First off, it’s clearly a chef’s knife, with a profile similar to those of Bob Kramer, not like Japanese gyuto. The handle seems to have started as a Japanese octagonal, but morphed into a longer, tapered handle with ridges on either side connected directly to the blade with a half bolster and a hidden full tang. The coarse wood material is very grippable
It’s perfect for my bigger American hands, and my desire to change my grip as I slide along the handle. It’s also “Goldilocks” heavy for me: somewhere between a Miyabi and a Wusthof. It’s cladding is multilayer extraordinary but not overly showy, with a practical feel.
In use, it appears it could be a workhorse, but, like all high Rockwell knives, it’s not meant for any heavy duty chopping–so, my softer steel Wusthof is still a backup.
So far, what I love the most is its feel in my hand. It just feels right.
It’s also a knife that can change it’s appearance under different lighting–that’s why photos almost seem to be of completely different knives.
I bought a Shun Classic Santoku for a friend. This is a really different knife–both from a santoku, and from a Shun classic–longer, wider, harder steel, 161 layer damascus compared to 67, and a bit heavier.
I’ve been looking at this Fuji for 5 years. It was worth the wait.
Fuji is my favorite of the shun variations purely for the aesthetics. The handle reminds me of a Japanese sword. In have a pretty large set of shun classic knives I bought 20 years ago and they’re fine for me. Also have an antique sabatier with a 12” blade. But most of the time I use my Victorinox chef knife which I keep sharp using my trizor XV electric sharpener. As much as I like the idea of going down a knife rabbit hole, I am pretty sure there is not much bang for my buck in doing so.
My money is spent on the best ingredients I can find, high quality cookware, and all sorts of kitchen gadgets and electrics.
If I hit the lotto, I might have a custom chef knife with integral bolster made for me by Michael Rader. But even if I had one, knowing myself I might be too afraid to use it and would prefer to keep it in perfect collectible condition. For those reasons, I’m ok with what I’ve got for now.
Your posts about subtle differences in knives remind me of Claus’s posts regarding subtle differences in similar forms of cookware. In general, while I do consider myself a discriminating person, I think the nuances you and Claus claim to ascertain are beyond the tolerances of my ability to measure and (I say the following politely and with affection) perhaps also beyond your limits of discernment. This is the challenge of non-quantitative subjective observational reporting of anecdotal experience using small sample sizes. It’s fun to do, but fundamentally inconclusive.
Nevertheless, I do derive some pleasure from reading about your passion for kitchen knives, so thanks for your posts. Happy birthday, Ray.
I bought a Victorinox 7" butcher knife with rosewood handle to replace/update my Sir Lawrence carbon steel (American butcher) knife. Thought it was a sure update: liked the Sir Lawrence better. I’ve given the Victorinox to a good friend who loves to cook, and I look it over for him: he uses it as a Chef’s knife and loves it.
I was looking for a sturdier “feel”–and finally retired my Sir Lawrence in favor of a Kai Seki Magoroku Deba–but, in a major reorganization, it’s back in a new grabbable location with my softer steel knives–for regular honing on the job.
I’m very price/value oriented in my knife purchases, but I’ve become accustomed to harder steel knives that stay super sharp all the time with my loaded strop. However, I keep my softer steel knives ready as my risk goes up. None of my hard steel damascus knives have chipped, and my softer steel knives always come through–but with a high maintenance price if I’m aiming for the same level of sharpness as my hard steel knives
In general, I’ve always tried to control cost to value in all my cookware, but I have managed to buy some high end pieces without paying high end prices.
I agree that an investment in the highest quality materials is always a bargain in terms of personal satisfaction. When I managed to “steal” a large Le Creuset bouillabaisse pot on Ebay for less than $100, I ended up spending more on the seafood materials for my first test than I did on the pot!
The highest price tool I’d love to own is the Control Freak induction unit, but it’s more than $1000 over a price I could justify. The replacement toaster oven I did just buy is an Oester for about $60. The one I have still works well, but, after 7 year, it’s starting to fall apart. That’s about the level I could justify for a toaster oven
Your attention to feel and ergonomics is cool, but except for the one total non-starter I encountered, the original All Clad handles, I have found that the things I use all the time would fail under such up front scrutiny but over time have become extremely natural, comfortable, and effective. Included are the winners dely despised flat steel Lyonnaise handles, Mauviel iron handles, and the handles of old Sabatiers and Nogents. My equipment is less than friendly to most users, especially extremely heavy pans, but it works for me, and I really do not notice its shortcomings. The one exception might be that I much prefer my larger chef’s knives to be light, relatively flat on the belly, and nicely pointed. I am also that rare fan of bolsters. A few months ago I bought linen towels, and they remain fully intact, thanks largely to the lowly bolster.
As regards your enjoyment of pull cutting, I find that an excellent approach to much of my more Eurocentric dishes. It is easier to get very thin, uniform slices with a pull cut than with the rapid fire chopping TV chefs love. If I were in that big a hurry, I’d pull out a mandoline!
I’m not sure where my aesthetic for single handle pots and pans came from, but I used Revere wear for half my life before starting my induction based batterie and All Clad felt natural to me–especially when they upgraded their handles.
I liked the handle on my Sir Lawrence butcher knife, but felt the Wuisthof classic Ikon was an upgrade. The Fuji Chef knife seems to be a further upgrade in ergonomcs–but that’s just me.
The Fuji had already won me over even before I used it-and I’m not disappointed.-
I’m with you, most important is always to have a good time. Reading about your culinary passions continues to be a good time for me, so thank you.
A Le Creuset bouillabaisse pot on Ebay for less than $100! The best part about that bargain is that every time you use it the food cooked therein will have extra flavor from having been made in the “bargain bouillabaisse.” I love bargain finds in part for this reason, that it sweetens the joy of using them.
This Fuji, plus an AMAZON gift card, has led to kitchen reorganization. I’ve simplified the grabbability of my knives by grouping my softer steel knives together where they can be used and maintained on the spot with a honing steel and pull through touch-ups. That may be enough for them. If I really want that next level of sharpness, I can still put them through the loaded stropping routine, but it may not be worth the effort.
It takes many strokes to refine the edge of softer steel knives with my green compound–even my Wusthof Classic Ikon–without much benefit in day to day use. My harder steel knives can not only be maintained, but have the edges refined with my stropping protocol, and it requires fewer strokes than the softer steel knives. It doesn’t have to be immediate, but regular, and they stay sharp at a higher level.
Just the opposite, Vecchiouomo, and with very different consequences.
The softer steel knife really loses it’s edge and must be ground down and shaped. As long as the harder steel knife hasn’t lost it’s edge, the massaging of a fine grained stropping can refine and improve the edge.
After 1000, there is little noticeable improvement in kitchen performance for soft steel–and grit 1000 “sharp” is pretty easy to achieve many different ways. Rising above 1000 is where it becomes more a labor of love for softer steel. There is a white compound available for strops that can serve as a feeder to the green, but I’ve tried to reach 3000 with a protocol of 500 strokes and it wasn’t enough. Even after pre teatment with white–that’s still not enough for soft steel.
That same 500 stroke protocol not only maintains–but refines the edge for harder steel kitchen knives. Leads me to think of a Shopton even higher number stones for knives like my new Fuji. It might be worth it.
I think you’d enjoy this Fuji–not that there would be any reason for you to buy one. One thing I didn’t realize enough was the difference in tapering between your French knives and my Wusthofs. The difference near the base is the primary reason that the Wusthof is heavier–and partially why the Wusthof is far more associated with rock chopping–and occasionally vertical chopping as well.
In that way, the Japanese followed French thinking from the beginning, but upped the hardness and added cladding. My Fuji restores the broadness and triangularity of your Chef’s knife, and almost completely eliminates the tapering at the base of my Wusthof