Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >
Aug 27, 2007 12:23 PM

Misono and Masahiro knives

Anyone know if these are available in Toronto?
Anyone have any thoughts on how these knives compare?
Thanks in advance.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. The original comment has been removed
    1. Many Japanese knives come with asymmetric bevels. My Tojiro honesuki came with a 80/20 edge. Most people I've seen replace the asymmetric bevel with a 50/50 edge with no noticeable loss of sharpness. It's a lot easier to resharpen with symetrical edges but you can maintain the asymmetric edge if you want.

      1. re: scubadoo97

        My Tojiro honesuki came with a 80/20 edge.

        As it should. On a gyuto its not too noticeable but, put a 50/50 edge on my honesuki and feel my wrath. Big thick knives have a 50/50 or 80/20 edge for reason. Use the right tool for the right job.

        1. re: scubadoo97

          Mine is about 90/10 at the moment. I personally would never make it symmetrical.
          That post was from 5 yrs ago and in hindsight a honesuki was a bad example

          1. re: scubadoo97

            Actually, I do change all my asymmetric bevels to symmetric.... aside from the very traditional knives like an usuba.

            Why is a honesuki a good/bad example?

            It is interesting that you were replying to your old self..... If only one can do that in real life. :)

            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

              Oh, I thought I was responding to Sid. What happens when you post too early in the morning on a iphone

              The honesuki has such an asymmetric grind it would change it dramatically and take a lot of work to make it symmetrical.

              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                I'd probably be a little more hesitant to change a honesuki from an asymmetric bevel to a 50-50 one than your average asymmetrical Japanese knife.

                There are a few reasons to be wary of changing asymmetry in a knife too much.
                - In some knives this can move the edge away from the fully tempered core steel into the softer cladding. This is also a possibility when working with truly forged knives. In practice, this kind of problem is fairly rare, but in certain knives like, for example, a moritaka honesuki, which has both a lot of asymmetry and a core steel that may be thin or a ground a little iffy, it can become more of a problem. it varies on a case-by-case basis, and you can usually tell if it's a going to be a problem in a clad knife just by careful examination. In a knife that's differentially tempered, it can be hard or impossible to tell.

                - As I've said before, keep in mind that most Japanese knives are asymmetrical not just in their edge but over the entire blade. At least hypothetically, the asymmetrical edge bevels follow the asymmetry of the knife as a whole. In a way, a well designed asymmetrical edge can actually help to limit steering, helping you keep your cuts straight and helping food fall away from the edge. Admittedly, in most knives this is pretty subtle and you might never notice a difference. I doubt almost anyone would really notice the functional difference between a 50-50 edge and a 60-40 one, even when the rest of the knife is asymmetrical. But a 90-10 edge will definitely feel different from a 50-50 one. I haven't played with your honesuki specifically, but most have a pronounced asymmetry of the blade face.

                - In a honesuki specifically, an extremely asymmetrical edge functions both to make a very thick knife function as though as it's significantly thinner behind the edge and also to help in cuts that are very close to a bone, as you might do when removing a chicken breast and tenderloin from the carcass.

                Like I said, in practice you have a decent bit of wiggle room; and the first priority is always in keeping a knife sharp, so if a 50-50 edge helps you do that, that's probably the best bet. But I'm hesitant to change an asymmetrical edge too drastically, especially in a very thick knife or one with a very asymmetrical blade face, just because I feel like the asymmetry is there for a reason.

                1. re: cowboyardee

                  <a moritaka honesuki, which has both a lot of asymmetry and a core steel that may be thin or a ground a little iffy, it can become more of a problem>

                  Crap. I think my Mortitaka Honesuki has been changed to 50/50. I don't remember intentionally doing so, but I also don't remember mine being symmetrical, yet it does look symmetrical to me.

                  Oh well, it seems to work so far. :)

                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    As long as the edge is still made up of the core steel, it's no huge deal. That's the only major pitfall. The other stuff is small potatoes in the scheme of things, subtle differences. And if you want to go back to an asymmetrical edge at any point to see if you notice or like the difference, it's not too hard.

                    How asymmetrical is the blade face of the moritaka honesuki?

                    1. re: cowboyardee

                      <How asymmetrical is the blade face of the moritaka honesuki?>

                      I will go home and take a look. I don't remember I intentially changed the bevel, but I might have accidentially done so.

                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        Might just not have been anywhere near as asymmetrical as my honesuki or scuba's in the first place.

                    2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      Must have taken you quite some time to either flatten the steep bevel or add a big wide steep bevel to the flat side

                      1. re: scubadoo97

                        That's why I am confused.... I don't remember intentionally changing the bevel. Hmmm.... I really have to go home to take a look now.

                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                          Ok, I just looked at my Moritaka honeski. It looks like it has even bevel on both sides. Not exactly the same, but similar enough. So either I change the asymmetrical bevels without knowing, so it wasn't that asymmetric to start off with.

                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                            A "true" Honesuki is not symmetrical IMHO. I don't want a wedge, I want a flat (or no) blade on the backside as mentioned above for certain cuts. The tip profile is also great for working around joints in boned meats.

                            If I want a symmetrical edge and blade profile for straight cuts through meat and small bones, a traditional German pattern chef knife works fine for me.

          2. How does one sharpen knives like this with an asymmetrical edge?

            10 Replies
            1. re: kevinm

              an 80/20 edge is thought of as a ratio. If the total angle of both sides is say 30* a 50/50 would be a 15* edge on each side for a total of 30*. An 80/20 would be 24* and 6* for a total of 30.

              1. re: scubadoo97

                Thanks scubadoo97. Practically speaking then, what's the best way to freshen these blades after every use - with a traditional steel? And what sort of angle - 24 on one side and 6 on the other? Sounds like trouble...

                1. re: kevinm

                  A Japanese knife will hold an edge for a good while if not abused. You may only need to sharpen every 3-6 months. Most steels are very aggressive and daily use will quickly begin to destroy the edge. Even a 1200 grit ceramic steel needs only the lightest of touch. A smooth steel would be best to align the edge without removing metal. For hand sharpening on a stone use the penny trick to establish a good angle on both sides. Lay 2 pennies on the stone and lay the right side down with the spines edge on top of them. That's the angle for the right/front side. Now lay the spine on the left or back side except use 3 pennies instead of two. That will give you around a 70/30 edge. I have an EdgePro system which allows you to set the angle for sharpening. It is questionable if you would notice a big difference when cutting with an asymmetric 70/30 edge compared to a balanced 50/50 edge. The 50/50 edge will be a lot easier to maintain. Chisel edges are another story and common on Japanese style knives like the ones used for cutting fish for sushi.

                  1. re: kevinm

                    Use whetstones. Google "Slice & Sear". Local Toronto knife/butcher shop. Huge selection. But they don't carry Masahiro...which I'm looking for as well in Toronto...S&S does have Masamoto and other sought after Japanese brands (and French, German).

                    So if any one knows where we might find Masahiro knives in Toronto...

                  2. re: scubadoo97

                    The angles on a german style blade are normally about 20 on each side the total angle is 40* and the ratio is 50:50.
                    On a UX10 The angles are about 10-12 degrees right, 20 degrees left, so the total is maybe 30* and the ratio is about 65:35
                    If you were to assume a total angle of 40* you would end up with the wrong angles on each side. Just as if you assumed 30* on a german knife you would have the wrong angles.
                    So... unless you have the number for total angle, the ratio is effectively only a selling point. What you need is the left and right side angles to maintain the original shape of the blade.
                    they have a japanese master sharpener on staff, the best selection I've ever seen, and videos and other instructional information for how to get the right angles. They can tell you how many pennies, or nickels under a santoku or petty knife, will give you 10* or 15* or 20* etc...

                    1. re: fubsycat

                      I've learned more since posting that in '07. From what I've gathered the ratios are more about the width of the bevel than the angle.

                      1. re: fubsycat

                        "On a UX10 The angles are about 10-12 degrees right, 20 degrees left, so the total is maybe 30* and the ratio is about 65:35"

                        Since this thread has resurfaced, I just want to clarify a thing or two:

                        For one, Scubadoo is basically right - the ratio refers NOT to the angles of the edge (or even, strictly speaking, to the width of the bevels, though that tends to wind up being more or less accurate anyway) but to the distance the edge is from the front or back of the knife. A 50-50 edge is equa-distant from the front and back sides of the knife, even if each side has a different edge angle (you can do this if you want, though I see no reason to). A 90/10 edge is 90% of the way toward the back side of the knife.

                        About angles on asymmetrical J-knives - usually the front side of the knife (right side on a right handed knife) is actually at a more obtuse angle than the back side. So an asymmetrical misono might be something like 15 degrees on the right side and 12 degrees on the left. This is not always the case and even if it is there's always a little variation, so you're wise to just check the angle before sharpening, or else use the magic marker trick. But as a general rule, that's how most asymmetrical edges are made.

                        1. re: cowboyardee

                          A lot of information. Cowboy, do you remember which asymmetric bevel Moritaka has? Is it based on angle? Or it is based on distance (same angle, but ground to different extend)?

                          I am going to take a photo of my Moritaka later at home. (I left for work again... going back and forth between work and home).

                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                            I don't even remember seeing any moritakas in person, so I couldn't tell you. Earlier I was assuming your honesuki was asymmetrical just because it was a honesuki, not because I had any particular insight into how Moritaka grinds his edges in particular.

                            If I had to guess, I'd say it's likely that the edge on your moritaka had been pretty close to 50-50 with roughly equal edge angles - probably no more than 60-40 and maybe (or maybe not) a mere couple degrees more obtuse on the right side. I'm mainly guessing that because you said you don't remember making any effort to reprofile it and the edge is now 50-50. If I were to grind my honesuki (which is something like 90-10) into a 50-50 edge, it would take quite a bit of work on the one side of the knife - there would be no way I could do it accidentally over the course of two or three sharpenings.

                            1. re: cowboyardee

                              Hi cowboy and others,

                              Here is the cross section photo looking down at the heel. With this photo, it does look like the grind is asymmetric from the heel side. However, the edge tip appears to be relatively centered, with a possible slightly leaning toward the forward (or right side of the knife). The primary bevels (based on Chad Ward's definition) also look about the same on both side.

                  3. I have a couple of ux10 misono knives, a santoku and a 5 inch petty. Dont use the petty much, prefer a smaller paring knife and for some reason it scares me a little.
                    I love the santoku, sharpest knife I've used. I keep it sharpened asymetrically, never done a 50/50 on it so i can't comment on the difference.
                    I'm nervous about steeling it due to the hardness/brittleness of the steel but I do it gently and not too frequently, and asymetrically (you can feel out the angle whilst steeling)...
                    Overall, I like it for it's extreme sharpness, the first time I cut a lemon the knife almost fell through it and my jaw dropped, but it feels more fragile and less of a workhorse than my older Sabatier 10 inch carbon-steel chef's knife.

                    1. I've purchased many knives here and always received fast cheap delivery and outstanding service.


                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Sid Post

                        Wow, this post is a time capsule.

                        I have one Misono UX10 gyuto 240mm. I bought it used and the previous owner put a 90/10 edge on it. I would agree with scubadoo97 that the width of the bevel is important. It was very noticeable when I got the knife.

                        Edit: since this is an old post, Misono prices are much higher now, so there may be better options out there in terms of price and value. I got mine used with a custom rehandle for less than the list price. Go used if you can.

                        1. re: smkit

                          How did a 2007 come back to us? Jesus Christ reborn....

                          Anyway, yes, Japanesechefknife is an awesome website. Ok, the seller is great, the knife selection is great.... the website layout can get some more help. :)