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Foo shops for a Japanese knife

post #1 of 291
Thread Starter 
I am researching Japanese gyutos. I am addicted. Can someone give me the lay of the land? I understand there are high-end manufacturers like Misono and Masamoto. But then, from what I've seen, there are also artisans who hand forge knives one by one, like Hattori KD and Itou. Then, further afield, I'm hearing of American custom makers like Bob Kramer and Devin Thomas that are supposedly even better, though astronomically priced.

What is a suitable OneKnife?
post #2 of 291
i am 90% sure that I'll be picking up a Masamoto VG in the coming weeks. I played around with one in a store and it just feels great in the hand (er, my hand, which is important).

my reserved 10% is due to the fact that I think Masanobu knives are exceedingly beautiful. Different handle type than the Masamoto.


I'll also be picking up an Apex sharpening system, and already have a big sturdy rubber cutting board.
post #3 of 291
Thread Starter 
Have you seen the Hattori KDs? Apparently the waitlist at US retailers is over two years. You have to either get one pre-owned or go to Japan if you want one now.

They even have your Chinese characters--except, even cooler, they are in the archaic style and in red. smile.gif



post #4 of 291
but do they cut any better? foo.gif
post #5 of 291
You may want to look into these:
Watanabe
Takeda
and
Moritaka

All three offer mto should you want to go crazy with things as custom engraving and/or damascus steel, like this. Maybe they can even engrave a crocodile print smile.gif

All three make lovely stuff though I must admit I dont own a Takeda (yet). My two Watanabe's are great and my much cheaper Moritaka is decent considering its price.
Watanabe's 180mm kurouchi gyuto would be a great oneKnife if you don't mind putting some effort into maintenance.
The Hattoris and many others are available from www.japanesechefsknife.com where I got my kanetsugu petty which I use as a 'beater'.


Edited by Crat - 1/21/13 at 1:23pm
post #6 of 291
Foo, that knife is awesome. I recognize Bob Kramer from my participation in the Knife forum and I believe he makes a spectacular knife.
post #7 of 291
Quote:
Originally Posted by gomestar View Post

i am 90% sure that I'll be picking up a Masamoto VG in the coming weeks. I played around with one in a store and it just feels great in the hand (er, my hand, which is important).

my reserved 10% is due to the fact that I think Masanobu knives are exceedingly beautiful. Different handle type than the Masamoto.


I'll also be picking up an Apex sharpening system, and already have a big sturdy rubber cutting board.

I have a Masamoto VG, have had it for a few years now and enjoy using it. But, of course there are nicer knives out there, that's part of my enjoyment of the Masamoto.

Bob Kramer's knives, though, are marvels. I watched a video where he put a knife through its paces and was amazed.
post #8 of 291
I hate Kramer knives and hate Damascus and fancy finishes. So there.
post #9 of 291
Do any of you have experience with Hattori?
post #10 of 291
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas View Post

I have a Masamoto VG, have had it for a few years now and enjoy using it. But, of course there are nicer knives out there, that's part of my enjoyment of the Masamoto.

I like the fact that it's $170 or so for a 210mm, so quite affordable. Some of the fancy knives out there are indeed beautiful, but utility is most important to me since I'll be using it 4+ days of the week. I'd rather get a slicer as a fancy knife since I'd be using it less frequently and have the Masamoto do all of the grunt work.
post #11 of 291
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkinnyGoomba View Post

Do any of you have experience with Hattori?

Yes, I've tried the ones foo posted above and the FH series. The latter is beautiful, but the shape is not right for the way I use a knife. Toe is too high. The really expensive ones are terribly ugly to me. I dislike the Kramer knives I've tried both on the shape and the ugliness, though they are well made.

Eventually, you can get any knife sharp, but you have to have a shape that works for you, and you have to like how it looks. Some knives will stay sharper than others, but it is more on the margins than anything else. Shape, of course, is both the shape of the edge and the shape of the blade. You need to know first, however, how you cut, because how you cut helps determine the best shape knife for you. Or you can just buy something you like and learn to cut around it, though that is kind of inefficient.

I like the shape of the Masamoto knives more than others, and I seem to split time between the VG and the carbon steel ones, depending on my mood.

To the fellow up there who posted the picture of his knives, look out for your chef's knife. You have left the heel really long and ground too much just forward of it, and it looks like it is going to be unusable soon, as you are going to have a gap on your board between the heel and a coupe of inches forward. You'll get bad accordion cuts.

Also, the better you are with a knife, the bigger knife you can use. The bigger the knife, the more efficient.
post #12 of 291
I'm leaning toward 240mm, I don't need Damascus. I admire the craftsmanship in a Kramer knife, but think I would be happier overall with more of a work horse.
post #13 of 291
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkinnyGoomba View Post

Do any of you have experience with Hattori?

Yes, I have the Hattori FH 240mm gyuto, and it is my favorite knife which I use probably 95% of the time.


I hand sharpen on Shapton Glasstones (which I had purchased for woodworking) and just did all my knives last weekend. The KDs are really hard to get, as Mr Hattori is getting up there in age and not making many anymore. Foo, the shape of the Hattori and Kramer almost couldn't be more different. The Kramers have a big belly which are more suitable for rocking motions, whereas on a Hattori I'm usually push-cutting. You will likely have a strong preference for one or the other.

But you're in NYC, have you been down to Korin yet?
http://korin.com/site/home.html
Amazing selection and service! I have a hunch something like a Nenox Corian 240mm might make a good OneKnife:
http://korin.com/Nenox-Corian-Gyutou?sc=27&category=280081

Also the Williams-Sonoma at Columbus Circle has a bunch of high end knives that no other WS store I've seen (B&M or online) carry.

Edit: Ugh, I made the walnut end-grain board myself but didn't realize how dry it was 'til I saw the post. Time for some beeswax and mineral oil.
post #14 of 291
Wow, I like that cutting board.
post #15 of 291
I predict that this thread will illustrate, simultaneously, all that can be good about StyleForvm, and all that can be bad about StyleForvm.
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