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Nov 22, 2005 01:37 PM

Ryusen knife question

  • b

Anyone familliar with this brand, especially the honesuku (boning knife). I've got a collection of Shun knives, and a Henckels boning knife, but wondering if I'm missing out on some serious fun with the Ryusens. My cooking teacher has them and seems rather smitten, but I'm curious about others' experiences with them. Also, I need a cleaver so trying to choose a brand for that one.


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  1. I haven't used them, but hear good things - RC63 - that's really hard. Here's a site where you can do some comparing - they also have cleavers.


    1. Ryusen is a well-known (in Japan, that is) knife company that produces really high-end product. They own another well-known company called Hattori among others, and they manufacture knives for many other companies.

      Ryusen makes many different lines, but most are not available in the U.S.

      But I assume you're referring to the photo below. If so, then construction is similar to Shun but the damascus layer is much finer and the blade is a little thinner. Center is made of VG-10, which is one of the best stainless steels used for knives these days (extremely hard steel that can sustain a very fine edge). Sold either as the Ryusen or Hattori or Ittosai brand in the U.S.

      I gave up on the standard Western boning knife years ago. It's my third most used knife after a chef's and a short extra-wide chef's. It's designed specifically for poultry. A heftier and bigger version is called a garasuki. So it depends on what you intend to do with it.

      My experience with Ryusen is with a santoku. Unlike most Japanese knives, they ship fully sharpened, so be prepared. They also grind their edges to a much more acute angle than most Western knives -- probably something like 10 degrees on the front (the side with the Kanji) and 15 degrees on the back. The edge is also very assymetrical (much more grind on the front). Some folks find the Ryusens on the delicate side.

      As far as "missing out on some fun," I can imagine fewer things more fun than breaking down a whole duck or chicken with a honesuki.


      7 Replies
      1. re: jo

        I have the Ryusen 240 MM damascus chefs knife (same style as photo) and LOVE it. Got mine at Japan Woodworker in Alameda and while it felt pricey at the time, I have never regretted it.

        I would have to bone a lot of chickens to justify the expense of this knife though. But hey treat yourself as a Christmas present. The Tojiro knives have a good rep on the budget side of Japanese cutlery. Perhaps has a honesuki in this line that would let you test out the shape with a smaller investment.


        1. re: Nathan P.

          Can I just say how much I love Chowhounds!

          I'm going over to the Epicurean Edge to have my existing blades sharpened this week, so I'm going to try out the Ryusen honesuki there. I know, it's a big expense, but if the BF can treat himself to a laptop, I think I might need a little pre-holiday treat to make the holidays even treatier.


          1. re: Bunny-Bunny

            Well now that hardly sounds like a fair trade. Can I tempt you?

            Please post back if you pick one up.


            1. re: Nathan P.

              Ok. Well, don't think the thought did't cross my mind. However, unless I get a very unexpected and very generous Christmas bonus, I may have to settle for the way cool Ryusen, rather than the to-die-for Hattori. I do, however, intend to test out the grip on that one at the shop.

        2. re: jo

          I have one of these with an oval handle. It cuts beautifully, but the rear corner of the blade is lethal. My veggies always manage to get a bit of blood in them.

          1. re: jo

            Is there any difference in the manufacturing technique "DAMASCUS" between a HATTORI KD DAMASCUS SANTOKU KNIFE ($780.00 @ Chef Knivestogo) or the Ryusen cheif 8.5inches currently on bid ebay 102.00. What I'm trying to fine out is wheather I'm paying for a quality product or just the name.

            1. re: Luis

              I have the Hattori HD-5 and KD-31 Santokus, which both have Damascus construction. With the (much!) more expensive KD, you are paying for a knife hand made by a master craftsman (arguably the best in the world - sorry, Mr Onion). The decoration on the blade is stunningly gorgeous, and the Cowry X powdered steel cutting blade is razor-sharp and rock-hard. Having said this, the knives handle identically and there's no noticeable difference in cutting ability. The KD is a work of art and a pleasure to own and use, but in truth the HD does just as good a job in the kitchen, is a beautiful piece in its own right, and at $115 from, rather than $780 for the KD (when they're available) it causes less paranoia in use! If your preference is for a more 'Western' shape, the HD-7 Gyuto at $135 may be more to your taste as it's very similar to a Western chef's knife but with a thinner and sharper blade.

          2. MAC has a $125 cleaver in their line. My buddy swears by them, but I've yet to use anything MAC yet.
            That being said, I'm going to risk the $65 and pick up a MAC usaba for the holidays...

            On the other hand, I absolutely drool over my Chef's Sugimoto knives. Korin has their cleaver, but it's anything but cheap at $349.

            Of course the 6" MAC cleaver weighs 30 ounces. The 8.5" Sugimoto weighs a feathery 18 ounces.
            It's most likely overkill but if you have the $$$ to spend and want a light as air, razor sharp cleaver you can shave with...