Which Bunka

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keithmarder
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Which Bunka

Post by keithmarder » Mon Feb 19, 2018 9:09 am

1)Pro or home cook? Serious home cook

2)What kind of knife do you want? (Gyuto, Santuko, Petty, Paring, Sujihiki, etc.) Bunka

3) What size knife do you want? The bigger side of Bunka 170 or plus

4)How much do you want to spend? $200ish

5) Do you prefer all stainless, stainless clad over reactive carbon, or all reactive carbon construction? No preference

6)Do you prefer Western or Japanese handle? Japanese wooden handle

7)What are your main knife/knives now? Masakage 210 Yuki Gyuto , a Henkel paring knife and a set of crappy Calphalon (save me)

8)Are your knife skills excellent, good, fair? Excellent

9)What cutting techniques do you prefer? Are you a rocker, chopper or push/pull cutter? Chopper with a little push/pull. If I have to I will rock.

10)Do you know how to sharpen? No.

Hi everyone and Happy President's Day,

As you see above, I am looking for a Bunka as the next knife in my collection.

Since I love my Masakage Yuki Gyoto, I like their offering. But it, an my other top choices -- the Matsubara ( a suggestion from Mark) and Kurosaki Laser -- are out of stock.

I came across the Anru, which is available.

My question is, what do people think of the Anru vs. my other choices and if it is worth waiting for one of the others to be back in stock? I am also open to any and all suggestions.

https://www.chefknivestogo.com/mayubu17.html

https://www.chefknivestogo.com/mawh1bu15.html

https://www.chefknivestogo.com/rilaasbu16.html

https://www.chefknivestogo.com/anbl2bu17.html

This Takeda also caught my eye, but it is also out of stock and a whole different style. But looks oh, so cool.

https://www.chefknivestogo.com/taki24.html

As always, thaks so much,

Keith

Rufus Leaking
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Re: Which Bunka

Post by Rufus Leaking » Mon Feb 19, 2018 10:13 am

My suggestion is based on your inexperience with sharpening. I think I have a reasonable alternative. I would get the Misuzu SKS93 Bunka.It is in stock, and goes for $60. It has a unique handle, albeit cheap, it is slightly angled and really fun to use. While shortish @ 160mm, the steel is really easy to sharpen-ideal for a beginning sharpener- you’re going to need to learn at some point, and it’s really not difficult, but there is a learning curve. I would also put $55 down on a combination stone- the Cerax 1k/3k. The other stone that comes to mind is the imanishi 1k/6k which also costs $55. Your total comes to $115. If you want a “better” Bunka at a later date, you will have some practice in sharpening, and that Misuzu will still be there for things like hard root vegetables and general duties, and it requires almost zero care. I would steer you toward a white steel, as I find blue steels in general to be more difficult to sharpen. Your Yuki is going to need sharpening. Watch some videos, get the angle guides @ $11 when they come back in stock. Once you “get” the angle thing down, and can maintain a consistent angle, sharpening white steel is really rewarding, and is absolutely necessary.

keithmarder
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Re: Which Bunka

Post by keithmarder » Mon Feb 19, 2018 10:23 am

Rufus Leaking wrote:
Mon Feb 19, 2018 10:13 am
My suggestion is based on your inexperience with sharpening. I think I have a reasonable alternative. I would get the Misuzu SKS93 Bunka.It is in stock, and goes for $60. It has a unique handle, albeit cheap, it is slightly angled and really fun to use. While shortish @ 160mm, the steel is really easy to sharpen-ideal for a beginning sharpener- you’re going to need to learn at some point, and it’s really not difficult, but there is a learning curve. I would also put $55 down on a combination stone- the Cerax 1k/3k. The other stone that comes to mind is the imanishi 1k/6k which also costs $55. Your total comes to $115. If you want a “better” Bunka at a later date, you will have some practice in sharpening, and that Misuzu will still be there for things like hard root vegetables and general duties, and it requires almost zero care. I would steer you toward a white steel, as I find blue steels in general to be more difficult to sharpen. Your Yuki is going to need sharpening. Watch some videos, get the angle guides @ $11 when they come back in stock. Once you “get” the angle thing down, and can maintain a consistent angle, sharpening white steel is really rewarding, and is absolutely necessary.
Thank you for your well-thought-out response. I know this places me in the minority, but I am not interested in sharpening. I just feel it is a job that should be left to professionals. My plan is to get a few versatile knives so when I have to send one in for sharpening, I will have something to use. Sharpening looks like a patient man's game, and knowing myself the way I do, I will get careless as time goes on. I value the quality of these knives too much to potentially ruin one.

Bensbites
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Re: Which Bunka

Post by Bensbites » Mon Feb 19, 2018 10:29 am

keithmarder wrote:
Mon Feb 19, 2018 10:23 am
Rufus Leaking wrote:
Mon Feb 19, 2018 10:13 am
My suggestion is based on your inexperience with sharpening. I think I have a reasonable alternative. I would get the Misuzu SKS93 Bunka.It is in stock, and goes for $60. It has a unique handle, albeit cheap, it is slightly angled and really fun to use. While shortish @ 160mm, the steel is really easy to sharpen-ideal for a beginning sharpener- you’re going to need to learn at some point, and it’s really not difficult, but there is a learning curve. I would also put $55 down on a combination stone- the Cerax 1k/3k. The other stone that comes to mind is the imanishi 1k/6k which also costs $55. Your total comes to $115. If you want a “better” Bunka at a later date, you will have some practice in sharpening, and that Misuzu will still be there for things like hard root vegetables and general duties, and it requires almost zero care. I would steer you toward a white steel, as I find blue steels in general to be more difficult to sharpen. Your Yuki is going to need sharpening. Watch some videos, get the angle guides @ $11 when they come back in stock. Once you “get” the angle thing down, and can maintain a consistent angle, sharpening white steel is really rewarding, and is absolutely necessary.
Thank you for your well-thought-out response. I know this places me in the minority, but I am not interested in sharpening. I just feel it is a job that should be left to professionals. My plan is to get a few versatile knives so when I have to send one in for sharpening, I will have something to use. Sharpening looks like a patient man's game, and knowing myself the way I do, I will get careless as time goes on. I value the quality of these knives too much to potentially ruin one.

I respect your wants and desires, it sounds like you have thought about it.

I will say, sharpening is not that difficult, and I wouldn’t trust most services to do it right. I would trust the major players that focus on jknives and several of the sharpeners I have seen online.

Good luck.

Lepus
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Re: Which Bunka

Post by Lepus » Mon Feb 19, 2018 12:28 pm

I think it is usually preferable for people who don't sharpen to stick to harder steels that limit how frequently the knife needs to see a stone. Blue #2 is okay for this, but certainly not optimal. If your sharpener is decent he will not struggle getting a knife sharp and the big draw to steels like white #2 and blue #2 is that they sharpen easily, so there is no reason to consider mosy reactive steels. PM steels like HAP40 and R2 will give you more time with the knife. Aogami super can work out alright, too.

Kurosaki makes an R2 line that I would consider here. I have no experience with this line, but there is a lot of information out there about them you can read.

https://www.chefknivestogo.com/kur2wabu16.html

There are also the Shibata knives. Also out of stock, but they seem to restock quickly. They're great, thinner knives that cut quite well and would be a good counterpoint to your Yuki.

https://www.chefknivestogo.com/shkobu17.html

snipes
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Re: Which Bunka

Post by snipes » Mon Feb 19, 2018 3:38 pm

I'm with Lepus on this one. If you don't plan to learn to sharpen (can I place a wager on that 24 months from now??) stick to wear resistant steels. My first foree into japanese cutlery was with an AS steeled Hiromoto santoku. I paid to have it sharpened before it landed on my door step. I of course cut myself the first time I took it out of the box and I was hooked. I used it about a year, maybe more, before I realized it was now no sharper than my Henkels and the pull through ceramic sharpener that I used on that German stuff. The mrs. took pity on me and bought me a sharpening setup.
So, in carbon I'd say look at AS or 52100. In PM look at the R2/SG2 or HAP40 offerings. Does Kohetsu make a Hap40 bunka?

I see Moritaka has a 170 AS bunka. If you don't mind the rustic finish he does a fantastic heat treat. Plus it's under budget and in stock.

gladius
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Re: Which Bunka

Post by gladius » Mon Feb 19, 2018 4:45 pm


keithmarder
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Re: Which Bunka

Post by keithmarder » Mon Feb 19, 2018 7:17 pm

You guys are all great. But making these decisions is so tough. Every time I read about a knife or watch one of Steve's videos, I am like -- that's the one and then seem to find one miniscule detail to hold me up.

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jbart65
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Re: Which Bunka

Post by jbart65 » Tue Feb 20, 2018 11:46 am

I was very leery of learning to sharpen when I first starting buying j knives. Not anymore.

Why? 1)The cost for pro sharpening over time is quite high. 2)Many sharpeners don't have much experience with Japanese knives. 3)And a user loses out on having an ultra-keen edge all the time.

Does it require a time commitment? Sure. Especially at first. But it's not hard to learn and eventually you can get to the point at which very little time is involved.

Think about it this way. Most knifes except for PM steels are going to noticeably get duller after extended use - no less than six months and as little as two or three. You can send a knife out to be sharpened, say, once every six months. Sharpening costs $10 to $15 for a good pro. That's $30 a year. But if you want it really sharp, you might spend $60 a year.

It adds up, but if money is no problem, it's a perfectly fine way to go.

You also have to find a good local sharpener. That's not easy. And don't trust a place like Sur La Table or a basic hardware store. Sur La Table uses a commercial Chef's Choice machine and hardware stores often take off too much metal.

The worst part is not having a super-sharp knife on hand at all times. I am addicted to having my knives as sharp as possible. Nowadays that requires as little as 10 minutes total every month for my 15-20 J knives (German ones take more time). Mostly I just strop on a 6K stone. I only go lower periodically if the 6K can't do it anymore.

Heck, sometimes just a few passes on balsa wood loaded with diamond paste does the trick.

If anything, Keith, you should get a stropping kit with diamond paste. Sort of like using a steel rod. No water involved. Takes just a minute or two. And you can keep a knife sharp for a much longer period of time to spread out the pro sharpenings and keep your ownership costs down.
Last edited by jbart65 on Tue Feb 20, 2018 1:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Jeffry B

Bensbites
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Re: Which Bunka

Post by Bensbites » Tue Feb 20, 2018 12:00 pm

jbart65 wrote:
Tue Feb 20, 2018 11:46 am
I was very leery of learning to sharpen when I first starting buying j knives. Not anymore

If anything, Keith, you should get a stropping kit with diamond paste. Sort of like using a steel rod. No water involved. Takes just a minute or two. And you can keep a knife sharp for a much longer period of time to spread out the pro sharpenings and keep your ownership costs down.
I agree with jbarts entire post, but particularly like the advice above. I will be using this advice whenever somebody tells me they don’t want to lear to sharpen.

keithmarder
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Re: Which Bunka

Post by keithmarder » Tue Feb 20, 2018 1:17 pm

My plan is to send them directly into Chef Knives to Go. I know I will get superior sharpening and likely better than anything I am able to achieve. If I need a local place I am in Manhattan and there is at least one Japanese knife place downtown I know I can use.

SteveG
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Re: Which Bunka

Post by SteveG » Wed Feb 21, 2018 9:57 pm

Keith,

I own or have used quite a few Bunka knives and I think as Lepus suggested the Shibata R-2 Bunka might be right up your alley. The Anryu B#2 Hammered Bunka is a very capable knife, but the Shibata is more of a true laser performer with excellent edge retention. From your technique description, the Shibata edge profile sounds like it would fit you perfectly. It will be a larger contrast to your Yuki than the Anryu, if you're looking to widen your knife experience.

keithmarder
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Re: Which Bunka

Post by keithmarder » Thu Feb 22, 2018 6:59 am

You guys are all great. I can't wait to find a good one that is in stock. I am thinking this one, but can't find enough info on it....
Yoshimitsu AS Bunka 180mm

snipes
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Re: Which Bunka

Post by snipes » Thu Feb 22, 2018 7:14 am

There are quite extensive reviews of the Yoshimitsu AS Nakiri and the Fugen bunka in the passaround subforum. If you haven't read those already it may provide an overview of the maker's general style.

Bensbites
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Re: Which Bunka

Post by Bensbites » Thu Feb 22, 2018 8:51 am

snipes wrote:
Thu Feb 22, 2018 7:14 am
There are quite extensive reviews of the Yoshimitsu AS Nakiri and the Fugen bunka in the passaround subforum. If you haven't read those already it may provide an overview of the maker's general style.
For what it’s worth, I used the Fugen during the passaround and I have a Yoshimitsu Blue 2 bunka. They are very different knives with different grinds. I don’t know where the AS serious lies, but I thought it worth mentioning.

keithmarder
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Re: Which Bunka

Post by keithmarder » Thu Feb 22, 2018 10:01 am

Bensbites wrote:
Thu Feb 22, 2018 8:51 am
snipes wrote:
Thu Feb 22, 2018 7:14 am
There are quite extensive reviews of the Yoshimitsu AS Nakiri and the Fugen bunka in the passaround subforum. If you haven't read those already it may provide an overview of the maker's general style.
For what it’s worth, I used the Fugen during the passaround and I have a Yoshimitsu Blue 2 bunka. They are very different knives with different grinds. I don’t know where the AS serious lies, but I thought it worth mentioning.
Which do you prefer and how would you describe the differences?

Bensbites
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Re: Which Bunka

Post by Bensbites » Thu Feb 22, 2018 10:28 am

keithmarder wrote:
Thu Feb 22, 2018 10:01 am
Bensbites wrote:
Thu Feb 22, 2018 8:51 am
snipes wrote:
Thu Feb 22, 2018 7:14 am
There are quite extensive reviews of the Yoshimitsu AS Nakiri and the Fugen bunka in the passaround subforum. If you haven't read those already it may provide an overview of the maker's general style.
For what it’s worth, I used the Fugen during the passaround and I have a Yoshimitsu Blue 2 bunka. They are very different knives with different grinds. I don’t know where the AS serious lies, but I thought it worth mentioning.
Which do you prefer and how would you describe the differences?
They are just different. There are reviews of of both on this forum and I would encourage you to look at those.

I picked up the blue 2 210 as a return/closeout. I used the Fugen as part of a passaround. The fit and finish of the blue 2 is certainly higher. The blue 2 is thicker behind the edge than the Fugen, but also has more authority. The Fugen is thin and light, it reminds me of my ITK nakiri, they both glide through soft produce.

keithmarder
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Re: Which Bunka

Post by keithmarder » Thu Feb 22, 2018 10:40 am

thank you

keithmarder
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Re: Which Bunka

Post by keithmarder » Fri Feb 23, 2018 4:57 am

Thank you all for the help and advice. ... and the winner is ...
https://www.chefknivestogo.com/kaasbu161.html

Special thanks to @gladius to sending me to the list of Bunkas that sent me in this direction.

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