These are a few of my favorite chef's knives...
Below is a link to a pic of my current gyuto/chef's knife rotation, along with a few very brief thoughts for each one. I've gone through my fair share of gyutos, and these are the ones that I have settled upon (for now...)
Feel free to ask questions/post comments/make offers
1. Masamoto CT "wide" 200mm gyuto. This one stays predominately at home. Nice wide profile, sturdy geometry, quality carbon steel, and short maneuverable length makes this knife perfect for smaller tasks. F&F isn't great, but not bad either. I've seen worse from Masamoto. Great knife where it counts. I wish more Japanese manufacturers made knives with this wide profile.
2. Sakai Yusuke 210mm Swedish stainless gyuto. Amazingly refined, thin geometry (there is no real discernible bevel, only a gradual, consistent taper from the spine to the edge) but still fairly stiff given its laser-like feel. This one allows for great control, finesse, and speed, and is flawless when it comes to fit and finish. I'm also quite impressed with Sakai's stainless alloy; it will take a ridiculously fine edge and hold it for a long, long time. Plus it's really fun to use.
3. Masamoto VG 210mm gyuto. Beefier geometry than my 210 Yusuke... it usually ends up in my work knife roll, as it's more suited to long days in a commercial kitchen. It feels sturdy, stays sharp, and has an unbeatable profile IMO. Just an all-around great, comfortable 210 with no real flaws that I've noticed.
4. Sakai Yusuke White (carbon) Steel 240mm Wa-gyuto. I was a late adopter of the wa-handle, and as such I've only owned this for a short time... but it is fast becoming the gyuto I go to most at home. Incredibly refined geometry and F&F (best I've ever owned), perfect profile, ultra lightweight, and top-notch Hitachi No.2 White Steel. Like my 210 Yusuke, it's incredibly nimble but doesn't feel fragile in the least. I absolutely love using this knife.
5. Ichimonji/Kikuichi TKC 240 gyuto. Still probably my all-around favorite gyuto. Near-identical geometry and profile to my 240 Yusuke wa-gyuto, except the alloy is of course the semi-stainless TKC steel, which is really great stuff: easy to sharpen but keeps a razor edge for weeks of use. Hard to overstate how well this knife has performed for me.
6. Glestain 240mm gyuto. Made of Glestain's proprietary stainless "acuto" steel, this is my workhorse chef's knife, and the one I seem to have in my hand most of the time I am at work. It is incredibly well-built and sturdy, yet still very nimble and comfortable. And yes, those cullens on the blade face (or dimples, or whatever.. they're only on the right side, BTW) do actually work, believe it or not. This knife is great for knocking out bulk work, starchy vegetables, and... well, just about everything. Although I really enjoy using the Yusuke and TKC, my Glestain would probably be the one I would choose if I was limited to only one gyuto. It is truly a great performer in every way, in my experience.
7. Masamoto HC 240mm gyuto. Like the Glestain, this knife is a workhorse all the way. Unlike the Glestain, it's made of (top-notch) carbon steel, has even sturdier geometry, a thicker profile with less belly, and a nice, stout tip. This is the other gyuto I reach for at work. Another near-perfect knife in practice, it will stand up to hours of commercial use (very high volume) without any problems, fatigue or otherwise.
8. Honsho-Kanemasa E-series 240mm Yo-Deba. I don't seem to see this brand mentioned a whole lot, and I'm not sure why. Similar carbon steel (although more reactive) and profile to my Masamoto HC, and at half the price. Excellent fit and finish, this beefy western deba weighs in at a hefty 12oz. I tend to use this at work for fast mirepoix and such.
9. Masahiro Carbon "wide" 240mm Santoku. Ok, so this isn't a gyuto, technically speaking. But I use it a lot like my Kanemasa deba. The extra height is really comfortable, and the geometry is quite sturdy (the knife weighs a pound.) It seems to do most of the work for you, if that makes sense. I use it at work almost exclusively for bulk vegetable prep. Very nice performer at a good price.
10. Messermeister Four Seasons 10" chef knife. Yes, it's a stainless German axe with a German profile. But it's a damn good knife, especially for the money. Between this and the much-lauded Forschner, I'd pick the Messermeister in half a heartbeat. This was my father's knife from culinary school, and I still use it today. It feels near indestructible (will go through poultry bone w/o issue), and pretty dang comfortable to boot. I sharpen it a little more frequently than some of the other blades I own, but it has no problem quickly taking and holding a fine, bitey edge, thank you very much. It comes with me to work every day. For $40, it simply can't be beat, provided you like using a wider, higher profile with a healthy amount of belly.
Sidenote: I've got a like-new Ichimonji/Kikuichi 210 TKC gyuto that I'm selling for $160 firm, domestic shipping included. I'll be putting it up on the trading post shortly, unless someone wants it now. I've got pics if anyone is interested. It's probably seen less than an hour of work. I just don't need another 210mm!
You're right, we like the same knives.
Very nice haul!
Good idea keeping the HC's factory geometry - I thinned mine and it's nowhere near the same knive in terms of edge retention. [kicks self in the behind] ... same goes for the Swedish Yusuke: it's perfect out of the box (I'm glad I resisted the temptation to thin this one).
BTW, I just noticed the handle/bolster design on the Kikuichi TKC - is the bolster welded or riveted? The shape of the handle-butt also seems identical to the Yusuke which is interesting.
Whew, thank goodness I am not the only one that has an affinity for 240 gyuto's, good looking kit.
Thanks Seb! I definitely have you to thank for the Yusuke recommendation. What awesome knives. I've just been stropping them to this point, but I've got to be very careful when the time comes to actually take 'em to the stones; I don't want to alter the bevels at all, if possible. That OOTB edge is truly something to behold (and preserve!)...
Originally Posted by Seb
And good eye re. the TKC; the bolster is in fact riveted. The Yusuke and TKC bolster/handles look basically identical : same handle shape, same welded bolster with straight bevel, same length (relative to the blade length), and same tapered tang from top to bottom, ie., one can see that the tang portion of the blade is much thicker on the top of the handle than on the bottom (I think that's called a distal taper? I could be wrong.) I noticed these similarities right away. It made me want to pick up a 240 western-handled Yusuke from Keiichi (he's got a couple up for sale right now), just because I love the way that TKC is built... but then I came to my senses and realized I DON'T NEED ANY MORE KNIVES!! We'll see how long that sensible attitude lasts... Yikes.
Thanks! Yeah... I've come to realize that the 240 is pretty ideal for 90% of my tasks. I've contemplated picking up a 270 for work (lots of guys at work use that size; even 300s) but can't seem to pull the trigger. Any good recommendations? I feel like maybe a wa-gyuto (rather than western-handled) might be the way to go to keep the weight down.
Originally Posted by kalaeb
James, your Honsho-Kanemasa E-series 240mm Yo-Deba, is that a single bevel? I really liked the profile and the handle caught my interest too! Have you tried their gyutos at all? quite a setup you have there
The Yusuke's factory bevel is a fairly obtuse 50/50 symmetric and yeah it lasts forever. I actually spent a fair bit of time today touching it up: I find that it works best when finished at medium grit, I have stopped at either Suehiro Rika or, today, Naniwa SS5k and then stropped with bare felt followed with balsa loaded with 1.0-micron Blue Diamond Spray.
Yes, the edge on this one came ground as a single, chisel-style bevel. I've since given it a slight bevel on the flat side, so it's about 90/10 now. The straight-ish handle (which is kind of in between a yo- and wa- style) is indeed very comfortable. It is, on the minus side, probably the most reactive carbon knife I own. For the first few uses, it gave off a pretty pungent "pong." But, like any carbon knife, care isn't a huge deal if you know what you're getting into. And once you build a nice patina it behaves just fine. I used Bar Keeper's Friend to break mine in.
Originally Posted by cannibal
I've yet to try any of their standard gyutos, but if the F&F and performance match the yo-deba, they seem to be a pretty great value.
Nice, thanks Seb. I've got an Edge Pro, so I'll probably have to make it work with that whole jig setup. I figure they'll eventually get dual-stage bevels of some kind (or whatever you call it when you put two bevels on each side of the edge)... or maybe I'll try the "mouse pad" method and a strop to keep that nice convex grind intact.
Originally Posted by Seb
Keep it simple.