210 Gyuto recommendation for home cook

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RyanI
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210 Gyuto recommendation for home cook

Post by RyanI »

Hi,

Thanks in advance for any feedback you have. I'm a Japanese knife newbie and I've found myself researching for a couple weeks. I'm hoping someone might be able to help pull me out of this rabbit hole and make some recommendations, or at least help me figure out if I'm on the right path.

Below are answers to the common questions:

1)Pro or home cook?
Home cook.

2)What kind of knife do you want? (Gyuto, Santoku, Petty, Paring, Sujihiki, etc.)
Gyuto

3) What size knife do you want?
210mm

4)How much do you want to spend?
$100-200

5) Do you prefer all stainless, stainless clad over reactive carbon, or all reactive carbon construction?
All stainless or stainless over reactive carbon.

6)Do you prefer Western or Japanese handle?
Wa. Japanese Handle.

7)What are your main knife/knives now?
I use the Cutco Petite Chef knife 90% of the time. I also have the pairing and trimmer knives that came with this set I got as a gift a few years back - https://www.cutco.com/products/product. ... n-classics
I'm not sure I would have bought them, but it's what I have...

8)Are your knife skills excellent, good, fair?
I'd say good, or pretty good. Hard to say, because compared to others on this forum, they might be fair to good.

9)What cutting techniques do you prefer? Are you a rocker, chopper or push/pull cutter?
Mostly push cut, but some rocking too once I've broken things down - for example dicing carrots or celery. Rarely chopping - possibly because my knife never seems sharp enough to chop well.

10)Do you know how to sharpen?
No, but interested in learning. I have a cheap big box set that I never use and could practice on.

Since this is my first Japanese knife purchase, I was at first thinking about getting one of the commonly recommended Western Handled knives, such as the Tojiro DP, but I think I've decide to go full on and try something a step up in a Wa handle. My Cutco handle is sort of halfway in-between - not a traditional Western handle anyway, and I tend to use more of pinch grip when push cutting anyway. Whereas, I tend to use more of a handle or sort of hybrid grip when rocking.
I don't think I'm ready for a full reactive carbon knife yet, and I'm a little worried about a knife that is too hard and prone to chipping, but I am careful with my knives and plan to take care of this one. I'm not too worried about sharpening, since there is a guy at the local farmers market that will whetstone sharpen for $1 an inch, but I do want something that will hold a decent edge. I plan to use this knife mostly for cutting vegetables or slicing cooked boneless meat. If I need to break down a chicken or cut a hard squash, I can pull out my current knife.
I'm not a big fan of the Tokyo style handle install or the Damascus steel look. Also, I'd preferred etched for chiseled kanji vs screened on, but it's probably not a deal breaker. I tend to like knives with a bit of visual interest to them, but not something too showy.
Also, I'm not in a huge hurry if there is something that is out of stock that is worth waiting for.

A few of the options I've been looking at are below with some notes about why or why not:

https://www.chefknivestogo.com/kapswagy21.html
(Full stainless, but I'm not sure about laser since I haven't tried something this light before)

https://www.chefknivestogo.com/hag3gy21.html
(Stainless, but balance point might be too far forward for the way I hold the knife. Also out of stock)

https://www.chefknivestogo.com/kosld21gy.html
(Seems like a good option, but not sure about the thickness or if the balance point is too far forward)

https://www.chefknivestogo.com/mawh2gy21.html
(Highly recommended, and seems like a good option, but out of stock)

https://www.chefknivestogo.com/kohawagy21.html
(Seems like the profile might fit me, but a little pricey and I'm a little worried about if it'll be prone to chipping)

Thanks again for your help!

-Ryan
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Re: 210 Gyuto recommendation for home cook

Post by Ozno_flash »

Not sure I would recommend taking a nice Japanese knife to be sharpened by the guy at the farmers market. If you want decent knives of any type I’d take some of that budget and buy a sharpening stone and holder.

In that vein maybe buy a more economical knife that would also not be bad to practice sharpening on.

https://www.chefknivestogo.com/fufkmgy21.html
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Re: 210 Gyuto recommendation for home cook

Post by mauichef »

100% agree about the guy at the farmers market 😜
RyanI
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Re: 210 Gyuto recommendation for home cook

Post by RyanI »

Thanks Ozno Flash and Maui Chef. Point definitely taken about the guy at the farmers market. I'm in LA area, so I imagine there are better options locally.
I guess what I was trying to say is that I could practice learning to sharpen on cheaper knives I own vs necessarily needing to be able to sharpen the knife I hope to purchase right off the bat, as I could have that professionally done in the meantime.
I appreciate the feedback about investing in a sharpening stone and holder.
I came here for honest feedback, so I'm happy to be put in my place, but if I was curious to try out a wa handle and don't mind practicing sharpening on other knives, do you still think I'd be better off starting out with something like the Fujiwara FKM?
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Re: 210 Gyuto recommendation for home cook

Post by XexoX »

RyanI wrote: Mon Jan 18, 2021 5:47 pm Thanks Ozno Flash and Maui Chef. Point definitely taken about the guy at the farmers market. I'm in LA area, so I imagine there are better options locally.
I guess what I was trying to say is that I could practice learning to sharpen on cheaper knives I own vs necessarily needing to be able to sharpen the knife I hope to purchase right off the bat, as I could have that professionally done in the meantime.
I appreciate the feedback about investing in a sharpening stone and holder.
I came here for honest feedback, so I'm happy to be put in my place, but if I was curious to try out a wa handle and don't mind practicing sharpening on other knives, do you still think I'd be better off starting out with something like the Fujiwara FKM?
While I can't answer that, too new to this, I will say that most experienced sharpeners here say to not use a stainless steel knife to learn to sharpen. Learn on a carbon steel knife first. After you get good, consistent results on that type of steel, then move to a SS knife.

Not sure if I can find it, but there was another thread here where someone wanting to learn to sharpen knives got some really good advice, and even which knife to buy (it was inexpensive, comparatively) to learn to sharpen on. I'll see if I can find it and post a link.

Found it! This post, actually the whole thread, but this post is what I was remembering, might help. Best of luck.
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Re: 210 Gyuto recommendation for home cook

Post by Ozno_flash »

Two things about the FKM are that it is semi-stainless, so not quite as hard to sharpen as stainless and less reactive than carbon. It’s also mono steel so no cladding to add complexity to sharpening.

Also it’s cheap, which helps. Those same things apply to the Kanehide TK for a little more money.

https://www.chefknivestogo.com/katkgy21.html
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Re: 210 Gyuto recommendation for home cook

Post by lsboogy »

I think you need to consider the Kanehide. I've got some AEB-L and Kikuichi Swedish Stainless (about the same thing as PS60) and they are very easy to sharpen. It's just that most stainless is pretty soft and has large grain size and tends to feel "gummy" when sharpening, and it's very hard to put a good edge on large grain structured material. AEBL is very fine grained and takes very good edge easily on most stones. Get a combo stone to start out with if you want, and maybe find an old carbon steel knife at a garage sale or something like that. If you get the finish sharpening service, I think the knife will hold a good edge for a home kitchen for many months, and if you don't feel comfortable at that point sharpening, Mark has a sharpening service here as well. Or you could send it to Ken123 and let him at it - just tell him you only need a good kitchen edge - he puts edges on things that very few are capable of.

Plus, if you don't like the knife, it's pretty easy to sell in the classifieds section here.
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Re: 210 Gyuto recommendation for home cook

Post by RyanI »

Thanks so much everyone. I appreciate the continued feedback.
I'm sensing I should probably take a step back and get a hang of sharpening basics before spending money on a pricier knife I can't maintain on my own.
The Kanehide seems like a pretty good option, and the product review video mentions it's easy to sharpen. I also like the idea of finding a cheap used carbon knife to learn to sharpen.
It might just be an aesthetic thing, but I'm still drawn toward trying out a wa handled knife.
Is the Kanehide P60 Wa (https://www.chefknivestogo.com/kapswagy21.html) something I should be looking at, or should I be sticking to a Western handle as a newbie.

Another idea, possibly a bad one - what do you think about an inexpensive step into this world with a wa handled carbon steel that I could also use to learn to sharpen? like this one - https://www.chefknivestogo.com/toshkagy21.html Or am I better off spending a little more money on a daily use knife and looking for a cheap used knife to practice sharpening?
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Re: 210 Gyuto recommendation for home cook

Post by Chappychap »

RyanI wrote: Mon Jan 18, 2021 7:26 pm Thanks so much everyone. I appreciate the continued feedback.
I'm sensing I should probably take a step back and get a hang of sharpening basics before spending money on a pricier knife I can't maintain on my own.
The Kanehide seems like a pretty good option, and the product review video mentions it's easy to sharpen. I also like the idea of finding a cheap used carbon knife to learn to sharpen.
It might just be an aesthetic thing, but I'm still drawn toward trying out a wa handled knife.
Is the Kanehide P60 Wa (https://www.chefknivestogo.com/kapswagy21.html) something I should be looking at, or should I be sticking to a Western handle as a newbie.

Another idea, possibly a bad one - what do you think about an inexpensive step into this world with a wa handled carbon steel that I could also use to learn to sharpen? like this one - https://www.chefknivestogo.com/toshkagy21.html Or am I better off spending a little more money on a daily use knife and looking for a cheap used knife to practice sharpening?
My 2c, in cases it helps to share a bit based on my journey. If you get a nice quality knife and focus on learning good technique when using it, you shouldn't need to sharpen it deeply for quite a while. Even longer if you add Mark's ~$15 sharpening service at purchase. Then in the meantime learn to sharpen and get confident on a knife you don't really care about. Having already bought the nice Japanese knife, it'll be a forcing function for you to learn how to sharpen within 4-6 months, and you'll want a semi decent 'beater' knife for the jobs you wouldn't want to use your new Japanese Knife on anyway (for example hacking through bone). My Mercer Renaissance chef's knife is what I learned on and I used it even just this afternoon. By getting the one with no finger guard at the back edge, it was pretty easy to learn to sharpen with. Happy to share the link if helpful. But learning to sharpen is worth it - you'll be able to keep performance in a great place constantly, without the cost and inconvenience of sending off your knife every 4-6 months. If you're in any way serious about cooking, take the plunge :)

And I think a Western handled beater knife along with a wa handle Japanese knife is a great combo to start with, and what I started with.
Last edited by Chappychap on Mon Jan 18, 2021 8:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 210 Gyuto recommendation for home cook

Post by lsboogy »

Even a Tojiro W2 blade will be a much better knife than you are using now - my daughter has a couple - I force a patina on them even though she does take pretty good care of her knives. They are very easy to sharpen, but not the highest performing things out there. And as a home cook, you won't need to get any of the knives you are looking at sharpened often - couple times a year if you use it nearly every day. And if you get the Tojiro, it will only whet your whistle - you will be back for a higher performing blade. You might look at the Artifex
https://www.chefknivestogo.com/riariigy21.html
I've given a couple of these to nieces - they are very durable (line knives have to be) and take and hold a really good edge and hold it for many long shifts. Stainless, western handled, but decent blades - far better than most big box stuff
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Re: 210 Gyuto recommendation for home cook

Post by XexoX »

Chappychap wrote: Mon Jan 18, 2021 8:57 pm [... Even longer if you add Mark's ~$15 sharpening service at purchase....
Get this, then you will know from the start, how sharp the knife can be when sharpened by someone who knows what they are doing.
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Re: 210 Gyuto recommendation for home cook

Post by RyanI »

Thanks everyone.
I appreciate the link to the thread on sharpening.
Yeah, I was definitely leaning toward getting the sharpening service (1) so that it was good and sharp and hopefully wouldn't have to be sharpened for a little while, and (2) to get a sense of the fully capability of the knife.
My guess is any of these recommendations would be a huge step-up from the knife I currently use. It's just what I have and got it as a gift, so hard to complain too much, but it seems time for an upgrade.
I think I like the idea of buying a decent knife that I can baby a bit, and don't have to worry about sharpening too often, and then finding either a second hand or inexpensive carbon or semi-stainless that I can play around with a little more and learn to sharpen.
So, my original question probably still stands about a $150ish Wa handled 210 Gyuto, and then I'll need to find a $50ish "practice" knife. Add in the sharpening stone and it seems I may be convincing myself to go a bit over budget...
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Re: 210 Gyuto recommendation for home cook

Post by RyanI »

Hi Again,
I just had another idea - if I'm considering 2 knives, I wonder if it's worth looking at a different style of knife or at least a different length, vs having 3 similar chef style knives. I suppose the criteria would be something inexpensive, easy to learn to sharpen (and similar sharpening technique to gyuto), and something I might actually use. Or, that my wife could use - she prefers a smaller knife.
I've pretty much only use my chef knife. Where do folks usually go when adding another style or size?
Thanks again!
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Re: 210 Gyuto recommendation for home cook

Post by lsboogy »

gyuto 92%, paring 4%, bread knife 1%, nakiri/honesuke/deba - 3%
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Re: 210 Gyuto recommendation for home cook

Post by Infrared »

Kohetsu Blue #2 Nashiji Gyuto 210mm https://www.chefknivestogo.com/kobl2nagy21.html
Stainless clad with carbon core means relatively little maintenance and easy sharpening.

Masutani VG1 Santoku 170mm https://www.chefknivestogo.com/mavg1sa17.html
Probably one of the best values you can find. Great looking knife, very sharp, high quality, and no hassle stainless.

Misuzu SKS93 Bunka 160mm https://www.chefknivestogo.com/mivgbu16.html
Stainless clad with carbon core just like the Kohetsu. Perfect "practice" knife.
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Re: 210 Gyuto recommendation for home cook

Post by RyanI »

Thanks for the recommendations.
I came across this one too for a "practice" knife. The video says it's good for learning to sharpen and it might be a good little knife for my wife to use. https://www.chefknivestogo.com/fu1pe15.html
I'm curious if you'd recommend the Kohetsu Blue #2 Nashiji Gyuto 210mm over the SLD - https://www.chefknivestogo.com/kosld21gy.html
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Re: 210 Gyuto recommendation for home cook

Post by Afjagjones »

Agree completely with getting the sharpening up front.
I don't think you'd need a practice knife honestly. If you get a knife you are reasonably excited about and you watch some of the good sharpening videos then I don't think you're going to hurt your knife. Maybe it won't be the greatest sharpening job on the first try, but it will still be better than 95% of kitchen knives out there. And you'll get better if you do it a few times. There's a knack to it, but it's not rocket surgery.
RyanI
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Re: 210 Gyuto recommendation for home cook

Post by RyanI »

Thanks Afagjones! I suppose if a good knife sharpener can fix a chip, they can probably fix a bad sharpening job if I really screw it up.
Ha ha. I don't think I've ever hear the phrase "rocket surgery" before. I'll have to start using that.
Do you have any thoughts on the Kohetsu B#2 vs the Kohetsu SLD?
Thanks again.
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Re: 210 Gyuto recommendation for home cook

Post by Afjagjones »

I wish I did! Both knives I'd like!
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Re: 210 Gyuto recommendation for home cook

Post by Eli Chaps »

XexoX wrote: Mon Jan 18, 2021 5:56 pm
While I can't answer that, too new to this, I will say that most experienced sharpeners here say to not use a stainless steel knife to learn to sharpen. Learn on a carbon steel knife first. After you get good, consistent results on that type of steel, then move to a SS knife.

Not sure if I can find it, but there was another thread here where someone wanting to learn to sharpen knives got some really good advice, and even which knife to buy (it was inexpensive, comparatively) to learn to sharpen on. I'll see if I can find it and post a link.

Found it! This post, actually the whole thread, but this post is what I was remembering, might help. Best of luck.
Personally, I don't agree with this at all. Truly garbage or very soft stainless can be difficult but with any decent brand this should not be a problem. A Fibrox is probably around 55HRC and is dead simple to sharpen.

Now, the edges may not be as keen as hard carbon or fine grained stainless but that is a different thing. You CAN learn to sharpen on stainless steel.
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