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Foo shops for a Japanese knife

Discussion in 'Social Life, Food & Drink, Travel' started by mafoofan, Jan 21, 2013.

  1. mafoofan

    mafoofan Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    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?
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2013
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  2. gomestar

    gomestar Senior member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2013
  3. mafoofan

    mafoofan Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    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. :)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2013
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  4. gomestar

    gomestar Senior member

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    but do they cut any better? :foo:
     
  5. Crat

    Crat Senior member

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    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 :)

    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'.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2013
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  6. SkinnyGoomba

    SkinnyGoomba Senior member

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    Foo, that knife is awesome. I recognize Bob Kramer from my participation in the Knife forum and I believe he makes a spectacular knife.
     
  7. Thomas

    Thomas Senior member

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    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.
     
  8. itsstillmatt

    itsstillmatt Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I hate Kramer knives and hate Damascus and fancy finishes. So there.
     
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  9. SkinnyGoomba

    SkinnyGoomba Senior member

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    Do any of you have experience with Hattori?
     
  10. gomestar

    gomestar Senior member

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    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.
     
  11. itsstillmatt

    itsstillmatt Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    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.
     
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  12. SkinnyGoomba

    SkinnyGoomba Senior member

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    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.
     
  13. Fred G. Unn

    Fred G. Unn Senior member

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

    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.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2013
  14. Thomas

    Thomas Senior member

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    Wow, I like that cutting board.
     
  15. Douglas

    Douglas Senior member

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    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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  16. ama

    ama Senior member

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    I have Misono UX-10s in various sizes and I really like them. Easy to maintain, good shape and very sharp.
     
  17. gomestar

    gomestar Senior member

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    it seems like the UX-10's have shot up in price over the past 2 or 3 years.
     
  18. mafoofan

    mafoofan Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    What about the Masamoto VG? I know nothing, but it is 30% cheaper and often mentioned in the same breath.

    Plus, looks cooler.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2013
  19. shibbel

    shibbel Senior member

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    huh?
    I know the NYT named it one of the best knives overall. I've also been eyeing it for awhile now- kind of regret not copping during the Korin knife sale.

    Gome, what are you using right now?
     
  20. gomestar

    gomestar Senior member

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    I seem to remember a time when the UX-10 was the same price as the Masamoto. Perhaps a bit cheaper.

    Apparently Korin explained the price increase to Manton, perhaps he can elaborate.


    a Wuthof that I bought in college. It has served me very well.
     

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