Best Santoku (Santuko) for around $100?

Apr 16, 2003
I want to get my Mom a decent kitchen knife for her birthday. She prefers a smaller size blade, and never uses her bigger chefs knives. I've pretty much got it narrowed down to the Shun Granton edge from Kershaw, the Fallkniven White whale, the Al Mar damascus Ultra-Chef, or the Watanabe Kurouchi Santoku. I'm a big fan of the Asian style blades, and think she'll enjoy the switch too. She eats a lot of cheese and veggies, is the Granton edge all that great? I will be instructing her not to cut bones with these knives, but they won't be babied. They might even get inadvertently put in the dishwasher.
My initial web based impressions are:
The Shun is the most refined
The Al Mar has the nicest damascus
The Wantanabe is the most classic
The Fallkniven looks like it will handle the dishwasher best
Any thoughts?
All of the knives on your list are great, and whichever you get, I'm sure that your Mom will enjoy it. I agree with you about the superiority of the Asian-style blades in the kitchen.

Personally, I would go with the nice damascus, just to give her something special. However, I would really not put ANY of these knives in the dishwasher. First of all, you are asking for damage to the knife, no matter what they say on the guarantee (and I doubt that any maker recommends that they be put in the dishwasher). They shoud be hand-washed, and then hand dried--not left to dry in the rack.

Another thing: people tend to reach into the baskets of the dishwasher and grab a handful of utensils to put away. Not recommended for a razor-sharp knife.

Both for your Mom's sake and the knife's sake, leave the dishwasher out of the equation.

Have fun, and happy birthday to your Mom.
The knife will, on occasion, be put the knife in the dishwasher. It'll happen. Old habits die hard. Besides, she'd been doing that to her German knives for years. If she can't do it to her Japanese knives, they very well might annoy her. I need suggestions that take this into account.
You could always get her the Spyderco version for about half that price. I have one, and I love it. It gets used more than any knife in the kitchen.
Danbo said:
You could always get her the Spyderco version for about half that price. I have one, and I love it. It gets used more than any knife in the kitchen.
I'm looking for something that could become an hierloom. I like the Spyderco, and may get one for myself. I just don't see it as a knife to give as a gift.
I have the Shun knifes from agrussell [with the white handles] .Vey nicely made with thin ground blades and edges that stay sharp a long time.And look fancy at the same time. ...But they're not the kind of knives for those who won't take very good care of them.
I bought my son a set of shun's and they are drop-dead gorgeous. I got to try the santuko and it was razor sharp out of the box and worked flawlessly in the hand.

As soon as I can afford my own set..............

Edited to add: :eek: PLEASE:eek: , no dishwasher!!! Break her of the habit for these knives:(
I have not found Granton-edge knives all that good for carrots and cheese. The Granton edge works best when you are carving roasts. The edges are comparatively thick in order to leave room for the edge scallops. This makes it harder to wedge them through stiff material like crisp vegies. For cheese it is nice to use a Wusthof offset-blade cheese knife. The textured edge surface really reduces drag. This is my wife's favorite utility knife. For Santoku I like the Masahiro or the MAC models. See this website for a comparison.,1,16,17&categoryID=17.
I love my Watanabe, it feels special every time use it. It also cuts like crazy.

Go look at Due Buoi(Two Oxen) Kitchen knives,Santoku they sell is fantastic.I've gotten three for friends that are chefs they really love it.By the way,putting a "GOOD" kitchen knife in the dish washer,is the same to me as putting ONE OF MY RANDALL'S in the dishwasher!!
The Kershaw Shun granton santoku is one of the hottest knives out and I’m sold on it, the only thing I enjoy using more is my 6.0" Kyocera ceramic knife but just don’t drop it though.