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Best knives to use?? - Page 2

post #31 of 71
I used to be a stainless german/swiss-'axe' user.

Then I tried One Japanese knife... a Tojiro DP 240 Yo-Deba (think something lon the lines of a Sabatier Chef-de-Chef knife), so no delicate usuba. I got hooked on:
- Better geometry
- " steel
- " edge retention
- " fit and finish
- incredible value price

Then I tried carbon steel, and I also got hooked with not having to waste so much time sharpening my Victorinoxs. Which was every week for regular use stainless Euro knives, but I manage to keep my cheap Hiromoto HC gyuto sharp for two months and it was still very sharp when I resharpened it (I'm very fussy about a proper razor sharp knife). Stainless European knife companies can go stick it, I don't hate them (I still use my F.Dicks and Zwilling knives), but really... are you really get value out of a Wusthof? To me, they're a rip-off by a big sum.

There is no best knife, even a custom made one is not the best. But we can get pretty close with custom made, but for off the shelf brilliances I can't look past Hiromoto's stainless-clad AS (Blue Super carbon steel cutting core) line. The build quality and performance for the money is hard to beat for a clad knife, I prefer to save money and buy unclad carbon steel knives like the discontinued Hiromoto HC, which JCK replaced with Fujiwara Kanefusa's FKH with the same carbon steel alloy.

I'm currently in the process of replacing all my stainless European knives with Japanese (mostly carbon steel), I'll still keep my Euro boning knives and the "Old Guard" F.Dick and Zwilling chef's knives. But I haven't actually used any of my Old Guard knives since acquiring my carbon steel knives.

Japanese carbon steel knives are hard to beat for off the shelf value:
Hiromoto AS line-
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Fujiwara FKH line- (they actually work out cheaper than an equivalent sized Victorinox Fibrox against my local prices:eek:)

I would recommend to other chefs the FKH because of value for money performance, if they abuse their knife by leaving to soak in gunk for half a day that's just poor tool management (ie. lazyness).

As for the 'heavy Global' knife issue, I've used a forged Global the ones with the beefy handles and those are heavy, made worse because the chef knife owner doesn't know how to sharpen properly. The stamped Globals are light and nimble, but horrible handles to me.
post #32 of 71
Very good thread here. I will be visiting Marshalls, Macys and BBB when I get back to the states. New knives are on the horizion for me. Thanks for all the great advise.
post #33 of 71
There are lots of good knives, some very good knives, and a few great knives. In my experience, no one line within a brand, or even brand is best for everyone. That's not to say that it's all a matter of taste. There are quite a few knives that aren't very good at all -- many of them expensive.

Globals fall somewhere between good and very good. They are light, agile knives, extremely well made out of good steel. Each and every size and shape is perfectly balanced by filling the handle with sand. They take an edge, and hold it well. The steel is a bit brittle, leaving the knives on the fragile side. Cooks with larger hands usually find them uncomfortable -- despite using a pinch grip. The visual design is polarizing. You either like them or you don't; I find their appearance cold and uninvolving. A point in their favor is that the edge is symmetric, rather than right handed like so many Japanese knives. Globals are not cheap, but they are worth the money. Because the handles are so idiosyncratic and polarizing from an ergonomic standpoint, I can't recommend them to anyone who hasn't tried them. If you've messed around with a Global, find it comfortable, and like their visuals, buy it.

Global is by no means a top Japanese line. For that matter neither is Shun. Nor is the Katana line. Not to say that they aren't good, just that they aren't among the best. There are a bunch of wonderful Japanese knives designed and manufactured for "Western" style cooking by companies like Misono, Masamoto, Hattori, Ryusen, etc. Typically, they're usually better performers than similarly priced European counterparts. Japanese chef's knives (gyuto) are designed along French lines. That is, they have less belly and a straighter, more triangular shape than German chef's knives. They also usually use a modified French (more rounded than the German) bolster which, unlike European bolsters does not go all the way down the back of the blade.

There are also a few Japanese knives designed as much for show as go. Although they're among the best knives in the world, they're too expensive to be practical. Don't get bogged down wishing for one. They're meant to be gifts that stay in the box, not as tools.

Since I prefer the French style, gyutos suit me. The Hiromoto brand already came up in this thread. I like Hiromotos quite a bit, and agree that their inexpensive carbon series (HC) are an incredible value. Their high-end stainless clad, blue-steel "Tenmi Jyuraku Aogami Super" knives are among the best knives I've ever used from a practical stand point -- with the exception that I don't like any Japanese boning knives (garasuke, hanasuke, etc.) at all.

Also, perhaps because I'm left-handed myself, I'm very sensitive to the right-handed nature of most Japanese knives. Japanese knives sharpen much sharper than most European knives, and hold the edge longer. Most don't sharpen easily, but neither do most European knives. Another knock, Japanese knives tend to be brittle.

Just like another poster, santokus mystify me. There's nothing a 7" chef's won't do better, is there? But lots of people, especially those with smaller hands really like them; and who am I to say they're wrong?

I started with Sabatiers when I got serious about cooking in the Sixties, then switched to Henckels when German stainless first got popular -- in the early seventies. Carbon seemed so impractical, so drab, so passe. In the late eighties I rediscovered my old Sabs, cleaned and sharpened a 10" chef's just to fool around, and haven't looked back since. It was that much better. Today, my everyday knives are mostly carbon Sabatiers -- "K" Au Carbone, Elephant, and antique "Thiers-Issard" Nogent style. These knives share a few common characteristics with their Japanese clones. Thinnish blades for one and light weight for another. As far as I can tell (and I can tell pretty well) they fall somewhere between 55 and 58 HRC. That's because the steel predates "world steel" standards. Despite their relatively high hardness it's fairly easy to reset the edge to Japanese angles. They sharpen easily and hold an edge fairly well -- as long as they get a lot of steeling. The knives are brilliant performers while being historically significant. Something you don't find very often. I recommend them to anyone with the time and inclination to give them the care they need.

Not all Sabs are good Sabs. Not even the older ones. Because it can be difficult to hunt down the good ones, I'll identify a couple of shops. Among other places, you can find the Nogents as well as some other older Canadian Sabs and Elephant Sabs at The Best Things. Just hunt through "Cutlery" Sabatier and then look at the various carbon lines. You can find K Sabs, including some antique Canadians at the Sabatier-Shop. Look for "Au Carbone - Vintage."

Hope this helps,

Ex Sous Chef, Ex Caterer
post #34 of 71
Thanks for the info BDL. I will have a look at the Sabs. What I plan to do is obtain a mis-matched set of knives over a period of time. Kinda try and get the best of several different brands. Thanks once again.
post #35 of 71
You don't have to plan to obtain mis-matched knives, you just look for the best knife for the task(s) and it will happen.

But seriously after many years on stainless steel, try at least one carbon steel knife.
For example a Fujiwara Kanefusa FKH; the ease of use and sharpening is brilliant. You spent so much less time fighting the burr, but concentrating setting the angles that are oh so right.

Besides trying carbon steel, honestly invest in at least one (or better two to be safe) sharpening waterstone and read and learn alot about sharpening kitchen knives.
Don't pay unnecessary amounts of money to most "pro" sharpener whose ideas of sharpening is one coarse-ish waterwheel and a power-strop. I did try sharpening services recently, my knives came back duller than they went in :crazy:.

I'd reccomend for the one stone setup a ceramic 2K like a Bester, Sigma Power or Shapton Pro, I used to reccomend to others a 1K-ish King because they're cheap and easily available but a fast cutting 2K ceramic stone will give a smooth finish with milder micro-serrations. For 2 stones; a 1K for faster cutting and setting of angles, and a 5K-ish to smooth that edge out very nicely. Honestly the costs of the two stones will be easily pay for themselves in little time than wasting time and money with so called pro sharpeners, especially when you have alot of knives.

Happy cutting folks,

Interesting avatar picture buzz... familiar:D
post #36 of 71
Jonowee, there's some good advice in there, but the subject of sharpening is a very broad one.

For someone who has no prior experience, I strongly suggest dong some reading and research on the subject before blowing big bucks on ceramic stones and expensive (albeit good) knives.

One of the best books I've read on the subject of sharpening is "Sharpening" by L.Lee (Founder of Lee Valley), although ironically the advice he gives on kitchen knives isn't very good..... In the beginning of the book he shows you what "sharp" actually means, with 10,000 X photographs of edges on razor blades and tools; how abrasives work, why it is important to use a progression of finer and finer abrasives, what a "Steel" actually does (it doesn't sharpen, it straightens out the edge...) but most importantly he tells--well, rather demonstrates the importance of proper bevels.

To achieve a proper bevel on a 8" or 9" knife and keep it consistant going through the progression of abrasives is a motor skill that requires some experience. Many woodworkers use jigs of some sort to keep the tool at the required angle to the stone when sharpening, and use tools to measure and keep consistant bevels. There are very few jigs for this purpose when it comes to kitchen knives, one that does come to mind is a set of small oil stones mounted on rods, and held at the required angle in a jig that clamps on to the knife.

Once you've started on the journey of getting a perfect edge, you'll find that the journey never stops....
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
post #37 of 71
I agree with everything Jonowee said "philosophically," differing a bit on specifics.

Good carbon steel has some price/performance/longevity advantages over stainless, but they carry a definite pain-in-the-behind factor that stainless does not. A carbon knife must be rinsed and immediately wiped down immediately after every use. Not should. Must. When prepping large quantities of highly reactive foods such as onion or pineapple, you may want to rinse and wipe down several times during prep to avoid the scouring it takes to remove a stain.

There's a compromise between stainless and carbon which involves covering a thin, hard carbon steel blank inside a thin cladding of soft stainless steel. The stainless is ground away so the edge is made entirely from the carbon. A lot of Japanese knives are made this way. The Hiromoto Aogami Super knives I wrote about earlier, for instance. But, as I said, all carbon is best for most of my purposes.

There are some wonderful Japanese knives out there, but separating the bunk from the good and the good from the very good is a deep subject. Carbon steel knives are seldom the top line from a Japanese manufacturer. Consequently fit and finish are often not the highest. Something you want to consider before going too far downline. This is much less of an issue with the few European carbon knives still on the market.

You should learn to sharpen your own knives. While stones aren't for everyone and do have a learning curve, they are best in that they're versatile, and will create the best edge. There are certainly much easier ways to sharpen a knife but they tend not to sharpen the knife as well -- such as crock sticks, ceramic cones, "pull through" hand-helds, etc. There are easier systems to learn, such as the stone-on-a-stick-knife-in-a-clamp systems Foodpump mentioned, but they're fussy and not real adaptable. The high end Chef's Choice machines will give you a decent edge -- if that's the edge you want -- quickly and easily. But you're locked into their "trizor" bevel and choice of angles. Less than ideal. For instance, when I buy a new knife, I reset the edge to what I want it to be. More than 25 deg for cleavers, and around 15 deg for most knives. I also relieve the spine, rounding it off to make a more comfortable knife and preventing calluses.

So its stones. I'm not, as it happens a big fan of water stones, although a good set, in the right hands, works extremely well. Coarse water stones wear out quickly, fine water stones "dish," require flattening, and wear out. In addition to being expensive, they're more complicated than a maintenance system should be.

I use three stones. A compound India stone (the famous Norton IB-8), and two separate Arkansas stones -- a Hall's soft, and Hall's black. These four surfaces allow me to go from grinding out chips all the way to a surgical polish. Total cost: A bit over $100. They'll last forever, and no maintenance other than an occasional washing. If you're thinking about Arkansas stones don't get compound stones. The natural stones are expensive enough to be a lifetime investment and compound stones can separate. And right now Halls has the best price/quality ratio for Arkansas stones.

It does take some time to learn to freehand sharpen. You do need to learn to judge angles and hold the knife at a (more or less) constant angle. But it's not that hard, and doesn't require perfection. Get some old flea-market "Old Hickory" knives, just have at it, and the knives will get sharp. Oh yes they will. In the meantime you'll develop confidence which is about 90% of sharpening. 5% being technique and 5% for stones.

We've wandered away from knives and into sharpening. It's appropriate because knives no knife is better than its ability to take and hold an edge. Both subjects is very much a "too each his own."

post #38 of 71
So there jonowee, BDL just explained hagane and jigane. Now you know. :smoking: He was a tad off the mark with the carbon comments though. One paragraph touts Hiro AS and the next says carbon is seldom used in "top of the line". I think the Moritaka and Takeda families would have a bit of a problem with that.... not to mention Murray Carter. :cool:

I actually did buy a stainless blade a while back, a lefty Watanabe parer. Wa+6 doesn't say what the steel is. I have it at 10 degress, so say 4 degrees inclusive sharper than the average razor blade. It doesn't last long though so it's not Swedish or at least I don't think it is. Maybe I'll add a primary bevel and see how it holds.

I do admit to a couple SSs in the kitchen, both 30 year old Chicago Cutlery. One is 9" Chef for watermelons and the like, and the other is a meat cleaver that never gets used. After all these years of messing with knives I've finally decided that the only stainless I'll ever buy will be Sandvik 12C27 or 13C26, and SG-2, Cowry-X, and ZDP-189 powdered steels. My EDC is a ZDP Leek. Right now it is stropped with .5 micron CrO but tomorrow I'm going all the way with both .25 and .1 micron diamond paste on paper on glass. I have a gut feeling that I'll be able to drop a piece of computer paper edge first onto it and make it stick. :eek:

.1 micron, lemme guess, that's about grit diameter 0.000003937007874015748 inch. Okay, I'm not guessing. That's exactly what it is. Tomorrow should be fun. If I can actually cut the paper an inch or so just by dropping it I'll do a youtube post. :D
Buzz - with a Short Pilot Story

One day, long, long ago there was this Pilot who, surprisingly...........
was not full of crap....
But it was a long time ago.... And it was just one day. The End
Buzz - with a Short Pilot Story

One day, long, long ago there was this Pilot who, surprisingly...........
was not full of crap....
But it was a long time ago.... And it was just one day. The End
post #39 of 71
BDL - Have you tried Shapton GlassStones? They're new and lots of folks are switching to them. They cut and polish very well and don't dish easily at all. The drawback is that they're a tad on the pricey side. Presently I use a progression DMT XXC, Bester 700, Norton 1k,4k, 8k, and Naniwa 10k before going to the strops but I'm considering selling the Nortons and buying three Shaptons.
Buzz - with a Short Pilot Story

One day, long, long ago there was this Pilot who, surprisingly...........
was not full of crap....
But it was a long time ago.... And it was just one day. The End
Buzz - with a Short Pilot Story

One day, long, long ago there was this Pilot who, surprisingly...........
was not full of crap....
But it was a long time ago.... And it was just one day. The End
post #40 of 71

Nope, haven't tried them. Heard good things about them from serious knife, razor, and wood-working tool. I'm afraid I'm not that serious. :D At least not anymore. As I understand it a three stone Shapton system means three stones plus the diamond lapper, right? Still, it's pretty reasonably priced compared to almost anything else.

And then there's the question of what level of sharp is useful for a kitchen knife, and even whether you can get it "too sharp."

I love my Arkansas stones, and acknowledge you can get a sharper edge with different techniques like Scary Sharp, super fine grit waterstones, and ceramic on glass (like Shapton). That having been said, I find a good black Arkansas will put too much polish on a blade to be an ideal prep tool for most vegetables. When the blade gets even the slightest bit dull, there's not enough tooth on it for it to bite. But if I steel it with an extra-fine steel after the black Arkansas, taking the level of polish down a notch, there's enough scratch to keep the knife working. It might not have the "fall through the **** tomato" feeling, but will cut clean longer.

Sometimes I think my finest stone should have been a hard, rather than a black Arkansas. Sometimes not. When it comes to meat, can't be too sharp.

One thing we haven't talked about here is steels. F. Dick "Dickoron" are the best.
post #41 of 71
I meant merely to replace my 1,4, and 8k Nortons with the same grit GlassStones. For lapping I use both a DMT DiaSharp XXC and a Norton flattener.

I agree. Of course, if you're working in a Japanese kitchen making all those delicate slices.... Personally I get my vegetable knives as sharp and polished as I can. I'm just a home cook so edge retention is not an issue. I also treat my knives (not my wifes') like the way I raised my daughter. Nobody touches, ya know. Caveat: I do let friends slice a carrot or two but I do it just to look at their bugeyes....

I used to have three nice Arkansas stones for hunting knives lots of years past. I think they went out the door ten years ago before I moved to Florida at a garage sale we had in Wisconsin. A Marine buddy of mine (who became a lifer - somebody's gotta do it) collected Randalls back in the early 70's. I used to shake my head when he told me he was paying as much as $18 for a knife. Shows ya how little I knew. Anyway, he was fantastic with the stones. I remember one time he sent a knife back to Randall because of bad heat treatment and he couldn't sharpen it. Randall agreed and sent him a replacement. Impressive.

Oh, BDL, your comment about steels; You probably won't get too much activity here because this is a Chef site and oddly enough more than a few of them really don't care, or know. The very best place on the planet is here!!!! Goto the "In The Kitchen" section. This site is inhabited by knife people. :p Many of them are pro Chefs, bladesmiths, knife manufacturers, and blade geeks like myself. When it comes to kitchen cutlery, there is no more knowledgeable site to be found. Warning: It's heavy on Japanese blade geometry and steels because performance comes first. :smoking:
Buzz - with a Short Pilot Story

One day, long, long ago there was this Pilot who, surprisingly...........
was not full of crap....
But it was a long time ago.... And it was just one day. The End
Buzz - with a Short Pilot Story

One day, long, long ago there was this Pilot who, surprisingly...........
was not full of crap....
But it was a long time ago.... And it was just one day. The End
post #42 of 71
F Dick are more or less the best mass produced ones money can buy, I've got a 12" Dickoron Combi. Such as sexy looking thing, masterful when doing meat work to revive that edge.

I'm getting a Hand American borosilicate glass 'steel' which is like the Dickoron Hygienic Combi having a round rod instead of square, but comes with a wooden handle and at prices that make me wonder how they make a profit from them.
Japanese Knife Sharpening
I'm getting a special 6" glass 'steel' for $30, a more appropriate size to carry around. (being not in possession of 14" butchers' knives).

foodpump, I don't find ceramic stones that much more expensive than common waterstones mainly because my source sells them at a way better price than my local retailers who just can't afford good enough prices for any kind of stones. Compared to my local prices for King stones, for an additional AUD$10-20 gets me a long-lasting, fast-cutting ceramic stone.
You can replace the 5K-ish stone with a leather strop (large enough piece of random leather can do) and stropping compound to clean up the edge after the 1K.

I've used low grit 200-300x waterstones at work for knife repairs, and I find such grits don't work in stones as they more or less dissolve away like crazy. I'm acquiring diamond plates in coarse and extra-extra coarse as they don't dish like too soft, low grit stones.

I got a question, the Arkansas stones; do they come pre-oiled (like cheap silicone carbide stones)? They look interesting for the price for natural stones, but I prefer water as oil is messy and I've heard not so good things when they get clogged.
post #43 of 71
If your sly about it all you need is a a few pieces of 1/4" glass and some 15 micron sand paper. I guess the "sand paper" is the wrong word, but it is very fine abrassive mounted on mylar sheets. At CDN $1.00 per sheet it's pretty cheap compared to stones, and they don't dish or get grooves. I also use the honing compound( Green LV stuff) on leather, I believe it is the equilivilent of 8,000 grit.

That's all folks. No snide remarks about knowing it all, no references to other sites, no spouting off of formulaes and steel technology. Every body to his own thing, and nobody is better than the other.
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
post #44 of 71

Norton is famous for pre-oiling their man made stones. I don't think anyone pre-oils Arkansas stones, but I could be wrong.

I use a Norton India IB-8 for my two roughest grits. It's a pre-oiled, compound (Aluminum Oxide) stone with "coarse" and "fine" surfaces, 8" x 2". It's the famous grey and red stone that's been around for a long time and is in nearly every shop. It's also the stone on which I learned to freehand. The coarse India is about as aggressive as a medium "Crystolon" (Silicon Carbide) Good for resetting an edge angle, but a little slow for grinding out chips. Still, it can be done with patience. I think the Norton dogma is that the Crystolon Medium and India Coarse are the same grit, but the Crystolon is faster. Meanwhile, the "fine" India will get you pretty darn sharp, but not at all polished, it's the equivalent about of a 250 grit water stone.

I'm digressing like crazy here. Cutting to the chase, even though it's pre-oiled, I don't use oil on it. I hate oil for all the same reasons you do. The worst of which is that no matter how well you take care of a stone it ends up either greasy or gummy. So, I spritz the stone with a little water from a spray bottle before sharpening, then wash it with soap and water and a good stiff brushing after to get rid of the swarf. Even after years the stone feels and looks new.

Same regimen with my two Arkansas stones.

The spritz bottle works VERY well, I think. The trick is getting just enough water on the stones to float the swarf, but not so much the blade hydroplanes without abrading. Like so much else involved with sharpening, it's a feel thing.

If you're thinking about Arkansas stones you should keep a few things in mind. You'll want at least a couple of coarser stones as well. A translucent Arkansas is definitely overkill. In all honesty, so is a black Arkansas. The real difference between the two grades is only color; while a higher percentage of translucent stones are slightly finer than blacks, it's a statistical thing -- a lot go the other way and there's no guarantee from any manufacturer that its translucent stones will polish better than its blacks. At any rate, a "hard" Arkansas is the most practical finishing stage for kitchen work. Naturally, out of vainglory and a sense that "more is more," and because Dick Hall said it would make me happy, I use a black, and I'm happy.

If you haven't used a good "soft" Arkansas, let me tell you, it's a treat. Use the man made stones to create proper geometry, then move up to the soft. You'll move from okay to real sharpness faster than you thought possible. I use Murray Carter "W" strokes to work up the wire, then bust it off with regular full edge strokes. After the soft stone, your blade won't get sharper, just polished. That's where the hard, or black, or translucent comes in. A few full-edge strokes and it's polished.

Tip: The India and soft Arkansas stones don't load up as fast as, ceramics or diamond stones, but load faster than water stones. It's a good idea to keep an eye on them in case you have to wash and brush in the middle of a long, multi-blade sharpening session. The black Arkansas barely loads at all.

Buying: Norton Arkansas stones are too expensive. There are a few good brands, and a few which are supposedly junk. The best deal on high quality stones is at Hall's Pro Edge. Very reasonable. In fact reasonable enough to buy 1" thick black which are prohibitively expensive or low quality everywhere else. I found Hall's through Hand American. References don't get better than that. If you're buying loose stones, buy from Hall's.

As far as I know the old, relatively aggressive "Lily White Washita" type stone is not available anymore. If you can find one, snatch it up. They are simultaneously faster and finer than anything else in a remotely similar grit, they cut like a medium-coarse and polished like a medium-fine. In other words, the all in one version of a compound India. Modern "soft" stones, like the ones from Hall's are finer and slower. Mine is a little slower than the fine India, but leaves a (more or less) finished edge.

When I learned to cook in the mid-seventies, high-end kitchens kept 11" Norton tri-hones (three stones) with a medium Crystolon, fine India, and a hard, black or translucent Arkansas, set up in a stand that rotated the stones through an oil (or water) bath; butcher shops too. The commercial tri-hones are still around although the stands are plastic instead of metal. The Best Things sells the classic Norton IM-313 with (pretty much) your choice of stones at a fairly reasonable price. Hall's has something similar looking on their website at a more attractive price, but I've never seen one in person and have no information regarding their man made stones.


PS If for some reason you ever need honing oil, make your own by cutting regular drug-store mineral oil with kerosene, or "mineral spirits," 50/50. Plain old mineral oil is also great as a stand in for camilla oil -- at least when it comes to oiling blades and handles.

PPS Combi-Dickoron = Too cool. Way to go. :cool:
post #45 of 71
WHAT is your problem? That comment was obviously directed at me. You're no moderator and I'll say whatever I please. If I know a few things and think it might add to the thread then they will be stated. Your controlling personality might work at home (in your dreams) but it won't work here.
Buzz - with a Short Pilot Story

One day, long, long ago there was this Pilot who, surprisingly...........
was not full of crap....
But it was a long time ago.... And it was just one day. The End
Buzz - with a Short Pilot Story

One day, long, long ago there was this Pilot who, surprisingly...........
was not full of crap....
But it was a long time ago.... And it was just one day. The End
post #46 of 71
yeah ... you tell 'em, buzz!!

good knowledge is good knowledge.

it doesn't hurt to get more informed!
post #47 of 71
You two ease off.. now!

Let's not have this thread locked, okay?

buzz please keep in mind that this forum is still mainly influenced by Wusthof-types/stainless crew.
Even bits like Cowry-X/ZDP-189 or Sandvik freak out folks here, while all being very familiar on KF. Let's build on VG-10 or 440 and see how far we get.;)

I know foodpump can be a little abrasive at times (:o parbon the pun), but please we're all here to learn more.
post #48 of 71
Jeeze guys....sorry to stir up a hornets nest. I do thank you for ALL advise given. All has been good and it is well noted in my mind. HA!! I guess what I got from all this is a personal choice when it comes to cutlery. So I will have to shop around and make my decision. Thanks to ALL again.:smoking:
post #49 of 71
I am a moderator :) We frown on the kind of threads this one seems to have become. Please refrain from personal attacks.

"At weddings, my Aunts would poke me in the ribs and cackle "You're next!". They stopped when I started doing the same to them at funerals." D. Barry
"At weddings, my Aunts would poke me in the ribs and cackle "You're next!". They stopped when I started doing the same to them at funerals." D. Barry
post #50 of 71
I really have to agree with Boar's remarks on oilstones in the kitchen. I don't like oilstones only because of 2 reasons: Unwitting (or just plain stubborn) staff are tempted to use plain vegetable oil to lubricate them with inspit of my explicit instructions, and I really don't like the idea of having a non-food use oil or Kerosene in the kitchen. If I had a dollar for every kitchen I've worked in or managed that had a dished-out, vegetable-oil-plugged oilstone stuck to the back of a drawer somewhere, I'd be a rich man. It's very rare that I come into kitchens and every one, or even 50% of the staff knows how to use a knife or stone or steel properly.

All vegtable oils other than olive oil (Camilla is chemically virtually identical to olive, and it is non toxic as well) will gum up when exposed to air. I've instructed staff untill I'm blue in the face never to use vegetable oil for anything other than cooking, and the eejits still use it to lubricate the slides on meat slicers and such, and they invariably gum up. But I digress, however I have "rescued" plugged up oilstones with a very simple procedure: Put the stone in a pot and cover with cold water, bring to a boil, turn off the heat, skim off the crud, repeat as many times as necessary. Same method for blanching bones too...
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
post #51 of 71
Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes and yes.

Didn't know olive oil was OK. Live and learn.

You can actually find "food quality" mineral spirits.

"Blast it clean with the power of (one of those Euro-Pro or Shark) steam and a little oven cleaner. Nothing cuts old grease and gum like hot lye. Wonder if a citrus oil based cleaner would work? Hmmmm.

One of the joys of light oil-stones is they let you know when they start getting loaded by getting dirty. After I got on this thread, I started feeling guilty and went after my soft (pinkish) Arkansas with dish soap and a brass brush. Then I touched up the 10" Au Carbone. Clean works soooooooooooo much better.

Never saw a Norton 313 with water in the bottom, but would like to see one. Well, at least hear how it went over in a commercial setting. I just realized that part of the benefit of the 313 system was that it prevented people like me from deciding what kind of oil worked best. Hmmmm.

Whoever was talking about the level of knife awareness in the general forum was right. I just jumped onto the "I'm a pro -- Should I Buy a set of Wusthof Ikons" thread. Hope it's not too late to save a wandering pilgrim.

Cman, if you're still lurking about:

You might want to click over there and look at the thread. I asked a lot of questions that go towards assembling "the right set for me" set. One thing you might take away from this thread is that so far everyone who has responded recommended chef's knives of the French type. (Japanese gyutos are French, not German, shaped). This isn't an accident.

Your idea of "mis-matched" makes a lot of sense. You'll want some specialty knives that you don't use very often. Butcher types, a heavy chef de chef, and one or two decorative cutters. It doesn't make sense to spend too much. It does make sense to buy stainless for knives that will sit around for most of their life. The Forschner and F. Dick commercial (inexpensive) lines shine. (How often will you tournee spuds?) I really like the Forschner Rosewood series. In fact their 7" fillet knife is in my "first-use" block. It's the only stainless knife, and the only knife not from France in there.

A serious sharpening system should precede or go with your first "good knife" purchase. It should be made up of a steel, AND a machine, set of stones, or sandpaper on glass type system. If you do choose a machine, and for most home cooks it's the best choice -- choose the Chef's Choice 130. If you think knives -- in and of themselves -- are going to be something of a hobby you won't be happy with a machine. I don't want to get too much into the various ins and outs of each type of hand-sharpening. You'd be better served by starting a thread on one of the knife forums. As to steels, you've read what's pretty much the ultimate truth. Hand American or F. Dick "Dickoron" combination steels -- 1/2 smooth and 1/2 fine. Anything else isn't as good -- and I include my early-seventies Henckels "Extra-Fine," which is pretty darn good in its own right.

post #52 of 71
Man, Buzzard- you really get around! I don't think there's a forum with knife discussion on the entire 'net that you don't hit!:D:beer:

Fwiw I often type at you at KF, BF & DC. Still gotta get my glass blanks for my Apex. And I'm anxious to see if Dwade has any luck cutting down Shapton GlassStones to 1"x6".
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
post #53 of 71
Don't forget to add in another forum... Fred's at FF.
post #54 of 71
You must be there too and like me I'll bet you learn something new every day. Being retired affords me the time :smoking: There's another fairly new site where apparently I'm the only one who knows diddly about knives, but I ain't gonna tell you what it is. Nah na na na nahhhh......

If Ben Dale can talk Shapton into making GS's for the EdgePro I'll give up freehanding altogether, oops, with two exceptions, an eight inch DMT DiaSharp XXC for profiling and maybe the 10K Naniwa. I almost purchased a gizmo but now realize I already have all I need.
Buzz - with a Short Pilot Story

One day, long, long ago there was this Pilot who, surprisingly...........
was not full of crap....
But it was a long time ago.... And it was just one day. The End
Buzz - with a Short Pilot Story

One day, long, long ago there was this Pilot who, surprisingly...........
was not full of crap....
But it was a long time ago.... And it was just one day. The End
post #55 of 71
Yeah, if Shapton actually made GlassStones sized for the EP the only time I'd ever freehand is if I got really bored!
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
post #56 of 71
This is what started this whole thread? Wow...
post #57 of 71

that's how it started!

certainly, the subject of knives strikes a sensitive chord!
apparently, when the subject of knives comes up, esp. regarding
the "best" knife, there are several camps that show up ...

1) the pragmatist ... answers are something like "whatever works"
or "whatever fits your hand and is comfortable" or "something
inexpensive so that if you lose it (or it is stolen) you won't cry"
or "so long as you keep it sharp".

2) the practical ... these are the "bang-for-your-buck" types, and
usually are fans of knives like forschners (esp. the fibrox line,
which really is a very good knife for the money). knives like
the ever popular dexter-russells fall into this catagory.
rough guide = under $50.00 for chef's knife

3) the advanced ... advanced in the sense that they are moving up
in price, buying something that is much more than previously
owned or used. not necessarily that the knives are "better", but
at least more expensive. generally going the german route,
and yes, they are better than "practical" knives, but still, in the
world of knives, still fairly inexpensive and not top of the performance
list. oddly enough, many in this catagory stop here and proclaim
their brand as "the best" when they haven't even tried something
more expensive.
oddly enough, some very good japanese knives of western design
fall into this group and the germanphiles seem to not want to try
some of these remarkable blades, even tho the handles are very
similar in feel. the blades, being thinner, harder, and sharper than
the german blades, cut quicker and cleaner than the german knives.
rough guide = $65 - $100

4) the enthusiast ... those willing to spend more money for that something
special. they work in a kitchen where everyone respects everyone
else's property and there is no thought of unauthorized "borrowing"
or outright stealing. for those who have actually USED these knives
for a while, the extra cost is worth it,
rough guide = $100 - $250 for a chef's knife

5) the fanatic ... performance, appearance, prestige at all costs.
like cars, however, there is a point of diminishing returns. lots
more money gets less advances. but it still, the elite of the
knife world
rough guide = $250 - whatever

so what is the best knife? each catagory has its own adherents, and
to each, their answer is best.

still boils down to:
1) feels good in your hand
2) sharp when you use it
3) you can afford it
post #58 of 71
My advice falls into several of those "camps" crimsonmist308, depending on whom is asking. If a woman is asking what type of knives to get for home cooking, I might well suggest the Fibrox. Of course, I have a couple rolls full of expensive Japanese knives but I also have some Fibrox knives- they're not just good for the price, they're good, period. And they're available in patterns that you don't often see if Japanese knives (eg round tipped granton edged slicer, western boning knife).

Now if a chef who's looking to lay down his Henckels and Wusthofs and buy his first advanced knives, then I might talk about Shuns, Hattoris and Murray Carters. It all depends on what they'll be used for.

No matter the cost, a knife still must fit well and feel good in the hand, I agree with that.
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
post #59 of 71
Forschner makes two inexpensive lines oriented towards the professional. The only difference is the handles. One is the “Fibrox” line, and the other, “Rosewood.”

The Rosewood has better feel, control (with reasonably dry hands) and looks than the Fibrox. It’s also less balance-forward and more neutral than the Fibrox in the 8" - 10" chef’s. The Fibrox is better for anyone who continually has their arms up to the elbows in wet meat, wears gloves while prepping, or is forced to clean their knives in the dishwasher. I.e., institutional cooks and (some) butchers. Rosewood costs only a skosh more -- about $5 in the Chef's knife styles. Unless you work for Beetyer Meat or The Subway, the Rosewood is probably a better choice.

But Fibrox has the name. And on the net at least, it’s become synonymous with Forschner. The reason this is so, is its “discovery” in a Cooks Illustrated article several years ago. But, people who are actually familiar with Forschner will at least mention Rosewood in the same breath as they use to bring up Fibrox. Despite the fact that the commercial Forschners really are among the very best mid-priced knives available, knife reviews are meaningless because they’re conducted with the factory edge. Meaningless, that is, unless you plan to toss the knife when it gets dull.

My experience with low to mid priced ($65-$100, stainless Japanese cutlery has not been altogether positive. Although these knives can be made very sharp, the edges chip easily. The best among them for price/performance/durability being Mac. Most Japanese carbon steel knives in that price range have more flexible steel, but are bad for fit and finish. Bad as in very poorly profiled edges (which can be fixed), and scales that don’t fit (which can not). IIRC, I don’t think I ever handled a mid-low to mid-priced Japanese knife without wanting to re-profile the edge because it was so uneven. May just be my bad luck though.

Indeed, as long as we're talking under $100 for a 10" Chef's my generic recommendation is for one of the high performing low-cost knives like the Forschner Fibrox/Rosewoods. These included knives by F. Dick, Dexter-Russell, Messermeister, Mac, and others. (Full disclosure: I actually own five Forschner Rosewoods – sheep’s-foot, tournee, fillet, butcher, and cimiter). However, if you can live with carbon steel Japanese gyuto – there’s the Kikuichi Elite Carbon which runs about $120 for a 240mm. Great piece of cutlery. Of the stainless, I like Forschner and Mac best. Forschner sharpen and steel more easily (You can get a stamped Forschner amazingly sharp). Mac’s are more agile, hold their edge better, but chip.

Something that’s gone unremarked by the knife-geek community is the fact that the stainless steel used in up-market European knives by Wusthof, Henckels, Messermeister, F. Dick, etc., is not the same steel that they used in the 70s and gave them such a bad rep among knife hobbyists. A lot of them are using a newish Cr-Mo-Va formulation with an HRC around 58. Others use a Solingen varietal ore that’s been heavily tweaked, HRC also around. And still others are using high-performing, boutique, tool steels of the types found in the very best Japanese knives, with Rockwell’s up in the 60s. The Cr-Mo-Va and Solingen are every bit as good as, say, V-Gold from Japan. Once the step is made to “better” knives, there’s certainly a place for the Germans.

One thing about the up-market “Germans.” They’re all pretty much alike, and prospective buyers waste a lot of agony and obsession trying to figure out which one is best. Since most manufacturers have modern “ergnomic” and traditional lines, the only real distinction is price. Buy what’s on the best sale. An exception is the Henckels Twin Cermax – which is really a quite high-end, mass-produced Japanese knife.

Japanese chef’s knives certainly feel different. The feel and performance differences is not entirely the blade angle or the steel. A lot of it comes from the French geometry they employ. They’re lighter, thinner, narrower and have less curve than their German style equivalents. The Japanese pioneered the use of stamped steel in high-end knives, and stamped knives can be made lighter. This manufacturing difference, as well as traditional Japanese kitchen knife styling (as in deba hochos) also led to the use of part, rather than full bolsters.

One problem with buying Japanese knives is their unavailability in the U.S. brick and mortar stores. This means the consumer can’t ever hold one, or even see it in purpose. You have to take it on faith and send the man your $200. A tough sell.

On the other hand, the two brands of up-market Japanese knives which are available, Globals and Kershaw/Shun are both problematic. Most large-handed users find Globals somewhere between preposterous and impossible. In addition, their spines are so narrow that unless they’re “eased” by a custom sharpener or maker, they’re very uncomfortable for long use. (Full disclosure again: I’ve eased the spines on all my knives using stones. You should.)

Kershaw/Shuns are extremely right-handed and are over-priced for what they are – which is a nicely finished, V-Gold knife with an unexceptional suminagashi cladding. There are better at the price. Kikuichi Gold, and Kumagoro Suminagashi (a steal at the price!), to name two. That having been said, Shuns seem to be the New Big Trend in restaurant kitchens.

Once you hit the over $300 market – you’re talking hobbyist knives. The furbelows and filigrees that push the prices are almost entirely cosmetic, or else well beyond a rational price/value relationship. A $1500 Murray Carter won’t cut, sharpen, wear, feel or do anything else better than a $200 Ryusen Blazen, Misono UX-10, or Hiromoto Tenmi Jyuraku Ao.

In my experience, “antique” carbon steel Sabatiers (from the good Sabatiers) are as good as the best Japanese knives – with a few differences. They hold a 17deg edge as well as most good Japanese knives hold a 15 deg edge. They sharpen and steel more easily. The French bolster is a little bit of a sharpening obstacle, but better in that respect than German bolsters. It feels great against your fingers when you pinch grip, much better than a Japanese blade’s heel. One last disclosure: The spine of my knife-geek collection are these type knives. I have a 12" chef de chef (K), a 10" chef’s (K), a 10" slicer (K), a 7" chef’s (Nogent), a 7" slicer (Nogent), a 7" flexible boner (Elephant), 7" stiff boner (****), and a 5" petty (Elephant).

For chef’s knives meant to be used, my recommendations are: Hiromoto Tenmi Jyuraku Ao if you can afford it, Sabatier Elephant Carbon if you can put with the BS that is carbon, and Forschner Rosewood if you don’t have the money or the time.

My 2 centavos,
post #60 of 71

Your post is well thought out but I have a couple things I would modify. I have several vintage Sabatier Thiers-Issard chef's knives in a variety of sizes. The sharpen well and hold fairly well at as little as 10* per but of course don't last as long as 17*.

Of course they are easier to steel because the hardness is around HRc 54. The edge bends easily and is also easy to smooth steel into realignment. You will not find nearly as much rolling of a Japanese edge at HRc 60+.

The picture is for a comparison of a 30-40 year old TI 4 Star Elephant and a modern day Takeda. Sabs are on par with some Japanese knives but definitely not "the best" Japanese knives.

Sab: length 9", spine thickness 4.6mm at the rear, fairly narrow French profile, weight 7.8 oz.

Takeda length 9 3/8", spine thickness 3.9mm at the rear, wide Santoku-like profile, weight 6.4 oz.

The difference in tangs "might" account for some of the weight differential but I doubt it due to the Takada's larger length and width dimensions. The Takeda is much thinner, period.

The Sab is a nice kitchen knife and cuts quite well with a stropped edge. The Takeda is in a different league all together, the majors versus the minors. It cuts as a razor and the Hitachi Blue Super Steel lasts for months between sharpenings. Every once in awhile it gets three extremely light strokes on a ceramic steel.

I'll have a new kitchen within two years and plan to put most of my knives on display. My vintage Sabatiers will probably be just that and the Japanese knives will be my users.
Buzz - with a Short Pilot Story

One day, long, long ago there was this Pilot who, surprisingly...........
was not full of crap....
But it was a long time ago.... And it was just one day. The End
Buzz - with a Short Pilot Story

One day, long, long ago there was this Pilot who, surprisingly...........
was not full of crap....
But it was a long time ago.... And it was just one day. The End
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