Second Japanese Knife Advice

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fracuo
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Second Japanese Knife Advice

Post by fracuo » Sat Sep 09, 2017 9:11 am

Hi everyone,

I am new to this forum, so pardon me in case of major mistakes. I have had a Shun Santoku Premiere for a while, and am looking to get another good knife (my birthday's soon so why not?). I read Yoshihiro's are generally very good, and was getting into single edge blades after reading a bit, but. given my ignorance in the matter, I am looking for some advice.

Thanks for your help!

To provide some information:

1)Pro or home cook? I am a home cook

2)What kind of knife do you want? Here, I am not sure. I already have a Santoku, and was wondering what would be more useful/interesting: a Deba, a Gyuto or a Kiritsuke or others. Also, I don't really have a good chef's knife (I use the santoku for most of those tasks)

3) What size knife do you want? Again, not super sure. Probably something between 8 to 10-11 inches (between 210 and 240 mm?). I mean, I'd like something I can use and store conveniently

4)How much do you want to spend? My top budget is around $350-$400, with a slight preference for around $300

5) Do you prefer all stainless, stainless clad over reactive carbon, or all reactive carbon construction? I'd like a good metal - again not much experience, I was reading up about Blue Steel

6)Do you prefer Western or Japanese handle? Either works.

7)What are your main knife/knives now? I have a good Santoku from Shun, and some other cheaper knives.

8)Are your knife skills excellent, good, fair? Good/Fair

9)What cutting techniques do you prefer? Are you a rocker, chopper or push/pull cutter? Not much of a push/pull cutter. Otherwise it depends on what I am cutting

10)Do you know how to sharpen? Yes (I have a ceramic rod. I know it's not comparable to wetstones but...)

Francesco

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Kit Craft
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Re: Second Japanese Knife Advice

Post by Kit Craft » Sat Sep 09, 2017 9:52 am

Unless you are doing specialized protein fabrication or fish butchery I would stick with something more multipurpose than a single bevel of any kind. Your most common suggestion is going to be to go with a Gyuto that is 230-250mm in length. Personally, I like knives in the 185-205mm length but I am the odd one out. Also, you can look at other Santoku or Bunka like knives if you which, however, it sounds like somewhere in your mind you want a gyuto.

My top picks for blue knives around here are a follows:

Anryu Blue #2 hammered (This one is a good all rounder and is stainless clad. It is oos, though.)

http://www.chefknivestogo.com/kaanasgy24.html

Tanaka Sekiso Damascus Blue #2 (I have never owned one but I have used one a few times and this is another great all rounder. It is iron clad and fully reactive.)

http://www.chefknivestogo.com/tanakagyuto1.html

Yahiko Blue #2 shimo (This one is said, by a few, to be similar to the Tanaka and a good all rounder with a more agile tip. I do not own this one and have not used it but I trust those who have reviewed it. It is also fully reactive.)

http://www.chefknivestogo.com/yawh2gy24.html

Wild card:

Kohetsu Blue # 2 Nashiji (Also a good all rounder and stainless clad. I think it is a great knife at its price point.)

http://www.chefknivestogo.com/kobl2nagy24.html

fracuo
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Re: Second Japanese Knife Advice

Post by fracuo » Mon Sep 11, 2017 8:28 am

Thanks!

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Kit Craft
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Re: Second Japanese Knife Advice

Post by Kit Craft » Mon Sep 11, 2017 6:44 pm

fracuo wrote:
Mon Sep 11, 2017 8:28 am
Thanks!
No problem.

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Jsgillis86
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Re: Second Japanese Knife Advice

Post by Jsgillis86 » Wed Sep 13, 2017 11:39 pm

Welcome to the forums Francesco.

Tell me, what all do you know about reactive steel? I don't mean to sound condescending so if I do I apologize. It's just, the last thing we want is for you to drop $300 on a beautiful knife and end up with a pitted drawer queen.

Being as honest and forthcoming as you can be is well appreciated. There are plenty of good people here all willing to help fill in the blanks.

fracuo
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Re: Second Japanese Knife Advice

Post by fracuo » Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:04 pm

Hey Jsgillis86,

Not condescending at all! As you might ( :D ) have imagined I know very little. I've read up in the past couple of weeks or so that blue steel knives (or white steel for what matter) are more delicate to stains if not washed and dried immediately (although that was my understanding for any type of good knife). I also browsed around this forum to understand a bit the differences between the types of knives and the materials. Again, though, very little knowledge - I am excited to get to know more.

I also have a second question: Should I get a whetstone or not (I have a ceramic rod)? And in case, is a synthetic one enough (not really looking to spend $100 on a stone I don't know how to use...)?

Thanks!
Francesco

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Jsgillis86
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Re: Second Japanese Knife Advice

Post by Jsgillis86 » Fri Sep 15, 2017 1:41 pm

I would absolutely get a whetstone. Most of the enjoyment many of us receive from our fancy cutlery (especially carbon steel) derives itself from the fact that it can get so much sharper than what we knew previously.  Of course you can send it to a sharpener to have it serviced every so often, but doing the deed yourself means you will always have a knife in tip top condition (and save yourself some coin to boot).

Your best bet would be to watch a couple YouTube videos (Jon Broida and Peter Nowlan have some great beginner videos), wrap your head around the whole deal and then start a thread asking for advice in the sharpening subforum.  There are plenty of capable, good-hearted people there who are always willing to help you find stones, give advice, etc.

Also, don't be intimidated.  You can take this whole deal as far down the rabbit hole as you see fit (check out Ken Schwartz, that man puts the molecular limitations of steel to the test daily), but at the end of the day you're essentially rubbing steel on a rock, and if the knife ends up sharper than it was before you did what you set out to do.


Right.  Ok, carbon steel care.  During periods when the knife will be at rest, wipe it clean and dry.  If you're having an especially long cutting session, wipe clean and dry a few times during.  If you're cutting anything especially acidic (citrus, tomatoes, etc) wipe more often.  A quick rinse never hurt anybody.

After you're done, soap, rinse and dry your knife.  Let it air dry for a few minutes before you store it away.

Keep baking soda, a wine cork and some Bar Keepers Friend (BKF) on hand at all times.  If rust does rear it's ugly head, make a slurry (a thick-ish paste made from baking soda and water), put some on the knife, get the wine cork out and scrub it off.  If that doesn't work, get the BKF out, put some on a wet cloth and scrub again.  Using BKF should be a last resort as it's very strong stuff.  It will strip your knife of any patina you've since formed and form it's own very, very quickly, so be sure to soap your knife off ASAP afterwards.

Pay special attention to your knife at first.  Once a patina forms your knife becomes entirely more manageable, but until then it is more prone to rust.  I've got a couple that have seen so much use and resultantly formed such thick patinas that I can treat them like stainless.

And that's about it.  Some people find it not worth their time, and a strong case can be made for modern stainless steel.  It's come a long way very quickly in recent years.  But the benefits of proper carbon steel to a sharpener are endless.

How's that sound to ya?  Exciting and intriguing?  Not worth your time?  Let's hear your thoughts on the matter.

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Kit Craft
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Re: Second Japanese Knife Advice

Post by Kit Craft » Fri Sep 15, 2017 3:57 pm

Not that I am capable of adding much to that but I would like to say that carbon steel in and of itself is not that hard to care for, it is iron cladding that will get you! Some iron cladding does NOT like to take to patina and can be a real beast to tame. Yet other renditions take a patina rather quickly...Regardless, don't get scared off if you think it is something you want to try. Just don't answer the phone when grandma calls if you are in the middle of dicing a bag of onions!

Rufus Leaking
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Re: Second Japanese Knife Advice

Post by Rufus Leaking » Fri Sep 15, 2017 8:39 pm

I'm going to recommend what I wish I had chosen as my second knife here: the Misuzu SKS93 160 Bunka. For $60, you get a really nifty blade that you can learn to sharpen, and you will likely never "retire" it after you figure out what you want to do here, in terms of collecting or minimal purchases as you see fit. Before you set your sights on a $350 knife, you should learn how to sharpen it, or risk disappointment because you will soon own a piece of $350 dull steel. I'd recommend at the very minimum a 1000/6000 combination stone.

fracuo
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Re: Second Japanese Knife Advice

Post by fracuo » Sun Sep 17, 2017 12:28 am

Hi everyone,

Thanks so much for all this help! So, whetstones it is. On the knife size: what do you advise? 210mm or 240mm? My Santoku is 7in (so around 200 I think?)

Thanks!

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Jsgillis86
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Re: Second Japanese Knife Advice

Post by Jsgillis86 » Sun Sep 17, 2017 4:04 am

Size is all to be determined by you. I find my preferred range to be somewhere between 240-265mm for gyutos, but I'm also a tall guy with big hands and long skinny fingers. I honestly do wish I could use santokus and most 210s, but I just dwarf the poor bastards.

You'll see the majority vote for 240 over 210 here as a 240 can do anything a 210 can do, not vise versa. But you've also gotta think about who you are as a cutter, how you grip the knife, your size, stature, and the spacial limitations of where you will be doing the bulk of your cutting. As you can see, it's no easy thing to pinpoint without face to face interaction, and even then without you having dialed in on your preferences we're still kinda throwing darts.

A 210 is a safe bet. It's relatively comparable in size to the 8" Germans most know so well and can do more than your santoku given it's extra length.

If you're feeling ballsy and have the real estate, go 240. There might be a little adjustment period, but most find them just as easy to wield as an 8" German.

If you wanna play it super ultra mega safe, go santoku. Most of what you'll find on CKTG will be a hair shorter than your Shun so keep that in mind (inches vs the metric system and all that). But also be aware that you will learn the least going down this route. Is the risk worth the reward? Well, again, that's up to you. I'd vote yes, but I'm passionately curious.

Anyways, enough of this. I think I'm at the point of rambling.

Thoughts?

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Kit Craft
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Re: Second Japanese Knife Advice

Post by Kit Craft » Sun Sep 17, 2017 12:08 pm

Along with size comes profile as well. Most 240's are around 48-50+mm tall, which for me makes them cumbersome when trimming fat and sliver skin. Yes, you could use a petty or a suji for that task or even a boning knife. On the other hand there are loads of 210s on the market that are narrow like a suji or petty or maybe just a wee bit taller. Somewhere in the 41-43mm range. If you want a taller 210, those exist too. Kamo has one that is like 53mm tall, it is also over sized at around 225mm long. And that is the thing with a 210. I have seen them as short as 193mm and as long as 230mm. While shorter 240's exist they are almost always still loads taller.

Now, you can consider oddballs too. If you like your 7 inch santoku they also make 180 and 195mm gyutos. A 180 is typically 37-41mm wide and 185mm long. A big petty. Every 195mm gyuto that I have seen or handled is different than both a 180 and a 210 in that it has the height of a santoku but the profile of a 210 gyuto. Typically 45-48mm tall.

Height/width is an interesting thing, for me. Example: I like something very tall for dicing onions because I don't like them riding up over the spine and falling down on my guide hand. It irritates the hell out of me. Normally with a taller or wider blade I do not have that issue as I run out of onion before that happens. But for trimming meant I like a more narrow gyuto. For pretty much anything else, I could care less. If I had to choose it would be something in the middle. 200-215mm at about 44mm at the heel.

That is just the perspective of one home cook! I know there are loads of opinions on knives out there. The point is that you have much to consider when making a decision.

fracuo
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Re: Second Japanese Knife Advice

Post by fracuo » Sun Sep 17, 2017 3:01 pm

Hello everyone,

thanks a lot for this! I'll start with one 240mm then we'll see. I also kike the idea of getting a shorter/cheaper knife to sharpen. I don't typically use slicers very much here, but at home we cut prosciutto with them and they're amazing. And stainless steel sujis (I've seen) don't cost a ton.

Will come back to let you know how I like them (and ask more questions)

Francesco

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Kit Craft
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Re: Second Japanese Knife Advice

Post by Kit Craft » Sun Sep 17, 2017 3:59 pm

fracuo wrote:
Sun Sep 17, 2017 3:01 pm
Hello everyone,

thanks a lot for this! I'll start with one 240mm then we'll see. I also kike the idea of getting a shorter/cheaper knife to sharpen. I don't typically use slicers very much here, but at home we cut prosciutto with them and they're amazing. And stainless steel sujis (I've seen) don't cost a ton.

Will come back to let you know how I like them (and ask more questions)

Francesco
I like a 100% straight hollow ground ham slicer for slicing up Jamón. I find that I do not like J-knives for the task. Super thin, supper narrow and super straight is what works best for me. A lot of the cheaper stainless suj's are medium thick from the spine to the edge and highly asymmetric. I suppose it could work but it doesn't for me. They work plenty good for loads of other tasks, though!

As for picking up a smaller knife for practice, consider a Santoku as it is not very curvaceous yet still requires a small amount of tip adjustment so that you can practice sharpening the tip. A petty will work better for tip practice but be less easy to sharpen overall. Also, smaller knives have always proven a bit more difficult for me in the beginning as well as with teaching a few others to sharpen. The Tojiro knives are hard to beat for sharpening practice. You can get the newer hairline model for like $30! I prefer the ITK for thinning practice, though. All about priorities. These knives will take a radical edge but not hold it overly long so loads of practicing can be done. :mrgreen:

loco_food_guy
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Re: Second Japanese Knife Advice

Post by loco_food_guy » Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:59 pm

Is the original post correct about Yoshihiro knives? Are they bad? Some of those knives look beautiful but I don't know anything about them.

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Kit Craft
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Re: Second Japanese Knife Advice

Post by Kit Craft » Fri Oct 13, 2017 8:21 am

loco_food_guy wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:59 pm
Is the original post correct about Yoshihiro knives? Are they bad? Some of those knives look beautiful but I don't know anything about them.
If you look at Yoshihiro cutlery I think it is just a name slapped on knives of different makers. Not something that is unique to that company. Look at Sakai Takayuki, there are hundreds if not thousands of knives under that name and the quality is all over the map. I think you will likely find the same with Yoshihiro. Most blades of theirs that I have used have been good quality but on part with pretty much anything else in their price range. I have always been curious about their Mono Ginsan-Ko.

The thing is, I think more vendors do sell their knives under a house brand. A few have hinted at this in the past. It usually is in their budget line, though.

loco_food_guy
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Re: Second Japanese Knife Advice

Post by loco_food_guy » Fri Oct 13, 2017 7:12 pm

Kit Craft wrote:
Fri Oct 13, 2017 8:21 am
loco_food_guy wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:59 pm
Is the original post correct about Yoshihiro knives? Are they bad? Some of those knives look beautiful but I don't know anything about them.
If you look at Yoshihiro cutlery I think it is just a name slapped on knives of different makers. Not something that is unique to that company. Look at Sakai Takayuki, there are hundreds if not thousands of knives under that name and the quality is all over the map. I think you will likely find the same with Yoshihiro. Most blades of theirs that I have used have been good quality but on part with pretty much anything else in their price range. I have always been curious about their Mono Ginsan-Ko.

The thing is, I think more vendors do sell their knives under a house brand. A few have hinted at this in the past. It usually is in their budget line, though.
Yeah I figured that it was different vendors just using the Yoshihiro house name. I could see how that could be a problem not really knowing who is making a particular blade. Something about the Aonamiuchi Blue Steel #2 knives with the rolling waves that they carry that I am drawn to. I haven't really seen that on many other knives. I think maybe a couple of Sukenari knives have that.

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