Skip to main content

The only thing I use my Japanese knives for is making Japanese food and even then, it's really just relegated to sashimi and if I'm feeling ambitious, nigiri sushi, and that's pretty much the only thing I slice with my yanagibas.

Chinese, Korean and Southeast Asian, I just use my Dexter cleaver.

Everything else is my Henckels set.

To be honest for home cooking, most Japanese blades except for gyutos and pettys are just too specialized. Nobody wants to sharpen and maintain 15+ carbon steel or high carbon stainless knives except for the most obsessed. I use my yanagibas and deba maybe 2-4 times a month. But for junkies like me, I like being a part of the tradition, history and artistry that goes into the forging of each knife and at the end of the day, the emotional satisfaction is probably greater than the utility.

With the exception of cutting fish. I've never seen a Western knife cut as smoothly, precisely, and efficiently as a takobiki or yanagiba. Even Japanese-forged knives like the Nenox S2 line but in a Western shape. The stiff spine, long length, hardened edge (62-67 RC), thin profile, and steep chisel angle makes cutting anything from soft and delicate fish like fluke to very meaty and high connective tissue fish like monkfish a breeze.

So this is anecdotal, but I did a blind taste test with 3 friends and cut 6 pieces of very fresh tuna for each. 3 pieces with my yanagiba, 3 pieces with my Henckels Pro S slicer.

Two of my friends were perfect on determining with pieces were cut by which knife and one mixed up to 2 pieces. They said that the one cut with the Henckels tasted fishier. The way I heard it explained to me was that the sharper the knife, the less it'll crush and pulverize cell walls as it slices through and the fluids and cell lysate is what contributes to the fishy flavors once it is exposed to air and starts oxidizing.

At a macro level, this is definitely true cutting fish with a dull serrated knife vs a very sharp knife. Anyways, just an anecdotal experience.
quote:
Originally posted by g-man:
most importnatly i think it needs proper heft, some of the fancy knives i've seen just arent heavy enuf


A lot of the bigger Japanese-style knives are not sold in the US commonly because you actually need to know how to use one. I hefted a sobakiri that weighed 3 kilos.

24cm debas are a chunky 1.5 kilos. They're good for popping off tuna heads from the spine.
quote:
Originally posted by Danyull:

Two of my friends were perfect on determining with pieces were cut by which knife and one mixed up to 2 pieces. They said that the one cut with the Henckels tasted fishier. The way I heard it explained to me was that the sharper the knife, the less it'll crush and pulverize cell walls as it slices through and the fluids and cell lysate is what contributes to the fishy flavors once it is exposed to air and starts oxidizing.


Something similar is also true of onions and herbs. Slicing, rather than crushing, will produce cleaner, more defined flavors. The profile, sharpness and angle of the blade all affect how it passes through food - sharpness most of all. As does the stroke you use whilst cutting or chopping. A relatively easy and inexpensive experiment you can try this on is guacamole.
Well, you know at this point, I've tried a lot of knives, bought some (very) expensive Japanese stuff... 9 times out of 10, I grab the ever-so-boring Wusthof Classic 8" chef's knife. (Had I known a few years ago...) The only other knife I love is the very similar feeling Messermeister Meridian Elite 8" chef's knife, but I like the weighting and blade shape on the Wusthof even more and despite the bolster issue GregT brings up, I find the blades on the Wusthofs more durable and that they hold their edge longer. My 8" Shun Ken Onion (discontinued) has a great handle for certain jobs, but the Shun blades I have found to be brittle. I've tried to love real Gyutos, I just cannot get around their weighting.
I keep thinking of this thread whenever I pull out my ceramic knives. They remain razor sharp. There is no knife I've ever used that is easier to cut with. They're as sharp as surgical diamond knives (trust me on that one), although probably not as durable. The nice thing is that when they die I'll get another set for $25. While the weight of steel feels better the sharpness of these knives is not to be underestimated. No doubt there's less cachet than a good steel knife, but I'm very impressed going on 3 months with them.
I'm looking to replace my knives lost in the divorce ASAP, possibly even today. Been playing around with knives locally at both Williams Sonoma and Sur La Table just so I can get my hands in them, and see how they feel compared to the Global Classic set that I had once upon a time. So far, based on use, I have narrowed them down to:

Miyabi Artisan
Shun Fuji
Global Sai

Unfortunately, a lot of the knives discussed are hard to find locally. Boo! Regardless, looking forward to having some good knives again. A chef friend has loaned me a great set of knives, but they just aren't of the caliber of what I am used to using. We'll see what I end up getting, but need to do it soon. One of the last things left to replace in my kitchen.....along with the Kitchen Aid mixer! Cheers! -mJ
quote:
Originally posted by mark jahnke:
I'm looking to replace my knives lost in the divorce ASAP, possibly even today. Been playing around with knives locally at both Williams Sonoma and Sur La Table just so I can get my hands in them, and see how they feel compared to the Global Classic set that I had once upon a time. So far, based on use, I have narrowed them down to:

Miyabi Artisan
Shun Fuji
Global Sai

Unfortunately, a lot of the knives discussed are hard to find locally. Boo! Regardless, looking forward to having some good knives again. A chef friend has loaned me a great set of knives, but they just aren't of the caliber of what I am used to using. We'll see what I end up getting, but need to do it soon. One of the last things left to replace in my kitchen.....along with the Kitchen Aid mixer! Cheers! -mJ


Hey good drinking with you yesterday! If you're interested, I have a sorta direct line to a couple of the smiths in Sakai. I can either order you a custom knife or you can pick from some stock. Let me know, I'll hook you up.

It'll be far better and maybe even cheaper than the brands that you mentioned.
Just watched this tonight . . . great video. For someone whose knives are essentially unattainable for anything less than the cost of an entry level German sedan, he seems completely down to earth

I'm on his mailing list and get the auction notifications periodically (once or twice a year). It's amazing to see how high these things sell for.
quote:
Originally posted by Vinaigre:
This is what I found on his site

DESIGN and MATERIAL

DAMASCUS

Video where he makes a Damascus blade


Interesting choices. 52100 is pretty standard for high-end American knifemakers. Bill Burke and Murray Carter also make knives from it. It's similar to #1 Hitachi white steel.

I'd be a little concerned about pattern-welded steel as a cutting edge. All the Japanese smiths sandwich their Damascus blades with a pure cutting core. My Damascus santoku is VG-10 and Damascus yanagiba is Aogami Super.

His knives on the spectrum art-tool are definitely more on the art side.
Just had my knife order delivered. Four wedding presents to four happy couples.

2 x 210mm Bunkas from Shosui Takeda
1 x 210mm Gyuto from Tadafusa
1 x 165mm Nakiri from Masakage Kujira (Ken Kageura)

The Gyuto was most surprising to me, it's a lovely little knife, made for a woman, very simple and light and will (I hope) be their go-to for day to day.

The two Bunka knives are going to homes that have good cooks and will hopefully get a lot of use, they are gorgeous! The Nakiri is something special on a different level though. Both the Takedas and the Nakiri are AS but the Kageura is alive and is going to a couple that will really appreciate it. Can't wait to see their faces!
quote:
Originally posted by Rob_Sutherland:
Just had my knife order delivered. Four wedding presents to four happy couples.

2 x 210mm Bunkas from Shosui Takeda
1 x 210mm Gyuto from Tadafusa
1 x 165mm Nakiri from Masakage Kujira (Ken Kageura)

The Gyuto was most surprising to me, it's a lovely little knife, made for a woman, very simple and light and will (I hope) be their go-to for day to day.

The two Bunka knives are going to homes that have good cooks and will hopefully get a lot of use, they are gorgeous! The Nakiri is something special on a different level though. Both the Takedas and the Nakiri are AS but the Kageura is alive and is going to a couple that will really appreciate it. Can't wait to see their faces!


you shouldn't have Rob.
quote:
Originally posted by mangiare:
quote:
Originally posted by Rob_Sutherland:
Just had my knife order delivered. Four wedding presents to four happy couples.

2 x 210mm Bunkas from Shosui Takeda
1 x 210mm Gyuto from Tadafusa
1 x 165mm Nakiri from Masakage Kujira (Ken Kageura)

The Gyuto was most surprising to me, it's a lovely little knife, made for a woman, very simple and light and will (I hope) be their go-to for day to day.

The two Bunka knives are going to homes that have good cooks and will hopefully get a lot of use, they are gorgeous! The Nakiri is something special on a different level though. Both the Takedas and the Nakiri are AS but the Kageura is alive and is going to a couple that will really appreciate it. Can't wait to see their faces!


you shouldn't have Rob.


Got a Victorianox bread knife for me. You want that one?? Razz

I grew up with German knives so all of these are a bit foreign to me. It's a deep rabbit hole me thinks...
quote:
Originally posted by DoktaP:
I have a 240 Takeda Banna Bunka Bocho. Apart from the unique name, it is a phenomenal knife.
Beware of acid on the blade. Requires fastidious care and drying. The patina is lovely, but keeping the rust off is a challenge.


Good to know, thanks Dok! It is an amazing looking knife .Should be very versatile .

Add Reply

Post
×
×
×
×
Link copied to your clipboard.
×