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Nov 28, 2011 09:37 PM

The Knife that I want, suggestions appreciated and the knife that YOU WANT ...

For me, I really want a good Nakiri. We eat a mostly "Paleo" diet. So, every day I need to slice and chop veggies. I love good Japanese blades and I am drawn to the looks of this particular knife style. And yes, I'm sure that this is in part due to some of those super cool youtube videos.

I'd appreciate suggestions, with an upper limit of $100. Since I anticipate this becoming a daily "go to' knife I'll want a fairly hard rockwell rating. I love the way that my high carbon Santoku shreds paper but wish that it held that edge longer ...

Thank you, in advance, for your feedback and assistance.

How about you? What is your next knife? Is it a better version of something you already have? Something entirely new for you? Chime in!

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  1. I'd like a Takamura Nakiri:

    No way to justify it, though. I can cut anything I need to now.

    I'm no expert in knives, but the Takamuras appeal to my sense of design. Since it's over $100, however, that's not a suggestion but merely an observation.

    1. don't even get me started! i wanted a deba but now maybe i want a nakiri, but i also want a sujihiki and i want a gyuto since i've never used one and yeah, basically any knife that I see. And I'm not entirely sure what order I will buy them in. I do know that it is most likely I will buy my next knife in Japan since I will be there again in January, unless I manage to get one for Christmas :P I think my girlfriend is starting to get annoyed at my knife addiction though, so my next knife might be the last for awhile :P

      At the moment at work I am able to do everything I'd like with my current knives, except for cutting lobster which I use the restaurant knives for, so really I am not sure that I need any knife per se, so I guess I will just wait until the right knife finds me.

      1. OK, here's my suggestion for a $100 Nakiri:

        It's a few dollars over, but not enough for a drink of decent sake.

        1. for some reason calls to me, but its significantly over your budget, for $100 the one GH1618 looks good

          1. Hi jkling,

            Do you care if it is stainless steel vs carbon steel? Do you want a thinner blade nakiri or a more medium blade nakiri? A thinner blade will feel sharper, but a thicker blade will give it more heft and more muscle.

            I have a Tanaka Kurouchi Nakiri ($50). I actually bought it for $40. It is made of a carbon steel Aogami (blue paper steel). It really holds it edge nice, it is inexpensive and it has a beautiful (subjective) traditional finish. It downside is that it is on the thick side, and the initial edge has a very slight wavy pattern -- very slight.


            I wrote a review. In addition, I went through a similar situation in selecting a nakiri, so maybe you will find the following posts useful:


            I did not pick the Tojiro Shirogami Nakiri ($50), but I expect it to be a good knife based the on two other Tojiro knives I have/had, and the good reviews by others. Shirogami (white paper steel) is more reactive and easier to rust than the blue steel. However, white steel is easier to sharpen and can attain a sharper edge in theory. I also expect this Tojiro to have better finish based on Tojiro's reputation.


            TeRReT gave an excellent suggestion for Moritaka. Moritaka knives are a level above those two with more hand-made procedures. Its Supreme series Nakiri is made of Aogami Super (Blue super), and is above your budget. However, its Aogami #2 series is $96:


            The only issue I need to caution you on Moritaka is that it can possibly come with a pretty bad wavy knife. It is rare, but it can happen, and it has happened enough to upset Dave Martell (a famous professional knife sharpener). You can see his photos half-way through this following thread:


            This is usually the tradeoff between fully machined knives vs hand finished knives.

            Now, if you prefer a stainless steel Nakiri, then go for the Tojiro DP Nakiri ($70-75) with a VG-10 steel core:




            Finally, a knife I know less, but also looks alright based on specifications. The Fujiwara HKV Nakiri is $88 and is made of VG steel (probably VG-1? -- also stainless):


            All of the above knives have HRC above 60.

            *Edited* This knife also looks very good, but it is from Japan and you will have to bid for it:


            28 Replies
            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

              I just ordered the Tojiro 210 Shirogami gyuto from CKTG


              Hard to beat the price of under $60. Figured it was worth trying out and playing with. Tossed in a piece of leather to redo my strop and shipping was free.

              1. re: scubadoo97

                I agree. For awhile, there were several nice and inexpensive Tojiro shirogami knives except the shape of a gyuto. So it seems Chefknivestogo managed to get an exclusive deal from Tojiro to market this gyuto. Good for Mark.

                Let us know how the knife works out for you. I am particularly interested in its thickness. Thanks.

                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  Will do. I'm hoping it's pretty thin. I know If it's not already there I will profile to 10* on each side. I keep my Tojiro DP at 15* due to chipping at more acute angles.

                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    Chem, here are the measurements at the spine for corresponding points on the knife. At the heal the spine was 3.81mm, half way 1.9mm and at the tip 1.27mm

                    OOTB the knife was sharp but not as sharp as my average knife. I pulled out the EdgePro and set it to 10* and loaded my 120 EP grit stone. Nearly an hour into it I had not created a burr. Impatient as usual I pulled out my DMT XC and used my angle finder on my phone to approximate 10* and started working. In no time I had a burr that was very thick and was able to produce a similar burr on the other side in a few passes. Figuring I was too steep I lowered where I was and again created a burr in no time. Then removed it as best I could and progressed to a 500 grit Shapton glass stone, then 1000 grit then 2000 grit. Deburred on a felt block and followed with a few passes on my strop.

                    Not as even as with the EP but damn it was so much faster on the hand stones. Especially starting with the DMT.

                    Still wondering if I am a little higher than 10* but didn't want to move back to a lower stone on the EP to see how quickly I could raise a burr. Will try it next time I'm ready to resharpen in a few weeks or so. Maybe longer if I don't get many micro chips.

                    Wowzza this knife is now really sharp. Was push cutting a piece of 8 X 11 copy paper at the furthest point or near 11 inches from where I was holding the paper. Didn't need to see if it could shave hair as it was a given. Then moved on to a shallot and push cut it in to ultra thin strips like in the video. Tomatoes slices that you could read through and then started preping dinner and cubed a few sweet potatoes with ease.

                    I'd say currently this is the sharpest knife in my collection. F & F where pretty good. The wood handle is not smooth all around but has some flat points. No biggie. The furrule was fine and the placement of the knife in the handle was okay.

                    All in all I'm pretty happy with this knife.

                    1. re: scubadoo97

                      What's your dive knife? I still use a stainless blunt-tip, if I'm tangled in an invisible monofil in a 3 knot current and it's an uncontrolled situation with 8 feet visibility and I'm at 55 ft and still shifting with every surface wave.

                      1. re: Veggo

                        I have a small blunt tip titanium knife that I wear on my BC. I just want to be able to cut through monofilament and rope if needed. I use to use a bigger 440 stainless knife that hung off my BC. Used that to quite a 10# lobster caught off of Clearwater as I ended the dive and headed to the boat.

                      2. re: scubadoo97


                        I really appreciate you took the time to write this. The post is very informative and detailed. I learned much. Are you sure that you don’t want to post it as a separate post as a knife review? ;)

                        I don’t have a micrometer. So I measured my Tanaka Aogami knife as best as I could. It has a 4 mm thick at the spine of the heel. It is 1.8 mm at the half way point, and 1 mm at the tip. So, it seems your Tojiro Shirogami nakiri may not be thinner than my Tanaka Aogami nakiri. Of course, the spine thickness does not tell the whole story, but it is always a good starting point. Like you, I also put a 10° edge on the Tanaka nakiri. Although it is very sharp at the edge, the blade can wedge into food, making it feels less sharp. I am very glad that your Tojiro Shirogami nakiri is so sharp. These shirogami and aogami steels are amazing. Easy to sharpen, and can take on a very low edge, and hold it for a long time. I still remember that I was very impressed with the Tanaka because it held a 10° edge for weeks without the need to sharpen. I suspect you will have a similar experience. Can my other knives take on 10° edge? Sure, they just don't last long. My Tanaka nakiri had a minor wavy edge – uneven thickness near the edge. This made it difficult to sharpen the first time, but I was lucky enough to fix that problem. Did you notice any thing like this for this Tojiro shirogami nakiri? My Tanaka nakiri may not be my very best knife, but it is one of my best value knife (value-to-cost).


                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                          The edge bevel was very small. Like less than 1mm but straight and even. A microbevel. Now it's about 2-3 mm wide

                          1. re: scubadoo97

                            Not being the type to let things lie I pulled out the EP today and got back to work on the shirogami. I must not have been as low as 10* because it took me about an hour to get a burr. Went through all the stones to the 1000g EP stone. I think that's about = to a 8000g J-stone and finished with chromium oxide charged leather.

                            This is the first time I've had my knife fall through a tomato under it's own weight and this is a light knife.

                            Not sure how long it will hold up. I did put a very small microbevel on at maybe a couple of degrees steeper than the original. I did note a few microchips after last nights food prep. Hoping this will help in that regard.

                            1. re: scubadoo97

                              I wanted to add that this is why sharpening is more important than the knife. Really it is. Spend the money to get a sharpening system that rocks and then go crazy on the knife.

                              1. re: scubadoo97

                                Yes. I wholehearted agree with you, cowboyardee on this. While I do like a good finish knife, I do feel many inexpensive knives can perform extremely well after a decent knife sharpening. My Tanaka Aogmai nakiri was only $40, and it produced an edge that most VG-10 knives cannot -- certainly my Tojiro DP and Shun Classic knives cannot.

                                As importantly, the logic works the other way around too. Not only an inexpensive knife can work very well with a good sharpening, but equally important, an expensive knife will not work well without good knife sharpening.

                                Between your Tojiro Shirogami with a good sharpening and a Honyaki shirogami without a good sharpening? No competition.

                      3. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        Hi Chemical

                        >> Do you care if it is stainless steel vs carbon steel? Do you want a thinner blade nakiri or a more medium blade nakiri? A thinner blade will feel sharper, but a thicker blade will give it more heft and more muscle.

                        Good questions. I think that my preference is for a thinner lighter nakiri, but made from high quality steel and well-hardened. A flat blade profile is essential.

                        I'm really not sure about how I feel about stainless vs carbon. It's my understanding that even really high quality stainless like VG-10 can't take the same edge that good carbon can. But I'm also not sure if well hardened carbon wouldn't hold that edge as well or better than VG-10? This is an area where I'm just not all that knowledgable.

                        My real bottom line is having steel that can take a super fine edge and keep it for as long as possible. I'm less concerned about needing to keep it dry and oiled, as I already do that with my current Japanese blades.

                        The Tanaka and Tojiro options seem very attractive. I've read the reviews on those many times. I don't mind the possibility of needing to sharpen up a knife ootb. My priority is for function: really good steel that has been hardened up and a very flat blade edge. I also enjoy the look of a traditional Japanese handle but that is not a primary concern.


                        1. re: jkling17

                          "I'm really not sure about how I feel about stainless vs carbon. It's my understanding that even really high quality stainless like VG-10 can't take the same edge that good carbon can."
                          Generally speaking, when we're talking about high end knives, there isn't any major difference between stainless and carbon in terms of edge taking. VG 10, for example, can't take quite as acute an edge as some carbon steels, but that has more to do with chippiness than edge taking. At 15 degrees per side and with some good work on a fine stone, it can take a very nice edge fully capable of shaving one's face or falling through tomato skins - in other words, as sharp as you could need for kitchen work. Other high end stainless steels and 'semi-stainless' steels like that of the Kikuichi TKC and Konosuke HD can equal carbon steels in their ability to take and hold sharp edges at very low edge angles.

                          The one area where I feel carbon steels still outperform stainless ones is in how easy they are to sharpen. Generally speaking, if you take white or blue hitachi carbon steel and compare it to stainless that otherwise performs similarly, the carbon steels will sharpen up with less fuss and be easier to deburr.

                          Also, truly high end stainless steels tend to be pricier than carbon steels that perform similarly aside from stain resistance.

                          1. re: jkling17

                            I agree with cowboyardee. There are some really good stainless steel knives and if you really want very edge holding ability, there are the powder steel (stainless steel) knives. However, those will definitely cost above $100. Dollar for dollar, carbon steel knives will outperform stainless steel knives. Being stainless actually has real edge holding benefit. In a real kitchen, it is wet and it can be acid. So a carbon steel knife edge may deteriorate quicker than a stainless steel knife. I think SaltyDog at one point said that his blue steel knife edge seems to last longer than the counterpart white steel knife edge for this possible reason.

                            "I don't mind the possibility of needing to sharpen up a knife ootb"

                            I don't think you will need to sharpen neither the Tanaka nor the Tojiro out of the box. However, your very first knife sharpening session with them may take a bit longer.

                            If you want a thin blade, good steel, very straight edge (from heel to tip), then I think Moritaka Aogami #2 fits your bill. Again, I am concern of Dave Martell statements.

                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                              It takes me twice as long to get the same edge on my VG-10 Kasumi than the Aogami #2.
                              Is it me,the heat treatment or the steel?

                              "If you want a thin blade, good steel, very straight edge (from heel to tip), then I think Moritaka Aogami #2 fits your bill. Again, I am concern of Dave Martell statements"

                              I agree,it's great bang for the buck and if you're concerned about the"over grind" issues,express your concern with whomever you choose to deal with.
                              And educated consumer is a happy consumer..

                              1. re: petek


                                This is a great suggestion. Email the person and say "I am concern of the overgrinding problem, can you hand pick one for me". I actually told Mark from Chefknivestogo about a different knife.

                                Again, the knife:


                                1. re: petek

                                  petek: OT, but are you still liking your Kasumis? I'm still dreaming about one every time I walk past the Healthy Butcher, and as winter arrives I will have more time to cook than summer. I'm not looking for anything super exotic, just a nice knife for home use and prefer to buy local (Toronto).

                                  1. re: BruceMcK

                                    Hey BruceMcK. long time no hear.

                                    I still like my Kasumis.they were a great intro into the crazy world of Japanese knives for me.I have a 6" boning and a santoku which I use regularly at work.I think they're a little overpriced compared to some of the other offerings out there.

                                    VG 10 is a good steel,but it's a little harder to sharpen than Blue or White carbon,for me anyway.

                                    have you checked out The Healthy Butchers new e-retail store "Slice&Sear"?

                                    They started carring Moritaka knives,best prices around,even comparable to most U.S e-tailers.You should drop by the Eglinton location if you can, and handle some of their knives



                                    1. re: petek

                                      bah, now you tempt me with knives in toronto, and now i'll have to go check out that store on monday when i'm in the city

                                      1. re: TeRReT

                                        There's also Tosho Knife Arts on Markham St(Bloor&Bathurst) and Knife on Queen St West. both great stores.But be forewarned they're not for the faint of heart..... :D



                                        1. re: petek

                                          yeah, i've been to knife and enjoy it there, and i will be pretty close to there monday so may drop in there too :P I've gotta go get my visa for japan :D

                                      2. re: petek

                                        I have not seen their web store. I will also have to check out the Eglinton location.

                                    2. re: petek

                                      "It takes me twice as long to get the same edge on my VG-10 Kasumi than the Aogami #2.
                                      Is it me,the heat treatment or the steel?"
                                      Probably some combination of the three. I often sharpen a couple tojiro DPs and Shun classics, and while they don't sharpen quite as fast as blue steel, they don't take me twice as long either. But my IIRC the VG 10 on a Hattori HD seemed a bit slower to sharpen (users also swear that it's less chippy than Shun's and Tojiro's offerings). I'm sure temper can have an effect on how easy a steel is to sharpen. But at the same time, moving the issue of temper aside, carbon steels just seem to sharpen up more easily than stainless.

                                      'Is it me...?'
                                      Not you exactly. But your sharpening stones may just happen to favor some steels over others. The knife forums guys talk about this a lot, whereas I just haven't played with quite enough stones to notice anything major. But some stones are said to be better for stainless knives than others.

                                      1. re: cowboyardee

                                        "But some stones are said to be better for stainless knives than others."
                                        That's what I was thinking as well.Since I don't myself buying anymore VG-10's in the future I guess I'll have to stick with what I've got for now.
                                        What stones do you have in your lineup Cowboy?

                                        1. re: petek

                                          I have to agree with cow-cow. I have a Tojiro DP, and I don't notice it to be noticeably more difficult to sharpen than my blue steel knives. Of course, there are different definition of "difficult to sharpen". Some may have to do with deburring instead of steel removal.

                                          1. re: petek

                                            The ones I use by far the most are my King 800, Naniwa SS 2000 and Naniwa SS 8000. Also the Bester 500 on any job big enough that the soaking time is worth it.

                                            I have a bunch of other stones that I don't use as much anymore for various reasons.

                                    3. re: jkling17

                                      From personal experience in a very humid climate I have never found the need to oil my carbon knives. Just keep them dry.

                                      Also as you get into your knives more you will not feel put out to have to sharpen them on stones to keep them razor sharp. We get spoiled. I sharpen about every month or so. Just can't stand the times I go to slice or dice a tomato and the knife resists slicing through the skin with no effort and stropping doesn't get me there. Sharpening results in instant gratification. Wish all of life was that rewarding.