What to get?

Mar 6, 2016
Hi I'm a working chef looking to treat myself to a new chef knife I'm looking at a nenox, a super gu, or a miyabi birchwood. Any suggestions or advice would be quite helpful. It's hard to pick when you can't hold one.
Hello, welcome to the forum.

You haven't given nearly enough info to give you any recommendation.

Do you own other high performance kitchen knives? Is this your first?
Can you sharpen freehand? What does that routine look like?
What kind of knife are you looking for? Gyuto? Kiritsuke? Santorum Length?
How do you intend on using it? Warhorse for all day? Scalpel?
What do you want this knife to do?
What kind of profile are you used to? Eruopean rockers, or French/masamoto
Sanmai? Honyaki?
I'm looking for a Gyotou I know how to use a stone and have a variety at my disposal, I own a couple of shuns, and a new west, but my go to the past couple of years has been a togiharu 8", I'm looking for a knife that can handle most of my daily tasks from vegetables to sashimi, that's also going to be be comfortable in my hand so I don't get hand cramps. I'm looking for 8"-9.4" basically I want to upgrade. The above are a few of the knives I'm interested in and I thought I would check with you guys before I made a decision I live on an island that doesn't have much in the terms of shops that I can go and see how each knife feels so I'm limited to online purchases thank you for your time
What's your budget? Without knowing Konosuke probably makes the best kitchen knives I've ever handled, but they're definitely on the expensive side. Misono also makes very, very nice knives that are a little less expensive.
The Yaxell Super Gou and Miyabi Birchwood are SG2. But I have no idea what the Tsukiji Nenohi (Nenox) knives are. Do you know?
I would think about a slightly friendlier steel In most commercial kitchens. Most knives above rhc 62 start being liabilities in in my experiences. Paranoia of others abusing it, chipping, and just generally spending too much time babying them.

Handle comfort - modern pinch grip really defeat most handle ergonomics. Are you still holding your knife like a housewife? Making sure you match profiles/blade style to your cutting technique is more important. Don't buy a whippy laser if you're just going to rock chop all day

A good all day veg prep knife isn't going to be able to double as a good sashimi knife . Sashimi wants your absolute finest edge. Consider a cheap nakiri?

Aogami#2/stainless sanmai Rhc 61-62 has a ton of really budget friendly knives that perform excellent. Hiromoto and tadafusa come to mind
What kinda prep work do ya do?

My first thoughts about the three choices above is that nice looking knives have a tendency to grow legs and runaway in some kitchens. ;)
"Hiromoto and tadafusa come to mind "

I believe Hiromoto (Futoshi Nagao) is no longer making knives.
My sister went to culinary school and has worked in kitchens for a while. She uses a Miyabi and really enjoys it.

I'm just returning from years in Japan and noticed that the average Japanese chef mostly used Kai knives (models not sold in the USA) or Misono knives.

There are a few online retailers of Misono knives. The "handmade" line uses molybdenum vanadium steel and holds an edge well. In my opinion, they are definitely worth their price. In fact, they are one of the few knives that I will recommend blindly.

I hope you find what you're looking for.

Two things occurred to me after I last posted.

First, black pakka wood (used on a lot of knives) is basically treated or prepared in such a way that it is very water resistant. Wood is often called “stabilized” when this is done. Synthetic materials like Corian, micarta, or G-10 are extremely water resistant and, functionally, it’s difficult to beat them. Pakka wood is much more user friendly compared to non-stabilized woods. I don’t know if the birch on the Miyabi you’re referring to is stabilized but, if not, I’d consider sticking with stabilized woods or synthetic materials in a commercial kitchen.

Two, my sister and other chefs have complained about others using their knives without permission. I’d consider using a knife that doesn’t attract unwanted attention, depending on whether or not you work with people who respect your tools. Fancy handles (unfortunately, anything that’s not black) and damascus blades attract attention. The average, modern kitchen knife has a black handle and plain blade. As I type this, that combo seems boring but it may be the key to keeping other hands off your knife.

My thoughts; I hope they help.

"Hiromoto and tadafusa come to mind "

I believe Hiromoto (Futoshi Nagao) is no longer making knives.

That would be tragic. They've been great performers for entry level cost for years.

Cktg still have hiromoto kohetsu 240mm in stock right now
That would be tragic. They've been great performers for entry level cost for years.

Cktg still have hiromoto kohetsu 240mm in stock right now

Kohetsu are made in Japan but not made by Hiromoto. The Hiromotos are branded Tenmijuraku and any you find for sale now are
existing inventory.
Personally, for a great all around gyuto...you can't beat the mighty mac 240mm. It's very well made, holds a great edge, is easily as durable as any german knife and sells under 200. A good wa-gyuto choice is the yoshikane skd hammer finished. Also holds a great edge and comes in around 270 on epicedge.com ( an awesome knife shop in Kirkland, WA owned by a bladesmith). What I'm loving right now is my 8.25 wa chef from Joe calton! It's handmade out of 1095, differentially hardened, super thin and holds an edge like nothing I've ever seen( 4 months and I haven't put it to a stone yet!). Best part is it was 250 delivered! He was awesome to deal with and if you're looking for a knife to use, as opposed to a safe queen, you most definitely won't be dissappointed. Www.caltoncutlery.com. At least do yourself a favor and pick up a paring knife, they're the first I've used that outperformed the standby victorinox.
North Arm Knives out of British Columbia does a Santoku and German chef in S35VN for under 200 USD. Worth a look.

I have a discontinued hybrid design on order.