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Wanted: specific carbon chef's knife, any ideas?

I am interested in a new chef's knife. I would like a ten inch or greater carbon steel knife. I have looked at the Sabatiers that are available and I would prefer a german style knife. I have big hands and need plenty of clearance, plus I like a wide blade for scooping veggies, etc. i have also seen some custom carbon knives like the ones from wildfire cutlery, and other than Bob Kramer's knives, which Shun are based on, nothing I have seen interests me. I don't want some funky looking chef's knife. I appreciate the art of making these custom knives, but that's not what I'm looking for. As far as the asian knives are concerned, I have zero interest in a single ground blade, or anything that isn't symmetrical: I sharpen my own knives and I am pretty particular about my grind angles. I also like a heavier blade, something wide and ten inches long should have some heft. I essentially like the weight of the knife to do the cutting for me. That said, the knife needn't be too heavy, I don't want the steel to be so thick it puts up a fight when I'm cutting something thin. The knife I have now is a an old Chicago cutlery 44s from when they were still made in the US. it started out as a 10.5 inch, but my stepfather used it for years as a butcher and now it's down to 9.75. It has a simple wood handle, a full tang, a nice wide blade, and no bolster. it has some heft, but the steel isn't too thick. Essentially I want to know if there is anything on the market that meets my description. Essentially I'm looking for something like my 44s but made of carbon steel, a german style blade with a simple handle (with or without bolster). I know that there are lots of great japanese knives, but most of the ones I have seen aren't quite what I'm looking for. Can anyone recommend something? thanks

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  1. I know you said you weren't interested in Japanese knives but I would recommend either of these in the 270 size. Both are praised for their excellent carbon steel. They are western style and neither are lightweights, but neither are brutes. Since you sharpen yourself andnhave a particular grind that you like it should be easy enough to make either edge into exactly what you are looking for. The only negative I see is that they don't have as much belly as a traditional German knife.

    Misono Swedish gyuto 270mm

    http://www.chefknivestogo.com/misono5...

    Masamoto HC gyuto 270mm

    http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/HCS...

    1. Didn't you say you nothing except Bob Kramer's design interests you?

      2 Replies
      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

        I mean that no custom knives that I have seen other than Kramer's knives interest me. And seeing as you can't even get on the waitlist, that seems to be out of the question.

        1. re: motownbrowne

          I see. You want (a) carbon steel, (b) 10 inches long or more, (c) a German Chef's knife profile and (d) weight, right? I don't know if all these attributes are important to you, but your original post has repeatedly mentioned these characteristics that I think you are serious. First, let me say that the gyutos knives suggested by smarcus are great knives by any means, but they may not fit what you have described.

          Most French Chef's knife and Japanese gyutos do not have the profiles as a German knife. In fact, most Japanese gyutos are lighter than French Chef's knives. Just to give you some examples. For 8" Chef's knives, a Messermeister Meridian Elite weighs 283 g, a Henckels Pro-S 264 g and a Wusthof Classic 249 g. Conversely, a Misono Swedish 175 g, a Tojiro DP 179 g, a Nenox gyuto 178 g. These gyutos are lighter and thinner -- by a good margin.

          http://www.chefknivestogo.com/misono3...

          The profiles are also different, but most importantly, the steels are different. European carbon steel knives usually have softer steels than their Japanese counterparts, and I expect the same for your Chicago cultery 44s knife. Therefore, these knives won't cut the same, and they won't be sharpened the same... etc.

          Since you have considered Kramer's knives, Rader knives are good alternative. Carbon steel, wide blade and cheaper. They are not as heavy as a equivalent Messermeister, but they are much heavier than a Misono. Rader knives do not have any funky looks. If anything, Rader knives are a lot more like your Chicago Cutlery 44s Chef's knife with straighter spine and straighter edge. Take a look.

          Chicago Cutlery 44s:
          http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:AN...
          Rader's:
          http://www.raderblade.com/
          Kramer's:
          http://kramerknives.com/

          You should double check with Michael in term of weight and everything.

      2. I would say call Korin and get a proper Japanese made carbon steel knife. Even if its a western style.
        http://korin.com
        57 Warren Street
        New York, NY 10007
        (212) 587-7021

        1. Thanks for the advice. It's not that I don't like Japanese knives, I didn't mean to say that, I just hadn't seen any that matched what I wanted in a knife, but the ones you recommended look like they could be what I'm looking for.

          1 Reply
          1. re: motownbrowne

            motown: regardless which knife you choose,do yourself a favour and stop "scooping veggies" or anything else for that matter,with your knife blade.It's a very hard habit to break(trust me I know,I cook for a living and I assume you do as well).This might sound a bit anal but pick up a cheap bench scraper to scoop up stuff with. You'll add years to the life of your blade.

          2. Okay, I looked into the japanese, western style carbon steel knives. I looked at the two listed here from Misono and Masamoto and two more I found on the Korin, one from Suisin and one from Togiharu. The prices all seem pretty similar except for the Masamoto, which at 229 is 80 to 100 dollars more than the rest of them, but seems to have a slightly harder steel, 61-62 HRC as opposed to 60. Now if I wanted to find out more about the blade dimensions and overall weight, where would I look. I also found a carbon gyuto from fujiwara with an HRC of 60 that only costs 88 dollars. Now, having only today started looking at japanese knives, how can I compare them. They all seem to be pretty similar, but having weights and dimensions would help to compare them. If you have any advice about brand quality, etc. please let me know. Thanks

            1 Reply
            1. re: motownbrowne

              I haven't found specs except what was on the CKTG website but here is something on the masamoto - http://www.knifeforums.com/forums/sho...

            2. Have you looked at ALL of the Sabatier offerings? These look a bit more Germanic than the regular Thiers Issard carbon and Nogent lines:

              http://thebestthings.com/knives/sabat...

              1. What you're looking for is going to be hard to find. As far as I know, there isn't much in the way of carbon steel German made knives available. Even looking for vintage knives, I didn't see anything actually for sale (there are occasional mentions of custom makers - like this Anton Wingen knife: http://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia... ). Beyond that, even many custom makers who might make a carbon steel, german profiled chefs knife often don't make 10 inch long blades, since I've heard their a pain in the butt to make compared to shorter knives, with a much higher fail rate.

                If you absolutely insist on a on carbon steel, 10 inch, wide german profile, your best option is probably going to be keeping an eye on ebay and hoping to get lucky. AFAIK any knife you find that meets your criteria is going to be a vintage one.

                You also may want to look on ebay for another vintage Chicago Cutlery. This one says it's carbon steel, though I was unaware that Chicago Cutlery made carbon steel knives and I would be suspicious.
                http://cgi.ebay.com/Vintage-Chicago-c...

                Next I wonder if you're willing to compromise? There are Japanese gyutos that are heavier (commonly referred to as 'mighty' gyutos). First that comes to my mind is the Watanabe- it'll cost you though. The steel is carbon (good stuff, too). The edge grind is close to 50/50, but you might want to double check with the seller.
                http://www.chefknivestogo.com/wablst2...
                The Aritsugu A-type is a little less meaty, but still has a lot of oomph. It is semi stainless - its steel has chromium but under 13 %. It comes with an unfinished edge - you can grind it in however you like. There are other mighty gyutos - you might want to ask over at knifeforums - look for a 270 mm knife.

                Next I wonder if your'e willing to compromise on carbon steel? A 10 inch Messermeister Meridian Elite or Wusthof Classic is easy enough to find, has the profile and weight you seem to like, and is easy to sharpen, though they won't hold their edge like most carbon steel knives and there is some minimal loss to maximum sharpness.

                Also, Tim's suggestion was good - there are a lot of makes of sabatier - some have a bit more belly and are taller, like you seem to want.

                1. Well, I talked to Mark at CKTG and he had a 270 mm Takeda Gyuto marked as a "second" laying around. Although the profile is a little more like a big santoku, it seemed to be to my liking. the steel is Aogamis Super hardened to around 61 HRC, it is hand-crafted, and as far as gyutos are concerned, it is a very tall (wide) blade. I ordered it yesterday and can't wait to get it. Normally his 270mm gyutos are $295, but being a second, I got it for $205. It just seemed too good of a deal to pass up. Since I was already placing an order, I went ahead and got a 165mm Blue Steel Nikiri from Tanaka, which was on sale for $40. So, all told I spent a little more than the Misono, but I think I got a knife that's a little more suited to me, and something that is more unique than the misonos or masamotos. Of course I'll have to get used to the japanese style handle, but I think I'll learn fast. Once it gets here I'll let you know how it goes.

                  Thanks for all the help

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: motownbrowne

                    They are good knives. Takeda has excellent reputation for carbon steel knives and I have the Tanaka Nakiri. In my opinion, Tanaka Naikiri is constructed of excellent steel for that low price. The fit and finisih is not so great, but for only $40 that is expected. Because you are good at knife sharpening, you should able to fix that problem. Of course, these knives are nothing like what you described in your original post, not German curved style and not heavy blade, so you will get to try something new. Have fun.