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Help me love my new gyuto!

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Continuing from the "Talk About Knives thread": Hi folks,inspired by much of the talk on these boards, I just received my Fujiwara FKM gyuto.

Sharpness out of the box is good, but not blowing me away - is it normal to immediately sharpen right when getting the knife? The handle and bolster are taking a bit of getting used to (I'm used to a 10-inch Wusthof) but I feel like I'm missing out on something. I do use pinch grip, and I just tested it out on an onion. Can you help me love my knife?

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  1. To respond a post you made there:

    malkazanine

    I also saw some inexpensive King stones which you can buy separately (as opposed to combination stone). A 1000 grit with a 4000 grit would be ~$52 or so.

    http://www.woodcraft.com/Family/20002...

    There is also the regular Naniwa (not Super Naniwa) combination stone of 1000/3000 for $38. Let's hope the shipping is cheap. So many choices.

    http://www.sharpeningsupplies.com/Nan...

    Getting back to the knife. Can you tell us "what is not blowing you away"? That is what is it lacking compare to Wusthof? Is it that it seems less sharp or is it that feels too light or is the edge retention (ability to stay sharp) is lacking? I think it will help pinpoint our conversation. Best.

    14 Replies
    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

      Well, to be fully honest, I think I was expecting to be blown away by the knife, right out of the box - which may have been unrealistic. My use of it has been limited so far, but what I was looking for was an increased level of precision over my workhorse Wusthof. From what I understand, once I get a stone I'll be able to get it much sharper, which should help that matter. Is it fair to say that when sharpening both knives, I'll be able to get the gyuto sharper than the Wusthof?

      The handle is another thing to get used to. It actually feels longer in my hand than the Western knives, probably because it's weighted differently. All an adjustment. :)

      1. re: malkazanie

        "once I get a stone I'll be able to get it much sharper, which should help that matter. Is it fair to say that when sharpening both knives, I'll be able to get the gyuto sharper than the Wusthof?"

        With a 1000 grit stone, you should able to get both the Fujiwara and Wusthof sharper. There are two things which, I think, make a knife feel sharp. The first thing is the edge. A sharper edge will make a knife shaper and a Fujirwara edge has a sharper (swallower) edge angle. The second thing is the knife blade thickness. A thinner knife blade will experience less resistance when going through foods. The Fujiwara is a thinner blade knife, so it will feel sharper in this sense as well.

        The thing is that a Fujiwara FKM is not a very hard steel knife, not much harder than a Wusthof. I read that typical Wusthof knives are about HRC 58, at least the new ones. The Fujiwara FKM is a good introductory knife for people who are new to Japanese influenced knife because it is 58-59 HRC:

        http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/FKM...

        In comparison, typical Shun knives and Tojiro VG-10 knives are harder on the scale of 61 HRC. Long story short, I see a Fujiwara FKM knife as a bridge between a typical Western German knife and a Modern Japanese knife. It has the shape and profile of a typical Japanese gyuto, but with a softer steel which resembles some German knife characteristics.

        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

          "Long story short, I see a Fujiwara FKM knife as a bridge between a typical Western German knife and a Modern Japanese knife."

          That's exactly what I was going for - my gateway drug, as it were! I think it'll be a good knife to learn sharpening on, as well.

        2. re: malkazanie

          malkazanie: Most Japanese knives don't come screaming sharp out of the box I think in part because the knife maker/manufacturer wants the customer to put his or hers finishing touch on the edge.

          You're right about having to adjust to the weight distribution difference + the geometry of the blade.

          I use a pinch grip most of the time but I'll switch it up to the hammer grip or placing my fore finger along the spine of the blade, depends on the situation. I'm using wa handle knives so YMMV.

          Give it some time and get used to your new blade.Start chopping and slicing everything you can get your hands on.You'll eventually love it.

          1. re: petek

            Hey P, and everybody else i've been meaning to ask this for awhile, I've found that i'm slicing everything now with the J knife instead of chopping, partially from u-tube videos and partially from how great it slices, as they say the food doesn't know it's been cut, Is the change in style normal?
            Mal-congrates on your new "gateway" knife , i'm sure you will come to love it

            1. re: Dave5440

              I think I slice a bit more. The problem is that I had always push-cut a lot (which is slicing to many people), so I have less room to shift when comparing to others.

              "... as they say the food doesn't know it's been cut"

              I don't know. Last time, I slice my finger, I know. :P

              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                I don't know. Last time, I slice my finger, I know. :P

                Me too , but i didn't EAT the piece i cut off

                1. re: Dave5440

                  "Me too , but i didn't EAT the piece i cut off"

                  Neither do I, but I bet the food does know it is being cut. Poor food. :)

                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    If it's really quiet,,,,I can hear it scream!!!!

              2. re: Dave5440

                Hey Dave: "Is the change in style normal?"

                Sure. I use a push cut or slice with a gyuto because of it's thinner profile(except maybe for a Takeda which has a bigger belly).I still use a chopping motion when I'm powering through a ton of onions though.Just faster for me.

                1. re: petek

                  I must be confused, I thought slicing was just drawing the knife towards yourself through whatever you are cutting, i started doing this when i couldn't use my left hand , now i do it with everything i can, cuccumbers i don't even have to hold onto, it stays on the board looking like it's still one piece

                  1. re: Dave5440

                    You're not confused. That's what slicing is,drawing it towards yourself. A push cut is exactly what it sounds like,you're pushing the knife towards the object to be cut.

                    savvy? :D

                    1. re: Dave5440

                      Do you mean putting your knife on the food (near the heel) and then pulling the knife toward you, or putting the knife point on the board past the food and then drawing it toward you through the food, keeping the point on the board? I would call the former cut 'slicing' (especially good for cutting meats) and the latter 'draw cuts' (good for cutting smallish things without flinging them around the cutting board). Sounds to me like you're using draw cuts. I can't say for certain that my terminology is universally understood or accepted.

                      Push cutting (and rock chopping) is faster, and push cuts also give you a little more power in your cutting stroke for firm foods (like winter squash). Straight up-and-down chopping is faster still, though harder to pull off cleanly not leaving accordion-like strands of foods attached at their ends, especially with a dull or thick knife.

                      Of course, nothing wrong with doing whatever works for you.

                      1. re: cowboyardee

                        Do you mean putting your knife on the food (near the heel) and then pulling the knife toward you, or putting the knife point on the board past the food and then drawing it toward you through the food

                        I do a combination of both, depends on how long/wide the piece is i'm cutting

          2. If you've kept your Wusthof sharp (which I'm guessing you have), then you won't see as much difference OOB as the "average" new-J-knife owner will. That's 'cuz most folks don't maintain their knives' edges properly. I only know one friend who regularly has his knives sharpened, & that's 'cuz he's worked in commercial kitchens.

            I have the 1000 & 6000 from here:
            http://www.mikestools.com/Sharpening-...
            Cost was just under $50 for the pair, but I think I'd get the 1200 today instead of the 1000.
            A 1000 & 4000 pair would also be a good starting set.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Eiron

              I try to keep it sharp! My biggest pet peeve is working with a dull knife; it just feels exceedingly dangerous. I want to feel the knife grip right on to whatever I'm chopping so I can apply pressure safely. I keep a little Furi sharpener in my kit for school... even that is better than a dull knife, but I know there are enticing worlds to explore in the genre of sharpening. :)

            2. Hi folks, just wanted to drop back in and give an update on the knife. I did a bunch of prep work the past two nights (at home of course - no way I'm bringing this beauty to school except for show and tell!) and I'm really starting to enjoy the knife. I gave it a good honing before the most recent use, which seemed to tighten things up a bit, and I can't wait to give it a go once I can get some water stones. The grip is becoming much less of an issue - in fact I'm really enjoying the lightness, it feels like an extension of my hand. I appreciate all of your helpful input - now, which Japanese knife do I need next? ;)

              9 Replies
              1. re: malkazanie

                :) For one, get harder steel. Your Fujiwara FKM is on the soft side. You can also consider getting a carbon steel knife as opposed to a stainless steel if you want to experience a bit. Dollar for dollar, most carbon steel knives have higher performance (harder, easier to sharpen, hold the edge longer...)

                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  I'm already eyeballing this nakiri on the chefknivestogo website...

                  http://www.chefknivestogo.com/toshna1...

                  (Sadly, my budget is reminding me that I'm still a full-time worker/part-time student and telling me to wait until the summer. But soon, hopefully!)

                  1. re: malkazanie

                    Nakiri,santoku or petty(not in any particular order) would be next in line for me.If you want minimum maintenece stick with staineless steel.If you don't mind a bit of upkeep I'd highly recommend carbon steel (Moritaka,Carbonext).

                    1. re: petek

                      I have the 8-inch Wusthof Santoku, which I like quite a bit. From what I understand, petty knives are like Western paring knives, of which I probably have 15... I wish I was joking. I'd probably look more into the Japanese knives used for butchery, when that day comes.

                      The nakiri is also probably highest on my list - although I'm sure I'll have to refine my technique even more for a completely straight blade! Mercer Millenium (the stamped line) makes a Usuba for around $13, which I've had fun playing around with. I'll have to check out those two lines you mentioned - thanks!

                      1. re: malkazanie

                        " I"d probably look more into the Japanese knives used for butchery"
                        Then you might consider a honesuki or a hankotsu.

                        This is my Moritaka honesuki.

                         
                        1. re: petek

                          Beautiful! I will definitely be doing more research into this.

                    2. re: malkazanie

                      :) I don't have that particular Nakiri, but I heard good things about it. I have this one instead for an inexpensive Nakiri:

                      http://www.chefknivestogo.com/takuna1...

                      I agree with Pete. Moritaka and Carbonext are much higher quality.

                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        Oh geez... I made the mistake of looking at the Moritakas. THEY ARE BEAUTIFUL.

                        1. re: malkazanie

                          Moritaka offers several line. Fortunately or unfortunately, the line sold by Chefknivestogo (assuming you are looking there) is the higher/more expensive line.