Entry level gyuto recommendation

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filthysven
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Entry level gyuto recommendation

Post by filthysven » Sun Jun 24, 2018 6:18 pm

I'm graduating and starting a new job soon and was looking to celebrate by upgrading my kitchen knives a bit. My main focus is on all-purpose knives for pretty heavy home use, so probably a 210mm gyuto. I have some old cheap western style knives that are big and heavy, but hardly very nice. They've served me well and will probably be my practice knives for a while as I learn to sharpen, which right now I'm planning to do on a Suehiro Cerax 1k/3k combo stone.

So for what I'm looking for: I plan to get one big heavy western blade to replace the one I'm retiring. I'll use it for jobs I'd be afraid of putting frailer knives through, and just because its what I'm comfortable with and want to have something to fall back on when I'm unsure of what the thinner knives can do, so I'm not too worried about the use cases of the new Japanese knife. My budget from $100 to $200, since it seems like the number and quality of options really seems to explode in that range. Looks are pretty important to me, since I'm a home cook and the knife spends a good amount of time on my wall I want it to look nice while there. I like relatively simple looking blades (not huge into damascus/hammered finishes), and its a big bonus if it has a nice brown or red wood handle and etched kanji.

1)Pro or home cook? Home cook with pretty heavy usage
2)What kind of knife do you want? Gyuto
3) What size knife do you want? 210mm
4)How much do you want to spend? <$200
5) Do you prefer all stainless, stainless clad over reactive carbon, or all reactive carbon construction? Definitely prefer stainless
6)Do you prefer Western or Japanese handle? Western
7)What are your main knife/knives now? Heavy stainless german knives, 210mm. one santoku and one slicer.
8)Are your knife skills excellent, good, fair? Good, but definitely not professional. I take my time when cooking, though, so I'm careful enough to avoid most damage to the knives.
9)What cutting techniques do you prefer? Are you a rocker, chopper or push/pull cutter? I heavily prefer push/pull cutting and slicing motions in general. I do some rocking depending on ingredients, and not much chopping.
10)Do you know how to sharpen? Plan to learn, but currently am inexperienced.

Knives I'm looking at right now:
Takamura Migaki R2 is basically my dream knife from a style standpoint, it's gorgeous. I also like that it's very light and thin, since that's what I'm most wanting to try in moving into Japanese knives, I'm just worried that it might be a little too light and thin for a main workhorse, and maybe a bit too finicky for my first Japanese knife. Right now a pretty heavy leader though.

Makoto western SG-2 is much simpler looking, but still pretty attractive and looks a bit more sturdy and hefty. Also seems to be a relatively new offering from a well respected maker so I'm kind of intrigued.

Kanehide PS60 is a fair bit cheaper, and I can't help but like the idea of saving some money. Looks to be a good all-around knife, kind a jack of all trades. I've been wondering if maybe it would be better as a first Japanese knife over the harder/possibly more difficult R2/SG2 offerings above.

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Altadan
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Re: Entry level gyuto recommendation

Post by Altadan » Sun Jun 24, 2018 7:48 pm

Hi there,

congratulations on your new job, and welcome to the forum :)
The two top knives (note, R2 and SG2 are similar\identical steels) are laser knives.
The Migaki has enjoyed critical acclaim by all who've used it. "it ghosts through product" is often the phrase that go along with it. Another note on the Migaki is that it certainly is a thinner blade.

The Makoto is a newcomer, and is currently enjoying a passaround you may want to peek into here viewtopic.php?f=15&t=6794

So far so good, and it seems to be a laser (or laser-like... the jury is still out).

The PS60 is an excellent blade, on all accounts I've heard. It's edge-retention is not on par with the first two listings, but will sharpen up nice and quick.

Those are my 2 cents :)

filthysven
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Joined: Sun Jun 24, 2018 5:54 pm

Re: Entry level gyuto recommendation

Post by filthysven » Sun Jun 24, 2018 8:04 pm

Hi, thanks for the help! When picking out knives to look into I was definitely on the lookout for laser-like knives since they kind of encapsulate most of the advantages I hear Japanese knives have to offer, I just wanted to make sure they weren't going to be too finicky to deal with for a first nice knife. I'm also sure that after spending so long with the big heavy knives I have that just about any of the higher level offerings here will feel pretty laser like to me, so I wasn't sure if it would be wise to jump right into the deep end. Thanks for pointing out the passaround, too, I'll definitely have a look there to read more about the Makoto.

sac36555
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Re: Entry level gyuto recommendation

Post by sac36555 » Sun Jun 24, 2018 8:44 pm

I highly recommend not overthinking your first J-knife purchase. This will be the first of many knives you buy. The weight difference from a German to a Japanese knife is huge, mainly because of the handle and where the balance point is.

If you’re looking for an all-around knife on the thinner side in SS, I’d recommend the K&S Tanaka Ginsan Nashiji with the K&S special. The Ginsan Stainless is much easier to sharpen than VG-10, takes a sharper edge, and has great edge retention. You can customize the handles to whatever color you want

filthysven
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Re: Entry level gyuto recommendation

Post by filthysven » Sun Jun 24, 2018 8:53 pm

Thanks, and I get what you mean about not overthinking it; I'm sure I'll be very happy with anything I pick up as they all sound like they're very well loved. I don't know for sure that I'll be getting many more knives, though, as I fully expect this one to last me for a very long time. I'll probably eventually pick up some other utility pieces like a petty and probably a santoku at some point, but I don't know that I'll ever be enough of a collector to have multiple gyutos in my kitchen at once.

sac36555
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Re: Entry level gyuto recommendation

Post by sac36555 » Sun Jun 24, 2018 9:15 pm

filthysven wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 8:53 pm
Thanks, and I get what you mean about not overthinking it; I'm sure I'll be very happy with anything I pick up as they all sound like they're very well loved. I don't know for sure that I'll be getting many more knives, though, as I fully expect this one to last me for a very long time. I'll probably eventually pick up some other utility pieces like a petty and probably a santoku at some point, but I don't know that I'll ever be enough of a collector to have multiple gyutos in my kitchen at once.
That’s a J-knife virgin answer, lol! I promise you that once you use a really good J-knife, you will want to buy more and more. J-knives are so much more than thinner blades....it’s better steel, better heat treats, different grinds, aesthetics, different distribution of weight, etc. My advise is start out with a Stainless that’s a good all-around profile, then from there you will figure out what you want more of and then your next knife will be geared more toward that preference.

The other beauty of buying J-knives is if you end up not liking one, they are very easy to sell on the BSTs! If you want a stainless laser a Gesshin Ginga is another great option!

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Altadan
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Re: Entry level gyuto recommendation

Post by Altadan » Sun Jun 24, 2018 10:22 pm

Sac36555 is right on that one.
I was where you are about a year ago... I've owned 6, to date, and currently hold on to 4 (and have been party to a dozen passarounds, too).

If you made as far as the forum to ask your question, you are likely overthinking things right now.
I've a feeling that's unavoidable, so don't worry if you're already overthinking it.

With regards to the offerings on the site, or Jknives in general, it is not quite true that they will all feel laser like, but they will all be different than your western\german style blades. To be more specific, what differentiates Jknives from the European stock is their hardness - most j-knives are hardened to HRC 60 and northwards, which means they can not only take, but also hold and retain a more acute edge than the softer European knives would.

What makes the journey so exciting and diverse, however, are the various grinds\geometries the different smiths give their knives; some are thin, some are middle, some are heavy. Of all of those, some have wide bevels, others are convex all the way though. There are many more variations, but what I wanted to say is this; some j-knives might be as heavy as a European, and many times much thicker, too (!) but their cutting performance is not diminished - on the contrary.

I myself own a Tanaka B#2, and the first thing I noticed about it - apart from how drop dead gorgeous it was - is how hefty is! It's got well over 2mm at the spine, and it is even thicker below the spine! But that's the convex grind right there. She cuts like a dream :) (but completely reactive...)

Anyway, I hope this helps.
The Migaki is a great choice. Have you seen the nice video clip on the product page?
A Tanaka VG10 looks as pretty as the B#2, and many agree is among the best renditions of VG10 steel you can find (despite it's slight inferiority to its Ginsan counterpart, which is more understated in appearance).

nakneker
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Re: Entry level gyuto recommendation

Post by nakneker » Sun Jun 24, 2018 10:38 pm

All three knives you posted as choices are good pics. A Makato 210 was my first j knife, still have it today and love it. I had a Takamura 180 and it’s still the sharpest factory edge I’ve ever used, the way it went through ingredients left your jaw hanging. I haven’t own any of the Kanehides but I hear good things about them. I think the Makatos are the most bang for the buck, I can see those knives going up In price as demand keep growing. I like what Altadan mentioned about over thinking it BTW, if you buy a knife and decide it’s really not for you list on the classifieds and you’ll lose 15-20% if its been taken care of. Welcome to the forum!
“The goal is to die with memories, not dreams.”

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Jeff B
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Re: Entry level gyuto recommendation

Post by Jeff B » Mon Jun 25, 2018 2:47 am

Just from your OP and initial attraction the Makoto Western SG2, it would be a good knife for you. It is an elegant looking knife without being audacious. Edge retention is above average considering your not sharpening yet and it's not a hard steel to sharpen if you decide to learn. It's a very good performer that will give you years of great service.

Welcome to the forum and keep asking the questions and you'll get plenty of help!
If God wanted me to be a vegetarian he wouldn't have made animals taste so good.

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lsboogy
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Re: Entry level gyuto recommendation

Post by lsboogy » Mon Jun 25, 2018 7:16 am

I'm thinking you would be happy with any of the knives you are looking at. I've been collecting Japanese knives for 30 years (buy at least one or two a year - don't sell them either). The steel and grinds are marvelous in most of them, much better than the knives from Germany and France. I might look into something with a "wa" handle as well - the knife will be lighter and it encourages better knife skills.

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