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Old 11-13-2011, 07:44 AM   #1
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Henckels miyabi for a lefty?

Hi,
I want to buy a set of heckels miyabi 7000 MC knives, can anyone tell me if the d-shaped handel is problomatic for lefties?
I would also appreciate general opinions on the line (if you have a negative opinion please reccomend a replacement in a similar price range).
Also, is the Wusthof Ikon classic in the same league as miyabi?
Thanks,
Mark

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Old 11-13-2011, 11:01 PM   #2
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You'd just have to try one and see. Is there any way you can arrange to try a left handed Shun Classic? The 'D' handles of both are very similar. It certainly would be different, and not designed to be held that way.

As for the Wusthof Ikon, no- it's not in the same galaxy as the Miyabi. Although it's does have very good ergonomics.

First off, what draws you to the Miyabi? Is it the technology or the shape/Japanese pattern? Certainly it uses very good steel, although I know nothing about the quality of the heat treatment. Certainly it's hardened to a very high RC but that's just one spec, and not necessarily all that important in and of itself. The talk is that MC66 is another word for ZDP; it this is true they're using a very high end steel. It would be unusual to see ZDP in such an inexpensive knife.

If you're drawn to the shape there are hundreds of true Wa handled Japanese knives out there.

Give us some details and we can probably advise you better. I could rattle off a list of knives I'd rather have but what I like and what you like may be very different.
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Old 11-14-2011, 03:52 PM   #3
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Hey,
Thanks for the quick responses.

First off i'll point out that I have zero experience with proffesional knives, i just enjoy cooking and decided to invest in a set. my knowledge is based solely on research i did on the net over the past week.

What attracts me to miyabi is the jappanese style, the material and the price.
I like the jappanese style because to my understanding they are sharpened to a 12-16 degree angle making them sharper, put that together with a steel tough enough to hold that edge and it seems to have a clear advantage over german knives with wider angles.

The reason i am leaning toward the miyabi is because it seems to fit that description at the best price.

As for the handle, unfortunately i can't try out any knives because there is no store in my area selling them... In any case assuming im not too picky, do you think the D-shaped handle (although to me it seems somewhat oval) will really be uncomfortable (i have relatively large hands do you think that may help deal with the shape?)?

Thanks,
Mark
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Old 11-14-2011, 07:49 PM   #4
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Your fingers are meant to wrap around the "D", using it with the "wrong" hang isn't impossible but it's not ideal. I haven't used those new Miyabis so I don't know how the handle will be.

But I will say that they're a knife made in Japan for the West, and basically just branded for Henckels. If you simply like a Wa-styled handle and don't need it to actually be Japanese there some other options. I'm a big fan of The Richmond Addict. It's patterned on the Japanese style, it's thin and the steel is good. The nice thing is that the octagonal handle is ambidextrous.

Of course, the good news is there are hundreds of real Japanese knives out there! That link to CKtG is a good one, check out the selection of J-knives they have. I don't think there's a better selection available anywhere. Great service, too.

There are a lot of things to consider when selecting a knife. As a professional chef I know very well what I want in a knife. For example, I like a very flat profile with very little belly. You could call that a Japanese or French shape. German chef knives have more curve to the blade, and this is more ideally suited to "rock chopping" where you do your work with the heel of the knife. Most home cooks tend to prefer the latter shape but that's almost completely due to the the fact that it's what they've seen the most. You can easily adjust your style.

Another thing to consider is what type of cutting surface you'll be working on. Those thin, hard edges on J-knives are more prone to chipping than a German knife is. So if you want a Japanese knife you really should get a proper end grain wooden board.

FWIW every knife I own is Japanese. They're not really any more difficult to work with, just a little different.
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Old 11-14-2011, 07:59 PM   #5
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OP, have you thought of Shun knives at all? The price can be daunting, BUT, there are lots to be had via ebay and discount online kitchen places.
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Old 11-14-2011, 08:03 PM   #6
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Some of my favorites, FWIW.

Kikuichi TKC - Very good steel. Good profile. Takes a wicked edge. Nearly stainless.

Tojiro DP - Great steel & build quality for the price (it's VG-10, same as a Shun but cheaper). Very sharp OOtB. Handles a little blocky but they're a great value.

Moritaka - Superior steel. Very thin & light. Incredibly sharp. These aren't stainless, though.

Kagayaki CarboNext - This is essentially the same knife as the Kikuichi but branded differently. I keep several of these in my knife case for work. Great edge retention.

Akifusa - This is an incredible knife, one of my all-time favorites. It's laminated with a core of powdered steel @ 64 RC. Great profile, insane edge retention.
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Old 11-14-2011, 08:32 PM   #7
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I would second Rob's suggestion of Tojiro DP and CKTG. I ordered 4 DP's from them on a Saturday afternoon and received confirmation that same day. The DP has good fit and finish, and the steel is good. You don't get the blade pattern with the DP, but if it is important to you, the Damascus version is a few bucks more. No difference in cutting quality, just looks.
If I were you and I was buying blind, I would purchase only 1 or 2 knives. Especially since you have a new Henkels set, and being left handed. There may not be a need for a complete set. I find a Nakiri to be a very useful knife, and they are not generally available in sets. A Gyoto, Hakiri, and a Petty would suffice for 90% of the kitchen chores

I am also left handed, and the Tojiro works just fine.
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Old 11-16-2011, 04:44 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Babcock View Post
Some of my favorites, FWIW.

Kikuichi TKC - Very good steel. Good profile. Takes a wicked edge. Nearly stainless.

Tojiro DP - Great steel & build quality for the price (it's VG-10, same as a Shun but cheaper). Very sharp OOtB. Handles a little blocky but they're a great value.

Moritaka - Superior steel. Very thin & light. Incredibly sharp. These aren't stainless, though.

Kagayaki CarboNext - This is essentially the same knife as the Kikuichi but branded differently. I keep several of these in my knife case for work. Great edge retention.

Akifusa - This is an incredible knife, one of my all-time favorites. It's laminated with a core of powdered steel @ 64 RC. Great profile, insane edge retention.
Unfortunately i lack the experience and knowledge to really figure out which of the knives you reccomended is best and i'm getting lost in the vast amount of brands i am seeing.

My budget is $650-$730 and i want the following knives: chefs 9"-11" (can i count on it to double as a slicer for roast?), santoku 7", utility 5"-6" a paring knife 3"-4.5" and a block to hold them.

would you be able to pick out for me the knives i listed above (not nessesarily all from the same company) giving the the chefs knife the largest share of the budget and then the santoku, utility and paring knife in that order?

My main concern is edge retention and material durability, the knives will be for home use only and i want them to last a good 20 years assuming i take care of them.
Also, i like the style of the knives you linked and i like picking up new techniques so the knives should be japanese style.

I really appreciate the help you are giving me.
Thanks,
Mark
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Old 11-16-2011, 08:39 AM   #9
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Based on your budget and desires, here's what I would do. I would purchase a Nakiri, which I find more useful than a Santoku, A Gyuto of whichever size you would think you prefer. If you already have a Henkels set, you should have some idea whether a larger or smaller chef.s knife would suit you better. A petty. I prefer a small one. My personal preference is the DP as the best bang for the buck. Any of the knives Rob recommends would serve you well for years. Those 3 will perform 99% of the tasks in the kitchen. Get some storage device, a block, magnetic device, or something else, With a block, I would get one with as many wide slots as possible.

If you are left handed, by all means get unbiased or left handed knives.

Save the rest of your budget for the wants or sharpening equipment.

Assuming DP, you are out around $200 @ CKTG. More for other brands. You have what you need in the home kitchen, and the wants can build from there.
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Old 11-16-2011, 09:00 AM   #10
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Something to think about...The Chefs knife and the Santoku perform much of the same tasks. Same as the utility and paring. Why is it you want all 4? You could most likely just get a chefs and paring and save a few bucks without really losing any functionality.
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Old 11-16-2011, 09:13 AM   #11
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Something to think about...The Chefs knife and the Santoku perform much of the same tasks. Same as the utility and paring. Why is it you want all 4? You could most likely just get a chefs and paring and save a few bucks without really losing any functionality.
I agree. I use the Chef's most often, and a good vegetable peeler second. I prefer the Nakiri over the Santuko, which leads a lonely existence in my knife block. Seldom use even a paring (petty) knife.
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Old 11-16-2011, 04:09 PM   #12
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OK, im convinced.
so what i need is a chefs knife (9.5"-11") a paring knife (prefferably 5"-6") and a block (or sheaths) and my budget per knife goes up.
Rob, you seem to know quite a few varieties of knives and i like the style you showed me before. What chefs knife and paring knife would you get for that budget (say a budget of 500+- including the block)?
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Old 11-17-2011, 07:11 AM   #13
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Sorry, just finished up a big research paper; I've been overwhelmed between finish that d@mn thing and rolling out a new menu at work. I'll try to answer you after class this evening.
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Old 11-18-2011, 01:44 AM   #14
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OK, im convinced.
so what i need is a chefs knife (9.5"-11") a paring knife (prefferably 5"-6") and a block (or sheaths) and my budget per knife goes up.
Rob, you seem to know quite a few varieties of knives and i like the style you showed me before. What chefs knife and paring knife would you get for that budget (say a budget of 500+- including the block)?

I don't mean to quibble over your wording but what I would buy for $500 probably isn't relevant to what you should get. If I had $500 I'd get get a gyuto for $497 and a $3 paring knife. I'm actually not really kidding! I have a $600 gyuto on the way to me right now.

Okay, what should you get? You're not a culinary pro so there's probably no point to going extreme. For instance, although your budget allows for a Shirogamo or Super Aogami knife, you probably won't want to mess with high carbon (especially White). The fact that you're looking at knife like the Miyabi shows that you can appreciate the superiority of a thinner, more advanced knife. On the other hand, you also seem to be attracted equally to the "exotic" looks.

I'd suggest you get a knife made of VG-10 at the least, maybe something better. I would rule out the CarboNext if appearance is important to you as it's rather plain.

One gyuto you'd almost certainly love is the Hattori Forum Knife. It's VG-10 which is fairly pedestrian but Hattori-san's heat treat is superb. The fit and finish of this knife are spectacular- it leaves little to be desired. The profile is great and it's got the most comfortable handle I've ever used on a kitchen knife.

Here it is in Linen Micarta:



If you go that route you could get the matching paring knife and you'd be well set and far enough under budget to buy a block. Can't make many suggestions there as I don't like using blocks for knife storage.

With a budget of $500 for both, you might also want to look at the Konosuke HD 270 mm gyuto. It's a beautiful and and performance wise can hang with almost anything at any price. It's very, very thin, and the steel used is fine grained and capable of taking a breathtaking edge. It will be a smidge more delicate than the Hattori but not greatly so. Aside from the high end performance, this has two things going for it that you'll appreciate; it's a stunner to look at and the octagonal handle is as good for a lefty as a righty.

A pic of this bad boy:




I can't think of any reason not to buy the Akifusa, either, if you like the looks. If you have very large hands it isn't ideal if you use a "hammer grip" but in a pinch grip it's fine. The blade isn't very tall and it's much flatter than your average gyuto. To me it's close to perfect.

Also, the Richmond Addict I linked about should be on your list. It has many virtues and very few shortcomings. The only reason I sold mine is that CKtG is soon releasing a version in 52100, a very fine grained high carbon "uber steel". This carbon version would almost certainly not be a good choice for you but I'm giddy at the thought! At any rate, the Addict combines good looks and stellar performance, and it another knife that will be very lefty-friendly.

Let me add that I thoroughly agree that there's no need for the santoku. A petty/utility knife is handy, but not mandatory. Unless you simply want to spend more there's not much point to getting any paring knife more expensive than the Shun. Even Shun haters will grudgingly admit it's about as good as it gets.

But I would think very hard about adding a bread knife to the list. A good serrated, while not strictly necessary, is nice to have if you eat a lot of crusty artisan-type breads. There's nothing I'm aware of better for the money than the Tojiro and it's cheap enough that there's no reason not to pick one up.

Any of these would satisfy me and will do the bulk of your kitchen tasks. But part of me wants to tell you this is a bit like me picking out shoes or a mountain bike for you. Fit and personal preferences are at least as important as quality. The knives I listed have the virtue of working well for a wide range of users (eg different sized hands and varying technique) but it's still difficult to predict what someone will like.
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Old 11-21-2011, 04:09 PM   #15
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Thanks for your reply!
So i'm going to go for the Konosuke HD the tojiro and a shun.

I read a few reviews on the Konosuke HD and some people mentioned that knife is not sharpened to its full potential out of the box, should i send it for professional sharpening when i get it or can i sharpen it myself (or should i just use the factory edge)?

regardless, what sharpening paraphernalia should i get and where can i learn how to use them without ruining my knife?
PS.enjoy your new knife
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Old 11-21-2011, 08:58 PM   #16
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The Konosuke is pretty sharp OOtB but can be made sharper. I think you'll probably be happy with it as is. But ask Mark @ CKtG- he might be able to have it sharpened before shipping. He has several guys that do sharpening for him (disclosure: I'm one of them).

Presumably your paring knife will be the Shun? If so I think that's an excellent choice. Which Tojiro are you getting?

If it's the bread knife you're probably listening to me too much! Seriously though it's a terrific bread knife. I don't use mine a lot but we just switched breads at work; we were using a soft hoagie roll for our prime rib French dips but now we're getting a very crusty batard from a local baker. Definitely a job for the bread knife instead of the gyuto.

BTW, I just got my new knife today- a Nubatama! It cost more than my next two most expensive knives combined but all I can is WOW!
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Old 11-21-2011, 09:00 PM   #17
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BTW, some extra comments on the Tojiro bread knife; in the past I've owned two Shun bread knives (including a Shun Elite that cost $200). I'd say the Tojiro is superior to both.
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Old 11-21-2011, 09:05 PM   #18
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As for sharpening, google Edge Pro Apex.
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Old 11-21-2011, 11:12 PM   #19
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If you listen to Rob too much you will end up spending a fortune.. he is good at spending other people's money (well, he certainly was helpful in spending mine).
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Old 11-21-2011, 11:42 PM   #20
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As for sharpening, google Edge Pro Apex.
Absolutely, that's the way to go. Not cheap but well worth it. It will get all your kitchen knives sharper than they were new with minimal effort.
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