Night of the Long Knives - Doi, Sekiso, Akebono, Takayuki

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jbart65
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Night of the Long Knives - Doi, Sekiso, Akebono, Takayuki

Post by jbart65 » Fri Dec 01, 2017 10:28 am

I had a fun night last night. Kids at college. Wife working late. Figured I’d get a big dinner prepped for Friday.
Spent a few hours in the kitchen comparing and contrasting the Jikko Akebono, Doi, Tanaka Sekiso and Takayuki Damascus ginsan.

My usual tests. Garlic. Onions. Bell peppers. Peeling and cutting an apple. Shaving radishes. Chopping potatoes. Slicing, dicing and mincing carrots. Mincing herbs. Handling chicken breasts.

I’ll cut to the chase. The winner of my small test was the Tanaka. Not by a longshot, mind you. Performance of all these knives was extremely close.

Tanaka does have a rep, or at least his earlier knives did, of inconsistency. Yet a handful of people have used mine. The consensus seems to be that I got a superb rendition. I think so. It’s my favorite knife and only one of two that I will never part with.

A brief summary of the four knives:

Tanaka - Handled everything well. I haven’t sharpened it in several months despite regular use and it was still as sharp as the other three, all of which were sharpened recently.

The Tanaka is the best rocker and all-rounder of the four. It matched or exceeded every other knife in every test except shaving radishes. On that one the Doi was the winner. The somewhat KS-like profile and thin, long tip of the Doi resulted in the thinnest radish shavings.

Doi - Shaving radishes was the only test the Doi clearly won. Precise tasks like mincing onions are where it excels.
I preferred the Doi least with onions and carrots. It did not flick thru onions quite as easily and it was run of the mill - relatively speaking - on carrots. For j knives, that is.

This is not a criticism. The Doi just happened to be up against very stout competition.

Akebono - Best carrot cutter I’ve used. Never a hint of cracking,even on long slices of thick carrots. Above average on onions. Surprisingly good with raw and cooked meats. Potatoes didn’t move when I sliced and diced.

Drawbacks? Not a great rocker and fell short on mincing herbs. The tip was fluent, but it could not shave radishes as thinly as the Doi or Sekiso.

Takayuki Damascus - The most expensive of the bunch. The Takayuki performed very similar to the Sekiso and Akebono. It couldn’t shave radishes quite as thinly as the Tanaka, but it rocks better than the Akebono. Food separation was near or at the top.

I need more time with this one. At times it surprised me with the ease of its performance despite a thick grind and heavy weight (8.3 ounces). The best looker of the bunch, but of course the price reflects that.

***
These are all excellent knives. Aside from Sekiso, though, I am not sure would buy or keep the others. The Doi and Akebono are on loan from George. The Takayuki I just bought. All three weigh more than 8 ounces - well above the top end (7.5 to 7.6 oz) of my preferred weight range.

The Takayuki wears its weight best. The handle is light and the blade is undersized for a 240. Most of the weight is concentrated, and well distributed, in a blade running about 233mm or so.

Even with a stabilized wood custom handle, my sekiso falls around 7.5 oz and it feels even lighter.

I feel quite comfortable recommending the Akebono, though. Tremendous knife. Were it a touch lighter and a bit thinner at the tip, it would be right up my alley.
Jeffry B

Chefspence
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Re: Night of the Long Knives - Doi, Sekiso, Akebono, Takayuki

Post by Chefspence » Fri Dec 01, 2017 1:44 pm

Interesting read. Thank you. I'm curious to hear more of your thoughts on the Takayuki if you have any.

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Re: Night of the Long Knives - Doi, Sekiso, Akebono, Takayuki

Post by Georgek » Fri Dec 01, 2017 1:57 pm

Sounds like some real fun times with cool knives! I am jealous! Thank you for taking the time for the write up Jeffry!

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Re: Night of the Long Knives - Doi, Sekiso, Akebono, Takayuki

Post by Robstreperous » Fri Dec 01, 2017 2:16 pm

jbart65 wrote:
Fri Dec 01, 2017 10:28 am
Doi - Shaving radishes was the only test the Doi clearly won. Precise tasks like mincing onions are where it excels. inner at the tip, it would be right up my alley.
Hi Jeffry. I hope this isn't too personal a question but... How exactly do you shave your radishes?

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jbart65
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Re: Night of the Long Knives - Doi, Sekiso, Akebono, Takayuki

Post by jbart65 » Fri Dec 01, 2017 2:30 pm

Damn, that's a real personal question, Rob. (-:

Just as you'd expect. Slicing the radishes as thinly as possible. Cut a small spot on the non-root end so I can lay the radish flat on the board without wobbling. Then slice down.

The knives with the most fluent tips consistently get paperthin cuts - or even thinner - without requiring excessive steadiness of hand. The best I've ever used, by a hair, was the ... Yahiko B#2 210. I've got a photo somewhere on this board.

The Koishi, HD2 and KS are in the same league.

Right now I use my Kono HD W#2, Koishi or Tanaka ginsan.

I make a lot of elaborate salads with contrasting textures. Sometimes I cut cukes thick, for example, while other times I shave or cut them very thin. Ditto with onions. Radishes I almost always shave. You can use a peeler or hand-held mandoline as well.

My tendencies push me toward knives with very thin tips and the ability to rock on herbs, but they have to be able to chop well too. I've gotten more finicky about what's in my collection. Not a ton of 240s can do all that I ask with aplomb.

Oh, and thanks George for letting me try your knives! I'll send you my Tanaka soon enough. The Takayuki ... depends on whether I keep it.
Jeffry B

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Re: Night of the Long Knives - Doi, Sekiso, Akebono, Takayuki

Post by Robstreperous » Fri Dec 01, 2017 3:56 pm

Thanks Jeffry. I'm going to try my radishes this weekend with my Doi. So far my champ's been my Takeda Bunka.... this will be a very different experience I'm sure.

I have a hunch the Kashima would do very well with this but it'll need to wait for a bit. Out for rehandling....

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Re: Night of the Long Knives - Doi, Sekiso, Akebono, Takayuki

Post by Altadan » Thu Dec 07, 2017 7:47 pm

This was a pleasure to read.
Also, it's this sorta high praise that clinched my decision finally to get the Tanaka for myself, too.
I've never tried shaving radishes with it, but I can certainly say I keep being surprised by how fluently, as you say, it moves through product - body tip and all - despite its robust build.
[the only shortcoming I have noticed comes out when dicing sweet potatoes. They tend to "clak!"]

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Re: Night of the Long Knives - Doi, Sekiso, Akebono, Takayuki

Post by jbart65 » Fri Dec 08, 2017 8:15 am

No one knife, of course, is Excalibur. They all have shortcomings. For my really fine detailed work, for example, I pull out my Koishi and for heavy chopping a nakiri.

My Sekiso is my best all-rounder - even does great on sweeties - but it's always nice to have a few other options.

Next time you have coin, Dan, I'd recommend a Koishi. Very different from the Sekiso and a mind-blower like few other J knives.
Jeffry B

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Re: Night of the Long Knives - Doi, Sekiso, Akebono, Takayuki

Post by Kit Craft » Fri Dec 08, 2017 8:40 am

jbart65 wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 8:15 am
No one knife, of course, is Excalibur. They all have shortcomings. For my really fine detailed work, for example, I pull out my Koishi and for heavy chopping a nakiri.

My Sekiso is my best all-rounder - even does great on sweeties - but it's always nice to have a few other options.

Next time you have coin, Dan, I'd recommend a Koishi. Very different from the Sekiso and a mind-blower like few other J knives.
See, I think the same but my wife thinks we are both sick and that we should only need one gyuto. :shock: She was just going on about there being other knives out there such as petty knives and paring knives and butcher knifes and how I should use one of those if my gyuto is not the right tool for the job rather than reaching for another gyuto. To her, we are making excuses to buy more knives and of course she is right, at least to an extent. :lol:

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Re: Night of the Long Knives - Doi, Sekiso, Akebono, Takayuki

Post by jbart65 » Fri Dec 08, 2017 9:31 am

Well, I've got a honesuki, a 150mm petty, one santoku (wife), a nakiri, a 210, a 9-inch German chefs knife for tough stuff and assorted 240s. Someday I will get a sujihiki. Maybe even a 90mm parer even though I rarely use them - if just to get rid of my wife's two Wusthof parers. She uses parers all the time.

But yeah, I could do everything with just one gyuto. My barebones kit would still include one smaller knife like a santoku or petty for single or simple tasks: An apple or carrot. A pickle. Slivering garlic for a simple oil and garlic pasta.

I am actually getting close to the end of my "I've gotta try everything phase." It's been insane, frankly. I am mostly satisfied and plan to just dabble here and there going forward.
Jeffry B

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Re: Night of the Long Knives - Doi, Sekiso, Akebono, Takayuki

Post by Kalaeb » Fri Dec 08, 2017 9:43 am

Nice write up. Tanaka does not get as much love as they deserve. I have enjoyed every one I used and think they need some more air time.

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Re: Night of the Long Knives - Doi, Sekiso, Akebono, Takayuki

Post by Kit Craft » Fri Dec 08, 2017 9:45 am

Kalaeb wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 9:43 am
Nice write up. Tanaka does not get as much love as they deserve. I have enjoyed every one I used and think they need some more air time.
Idk, Tanaka got a lot of love for quite some time but I think it has just faded over the past few years. Also, it is still a go to rec at a few other places. However, I agree that it gets overlooked more often than it should.

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Re: Night of the Long Knives - Doi, Sekiso, Akebono, Takayuki

Post by Altadan » Fri Dec 08, 2017 10:16 am

jbart65 wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 8:15 am

Next time you have coin, Dan, I'd recommend a Koishi. Very different from the Sekiso and a mind-blower like few other J knives.
I'll be sure to keep that in mind, but more than coin, I think it's the desire (of my wife) to stay sane.
My excuse for one more knife is the room we have on the magnet strip. There's place for just... one... more :)

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Re: Night of the Long Knives - Doi, Sekiso, Akebono, Takayuki

Post by Chefspence » Fri Dec 08, 2017 7:44 pm

jbart65 wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 9:31 am
Well, I've got a honesuki, a 150mm petty, one santoku (wife), a nakiri, a 210, a 9-inch German chefs knife for tough stuff and assorted 240s. Someday I will get a sujihiki. Maybe even a 90mm parer even though I rarely use them - if just to get rid of my wife's two Wusthof parers. She uses parers all the time.

But yeah, I could do everything with just one gyuto. My barebones kit would still include one smaller knife like a santoku or petty for single or simple tasks: An apple or carrot. A pickle. Slivering garlic for a simple oil and garlic pasta.

I am actually getting close to the end of my "I've gotta try everything phase." It's been insane, frankly. I am mostly satisfied and plan to just dabble here and there going forward.
I wanna here your diatribe on knives. Please take the time to write a comprehensive report 3000 words or more double spaced :lol:

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Re: Night of the Long Knives - Doi, Sekiso, Akebono, Takayuki

Post by Kit Craft » Fri Dec 08, 2017 9:35 pm

Chefspence wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 7:44 pm
jbart65 wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 9:31 am
Well, I've got a honesuki, a 150mm petty, one santoku (wife), a nakiri, a 210, a 9-inch German chefs knife for tough stuff and assorted 240s. Someday I will get a sujihiki. Maybe even a 90mm parer even though I rarely use them - if just to get rid of my wife's two Wusthof parers. She uses parers all the time.

But yeah, I could do everything with just one gyuto. My barebones kit would still include one smaller knife like a santoku or petty for single or simple tasks: An apple or carrot. A pickle. Slivering garlic for a simple oil and garlic pasta.

I am actually getting close to the end of my "I've gotta try everything phase." It's been insane, frankly. I am mostly satisfied and plan to just dabble here and there going forward.
I wanna here your diatribe on knives. Please take the time to write a comprehensive report 3000 words or more double spaced :lol:
1.5 spaced!

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Re: Night of the Long Knives - Doi, Sekiso, Akebono, Takayuki

Post by fuzion » Sun Dec 10, 2017 10:22 am

Can you also summarize briefly the profile/grind/weight of each knife that made a difference in cutting different things?

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Re: Night of the Long Knives - Doi, Sekiso, Akebono, Takayuki

Post by Altadan » Sun Dec 10, 2017 11:01 am

Kit Craft wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 9:45 am
Kalaeb wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 9:43 am
Nice write up. Tanaka does not get as much love as they deserve. I have enjoyed every one I used and think they need some more air time.
Idk, Tanaka got a lot of love for quite some time but I think it has just faded over the past few years. Also, it is still a go to rec at a few other places. However, I agree that it gets overlooked more often than it should.
I think anyone who goes about looking into the Tanaka offerings on CKTG and the forum will pause at two points; a) fully reactive, and b) oft-commented-on handle.
I imagine that if they slapped one of those semi-custom handles on it, with a little advertisement, it would be getting a wholelottalove all over again. Apart from the above two points, these forums are replete with agreement and praise for the Sekiso

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Kit Craft
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Re: Night of the Long Knives - Doi, Sekiso, Akebono, Takayuki

Post by Kit Craft » Sun Dec 10, 2017 11:38 am

Altadan wrote:
Sun Dec 10, 2017 11:01 am
Kit Craft wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 9:45 am
Kalaeb wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 9:43 am
Nice write up. Tanaka does not get as much love as they deserve. I have enjoyed every one I used and think they need some more air time.
Idk, Tanaka got a lot of love for quite some time but I think it has just faded over the past few years. Also, it is still a go to rec at a few other places. However, I agree that it gets overlooked more often than it should.
I think anyone who goes about looking into the Tanaka offerings on CKTG and the forum will pause at two points; a) fully reactive, and b) oft-commented-on handle.
I imagine that if they slapped one of those semi-custom handles on it, with a little advertisement, it would be getting a wholelottalove all over again. Apart from the above two points, these forums are replete with agreement and praise for the Sekiso
That takes away from the value aspect of a Tanaka. They are low cost but have great performance. Adding $75-90 takes a lot away from that. Tanaka also has more than one line so fully reactive does not have to be an issue. I also find the "handle issue" to be exaggerated but many disagree with me.

Tanaka gets press, where needed by users but not only the molds sold here. The B#2 Nashiji and G3 lines are popular as are the western VG-10. There is also the Wa VG-10 damascus here on CKTG and the Nasjiji Wa VG10 elsewhere.

Also, many Tanaka knives are sold out fairly frequently all over the web so I don't think he has an issue selling them. :lol: I wish the lines here were expanded!

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