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Foo shops for a Japanese knife - Page 3

post #31 of 291
Quote:
Originally Posted by mafoofan View Post

Matt says that the more skilled you get, the bigger the knife you can use. However, is there such a thing as the "right" or "standard" length for a chef's knife? Is that an asinine question? What should one start with if he wants the best knife to grow into, such that there will be no dire need for upgrade later?

So, what I mean is that like a golf club, with a knife you are moving your hand, and the handle, and using the blade to cut. Like with a golf club, the longer the tool, the more exact you have to be with the angles you are using. If your hand is angled a little, off, the end of the blade is going to be further off. On the other hand, a longer blade is proportionally longer, so if you are slicing green onions, you are using the rear middle of your blade, and you can cut more onions at a time if that section which is efficient for cutting green onions is longer.

Standard is between 8 and 10 inches, and anything in there is OK. The depth of your countertops also matters. A longer knife isn't doing you a lot of good if its tip is embedded in the wall.

One other point of advice is to be wary of a lot of these knife forums. The people there know a lot about knives, but often little about cooking or cutting food, so they treat the knife less as a tool and more as the end. That's fine as far as it goes, but it also leads to a lot of people with expensive knives and bad technique because they are developing an internet groupthink way of cutting so that they can utilize a knife that is deemed the best.* Kind of like men's clothing.

*to expand on this a little, knives and food styles are linked by culture, and the techniques to create these foods influence and are influenced by the tools used. It so happens that a gyuto knife is really a good substitute for a chef's knife, but using Japanese/Asian knife techniques tends to make life difficult in cutting the ingredients that make up western cuisine. When you combine the love for Japanese knives and the desire to sharpen them to a narrow angle and high polish, you end up with a tool unsuitable for western cooking in lots of ways, which is why if you go on and read some knife forums they are going on about push cutting everything, which works well with polished blades and doesn't ruin super thin ones, but is a ridiculous way to go about cutting most of the things that are necessary in the food of the west. The converse is also, of course, true.
post #32 of 291
Thread Starter 
Thanks, that's very helpful.

Does the size of the user make any difference?

Based on my casual observation, I definitely picked up on the dissonance you describe on the knife forums. But, as with clothing, is it possible to glorify the tool as well as the technique? Have to admit, it is hard not to get taken away with all these beautiful knives. I would pick function over appearance any day, but at a certain point can I maximize function and still have the appearance too?
post #33 of 291
This follows a bit on hewasandstillismatt's comments, which are quite sensible, and really why your quest for a "one knife" with what appears to be a limited knowledge on the topic thus far is not so practical for now.

Spend $120 on a Wusthof 8-inch chef's knife. It's the standard amateur size, more or less. A Wusthof is a classically western (err, German) shape, it is thicker and not as finicky as a fancy gyuto, it's perfectly handsome in its own right, and it's not that expensive. Spend a few bucks on sharpening implements, learn what you're doing, work on your technique, refine what it is you like doing and what your preferences are, and then go from there.

While I don't totally object to your slavish devotion to the OneThing philosophy, I think this is an example that really points up its weaknesses. There are preferences for everything, and sometimes you must develop your thinking by doing, by making mistakes, before going out and getting straight to the holy grail.
post #34 of 291
ok, just visited MTC with Manton. What's clear is that one needs to feel the knives in person. He had a clear and definite preference for the Misono UX-10 in the 270, while I had a clear and definite preference for the Masamoto in 210. Some of these websites are loaded with knives, but you can't feel them, and I think it's an important part of the experience.

Neither of us like the Nenox Corian.

They had a house brand that I was very impressed with, especially for the price. I have my eye on a 270 slicer that is like $130.

The Masamoto they had was the carbon knife, which I wouldn't buy, but I imagine the VG is the same shape, and if it is then I will be buying. We're taking a trip to Korin in the next few days to scope further.

I'll give Manton 2 weeks before he breaks down and buys the Misono.
post #35 of 291
Quote:
Originally Posted by mafoofan View Post

Does the size of the user make any difference?

i think so. Manton and his Neanderthal hands demands a giant handle. To me, the Misono 270 just felt too big and clumsy in my hands while the Misono 210 was much more nimble.
post #36 of 291
Quote:
Originally Posted by mafoofan View Post

Thanks, that's very helpful.

Does the size of the user make any difference?

Based on my casual observation, I definitely picked up on the dissonance you describe on the knife forums. But, as with clothing, is it possible to glorify the tool as well as the technique? Have to admit, it is hard not to get taken away with all these beautiful knives. I would pick function over appearance any day, but at a certain point can I maximize function and still have the appearance too?

The size of the user makes a difference, but more in hand size than knife length. If you are strong enough to use the knife the length should be fine. Handle is a different story. You just have to feel those.

As to the second, yes, there is a great middle ground in which the tool and technique match up well. Most japanese chef's knives are well suited to the way we eat here. What is less well suited is the glorification of form through polish. At some point extra polish increases your ability to cut toilet paper and other household items while limiting your ability to cut apple and tomato skins and to slice a roast chicken. That is what I see a lot of on the knife forums.

I guess what I am saying is that maximization of function and appearance has to do with what you like, what you do and what you want to cook. See if manton will go along with you to some of these places. You have really good ones in NY.
post #37 of 291
Quote:
Originally Posted by itsstillmatt View Post

The size of the user makes a difference, but more in hand size than knife length. If you are strong enough to use the knife the length should be fine. Handle is a different story. You just have to feel those.

As to the second, yes, there is a great middle ground in which the tool and technique match up well. Most japanese chef's knives are well suited to the way we eat here. What is less well suited is the glorification of form through polish. At some point extra polish increases your ability to cut toilet paper and other household items while limiting your ability to cut apple and tomato skins and to slice a roast chicken. That is what I see a lot of on the knife forums.

I guess what I am saying is that maximization of function and appearance has to do with what you like, what you do and what you want to cook. See if manton will go along with you to some of these places. You have really good ones in NY.

There is so much porn potential in here...
post #38 of 291
Apparently the Massmoto isn't a VG10, but rather, uses a steel that suits western style cutting better with more durability and less micro chipping at the expense of holding an edge for longer periods.

Gome, I'm also using a Wusthof (Grand Prix) right now- is yours 8"? I've very interested in what you end up with, since I have no way handling Massmoto myself.
post #39 of 291
Quote:
Originally Posted by gomestar View Post

ok, just visited MTC with Manton. What's clear is that one needs to feel the knives in person. He had a clear and definite preference for the Misono UX-10 in the 270, while I had a clear and definite preference for the Masamoto in 210. Some of these websites are loaded with knives, but you can't feel them, and I think it's an important part of the experience.

Neither of us like the Nenox Corian.

They had a house brand that I was very impressed with, especially for the price. I have my eye on a 270 slicer that is like $130.

The Masamoto they had was the carbon knife, which I wouldn't buy, but I imagine the VG is the same shape, and if it is then I will be buying. We're taking a trip to Korin in the next few days to scope further.

I'll give Manton 2 weeks before he breaks down and buys the Misono.

MTC is great. I like carbon knives for the same reason I like S&M. Feeling knives is definitely important. I've spent too much over the years because I don't have a great store near me and I am also not patient.
post #40 of 291
Quote:
Originally Posted by shibbel View Post

Gome, I'm also using a Wusthof (Grand Prix) right now- is yours 8"? I've very interested in what you end up with, since I have no way handling Massmoto myself.

6" (yes, I am in hiding now). I think the Misono is more in the German shape, but not nearly as similar as the Nenox. I prefer flatter blades and I felt that with the Masamoto. Tip work would be a breeze with that thing.
post #41 of 291
Quote:
Originally Posted by mafoofan View Post

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?

 

That's like asking what is a the one suitable jacket.  :)

 

I have Togiharu Molybdenum Gyutou 9.4" (24cm) - Right.  I've had this knife since 2009.  That's my workhorse knife.  Never rusted, cut me a few times and very sharp.  

 
I also have a Masamoto VG-10 Yanagi (300MM) for when I feel like acting out my inner samurai.  
post #42 of 291
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cary Grant View Post

There is so much porn potential in here...

Quote:
Originally Posted by itsstillmatt View Post

I like carbon knives for the same reason I like S&M.

nod[1].gif
post #43 of 291
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bonggoy View Post

 
I also have a Masamoto VG-10 Yanagi (300MM) for when I feel like acting out my inner samurai.  

I am tempted by this Yanagi from Korin in 300mm.

http://korin.com/Korin-Stain-Resistant-Yanagi?sc=27&category=280026
post #44 of 291
I have a big box of good knives I am trying to get rid of. Not even looking to sell, just get out of my house. Maybe I will accept essays from members as to why they should be the recipients.
post #45 of 291
Quote:
Originally Posted by Douglas View Post

This follows a bit on hewasandstillismatt's comments, which are quite sensible, and really why your quest for a "one knife" with what appears to be a limited knowledge on the topic thus far is not so practical for now.

Spend $120 on a Wusthof 8-inch chef's knife. It's the standard amateur size, more or less. A Wusthof is a classically western (err, German) shape, it is thicker and not as finicky as a fancy gyuto, it's perfectly handsome in its own right, and it's not that expensive. Spend a few bucks on sharpening implements, learn what you're doing, work on your technique, refine what it is you like doing and what your preferences are, and then go from there.

While I don't totally object to your slavish devotion to the OneThing philosophy, I think this is an example that really points up its weaknesses. There are preferences for everything, and sometimes you must develop your thinking by doing, by making mistakes, before going out and getting straight to the holy grail.

This is great advice.

If you want to apply the OneThing philosophy outside of clothing, recognize that the "correct" OneThing might well be a lower-end rather than higher-end product. E.g. imagine this philosophy applied to cars: the "correct" OneCar would be more much likely to be a Camry than a Lamborghini.
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