Recommendation? Böker × Miyabi × Böker

Discussion in 'Kitchen Cutlery & Tools' started by LUW, Sep 1, 2020.

  1. LUW

    LUW

    675
    Nov 24, 2009
    Guys, I need a recommendation. I've always liked to cook, and with the pandemic cooking has been elevated to a new level at my house :D. And I think I've managed to not get too fat... But I digress, back to the sharp & shiny stuff.

    I have quite a lot of knives in the kitchen, from Zwilling to Wüsthof to Victorinox, but my go-to knives are the Ikon Classic from Wüsthof. With HRC 58, they're slightly better in terms of edge retention than my Zwilling (57) and Victorinox (56) knives. And I really appreciate their fit & finish, with very comfortable handles. However, I would like to get something a little better. For starters, I want an 8" chef knife, and I want something fancier than the X50CrMoV15 or X55CrMoV14 that I'm used to. I would L-O-V-E to get some true Japanese steel, but right now I have to make do with what I can get locally, so Japanese are not an option.

    Therefor, I found three blades that are in my price range and have what I'm looking for. Since I have nothing similar, I'm in doubt about what to get:

    1) Böker Damast 8" Chef's Knife (olive handle)
    Though I do have pocketknives from Böker, I have nothing from them for the kitchen. And a BIG plus, it has a Damascus blade - I don't have a Damascus blade yet. If I understood correctly, it has a VG-10 core with 36 layers of "stainless steel" (what steel?) folded over, supposedly with HRC 59.

    2) Böker Pure CPM Bergische Eiche 9" Chef's Knife
    Not with a Damascus blade, but with CPM-154 steel. I have a few pocketknives from Benchmade, Spyderco and Kershaw with CPM steels and really appreciate their edge retention and stainless capabilities. According to Böker, it has HRC 61 hardness.

    3) Miyabi Gyutoh 8" 6000MCT
    Japanese, but not what I would consider a "pure" Japanese knife. Still, has a MicroCarbide MC63 core enveloped by two layers of a softer steel, granting a reported hardness of HRC 63. And as a plus, has a cocobolo handle and a very nice tsuchime finish on the blade.

    Of the three, the Miyabi is the more expensive one, and quite frankly I was set to get it until I stumbled upon the two Böker. They're all in the $250-300 price range, and that's delivered. Yes, I can get them probably cheaper online overseas, but adding shipping and possibly importation taxes I would end up paying if not the same even more. And, buying locally I can have them by next week, without needing to wait anything from 30 to 60 days.

    So here's my question. For someone who knows at least a little about knives, collects them and knows how to properly sharpen them, as a general purpose knife in the kitchen what would be the nicest one to have?
     
  2. Ourorboros

    Ourorboros

    512
    Jan 23, 2017
    Nice from a usage standpoint, looks, or what?
    The Boker Damast will be reasonably easy to sharpen. The Damascus cladding is really just for looks - the type of steel isn't so important.
    Personally I'd get the Miyabi Artisan, unless I was the type to bang my knife or cut near/on bone.

    Where do you live? There are many on-line retailers of Japanese knives, though most are in the US. But not all.
     
  3. LUW

    LUW

    675
    Nov 24, 2009
    All three? :D

    I would like to get something fancier, but with a better edge retention than my current Krupp steel knives. As I mentioned, I collect (collected?) knives, so I'm extremely careful with my gear, therefor I would baby it. After all, it's not like I only have one knife to do everything. Being practical, the Artisan should have all that I want, and I was almost decided to get it, but the looks of the Damascus and the CPM-154 of the Bökers really grabbed my attention.

    I'm in Brazil, so importing blades is a hassle and many times (usually) expensive. If I was certain that the nice chaps at Customs would wave my package through, price-wise I would import without a doubt. But at best it's a 50% chance of getting that lucky so it makes more sense to buy nationally.
     
    Renan Scariot likes this.
  4. Ourorboros

    Ourorboros

    512
    Jan 23, 2017
    Miyabi uses SG2 steel, which is generally held to be a better steel than CPM-154 depending on heat treat. It's a fine cutlery steel.
    You could pay more for the Miyabi Birchwood and get both damascus and SG2. But you'll want to finish the handle.
     
  5. LUW

    LUW

    675
    Nov 24, 2009
    SG2 is better than CPM-154? In edge retention?
    VERY nice to know! I don't think I have anything close to that, so I really don't know what to expect.

    The Birchwood version unfortunately is not available currently, unfortunately - looks AWESOME in my eyes. But if SG2 is actually the better steel than CPM-154 (I assume it also trumps VG-10?) that puts the Miyabi in a clear lead.
     
  6. Ourorboros

    Ourorboros

    512
    Jan 23, 2017
    SG2 is like S30V with half the vanadium. It's well regarded for kitchen cutlery and yes, better than VG-10.
    With the sharpening you might want to do with a kitchen knife, I'm not sure you want a lot of vanadium in a chef's knife. Personally I like the fresh off the stone feel, so mine tend to be excessively touched up.

    You know, all the posts I've read about people in Brazil having trouble getting stuff in and out is just coming back to me. In another site related forum, I remember a guy wanting to sell water stones from Brazil. But the prices after shipping and customs were so high that you could buy very good jnats (Japanese natural water stones) at the same or better price. And without the review of a known forum member, who is going to spend that kind of money?
    A shame, beautiful stones.
     
    LUW likes this.
  7. LUW

    LUW

    675
    Nov 24, 2009
    One of my Spyderco (Paramilitary, IIRC) is in S30V and I l-o-v-e it. So if SG2 is close to S30V, I'm certainly gonna love the Miyabi too. However, I would think something as hard as S30V would be too hard for a kitchen knife, therefor maybe it's not suitable for all users? The problem is that I really doubt that most users (99%?) would understand this. No wonder European cutlery is so favored by kitchen professionals and home users in general. In terms of sharpening, though I like the "laser feel" of a freshly polished edge, with my European steels that doesn't last very long. Heck, in the second tomato I'm at the slightly rougher bite that only honing will not be enough to correct. In other words, that's my regular level of cutting power :p.

    And yes, it's PITA (in bold and capital letters) to get stuff in and out of the country. Importation fees are exorbitant and to send stuff out is really expensive, so that really dampens international trade. The only people who regularly ship stuff out is knife makers. But from someone abroad, who is willing to spend $2500 on a custom made knife, another 200 on shipping is not big potatoes.
     
  8. Ourorboros

    Ourorboros

    512
    Jan 23, 2017
    Well Shun and Miyabi have other lines that use VG-10 and I bet that's the bulk of their sales. Not that the people who get SG2 know much about steel. But that already weeds out a lot of people.
    I know Japanese steels aren't right for everybody. I certainly recommend that people evaluate the way they treat their knives before recommending Japanese knives. I do feel a lot of people treat their knives as sharp hammers.
    But in the US there have been a lot that have made the switch, even in pro kitchens.

    So I do remember a while ago Brazil nationalized many industries, but isn't there a point where the country needs to open up to world trade? It's a shame, I would have tried out at least one of those Brazilian stones at a more reasonable price - they were pretty. So only the rich can buy foreign goods and the middle class can maybe buy something every few years?
    It's a shame, there is a whole world of Japanese knives you could experience for less than $300 each. Even the traditional arts are dying in Japan and so many blacksmiths have gone from making other things to knives, which has been a growth export.
     
  9. LUW

    LUW

    675
    Nov 24, 2009
    Without a doubt, traditional Japanese knives demand a certain respect for the steel, and that's something that not many understand. But maybe with more time general knife users will come to understand the advantages.

    And about importations/exportations, I can bring/send whatever I want from here, but it will cost me. A lot. It's not a matter of official market protection, just a matter of absurdly high taxes and overwhelming bureaucracy.
     
  10. Ourorboros

    Ourorboros

    512
    Jan 23, 2017
    There must be a healthy gray market in Brazil.
     
  11. LUW

    LUW

    675
    Nov 24, 2009
    Unfortunately, that's not the case. Since these kind of knives are expensive, very few online stores carry them. And with that, they're largely unknown. Who really appreciate them are basically collectors, while the professional kitchen users stick to the cheap stuff - think of something like Victorinox' Fibrox line but a little rougher (by Tramontina, Mundial and Starret).

    However, Tramontina released the Century line some fives years ago. Those knives are just as good as the Zwilling Pro line and in my opinion better than Wüsthof Classic line, for basically 40% of the price. "Drop-forged" like Wüsthof and Zwilling and with a fit and finish that is just as good as Zwilling Pro and Wüsthof Classic. Honestly, those knives only loose to the Ikon Classic because they're a tad softer (HRC 56-57 instead of 58) and because Tramontina still uses a full bolster that I particularly dislike.
     
    Renan Scariot likes this.
  12. Ourorboros

    Ourorboros

    512
    Jan 23, 2017
    I meant in general there must be a good grey market.
    I can see how anybody with a hobby is in a tough spot. The gear junkies have to be hurting. But how do trademen deal with not having decent multitools and such?
    Looks like the middle class can be happy about living better than low income people, but not have a choice of quality goods. That's really too bad.

    So import/export tarrifs aren't a big election issue then?
     
  13. LUW

    LUW

    675
    Nov 24, 2009
    Options here are VERY slim. In fact, I was kind of surprised to find Böker - the Miyabi, being from Zwilling, would be easier to find (still, I only found the Artisan and in only one store). Sellers only bring only a few models and in very limited numbers, so pickings are quite slim. However, prices of items that are officially imported by a distributor are not absurdly expensive. For instance, from what I found online, the price I would pay for the Artisan here is just about 10% more if I factor in shipping. Of course, that's if I don't get hit by importation taxes - if so, it can get up to 60% (!) more expensive.

    So as I said, I have access to whatever I want, from a car to a knife, but for me to import anything things will be VERY expensive. And distributors don't bother much in bringing everything in because 99.9% of knife users will not feel the need to spend $150 on a knife if they can buy locally one for 10 bucks that will cut just the same. It's a vicious cycle, where no one buys so no one sells. As you can infer from all this, tariffs are not part of the political agenda.
     
  14. KnifeStylesOftheRich

    KnifeStylesOftheRich

    13
    Sep 9, 2020
    Don’t get a Shun or a Myabi. You’ll be paying more for looks than quality. Get a legitimate artisan Japanese Gyuto. Plenty of websites sell them(avoid Amazon). I get mine from Carbon Knife Co. Here’s what I got last week. I’ll also post a few others from there.

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    [​IMG]
     
  15. KnifeStylesOftheRich

    KnifeStylesOftheRich

    13
    Sep 9, 2020
    Sorry didn’t read the entire post and missed the part where you’re in Brazil. That’s a bummer. Zwilling is doing a big sale on all of their lines. I might grab a Henckels chefs knife just to use as a beater. Myabis are around $100 or so. At that price they’re not bad especially because of their warranties. The Tsunehisa I got was $160. it’s “super blue” carbon steel clad in stainless. Definitely a laser. Depending on what specs you’re looking for you can find some a nice Gyuto for just over $100usd. Add in tariff costs and that’s still not a bad price although it’d likely be more than something you can find locally unless there’s a Japanese knife shop in Brazil. If not there’s a business idea for you.
     
  16. LUW

    LUW

    675
    Nov 24, 2009
    Yeah, my choices are very limited here. And this stupid pandemic is making things a lot worse :(. So unfortunately I'll have to go for a factory knife for now, therefor I think I'm going with the Artisan.
    But I intend to get a "proper" Japanese knife in the future.
     
  17. Renan Scariot

    Renan Scariot Basic Member Basic Member

    18
    May 23, 2020
    Você nao
    You could look for a Brazilian manufacturer, I know many who do good jobs, of course the vast majority in carbon steel, but also have some that do in stainless steel, but it is usually more expensive ...
     
  18. LUW

    LUW

    675
    Nov 24, 2009
    Oh, there are some GREAT makers here, without a doubt. However as a rule of thumb a custom-made blade would go for at least twice the price of the Artisan and I would have (very) slim choices for steel. Since I want a actually a tool to be used, I rather go for stainless. Not that I would be bothered by the maintenance of a carbon steel blade, but I don't care very much for the taste it leaves specially on meats.
     
    Renan Scariot likes this.
  19. LUW

    LUW

    675
    Nov 24, 2009
    Oh, there are some GREAT makers here, without a doubt. However as a rule of thumb a custom-made blade would go for at least twice the price of the Artisan and I would have (very) slim choices for steel. Since I want a actually a tool to be used, I rather go for stainless. Not that I would be bothered by the maintenance of a carbon steel blade, but I don't care very much for the taste it leaves specially on meats.
     
  20. Ourorboros

    Ourorboros

    512
    Jan 23, 2017
    Sounds like the local carbon steel didn't use relatively pure iron, if it's leaving an after taste.
    You really are boxed in, if you aren't rich.
     

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