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rich66

Buying Japanese knives (UK)

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I saw some lovely Damascus steel knives in Steamer Trading yesterday. Yaxell brand.

 

After getting back up off the floor when I saw the price on the Super Gou chef's knife, £460 ($650), I retired home to get online and see what my other options where.

 

Talk about a whole new world!

 

I found a site called hocho-knife which appears to be an exporter direct from Japan with an office in the US.

 

There is a lot of info about steel grades etc on their site.

 

It appears that the Super Gou is an export knife, it has 161 layers, the SG2 steel core and a hand engraved blade, but I wondered if there are equivalent knives for slightly less $$$$?

 

At the moment I use Global but I am smitten with the look of the Damascus blade...

 

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I used hocho knife before Christmas to get a misono for a gift.  They were very good to deal with, simple ordering process, quick dispatch and (at a cost) very fast delivery.  I'd definitely use them again.  I thought I'd got away without any customs charges but FedEx sent an invoice through a week or so later.

 

That's a beautiful looking knife, btw.

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I'm a bit of a knife junkie, Yaxell would not be my first choice.  Not very familiar with Hocho other offerings.

 

Cleancut.se (Sweden) and Japanese Natural Stones (Denmark) both serve the Euro market well.  I especially like Yoshikane offerings from Cleancut and Itinomonn from JNS.  Diminishing returns will vary amongst different people but I find that north of 300USD is getting into aesthetics, 250 - 300 is my sweet spot for buying performance.

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Welcome to the pleasure dome @rich66 crumple this desire of yours I took advice from these boards and shipped in a Watanabe Gyuto. its my finest bit of kit. My other knives are Tojiro which are super for heavy veg stuff. My finer knives are Shun. All very good at what they do. The star though is the Watanabe, shipped direct, signed by the maker and staggeringly sharp. Ive shaved with it. I bought a wooden Sabe to go with it.It's a lot less than you are  considering. Damascus doesn't make it sharper just prettier.The Watanabe is folded steel, beautiful pattern and an absolute pleasure to use.Other members to these boards have the same knive. D

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My Jap knives are Tojiro and other non discrip carbon steal varieties 

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I have a bunch of Japanese knives, but only one with Damascus cladding. It's purely cosmetic. Blade geometry, grind, and steel type are much more important than how the knife looks (unless you like paying money for shiny things just because they shine how you like them). 

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Yes, I have now come to realise that it's just a way to 'tart' up a knife!

 

I think the Yaxell is probably the epitome of this, with it's western handle and 161 layers...

 

I must try and resist the glamorous looks of it! The true quality knives look like they have been beaten out of old cart springs with a rock!

 

I read some good postings on ChefKnivesToGoForums about Damascus and how modern Damascus is just a flashy finish etc. Apparently the original Damascus steel has carbon nanotubes in, due to being made with plant matter!

 

Oddly, I tend to favour an old Sabatier knife over my Globals because I think it takes a better edge...

 

Thanks for all the advice and I will have a more considered think. It would be great to find somewhere to get hands on with some 'real' Japanese knives...

 

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4 hours ago, rich66 said:

It would be great to find somewhere to get hands on with some 'real' Japanese knives...

 

Here you go.

 

4 hours ago, rich66 said:

Oddly, I tend to favour an old Sabatier knife over my Globals because I think it takes a better edge...

 

The steel Global uses is kind of blah. It's durable and plenty stain/rust resistant, but it's on the softer side and is no fun to sharpen. There are other stainless and semi-stainless alloys on the market now that are much better. They're still good knives, but their desirability isn't what it was 15 or 20 years ago when Japanese kitchen knives first broke onto the global market.

 

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On 2/19/2018 at 7:52 PM, btbyrd said:

The steel Global uses is kind of blah. It's durable and plenty stain/rust resistant, but it's on the softer side and is no fun to sharpen. There are other stainless and semi-stainless alloys on the market now that are much better. They're still good knives, but their desirability isn't what it was 15 or 20 years ago when Japanese kitchen knives first broke onto the global market.

 

 

Dave Martell at Japanesecharpening.com said that the steel in Globals such a nuissance to sharpen that he doens't do it on Japanese waterstones anymore. He treats them like European knives and sharpens them on a belt sander. He finds the steel unusually gummy and difficult to deburr. 

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