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Old 12-16-2010, 05:12 AM   #1
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For all you J-knife aficionados

Hi all, brand new member here although I admit I've been rather voyeuristic and been reading the forum a plenty without joining but have succumbed.

I have a dilemma, currently have an 8" Global cooks knife, which is ok. I don't mind it but I don't find it the most comfortable or sharpest knife, which is an opinion I've seen on here a lot.

I'm looking at upgrading, I prefer the Japanese style blade but reading plenty on here and consequently discovering CKtG my eyes have been opened, well and truly.

What I'm after is a bit off clarification, I have no chance of trying before I buy any of the options but the Takeda, Kikuichi and Yoshikane gyutos seem to get high praise and I'm just looking to do some whittling down before a purchase, so opinions please.

Also the 240mm seems to be the most popular choice, any particular reason why over the 210mm?

By the way, enthusiastic home cook here, strictly amateur always striving to serve my mrs michelin starred food

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Old 12-16-2010, 06:58 AM   #2
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Sheffield? I have a few prewar that are quite serviceable.
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Old 12-16-2010, 07:08 AM   #3
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Near Sheffield, if you're making reference to my location.

I work in nearby Rotherham but live in Huddersfield if you know your Yorkshire. We have some good cook shops but as far as j-knives go its purely Global with the passing chance of a classic Shun.

What options do you have?
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Old 12-16-2010, 07:19 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fadetograham View Post
Hi all, brand new member here although I admit I've been rather voyeuristic and been reading the forum a plenty without joining but have succumbed.
Another one has fallen into our web! Welcome to DC! There's a lot of great info here and some very nice folks. I think you'll like it here.


Quote:
Originally Posted by fadetograham View Post
I have a dilemma, currently have an 8" Global cooks knife, which is ok. I don't mind it but I don't find it the most comfortable or sharpest knife, which is an opinion I've seen on here a lot.
I'm none to fond of Globals but they're not terrible. They're not the easiest to sharpen and the handles leave me cold. I think you can definitely do better but no need to get rid of them completely.


Quote:
Originally Posted by fadetograham View Post
I'm looking at upgrading, I prefer the Japanese style blade but reading plenty on here and consequently discovering CKtG my eyes have been opened, well and truly.
They do have one of the nicest candy stores on the web! You may want to give them a call- Mark, the owner, is a very knowledgeable and friendly guy and can give you some advice.


Quote:
Originally Posted by fadetograham View Post
What I'm after is a bit off clarification, I have no chance of trying before I buy any of the options but the Takeda, Kikuichi and Yoshikane gyutos seem to get high praise and I'm just looking to do some whittling down before a purchase, so opinions please.
I've never used a Takeda but lots of guys I know love them. I think the ones you've seen are Kurouchi finished knives; that's a fairly rustic style that's made by laminating iron over carbon steel and applying a type of "lacquer" over it. They use Aogami Super steel for the hagane. This steel takes a superb edge but will rust if exposed to acidic materials or left wet for very long. All in all they're considered to be superb knives with great geometry- very nice & thin behind the edge.

Kikuichi has many lines. Some are carbon, some are stainless and some are tool steel. Which ones are you considering? I very much like the TKC line. It's a tool steel knife that's not stainless but pretty resistant to rust nonetheless.

The Yoshikanes can be had in tool steel or AS, and probably other steels. Which do you have in mind? I don't think CKtG carries Yoshikane, but TheBestThings and Epicurean Edge do, among others.


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Also the 240mm seems to be the most popular choice, any particular reason why over the 210mm?
I like the 240 because it's enough longer to go thru things that you can't cut in one stroke with a 210 but not so long as to be unwieldy. A typical J-knife is enough lighter than its European counterpart, the chef's knife, to allow most people to comfortably go up one size above the one they normally use with said Euro blade. A larger knife also does more work per stroke than a shorter one. Still, if you're more comfortable with a smaller one the 210 has many fans as well.
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Old 12-16-2010, 09:35 AM   #5
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Thanks for the welcome, I'm sure I am amongst good company in finding what is ostensibly humble kitchen cutley strangely desirable!

I would keep my Global for lesser tasks if I were to upgrade, just looking for a higher performance model with more comfy seats if you catch my drift.

I'll look up international calling costs and will consider the call to CKtG

The Takeda I've been looking at is the one you mention, what are we talking about in the acidic department, not cutting lemons/oranges/apples(?) or just make sure to wipe after use?

Another of your posts that I found gave a run down of a few options you considered to be better than a Shun, which put me onto the TKC line, since then my eye has wandered to the elite gold, to quote Bowie she is a "pretty thing".

For the Yoshikane, what are the different steels and how do they differ?

Your comment on the 240mm is food for thought (sorry, unintentional) just wish I had access to one to have play with but probably might give it ago.
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Old 12-16-2010, 07:10 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fadetograham View Post
I'll look up international calling costs and will consider the call to CKtG
Whoops, missed that you're in the UK. You can also e-mail him, or maybe use Skype?


Quote:
Originally Posted by fadetograham View Post
The Takeda I've been looking at is the one you mention, what are we talking about in the acidic department, not cutting lemons/oranges/apples(?) or just make sure to wipe after use?
Mostly be sure to wipe the blade after. The key is to allow the knife to form a patina; that's a thin, lightly oxidized layer that will prevent actual red rust from forming. Sometimes you'll end up with your shallots or onions turning a tad grey after cutting them with a carbon knife but for the most part you shouldn't have any troubles if you keep it wiped down.


Quote:
Originally Posted by fadetograham View Post
Another of your posts that I found gave a run down of a few options you considered to be better than a Shun, which put me onto the TKC line, since then my eye has wandered to the elite gold, to quote Bowie she is a "pretty thing".
If by Kikuichi Elite you mean these then they're also carbon. Or do you mean the Elite Gold? Those are VG-10, a good steel that's stainless, but I think the Elite Gold, while very beautiful, are a bit overpriced. Of course, that's just my subjective opinion. There are other knives that look nearly identical for much less money. Heck, those other knives my even be identical- it's not uncommon for one company to OEM for several others. For instance, a Hattori HD is made by Ryusen and "finished" by Hattori San. If you ever notice there are many identical looking knives with different names, often it's because they're the same knife with different branding. Think of GM, Chevy & Pontiac (if you have those brands in the UK).


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Originally Posted by fadetograham View Post
For the Yoshikane, what are the different steels and how do they differ?
Yoshikane uses carbon steel for some lines and a high speed tool steel called SKD for others. SKD is very abrasion resistant and tends to be a little trick to deburr when sharpened. It's probably not a beginners steel. I don't have a Yoshikane but a couple of good friends of mine do. They tell me the Yoshikanes, while beautiful, are a tad on the thick side. All in all they're good knives but perhaps not the best for you unless you're adept at sharpening. One note- if you prefer a Western style handle you can get one at Epicurean Edge. Edge retention of either version is reportedly superb. Once you get it sharp it won't need resharpening any time soon.


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Originally Posted by fadetograham View Post
Your comment on the 240mm is food for thought (sorry, unintentional) just wish I had access to one to have play with but probably might give it ago.
I don't think you'd be disappointed. There might be some local shops where you could compare the two sizes. I'll have to poke around online and see if there are any shops carrying a good selection of Japanese knives in your areas.

One thing I should also point out- JapaneseChefKnife.com has a great selection of knives too, and shipping to Europe is only about $10, maybe a bit less IIRC. Koki is a great guy, very knowledgeable and friendly. He can also offer some good advice. His English is pretty decent but not 100%...but probably better than our Japanese!

Here are a couple especially nice ones:

Ryusen Tsuchime Damascus Gyuto 240mm Winter Special Edition




Kagayaki VG-10 Gyuto.




Kagayaki CarboNext Gyuto.

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Old 12-17-2010, 08:34 AM   #7
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Well thats good news about the Takeda, but thankfully feel the list has been whittled down somewhat with the elite gold falling by the way side (don't want to be buying anything over priced!) and the Yoshikane (I'm too much of an amateur sharpener although the edge pro apex looks like my kind of whetstone system and a future purchase).

I had encountered JCK through my early forays through this forum but knew none of the names at the time. Since I've got more familiar with them through DC and finding they only charge $7 for shipping to europe I'll be on it more!

The Ryusen you posted looks a treat and at that price for the 240mm I think if its still there when I get back from Paris in the New Year, funds permitting it will be on its way to my kitchen! Based on what you mention about Hattori's being Ryusens that they finish off, the price difference is quite something!
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Old 12-19-2010, 09:57 PM   #8
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I'd have to classify myself as a "former" knife freak. I still maintain a healthy interest in them, but now try to steer folks to what feels best in their hands, and what their style is.

I hunt and fish, and am an expert at cutting and wrapping my own meat and fish. After over 40 years of hunting, and +50 deer, +50 black bear (they make great stewmeat and hamburger!), the occasional moose, antelope and elk, plus truckloads of rabbit and grouse, I had better know the score on this!

I gave up goofy looking knives in the outdoors a long time ago, carry a 6" straight blade and 14" meatsaw for field dressing, and use Old Hickory butcher and skinners when prepping.

Likewise, in the kitchen, I've had Wustofs, Globals, Kai, you name it I've had it and still have drawers of them want one? I've tried every shape and form, santokus, cheeseknives, oh my. Not now or ever again.

For the past 7 years I've used a 10" Vintage **** Sabatier, a 3 1/2" Wustof paring knife, and a pair of Sanelli filleting knives for everything. Why? They fit in my hands, allow me to do whatever is necessary, and if I need anything else, I have it. I like the French style chef knife. I have excellent knife skills and these are incredibly agile knives. But maybe you won't like Sabs. (I don't, incidentally, like the French paring knives - that's why I use a Wusthof.)

Don't go with what we say, or what the TV guys or girls use. Buy what fits in your hand and get on with the cooking. And once you are underway, don't be afraid of trying out new territory.
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Old 12-19-2010, 10:15 PM   #9
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The only real downside to the Sabs is the full bolster- I simply loath bolsters and I'll never purchase another knife that has them as long as I live.
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Old 12-19-2010, 10:45 PM   #10
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And I dislike Santoku's with the same passion. But that's what makes a horserace, eh?

My knife skills are very traditional (my mother was a chef) and the bolster is right for me and my grip. Which, I guess, along with your reply, emphasizes my point of individual fit.
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