First Japanese Knife.

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First Japanese Knife.

Post by ChefKnivesToGo »

Hello,

I'm interested in purchasing my first Japanese knife, which has led me to lots of looking, researching, and generally trying to figure out what might be best for me. I Know that I want a 240 mm Gyuto with a Wa handle. I want to keep the cost reasonable, but I also want to get the best/most knife for my money. At this point, my questions are all about the core steel. I've been looking primarily at carbon steels, does that make sense for a home cook? What type of steel do you suggest for home cooks? Are there significant advantages of one type over another? How big are the differences from one type to the next? I've tried to do my homework on some of this but it's hard to quantify how much more or less brittle one steel is compared to another, just by reading an article. Same goes for a steel's ability to take and retain a keen edge. I've read that Aogami Super is the best steel around, but will I even notice the difference between it and any of the white or blue steels? Will a home cook see a difference in the ability to keep a sharp edge or how sharp of an edge it will take?

After searching your store, I've focused on these three knives:
Tojiro Shirogami ITK Gyuto 240mm - Item #: F-695
Yoshimitsu Fugen White #1 Gyuto 240mm - Item #: YW1B-G24C
Harukaze AS Morado Gyuto 240mm - Item #: HASM-G240
Is there one of these that you would suggest over the others to be someone's first Japanese knife? If so, why? Or, is there something else entirely that you would suggest? I'm genuinely open to any inputs or suggestions you may have.

Thank you for your time and your help. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Respectfully,
Brandon
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Re: First Japanese Knife.

Post by taz575 »

The Tojiro ITK has a thicker grind and will tend to wedge in ingredients from the ones I played with several years ago. The Tojiro Kasumi Shirogami, however, has a much thinner grind and cuts better! I love the 240mm Shirogami Kasumi from Tojiro that I have, but IIRC they are out of stock.

The Yoshimitsu Fugen and Harukaze look good. I had a Harukaze G3 210mm that was awesome, but I ended up selling it. Lots of good 240mm gyuto's are currently out of stock though. My choice of those 2 would be the Harukaze; the AS Aogami Super steel is one of my favorites and the edge will last a lot longer than a white steel knife.

I would look at the Kohetsu 240mm Wa gyutos, specifically the Aogami Super: https://www.chefknivestogo.com/rikoaosu24gy.html or Shinano Blue #2: https://www.chefknivestogo.com/koshbl2gy24.html as other options, but they are also more expensive.
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Re: First Japanese Knife.

Post by Infrared »

Hello,

Most of the steels you find in kitchen knives can be divided into two categories, stainless and carbon. The main difference is that carbon is easier to sharpen while stainless is easier maintenance (no rust).

Generally speaking,

If you're going to sharpen your own knives, carbon knives are your best choice (if you're okay with the maintenance).
If you want something that stays sharp for as long as possible, get a knife made from R2/SG2 or HAP40 steel.

As for the knives you listed, the Harukaze will stay sharper much longer than the other two, while the Tojiro and Yoshimitsu will be much easier to sharpen.
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Re: First Japanese Knife.

Post by Miles »

To get the most performance out of any knife, you'll go down that rabbit hole of learning to sharpen. It's going to have a learning curve, but there are lots of resources here and youtube. It can be pretty inexpensive if you start small- a Shapton Pro 1000 is around $50. Another finer stone might be a bit more, but you can just make do with one stone for a while.

I haven't experienced any of your selections, but i do think they're all good ones to learn to sharpen and save some $$$.

The Yoshimitsu W1 is tall for chopping, looks very thin behind the edge, should be pretty easy to sharpen (hrc 61 not very hard)
Harukaze AS Morado, this one will hold the edge longer, but take more work to sharpen. It's also stainless clad, so you'll just need to keep that edge clean.
Tojiro Shirogami ITK similar to yoshimitsu, but my guess is the performance won't be nearly as good based on the choil (end) picture. Choose the first option.

There are some great options in this thread that are either white or blue and stainless clad. They typically cost more than kurouchi finish, but just help with that darn rust thing.
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Re: First Japanese Knife.

Post by ChefKnivesToGo »

Hi Brandon,
If you want a moderately priced knife using AS steel with a nice handle and finish the Harukaze you mentioned is really hard to beat.
https://www.chefknivestogo.com/hamoasgy24.html
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Re: First Japanese Knife.

Post by FisherMAn1298 »

Hello Brandon,
Welcome to the wonderful world of japanese knives. First off, being a home cook if you hand wash and dry your knives immediately after using them they will be in perfect shape for years to come, unless you cook for 20 people! I own this knife:https://www.chefknivestogo.com/tsassagy21.html.
It has everything, AS super steel, fit & finish are excellent and it cuts wonderful given the blacksmith or sharpener did an amazing job on the grind.
Once I finish cutting I wash with soap and water gently, dry it off, coat it lightly with Camellia oil and put it right back in its knife guard.Do that and you're good to go. This knife is $150. worth every penny and then some, good luck and have fun! Please post often, it's nice to hear from others what they experience and any ideas they have.
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Re: First Japanese Knife.

Post by Eli Chaps »

Do you sharpen Brandon?

Steels like AS, SG2, etc. are going to be more challenging to sharpen. They ALL need to be sharpened sooner or later. Whether you do it or pay someone to do it, they will all need it.

I personally don't believe edge retention should be a high priority for home cooks. With some modicum of "routine" edge maintenance it would be difficult for the average home user to really tell the difference in the various steels based purely on edge retention.

Now, edge toughness and overall knife maintenance, I do think should be considerations, especially for someone just getting started. I would steer you towards the full stainless steels like any of the VG series, Ginsan (G3), AUS 8 or 10, P60 and more. These are very good steels that will not be overly difficult to sharpen and will be easier to keep up with. Yes, VG10 can be a little chippy above 60Rc but so can AS at it's typical hardnesses.

The odds are, you're going to end up trying out different knives as you learn your own unique likes and dislikes. There is the school of thought that you should start in the upper tiers to ensure you're getting excellent grinds, fit/finish, etc as you make these decisions and I get that but I fall more into the group that prefers to start at a lower price point at the beginning of the exploration.

Harukaze, Tsunehisa, Kanehide, Tojiro DP, and others are great jumping off points.
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Re: First Japanese Knife.

Post by cliff »

While we are talking steel, we should also put it into context. It's only one variable. It is also important to look at the weight, profile, and grind of the knife. Do you want thin, laser-style or something with some heft? What are you used to? Do you have old German knives or something similar for rough work?

As a broad generalization, in carbon steels, most blue paper steels hold an edge longer than white paper steels. AS holds a great edge. I don't find it much harder than white steels to sharpen, but it tends to feel more brittle. It also dulls down toothier, so it feels sharp longer.
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Re: First Japanese Knife.

Post by FisherMAn1298 »

Bottom line people AS SUPER STEEL RULES!!!!
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