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$100> Gyuto

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Hey Guys! New to these forums and looking for some advice.

After working with a Victorinox Chef's knife for around 6 months I've decided to upgrade.
I'm a college student who works in a restaurant kitchen, this knife would be for both home and kitchen use. I'm on a budget, and I don't really need or desire something flashy.

I want something that will perform well, and i need something that can take a little abuse.

Here's the three knives I'm considering, prices are all for the 210mm Gyuto

Fujiwara FKM - $75 (http://www.chefknivestogo.com/fufkmgy...

)

Tojiro DP - $80 (http://www.chefknivestogo.com/tojiro-...

)

Kanetsugu Pro M - 91+ shipping (http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/Pro...: 401px; HEIGHT: 233px

)

Kanetsugu also has the Pro S series for a few bucks cheaper, any thoughts on the metal handle?

A close friend at another restaurant has a Masamoto VG which is a beautiful knife, but out of what i can reasonably afford right now. Using it though for a day in the kitchen was what really set my mind to getting a Japanese knife. specifically the change in chopping geometry (motion), and the comfort over the victorinox when using the pinch grip (which I would get with a German knife as well I feel).

Thought or Opinions on any of these knives? or any others in this price range?

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  1. I have a Tojiro DP and I like it. I don't have a Fujiwara. The biggest difference I see is that Tojiro is a touch harder. Fujiwara FKM is HRC 58-59. Tojiro is HRC 60.

    Koki from JapaneseChefsknife suggests the JCK VG-10 series and JCK CarboNext series along with the knife brands you have mentioned.

    http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/KAG...

    http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/KAG...

    Looks like you are hunting for a 210 mm knife. The JCK knives are a bit more expensive than your $100 mark, but not by much. A 210 mm CarboNext Gyuto is $105. CarboNext gets a lot of good feedbacks but they are almost all sold out now. Luckly, the 210 mm one is still avaliable -- assuming you want a 210 mm.

    1. I can give you another big thumbs up on the tojiro DP. Very good knife, and I can't imagine you'll be let down.

      I can also vouch for the Togiharu Molybdenum. Similarly fantastic.

      http://www.amazon.com/Togiharu-Molybd...

      And though I haven't used one, I've heard nothing but good things about the Fujiwara (at least from people who know knives).

      So basically, you can pick any of the three and wind up with a very nice knife you'll be happy with. The Tojiro will have the best edge retention and take the nicest edge, but will be more prone to chipping with abuse or with sloppy cutting technique - i's probably the least forgiving of abuse out of the three, though not by much. Some people object to the Tojiro handle as 'boxy' but it doesn't bother me in the least. The togiharu is a bit more forgiving, and the factory grind and taper was *the slightest bit* better than that of Tojiro in the Togi I've handled. The Fujiwara by reputation has a great fit and finish for the price range and no grind problems. Also a little softer than the Tojiro.

      Can't tell you as much about the Kanetsugu, aside from that I haven't heard any complaints.

      4 Replies
      1. re: cowboyardee

        A little something to add -

        Not to upsell you or anything, but a 240mm (~9 inch) gyuto handles at least as nimbly as an 8 inch German chefs knife. I found that I prefer a little extra length in a gyuto - it works better slicing protein, has more board contact, handles larger items better. To me that would be worth a few extra bucks, especially at only $82 for the 240 Fujiwara. If your cutting boards are especially small, the 210 might be more comfortable, but otherwise I'd consider it.

        1. re: cowboyardee

          So then would you rather have a 240 Fujiwara or a 210 Tojiro DP?
          would it really be worth the 25% price increase for the 240mm Tojiro?

          I am certainly not opposed to a 240mm. I just also have a hand me down 10" chefs from chicago cutlery circa the early 80's that is unwieldy at my station, though it does come in handy for butternut squash and light cleaver duties. I figured 210mm would be the best bang for buck.

          1. re: Farmmob

            Farm,

            I think both Tojiro and Fuiwara are good knives. As for 210 mm vs 240 mm that is a very personal choice. Many people who prefer the 8" German/French style knife actually like the longer 10" gyuto. One reason is that a gyuto is a thinner blade and lighter knife, so it feels more nimble than its German/French counterpart.

            That being said, it really depends why you feel the 10" Chicago cutlery is unwieldy. Is the 10" Chicago Chef's knife unwiedly because it feels heavy and big? If so, a 10" gyuto is lighter and will not pose the same problem. Is the 10" Chicago Chef's knife unwieldy because of its length? Is so, a 10" gyuto is still 10", so that isn't going to help.

            1. re: Farmmob

              "So then would you rather have a 240 Fujiwara or a 210 Tojiro DP?
              would it really be worth the 25% price increase for the 240mm Tojiro?"
              ______
              I think one of the main reasons the Fujiwara has gotten so much positive buzz is precisely because the 240 mm version is so affordable - since Tojiro's prices went up a few years ago, the Fujiwara has emerged as the go-to cheap-but-good gyuto. A lot of the guys who hang out at (now scattered) knifeforums seem to prefer 240 or 270 mm gyutos and as such whoever makes a good knife in that length at a good price point gets a lot of hype.

              All of which is a roundabout way of saying that the 240 Fujiwara is probably a slightly better deal than the 240 Tojiro, But again, that's reputation - I haven't used or sharpened the Fujiwara. And a 240 tojiro at $99 sure isn't a bad deal in the first place.

              At any rate, if you've got a 10 inch knife and find it too big for your station, there's no imperative to get a 240. My point was just that if you can handle an 8 inch German chefs knife, you can also handle a 240 gyuto which has some added functionality over a 210. But there's nothing wrong with a 210. If you prefer a 210 or if it fits better in the space at your work station, by all means go with one.

        2. Farmmob, I'll offer my 2ยข, but keep in mind I've never used ANY of the 3 models you're looking at.

          First of all, let me ask how you're going to keep this knife sharp? DIY? Send it out? That may be a serious factor in your decision.

          Secondly, let me weigh in on the idea of knife length. I've actually found that a 210mm gyuto "cuts longer" than any 8" euro-style knife I've used. I go into the explanation why in this thread:
          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/687113
          I have comparative pictures of the different knives both at the top of the thread & about the middle of the thread.

          Now, for my opinions & concerns about your options:

          Fujiwara - a nice knife; may be a good selection for the abuses seen in a commercial kitchen. A little tougher blade & apparent "workhorse" of a knife, although un-inspiring in design. It should have much nicer balance & performance than the Victo, but may not "wow!" you. Should be easy to resharpen & could probably be done by just about anyone.

          Tojiro - also a nice knife, made with harder steel so it will take a "sharper" (more acute) edge & hold it as long as a less-acute edge on less-hard steel. However, harder steel may chip more easily, & may be more difficult to sharpen to it's full potential (unless you're also interested in learning free-hand sharpening on water stones). Universally suggested as the gateway J-knife. Nice appearance, if that matters.

          Kanetsugu - like the Fuji, should be more durable in a commercial environment. Lightest knife of the bunch, with a nicer ergo design to the handle. Convex bevel has the best reputation for out-of-the-box sharpness. Re-sharpening my be its Achilles heel, as I've heard it's harder to put a good convex edge onto a blade. If you resharpen it to a straight grind, you still have all the benefits of the Fuji, but also the added benefits of lighter weight & nicer handle design.

          I have a Kanetsune 210mm, made from VG-10 core with softer clad exterior. Its light weight & balance are key factors to my enjoyment of it, & its handle is kind of a hybrid between the boxy Fuji/Toji ones & the contoured Kantsugu. I like it very, very much, but I'd probably be very nervous about using it in a commercial kitchen; to the point where it might slow me down a little. And I bought it at a good price as a demo, so it wasn't nearly as expensive as it is now.

          If I were going to start over, with the 3 choices you've identified, in the environments you'll be using it, I'd buy the Kanetsugu. But as Chem & CBAD have stated, it's a personal thing. I want something that's light & ergo. The Kanetsugu fits that for me.

          8 Replies
          1. re: Eiron

            There is a great knife shop here in town with a 36inch grinding wheel who is very knowledgeable about sharpening, additionally I have a ceramic 'steel' that i use for honing.
            I'm not really interested in having to do intense water stone technique, it would be ideal to just have a few swipes over the hone every few days, and a yearly sharpening.

            also fwiw i use a maple cutting board for most prep, and a plastic cutting board for meat prep.
            any additional information and especially hands on experience is much appreciated!

            1. re: Farmmob

              "There is a great knife shop here in town with a 36inch grinding wheel who is very knowledgeable about sharpening, additionally I have a ceramic 'steel' that i use for honing.
              I'm not really interested in having to do intense water stone technique, it would be ideal to just have a few swipes over the hone every few days, and a yearly sharpening."

              In light of this, a Tojiro DP probably should be the last choice among these three brands.

              1. re: Farmmob

                Agree with Chem. If a honing rod is gonna be your main form of maintenance for a year (especially if you're subjecting the knife to professional use), a softer steel will respond better to that honing rod.

                Although frankly, if you do put it through professional usage and don't do any more maintenance than that, it's not gonna perform much differently than the victorinox you already have.

                1. re: cowboyardee

                  The professional sharpening costs all of $3.50. Is there any fairly inexpensive whetstone you guys recommend? I've just been under the impression that its a rather time consuming process, but if it is necessary I am not opposed. It just seemed like another additional cost when I already have a 'fine' ceramic hone (i think idahone).

                  At this point I believe I am going to with the Fujiwara for its durability and the affordability of the 240mm version. I am 6'3" with pretty large hands, and I like the idea of the extra size. I'm pretty sure my poor experience with the 10" chefs that I have had is due to the poor balance as it is very blade heavy.

                  In the future I may look towards a nicer gyuto such as a Blazen, but for day to day work I am hoping for a nice improvement over the Victo.

                  1. re: Farmmob

                    With your sharpening plans, I agree that the Fuji is going to be your best choice. And that price on the 240mm is hard to beat!

                    Just make sure the pro sharpener is familiar with J-knives before you send it over. $3.50 is a good deal, unless you get your knife back with the wrong (Euro) bevel on it. And don't forget that you'll have to hold the spine of the blade closer to your hone than with Euro knives.

                    You can pick up a single water stone for less than $25:
                    http://www.mikestools.com/Sharpening-...

                    I'd recommend a 1200 grit, especially if it's your only stone. You can make it as time-consuming as you want. If you soak the stone while you're doing something else, all it takes is a few minutes to do the actual sharpening. If you're only sharpening one knife on one stone, it shouldn't be a huge time-sink.

                    Let us know what you think of the knife when you get it!

                    1. re: Eiron

                      +1 on the 1200 grt stone or even a 1000 grt would be good. 1 stone plus your ceramic rod for touch ups would be fine for a starter kit in a pro environment.

                      1. re: petek

                        Agree with both Petek and Eiron. 800-1200 grit is a good choice for a single stone. 800 grit for faster grinding and 1200 for finer finish.

                    2. re: Farmmob

                      Right off the bat, I have nothing against professional sharpening, even single wheel sharpening. I just mean that you'll need full resharpening more often than once a year with professional use. I sharpen knives for a few line cooks - their go-to knives are generally quite dull after two weeks. You'll be able to buy some extra time with the honing rod. But not a year. I'd recommend using the honing rod after any shift at work, or equivalent amount of work done at home. Or any time you notice deterioration of the edge. Once the honing rod doesn't easily bring back a very sharp edge, it's time to take it to the professional. It won't be a year before this happens. There's nothing wrong with this strategy.

                      On the subject of whetstones: the biggest time investment is in learning how to do it. You can sharpen most knives in minutes once you're skilled. A lot of people who hand sharpen on whetstones get pretty deep into the minutiae of the process, but here's another way to think of it: you're already using a sharpening stone - just a round, unanchored, slow, narrow one in the form of your ceramic honing rod. In other words, to some extent you can choose how deep you want to get into sharpening.

                      If you do decide you want to try hand sharpening, that's a whole different set of questions to answer. I suspect with your budget concerns you'd be best off with a single cheap waterstone, Like the other guys said, you'll definitely want something in the 800-1200 grit range, which is coarse enough to get the job done while also leaving a perfectly usable edge. I might suggest also looking at a 1000/6000 combo stone if you find yourself willing to spend a bit more - there's one on amazon for $35, though it's smallish. It can be nice to finish at a higher grit than ~1k with Japanese knives. If you think you're interested, let us know and I'll recommend a couple (prices are constantly shipping and there are a lot of options that are pretty comparable quality wise).