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My next knife - it's all about performance

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I'm getting myself a late Christmas present (sanctioned by my wife, of course)

I'm in the market for a new gyuto. I'm looking for a thin knife with great geometry that cuts like a laser. No workhorse necessary - I've already got an all-around knife I'm very happy with. This one is to knock my socks off. I'm not too picky about handles or balance. Edge retention is important but not paramount. Carbon or stainless are both fine. I want the knife to be lefty friendly.

Here are the knives I'm considering:
Tadatsuna 240 mm YSS inox -$238
http://itkitchenknife.com/chefs.shtml
Great geometry. Stainless obviously. A little prone to chipping. I had one a few years ago, but had to sell it. Vowed to get it back someday.

Konosuke HD 240 - $265
http://www.japaneseknifeimports.com/k...
Semi-stainless. Very well reviewed. Will require a few month wait while the seller restocks.

Konosuke White #2 240 - $205
http://www.japaneseknifeimports.com/k...
Great geometry, decent price, carbon obviously. Leaning towards this one due to being lefty friendly and available now.

Ashi Hamono 270 gyuto - $235. The 240 is out of stock.
http://www.japaneseknifeimports.com/a...
Fit and finish is supposed to be near perfect. Geometry is supposed to be likewise near perfect. Stainless steal. I'm a bit concerned about the left-handed thing though. Only hardened to 58 HRC - can't be sharpened to quite as acute an edge as the others, but I've been told this isn't much of a factor once you use this knife.

Sakai yusuke 240 white steel #2 - $198
http://cgi.ebay.com/Japanese-Sakai-Wh...
So. Damn. Pretty. Again, reputed to have near perfect fit and finish and geometry. More risky due to difficulty of returning the knife. Though the seller is well regarded by the guys over at knifeforums. Good price. But I have concerns about the lefty thing.

Those are the knives I'm considering. The front runners right now are the two Konosukes and the Sakai Yusuke (I'm looking for an excuse to buy that knife - please, won't some lefty drop by here and say that they love it?) Aside from the Tadatsuna, i have no experience with any of these knives - this will be at least a bit of an adventure.

There is already a thread open at knifeforums. http://www.knifeforums.com/forums/sho... But I post here more often, so of course I had to consult with you guys. Anyone on this forum have any experience with any of the knives listed? Or any other super thin, well tapered gyutos? I figured that a few of you would be interested in pics and a review once I got the knife, at any rate. Any recommendations?

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  1. I don't understand your lefty concerns. You say that you're not too picky about handles. The ones you're worried about all appear (to me) to have symmetrical Wa handles. Isn't that design supposed to be ambi-friendly?

    I, too, like the looks of the Sakai Yusuke. That's become more important to me over the years. And I'm a sucker for pretty woodwork.

    The Tadatsuna looks do nothing for me. If you vowed to get it back, why is it not on your short list? (If it makes a difference, the 240 is only $200, not $238.)

    The semi-oct handles on the Konosukes look intriguing. But again, you don't care about that...?

    I'll be looking forward to hearing about the new arrival!

    3 Replies
    1. re: Eiron

      "I don't understand your lefty concerns. You say that you're not too picky about handles. The ones you're worried about all appear (to me) to have symmetrical Wa handles. Isn't that design supposed to be ambi-friendly?"
      ____
      The concern has nothing to do with the handles (though I know what you're talking about, what with d-shaped handles being hand-specific).

      Essentially, I'm a hypocrite. I've been telling people they can use asymmetrical knives regardless of being left handed. And this is technically true - I could use any of the above knives and would probably enjoy them. The problem is that the idea with this purchase is to get as much cutting performance as I can manage for my money. And all of these knives are ground for right handers - essentially, the right side of the knife is more convex while the left side of the knife is flatter. This makes food fall away from the right side of the knife, but stick to and creep up the left side. The Konosukes are noted to have a flatter grind (less convex on the right side) than the other knives, which could potentially make for less resistance for a lefty while cutting. It's a small thing, but I'm being very picky this time around.

      I've actually even contacted sellers about the possibility of ordering a knife ground for lefties, in one of these varieties.

      "The Tadatsuna... If you vowed to get it back, why is it not on your short list?"
      ____
      Basically because I made that vow back when the Tadatsuna (along with the Suisin Inox honyaki) was the only gyuto available with that kind of super thin precise geometry. But since then, there seem to be some new offerings in the same style. And I like the idea of trying something new. The Tadatsuna had a pronounced righty grind as well, BTW.

      "I, too, like the looks of the Sakai Yusuke."
      ____
      It's hurting not to pull the trigger on that one. And okay, I'll admit it - I do like pretty handles.

      1. re: cowboyardee

        Ah, I understand. [Sakai] It's too late in the day for me & I wasn't even thinking about edge grind bias. [Sakai] Totally makes sense to me now.

        I guess there's a plus for the Ashi. [Sakai] 58 HRC would make it easier to reprofile the edge geometry.

        Waddaya [Sakai] think?

        1. re: Eiron

          I see what you're doing. You won't affect [Sakai] my decision.

    2. all those knives look excellent, and they are all beyond me :P Definitely keep us posted on what you get, with copious amounts of photographs if possible!

      out of curiosity, what's your workhorse gyuto?

      1 Reply
      1. re: cannibal

        I'll definitely review and post some photos. Might take a while though, especially if I get a back ordered knife or custom order a left hander.

        The workhorse is a Hiromoto AS 240 gyuto. Bang for buck-wise, it's pretty hard to beat. But it's thicker than any of the above knives.
        http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/Ten...

      2. Like Eiron, I didn't catch the asymmetric problem. The Ashi Hamono has a symmetrical octagen handle, maybe the grind look asymmetric, but I cannot be sure from the photo. The Sakai Yusuke is stated to be "Sharpening---Both edges evenly", so the bevels must be 50/50 then.

        I have no experience with any of them and it appears you have gotten a numbers of insightful replies from the knifeforum. Some excellent points were made about spine thickness is not everything and that the convex/concave nature makes an important impact on food release and etc. While that is true, the blade thickness right behind the cutting edge still makes a big difference in term of performance. Yes, the edge can be as sharp as anything, but foods do not simply see the knife edge, they also get pushed apart by overall blade. Since you already had a Tadatsuna 240 mm, maybe that is the one you need the least? The two Konosuke look the same to me except for the steel. The white carbon #2 should be a joy to sharpen and should take on a better edge, but I found white carbon can be high maintenance -- for me anyway. However, you have much better experience with white carbon and if you don't have much objection, then that looks like a better knife.

        Ashi is a bit soft to take on a crazy low angle edge, but like some of the knifeforum members said, the overall knife geometry is so good that it matters not.

        Now, Sakai Yusuke looks great. It looks to have straight-er edge profile too (less belly).

        At the end, I think you should get one with a left handed friendly geometry and if they are all lefty-friendly, then I think the Konosuke White #2 and Sakai Yusuke look very attractive to me. I am really looking forward for your review. Man, these are some real nice knives.

        Edited: Just read your explanation about lefty-vs-righty, now I get it. It is the overall blade grind, not the cutting primary bevel. Got it. In that case, see if you can get a real lefty knife if possible. Afterall, you are getting a high performance knife and you want it near perfect this time, so let's make sure you get it as closely to your expectation as possible. It will cost more I am sure. In that case, rule out the more expensive stainless then. What is the point of worrying about knife handle, when the grind may be incorrect, right?

        9 Replies
        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

          Chem - some of my dilemmas are no longer issues. I have spoken with some of the sellers (great, quick feedback from both Jon at Japaneseknifeimports and also from bluewayjapan, BTW, complete with quotes and options). Looks like I'll be getting a knife ground for a lefty.

          So my options at this point are narrowed - lefty Konosuke White #2, lefty Konosuke HD, lefty Ashi Hamono in either White #2 (!) or in a slightly harder stainless than the steel already mentioned (HRC ~60-61), or a lefty white #2 Sakai Yusuke with ichii handle.

          Tough decision, but these are VERY good options.

          1. re: cowboyardee

            :) Great news about you able to get a lefty knife. Now that you can get a lefty knife, I think that really clear out a lot of issues. I was a bit worry about that a right handed knife will take out too much performance advantage in your left hand.

            Can you tell us (on average) how much more you have to pay for a true lefty knife?

            You really didn't narrowed down your selection a lot :)

            1. re: cowboyardee

              An-n-n-n-d, the winner is....... ???

              1. re: Eiron

                See below.

              2. re: cowboyardee

                By the way cowboy, what is the hardness for Sakai Yusuki Shirogami? Since it is a white #2, I assume it is at least HRC 61 or likely to be higher. Do you know?

                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  Bluejayway lists the hardness for the white steel version as Hrc 61-62. From usage, that sounds about right to me. Though I guess if you had told me it was HRC 59-60 instead, I wouldn't have questioned it - I haven't had a knife whose edge is this thin before, and it can make the steel seem a little soft, since the edge geometry itself is a little prone to rolled edge.

                  1. re: cowboyardee

                    "I haven't had a knife whose edge is this thin before, and it can make the steel seem a little soft"

                    I think so. I think from both the usage point of view as well as a sharpening point of view, a thinner knife can feel softer, but I think it is just because it is thinner. Thanks very much for your response. Would you have wanted the blade harder or softer for your laser knife? I can see both way -- drawing my experience from the CCK thin blade knife. On one hand, it would be nice to have a harder steel knife to hold the edge longer. On the other hand, you would also think a slightly softer and tougher knife is beneficial for a thin blade knife where "crack" and "chipping" can be a real problem. :D So, I am guessing that a HRC61-62 seems like a good idea for your thin blade knife.

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      The hardness feels about right to me. I would fear that any increased hardness (with respect to that particular steel anyway) would increase the tendency toward chipping. And since I'm really trying not to overgrind the knife and to preserve that glorious initial edge geometry, I'd like to avoid chipping as much as possible.

                      I think it's hardened right about to the sweet spot that balances edge retention at a low angle with avoiding chips.

              3. re: Chemicalkinetics

                "Just read your explanation about lefty-vs-righty, now I get it. It is the overall blade grind, not the
                cutting primary bevel."
                _____
                This is something I seldom get into when discussing knives over here, because it gets complicated, and also it makes little difference for lefties until they're looking for very high performance. But as far as I can tell, all gyutos are ground with this overall bias to one side or the other. It's just a matter of how much. Your tojiro DP should be more convex on the right than on the left, for example.

                This is partially why i tell people not to move a 70/30 righty edge over to the other side - because the edge asymmetry (which in itself doesn't matter too much for a lefty) is also following the knife's asymmetry. I know Dave Martell recommends keeping a knife's asymmetrical edge intact, and I believe this is why (on a related note - there is the possibility you're moving the cutting edge from the center of the well-tempered core steel, making it weaker).

                In truth I'm not sure how much difference it will make cuz i've only ever used righty knives. I know that I like a righty gyuto much more than the (more or less ambidextrous) German knives I used before. I'm hoping a gyuto with super geometry AND a bonified lefty grind will hold over my knife habit for a good while.

                The whole right handed bias thing a pain in the ass given my current quest, but it's also one of those nice little subtleties about gyutos that makes me appreciate them and the work that goes into making them a little bit more.

              4. No experience with any of them. I'm sure you will be giddy with delight no matter which one you choose. No vegetable will be safe

                6 Replies
                1. re: scubadoo97

                  Moritaka 240mm agomi #2. Looks great(IMO) Laser sharp 50/50 bevel,not sure if that's lefty friendly.Very reasonably priced.

                  1. re: petek

                    super sexxxy

                     
                    1. re: petek

                      My 3 Moritaki's all have the "D" handle that are right-handed biased. I am pretty sure that could be changed out.

                      1. re: Zydecopapa

                        You are correct sir. How does the "D" handle affect left or right hand performance?

                        1. re: petek

                          "D" handle doesn't really much affect performance. It just makes a knife more uncomfortable for a lefty.

                          I don't know exactly how a moritaka gyuto is ground, since I've only played with their nakiris. I'm sure there's some kind of righty bias, but I have no idea how much.

                          1. re: cowboyardee

                            I agree with Cowboyardee about the handle. My Knife Guy placed a right-handed bias on all 3 of mine from day 1, but I have heard that they come with 50/50 bias.

                  2. cowboy: Have you considered having a knife made for you?

                    You are already very knowledgeable about what you like and what you want. If you know the size, profile, thickness, features you want, why not? If you are willing to scare up the barstock and even just profile it yourself, you can probably save a pile by presenting the maker with the blank. There are some beautiful woods out there; maybe you already have a fancy chunk that's meaningful to you. Sometimes this way is the only way to have exactly what you want.

                    27 Replies
                    1. re: kaleokahu

                      I agree. A few years ago I had a custom bicycle made for me. The experience of being able to specify what I wanted to do with it, & then working with the builder choosing materials, geometry, user-interface features & style/appearance was extremely satisfying. I think that helped trigger my interest in making custom knives, as it was shortly after finishing my bike order that I wanted to do the same for people with nice kitchen knives. It might double the price, but it would be so much more enjoyable in the long run.

                      1. re: Eiron

                        Yes, even if it would nix most of the hobknobbing about commercially available makes and models.

                      2. re: kaleokahu

                        Thank you for your kind words and suggestions. It would make sense seeing as I'm getting pickier about knives the more I mess around with them. I have a friend, a very good carpenter, who keeps on trying to get me into making knives myself, but I keep resisting on the basis of start-up expense of getting into it and not having any knowledge of metal working beyond the purely academic (and sharpening/reprofiling of course).

                        Anyway for right now, I'm spending about as much as I could get away with. I doubt I'd get a custom knife for the price of the Yusuke. I might decide to get a custom knife in the future and one of the upsides of Japanese knives is they tend to keep their resale value pretty well, if it comes to that. For now, I have to save money - I've got a kid coming in a couple months (my first, a boy - YAY!)

                        1. re: cowboyardee

                          cowboy: Congratulations on both, but the boy is best.

                          The old Hawai'ians said something, loudly and publicly, whenever a particularly handsome child was born. Literally, it means "That child is ugly", but it was said to reduce the chances of jealous outsiders stealing the beautiful baby to raise as their own. Nowadays, it's said to congratulate new parents.

                          Keia keiki i ka pupuka.

                          1. re: kaleokahu

                            Thank you. I would be honored for you to dub my baby ugly.

                          2. re: cowboyardee

                            Yeah, boys are the best. :P

                            Isn't there some nomadic tradition of giving a baby boy a knife? Is that why you buying the knife? :)

                            I want to learn to make knives too, but someday... maybe never.

                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                              Chem: "I want to learn to make knives too, but someday..."

                              It's a logical progression, neither difficult nor expensive. Is US $50 too much? http://www.amazon.com/Wayne-Goddards-...

                              1. re: kaleokahu

                                :) Come on. This cannot be true, but I think I may just get the book and at least understand what knife making is, so one day when I retire I can make knives.

                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                  Chem: Yes, it's true. I think the gist is that you can get set up and make a knife for that. If I recall, there is some scrounging involved. Now then, making a chef's knife completely by hand would take a considerable amount of time, but if you did it right, just think how satisfying it would be.

                                  1. re: kaleokahu

                                    Kaleo,

                                    Yes, I have to agree with you that it will be quiet satisfying. Although making cute babies like cowboy will be pretty fun too, maybe I should work on that too since there is more of timeline for that one. Man, I need to start get going. :P

                                2. re: kaleokahu

                                  I like the first review of this book, from May 2009. I know exactly how that poor guy feels.

                                  I have a friend who does the same thing. When I told him about my knifemaking plans, he immediately started telling me how much money I'd save & how much better my grinder would be if I built it all from scratch & from scrap. I understand what he means, but he's got a dozen different projects that he never has the time to start, much less finish.

                                  As much as I'd love to save every penny possible, if I follow his advice I'll never get started! It's worth it to me to spend an extra $100 up front to get something I can use to get started immediately.

                                  1. re: Eiron

                                    Thanks. Just read that review. So many things I want to do in life :)

                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                      LOL, I know what you mean! I am still going to build my big "primary" grinder from scratch. But on the small grinder I'd only save $100, & since I'd be using scrounged parts, the results might be less than optimal. On the big grinder I'll be saving $1,500, so there's a better ROI on that project.

                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                        With respect to all, including the disgruntled reviewer (who was in the minority by the way), Goddard's book serves as a good reminder that one can make a good knife entirely by hand and for next to nothing. I think there's value in actually doing a blade or two this way, regardless of what plans or dreams you may have of going further. It humbles and gives you a basis for comparisons about how your style evolves, and what performance advantages there MAY be with choosing exotic toolsteels.

                                        A lot of folks jump into knifemaking from the pages of "Blade" and "Knives" magazines, or knifeforums believing they MUST use the flavor-of-the-month steels. They end up spending $$$ for the steel, contracted specialty heat-treating, (and extra belts) and so skip over learning how to work, harden and draw back basic steels. So they end up not knowing the practical differences, e.g., between 1095 and VG10.

                                        As with cookware and cooking in general, there's a temptation to err on the side of the arcane and "state of the art", and skip the basics.

                                        1. re: kaleokahu

                                          It isn't so much that I need state of the art. It is just that I don't want to spend too time starting from scratch. I know it humbles a person and gives a stronger appreciation, but sometime it is just easier to buy a grinder than build a grinder. As for reviewer from Amazon, I think he was concerning about the lack of details that Goddard has provided.

                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                            Chem: "sometime it is just easier to buy a grinder than build a grinder."

                                            Sure. Sometimes better, too. Spending the small $ to start with can save you having a $$$ grinder that you only get $ for when you stop making. And if you feel you have to spend $$$ to get started, you may not ever start.

                                            Goddard's a poor writer, I agree. Not the best book, but the premise is sound. I haven't looked in the last several years, but I've never seen any particular knifemaking book that gives all necessary details.

                                            1. re: kaleokahu

                                              kal, I started to write a lengthy reply last night, on the benefits of doing what Goddard proposes. Unfortunately, I've been on a business trip for the past 3 days & only have my phone to access the web. I had a good portion of my reply typed out, then I got a call & it wiped everything out. I didn't feel like re-texting everything at that point. When I'm back home this weekend I'll retype my comments.

                                              To summarize, I do agree with you. But the decision to proceed down that path may not apply without regard to additional cosiderations.

                                              Flight's leaving. Gotta go now....

                                              1. re: Eiron

                                                Eiron: No worries, either about your response or your other considerations. My apologies if I gave the impression I was writing about you. I've learned and can tell that you are not likely to be jumping into anything.

                                                1. re: kaleokahu

                                                  kal, no worries from this end, either. I was actually thinking I should’ve said something about this as I was hitting the "reply" button in my earlier post (on the 12th). I'm a big believer in "try it yourself." I enjoy figgering things out, but I also realize that it's not something everyone wants to do. I’ve also started to weigh the cost of saving money vs saving time. I’ve started to realize that I’m just never going to devote the time needed for some projects. I guess that’s the age thing kicking in, eh? :-)

                                                  Earlier this year I built my own stone/wheel grinder. I used an electric motor salvaged from an old Razor scooter, a grinding stone & a “wall wart” power supply from a thrift store, a plumbing compression fitting from the hardware store, & some scrap aluminum & plastic for the base. The whole thing cost me about $6, & a day to build. (And let’s not forget the ?? days to scrounge/save/store all the bits & pieces.) It’s not a brute, but it works for sharpening tools.

                                                  I've also done a lot of hand file work, doing everything from sharpening chisels, axes & mower blades, to re-profiling squared chunks of aluminum into smooth, contoured shapes. Hand filing is a great way to get a feel for a material's response to being cut. You get more intimate with the metal. Mistakes tend to be smaller & easier to fix. And it takes a LOT longer to reach your goal.

                                                  So yes, I definitely agree with you that there's a LOT to be learned from trial-&-error, & home-grown methods.

                                                  You CAN get started with some relatively inexpensive, low-end powered grinding equipment. The Harbor Freight 1x30 model is actually very well liked in a variety of knife arenas, & can be bought (after sales & discounts) for as little as $32. Here's the story that almost had me buying one of them:
                                                  http://sharpeningmadeeasy.com/Salinas...
                                                  Add a selection of belts for another $10-$15 & you're on your way for under $50.

                                                  I’m still moving forward with my plans to build my own 2x72, & I’ll be enlisting the help of my friend who’s just like Goddard! (Will it ever get done?? I think so, because he's pretty excited that I'm doing this with or without him.) But the cost difference between buying & building that one is $1,500. The cost difference between buying & building a 1x42 was going to be only $100, so it made less sense (for me) to spend an unknown number of hours to build one of those myself.

                                                  1. re: Eiron

                                                    Eiron: I'm sure you've thought all this out about interchangeability of platens, wheels, slackbelt, etc for the 2x72. Post photos when you get them, huh?

                                                    The closest I have to the Harbor Freight 1x30 is a Pittsburgh-Erie "Hook-Eye" which is a 1.5x24. I was surprised that it's still available. http://www.procutlery.com/osc/product...

                                                    This is somewhat sacreligious to say here (what with all the water stone fans and all), but these days I sharpen mostly with this machine, using a progression of increasingly worn belts, then a kiss from the 3600rpm buffer with white chrome to take off the wire edge.

                                  2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                    It's possible that the baby and the knife will arrive on the same day. I guess that would be a sign meaning I HAVE to give the knife to him eventually. Greedy little bugger.

                                    1. re: cowboyardee

                                      Yeah, I think you have to give it to him when he becomes a "man" which could be age 13 or 18 or 21... depending the cultures.

                                      1. re: cowboyardee

                                        Congratulations :)

                                    2. re: cowboyardee

                                      Congrats cowboy!!

                                      1. re: cowboyardee

                                        Sorry, I don't know how I missed this post.
                                        Let me be the last to congratulate you!
                                        (How embarrassing!)

                                        1. re: Eiron

                                          Me too. I missed several of his posts on the baby. It didn't show up as new posts. I only caught it because kaleokahu responded to him.

                                          1. re: Eiron

                                            No worries guys. I appreciate it now just as much as a few days ago. That's baby's still got a couple months to go before he's out.

                                      2. I have opted to buy the Sakai Yusuke 240 mm in white #2, but special ordered it ground for a lefty.

                                        It will look exactly like this knife, same handle, but convex on the left side, straighter on the right.
                                        http://cgi.ebay.com/Japanese-Sakai-Wh...

                                        I emailed both Keiichi with bluewayjapan and Jon at japaneseknifeimports about special ordering a left handed knife. Both sellers were very helpful and very quick with their replies. There was a price hike for a lefty ground gyuto, but it wasn't prohibitive. Jon from japaneseknifeimports mentioned several very tempting options that weren't listed as available - the ashi hamono was available in a few different steels than what was listed. Take home point - talk to your sellers. These guys are big knife enthusiasts themselves, they know a lot about what they're selling and knife makers, and have a lot to add and to consider. There is no comparison between these guys (mark over at chefsknivestogo, too) and the sellers at Williams Sonoma, Sur la Table, etc.

                                        I'm really pumped about this. I'll be waiting for a few weeks, but of course I'll update when it gets here.

                                        A few more side notes: I'm not sure that there is as much difference as I had imagined between the geometry of the Ashi Hamono and Yusuke vs the Konosukes. Some people over at knifeforums had described the Konosukes as having a less convexed grind, whereas others at knifeforums and foodieforums had described the grind of all 3 being nearly identical.

                                        Also, for anyone considering buying a thin, laser style gyuto, here is a recent thread on knife forums questioning their popularity.
                                        http://www.knifeforums.com/forums/sho...
                                        Chem and others will recognize Salty as the original poster. From my standpoint as someone with prior but brief experience with the Tadatsuna, I can say it wouldn't be my first recommendation of a Japanese knife to anyone who is inexperienced. Or to anyone who doesn't have a fallback for tougher jobs. Also, there is a reason that knife enthusiasts who are also busy line cooks tend to love their Aritsugu A types, Blazens, Hiromotos and other beefier knives with excellent edge retention and still-quite-good cutting performance.

                                        5 Replies
                                        1. re: cowboyardee

                                          Wow.... A 240mm gyuto weighing in at only 140g! With the left-hand grind, that one's going to be a "think & cut" model!

                                          1. re: cowboyardee

                                            That looks like a very good choice, cowboy. We would love to hear about your initial feedback and follows-up review of this knife. Yes, I agree that a laser knife would be more of a specialized knife, but I think deep down we know that. That being said, even a medium gyuto is a laser compared to conventional Chef's knives.

                                            Edited: This just got me thinking. Cowboy's list of candidate knives are all very wonderful and they are not cheap, but then I suddenly realize how "cheap" they are compared to a Kramer knife. Cowboy can probably buy 20's of these knives for every Kramer's knife. Pretty odd, huh?

                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                              Just read that thread on knifeforum closer. Last time you guys switched topic and started talking about Vietnamese Pho. This time you guys switched to video games like Final Fantasy and Gran Turismo. This is funny.

                                            2. re: cowboyardee

                                              That's one of the knives I have been looking at (well, without the Ichii handle), so I'm interested in what you discover. Enjoy.

                                              1. re: cowboyardee

                                                From my standpoint as someone with prior but brief experience with the Tadatsuna, I can say it wouldn't be my first recommendation of a Japanese knife to anyone who is inexperienced. Or to anyone who doesn't have a fallback for tougher jobs.
                                                ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

                                                With several Ikkanshi-Tads in my kit I would whole heartidly agree. However to any one with experience looking for this type of blade the Tad is about as close as it gets to a dream knife with out truly breaking the bank. The more I use mine the more I love them.

                                              2. Not sure if this is applicable, but I found it a good read
                                                http://www.kershawknives.com/aboutus....

                                                1. I'm going to have to pay more attention to these threads when I'm on this site with the television set turned on (or not).  When I glanced at it, my mind processed the title as "My next wife - it's all about performance".

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                    Well, that also makes sense.

                                                    1. re: John E.

                                                      That would be filed in the Not About Food forum.

                                                      1. re: scubadoo97

                                                        scuba: Not necessarily...

                                                    2. My knife is in. Actually it got into town last week, but getting it from the post office to my home turned out to be an ordeal. Whatever, it's here!

                                                      As a refresher, I got the Sakai Yusuke in white steel #2 with an ichii wood handle, custom made for a lefty. I got it from bluewayjapan on ebay, who was very quick and helpful, and also got me a very good price for a left handed knife.

                                                      First impressions:
                                                      Fit and finish is spectacular - the spine is nicely rounded. The handle is well cut and well fitted (and very attractive). The edge is sharp and polished - no rough spots, pushcuts paper and pops arm hair along the entire edge. The blade face is pristine without any accidental grind marks, and it comes with a thin protective coat of.... something or other that washes off easily.

                                                      I pick it up - Whoaah - this thing is light. Almost comically so. My 6 inch honesuke and nakiri feel heavier.

                                                      Geometry: The profile is nice - narrow, well tapered, not too much belly. It's not a knife to scoop up much from your cutting board, but the lack of excess metal makes it feel more precise and laser-ish. Only downside: I would have liked a little more of a straight surface by the heel that all contacts the board - there's just about 3 inches before it starts to curve away. That's still enough to work with. Towards the tip, there is another 1.5 inch long straight section, which is great for doing fine work without leaving accordion slices (some of you may have heard Salty singing the praises of this type of profile in his videos - I'm coming to agree).

                                                      There is a definite lefty grind, as I hoped - you can feel it, or you can see it when you look down the heel. The right side of the knife is more or less flat, the left side is convexed. Seems like about a 60/40 edge grind, definitely at least a bit asymmetrical, but honestly it's a bit hard to tell how much - nothing too extreme, definitely.

                                                      The spine is thicker than I expected. A very nice taper from heel to tip though, and even more so from spine to edge.

                                                      More than anything, the amazing thing about this knife is how thin it is behind the edge. It's hard to describe. The edge itself is just a microbevel added at the end of the very slim, tapered blade grind. Maybe the best way to explain is by comparison. On my Hiromoto, a gyuto with a fine factory taper that I further thinned behind its edge, I keep the front bevel at around 12 deg and the back bevel at about 10 deg. Using such low angles, these bevels are easily visible and identifiable at about 2.4 mm and 1.6 mm respectively (it's 70/30).

                                                      The sakai Yusuke is so thin behind its edge that its primary edge, with each side set 10 deg at most, is BARELY VISIBLE. You have to turn it in the light to see it on the back side. We're talking like ~0.3 mm. I tried to capture this difference in photos, without much luck.

                                                      Here are other measurements in comparison, as accurate as I could make em:
                                                      Hiromoto AS:
                                                      Length, heel to tip - 235 mm
                                                      Spine thickness at heel - 2.5 mm
                                                      Spine thickness halfway down the knife - 1.9 mm
                                                      Spine thickness one inch from tip - 1.1 mm
                                                      Blade thickness at heel, halfway between spine and edge -1.5 mm
                                                      Blade thickness at heel, 1/4 inch from edge - 0.8 mm
                                                      Weight: 230 grams (pulled off internet - embarassingly I don't have a decent scale)

                                                      Sakai Yusuke:
                                                      Length, heel to tip - 232 mm
                                                      Spine thickness at heel - 2.3 mm
                                                      Spine thickness halfway down the knife - 1.6 mm
                                                      Spine thickness one inch from tip - 0.8 mm
                                                      Blade thickness at heel, halfway between spine and edge - 0.95 mm
                                                      Blade thickness at heel, 1/4 inch from edge - 0.4 mm
                                                      Weight: 140 grams (pulled off internet)

                                                      Sharpening:
                                                      Of course, I couldn't leave well enough alone. I've sharpened it twice already, though I haven't gone down to below 2k grit. The first sharpening (4k and 8k grit) didn't seem to make much of a difference - the edge felt more or less like it did before, though it slid through paper slightly more quietly. This is not uncommon for new knives. After dinging the edge during some food prep (D'oh!), I resharpened and it took the type of edge I usually put on my knives - grabby, but still very good at push cutting. As it's white steel, I expected it to sharpen well. I only took it up to 8000 grit (and stropping), but I have to wonder how it would perform at higher polish.

                                                      Eventually I'll have to start grinding behind the edge, which will be tough without scratching the crap out of the knife, but for now I'm just gonna keep doing minor touchups to that primary edge. It's hard enough to keep a consistent angle at 8-10 deg.

                                                      Usage: Honestly, it's gonna take a while to get used to. It absolutely glides through food, but strangely, because of its low weight, there's more feedback than some of my other knives. I was expecting it to feel like a lightsaber, floating through foodstuffs like air. But truthfully, I actually feel less when using my CCK cleaver because it is also thin and sharp, but also much heavier. In the end, this may prove to be a good thing - not feeling the food beneath your blade is a cool feeling, but not very useful. A knife that cuts effortlessly but still provides me with feedback might be much more conducive to using said knife well.

                                                      Of course it's fairly reactive - especially while cutting some green onions, very short exposure led to the early markings of a patina. I'll have to be careful to wipe the blade often during use.

                                                      I took a bunch of pictures. Unfortunately, neither my lighting, my camera lens, nor my skills as a photographer were quite up to par to get up close and really show off the blade. Apologies. Here is what I have.

                                                       
                                                       
                                                      22 Replies
                                                      1. re: cowboyardee

                                                        Congrats on the new knife and thanks for the excellent photos. Enjoy!

                                                        You hit on one area that needs to be taken into consideration. Lighter weight has positives and negative attributes.

                                                        1. re: scubadoo97

                                                          "You hit on one area that needs to be taken into consideration. Lighter weight has positives and negative attributes."
                                                          ____
                                                          Oh, most definitely. People, myself included, have sometimes acted like a thinner lighter knife is always better, but there's always a tradeoff involved (and as I implied above, even if you want a knife that falls through food without even feeling it, your best bet is to get a heavy, sharp knife that's thin behind its edge).

                                                          I've already made a vow not to let other people play with the Yusuke - it's just a bit too delicate to trust it to someone who might conceivably use it to open a can. I don't feel the need to do that with my Hiromoto - the unwary user is at greater risk than the knife with that one.

                                                        2. re: cowboyardee

                                                          Awesome man. You are correct. Looking at the photo, it seems it has a very gentle curvature along the much of the edge profile from heel to tip, but this also means the straight edge section from the heel is shorter in this case -- like you said. It has to curve up at some point, and the straighter the heel section is, the more curve it has to be for the rest. Definitely a different geometry than your Hiromoto AS gyuto.

                                                          You said the spine thickness is not as thin as you had expected, but you also said it is very thin behind the edge (therefore the bevel is less visisble). This means it must have a fairly convex geometry from the spine to the edge. It has to curve down fast from the spine to the edge.

                                                          I know a major reason you got the lefty knife is for this convex bias (more on the left side than the right side. Do you notice any difference? How did it compares to your last "laser" knife which was a righty knife? Was it worth to pay more? Or is the difference smal?

                                                          Another question for you, how do you like the longer Wa-wood handle? I think it looks great, especially the octagon cross section. Do you like how it feels or not? A white steel #2 (shirogami #2) should take on a very nice edge and maintain that edge. Awesome.

                                                          Your photos are very good. You and tanukisoup really takes your time for getting nice photo. Yes, the balance shot seem crazy, especially you have to hold the knife with one hand and take the photo with the other hand.

                                                          P.S.: Why are you cutting up apples? Is it for baby food? Babies do really eat baby food until later, ya know? :D

                                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                            "I know a major reason you got the lefty knife is for this convex bias (more on the left side than the right side. Do you notice any difference? How did it compares to your last "laser" knife which was a righty knife? Was it worth to pay more? Or is the difference small?"
                                                            _______
                                                            I don't know how much of a difference there is yet. The lefty grind does make the knife feel a bit more special, but so far I haven't messed around with it enough to pinpoint the functional difference. It definitely feels more precise and controlled than the Hiromoto, but I expected that regardless of blade grind. I'll have to try it on more applications - skinning fish or skinning winter squash, maybe.

                                                            I will say that I used it today cutting up some carrots and potatoes - it really seems to shine on firmer foods. Felt absolutely great, near effortless, very precise. I'm doing a lot more chopping with the tip (as opposed to push cutting with whatever) with this knife than I do with the Hiromoto or other knives - that's a lot of fun, though it's easy to skin your knuckles that way.

                                                            As for how it compares to my last 'laser'- I wasn't as much of a noticer with my last laser. I seem to remember there not being a microbevel on the Tadatsuna - the grind seemed to just form the cutting edge. Sadly, I cannot say for sure whether this is how it came, or if it had a microbevel at first that I never noticed and just sharpened out. I do remember it chipped and folded easily, and this might have been why. I remember that it felt AMAZING how little resistance there was when cutting with it, but I wasn't as good of a sharpener then - since then I've gotten some thicker knives to cut very impressively, but back then I didn't have any high-performing comparison.

                                                            "Another question for you, how do you like the longer Wa-wood handle? I think it looks great, especially the octagon cross section. Do you like how it feels or not?"
                                                            ______
                                                            I love the Wa handle. Much more so than the Western handle on my former Tadatsuna. It's lighter, for one, which reinforces and balances the lightness of the blade. And it just feels 'right' for this knife. Looks great, provides excellent control. Love it.

                                                            "Why are you cutting up apples? Is it for baby food? Babies do really eat baby food until later, ya know?"
                                                            _____
                                                            That baby is gonna eat well, but I'm not cutting food up for him quite yet. Speaking of which, if I may brag - those apples were cut hours before I shot those photos. Not the slightest bit of browning. Having sharp knives is fun.

                                                            1. re: cowboyardee

                                                              "those apples were cut hours before I shot those photos"

                                                              Really? That is very impressive.

                                                              It is possible that the left grind is not as important as people claim to be, or maybe it is. I think your feedback (a month or so from now) will be important for other left handed people.

                                                          2. re: cowboyardee

                                                            amazing looking knife, excellent write up too. thanks for the great pictures. i can't get over how thin that knife is, like a piece of steel paper with a handle!

                                                            1. re: cowboyardee

                                                              "I pick it up - Whoaah - this thing is light. Almost comically so. My 6 inch honesuke and nakiri feel heavier."

                                                              LOL, yeah, pretty amazing! My Kanetsune is very light for a 210mm gyuto at 155g, but when I saw the specs on this 240mm Sakai I was jealous! The Forschner Rosewood 7" (180mm) santoku is also extremely light at only 100g, which is just one of the reasons why I like this knife, too.

                                                              1. re: Eiron

                                                                Yeah, the forschner is quite light - my old 8 inch forschner chef knife at least as thin behind its edge for most of the blade as my Hiromoto, while being much ligther overall and thinner at the spine (though of course it doesn't take or hold the same kind of edge, and it doesn't feel quite as thin behind the edge nearing the tip). This thinness behind its edge is probably why it performed well in the infamous "cooking for engineers" tests - better than more expensive German knives, while the Germans' perceived cutting performance is helped out a little bit by their extra weight.

                                                                Thinness behind the edge (or lack thereof) is also why many ceramic knives don't cut as effortlessly as many half decent steel knives (forschner included), despite being plenty sharp.

                                                                How are you liking the Kanetsune? This one, with the western handle?
                                                                http://www.chefknivestogo.com/kagy21....
                                                                In the Yusuke, the wa handle definitely seems to lower the overall weight and keep the balance forward on the very light blade. The Kanetsune must have a pretty light blade if it comes in at 155g with a Western handle.

                                                                1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                  CBAD, I'm still loving the Kanetsune! The one you linked is the KC-202, with the POM (acetal) handle. Mine is the KC-102, with the "laminated plywood" handle:
                                                                  http://japan-blades.com/chef-knives/w...
                                                                  I actually lucked out & was able to buy both a 202 & a 102 at the same time. I kept the 102 'cuz I REALLY liked the weight/balance of it over the 202. (I sold the 202 to a co-worker.) The POM scales of the 202 (along with a taller tang) made that one very handle-biased for balance. Also, the slightly smaller handle of the 102 has additional contouring at the underside of the rear where your ring & pinkie fingers wrap around. It gives that little bit of extra blade control that you don't get from a "square" handle. I'd image your octagonal wa handle provides the same type of ring & pinkie control.

                                                                  For comparison, here are my KC-102's measurements:
                                                                  Length, heel to tip - 214 mm
                                                                  Height at heel - 44 mm
                                                                  Height halfway down knife - 37 mm
                                                                  Height one inch from tip - 18 mm
                                                                  Spine thickness at heel - 1.9 mm
                                                                  Spine thickness halfway down the knife - 1.8 mm
                                                                  Spine thickness one inch from tip - 1.2 mm
                                                                  Blade thickness at heel, halfway between spine and edge - 1.54 mm
                                                                  Blade thickness at heel, 1/4 inch from edge - 0.84 mm
                                                                  Weight: 155 grams, Cuisinart mechanical (beam) scale

                                                                  I love the balance on the 102, which looks to be in a similar location to your Yusuke.

                                                                   
                                                                  1. re: Eiron

                                                                    Very light at 155 g. Yep, I think I still remember you bought it on a clearance sale. I love the fact that you also made a "balanced" shot. You guys are getting good at this. Good looking knife.

                                                                    1. re: Eiron

                                                                      Wow, your knife looks EXACTLY like my Kumadori Minamoto Kotetsu, which is also made in Seki-city. Same 33-layer "damascus" over VG-10 construction, too. I wonder whether we have the same knife with different branding.

                                                                       
                                                                      1. re: tanuki soup

                                                                        tanuki, I would not be one bit surprised if our two knives were actually sold under multiple labels. When tsuchime styled knives became all the rage early last year, there were (at least) three or four brands at the end of the year that all appeared to have rolled off the exact same production line.

                                                                        What do you think of yours? Is it also a 210mm length?

                                                                        1. re: Eiron

                                                                          Yeah, mine is also 210 mm -- I really meant it when I said EXACTLY! :-)

                                                                          Actually, I just noticed that the model number for mine is listed as "M-102" at Amazon Japan, which is suspiciously similar to your "KC-102". I've read that the knife-makers in Seki City are sort of a guild and that they often share production among members. Like you, I suspect that our knives are from the same factory.

                                                                          To answer your question, I'm quite pleased with my Kumadori. Nice (but not obsessive) fit and finish, very sharp, well balanced, and feels light and nimble in the hand. IMO, it's an attractive and good-handling knife for a reasonable price.

                                                                          1. re: tanuki soup

                                                                            tanuki, the F&F on my 102 is very nice but, as you say, not obsessive. There is a very slight difference transitioning from the tang to the wood scales, with the tang being slightly taller. It's small enough that I can't measure it, but I can feel it. (My wife even commented on it & claimed it a shame on such an otherwise nice knife!)

                                                                            The 202 was flawless in this area. It was a perfectly smooth transition all over the handle. But the POM wasn't as nice (to me) to hold, didn't have the additional contouring, & the balance point was somewhere in the handle. I don't remember how much more it weighed. I've offered free sharpening to the co-worker who bought it, so I'm sure I'll be seeing it again in the future.

                                                                            Have you sharpened your M-102 much? I've done mine three times in the year that I've owned it & it's much sharper now than when I bought it. (Of course, I bought it as a floor/display knife from a hardware store, so it was not even up to factory-sharp when I got it.)

                                                                            1. re: Eiron

                                                                              As for F&F, mine doesn't have any flaws to the touch, but the corners where the blade/tang meets the side plates aren't perfectly exact right angles (slight irregularities, but no roughness or gaps -- just a cosmetic flaw, actually). There are also a few very small surface scratches on the blade, only visible if you look closely in bright light from certain angles.

                                                                              I've only used my knife a couple of times, so I haven't sharpened it yet. It came from the factory quite sharp. It can push-cut paper, which is as good as I can get anyway.

                                                                              Glad to hear that you're still happy with your knife after a year of ownership. :-)

                                                                      2. re: Eiron

                                                                        Thanks for the review Eiron. I love that balance shot! Looks like you balanced it on an even thinner spine than I did - nice steady hands you have there. I hope that becomes a standard photo to include in knife reviews on the internet. Thanks also for the measurements.

                                                                        How have you found the edge retention to be in that knife. Does it get chippy at all for you? Have you played around with any other VG 10 (Shun classic, Tojiro DP) to compare it to? Have you put it to any rough use?

                                                                        As far as rebranding as Tanuki's Minamoto - I wouldn't be at all surprised. In fact, it looks suspiciously like the Hattori HD/ryusen, which we already know has been rebranded a bunch. The measurements you provide seem appropriate for a Hattori HD rebrand as well. I also know that Kanetsune sells rebranded knives at times because it sells the even-more-notoriously rebranded Togiharu/kanetsune/etc Hammered damascus.
                                                                        I suspect Kanetsune rehandles the rebranded blades. Take a look - let me know if you think that's the same knife:
                                                                        http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/HDS...

                                                                        1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                          CBAD, I'd say the HD is similar, but a touch different. It sports more layers (63 vs 33), & the "pressure dimples" (for lack of a better term?; where the layers form "bulls-eyes" that are exposed when the sides are ground on the blades) are located differently. Between the KC-102 & KC-202 I bought, even though the handles were different, the cladding pattern was identical. I can see the HDs being made along-side these Kanetsune & Minamoto knives, but I can also see Hattori spec'ing a higher number of layers to maintain a better market presence with his KD line.

                                                                          Edge retention on the Kanetsune has been very good, especially considering it's suffered thru my waterstone learner's period. :-) I find myself being easier on my VG-10 knives simply because they cut with so much less effort. This past Thanksgiving (turkey) & Xmas (ham) I used it as my carving knife & it worked better than anything else I've ever used.

                                                                          I do have 2 Shun Classics (the 102's balancing on the spine of the 6" utility), but, unlike the Kanetsune, they came with factory-sharp edges. I've only needed to sharpen the 6" once in the year that I've had it, & I just bought the 4" parer within the last four (?) months. Of course, I'm only getting the edges better than they were with each sharpening, & not as good as they might possibly be.

                                                                          P.S., I'm going to raise the bar here, & tell you that my balance shot was done with the base knife off the counter by maybe 2 or 3 inches. :-) Of course, you may claim it's only hear-say, since you can't tell from my shot. That would force me to shoot it again...

                                                                          1. re: Eiron

                                                                            "I just bought the 4" parer "

                                                                            Shun Classic paring knife is highly regarded and touted, probaby more so than any other Shun knives.

                                                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                              Yes, & I originally bought the 3-1/2" parer that everyone knows & loves, based on its high regard. Unfortunately, I never used it! I use the 3-1/4" Forschner Rosewood parer quite a bit, but never the Shun. Wazzupwiddat? For some reason, the blade length & asym D handle combo just made it feel weird.

                                                                              So I sold it & bought the 4" Shun parer on clearance somewhere (online, don't remember from whom). For some reason, this new Shun parer gets used about equally as much as the Rosewood does. I really like it a lot. Go figger.

                                                                            2. re: Eiron

                                                                              I hadn't caught those little differences in cladding. And I had no idea how consistent those markings were from one knife to another, but you're right - the more acknowledged rebrands like Ittosai and ryusen look to have almost the exact same markings as the HD (very minor differences noted in the photos I've seen) while the Kanetsune is the same style but a step further away. You gotta admit though, the profiles of those two knives are identical, best I can tell. They may not be identical twins, but they look to be at least siblings or slightly inbred cousins.

                                                                              Notice any difference in micro-chipping of the Kanetsune compared to the Shun? I know that's a hard comparison to make since a utility or paring knife won't see the same kind of board contact as a gyuto, but I ask because I've heard some of the knifeforum guys say that many vg10 knives are tempered better than shuns (and also that HDs are tempered better than other vg10 blades), but I wasn't sure if this was just knifeforum anti-shun bias.

                                                                              "This past Thanksgiving (turkey) & Xmas (ham) I used it as my carving knife & it worked better than anything else I've ever used."
                                                                              ________
                                                                              That's one of those little functions I love about a gyuto. With a roast in front of me, I'd take a well sharpened 240 mm gyuto over any Western carving knife I've ever played with.
                                                                              On the other hand, I haven't cut too much with a sujihiki yet (though I have sharpened a couple). I know some guys even like to use them like a chefs knife for almost everything. Eventually I'll have a little extra money to blow again and that might be my next purchase/thread.

                                                                              "My balance shot was done with the base knife off the counter by maybe 2 or 3 inches. :-) Of course, you may claim it's only hear-say, since you can't tell from my shot. That would force me to shoot it again..."
                                                                              ________
                                                                              I call shenanigans. Reshoot! Don't photoshop out the wires holding that knife in place either. ;)

                                                                              1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                "HDs are tempered better than other vg10 blades"

                                                                                So they say. As you, I now wonder if there is an anti-Shun, anti-establishment attitude.

                                                                                1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                  "Notice any difference in micro-chipping of the Kanetsune compared to the Shun?" - I've not seen any micro-chipping on any of the VG-10 knives I own, so maybe I'm not driving them into the board with enough force?

                                                                                  Now, on the KC-202 I sold to my co-worker, I saw some edge micro-pitting. I hadn't noticed it for the entire time I owned it (at least 6 months). He asked me to sharpen it for him just before Thanksgiving. I still had only my 1000 & 6000 stones & leather belt at that time. After I was finished sharpening it, the edge had a much brighter finish (polish) to it than when I had bought it. I could now easily pick out a couple of pits along the edge. At first I thought they were stains, but looking at them thru a loupe showed them to be very tiny pits. I don't know if they were created by his use of the knife, or because it was on display/demo for several years. I'll know more when he brings it back for another sharpening.

                                                                                  "I haven't cut too much with a sujihiki yet" - I was thinking of getting one to replace my Forschner Rosewood serrated bread knife:
                                                                                  http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/Pro...: 401px; HEIGHT: 233px
                                                                                  The extra 1.5" length would be really nice for bread, but the Rosewood already cuts so well that it's hard for me to justify spending the $105.

                                                                                  "I call shenanigans. Reshoot!" - It'll have to wait until the weekend. :-

                                                                                  )

                                                                                  "They may not be identical twins, but they look to be at least siblings or slightly inbred cousins." - I agree... I think... are we still talking about knives?

                                                                    2. More photos (I'm especially proud of the 'balance point' shot):

                                                                       
                                                                       
                                                                       
                                                                       
                                                                      1. Last ones, I promise:

                                                                         
                                                                         
                                                                         
                                                                        18 Replies
                                                                        1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                          Super sexxxy. Enjoy!!

                                                                          1. re: petek

                                                                            That is exactly what it is. With the Wa handle and the white steel it is very sleek looking.

                                                                            1. re: scubadoo97

                                                                              I do love the look and feel of it. Little things like ordering it with the Ichii wood handle and the lefty grind have really taken it from just a very nice knife to the realm of something special, in my mind.

                                                                          2. re: cowboyardee

                                                                            Wow! I never really appreciated the beauty of traditional Japanese knives before looking at your pictures. I especially like the gorgeous octagonal wood handle. Thanks for sharing these great pics!

                                                                            1. re: tanuki soup

                                                                              You're too kind tanuki. I've seen your work with a camera - it's much better than mine.

                                                                            2. re: cowboyardee

                                                                              Cowboy,

                                                                              3 weeks still you got hold of the knife. Is the "lefty" design helpful? Worth it cost? Do you use the Sakai Yusuke much? Or do you still reach for your Hiromoto mostly?

                                                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                I've been cooking a bit less than usual the last few weeks - just the way it's worked out. But I've been using the yusuke pretty much exclusively. We're still on our honeymoon.

                                                                                I don't know what I'll wind up reaching for more often in the future. The yusuke definitely cuts better. Surprisingly, the improvement in cutting is actually most noticeable on fairly hard foods - winter squash, parsnips, lopping the heads off a whole clove of garlic - that's where this knife really shines. You would think a beefier knife would be called for, but it's great for that stuff. It would also make an awesome knife for plating in a restaurant (or in my case, cooking competition), just because it does seem to feel more precise, though to be honest, I never had much trouble getting the cuts I wanted out of my Hiromoto either.

                                                                                I'm doing a lot more of the Salty-style chopping with the yusuke (which still feels a bit weird to me - you have to be a lot more conscious of which part of the edge you're using and how you're holding the knife to avoid accordion cuts) whereas I did more push cutting with the Hiromoto. It doesn't rock chop as well as the Hiromoto, I think due to the slightly more angular profile, perhaps also the lack of heft.

                                                                                I haven't put it through any marathon cutting sessions yet, so that test is still pending.

                                                                                The edge retention is so far the biggest downside. Problem is that I'm spoiled by the Hiromoto. It seems to be at least on par with the CCK, even at such a low angle edge. But when the edge is imperfect on the yusuke, it bothers me more - almost as a matter of principle more than a matter of practicality. It's also quite reactive, so I know I can definitely lose some sharpness to corrosion, though that's hasn't been an issue for me yet - might be in a competition where I'm really hustling.

                                                                                The lefty question is still up in the air. I feel like a lefty can easily use a righty ground gyuto like the Hiromoto. But I'm also glad that in this case I forked out a bit extra for a lefty grind, just cause the whole point of this knife was to maximize cutting performance for my dollar. The lefty grind seems to help with control on hard items like butternut squash, and also when cutting extremely thin. There does seem to be a little less sticking and riding up when cutting common offenders like potato, but the difference is slight enough that I'm not sure I'd notice if I weren't looking for it.

                                                                                Hope people don't mind the drawn out 3 week review.

                                                                                1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                  Cool. I guess I can see why the Sakai Yusuke cut better than Hiromoto AS for hard and large item foods like winter squashs and parsnips due to the thinner blade – less wedging probably. Wedging is less of a problem for softer and thinner foods like meat stripes.
                                                                                  Yeah, being a shirogami (white steel), the Sakai Yusuke is subject to corrosion and I wonder if that is impacting the edge retention.

                                                                                  By Saltdog’s chopping method, do you mean his pure up and down cutting motions as opposite to pushing cutting with a slight forward and backward motion?

                                                                                  Thanks for the feedback/update.

                                                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                    "By Saltdog’s chopping method, do you mean his pure up and down cutting motions as opposite to pushing cutting with a slight forward and backward motion?"
                                                                                    _______
                                                                                    Yep.

                                                                              2. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                Ok, it has been 4 months since you got your Sakai Yusuke lefty oriented knife. I believe this is your very first left handed knife. Is the left orientation worth the extra price? Do you get to use this knife as much as you thought? Or are you relying more on the Hiromoto AS? Short replies will do. Just curious about your overall opinions.

                                                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                  It's my go-to knife. Just outperforms everything else I have, or even everything else that I have handled, as far as I can remember. Edge retention is a bit less than the Hiromoto, but still definitely respectable, and it's so quick and easy to sharpen well that it completely makes up for the slight drop in edge retention, at least for a home cook. I can't think of any jobs that I really hesitate to use it for where I would still use another gyuto - though again, I never have to cut a crate full of acidic ingredients or anything.

                                                                                  The left-handed thing:

                                                                                  hmmm... I definitely prefer the lefty grind for skinning fish, and it seems to handle just the *slightest* bit better for general usage. There's a minor advantage in terms of food sticking to the side of the knife, but I think that has more to do with technique than grind. at least for double beveled gyutos.

                                                                                  Is it worth it? It was worth it to me. Really, the performance difference seems to be pretty subtle and I still wouldn't hesitate to tell other lefties to consider right handed gyutos, especially if the price bump for a left handed knife puts their blade of choice out of their price range - It's one small factor among many when considering a knife, and I'd rather have great righty knife than a pretty good lefty one. I was probably going for the yusuke, lefty grind or not, so the fairly nominal price bump (something like $30) was completely worth it to me, not just because of the minor improvements to performance but also to keep me from wondering. I think a lefty grind laser was the only knife that would fully scratch the 'performance' itch for me.

                                                                                  1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                    "It's my go-to knife"

                                                                                    Cool. I didn't expect you to move this performance knife up to the "go-to" section

                                                                                    "Edge retention is a bit less than the Hiromoto"

                                                                                    I wonder if this is the inherent difference between Aogami Super (Hiromoto AS) vs Shirogami (Sakai Yusuke) or maybe it is just a difference between two makers. Aogami is claimed to have better edge retention, but Shirogami is easier to sharpen. Yet, people also say the differences are fairly small and subtle.

                                                                                    Good to know that the left orientation works out for you. Additional $30 seems to be a small price in this case. Left handed knives can cost 25%-50% more than the right handed knives.

                                                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                      "I wonder if this is the inherent difference between Aogami Super (Hiromoto AS) vs Shirogami (Sakai Yusuke) or maybe it is just difference between two makers. Aogami is claimed to have better edge retention, but Shirogami is easier to sharpen."
                                                                                      _____
                                                                                      My experience with other knives has generally been that blue steel holds its edge longer than white. Blue super (like the Hiromoto) as well, maybe even longer. On the other hand, I actually haven't played with any white steel tempered up real hard like the Japanese often do for honyaki yanagibas. And I'm also not sure I've played with any white #1 or blue #1. Just #2 in both (and blue super, of course). As far as sharpening, there seem to be minor differences, but my experience has been more dependent on the maker than the steel. The yusuke seems to really showcase how easy white steel can be to sharpen.

                                                                                      "Left handed knives can cost 25%-50% more than the right handed knives."
                                                                                      _____
                                                                                      Might have been $40 - hard to remember exactly. But even then, that works out to a 20% price bump at the most.

                                                                                2. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                  Mark is selling your knife (Sakai Yusuke). Doesn't seem much cheaper than your purchase.

                                                                                  http://www.chefknivestogo.com/sakaiyu...

                                                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                    He's selling it for a little bit more than Bluewayjapan (who I bought mine from). CKTG lists the 240mm yusuke at $210 and free shipping. Bluewayjapan is selling it for $195 with $4 shipping.
                                                                                    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Japanese-Saka...

                                                                                    Mine cost a bit more because I special ordered the lefty grind, and I also got the ichii wood handle. Still worth every penny, btw.

                                                                                    At any rate, CKTG is very good at keeping excellent products stocked, so kudos to Mark.

                                                                                    1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                      Yep, I noticed that too. I guess the advantage is that Mark will get the knife to a US customer faster.

                                                                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                        I guess the advantage is that Mark will get the knife to a US customer faster.
                                                                                        -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                        Not IME but that probably depends on freight method and where you live as much as any thing. I've ordered from both sellers and one was no faster or slower than the other. IMO there's nothing that really matches getting a package direct from Japan but both dealers offer good service.

                                                                                        1. re: TraderJoe

                                                                                          You may be right. I have ordered from bluewayjapan once, and it was very quick. Japanesechefknife is also very quick. I have ordered from other Japanese vendors, and sometime the package get stuck (not their faults really). One knife I bought from "linya japan" took 3-4 weeks. He shipped it out, but it was just lost somewhere.

                                                                                3. I see your list but I do not see a Global knife listed. You want your socks to be knocked off? Global will lift you right off your feet (might leave your socks on though!) It will hold an edge for a long time and I use a knife often.
                                                                                  Take a look and see if there is anything that tickles your fancy. They are not your normal, average run-of-th- mill knives in appearance or performance.

                                                                                  12 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: Jamie Doyle

                                                                                    Duly noted.

                                                                                    1. re: Jamie Doyle

                                                                                      Is this a joke?

                                                                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                        Intentional or not, yup

                                                                                        1. re: Dave5440

                                                                                          Well, joke or not, intentional or not, I think that JD does make a valid point. Although we can all appreciate (and lust after!) the performance and beauty of cowboyardee's latest acquisition, a "plain Jane" Global is undeniably a quality knife and is probably better than you will find in 99.9% of kitchens in the world. I wonder whether JD's post was intended to give us a bit of a reality check?

                                                                                          1. re: tanuki soup

                                                                                            Tanuki

                                                                                            Global knives are good. No argument there. However, the original post states:

                                                                                            " I'm looking for a thin knife with great geometry that cuts like a laser. No workhorse necessary - I've already got an all-around knife I'm very happy with."

                                                                                            It is a post requesting opinions for an ultrahigh performace (laser) knife in company of a Hiromoto AS gyuto.

                                                                                            If a person told me that he has a Honda Accord which he is very happy with for daily commute, but is looking to buy a higher performance sport car for weekend enjoyment, and then I suggested a Honda Civic ....

                                                                                            1. re: tanuki soup

                                                                                              "a "plain Jane" Global is undeniably a quality knife and is probably better than you will find in 99.9% of kitchens in the world."
                                                                                              ____
                                                                                              Most definitely. Global makes excellent knives.

                                                                                              "I wonder whether JD's post was intended to give us a bit of a reality check?"
                                                                                              __________
                                                                                              Maybe, but honestly I doubt it. I think it was just someone who has a Global they like very much and wanted to sing its praises. Which is cool - I will speak no ill of that kind of enthusiasm with respect to knives, for obvious reasons.

                                                                                              But you've got to admit, it's kinda like jumping in on a thread where people are discussing the ins and out of Oaxacan vs Pueblan mole sauces and going "You guys have got to try TACOs - they're great!" I mean, tacos ARE pretty great...

                                                                                              1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                Yeah, I hear you, cowboyardee. I guess I kind of felt that JD's obvious enthusiasm (naive though it may be) was being slapped down. One of my other hobbies is high-end audio, and you see a lot of that kind of thing on the audio discussion boards. I figure we're all newbies at some point, and heaven knows, when it comes to good knives, I'm a pretty raw newbie myself.

                                                                                                1. re: tanuki soup

                                                                                                  I understand. Since Jamie was a one-time poster, I figured he/she most likely wasn't still following this thread and I had a little fun with his or her post. I wasn't trying to be mean, but apologize if it came off that way.

                                                                                                  Jamie, if you are still around, stay - you seem like someone who appreciates a great knife. The reason we're on this thread talking about knife performance in the first place is because we like a lot of the features that you seem to love in your Global. A lot of the knives mentioned on this thread take the features that make Globals cut so well and amplify them. So if you ever get a chance to try out one or more of these knives, either at a store or in the kitchen of another knife lover, pounce on it. I bet you'd enjoy 'em immensely.

                                                                                                  1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                    "Jamie, if you are still around, stay - you seem like someone who appreciates a great knife."

                                                                                                    love the generosity of spirit on CH. Unlike most other boards i've been on. :--)

                                                                                                    1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                      Hey Rob. Just wondering what the ballpark figure was that blue was charging for the lefty yusuke? I'm a southpaw myself and have been interested in both the #2 and the konosuke hd. Did either he or Jon (JKI) mention if the HD was avail in a lefty grind? Much appreciated.

                                                                                                      1. re: phildlee

                                                                                                        I can't say the offer is still necessarily the same, but Bluewayjapan was offering lefty versions of the Yusuke for (i think) $35 above the righty price, and an additional wait of a few weeks.

                                                                                                        Jon (JKI) was offering the lefty Konusuke for (i don't remember exactly) something like a 25% markup, and also an additional wait.

                                                                                                        Both guys were easy to work with. Jon was good for suggestions - he had additional, unadvertised steel options for the lefty Ashi Hamono, at a good price IIRC, which I considered.

                                                                                                        I'm still experimenting to decide how much of a difference a lefty grind seems to make. I'm finding little things - it's definitely easier to slice EXTREMELY thin with a lefty grind, but we're talking about read-a-newspaper-through-it thin. Aim for just a hair thicker, and the difference is muted. Still experimenting with how it affects food sticking to the blade and also specific tasks like skinning fish and cutting winter squash.

                                                                                                        1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                          Hmm, since you are going to give this knife to your son :D

                                                                                                          What if he is right-handed?

                                                                                                          :P

                                                                                        2. Hey cowboy,

                                                                                          This is probably old news for you, but it is new to me and I want to share with others. I was surfing around saw the Mizuno Tanrenjo Honyaki Gyuto. HONYAKI!

                                                                                          http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/SPE...

                                                                                          I guess Saltydog has repeatedly asked Mizuno family to make a Honyaki Gyuto. Salty seems to like it a lot and bought both the Shirogami (white steel)and Aoagmi (blue steel).

                                                                                          They are beautiful:

                                                                                          http://www.saltyskitchenknives.com/Ho...

                                                                                          and they take on impressive edges and hold those edges well:

                                                                                          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJayhZ...

                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                            That is one pretty knife. Salty sure makes it sound pretty awesome. I'm curious about it's edge geometry though - a lot of the pictures make it look like the grind fades right into the edge or maybe a microbevel, but salty makes it out like its a fairly 'mighty' gyuto, and his video where he's sharpening it has him doing a decent bit of work with a Chosera 400 at a reasonable angle - there has to be a decent sized bevel there, right?

                                                                                            You thinking of getting one, Chem? I mean, I know they're expensive, but come on... they're so pretty, and you're worth it.

                                                                                            1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                              "they're so pretty, and you're worth it."
                                                                                              ______________________________________________________________________________

                                                                                              LOL. You are a bad man CBAD!

                                                                                              1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                I thought you were going to say:

                                                                                                "I mean, I know they're expensive, but come on... TAKE ONE FOR THE TEAM."

                                                                                                :)

                                                                                                I agree with your points. It does sound like a fairly mighty knife, as oppsed to a laser knife.

                                                                                                "his video where he's sharpening it has him doing a decent bit of work with a Chosera 400 at a reasonable angle - there has to be a decent sized bevel there, right?"

                                                                                                Maybe, but Honyaki knives are said to be difficult to sharpen, so that could be it. Though it maybe a big microbevel as you said.

                                                                                                On the other hand, maybe Salty is just being very light-handed because he wrote and explained:

                                                                                                "I will post a video of the process. It's a little long because I didn't want to screw up the edge or the mirror finish."

                                                                                                I don't know.