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What knife should I get next?

m
mpad Dec 22, 2011 03:57 PM

I'll be in Calgary the first week of January and there is an awesome knife shop specializing in Japanese blades there ( http://knifewear.com/index.asp ).

Last time I was there I bought a Suisin Inox Honyaki 270 mm Gyuto ( http://knifewear.com/knife-family.asp?family=5 ) and a Masakage 150 mm Petty ( http://knifewear.com/knife-family.asp... ). My question is what knife to get next.

It's not that I NEED any more knives. I've got a bunch of Victorinox/Foreschner knives (chef's in two sizes, serrated bread, boning, fileting) and assorted other knives (carving, paring). Oh, and I've got a Kamagata Usuba I bought at Aritsugu in Kyoto when I was living there. But I'm going to take my Japanese knives in to be sharpened and it's very likely that I'll be tempted into buying something else.

I'm looking for more suggestions of type rather than brand. Knifewear has more brands in store than what they've got on their website and there are tomatoes and potatoes there to try out most of the knives in store, so I can compare the feel of different knives once I'm there.

Some possible choices would be:

-a heavier Gyuto with a yo handle (would probably be in stainless
)-paring knife (again probably stainless and yo handle)
-honesuki
-sujihiki or yanagiba

The last two could be in carbon steel.

Would there be any reason to get a nakiri or a santoku if so far I'm happy using a gyuto for most tasks? So what's the advice from the Japanese knife experts out there?

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  1. Chemicalkinetics Dec 22, 2011 05:21 PM

    To you and others,

    Is Suisin Inox Honyaki made from Honyaki process? They look inexpensive for Honyaki knives.

    Back to your question, if you are really happy with your gyuto, then I suppose you don't need another main knife. A nakiri is still pretty cool to have.

    The three traditional Japanese knives are: yanagiba, usuba, and deba. You have an usuba. What about a deba or a yanagiba?

    25 Replies
    1. re: Chemicalkinetics
      d
      Dave5440 Dec 22, 2011 05:31 PM

      What is a yo handle? Or is that a typo?

      1. re: Dave5440
        Chemicalkinetics Dec 22, 2011 05:32 PM

        Wa handle means Japanese handle

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wa_%28Ja...

        Yo or You (洋) handle literally means ocean handle -- which implies handle from those across the oceans (Westerners).

        1. re: Chemicalkinetics
          d
          Dave5440 Dec 22, 2011 05:44 PM

          Ahh good to know, that knifewear has some great looking stuff

          1. re: Chemicalkinetics
            petek Dec 22, 2011 05:47 PM

            How much are you willing to spend? Are you a home or pro cook?

            I love my honesuki (Moritaka) but a Deba would be cool..And you can never have too many gyutos... :-D

            The Fujiwara Maroboshi no Meito are killer knives...

            1. re: petek
              m
              mpad Dec 23, 2011 08:06 AM

              Just a home cook. I'm not looking to go high end on these. The Fujiwara Maroboshi no Meito are beauties, but likely more than I'm looking to spend--especially for a yanagiba.

              Truth be told I spent more than I intended on the Suisin (though it was money well spent). I went to the store intending to buy a Tojiro DP or the Haruyuki SRS15 (previously known as Akifusa and prior to that Ikeda) but then held the Suisin and had to have that one. It is so light it doesn't feel like there's anything in your hand at all. It actually takes some getting used to, which is why I was considering also getting a more conventional heavier gyuto.

              A honesuki is tempting as I do bone chicken fairly often. On their website there's a Suisin Inox (not Honyaki line) for $79, a Tojiro DP honesuki for $97, a Moritaka Ishime in Aogami #2 for $155, a Masakage Kumo in VG 10 for $181, or a Masakage Koishi in Aogami Super for $255. Question is how much of a difference it'll make on a honesuki.

              1. re: mpad
                Chemicalkinetics Dec 23, 2011 09:02 AM

                "I went to the store intending to buy a Tojiro DP or the Haruyuki SRS15 (previously known as Akifusa and prior to that Ikeda) but then held the Suisin and had to have that one."

                That is a big "last minute" change in mind. :)
                Did you wife hit you over the head for this?

                1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                  m
                  mpad Dec 23, 2011 10:40 AM

                  I don't think she has any idea how much the knife cost--lucky for me!

                2. re: mpad
                  petek Dec 23, 2011 12:55 PM

                  "Question is how much of a difference it'll make on a honesuki."

                  I don't think you have to spend more than $100 on a honesuki.My Moritaka(plain Aogami #2 not the Ishime) was about $125. but I use it a lot at work so..

                  Just go in,handle a few and ask the purveyor tons of questions I'm sure he/she will steer you in the right direction.

                  My "lil chicken killer" :-D

                   
              2. re: Chemicalkinetics
                m
                mpad Dec 23, 2011 07:47 AM

                As Chem notes, the prefix yo implies foreign (or more specifically Western) in Japanese. Yoshoku, for example, is Japanized Western food, as opposed to Washoku, which is Japanese food. The same wa as in wa style handle on a knife.

            2. re: Chemicalkinetics
              m
              mpad Dec 23, 2011 07:45 AM

              The "Honyaki" seems to me to be a misnomer. I don't think it's forged at all. Looks to me like a stamped blade.

              I've thought about a yanagiba. What are your thoughts on a yanagiba vs a sujihiki? Other than slicing fish for sushi would I find a yanagiba too limiting as compared to a sujihiki?

              Truth be told, I rarely use my usuba. I find it too hard to get straight cuts with the single bevel edge. I'm not sure I'd learn to use an even more specialized knife like a deba.

              1. re: mpad
                Chemicalkinetics Dec 23, 2011 09:11 AM

                "The "Honyaki" seems to me to be a misnomer. I don't think it's forged at all. Looks to me like a stamped blade."

                Well, Japanese forged is different than German forged, and I believe (I may be wrong) that honyaki is a specific type of forging among of many. Yours may indeed be honyaki. If so, you are very lucky to have a honyaki knife. You may have seen the following already, but here are the Honyaki knives from Mizuno from JapaneseChefsKnife. Unfortunately, the SPECIAL section is somewhat disorganized. Do a search on "Honyaki" and you will see the Mizuno Tanrenjo Honyaki(DX) knives:

                http://japanesechefsknife.com/SPECIAL...

                "Truth be told, I rarely use my usuba. I find it too hard to get straight cuts with the single bevel edge. I'm not sure I'd learn to use an even more specialized knife like a deba."

                "I've thought about a yanagiba. What are your thoughts on a yanagiba vs a sujihiki? Other than slicing fish for sushi would I find a yanagiba too limiting as compared to a sujihiki?"

                I think you are right. Yanagiba is more traditional, but like you said, it can be limiting due to its single bevel nature.

                Usuba does need some to get used to. I had one. I don't have a deba, but I think a deba may be easier to handle because "drifting" should be less of a problem when cutting fish as opposed to cutting potato.

                1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                  m
                  mpad Dec 23, 2011 11:14 AM

                  My understanding is that honyaki knives are forged from a single kind of steel as opposed to a core or cladding of different steels. It is a rare and expensive knive. The Suisin sure seems stamped, though I'm sure it is a high-tech stamping with a lot of work done on it afterwards. There's conflicting info out there on this, but this discussion seems to clarify a bit... http://www.knifeforums.com/forums/sho...

                  You're probably right that I wouldn't have the issues with a deba that I do with the usuba, but then I don't often break down whole fish. I could probably get used to the usuba if I worked at it, but not sure I want to dedicate the time to mastering Japanese cutting techniques.

                  1. re: mpad
                    Chemicalkinetics Dec 23, 2011 11:41 AM

                    mpad,

                    Thanks for the link. I was suspecting that, but I wasn't sure. My understanding of honyaki is similar to yours. It certainly is not cladded with a core, nor stamped. It has to be hand forged from a single steel with repeat folding and other requirements. That being said, your Suisin looks very nice. If you are interested in a Honyaki for your next thicker gyuto, then I suppose the Mizuno one looks good if you like carbon steel knives and willing to spend ~$1000.

                    Yeah, same here. I don't think I will break down whole fish enough to get a deba, but we will see.

                    Instead of getting a new knife, have you considered getting new stones? :D

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                      m
                      mpad Dec 23, 2011 07:39 PM

                      Don't think I can sell my wife on my needing a $1000 knife!

                      For sharpening I'm using an Edgepro Apex, though since I'll be in Calgary anyways I'm going to take my Japanese knives in to get sharpened in the store. Last time they did an amazing job on my usuba, which was pretty badly chipped on the edge. They took it through at least six water stones, including a natural stone. It's got a beautiful polish on the edge now.

                      The Edgepro does a great job, but it can't beat that.

                      1. re: mpad
                        Chemicalkinetics Dec 23, 2011 08:25 PM

                        "Don't think I can sell my wife on my needing a $1000 knife!"

                        :) I know it is a lot. However, its honyaki santoku is $450 a bit more affordable.

                        http://japanesechefsknife.com/Mizuno-...

                        "The Edgepro does a great job, but it can't beat that."

                        Some EdgePro users will hunt you down for saying that. You should start running now. :P

                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                          d
                          Dave5440 Dec 23, 2011 08:31 PM

                          "The Edgepro does a great job, but it can't beat that."

                          Some EdgePro users will hunt you down for saying that. You should start running now. :P

                          It can beat beat that no question, but it can take a long time the first time!!
                          I think it took me 80hrs to do my miyabi

                          1. re: Dave5440
                            Chemicalkinetics Dec 23, 2011 08:53 PM

                            80 hours? If you spend 4 hours a day just sharpening on an Edge Pro, that will still take you 20 days.

                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                              d
                              Dave5440 Dec 23, 2011 09:28 PM

                              Yes but remember what I did, rc66 to a single bevel, from 1/16th wide to 5/16ths oh how my hands ached

                              1. re: Dave5440
                                Chemicalkinetics Dec 23, 2011 09:42 PM

                                Appreciate that it is a HRC 66 hard knife and you were doing a major reprofile....

                                My question really is: Did you really have the patience of grinding for >3 weeks? (not really questioning the effectiveness of an Edge Pro). In hindsight, would you have borrowed someone belt sander to do the rough job, or you are too worry about messing up?

                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                  d
                                  Dave5440 Dec 24, 2011 06:24 AM

                                  I don't think I would have used a belt sander , but I may have let someone else do it for me, but i'm pretty stubborn and stuck with it but around the 60hr mark I gave up and started going up in grit to finish when I found the 400 stripped metal faster than the 120, so if I had of went to the 400 sooner my time might have been cut in half

                                  1. re: Dave5440
                                    Chemicalkinetics Dec 24, 2011 10:27 AM

                                    "when I found the 400 stripped metal faster than the 120"

                                    Is this the case where the 400 grit is the original EdgePro, and the 120 is the Chosera stone? Yeah, maybe EdgePro wasn't really doing much of anything due to the hardness of your knife. I am also thinking a EdgePro diamond stone would nicely work toward your goal.

                                    http://www.jendeindustries.com/mm5/me...

                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                      j
                                      jkling17 Dec 25, 2011 01:05 AM

                                      I find that DMT diamond stones at xx-coarse remove metal pretty darn quickly, for setting an initial primary bevel. Even if a knife was super high on the Rockwell scale, say 65, quartz is about 80 I think and diamonds are vastly harder than that. But that's the only thing I use that particular stone for. The x-coarse would also work but it would take a good bit longer to get that job done, if you have a lot of metal to remove. From the bit that I have read, it is possible to use some DMT stones with the edgepro. For a home user that should be ok but the edgepro guy doesn't recommend them for pros as they won't hold up to regular use for someone who does it for a living.

                                      1. re: jkling17
                                        Chemicalkinetics Dec 25, 2011 01:59 AM

                                        "but the edgepro guy doesn't recommend them for pros as they won't hold up to regular use for someone who does it for a living."

                                        Yeah, there is a problem of using diamond stone for soft knife, but Dave was working on some hard steel knives. Moreover, it is probably a better tradeoff to shorten a lifespan of a DMT stone than to sharpen for 80 hours (Dave did that).

                                      2. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                        d
                                        Dave5440 Dec 25, 2011 02:57 PM

                                        It's the opposite chem, the EP stones in 120,220 and 320 don't work very good compared to the chosera's 400 and up. The diamond plate for the EP will work in a pro enviroment as well as home use BUT it has to be used on very hard knives(the quote of Ben Dale I think he said over rc62) but on their web-site it doesn't mention it(if my memory serves me correct) but I would hazard a guess that very few pros are working on knives that hard, and if you have a pro EP machine and are sharpening for a living on it you might never see a knife that hard.
                                        And in hindsight I would/will order a diamond plate at some point, if I could just get CKTG to carry them I would order one along with other supplies as opposed to ordering a single plate from EP and paying 15$ shipping on something that would fit in an envelope. I did run the miyabi over my fullsize DMT plate a few times when I was returning it to a double bevel but I don't remember what the outcome was in removal speed. The chosera 400 removes material at a very good clip when the bevel is that small.

                                        1. re: Dave5440
                                          Chemicalkinetics Dec 25, 2011 03:03 PM

                                          "It's the opposite chem, the EP stones in 120,220 and 320 don't work very good compared to the chosera's 400 and up."

                                          That's what I meant to say. :)

                                          The abrasive from the EP stones are coarse, but not hard. So the EP abrasive just break apart against your hard steel knife.

              2. j
                jkling17 Dec 23, 2011 01:17 PM

                It seems to make sense to know more about what you really intend to use it for in regular use. You mentioned that you bone a lot of chicken. Is there anything else driving a certain function?

                I love my new nakiri but I also prep a lot of veggies so for me this is a natural. I was really intrigued by one video on chefknivestogo that used his Tojiro nakiri to prep a ton of cooked crabs. I wouldn't do that with mine but I guess that if it's sharp enough and hard enough that it would work ...

                2 Replies
                1. re: jkling17
                  m
                  mpad Dec 23, 2011 08:14 PM

                  Just regular household cooking. I strongly suspect that I don't need another knife, just that I may well be tempted into buying one!

                  Does the nakiri have a very different feel from using a gyuto? I suppose I can try a few out when I'm in the store to see if I'd like one.

                  1. re: mpad
                    j
                    jkling17 Dec 23, 2011 11:44 PM

                    Yes, it's a quite different feel, though I can't do a good job of describing how that is. I find that it's ideal for rapid chopping of onions, scallions, potatoes, etc - with it's long flat profile and relatively light weight compared to my santokus - except the tosagata. I CAN do that with my Tosagata but it's clearly easier with the nakiri. It's also very good at push or pull cutting, though I usually use a push cut. And it also slices very well. It doesn't necessarily replace a long slicer, for larger items but it's so sharp and thin that unless I'm literally slicing a large roast that I don't need any additional length.

                    To my pleasant surprise, it very handily goes through winter squashes. I used to do those with my cheap chinese cleaver but now my nakiri has become my go-to knife for most things. It's simply the best single knife in my collection now. Easy to sharpen up, as well. I just touch it up with a 1200 grit, and finish it with my 8000 grit. But it holds that edge really well, so I have so far only needed to give it one touch-up.

                2. j
                  jeffreyem Dec 23, 2011 01:47 PM

                  I'd gt a yoshi, a Takeda or a Fujiwara. I have several yoshis and Takedas, no Fujiwara yet. Takedas Gyutos are fantastic and their Sujis are even thinner than that Susin. Jeff

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: jeffreyem
                    m
                    mpad Dec 23, 2011 08:39 PM

                    I've long lusted after the Takedas. Getting one would be like an anti Suisin. The Suisin is sleek, modern and shiny (and stainless) while the Takeda is irregular, handmade and a kurouchi finish (and carbon). They don't have a Takeda sujihiki on their website, though there is a lot in the store that isn't on the website. I might have to try out the nakiri.

                  2. cowboyardee Dec 23, 2011 01:58 PM

                    Congrats on the suisin inox honyaki. Supposed to be a really great knife, and sort of the granddaddy of the 'laser' type that has been getting more and more popular.

                    Functionally speaking, a honesuki covers the most holes in your arsenal. I have one and love it, but I do break down a good amount of chicken, as well as the occasional fish or hunk of pork or lamb.

                    At the same time, it sounds like you have your bases covered, so i'm tempted to just tell you to buy whichever knife calls to you the most. I'm assuming you sharpen by hand, or at least on a jig (edgepro, etc), so that's probably not a major consideration. If you do sharpen with a jig, it makes maintaining a single bevel knife a little trickier (though not impossible).

                    I don't really recommend a santoku for someone like you just because it won't be all that different from what you're already tried. A Chinese cleaver or a nakiri won't offer you a whole lot of new functionality, but they do feel different enough from Western chef knives and gyutos that they can be very worth buying as a fun knife for someone who already has a really nice gyuto or two. Different feel while using em, moving food around can be a little easier too.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: cowboyardee
                      m
                      mpad Dec 23, 2011 08:29 PM

                      The Suisin is a lot of fun to use. It's so light it really feels like you don't have anything in your hand. It is 137 grams whereas my 10 inch Forschner is 222 grams--and the Forschner is already a really light knife compared to most. It takes some time getting used to using it, which is why I was asking myself if I should get a more regular gyuto and save the Suisin for when I need a "laser", or whether to forge on with the Suisin until I get used to the lightness of it.

                      Looks like a honesuki is a very likely purchase. I'd forgotten about the difficulties of using my Edgepro on a single bevel knife. That probably makes a yanagiba unlikely.

                      Any thoughts on whether a sujihiki would be useful, or can I just use my gyuto for most such slicing?

                      I'm going to give some nakiris a try when I'm in the store to see what I think.

                      1. re: mpad
                        cowboyardee Dec 23, 2011 09:32 PM

                        "I was asking myself if I should get a more regular gyuto and save the Suisin for when I need a "laser", or whether to forge on with the Suisin until I get used to the lightness of it."
                        ______
                        Up to you. I can tell you that when I got my yusuke - which has basically the exact same grind and profile as your suisin - I was thinking I would use it as a secondary knife to my beefier hiromoto. But I've wound up using it for just about everything I would normally use a gyuto for. To be fair, I use a steep one sided microbevel when I sharpen it, but I just haven't run into the problem I worried about with edge failure. Whether or not it 'feels' like a main gyuto to you is a little more subjective of course.

                        'Any thoughts on whether a sujihiki would be useful, or can I just use my gyuto for most such slicing?'
                        ________
                        You can use a gyuto for slicing just fine. The sujihiki is another one of those knives that I think can be fun but isn't strictly necessary when you have a 240 mm gyuto already. I've been eyeing one up for a while myself, but it wouldn't really let me do anything that I don't already do.

                    2. m
                      mpad Dec 23, 2011 08:30 PM

                      My apologies. The gyuto is actually a 240 mm.

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