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Buying Japanese Knives Online

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No.

 

But this brings up a difficult and painful topic.  I have no way to hone or sharpen it.  I possess western type whetstones -- including a pretty pink natural Arkansas -- on which in my youth I ruined the edge of many a fine blade.

 

Fortunately on the website I saw that Watanabe will resharpen his knives at no cost.*  That's the good news.  The bad news is that a friend whose kids lived in that country informed me it is illegal to ship knives to Japan.  Her son told her:  "Don't do that again."

 

I also noticed on the Watanabe website that waterstones cost more than my knife.

 

 

*"After using a long time, when the blade edge is dull, we are going to resharpen again and again. It's free.(the round of shipping your charge.)"


Edited by JoNorvelleWalker clarification (log)

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I'm not going to start a "freehand vs sharpening system" stinkfest here.  Each has their advocates.  There are pros and cons with each.  I like freehand.  Rotus likes Edge Pro.  I would still have a beer with him.

 

Kitchen Knife Forum is a forum that largely supports freehand sharpening.  They'll offer advice on stones, technique and even services.  

 

Chef Knife To Go has a forum that largely supports  "systems" such as Edge Pro.

 

Suggest you spend some time with each and find your comfort zone.

 

In the meantime Korin offers sharpening services close to you (NYC), Japanese Knife Imports is arguably the best in the country and only 3 days away by Priority Mail, Japnese Knife Sharpening is in PA and is also well regarded.  All have quick turnaround.  You're welcome to pm me for any additional info.

 

Enjoy the knife!

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the issue is not so much 'jigs' or free hand

 

it how steady your hands are in either system.   a high end jig system suits me now as it takes the 'intention tremor' I now have  ( hereditary ) completely out of the

 

equation.   zillion years ago when I had a decent home workshop and did a lot of woodworking  there was a Makita rotary wetstone system that I had

 

and still have most parts with various grit stones that I enjoyed as my chisels were so sharp you could almost shave with them

 

indeed a very old wood workers standard was to be able to shave w a chisel hair off your arm  true story.

 

the point is that these very high end japanese knives need very special care any way you want to provide it.

 

Id also ask those with these  or any quality kitchen knife to consider your knife's best friend, the cutting board.

 

newer ploy boards are very forgiving.  BirdsEye maple, of which over time Ive had a bazillion 'board-feet'   not so much

 

they has to be a quality USA place you can send them out to if you can't do the work your self.

 

Id do a lot of research on this first.

 

OF course, you could send them to me via PM and tell me the angle you want   .....

 

what ever system  you choose   the point of it is to get it done correctly

 

get that poly board :

 

OXO has  several sizes :

 

http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/store/product/oxo-good-grips-reg-21-inch-x-15-inch-carving-and-cutting-board/1014949216?Keyword=oxo+cutting+boards


Edited by rotuts (log)
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6 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

Fortunately on the website I saw that Watanabe will resharpen his knives at no cost.  That's the good news.  The bad news is that a friend whose kids lived in that country informed me it is illegal to ship knives to Japan.  Her son told her:  "Don't do that again."

 

I also noticed on the Watanabe website that waterstones cost more than my knife.

 

These knives do need waterstones if they're going to come anywhere near their potential, but they don't have to be expensive ones. There isn't much need for fancy stones until you're experienced enough to have strong opinions on them. By then you'll have worn out your first set and will need new stones anyhow.

 

It's been a while since I've shopped for waterstones, so there could be better values than these now ... but if you shop around I'd suggest a couple of combination stones (different grit on each side, so you get 4 grits) ranging from a 400 or so to 8000 or so. King and Norton are popular value brands. Norton has a kit with two combo stones and a stone flattener. Should be less than $140. 

 

Or you can go the Edge Pro route. Much shorter learning curve, but you won't get as fast as you can get freehand. Your stone choice is also limited.

 

I'd strongly suggest doing your first few sharpening sessions on a knife you don't care too much about.

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Notes from the underbelly

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I,m sorry if this is covered elsewhere 

 

have you purchased a knife via the internet from Japan , delivered to the USA ?

 

Im close to getting a pair of knives from Wantanabe

 

http://www.kitchen-knife.jp/pro/

 

the Nakkiri 180 mm  and possibly the same length Gyuto.

 

was there custom's duty on your purchase ?

 

if so , how was it collected ?

 

thanks


Edited by Smithy Adjusted title (log)

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I do not know about Wantanabe, but about a traditional knife made in Japan, got really interested in Sashimi sushi a while ago, and wanted to follow the tradition, so got one of the best: Sashimi Sushi Knife 30cm with Wodden Sheath wodden sheath, quality Yasuki. Got the recommendation from a Japanese friend.

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On 7/19/2017 at 10:58 AM, gulator said:

I do not know about Wantanabe, but about a traditional knife made in Japan, got really interested in Sashimi sushi a while ago, and wanted to follow the tradition, so got one of thethe best: Sashimi Sushi Knife 30cm with Wodden Sheath wodden sheath, quality Yasuki. Got the recommendation from a Japanese friend.

 

So was there any customs duty?


Edited by Smithy Adjusted link to be Amazon-friendly (log)

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nice looking knife 

 

but you got it from Amazon , USA  so there were no after costs for duty ?

 

it was no doubt built in.

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Looks like as long as the declared value is  less than USD$800 and it's for personal use (not re-sale) you shouldn't have to pay duty ... 

 

https://www.cbp.gov/trade/basic-import-export/internet-purchases

 

I've never bought anything from Japan, only Canada and definitely under $800 and have never had issues with customs or duty.  But I suppose that could be due to NAFTA or something ...


Edited by pastrygirl personal use (log)
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I don't remember any duty when I brought my Misonos home from Tokyo in my checked luggage. Of course, I'm not sure I remembered to declare them, either.

 

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Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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2 hours ago, kayb said:

I don't remember any duty when I brought my Misonos home from Tokyo in my checked luggage. Of course, I'm not sure I remembered to declare them, either.

 

Going back in time (pre 9/11) I actually brought some knives back from Japan in the cabin.  I had the attendants hold them.  Though we had an inadvertent stopover in Anchorage, and after that I had them with me!  Oh, and I didn't declare them.  (Not that they were worth that much, but I still have and use them.)

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11 hours ago, rotuts said:

I,m sorry if this is covered elsewhere 

 

have you purchased a knife via the internet from Japan , delivered to the USA ?

 

Im close to getting a pair of knives from Wantanabe

 

http://www.kitchen-knife.jp/pro/

 

the Nakkiri 180 mm  and possibly the same length Gyuto.

 

was there custom's duty on your purchase ?

 

if so , how was it collected ?

 

thanks

 

 

Don't remember any customs charges ordering from Watanabe.  I've Been thinking of another of his knives as well.  Order and report back about customs.  I do recall delivery was very quick.

 

Seriously I am waiting to order another blade till I receive and study Mukoita I and Mukoita II (volumes 3 and 4 of The Japanese Culinary Academy Complete Japanese Cuisine).  These volumes deal with cutting fish and shellfish (which includes small fish) respectively.

 

If I do purchase another Japanese knife it will be from Watanabe.  As I recall he will craft any of about 800 different types of knives on custom order.  He is a master and a pleasure to do business with.

 

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If it helps, last year I ordered a piece of audio equipment from England and did indeed have to pay duty.  Not much however.  And in that case I had to mail in a check.  Knives from Japan may be different from electronics from England.

 

Your mileage or millage may vary.

 

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22 hours ago, rotuts said:

nice looking knife 

 

but you got it from Amazon , USA  so there were no after costs for duty ?

 

it was no doubt built in.

So, here is the catch, you have to be careful with the credit card you use for the order in a currency other than the dollar, and from a foreign country. Most on-line purchase with credit card (Visa and Mastercard) will add a fee. As far as I know, the only credit card that is not adding a fee is Capital One.  Any other credit card company with no currency conversion ? Please feedback welcome . And another question on that subject, when travelling, which bank is the best?  Thanks :smile:

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Well , I called my CC company  

 

this is the one I use all the time

 

i have a zillion other , in a drawer somewhere  

 

for me , Im not keen on PayPal  

 

there were some issues some time ago.

 

my CC card company issues for no charge a one time CC number.

 

they do add a fee for conversion , but its minimal  as the PayPal issue is far more important to me

 

i did call two other CC's  from the dusty drawer  and they did not do the unique Cc number

 

My CC does send me cash to my bank of 2 %  for all purchases 

 

so   IM OK going this way

 

but your points are very valid.

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I have bought 2 kitchen knives in Japan and flewn home with them in my checked luggage - I declared them but since my total was under the limit both times I've payed no duty on either.

 

I also have ordered quite a few things from Japan - one time I had to pay an admin charge for customs - basically if you get unlucky and they inspect your container you get charged - this was via FedEx.  I'm told the odds are much lower other methods of shipping


Edited by Raamo (log)

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my two Watanabe knives arrived minutes ago .    There was no duty charge .

 

I e-mailed Watanabe a few times and decided on the Professional Series   they gave me a total price w shipping , and I emailed back that day's exchange rate

 

from Google.  My bank would give me free a one use CC # to use w PayPal , as Im not a fan of PP.  but free only in dollars not Yen.  the would be a several % charge from

 

my CC company .  and PP would charge Watanabe 2.9 %  + a fixed fee.   Im not fond of MiddleMen nor MiddleWomen.  I went to the PO and bought an internationali

 

money order  for $ 8.50  and placed it in an envelope w a letter :  First Class to Ja,an : $ 1.25.  I mailed it Sat Aug 22.  8-10 days the PO said.

 

Watanabe got the MO on Tues 1 Aug.  

 

http://www.kitchen-knife.jp/pro/

 

I decided on the two t80 mm , as i have a large hand.   I had my eye on the Santoku and Nakkiri , but went for the larger knives.  I got the octagonal handles as they had

 

a horn hilt.  why buy plastic ?  I asked for a light color and a close match in color if possible.

 

tracking :

 

Track.thumb.jpg.b52f654856e340b0821567f2d5329ab9.jpg

 

the box :

 

Box.thumb.jpg.392bf30baa82fda898425b1f9fb3bb6c.jpg

 

inside 

 

598b1fadadbfb_Box2.thumb.jpg.7f7b55577a6b0600da1c0c3e7171dda9.jpg

 

598b1fb8e8c5b_Box3.thumb.jpg.d9f50c8a10f1d104bee8dd5fc3ab2771.jpg

 

598b1fc4d33aa_Box4.thumb.jpg.c58f9f47453bf5106ee380396747b681.jpg

 

you can't see the engraving , and anyway I don't know what it means.   its clearly hand ' carved '

 

these knives have an exceptional hand feel, and are razor sharp.  I like the black matt finish.

 

I asked what angle they would use to sharpen them, and that I use the EdgePro system and got this reply :

 

Thanks for your reply.
Yes, you can sharpen our knives with the system.
You can decide the angle by yourself.
You can control the toughness at the edge angle. The narrower the angle of the edge, the more your knife will cut like a razor. But the blade will chip easily, because it's thin.
On the other hand, if the edge has an obtuse angle, the knife will dull but will be very strong and you will be able to chop fish or meat with bones.

Our blades are slight convex shape.
If you want sharper edge, 0 - 2 degree is the sharpest.
I guess 3 - 5 degrees must be normal sharpness.
 

this did not make a lot of sense to me so I emailed EP .  their reply :

 

If your new knives are double bevel you will want to set to 17 degrees to start. Most of these knives are sharpened at 16 degrees and you set the EP to 17 it puts 16 degrees on the knife. You loose one degree by resting on the sloping FACE of the blade. You will be putting on a flat edge. We have proven over 30 years of testing that the flat edge is sharper and stronger than the convex edge. People with argue with you about this but I can prove it. The most important thing to do with these knives is use them until they start to get dull. Do not sharpen them new. They will come sharp. When you do the first sharpening, start with a 1000 stone, and then polish the edge. The bevels on these knives are so small that you will get a burr very fast even with the 1000. Once you polish the edge you will not need to use anything but the polish tapes to resharpen the edge. I have had one of these knives for 2 years. The edge will last about 2 to 3 months in the average home kitchen. Do not use the ceramic hone on these knives. When the edge starts to fall off just go back and polish the edge and you are good for a few more months.
 
If you are getting a single bevel knife get back to me of more instructions. If you are getting a 70-30 knife you do not need to do anything special. The angles are the same on both sides. You just want to do a little less work on the 30 side.
 
Get back to me with questions.
 
Regards
Ben
 
Im exceptionally happy with this purchase.  Im glad I didn't get the santoku , as this gyuto fits my hand fine.
 
eventually I may get a smaller Nakkiri  " just because " these knives are so fine !

 

 


Edited by rotuts (log)
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i received two knives from Watanabe this morning .

 

Im exceptionally delighted :

 

 

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for fun :

 

the gyuto is 144 grams  and the nakkiri  200 grams

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Nice!    I hope you enjoy every minute with them. 

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

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On 9/12/2014 at 5:13 PM, gfron1 said:

I've bought from Bernal Cutlery in SF and Japanese Knife Imports in Beverly Hills.  Both are great but I am looking for something new.  I like hand forged, high quality knives.  My most recent was a Fujiwara 210 white #1 which has changed my kitchen forever - such an amazing knife.  But I'm on the hunt again...suggestions?

10513515_10152614573574845_7107304110002

I'have a Yoshihiro Mizu Yaki 

Yoshihiro Mizu Yaki Blue High Carbon Steel Black Damascus Kiritsuke Japanese Multipurpose Chef Knife 8.25 In with Nuri Saya Cover

very high quality, got it from a Japanese chef, friend of mine. Best :B

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I tried to get a picture of the markings on the knives :

 

598c7a97612ef_Knives5.thumb.jpg.d5915abf0aae020f5511a3827b21ba33.jpg

 

they are carved into the knives.

 

Ill ask for a transliteration

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i almost can't stop enjoying these knives

 

here is a magnification of the cared in ' words ' :

 

Wata.jpg.ab57cc29d1590bf212a05f184d976e11.jpg

 

 i have a huber of knives.  Some Globals , from BB&B   and they did give me 20 % off 

 

and because of the Globals  which are hard to sharpen , I got the EdgePro.

 

I have a even larger number of knives from Granton , in GB

 

I recommend these knives.   you have to email them and they will send you a catalogue.

 

then you pick what you want and Id call them w you CC info.    they are wonderful for

 

boning knives and slicing knives.

 

I had a very modest collection which I accumulated over time

 

but they were   ' removed ' from my home during an extended stay w my father in the later years of his life.

 

Henchels etc

 

only three were price-less to me :

 

My mothers American made chef;s knife , walnut handle then smooth w use  and high carbon steel

 

and two very inexpensive knives from my grandmother  who I remember seeing her use when i was 3 04 so.

 

scalloped from sharpening , w cheep small handles .

 

no matter 

 

if you enjoy a fine knife , enjoy caring for it , 

 

and lets not forget Your Knife's best Friend :  the cutting board  i.e. 

 

https://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/store/product/oxo-good-grips-reg-21-inch-x-15-inch-carving-and-cutting-board/1014949216?categoryId=12070

 

take some time to look over Japanese knives

 

I look some time to find these

 

and I don't regret it in any ay.

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