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Which of these knives would you choose?

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smkit May 28, 2010 06:55 AM

A chef friend of mine recently decided to upgrade form his culinary school chef's knife to a Japanese Gyuto. Since I had recently gotten into J-knives, and researched some, he asked me for some recommendations. These were some (all 240mm) that I was considering.

Here is my short list (so far):

Misono Gyuto UX10 ($215)
MAC MBK-95 ($170)
Hiromoto TJ Aogami Super ($145)
Japanese Chefs Knives (JCK) Kagayaki KV6 VG-10 ($118)
Tojiro DP Gyuto ($100)
Togiharu Molybdenum Gyuto ($80)

Here is a little more information about the chef.

He:
(1) doesn't want to break the bank.
(2) is used to a European blade. He might like a bit curvier than a really flat blade.
(3) works a lot with fish, but doesn't want to buy a separate J-knife.
(4) has pretty big hands. The handle might be an issue.
(5) doesn't know how to sharpen with stones (yet).
(6) uses the knife a lot. Durability/stain resistance?

I was thinking of ordering three of the knives to road test them as there is no store in the area that carries these brands (except maybe MAC). We'll see what happens if we both like the same knife.

k.

  1. s
    smkit Oct 4, 2010 11:53 AM

    Well, after waiting for months for Chefs Knives to Go to get the Ichimonji TKC (clones) in, I just placed my order today for another gyuto. Yes, I already have a beautiful one (240mm), but in a moment of weakness I hit the order button...

    And to make things worse, I am probably going to send this to Stephan to get rehandled.

    Now I have to buy some jewelry for my wife to make things right.

    5 Replies
    1. re: smkit
      Chemicalkinetics Oct 4, 2010 12:00 PM

      Mark does not put a lot of specification. So exactly what is the selling point for Ichimonji TKC. Isn't a carbon steel or stainless steel? What kind of steel? Thanks.

      1. re: Chemicalkinetics
        s
        smkit Oct 4, 2010 12:18 PM

        The manufacturer is pretty secretive about the steel. Mark knows but he is not telling. He likes mystery I guess. It is a mildly reactive stainless steel. Less reactive than other high carbon blades though so it will develop only a mild patina. It is apparently super thin and a lot of people really like the blade geometry. I guess I will see.

        1. re: smkit
          Chemicalkinetics Oct 4, 2010 12:25 PM

          Oh yes, I remember that mystery conversation between you and me. Ok, now I re-read the post. It is not too bad. You are getting an Ichimonji TKC. When I first read it, I thought you have "received" your Ichimonji after months of waiting and now placing another order.

          What's up with the rehandled? The original handle looks good. I saw a rehandled CCK knife on Chefknivestogo and I was like. "What the?!" Have you seen it?

          http://www.chefknivestogo.com/cucck13...

          What is the deal with it? Putting a $70 handle on a $30 knife. I didn't think the original handle is that bad. Yes, it is a porus wood handle, but once you seal the wood, it works great. Anyway, Mark may banish me from buying his knives, now that I complained about his knives. :P

          1. re: smkit
            Chemicalkinetics Oct 4, 2010 12:31 PM

            Smkit,

            Repeating what cowboy said. Please write a review. Short or long, up to you, but please write a review. Might as well a new post too. Up to you. You can update your feeling toward it. Like you can write the initial post the first day and then update it 2 weeks later and then 2 months later. Please take a close up photo if you can. If you cannot, that is cool too.

          2. re: Chemicalkinetics
            cowboyardee Oct 4, 2010 12:28 PM

            Mark calls them 'semi-stainless' in a post on knifeforums.
            http://www.knifeforums.com/forums/sho...
            I take that to mean chromium content below 13%, but still substantial.

            I should note several first-hand reviews disagree with some of Mark's description of the TKC on later pages of that thread (though not his characterization as 'semi-stainless').

            Smkit, what I wonder about is the geometry of it. When you get the knife and try it out, please review. Roughly what angle is the factory edge set at? I've heard the 240 is thin, but is the 270?

        2. s
          smkit Aug 10, 2010 12:00 PM

          So I got my cutstom rehandled 240mm Hiro AS in and I also nabbed a Devin Thomas 270mm wa Gyuto in the 10 minutes before they sold out. These DT blades were created with the input of the knife nuts at Knifeforums and are really great. Both are more expensive than the ones above, but they are fabulous knives and will either satisfy me or just make me want to buy more. I still need to give them both a good road test though.

          I would also highly recommend Dave Martell's knife sharpening service (and now rehandling service). That thing cuts like a light saber and looks fabulous. The link below has some pictures.

          http://www.knifeforums.com/forums/sho...

          3 Replies
          1. re: smkit
            cowboyardee Aug 10, 2010 12:13 PM

            I love that handle on the Hiro AS. Very jealous. Enjoy those knives. Pics of the Devin Thomas?

            1. re: smkit
              scubadoo97 Aug 10, 2010 10:11 PM

              The DT is a thing to lust for. Enjoy it to the hilt.

              1. re: smkit
                Chemicalkinetics Aug 11, 2010 11:47 AM

                Nice handle, man. I also like the bluish oxidized steel on the knife blade. I think my knives obtain a nice bluish patina when I clean them using bar keeper's friend after the sharpening. I only need to use the bar keeper's friend once and they will slowly obtain the bluish color in time. I learn that from trial and error, so it may be real, I may simply luck out. If I don't use the Bar Keeper's Friend or acid to first wash the blade, then I may get the brownish patina, and I like the blue one.

              2. Chemicalkinetics Jun 26, 2010 06:58 AM

                So, what did you get?

                8 Replies
                1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                  s
                  smkit Jun 27, 2010 07:32 PM

                  So far I got the Tojiro DP 240mm and it really is a fabulous knife for around $100. Unfortunately, I ordered it days before Korin had their June sale, which would have reduced the price by another 15%.

                  I was so eager to open the Tojiro and try it out, that I only had arm hair for the shaving (not good), and now I am wondering how long it will take that forearm spot to grow back. With that said, it was very sharp out of the box. I also loved the balance, thinness of the blade, and the fit and finish was better than I expected. I still haven't road tested it that much as my friend has it right now.

                  Next will be the Ichimonji TKC, but I have been waiting for Chefknivestogo to get them in stock. They finally got the 210 and 270 mm in, but the 240s are still on the way. Hopefully in a few weeks they will get them in stock.

                  I eliminated the Misono and Togiharu.

                  And though I would personally love to get the Hiro AS, I didn't think the high carbon would be good for my friend starting out on J-knives and working mostly in a professional kitchen. Maybe later though.

                  As for the third knife, I would love to get the wa-handled Devin Thomas Forum 240mm from CKTG (not on my original list). That knife isn't in stock either, and it is a bit pricer, but I am intrigued by the good words on knifeforums and would love to try the AEB-L steel. Here is the link.

                  http://www.chefknivestogo.com/dethfok...

                  There is also the possibility that I may go the Shun Elite route. I think I want to have one wa handle in the mix as they seem to fit my friend's hands better. I don't think I will go the MAC route.

                  Of course, things can always change.

                  1. re: smkit
                    Chemicalkinetics Jun 27, 2010 08:50 PM

                    Smikt,

                    Don't worry. I shave my arm hair all the time. Just don't try to shave your eyebrows. That is the only really embarrassing place :)

                    I just ordered the Tojiro DP 210 mm from Chefknivestogo. I have never used a Gyuto and want to test one. I figure if I like Gyuto, then I can upgrade. If not, it is not too expensive and I can always give it away or stock it as part of my collection.

                    That Tojiro you bought is for your friend who is a culinary student, right? All the other talks about Hiromoto AS, Devin Thomas and Shun Elite are for you or for your friend? Won't your friend only need one Gyuto?

                    So many wonderful knives to try. So little money and time for me to play :)

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                      s
                      smkit Jun 28, 2010 05:13 AM

                      We are basically road testing them together -- it's more fun that way. We will each likely keep one and then resell the other on knifeforums, or just like you said -- add it to the collection. After the gyuto, next will be a sushi knife.

                      1. re: smkit
                        Chemicalkinetics Jun 28, 2010 06:38 AM

                        :) Keep me inform. I am interested to know.

                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                          s
                          smkit Jul 6, 2010 09:03 PM

                          I broke down and pre-ordered a 240mm Hiromoto AS Gyuto. Dave Martell is rehandling some Hiros OTB, and the buyer gets to choose the type of wood and pins. I think it is going to be a sexy blade (and handle). The price is $233.

                          The Hiro was on my list, then off it, then on it again, but I couldn't resist after reading so many good things about this knife.

                          http://www.japaneseknifesharpeningsto...

                          1. re: smkit
                            Chemicalkinetics Jul 6, 2010 09:55 PM

                            Smkit,

                            :) Is this for you or for your buddy? I have also heard many good things about Hiromoto AS that I am sure you will like yours. Hey, so what's up with the rehandling? Do you know what the new handle will look like? Best.

                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                              s
                              smkit Jul 6, 2010 10:15 PM

                              This one's for me -- though I might let my buddy try it out for a week.

                              If you go to Dave's blog he has some pictures of a rehandle he did recently and some sample wood pictures. It is going to be hard to choose a wood.

                              http://japaneseknifesharpening.blogsp...

                              If this rehandling project goes well, I think Dave will be adding this to his line of services. He will also be sharpening the new knife and rounding the spine in addition to the new handle.

                              1. re: smkit
                                Chemicalkinetics Jul 6, 2010 10:40 PM

                                Smkit,

                                I didn't Dave is doing rehandling now. I guess the original handle on Hiromoto AS is wood composite, and these are whole wood handle (stabilized). These wood samples look very nice. The English Walnut and the Brown Marple look beautiful and natural, but the Blue Maple and the Purple Maple really grab attention.

                                You know what you should do? After you receive the knife, you should write a quick review and post a photo here. Best.

                2. cowboyardee May 28, 2010 05:05 PM

                  Any of your choices are good ones that I suspect you/he will be very happy with.

                  The Tojiro is stainless. Great knife. Very easy to sharpen by hand. Okay edge retention. Excellent factory edge. Probably my highest recommendation for someone unfamiliar with J-knives looking to try one for the first time if they're willing to learn how to hand-sharpen. Some people occasionally take issue with the handle, but my hands are fairly big, and I like the handle just fine.

                  The Hiromoto is not stainless, though once it forms a patina (which it does very quickly) it acts surprisingly like a stainless steel. Great knife. Will take and hold the best edge out of the knives you mentioned, but still thick enough that you don't have to baby it. The factory edge is only so-so though.

                  Haven't tried or sharpened the Kagayaki.

                  MAC is very nice. Good performance and edge retention. Excellent factory edge. A bit overpriced at $170, IMO.

                  Togiharu is very nice as well. Good price. A bit harder to sharpen well than the Tojiro though, and as such I prefer just paying the extra $ for Tojiro. YMMV.

                  With the Misono, at $215 you're paying in part for its looks. Which is fine - they are very pretty. A little slow to sharpen up without much of the usual payoff in edge retention. Excellent factory edge.

                  Your friend needs a way to sharpen his knife reliably - a good pro, a set of stones, an edgepro, etc. This is more important than having a great knife in the first place. If he does not have a method, and is unlikely to learn/find one, I might recommend Shuns just because they offer free (minus cost of shipping) sharpening for life. They do not make gyutos, however.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: cowboyardee
                    Chemicalkinetics May 28, 2010 07:29 PM

                    Great advices. Except Misono does not look that great to me. It looks too futuristic to me. Does it look good to you?

                    The UX10 seems very popular though -- in term of sale volume.

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                      cowboyardee May 28, 2010 08:45 PM

                      Depends on what you're looking for. To me, the Misono has a similar visual appeal to a recent model sports car. It has nice clean lines, bright cladding, the stylishly angled bolster. That and the bold lettering make it easier to identify at a glance than most gyutos, which I suspect is a big part of the reason for its popularity and reputation among pro chefs and cooks.

                      That said, my personal taste is for something more rugged- and traditional-looking. I like the look of my Hiromoto with slightly scuffed cladding and a (sometimes) dark patina.

                      1. re: cowboyardee
                        Chemicalkinetics May 28, 2010 08:55 PM

                        Cowboy,

                        Did I tell you that I went to Salt Lake City for a confernece? During the one week conference, I went to the Nake Fish sushi place and the young chef were using two knives. A white paper carbon steel yanagiba which I forgot the name and a Hiromoto Aogami Super Gyoto. He like the Gyuto quiet a bit because he said stainless steel clad surface make it more convenient. It was kind of nice to talk to a real person about knife and not worry about freaking him out.

                        I rather have a Wa-Gyuto look. I always like wood handle. Though I think I regret getting a wood handle boning knife. Having blood all over the wood handle just seems weird. That maybe the one knife which haivng a plastic handle is definitely better.

                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                          cowboyardee May 28, 2010 10:20 PM

                          I like the wa handles on my nakiri and yanagi. A ho wood handle on a boning knife would definitely be a little hard core, but all those guys at the Tsukiji fish market seem to have wa handles - a lot of them cover the handle with tape.

                          Have you seen Stephan's (from knifeforums) custom-made wa handles?
                          http://www.skeller.info/handles/galle...
                          Someday... someday.

                          The main reason I sharpen knives for other people is really just so I have people to talk knives with (as well as getting to play with more knives than I could afford). If I go long enough without an outlet for my knife fixation, I start bringing it up at inopportune moments and freaking out my wife's friends (my friends, thankfully, are used to it).

                          1. re: cowboyardee
                            Chemicalkinetics May 28, 2010 11:25 PM

                            Wow, those are beautiful wa handles.

                            I have only sharpened my friends' knife just to give me opportunity to practice, but you have very good points.

                            Don't worry about your inappropriate knife discussion moments. I topped you by bringing my knife sharpening interest on a date night. She totally freaked out. :)

                    2. re: cowboyardee
                      s
                      smkit May 29, 2010 06:56 AM

                      Thanks for everyone's advice, and I got a good laugh about the inopportune knife talk stories. I once got into some knife talk at a party even when I knew less about knives than I do now and two hours later the host was unimpressed. Especially when the other person went home and brought back all of his knives to show me.

                      I think I am definitely going to try out the Tojiro as one of the three knives. The Hiro is intriguing to me also, but I am undecided as yet.

                      I think my friend would like the MAC for some reason, so even though it is priced a bit high, I may go with that also.

                      I am going to troll knifeforums to see if there is some more info on the JCK knife. It's a good price.

                      1. re: smkit
                        Chemicalkinetics May 29, 2010 07:15 AM

                        Hmm, why would the host be unimpressed when another guess went home to bring his knives to the party. That sounds like people are having fun. It wasn't like you scared someone and he went home for good.

                    3. Chemicalkinetics May 28, 2010 04:26 PM

                      I don't think Hiromoto TJ Aogami Super is stainless at its core. I am not sure if Tojiro's core steel (cobalt alloy) is stainless either, but it is certainly more stainless than Aogami carbon steel. Kagayaki is VG-1. Not sure about it. Some think VG-1 is as good as VG-10 at a lower price point. No idea.

                      Misono looks good though, but it is more expensive.

                      1. j
                        jeffreyem May 28, 2010 03:44 PM

                        Ask the same question here:
                        http://www.foodieforums.com/vbulletin/forumdisplay.php?f=6
                        and here:http://www.knifeforums.com/forums/sho...

                        Best places on the planet for knife info

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: jeffreyem
                          s
                          smkit May 29, 2010 05:55 AM

                          I love knifeforums and narrowed my list down based upon reading way too many posts there, but sometimes I like to bump things out of the Japanese knife stratosphere. I'm going to be asking a lot of sharpening questions there in the next couple weeks.

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