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Jan 20, 2014 06:58 AM

Global Sai Knives

I am a bit of a knife geek. I probably own 35-40 knives, and somehow can't resist buying new ones, ever looking for that perfect knife. I currently have a Global chef's (which I really, really like), but am now looking at the new Global Sai knives. Does anyone have experience with them? I understand they are heavier, and perhaps even sharper, than their older line. What say you?

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  1. These don't look any more interesting than other Global knives.

    The only place I could find more in-depth information was in a pdf written in German:

    They use CROMOVA 18 which seems to be a proprietary steel mix of slightly lower quality than VG-10, and only harden it to 59 HRC. They are also clad in SUS-410 which means that Shun's Classic line is actually a somewhat better quality knife--assuming, that is, that the grinds are similar.

    For the price I don't think that they are a good choice. You could pick up some pretty good Japanese knives around that price range. Hiromoto makes a clad Aogami Super gyuto that would blow this out of the water for about the same price.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Cynic2701

      Of all my knives, my Global holds an edge the best. I have several Shuns, and though I like them, I still prefer the Global, except for the handle. Do you have one of the Hiromotos you spoke of? If so, how difficult are they to sharpen? I am still learning the skill of sharpening, and am really not sure what type of sharpener is best for each of my knives.

      1. re: Jessiet

        While I don't own one, I have sharpened one before. Depending on what you use to sharpen, the Hiromoto will likely be easier to sharpen than your Globals. Aogami Super is "lightly" alloyed carbon steel that has very good fine edge retention. It's one of my favorite steels.

        Hiromoto doesn't harden it quite as hard as other manufacturers (compare 62 HRC to 63-65+) though it is still significantly harder than many other kitchen knife steels. If you use a honing steel on your Globals, keep in mind that it won't work on the Hiromoto.

        For most kitchen knives waterstones work great. I use a combination of Chosera and Shaptons, though there are many other good choices as well. Some people use diamond stones, though I'd caution that you shouldn't use them beyond setting bevels as they can leave a scratch pattern that causes small weaknesses in the edge. I didn't believe this to be the case for a very long time (I used to sharpen all the way up from ~125 micron grit to 3 microns on just diamond stones) and would occasionally have microchipping issues. Once I got into waterstones those issues went away.

        To be honest, it is mostly the skill of the user. Murray Carter can get an edge better than 99.9% of people out there using a cinder block, some bricks, and newspaper.

        1. re: Cynic2701

          <While I don't own one, I have sharpened one before. >

          I want to translate that means Cynic have sharpen it, and have it, but he does not officially own the knife.

          <Some people use diamond stones, though I'd caution that you shouldn't use them beyond setting bevels >

          For some unexplainable reasons, I have also experienced that. It seems that my knives which were sharpened from diamond (DMT) are more prone to microchipping.

      2. re: Cynic2701

        Maybe you should get a few facts straight before commenting... First of all Global knives are Japanese so I don't get why your saying he could get some good Japanese knives for that money when that's exactly what these are!!! Secondly these are the knife of choice for nearly every top chef in Europe including Michele Roux Jr and his father.. Just because they're not big in the good old USA doesn't mean they're not some of the best knives in the world.just because they're hasn't been a huge ad campaign or lots of dumb shop assistants trying to ram them down your throat, they don't need that they sell themselves. Let's be honest EUROPE has been producing some of the worlds best cuisine for centuries so in my humble opinion are more qualified to say what's good and what's not. I use global knives and they are the most well balanced natural feeling knives on the planet without even getting to how fantastic the blades are and how sharp they stay and for that matter how easy they are to sharpen as opposed to some other "Japanese" knives out there. The global sai knives are heavier yes but it's not a bad thing at all and they still feel ridiculously balanced in your hand like an extension of ones own arm which is exactly how a knife should feel. In typical global style are also are easy to hone and sharpen like they're predesessor..
        But what you must understand is that knives are a personal preference and everyone is different, some like this huge amazing samurai story behind they're knives.... Some like the fact they look lovely, me personally I go for what works continuously and has done for most top chefs in Europe for the past thirty years......

        1. re: Scarlettblade74

          <I don't get why your saying he could get some good Japanese knives for that money>

          He meant. For dollar to dollar, a person can probably get a better Japanese knife than Global. I will say the same for Shun knives as well. Shun knives are good knives, but you can probably get an equivalent knife for 25%-33% lower, like a Tojiro brand knife.

          <EUROPE has been producing some of the worlds best cuisine for centuries>

          I am not entirely sure about that. I am not saying you are wrong. Rather I am saying that you are not correct. It is very difficult and probably unfair to say that Europe has been producing better cuisine than Middle East or India or East Asia. Their cuisines are different enough that you cannot really say Italian pasta is better than Japanese ramen, or Chicken under a Brick is better than Tandoori Chicken.

          1. re: Scarlettblade74

            To be honest, Michele Roux Jr and his father - presumably good chefs - could likely produce great food with a sharpened shovel.

            If you want to talk, objectively, about knives, then you may want to look into expanding your experiences further into different knives.

        2. I don't have hands-on experience with Global Sai knives. Global knives are good knives, but they are not my cup of tea.

          The typical Global knives are hardened to HRC 56-58, which means that they are no harder or stronger than typical Henckels or Wusthof knives. They are, however, made with thinner blades, so they cut with less resistance.

          These Global Sai knives are hardened to a higher level to 58-59 HRC, and put on a sharper edge angle, and they are heavier like you said.

          A typical G series Global Chef's knife is 172 g. A GF series Chef's knife is 264 g. The Global SAI 235 g -- somewhere between these two lines.

          For 175 € ($237), it is not a cheap knife. Based on the spec, I would say that it is a slightly better knife than the standard Global G knife, but I also agree Cynic that there are probably equally or better knives than this.

          "Yoshikin "Global"
          Bevel: 15-17
          Rockwell C (HRC): 56-58
          Material & Composition: CROMOVA 18

          Yoshikin "Global Sai"
          Bevel: 10-15
          Rockwell C (HRC): 58-59
          Material & Composition: CROMOVA 18 core + SUS410 outer"

          If you like Global knives because of their geometry and feel, and have tried other high quality knives, then by all mean Global Sai knives should be an upgrade for you.

          If you have not tried other knives at the same price range, then you may want to look around. Knives such as the one Cynic has mentioned.

          Hiromoto AS -- considered to be one of the best value ~$135 knives.

          CarboNext -- get excellent reviews for an great price (~$105):

          Miyabi Kaizen -- a cheaper line from Miyabi ($100):

          Tojiro DP -- a good knife for an excellent price ($80):

          13 Replies
          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

            Thank you so much for this info. As I mentioned above, keeping an edge is pretty important to me, and Global excels at this. Probably my next purchase will be a second nakiri. I have an inexpensive one that works reasonably well, but I would like a better one. The one I have is not stainless steel, but I enjoy caring for it.

            1. re: Jessiet

              Hey, I finally saw Global Sai launched at Williams Sonoma. Is that where you first saw them?


              It states that "Only At Williams Sonoma"

              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                Yes, WS had them at 20% off for a few days, and I had never heard of them before. Read some reviews and forum discussions, and thought they sounded pretty good.

                1. re: Jessiet

                  They have them at a lot of places, including Amazon.

                  1. re: Jessiet

                    :) Try them at WS and see if you like them. If you like them, then buy them. My concern is that it is pricey, but that is not a hidden issue. You know this exactly going in. The other concern is that the blade is suppose to be thicker (and therefore heavier) than the original Global. This is both good and possibly bad. Good because it gives the knives a bit more weight and make the blade sturdier. Potentially bad because you may encounter more resistance during cutting. It may not be a problem at all, but you should bring a large dense item like potato to the store to try. Not carrot or celery, but something more like potato and yam and daikon...etc.

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      Thanks Chemicalkinetics! I am not too concerned about the resistance from the sturdier blade. I do have a nakiri, which I am using more and more for veg. Biggest concern is keeping that great Global edge! Also interested in what is "your cup of tea"? Though, of course, we all have different reasons for loving our knives.

                      1. re: Jessiet

                        <keeping that great Global edge!>

                        Well, the Sai series are made from a steel hardened to higher level. In turn, they also made the edge at a lower angle and therefore sharper.

                        So here is what I am thinking.

                        Had they kept the same edge angle, then this harder Sai steel will likely keep your Global edge longer.

                        However, they did bring down the edge to make the knife sharper, so the edge retention will suffer a bit.

                        Therefore, it is difficult to say if the Sai edge will last longer than the regular edge. Worse comes worse, you can always later ask someone to sharpen the knife at a lower angle, at the previous model edge angle.

                      2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        Of all the thread replies on this post, Chem offers the best advice.

                        Go and try the knives out yourself.

                        Cut the guess work out, and see if you actually favour using the Global Sai, or not. Considering the high expense, would you not test drive a Porsche Panamera first, or similarly a Global Sai set, before you buy ?

                        Of course you should.

                        This is a new product, and not many have actual hands-on experience using a Global Sai. That includes celebrity Chefs in Germany (Johannn Lafer, Mike Süsser), France ( Alain Ducasse, Fabrice Desvignes), and other countries here in Europe, many of which are sponsored by many, including Global.

                        Frequently, one sees a knife set such as a Global in it's gleaming stainless block, well positioned as a prop (which it actually is), and yet the chef is using a different brand that he or she is more comfortable with.

                        Try before you buy.

                        1. re: SWISSAIRE

                          Thank you to all for the information! I'll go "test drive" one!

                          1. re: Jessiet

                            Go for it !

                            Let us know your findings when you can.

                            1. re: SWISSAIRE

                              well I ordered the birds beak on line from Chefs ... it's "moosy-er" than my old black handle beak. Does feel fine in the hand but the haft is between 2/3rds to 3/4s of an inch longer before you get to the actual 'blade. It'll probably take some 'getting used to' ... to say the least. Nothing in the catalog gave me a clew that it was so much heftier. Most of my cutting is done with my right handed Shun Pro "Usuba bocho" a 'handed' knife (right handed in my case) it has only an angle on one side and that is a 15 degree angle as compared to a 20 degree European knife, and the other side is flat with a slight (ura oshi) scallop in it (honyaki steel, and handmade). The shape is "higashigata" style (the square tip) a far cry from this knife. for heavier work I use a 10" French Chef or my 8" Ken Onion multi-tasker from Shun.

                  2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    I saw them advertised online at Williams Sonoma.

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      Yes; I saw them advertised at W-S site online.

                2. Sorry to resurrect this thread...but I'm looking for a good steel for my sai knives. There doesn't appear to be a sai steel; would a global ceramic steel made for the classic line be acceptable?

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Pirendeus

                    Sure. A ceramic rod will work for Global. It does not have to be Global ceramic rod. Save yourself $60 or more by getting a non-Global ceramic rod.

                    Also you can use a smooth/polish steel if you like.

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      Thanks for the fast reply. I'm also worried about getting the right angle on the blade, so I got a global clip-on blade guide (again, from the original series) which gives a 16 degree angle, before noticing your old post above that showed global sais are 10-15 degrees (unlike the classics, which are 15-17 degrees.)
                      Will the guide drastically compromise the blades, or is it better than me presumptively failing to get the proper angle by guessing?
                      Also, any thoughts on why Global hasn't created support items for sai? I'd think they would want to push accessories for their higher priced line.