First Japanese Knife

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Tambo
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First Japanese Knife

Post by Tambo »

Greetings! I have been browsing the forums for a few days now and finally decided to join. I've seen many people post about the, "rabbit hole" of Japanese knives...I think I'm there. My brain hurts. Below is the questionnaire.

1)Pro or home cook? Home

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

3) What size knife do you want? 240

4)How much do you want to spend? 300-400...would like that to include sharpening accessories for a beginner.

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

6)Do you prefer Western or Japanese handle? Open to suggestions but would like to try a Wa handle

7)What are your main knife/knives now? Cheap...is that a brand???

8)Are your knife skills excellent, good, fair? Fair

9)What cutting techniques do you prefer? Are you a rocker, chopper or push/pull cutter? Rocker, push/pull

10)Do you know how to sharpen? Nope...but I know how to dull a knife!

I have plenty of time on my hands to sharpen/care for a knife and looking forward to learning and practicing. Below is the knife I've had my eye on but not sure if it's the best for a beginner.

https://www.chefknivestogo.com/kohawagy24.html

Thank you all in advance! This forum is fantastic!
taz575
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Re: First Japanese Knife

Post by taz575 »

Kohetsu blades are awesome first knives!! HAP 40 is a semi stainless steel with superb edge retention, but that makes it a little harder to sharpen than other knives, so I would suggest a Kohetsu AS or SLD since those steels are easier to sharpen, especially for someone new at sharpening!

https://www.chefknivestogo.com/rikoaosu24gy.html

This would be nice, too. It's SLD steel, so it's very similar to D2 and semi stainless (will discolor/react slower to foods than the White, Blue or Aogami Super steels)
https://www.chefknivestogo.com/kosldgy24.html

There are a ton of good stones out there to choose from!
This combo stone may be nice to learn on: https://www.chefknivestogo.com/ceraxcombo1k3k.html

My favorite 2 stones are the Bester 1200 and Suehiro Rika 5K. They have worked really well on every steel, including HAP40, R2, M390, S30V, Elmax, D2, white, blue, Aogami Super, AEB-L, etc.

Get this strop. Use the rougher side to strop the burr off and the smoother side to slightly polish the edge. I get wicked edges off the Rika 5K and rough side bare leather strop:
https://www.chefknivestogo.com/dosipast10.html
ColonelJLloyd
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Re: First Japanese Knife

Post by ColonelJLloyd »

I am professionally trained, though no longer in the industry, and have been cooking daily for nearly 30 years. It was only a few years years ago that I started using non-Western knives so I have much to learn about them, but I recently bought a Konosuke HD2 240 gyuto because I wanted to experience a "laser" and it's pretty awesome. I'd definitely recommend one if you find one in stock and can swing the price. From what I can tell it will likely retain its value if cared for should you decide it's not right for you. I have not yet sharpened the Konosuke, but I believe that while it's not as easy to sharpen as Shirogami carbon steels, it is also not considered difficult.

Along those lines, I would think that one of the Kohetsu AS 240 gyutos would be great choices if you are fine with caring for the carbon steel edge (I do not consider this a problem) as recommended above. Same for the HAP40 version, though I do not have experience sharpening HAP40.

FWIW, when I recently asked Mark for a recommendation on a laser he said he really likes these. I don't have experience with PS60.
https://www.chefknivestogo.com/kapsgy24cu1.html
Last edited by ColonelJLloyd on Thu Jan 13, 2022 2:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Tambo
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Re: First Japanese Knife

Post by Tambo »

Taz and Colonel,

Thanks for the quick responses.

Colonel, is the the knife you bought? https://www.chefknivestogo.com/kohd2cugy24.html

Price isn't really a concern. I'm more concerned with being a beginner sharpener and doing damage to the knife. However, I plan on practicing for quite awhile on my old set and friends (lol) before putting my skills to the test on such a beautiful knife.
ColonelJLloyd
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Re: First Japanese Knife

Post by ColonelJLloyd »

Tambo wrote: Thu Jan 13, 2022 1:32 pm Colonel, is the the knife you bought? https://www.chefknivestogo.com/kohd2cugy24.html

Price isn't really a concern. I'm more concerned with being a beginner sharpener and doing damage to the knife. However, I plan on practicing for quite awhile on my old set and friends (lol) before putting my skills to the test on such a beautiful knife.
Same blade, but I have the one with the ho wood (magnolia) handle and ebony ferrule. This is a "plainer" handle, but it is also lighter than the other woods, I believe, and my knife feels exceptionally balanced with the handle it has. I also have the Konosuke saya.

I think it is a very good idea to practice sharpening all the knives you can. I dipped my toes into non-Western knives with inexpensive carbon steel blades which are excellent for sharpening practice.
taz575
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Re: First Japanese Knife

Post by taz575 »

HD2 steel is very similar to the SLD in that both are semi stainless steels. They will still patina and can rust, but will do so slower and with less visible patina than other steels. The Kono is an awesome knife and is a mono steel blade, meaning it is one steel. The Kohetsu is a clad blade, so the core steel is the semi stainless and the outer panels of the blade are a softer full stainless steel.
JASinIL2006
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Re: First Japanese Knife

Post by JASinIL2006 »

I picked up a used 270 Konosuke HD2 and it is a phenomenal knife. Super thin, holds a wickedly sharp edge, and is very nicely finished. It's just a beautiful knife and it's a dream to use. The HD2s run a bit short, so the 240 is actually more like 235, which is a very comfortable size, IMO.
Radar53
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Re: First Japanese Knife

Post by Radar53 »

Hi there tambo and welcome to the forum.

After thinking about it for some time I recently got one of these (USD180), but with a custom handle & more expensive;

Kanehide PS60 Gyuto 240mm ~ https://www.chefknivestogo.com/kapsgy24cu1.html

It's monosteel and not clad ~ PS60 which is equivalent to AEB-L or 13C26. I have a few knives in AEB-L & 13C26 and they are great steels & both of which are well respected on the forum. I'm not that keen on the standard handle, but the Isiah Schroder custom is very cool. I've only got to play with it in the last couple of days, but the blade has really impressed me. Continuous curve tip to heel (with maybe a small flat spot at the heel) so good for rocking and good blade grinds. Mine balances right on the pinch grip, which makes it feel very nimble. First impressions are that it cuts way above it's price, with good food release given that it's a laser and it's blade grinds are also pretty good. The edge is say a 5 out of 10 on the Steve Gamache scale, so something to look forward to as your sharpening skills improve or use the CKtG sharpening service upon purchase. The latter will let you know just what's possible.

Let's know what you decide
Cheers Grant

Just because you're not paranoid doesn't mean they're not going to get you!!
Tambo
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Re: First Japanese Knife

Post by Tambo »

I think I've narrowed it down between these two. If I go with the Kohetsu, I was thinking of picking up a cleaver as well. Have always wanted to try one and have been watching some pretty amazing videos of how versatile they are. Luckily, I got permission to go a bit overboard as this is a "retirement" gift for myself...from myself! Again, thank you for all the help and guidance.

https://www.chefknivestogo.com/kohd2cugy24.html
https://www.chefknivestogo.com/rikoaosu24gy.html
ColonelJLloyd
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Re: First Japanese Knife

Post by ColonelJLloyd »

Doesn't seem like you could go wrong with either, truly. But, just so you are aware before you make a decision, that Kohetsu is also available in a slightly different blade profile, closer to an old school French chef's knife. I wanted to mention that since you wrote above you favor a rocking technique. https://www.chefknivestogo.com/koastogy24.html
jknife
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Re: First Japanese Knife

Post by jknife »

I have the toggata and as the colonel says it is a rocking machine. Oh and happy retirement! The grass is indeed greener on this side of the fence.
JASinIL2006
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Re: First Japanese Knife

Post by JASinIL2006 »

Tambo wrote: Thu Jan 13, 2022 5:54 pm I think I've narrowed it down between these two. If I go with the Kohetsu, I was thinking of picking up a cleaver as well. Have always wanted to try one and have been watching some pretty amazing videos of how versatile they are. Luckily, I got permission to go a bit overboard as this is a "retirement" gift for myself...from myself! Again, thank you for all the help and guidance.

https://www.chefknivestogo.com/kohd2cugy24.html
https://www.chefknivestogo.com/rikoaosu24gy.html
I bet either of those knives would make you very happy! And if you were looking for a Chinese cleaver, the CCK 1303 is always a popular choice if you want a thin blade (not for hacking apart animal carcasses and such).

https://www.chefknivestogo.com/cckcleaver2.html
jacko9
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Re: First Japanese Knife

Post by jacko9 »

I'm a bit late to respond but I do have experience with the HD2 as it was my first Japanese style blade and I used it for a year with only a strop to crisp the edge. I gave it to my son a year ago and it hasn't come back for sharpening yet. I bought my granddaughter a HD2 Petty for Christmas and she loves it.

I did buy my son a PS60 and I can say that it's not as impressive as the HD2. I've resharpened it for him after I loaned it to a gal from the gym to try out her first Japanese blade (she bought the Anryu for her first blade) since they were having their first baby and didn't want to put out too much money at the time.

I think you'll be very happy with the HD2 if you go that direction. Unless you were going to be a lot of heavy duty kitchen work I would buy a strop first and see if you can keep the edge for a while before you invest in other sharpening equipment.
Tambo
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Re: First Japanese Knife

Post by Tambo »

The toggata changes my options! However, I woke up thinking about the Kohetsu HAP40. That brings me to 4 choices. I'd like to get it down to 2 choices and do the knife technique of decisions which I read from another post from knife...

"When faced with a decision like this a wise person once told me to take a coin, heads HD2, tails Shimo. Flip the coin. At the moment you look at the coin are you happy with the outcome? If not pick the other. The exercise has a way of focusing the mind. Using this method I guarantee that you will love the knife you pick." -knife
jacko9
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Re: First Japanese Knife

Post by jacko9 »

Tambo wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2022 4:00 pm The toggata changes my options! However, I woke up thinking about the Kohetsu HAP40. That brings me to 4 choices. I'd like to get it down to 2 choices and do the knife technique of decisions which I read from another post from knife...

"When faced with a decision like this a wise person once told me to take a coin, heads HD2, tails Shimo. Flip the coin. At the moment you look at the coin are you happy with the outcome? If not pick the other. The exercise has a way of focusing the mind. Using this method I guarantee that you will love the knife you pick." -knife
Thats one way to do it or use my approach, just buy another knife you take a fancy to and now I have over 20 Japanese blades including some really tough to get excellent blades. My only problem is I don't cook enough!
Tambo
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Re: First Japanese Knife

Post by Tambo »

JASinIL2006 wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2022 11:23 am
Tambo wrote: Thu Jan 13, 2022 5:54 pm I think I've narrowed it down between these two. If I go with the Kohetsu, I was thinking of picking up a cleaver as well. Have always wanted to try one and have been watching some pretty amazing videos of how versatile they are. Luckily, I got permission to go a bit overboard as this is a "retirement" gift for myself...from myself! Again, thank you for all the help and guidance.

https://www.chefknivestogo.com/kohd2cugy24.html
https://www.chefknivestogo.com/rikoaosu24gy.html
I bet either of those knives would make you very happy! And if you were looking for a Chinese cleaver, the CCK 1303 is always a popular choice if you want a thin blade (not for hacking apart animal carcasses and such).

https://www.chefknivestogo.com/cckcleaver2.html
Was already looking at the CCK 1303! Also interested in the Stainless model. CCK KF1912. Has great reviews.
Tambo
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Re: First Japanese Knife

Post by Tambo »

jacko9 wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2022 3:47 pm I'm a bit late to respond but I do have experience with the HD2 as it was my first Japanese style blade and I used it for a year with only a strop to crisp the edge. I gave it to my son a year ago and it hasn't come back for sharpening yet. I bought my granddaughter a HD2 Petty for Christmas and she loves it.

I did buy my son a PS60 and I can say that it's not as impressive as the HD2. I've resharpened it for him after I loaned it to a gal from the gym to try out her first Japanese blade (she bought the Anryu for her first blade) since they were having their first baby and didn't want to put out too much money at the time.

I think you'll be very happy with the HD2 if you go that direction. Unless you were going to be a lot of heavy duty kitchen work I would buy a strop first and see if you can keep the edge for a while before you invest in other sharpening equipment.
If you gave your son the HD2, what are you using now?
JASinIL2006
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Re: First Japanese Knife

Post by JASinIL2006 »

Tambo wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2022 4:26 pm
JASinIL2006 wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2022 11:23 am
Tambo wrote: Thu Jan 13, 2022 5:54 pm I think I've narrowed it down between these two. If I go with the Kohetsu, I was thinking of picking up a cleaver as well. Have always wanted to try one and have been watching some pretty amazing videos of how versatile they are. Luckily, I got permission to go a bit overboard as this is a "retirement" gift for myself...from myself! Again, thank you for all the help and guidance.

https://www.chefknivestogo.com/kohd2cugy24.html
https://www.chefknivestogo.com/rikoaosu24gy.html
I bet either of those knives would make you very happy! And if you were looking for a Chinese cleaver, the CCK 1303 is always a popular choice if you want a thin blade (not for hacking apart animal carcasses and such).

https://www.chefknivestogo.com/cckcleaver2.html
Was already looking at the CCK 1303! Also interested in the Stainless model. CCK KF1912. Has great reviews.
I love my 1303, but I looked at the 1912, too. I like carbon for the ease of sharpening and I don’t mind the extra care needed for carbon. Whichever way you go, you’ll be in for a different cutting experience. I actually prefer my CCK cleaver over my nakiri.
Tambo
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Re: First Japanese Knife

Post by Tambo »

First off, Thank you all for the help and advice! I pulled the trigger finally. Came here looking for one knife and ended up with three! Why you ask? My oldest son is getting pretty handy in the kitchen (does quite a bit of the cooking) and I'm looking forward to him using these three different style of knives as he hones his skills as well. He is a senior and wants to get a computer engineering degree, but keeps bringing up culinary school! Can't get more opposite. Plus, learning how to sharpen together will be a blast. Below are the three I went with.

https://www.chefknivestogo.com/kohawagy ... 1641604148
https://www.chefknivestogo.com/kowh2na1 ... 1641604148
https://www.chefknivestogo.com/ccksmstc ... 1641604148
jacko9
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Re: First Japanese Knife

Post by jacko9 »

Tambo wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2022 4:29 pm
jacko9 wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2022 3:47 pm I'm a bit late to respond but I do have experience with the HD2 as it was my first Japanese style blade and I used it for a year with only a strop to crisp the edge. I gave it to my son a year ago and it hasn't come back for sharpening yet. I bought my granddaughter a HD2 Petty for Christmas and she loves it.

I did buy my son a PS60 and I can say that it's not as impressive as the HD2. I've resharpened it for him after I loaned it to a gal from the gym to try out her first Japanese blade (she bought the Anryu for her first blade) since they were having their first baby and didn't want to put out too much money at the time.

I think you'll be very happy with the HD2 if you go that direction. Unless you were going to be a lot of heavy duty kitchen work I would buy a strop first and see if you can keep the edge for a while before you invest in other sharpening equipment.
If you gave your son the HD2, what are you using now?
I have Four Konosuke Fujiyama's, a Shigefusa, Toyama, Watanabe, two T-F's and a Konosuke Kaiju and two Kato's. The HD2 wasn't getting much use in my kitchen.
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