good, won't rust. Con's: Won't get as sharp as Carbon steel, won't stay sharp as long. Carbon steel (CS) knives will form a patina over time (this is a natural reaction to food) and they could rust if you leave them out wet or don't clean them right after use. Pro's: Easy to sharpen, can get very sharp and stay sharp longer. Con's: Can rust, won't look as pretty as when new. Combination of SS and CS knives have a sandwiched construction meaning the core blade material is CS and it's surrounded or sandwiched over the spine and down the sides with SS. Many people like this as you get the benefits of both worlds with only the exposed cutting edge forming the patina. I recommend this construction over the SS and the solid CS but let me know which you would prefer to have.

A few more questions......

1. Still prefer a Santoku over a Gyuto (chef's knife)?

2. Have you seen pictures of the different types of handles on Japanese knives? Both are comfortable to use. I like both actually. The traditional wooden handle has a very unique look to it that I like. Which kind of Handle would you prefer? Western or traditional?

3. What percentage of use would your knives get?

- Santoku or Chef's?

- Slicer?

- Boning?

- Paring?

- Utility?

- Fillet?

4. Is it important to you that the knives come from the same brand or can we mix it up based on the merits of each brand?

Brands that we'll be considering the most are Murray Carter, Blazen, Hiromoto, Tojiro DP, Kanetsugu, Yoshikane, Kumagoro, MAC Almighty.

My Photography: Bob Worthington Photography

 

My music: Coronado Big Band
 

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1.  Okay.

2.  A slicer is good to have.  I highly recommend the MAC SB105 10.5" roast slicer/bread knife.

3.  The Tojiro DP is a surprisingly good boning knife for the money.

4.  Let's here what you think of the above first before we choose brand/style.

5.  Okay, if we fit stones into this budget then we'll go with a very good set of stones.  Shapton Pro series are considered by many to be the best.  Fast cutting, no soaking, long lasting.

6.  Stainless steel (SS) is just that.  Pro's: Easy to keep looking good, won't rust.  Con's:  Won't get as sharp as Carbon steel, won't stay sharp as long.  Carbon steel (CS) knives will form a patina over time (this is a natural reaction to food) and they could rust if you leave them out wet or don't clean them right after use.  Pro's:  Easy to sharpen, can get very sharp and stay sharp longer.  Con's:  Can rust, won't look as pretty as when new.  Combination of SS and CS knives have a sandwiched construction meaning the core blade material is CS and it's surrounded or sandwiched over the spine and down the sides with SS.  Many people like this as you get the benefits of both worlds with only the exposed cutting edge forming the patina.  I recommend this construction over the SS and the solid CS but let me know which you would prefer to have.

2. i'd prefer a slicer with no teeth (unserrated?)

5. can we first focus on the knives first before the stones? i've got additional money for stones.

6. what are the pros & cons of the mix? it's not just the pros of both combined and no cons, right?

A few more questions......

1.  Still prefer a Santoku over a Gyuto (chef's knife)?

2.  Have you seen pictures of the different types of handles on Japanese knives?  Both are comfortable to use.  I like both actually.  The traditional wooden handle has a very unique look to it that I like.  Which kind of Handle would you prefer?  Western or traditional?

3.  What percentage of use would your knives get?

- Santoku or Chef's?

- Slicer?

- Boning?

- Paring?

- Utility?

- Fillet?

4.  Is it important to you that the knives come from the same brand or can we mix it up based on the merits of each brand?

Brands that we'll be considering the most are Murray Carter, Blazen, Hiromoto, Tojiro DP, Kanetsugu, Yoshikane, Kumagoro, MAC Almighty.

1. is a gyuto effective for the vertical cutting method? what's the difference between the gyuto and traditional chef's knife? what i always thought was that the santoku is a veg knife, hence the thin blade for more precise cutting, so i thought that the santoku for veg, chefs for meats.

2. yup, ive seen the handles, and i prefer the western...unless this will lessen my choices. like, i won't get knife b which is worse than knife a just because of the handle.

3. it'd be in this order: chef's/santoku, slicer, fillet, utility, paring then boning.

4. no, i couldn't care less if they all come from the same brand or not.

thanks for the help!

Edited by aaguirrejr (log)
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2. i'd prefer a slicer with no teeth (unserrated?)

5. can we first focus on the knives first before the stones? i've got additional money for stones.

6. what are the pros & cons of the mix? it's not just the pros of both combined and no cons, right?

2. Okay

5. Okay

6. Well, the Combo blade gives you stainless steel sides so it will stay looking nice and shiny and the carbon steel core will give you great performance and ease of sharpening. The only con to the mix would be the same for any other carbon steel knife...the exposed carbon core near the edge will forma patina. the picture below shows a solid carbon steel knife on the right and a combo blade on the left. With the Hiromoto on the left, you can see that only the edge forms the patina whereas with the knife on the right the entire blade will form a patina. The knife in the middle is a Takeda and is carbon steel surrounded by iron. The black part is a result of the forging process and it's left there on purpose. It's called a kuro-uchi finish. Very resistant to rust and does not discolor even though it's wrought iron. I love this kind of finish. BTW, the sizes are from left...240mm, 255mm, 270mm.

If you're the type of cook that keeps things clean and washes and dries your knives when your done instead of waiting until after dinner than I recommend a carbon steel or combo knife. But if you have a tendancy to not clean your knives right away then go with SS. I have several CS blades and only two SS blades. I don't have any problem with rust or the patina. It's a personal thing. CS will be better than SS (gets sharper, edge lasts longer).

gallery_22252_4789_13289.jpg

1. is a gyuto effective for the vertical cutting method? what's the difference between the gyuto and traditional chef's knife? what i always thought was that the santoku is a veg knife, hence the thin blade for more precise cutting, so i thought that the santoku for veg, chefs for meats.

2. yup, ive seen the handles, and i prefer the western...unless this will lessen my choices. like, i won't get knife b which is worse than knife a just because of the handle.

3. it'd be in this order: chef's/santoku, slicer, fillet, utility, paring then boning.

4. no, i couldn't care less if they all come from the same brand or not.

1. If you mean push cutting, yes. When you push cut you are moving the knife forward as you make the cut. You start near the tip and move the blade forward applying enough downward pressure to cut whatever you're cutting. I go back and forth between push cutting and rocking with the tip on the board. Depends on what I'm doing I guess.

There is no difference between a gyuto and a traditional chef's knife. A Gyuto is patterned after the traditional French chef's knife which is more flat than a German chef's knife. A German chef's knife has more of a upswing toward the tip giving it a more rounded belly. I hate 'em. The flatter profile is more efficient as there is more edge touching the board at any given time...translates to making the cut with minimal movement (rocking). You are correct in that the Santoku is a veggie knife but a gyuto does both meats AND veggies. It too is very thin. The production knives I have and have had in the past are usually 2-2.5mm thick at the bolster and thinning even more toward the tip and edge. That's very thin but not so thin that it becomes fragile. The Gyuto can be used for pretty much all veggies and meats. Just try to keep it away from bones and thick/hard rhined veggies. I've never had issues with whatever I'm cutting. If it chips, no big deal as you do your own sharpening. I usually just leave the small chips alone until the knife starts to get dull then I sharpen and remove the chips at the same time. No sense in removing extra metal just to get rid of a little chip. But that is a different discussion entirely.

2. Western handles it is.

3. Okay

4. Okay

Almost done. Just need to know what you decide on with blade material and Gyuto v. Santoku. I can't stress enough how a longer knife will give you more freedom. If you get a santoku it will but 1/2" longer than your utility knife. Just doesn't seem right. :blink:

My Photography: Bob Worthington Photography

 

My music: Coronado Big Band
 

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1.  If you mean push cutting, yes.  When you push cut you are moving the knife forward as you make the cut.  You start near the tip and move the blade forward applying enough downward pressure to cut whatever you're cutting.  I go back and forth between push cutting and rocking with the tip on the board.  Depends on what I'm doing I guess.

There is no difference between a gyuto and a traditional chef's knife.  A Gyuto is patterned after the traditional French chef's knife which is more flat than a German chef's knife.  A German chef's knife has more of a upswing toward the tip giving it a more rounded belly.  I hate 'em.  The flatter profile is more efficient as there is more edge touching the board at any given time...translates to making the cut with minimal movement (rocking).  You are correct in that the Santoku is a veggie knife but a gyuto does both meats AND veggies.  It too is very thin.  The production knives I have and have had in the past are usually 2-2.5mm thick at the bolster and thinning even more toward the tip and edge.  That's very thin but not so thin that it becomes fragile.  The Gyuto can be used for pretty much all veggies and meats.  Just try to keep it away from bones and thick/hard rhined veggies.  I've never had issues with whatever I'm cutting.  If it chips, no big deal as you do your own sharpening.  I usually just leave the small chips alone until the knife starts to get dull then I sharpen and remove the chips at the same time.  No sense in removing extra metal just to get rid of a little chip.  But that is a different discussion entirely.

2.  Western handles it is.

3.  Okay

4.  Okay

Almost done.  Just need to know what you decide on with blade material and Gyuto v. Santoku.  I can't stress enough how a longer knife will give you more freedom.  If you get a santoku it will but 1/2" longer than your utility knife.  Just doesn't seem right.  :blink:

I'm talking about a complete vertical movement, like up and down.

what would qualify as "hard rhined veg" and what do you use to cut those?

as for the material, i'd prefer the combo, if the patina's the only con to it.

and i probably should've asked this at the beginning, but is $400 enough for a GOOD knife kit? or is $400 going to get me 6 entry level knives?

Edited by aaguirrejr (log)
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" is $400 enough for a GOOD knife kit? or is $400 going to get me 6 entry level knives?"

Depends on the amount of hand work you want in your knife.

Frankly, I would not start at the high end especially with a traditional Japanese blade.

For a Western style blade, it just depends on how fancy you want to get because I don't think there are any high end Western Style blades made. Its going to be a learning experience and it may take a number of styles/makers to decide on what you like.

Good luck.-Dick

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I'm talking about a complete vertical movement, like up and down.

what would qualify as "hard rhined veg" and what do you use to cut those?

as for the material, i'd prefer the combo, if the patina's the only con to it.

and i probably should've asked this at the beginning, but is $400 enough for a GOOD knife kit? or is $400 going to get me 6 entry level knives?

-Mike-

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Straight up and down cutting with a Japanese blade is better than with a Euro knife because it's thinner and can get sharper as a result. Although that's not the best way for cutting in general as some forward movement is desirable but these knives will be better than Euro knives at doing it. Thick hard-rhined veggies can pose an issue but I've honestly never come across them.

The thing about Japanese knives is that some brands have a more robust grind to their blades that make them heartier than other Japanese knives. Takeda for instance (middle one in the picture) is the thinnest blade I've seen. It cuts like a surgical laser and just as precisly but I wouldn't use it carelessly. Most brands though are fine even if they come with a warning of possible chipping with these types of veggies.

You previously mentioned a budget of $500 but I will give you options that you can play around with to optimize your budget for either amount. All choices will be equally as good. I still recommend the Hiromoto AS though for the gyuto. It took me almost a month to make my first purchase and it all came down to the coolness factor of the makers label in kanji characters because I knew all others would perform equally as well.

Gyuto (combo steel)

Hiromoto AS Item# TJ25AS (210mm) or TJ-20AS (240mm) for $110 or $132.

There are other really good knives that have a stainless steel core that deserve a look.

Togiharu G-1 All SS but very well made knife. Easy to sharpen. 210mm = $130, 240mm = $157

Ryusen Blazen Powdered steel core. Take a little longer to sharpen but worth the effort. PS knives take a great edge and hold it very well. Very well made. 210mm = $158, 240mm = $199

Akifusa Newcomer on the market with powdered steel blade. Same attributes as other PS blades. Very well made. 210mm = $160, 240mm $175

Santoku(combo steel)

Hiromoto AS Item# TJ35AS (190mm) $94. This is the longest Santoku out there without it being custom made. Just in case you're undecided.

Filet

Glestain Special purpose flexible sole knife. 210mm = $126

Paring

Hattori FH Item # FH1 High-end parer that is an incredible piece of craftsmanship and materials. $136

Al Mar Great parer with a fantastic feel to it in the hand. Very very nice handle. Good looking too. $112

Sun Elite Powdered steel core but has a traditional style handle. Never used it but looks like a great knife. $116

Shun Classic I've heard many people say this is one of the best parers out there. $45

Kansui Dojo Blue steel core surrounded by stainless (combo). Great knife for the price. $48

Petty/Utility

Kansui Dojo Same combo steel in a 5" knife. Looks like a decent utility knife. $49

Hattori FH Item# FH-3 $144

Misono UX10Ryusen Blazen Item# 733 = $108

Masamoto VG Good knives with VG10. Well made. 150mm = $83

Tojiro DP Best bang for the buck in Japanese knives. $36

Sujihiki (slicer)

Kikuichi All carbon steel. Super thin and an extremely good slicer. 270mm $105

Hiromoto AS Item# TJ-95AS for $154

Glestain This is a sexy looking slicer that could double as a filet knife as well. $211

Tojiro DP Good knife, great price $79

Honesuki (Boning)

Tojiro DP Greatest bang for the buck. $47

MAC Good knife, good price. $72

Updated the selections. Let me know if you have any questions. Also, while there are a handful of great options for gyuto's with a traditional handle I left them out per your preferences. Spend the most on your most used knives and less on the lesser used knives. Unless you become one of us and have to have them all. :wacko:

Bob

Edited by Octaveman (log)

My Photography: Bob Worthington Photography

 

My music: Coronado Big Band
 

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Straight up and down cutting with a Japanese blade is better than with a Euro knife because it's thinner and can get sharper as a result.  Although that's not the best way for cutting in general as some forward movement is desirable but these knives will be better than Euro knives at doing it.  Thick hard-rhined veggies can pose an issue but I've honestly never come across them.

okay. an above poster mentioned a deba. what's that knife for?

Gyuto (combo steel)

Hiromoto AS  Item# TJ25AS (210mm) or TJ-20AS (240mm) for $110 or $132.

There are other really good knives that have a stainless steel core that deserve a look. 

Togiharu G-1  All SS but very well made knife.  Easy to sharpen. 210mm = $130, 240mm = $157

Ryusen Blazen  Powdered steel core.  Take a little longer to sharpen but worth the effort. PS knives take a great edge and hold it very well.  Very well made.  210mm = $158, 240mm = $199

Akifusa  Newcomer on the market with powdered steel blade.  Same attributes as other PS blades.  Very well made.  210mm = $160, 240mm $175

Santoku(combo steel)

Hiromoto AS  Item# TJ35AS (190mm) $94.  This is the longest Santoku out there without it being custom made.  Just in case you're undecided.

Filet

Glestain  Special purpose flexible sole knife.  210mm = $126

Paring

Hattori FH  Item # FH1 High-end parer that is an incredible piece of craftsmanship and materials.  $136

Al Mar  Great parer with a fantastic feel to it in the hand.  Very very nice handle.  Good looking too.  $112

Sun Elite  Powdered steel core but has a traditional style handle.  Never used it but looks like a great knife.  $116

Shun Classic I've heard many people say this is one of the best parers out there. $45

Kansui Dojo  Blue steel core surrounded by stainless (combo).  Great knife for the price.  $48

Petty/Utility

Kansui Dojo  Same combo steel in a 5" knife.  Looks like a decent utility knife.  $49

Hattori FH  Item# FH-3  $144

Misono UX10Ryusen Blazen  Item# 733 = $108

Masamoto VG  Good knives with VG10.  Well made.  150mm = $83

Tojiro DP  Best bang for the buck in Japanese knives.  $36

Sujihiki (slicer)

Kikuichi  All carbon steel.  Super thin and an extremely good slicer.  270mm  $105

Hiromoto AS  Item# TJ-95AS for $154

Glestain This is a sexy looking slicer that could double as a filet knife as well.  $211

Tojiro DP Good knife, great price $79

Honesuki (Boning)

Tojiro DP  Greatest bang for the buck.  $47

MAC  Good knife, good price.  $72

gyuto: i saw a hattori one online and was wondering why you didn't (or don't) recommend the hattori...is it because of the price?

santoku: you've convinced me =)

fillet: any other you'd recommend?

utility: i'm not going to get a utility anymore...decided that id rather redirect the money to something else.

slicer: the slicer's also good for both cooked & raw meats (tenderloin, lamb) & fish, right? + what's the difference between TJ-95AS + TJ-95G3 over at http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/TenmiJyurakuSeries.html? other than the price

boning: any more recommendations? though the mac looks real good to me.

from your suggestions, here's how it looks:

MAC boning $72

SHUN paring $45

HIROMOTO slicer $154

total so far, $271. curious about the hattori gyuto & hoping for more fillet options.

thanks so much for the help, Bob, Miles & Dick

Edited by aaguirrejr (log)
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okay. an above poster mentioned a deba. what's that knife for?

A traditional deba is used for breaking down and fileting fish. It's a thick and heavy blade that is single-beveled. I use one for breaking down chicken and is pictured below. The thing about using one to break down chicken is that while it can be used this way it is possible to chip your knife very easily because you'd be working around thicker bones that those from a fish. My deba is hardened to HRC 60 which is low for a high quality Japanese blade which gets to around HRC 63-64. I chose one with the lower hardness so as to reduce the chipping. So far I am very pleased with my purchase. It wasn't easy to find one this low but Korin has their own brand of stainless blades that have lower HRC and their deba fit the bill perfectly. It was also an easy choice to make since Suisin makes these knives for Korin so the quality is very high. I've had this knife for over a year and not one single chip cutting the joints, back or ribs. Does a great job of removing meat from bone too. The size is 165mm and is from Korin's Ginsanko line.

Anyway, HERE is a video posted on Youtube from a guy in Japan breaking down and fileting a fish with a deba. He is a chef in Japan and has made a whole bunch of awesome video's displaying knife skills. This video is one of the better ones.

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gyuto: i saw a hattori one online and was wondering why you didn't (or don't) recommend the hattori...is it because of the price?

santoku: you've convinced me =)

fillet: any other you'd recommend?

utility: i'm not going to get a utility anymore...decided that id rather redirect the money to something else.

slicer: the slicer's also good for both cooked & raw meats (tenderloin, lamb) & fish, right? + what's the difference between TJ-95AS + TJ-95G3 over at http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/TenmiJyurakuSeries.html? other than the price

boning: any more recommendations? though the mac looks real good to me.

I've had that gyuto and it had the most fragile edge of any knife I bought since. Many many people have bought them and have been happy with them but my experience wasn't that good. There also was a time when problems with them starting popping up in threads...folding, chipping, etc. Haven't recommended them ever since. Those Hattori knives are made by Ryusen. Ryusen has their own line of damascus knives that are exactly the same thing. Same thing with the Ittosai damascus...same knife all made by Ryusen.

Regarding the filet knife. I don't use one so it's hard for me to recommend anything. Given the Youtube video I posted above, I would be seriously 100% inclined to do it with a deba if and when I would be breaking down my own fish. That's what the purpose of the knife is. Just a different design and procedure than western filet knives. But given how easy it looks in that video, it's a no brainer to me.

Yes, the slicer is good for cooked and raw meats. Since the edge is thin it could pose some problems in my experiences. First, if you're carving something like a turkey or chicken breast, first take the breast off the bird and slice on the cutting board. It will give you better looking slices. Keep it away from the bones. When I got my first slicer (never owned one before then) I worked on the edge and thinned the bevels a wee bit. In doing so, my edge became screamingly thin and sharp. when I went to slice up a flank steak I just grilled, the charred bits or crust on the meat chipped the blade. not a fault of the knife but by me sharpening it too thin and fragile. It would've worked excellent the way it was for raw slicing but posed a problem for cooked foods. My recommendation is to not sharpen it too acute of an angle and don't go much beyond a 1,000 grit edge. I redid the blade and used it again for grilled flank steak with charred bits and all and it worked great. No chipping.

The difference between the Hiromoto AS and the G3 is the blade material. The AS is the combo construction with the super blue core and the G3 is just your basic stainless steel core. Stick with the AS.

Other choices for boning is determined by how much you want to spend for one. The ones I listed are priced the lowest without losing quality. There are other great ones out there but with it put at the end of your priority list, I didn't think you wanted to spend a lot. The Honesuki is a boning knife. I suggest getting one of these before trying anything else like a Deba. BUT, if you felt the deba would work for you as a filet knife then you can do double duty with it for chickens too. Just beware that the deba I have is not cheap at $244. It's definately a high-end knife and well worth the money but it would put you over your budget.

from your suggestions, here's how it looks:

MAC boning $72

SHUN paring $45

HIROMOTO slicer $154

total so far, $271. curious about the hattori gyuto & hoping for more fillet options.

thanks so much for the help, Bob, Miles & Dick

Based on what I was saying about boning knives, take a look at this and see what you think. Like I said, over your budget of $500 but worth considering as the deba would have dual purpose and you'd get a higher quality knife that two lesser ones for filleting and boning. I truely think the Kikuichi is an awesome slicer. So do many others that I know who have them. It's going to be used pretty much entirely on protiens so it will be very slow to for the patina. This set-up would rock your kitchen.

Hiromoto AS Gyuto 240mm $132

Kikuichi Slicer $105

Shun paring $45

Korin Ginsanko Deba $244

Total = $526

I truely believe this is probably the best selection of knives for use on just about everything and will make you one happy camper. :biggrin:

Edited by Octaveman (log)

My Photography: Bob Worthington Photography

 

My music: Coronado Big Band
 

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Based on what I was saying about boning knives, take a look at this and see what you think. Like I said, over your budget of $500 but worth considering as the deba would have dual purpose and you'd get a higher quality knife that two lesser ones for filleting and boning. I truely think the Kikuichi is an awesome slicer. So do many others that I know who have them. It's going to be used pretty much entirely on protiens so it will be very slow to for the patina. This set-up would rock your kitchen.

Hiromoto AS Gyuto 240mm $132

Kikuichi Slicer $105

Shun paring $45

Korin Ginsanko Deba $244

Total = $526

I truely believe this is probably the best selection of knives for use on just about everything and will make you one happy camper. :biggrin:

Edited by miles717 (log)

-Mike-

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Seeing that video makes me wonder what the flexible blade the fillet knife has is for. How did he take off the skin so easily without that flexible blade? Is the edge of a deba on an acute angle or something? What knife is he using?

I checked out my Chef's knife, he's got a masamoto vg10 gyuto, what are the thoughts on that?

any specific reason you'd recommend the kikuichi over the hiromoto slicer?

and miles, why would i want a patina?

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Seeing that video makes me wonder what the flexible blade the fillet knife has is for. How  did he take off the skin so easily without that flexible blade? Is the edge of a deba on an acute angle or something? What knife is he using?

I checked out my Chef's knife, he's got a masamoto vg10 gyuto, what are the thoughts on that?

any specific reason you'd recommend the kikuichi over the hiromoto slicer?

and miles, why would i want a patina?

A deba is single-beveled so the angle is about 15 degrees give or take depending on brand. He used a Yanagiba or sashimi knife to take off the skin. He was able to take it off with a stiff knife because the fillet was layed flat and it wasn't too wide. You'll notice he didn't do that with the entire fillet.

The Masamoto VG10 is a very good knife too. All stainless though. It won't take and hold the edge as well as a carbon blade. But VG10 is such a good steel that it gets very close.

I have seen the Kikuichi and have read experiences that others have had with it. I have not heard a lot about the Hiromoto. I'm sure it too is a great knife but I can't give any personal opinion other than to reiterate what others have said. Honestly both will perform equally as well but given that the Kikuichi is NOT clad with stainless and the Hiromoto is, the Kikuichi is probably thinner...a very desirable trait for a slicer. It's cheaper too.

the faster the patina forms the quicker any kind of reaction to foods will stop. Some foods discolor when they come into contact with carbon steel (artichokes, onion, etc.). It's not dangerous, just unsightly. This all stops once the patina is in place. Some people when they get new CS knives they cut nothing but onions and citris to get the patina in place. Other people also force a patina with lemon juice or even acid. I wouldn't recommend this as the result does funny things to the finish of the blade if it's done improperly. I personally let my knives patina at their own pace and just go with the flow.

My Photography: Bob Worthington Photography

 

My music: Coronado Big Band
 

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Anyway, HERE is a video posted on Youtube from a guy in Japan breaking down and fileting a fish with a deba.  He is a chef in Japan and has made a whole bunch of awesome video's displaying knife skills.  This video is one of the better ones.

I have seen one of these videos before. If anyone is interested who the chef is, visit this site (Japanese only):

http://wasyoku18.com/

Official site of Kazuya, located in Nagoya.

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A deba is single-beveled so the angle is about 15 degrees give or take depending on brand.  He used a Yanagiba or sashimi knife to take off the skin.  He was able to take it off with a stiff knife because the fillet was layed flat and it wasn't too wide.  You'll notice he didn't do that with the entire fillet.

Ahh, now i got ya. That's the reason I need a fillet knife. I'm going to be breaking down whole salmons and snappers, so yeah, I need a flexible blade. Damn, I was excited about that deba.

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It's the deba the guy used to break down the fish and the other knife to skin it. While you may still need a fillet knife, the deba will still excel at breaking the whole thing down. Plus, you'd be able to use the deba for chickens too. Either way you'd be getting two knives

Honesuki

Filet

- or -

Deba

Filet

Still based on personal preference and ultimate use. The chef in the video was making sashimi from the fish so he used the knives he needed to get the job done the way he knows how. Since you probably won't be doing sashimi on a frequent basis the Yanagiba is not needed but you'll still need something to break down the whole fish. I think a deba would be better at it than a fillet knife. Just a few thoughts.

My Photography: Bob Worthington Photography

 

My music: Coronado Big Band
 

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I've bought knives now...:)

I got the slicer, paring & deba -- the ones you've recommended.

I'm holding on the Gyuto...Since it's the knife I'll use the most, maybe you can recommend me some more? I was wondering, is the Gyuto flexible enough to be used as a fillet knife? I just ate at a sushi bar earlier and the chef took the salmon off the skin using a gyuto...Was it his skill or is it actually flexible?

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Skill, the gyuto is not flexible. Sushi chefs use a ground down gyuto more than a yanagiba in just about every sushi bar I've been to. The reason? A gyuto is thinner and does a better job of cutting rolls. The yanagiba still is king for making slices for sashimi. I've seen people peel the skin of the fish with their hands too...the knife just started the motion.

You're not going to find a whole lot for under $150 that is as good as the Hiromoto AS. I recommended three others besides the Hiromoto. What are you looking for that these didn't make the grade?

Edited by Octaveman (log)

My Photography: Bob Worthington Photography

 

My music: Coronado Big Band
 

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I can spend over 150 for the gyuto...seeing as i spent 250 for the deba i figure i can and should spend AT LEAST the same amount for the gyuto (the knife im going to use most). im going to get the money i need for that from the budget i set aside for the stones (i set aside 200...hope that's enough)

thanks for the link....thats the knife my chef's got! the vg10 -- i see it scored high on his review.

thanks for the help bob

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