Dec 1, 20172195 views

Looking for a new chef knife but unsure what to get?

Hello all,
I’m /u/zapatodefuego, one of the moderators of the reddit community /r/chefknives. I’m excited to be able to work with the nice folks here at Massdrop to give both communities the chance to try out some chef knives first hand.
There’s a lot of options out there so finding the right knife for you, and at the right price point, can be difficult. That’s why we at /r/chefknives have started a trend of working with knife retailers (and sometimes even makers) to sponsor a knife for a loaner program: a knife passaround. In each passaround, a randomly selected group of people get to use and even sharpen a knife for up to a week, after which they send it along to the next participant. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or a knife newbie, the chance to try something new can be an invaluable experience.
This time, and with Massdrop’s help, we have the opportunity to provide three knives in a passaround instead of just one. The three knives included in this knife passaround are the:
Yaxell Dragon Fusion chef’s knife
Victorinox Fibrox 8” (Massdrop’s community voted favorite knife under $150)
Gesshin Ginga 210mm White #2 wa-gyuto

This passaround will be limited to 10 participants selected at random. Check out the link below for all of the details and to join:
Please note that a reddit account is required to enter, and we unfortunately cannot accept brand new reddit accounts. Only accounts at least 6 months old and with more than 500 karma will be entered, but fear not as we will be doing more passarounds in the future.
Also, keep an eye on this post. Members who are chosen as a part of the loaner program will be encouraged to update this post with their thoughts and impressions of each knife. I've also had a chance to try all three knives and would be happy to answer any questions you might have.
Happy knife week!
- FriedShoe, aka /u/zapatodefuego
gorian2222, tadams6385, and 17 others

I had reading between the different post, and look the different images uploaded and noticed that no Santoku Style knife are shown, why is that? is not a practical style?
I own and have used a few santoku, but generally I don't prefer them. A santoku covers the same tasks as a gyuto (general purpose knife) and a nakiri (vegetable knife), and so it overlaps a lot with other knives. In addition, I don't find that a santoku is a better general purpose knife than a gyuto, nor is it a better vegetable knife than a nakiri. However, santokus are good for people looking for a smaller knife.
Thank You, good explanation.
More feedback!
I added one of my own, just for comparison.
The specs are all rounded and just a quick measurement. Yaxell: Cutting edge is 210mm Height at heel is 55mm Thickness is 3mm and no taper Victorinox: Cutting edge is 212mm Height at heel is 52mm Thickness is 2mm with gentle taper to tip Gesshin Ginga: Cutting edge is 203mm Height at heel is 43mm Thickness is 2mm with a good amount of taper to tip
First impressions:
The Yaxell is big, clunky, with all belly. I'm not a rock chopper so it will feel forced when I try it. The edge geometry is very thick. I doubt it's seen a stone to much, but even if it did, I imagine it would have gotten better. The grind is really thick and a wide angle. The handle is overly round and doesn't really have any spot that feels good, but I'll have to try it on board first.
The vnox is a generic but great budget knife. Not super thin, but not thick. Feels as you would expect. I'm not a fan of the handle, but I pinch grip, which isn't really comfortable with this handle. Honestly, I prefer wa handle, and I can see myself replacing the handle and enjoying the knife.
The Ginga is a good feeling knife. Nice fit and finish. Good tried and tested steel. Overall it feels super light. It's a bit short at the heel, but I have smaller hands and actually don't mind shorter knives. The geometry seems good and I'm excited to try it. The patina looks great as well. I'll be cleaning it just to show how I do it.
My knife at the end is a new beast I made. Quick specs: 224x53x3mm
The last picture shows the tip. I left the heel a bit more robust and then thinned the tip down.Proper review next week!
Copy of one participants review. All reviews can be seen here:
So I just passed on the knives to the next person in the line. I didn't use them all equally, but here are a few quick thoughts on the knives.
Honestly, I only took this one out of the box to inspect the edge. Enough has been said about this knife that my opinion really isn't needed. I've used it in a restaurant before and it performs its task well enough, but just doesn't provide me with much joy during use.
Yaxell Dragon
What the ****?
Gesshin Ginga
A true laser. Cut the sweet potato I was testing with zero steering issues. Very happy with cutting performance. Maybe a touch of stiction, but very good food release. Blade height was a bit short for my hands. I have a suspicion that the 24cm would be more my size. In my hands this knife fits the role of petty/line knife admirably. Fit and finish are on point. No flashy bells and whistles, just a well made blade. I was busy this week so I didn't get to really test edge retention.
I didn't sharpen any of the knives in the passaround since they arrived to me in serviceable condition and I used them lightly enough to not warrant a touch up.
Back to the Dragon
Seriously though, what the ****? I was hoping to actually use this knife more just to test out this steel since I've not used it before, but holy **** the grind is so obnoxious and the blade profile is so obnoxious and the handle is so heavy that I honestly hated cutting anything with it, which is an impressive feat because I love cutting things. Blade steer? You betcha. The same sweet potato that the ginga glided through was pure torture with the dragon. I simply could not get it to cut straight without using way more force and effort than should be necessary EVER. For push cutting, this knife will be fatigue city. It was clearly made with rocking in mind however and with the extra heft it has, it certainly has no issue ploughing through the sweet potato. The net result is an ugly cut with less control though, so I'm not sold on that aspect. [I simply could not get it to cut straight without using way more force and effort than should be necessary EVER. For push cutting, this knife will be fatigue city. It was clearly made with rocking in mind however and with the extra heft it has, it certainly has no issue ploughing through the sweet potato. The net result is an ugly cut with less control though, so I'm not sold on that aspect.](paraphrased; the full review can be seen by following the link above)
Copy of one participants review. All reviews can be seen here:
I just finished my time with the knives from the fourth passaround. The knives were the Victorinox Fibrox 8”, Yaxell Dragon Fusion, and Gesshin Ginga White #2 gyuto. These 3 knives don't have a whole lot in common so I'm not going to spend much time comparing them against each other. I did not have a chance to sharpen any of the knives so you will have to refer to other reviews for that information.
Gesshin Ginga White #2 gyuto
This knife is a textbook laser gyuto. There is no extra material anywhere on this knife. It is relatively, short at the heel, thin throughout with a nice distal taper and has a fine tip that is great for all of your detail work. It is an extremely nimble and precise tool and felt somewhat like a long petty in my hands. Since my daily driver gyuto's are all 240 mm+ it was a nice change to use something so nimble. It has a nice flat section and is an absolute pleasure for tap chopping.
The knife is beautiful in an understated way with great fit and finish. The makers mark is deeply engraved. The handle feels very good in my hands.
The hardest part of the entire passaround was forcing myself to use any other knife for the entire week in which I had it. The only people that I would hesitate to recommend this knife to are carbon steel haters and people with very large hands who may run into some issues with knuckle clearance.
Victorinox Fibrox 8”
This is a great knife non knife nuts and for people that aren't as careful about taking care of their tools. It has a tall profile that is more conducive to rocking than to push cutting, but it can be used for either. It's a wonderful knife for those times that you just want to grab something and get to work. The handle feels good enough. It's not the fanciest knife you can buy, but it does the job admirably and at a great price. If you are in the market for a knife that can take a beating it's hard to go wrong with this one.
Yaxell Dragon Fusion
My first impression of this knife was how heavy it was when lifting it out of the box. The second thing I noticed was the absence of any flat area on the blade.
I think the main design goal was to make something different and eye catching. The tip looks like a cleaver, the blade shape is more similar to a mezzaluna. The curve of the blade makes push cutting impossible, but the 63Hrc steel made me hesitant to rock chop with it. To cut anything cleanly you must make really exaggerated motions of pushing the handle way below level. I found it very hard to cut anything without making a ton of accordions.
I'd like to suggest getting a wusthof clasic ikon knife set to anyone buying. bit expensive but are by far the best knives i've ever used or owned.
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That might be true for most of the common wusthof knives, but try finding a Chinese Chef's Knife in stock anywhere... at least in Tucson I've yet to find anyone who stocks it.
then you must try a simple Gyoto with a vg10 blade, a simple inexpensive starter japanese blade. Once you use a thin blade with a wa handle you cannot go back to a wustoff. Wustoffs to me are like cutting with a chisel. A shaped handle forces you to hold the knife too far back...again just my opinion.
Ok this is totally cool. Definitely going to start following /r/chefknives at the least
Not sure how cool it is for me to post like this on here, but I happen to be the guy behind the gesshin ginga, so if you have any questions about it, i thought I would make myself available to answer them. Hope you have fun with it.
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Yea of the few knives I've cut with I tend to prefer the "D shape" handles and also tend to shy away from anything overly ergonomic. Thanks for the explanation! Totally makes sense and I can't wait explore more options. :)
the D-Shaped ones can be pretty comfortable too... i would probably like them a lot more but for my OCD ;)
Hey buddy. This is a fantastically genius idea. So congrats. I for one can immediately vouch for the Dragon by Apogee. That knife is a monster. I own 2 now just because I never want to not have one where ever I am. :D
And I was tempted to join in on the pass around until I saw you required a 500 karma. Sad to say people on Reddit don't like me. My opinion goes against theirs. Severely. And while I might be a MassDrop junkie, I'm not a karma poster on Reddit. I don't even know how to get it.
So thanks for coming up with this and giving people a chance to try out some fantastic knives. I'm sure this is going to benefit the user and companies in a positive manner. I look forward to hearing feedback.
PS make it mandatory the the user has to leave some form of a review otherwise what would be the point besides testing the knives. IMO
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I think you might be shadow banned from mech keys over there. Unless you delete a lot of your comments? Massdrop is popularly unpopular on Reddit and if you try to reason with the hive mind you become a target. I have made the same mistake a few times. We are getting well off topic here though.
I talked to the moderators awhile back. They told me that my karma was too low to post for visablity even for when I do trades. People still find my posts and trade posts but I don't know how.
I'll message them. They also said they would have to write a script for me so I'm excluded but I never followed up.