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Old 01-04-2016, 03:32 PM   #1
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German vs Japanese Knives

Not wanting to start a war, just wondering what you all think of these two style knives?

I'll start by saying I much prefer the German style, I like the heft and weight better than the lighter Japanese knives. I realize that the Japanese use harder steel which holds an edge better but that has never really been an issue for me.

Appreciate all input.

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Old 01-04-2016, 03:36 PM   #2
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I'm partial to German style as well because that's what I'm used to. My uninformed general impression of J knives is That they require more care to keep them in good shape.
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Old 01-04-2016, 04:03 PM   #3
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I'm partial to German style as well because that's what I'm used to. My uninformed general impression of J knives is That they require more care to keep them in good shape.
They do tend to chip easier because they are very hard. Personally I don't mind a little maintenance keeping them shape for what I get in return.
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Old 01-07-2016, 03:41 AM   #4
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I roll all Japanese, all day every day.
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Old 01-07-2016, 07:01 AM   #5
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Although I used German style knives for many years, I now prefer the Japanese style blades. They're so extremely sharp I find them to be completely effortless to use. And I've had no more problem with chipping or maintenance than I've had with any other knife.
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Old 01-07-2016, 08:30 AM   #6
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I roll all Japanese, all day every day.
I agree. I have both in my blocks. Japanese cut effortlessly with little pressure needed. Stay sharp longer. No so German steel knives.
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Old 01-07-2016, 04:22 PM   #7
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For everyday use I would go with the German style knife's. Japanese knife's have a different degree of angle and some only have one edge. Also they are left and right handed!

Here is a photo of the honed edge>



And a pic of the back edge.

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Old 01-12-2017, 05:28 AM   #8
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I'm on the fence on this one. Absolutely love my Japanese blades, I send them to a knifemaker for sharpening and can cut tomatoes paper thin.
Once I got used to a single sided edge my cutting became incredibly accurate.
I at one point used my Yanagiba for majority of my cutting.
That said, I love my Wustoff Classic Carving Knife, Victorinox Pairing Knife and vintage Solingen Butchers knife.
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Old 01-12-2017, 12:11 PM   #9
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Any good quality, properly sharpened knife will cut tomatoes paper thin. My Wusthof Classic 10" chef does, and even the Chicago Cutlery 8" chef that I got from my mom's kitchen after she passed does.

I've never owned a Japanese knife, but I can't really see that I would benefit from it. I have nothing against them, but for what I do I like my German style knives.
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Old 01-12-2017, 11:06 PM   #10
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I've never had a Japanese knife; only German and old American. I find I have to steel and sharpen them often in order to get the results I see other people have. Well, as far as effortless cutting goes, which translates to sharpness.

I've been meaning to ask a knife maker friend/celebrity who uses old American steel and Japanese techniques to make me a good chef's knife. It's all about the shape, though. I like a lot of weight in the tip, and a lot rock in the shape of the blade. In other words, I hate santokus.
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Old 01-13-2017, 12:28 AM   #11
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I have both (and America) and I never thought I'd say this but I prefer Japanese now. Lighter and sharper...
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Old 01-13-2017, 12:40 AM   #12
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I have both (and America) and I never thought I'd say this but I prefer Japanese now. Lighter and sharper...
Yepper. Same here.

I send my Japanese knives out once a year to be sharpened, and they stay sharp with very little maintenance. Just a quick honing every couple times I use it.
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Old 02-14-2017, 01:58 PM   #13
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This is an interesting discussion. Nice to see everyone sharing their thoughts! For all of you guys and gals who own western (German) knives, I am interested to know what angle you sharpen them at? I've seen some guys go all the way down to 15 degrees. Do you guys stick to the 20 or no?
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Old 02-14-2017, 02:09 PM   #14
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I have Henckels Pro S knives and sharpen them to 17% because that's the sharpest angle my sharpener guide offers.
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Old 02-14-2017, 06:37 PM   #15
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I have Henckels Pro S knives and sharpen them to 17% because that's the sharpest angle my sharpener guide offers.
Cool stuff. What's the factory edge on those? Assuming a 20 degree edge, correct?
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Old 02-14-2017, 09:15 PM   #16
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Cool stuff. What's the factory edge on those? Assuming a 20 degree edge, correct?
I believe that's correct. It's been a long time.
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Old 03-11-2017, 10:35 AM   #17
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I had a wusthof knife for 3 weeks in a professional kitchen before I switched to Japanese. The Japanese is a better firmer steel, which gives me longer edge retention. I always order them sharpened and stay to the bevel that it came with. One I keep at a 50/50 the other a 70/30
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Old 03-11-2017, 10:57 AM   #18
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I have stayed with Henkel Pro S. I looked into Japanese knives but due to the way the edges are ground, I would need to special order left handed ones. Yes, I am left handed. I was told to get left handed knives by a local knife store. Not sure if that is true??
My Pro S knives are 25 years old, look almost new, hold a good edge so my plan is to stay with them.
Question to Andy M: When you reground you knives to 17 degrees, did you notice a significant difference in performance?
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Old 03-11-2017, 12:03 PM   #19
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I have stayed with Henkel Pro S. I looked into Japanese knives but due to the way the edges are ground, I would need to special order left handed ones. Yes, I am left handed. I was told to get left handed knives by a local knife store. Not sure if that is true??
My Pro S knives are 25 years old, look almost new, hold a good edge so my plan is to stay with them.
Question to Andy M: When you reground you knives to 17 degrees, did you notice a significant difference in performance?
I wouldn't say significant. I did notice a difference. Once it's done, all you have to do is keep it sharp at the new angle.
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Old 03-11-2017, 12:11 PM   #20
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When it comes right down to it, all that really matters is that the knife holds an edge and is comfortable to use. As long as those requirements are met, it doesn't matter if it was made in Japan, Germany, or Timbuktu. Brand doesn't matter either, it's the steel it's made from that differentiates a good knife from a poor one.

Dexter Russell knives are used in a lot of restaurant kitchens for the reason that they make a decent product for a very good price. I have a good friend who has owned and operated a restaurant in the Bahamas for 25 years, and he uses nothing but DR. He uses an old steel cooking spoon for a honing steel. He spends a fair part of each working day making conch salad, and he has enviable knife skills - I would love to be half as good as he is. He makes the salad on a cutting board behind the bar, and watching him work is part of the fun and entertainment of sitting at the bar.
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