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Knives for a newbie

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Well I've done some searching and I've read a few threads, but still can't decide on which brand to go with. I'll just be using these at home but I want a decent set, I'm looking to stay around $100 per knife mark. So far I'm looking at wusthof classic line and shun. I'll mostly be using these on meat and seafood. Can anyone give me reasons why I should choose one brand over another? And if I have to start with just one knife which would you suggest? I was thinking the wusthof classic 5" santoku or the classic 8"chef's. Any thoughts?

Thanks
post #2 of 17
I've had a Wusthoff and enjoyed it well enough. It had a dropped bolster at the heel of the blade that interferes with sharpening. I strongly dislike that bolster design. For the money, many here would recommend a japanese knife and usually not the Shun. But if you like it, neither is a bad choice.

Having had an 8" and a 10' chef's I vastly prefer the 10. Individual preference does enter into this particular decision a lot though. If you work with whole watermelon and squash, a 10" does have more utility. If you buy those already broken down into smaller chunks then it's not an issue.

I'd skip the santoku entirely. And 5" is very small for kitchen duties even for a home cook. If you're going with a Santoku I'd recommend a 7". A 6 at the very minimum.
post #3 of 17
"Can any give me reasons why I should choose one brand over another?"

Several.
One brand may fit your hand better than the other. Go to a store like Macy's, Williams-Sonoma or Sur la Table if you can and handle a few knives.
One brand may balance better for you.
Maybe you just like one more than the other. There is no universal "best" so the only relevant question is which is best for you.
I find the 8" Chef's knife to be one of the most useful at home. Most Chef's I know have several 8" and 10" knives. They are different tools for different jobs. It's not like you need a lot of heft to split a squash unless it's a mongo Blue Hubbard or similar. For more common squash an 8" Chef's knife will do fine. When I get to 10" I'm either using a Gyuto or a Wide Heavy knife. Again this gets down to personal preference and the task at hand. Your physical size and strength may factor into your decision to use an 8" or 10" knife as well as your knife skills.
In regard to the Wusthof Bolster I actually like it on the Classic series. If you don't then consider the Wusthof Le Cordon Bleu series.
I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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post #4 of 17
Go to the Japan Woodworker website and check out the Yaxell Ran line of knives.

Not only are they all the real-deal Japanese laminates, but just about each one--paring, gyuto, santoku, slicing, etc.--are all under 100 bucks per each.
post #5 of 17

Why not MAC?

I have a Shun 10" chef's knife and the santoku with granton edge- I still like the 10" knife but I came to realise the santoku's blade was just too thick- it can't really do what a santoku is supposed to do. Now I have the MAC 8" chef's knife and santoku, both with granton edge- they are a bit more delicate than some knives, but they're nimble and very very sharp.
For an inexpensive way to go, I would really recommend the Kai "Wasabi" line- the handles are plastic but the blades are excellent- the equal of many much more expensive knives. They now have a black-handled 8"chef's knife which is a real gem- I like mine almost as much as my MAC. I use these for my "at-home" knives. I have come to the point where I use Japanese steel only....for whatever reason....
post #6 of 17
>Can anyone give me reasons why I should choose one brand over another? <

Once you get into quality products there's only one reason to choose a particular brand or style over another: comfort in your hand.

Before buying any knife you should handle it, replicating as much as possible your knife handling style. At a minimum, the shop should provide you with a cutting board. Some will even go so far as to provide actual foodstuffs, such as an onion.

The point being, the most expensive, most highly rated knife in the world is worthless if you're not comfortable using it. A cheap Chicago Cutlery knife that fits your hand is far better than the best Japanese knife if it doesn't doesn't.

BTW, style is probably more important than brand, per se. Saying, for instance, "an eight inch chef's knife" is meaningless unless you consider blade thickness and weight, presence or absence of rocker, handle design and material, overall balance, etc. Compare, for instance, the Wusthoff Ikon Classic with the Henkels Twin Cuisine. Both come as chef's knives. Both are available in similar sizes. But compare any two of them in the same size and you'll have totally different knives.
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #7 of 17
The reasons to prefer a given brand are legion, and very few of them are detectable by waving a knife around in a store. "How it feels" tells you remarkably little. Let's start with "which knife?"

A santoku is essentially a very short chef's knife, designed to be short. It is primarily of value if (a) your kitchen is fantastically tiny, with counters much shallower than is standard in the US; (b) you are actually shaking-hand terrified when holding a larger knife around 8"; and (c) it comes pretty much dirt cheap. A and C are the primary reasons this is the most popular housewife's knife in Japan, but B comes up sometimes. The ONLY thing this knife has going for it, compared to a chef's knife, is that it's short, and for most people that's not a real advantage. If you are seriously considering an 8" chef's knife, you want that, not a santoku. This has nothing to do with brand: it has to do with the design of the knife. So get the chef's knife, at least 8". (The only other serious contenders for your main knife, in my opinion, are a Chinese cleaver or a Japanese usuba, and both are peculiar choices that require you to know exactly why you're buying them.)

Question 2: how are you going to be sharpening and maintaining this knife? A lot of folks new to knives, looking to "upgrade" or whatever, want to have a service sharpen the knife. Fine. That means you have to hone your knife, probably on a "steel." That means you need a knife that responds well to honing, which means a relatively soft steel, and certainly not a super-hard one.

Question 3: how obsessive-compulsive are you about fine detail? A carbon steel knife requires a certain amount of constant maintenance. This doesn't take long -- 30 seconds will do it -- but it has to be done every single time without fail. If you might ever want to leave your knife sitting on the board or counter while you eat dinner, you want stainless. Probably you want that anyway, frankly, but it's worth considering: all things being equal (which they rarely if ever are), a carbon steel knife at a given price point will be superior to a stainless at the same price point. But the difference probably will not matter to you unless you're going to take up sharpening.

Question 4: do looks matter to you at all? Lots of people care deeply about this: they want shiny or copper pans, shiny knives with pretty handles, and so on. I personally don't care at all, and am actually just a hair the other way -- I enjoy the fact that my black steel skillets are ugly as sin, and I like my knives to have that blue-gray look that to my eye means business. But I know very few people who feel that way. Think about whether you want a knife that looks plain-Jane or one that has a little more visual pizazz.

Question 5: are you willing to buy online, or must you hold the knife in the store to feel comfortable purchasing? As I say, you can't learn anything much by waving the knife around, but lots of folks get very nervous buying knives sight-unseen.

Guessing, based on nothing but experience of folks coming in with questions more or less like yours, as well as your hoped-for price point, I'm thinking:

2: Hone and have a service sharpen annually.
3: Will take care of a knife, but not obsessively.
4: Looks matter little, but ugly as sin isn't attractive.
5: Would prefer to buy in a store, but could be convinced otherwise.

Based on these things, I'd say you've got two main avenues of approach: a mid-grade Western knife, or an entry-level Japanese knife of a few brands.

Western knives will respond better to honing, and will be easier to get sharpened effectively. They will weigh a lot. You can probably find what you're looking for in a store. Japanese knives are the reverse.

Western: Wusthof is overpriced, I think, and I'm told that the lower-end Henckels lines are not up to the standards of their better lines. Try Forschner, Victoriox, or Dexter-Russell, and to find them look in a restaurant supply store -- look in the yellow pages. You'll want a so-called "sharpening steel"; I believe the IdaHone rods are preferred by the experts, and don't cost a fortune.

Japanese: You'll have to buy online, but look for Togiharu, Tojiro, or MAC at your price point and knife size. You want one that doesn't say "carbon" or "wa-handled." Be a little gentle when steeling, but don't worry about it -- these knives are very tough.

My opinion: get the Togiharu or MAC. In six months, visit a friend who uses a Wusthof and handle it. You'll be shocked at how heavy and unwieldy it is, and you'll thank your lucky stars you're using a modern Japanese knife.
post #8 of 17
When you handle a knife you can tell if you like the feel, if you like the quality of construction, see how it balances in your hand as well as how it fits in your hand. These are things most can not tell by looking at photos on the Internet.
As it's already been said "A cheap Chicago Cutlery knife that fits your hand is far better than the best Japanese knife if it doesn't doesn't."
A sentiment that I totally agree with.
I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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post #9 of 17
A santoku might be a "housewife's" knife in Japan, but certainly many professional cooks, myself included, use them on a constant basis here. They fill a niche which has no exact counterpart in Western knives. A good santoku has a MUCH thinner blade than a chef's knife, and that, combined with the short length, makes possible a cutting style which is appropriate for lightning-quick very precise cuts. In many cramped spaces in a professional kitchen the short length is a real asset, and the same holds with smaller home kitchens- my own, in fact is one such. Fear of a larger knife doesn't enter into it- I have knives, which I use for various things occasionally, which are not far removed in size from short swords. For instance when prepping veggies for hours on end- which most home cooks will never have to worry about- there is nothing like a 10" or even a 12 " chef's knife.

I respectfully submit that that the quoted post is rather confusing regarding honing- Hard steels (most Japanese knives) need ceramic and/or glass rods such as the Idahone, while softer steels as found in most Western knives need the standard "steel."

As far as MACs being tough, it's true enough to an extent-but the hard steel and thinner edges make them more prone to chipping than most Western knives.

Although I might be reviled by sharpening mavens for saying it, rather than learning how to sharpen knives or using a sharpening service, an alternative would be one of the Chef's Choice sharpening machines- I got an EdgeSelect 120 on a couple of years ago, on the strength of a "Cook's Illustrated" review, and it really works, and works well, although I still prefer my stones, especially for my Japanese knives.
post #10 of 17
Ya' know, they do make Japanese style knives with western handles. In fact, most JWW Tojiros are made in this fashion.
post #11 of 17
The "whole thinner steel" thing depends on which brand of knife you buy. Many chef's knives are thinner than many santokus. Probably, most western manufactured santokus are thinner than western manufactured chef's knives. However, they aren't thinner than Japanese manufcatured chef's knives aka gyutos. In general Japanese manufactured knives vary slightly in thickness with length. So, eerything else being equal, a 27cm gyuto will be slightly thicker at the handle than an 18cm santoku.

If you like using a santoku, fine. However, Chris is right. It is what it is and in Japan it's a housewive's knife. Here, it's got wider acceptance. Whatever.

Almost all posts are "rather confusing regarding honing." Yours too. It's a very deep subject. The steel doesn't have to be harder than the knife, mass does most of the rod hone's work and not surface hardness.

Many Japanese knives are unsuitable for honing because of their asymmetric edges.

Some blade alloys, when treated to be extremely hard, are unsuitable for honing because they are so much stronger than tough. That is, they tend to break (chip and tear) rather than bending, and steeling puts a tremendous amount of force on a very thin piece of (blade) steel. Cowry is a good example of such an alloy. FWIW, the caveat isn't limited to Japanese steels or Japanese knives. There are a few western knives, mostly customs, made from chippy alloys.

The Idahone fine is a fantastic hone for any knife which ought to be honed. It is a great all around hone.

As far as I know there's only one glass hone currently manufactured, the HandAmerican. It's almost, but not quite smooth. I think they call it "ultra fine," but for all practical purposes it should be considered a smooth hone. Consequently its usefulness is limited to situations when a smooth hone is appropriate. That is, when the knife is already very sharp. It is definitely not a "sharpening steel."

Any steel as coarse or coarser than medium, including "diamond sharpening steels" should be avoided. They create an illusion of sharpness by scratching/chipping micro serration into the edge and across the bevels. The knives will perform better, but like fairly sharp saws rather than sharp knives. I suppose that's okay for someone who isn't used to using a sharp knife.

The less expensive MACs are very thin and a little difficult to sharpen, but aren't particularly hard, around HrC 58. The MAC Pro is not at all thin for a Japanese knife. On the contrary, the MAC Pro chef's knife has a little extra beef and unlike most chef's knives is quite stiff and particularly suited to the way most western professional cooks work. MAC uses alloys with plenty of moly, and their knives are a good blend of strength and toughness. Admittedly a MAC Chef series is slightly more prone to chippng than a Wusthof, but it gets a lot sharper, stays that way a heck of a lot longer, is lighter, more agile, and a lot cheaper.

Chef's Choice machines are an excellent choice for many.

You have to know who you are. If you've got a lot of different kinds of knives with various bevel angle requirements a Chef's Choice is not a good choice. You need the versatitlity you get with stones or at least a rod guide.

But if freehand sharpening seems daunting, or if it merely seems too inconvenient to do fairly frequently, and a rod guide seems dauntingly inconvenient, then a Chef's Choice, left on the counter, could be the best solution.

It's as much about what gets used as what does the best job. A Chef's Choice will give you a very good edge. Not the sharpest or the most polished but a nice, long lasting double or triple bevel (depending on the machine) edge.

There are several Chef's Choice machines which sharpen a "Japanese" bevel angle of 15*.

BDL
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post #12 of 17
Well, it is done all of the time, just differently and with a different tool.

My steel is almost three feet long, large in diameter, made of very hard stainless steel and mirror finished.

As you know you aren't sharpening the knife, just perfecting the edge. As long as the user is schooled, they can properly align the edge against the steel for this gentle repair.

Done properly, the angles will engage the steel at differing positions.
post #13 of 17
This is great! It's so typical of cooks- we have very definite ideas about things, and most of us are convinced that the way we do things is the right way.

One thing to consider, perhaps, is reading online reviews of any knife you're interested in. I bought my MAC knives mostly on the strength of various reviews, particularly this one:Chef's Knives Rated - Equipment & Gear - Cooking For Engineers which subjects a number of chef's knives to some fairly exacting testing. Unhappily, the area I live in is devoid of any stores where you can walk in and take a knife on a test run. I figure learning about other peoples' experiences with a given knife is the next best thing.

I did say a good santoku should be thinner than a chef's knife. While my Shun santoku is way thicker than my Shun chef's knife, its replacement, the MAC Professional Series Santoku MSK-65, is thinner than both the Shun chef's knives and the MAC MTH-80, and that's a fact. Res ipsa loquitor.
post #14 of 17
Can you be a little more specific about what you consider to be a "set." A home cook with good knife skills would get most benefit from a 10" chef's knife, a 10" slicer, a bread knife, a 5" petty, and a small parer/peeler.

You seem interested in a smaller chef's knife, which usually indicates undeveloped skills. That said, we still don't know which other knives you consider part of your starter set.

If you don't already have a good sharpening system, you'll need to consider its cost when you consider your budget for knives.

The "$100 per knife mark," is all well and good, but not incredibly helpful unless we have some idea of your total purchase budget and what you consider to be a set. For one thing, a chef's knife will be almost twice the cost of a paring knife from the same line. For another, a "quality" bread knife won't give you much more performance than a budget bread knife -- especially if you're not a cake baker. A small parer/peeler can be a great place to cut corners (pun intentional). Even the good ones lose metal so fast from sharpening you might as well consider them disposable -- plus they're the knives which get abused by cutting string, opening plastic packages, cutting cardboard, etc. On the other hand, if you bake a lot of apple pies, you peel a lot of apples...

Neither is great value -- even in their price range. I don't want to seem too negative about either one though. There are legitimate reasons for each to be someone's first choice.

Both have outstanding fit and finish. While handle choice is somewhat idiosyncratic, it's safe to say both have great handles. One of the idiosycracies of the Shun is that it uses a "D" handle and is therefore exclusively right (or you can order left) handed. If you live in a mixed household, you might want to think twice about Shun for this reason alone.

Shun are decorated with a faux "damascus" pattern, they are not true damascus knives. The pattern is aesthetic only and provides no utility whatsoever, despite some of the "non-stick" advertising claims. The type of pattern is called "suminagashi" in Japan, and means "ink on water."

The pattern is applied as a sort of soft, stainless-steel foil wrapping around a much harder steel core. The Japanese refer to this sort of construction as "san-mai," or "warikomi." Respectively, those terms mean "three layers," and "the thrust that goes between" (a term used in the game of go). Sometimes this sort of laminated construction has a utilitarian purpose in that certain core steels are difficult to manufacture as single steel knives, and easier as warikomi, or warikomi can make sharpening easier, etc. However with Shun, as with most suminagashi western profiled knives, the result is more cosmetic than practical.

One of the unfortunate things about Shun is that the suminagashi is extremely soft and scrateches very easily. This means that in the course of normal use the pattern will fade quickly, becoming almost invisible within a couple of years. It cannot be brought back through cleaning or buffing. Indeed buffing will make it disappear all the faster. It can only be restored in an acid bath -- a process which should not be undertaken at home.

Another unfortunate thing about Shun is the profile of the chef's knife. It has a straight topline with a very high point, coupled to a generally "German" style profile with a lot of arc along the entire edge. The topline makes the knife far clumsier than it need be, especially for point work like scoring, onions, etc. The arc gives up agility in exchange for power. Not a good trade off in a sharp knife. But, if you don't keep your knives sharp; or your skill set includes tons of "rock-chopping" (one hand on above the point, another on the handle, rocking your way through the food), you may like it. In my opinion, the better skills you have, the more likely you are to prefer a "French" (flatter, more triangular) profile.

Wusthof also has a German profile, as do a lot of other quality knives -- including Lamson, Messermeister, F. Dick, Vicotorinox, Viking (Gude), Henckels, etc. In fact, these knives are more or less interchangeable. They're manufactured with essentially the same methods, from essentially the same materials, and marketed at similar prices. You'll find that the standard handled Lamsonsharp is the equal of any standard handle, and so on.

These knives are made with one of two steel alloys -- X45CrMo and X50CrMoV15. These are made by a number of companies under license from (I think) Krups. The alloys are tough but not strong -- that is, the edges won't tear easily but they will bend and need a relatively high amount of steeling. However, they wear quickly, need relatively frequent sharpening, and aren't particularly easy to sharpen.

Shun, on the other hand, uses VG-10 steel for its cutting core. VG-10 is made by a Japanese steel company called Takefu. It's a great all-around steel, both tough and strong (doesn't bend easily). It takes a great edge relatively easily,and holds it for a long time. That said, there are other alloys just as good -- 13C26 (Sandvik, Sweden), AEB-L (Uddeholm, Sweden), and G3 (Hitachi, Japan) to name a few.

The French/German profile distinctions are most obvious in chef's knives. From the profile standpoint, there is little if any difference in other shapes. While I may not personally like the Shun chef's knife, I give many props to boning knives and petty/parers from the same line.

Stainless (or more or less) knives from MAC, Sakai Takayuki (Aoki Hamono), Togiharu, Tojiro, Hiromoto, Kanetsuga, and a few other Japanese manufacturers provide much better performance/value than a Shun chef's knife.

Before answering the question directly, let me say, "I doubt it." Preparation is mostly vegetables.

Neither a good boucher nor poissoner (French titles for the meat and fish prep guys on a classic, Escoffier style line ) would chose a chef's knife as either of their first choices. Also, red meat wants a rougher edge with a little bite too it; while fish preps best with a polished edge. If you're sticking with a small, four or five knife set, you'll be doing most of your meat and fish work with your slicer and petty.

If you're going to be doing a ton of meat work, you might want to look at some of the professional profiles from Forschner and Dexter. Especially, a "butcher's" or "cimiter," and a "boning." (A word about boning knives: Their "proper" use isn't breaking chickens, it's reaching deep into large pieces to follow the contours of large bones in order to (a) remove the bones, and (b) create a cut which can be reassembled and/or rolled, then trussed.)

Although it doesn't seem a likely pitfall for you, the Japanese "boning" profiled honesuke and garasuke aren't intended for the sort of boning you're likely to do. A honkatsu, on the other hand is an interesting alternative to a European boning knife (desosseur).

A 5" santoku is a ridiculous choice for all the reasons already given. A 7" santoku is less bad and compensates (a bit) for low knife skills. A 10" chef's knife is more productie than an 8" for a couple of reasons. You might get a little extra versatility from the santoku because its wide profile at the tip makes it a better board knife (scoop) than an 8" chef's. Bottom line: If you have any interest at all at getting good with a knife, the learning curve that makes a 10" chef's knife better than an 8" chef's or a 7" santoku is relatively flat. That is, with minimal instruction and a little thought it takes about a month for the 10" to best the shorter knives by a considerable margin.

For someone in your situation, I recommend one of two knives. MAC Pro 9-1/2" (MBK-95, around $140 at Cutlery and More); Hiromoto G no. 3 at 24cm ($130 at Japanese Chef Knives).

The MAC has a very stiff blade, and an excellent handle -- suitable for any size hand and all grip styles. I love recommending this knife, all the feedback I get is positive. MAC also has an effective presence in the U.S., including a great guarantee. If you contact MAC USA it's likely you can find a dealer in your area for a hand's on "test."

The Hiromoto is a little whippy, but the quality of the blade steel is wonderful. The handle is a little on the narrow side, which means it favors either a soft, "pinch grip" or a medium to small hand. If you have largish hands, and use a tight "pinch," a modified pinch, or a "baseball" grip -- forget the Hiromoto. Other good knives you might like to consider include the Togiharu Inox (not available at 9.5" as far as I know), and Misono Moly (great handle, decent steel).

A word about "try before you buy" testing at a store like Williams-Sonoma, Sur Le Table, etc. To my mind anyway, brief tests are pretty much useless. "Heft" seems like a positive attribute and synonym for quality -- but over the long term is a negative. Handle heavy balance also seems positive in the short term, but for most people becomes negative over time. (That said, Gude's Viking series is designed to be handle heavy and consistently balanced over the entire range. Globals are designed to be consistently neutral.) Plus, nearly all of the very best knives simply aren't available for trial in brick and mortar stores and insistence on an in-store trial forecloses their possiblity. Lots of people insist "try before you buy" is a necessity, and I'm not going to say they're wrong -- merely that there's a controversy.

Before we get specific about sharpening recommendations, we've got to know what's realistic to expect you can do on a regular basis.

Hope this helps,
BDL
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post #15 of 17
Not many out side of this thread are going to be comparing a Mac Chef's series to Wusthof. I suspect most considering a Wusthof will be comparing a Mac pro. A fine knife but certainly a fair amount more expensive than Wusthof no matter how you slice it.
Apparently there are those that feel when you handle a knife you need to wave it around like a Jedi warrior in the store. Absurd but funny. :lol:The same group will tell you that if a knife feels "balanced" or correct in your hand you just don't know much about knives. Whether a knife is technically "balanced" or not is a moot point if it feels good to the buyer.
Clearly you can tell far more when you handle a knife than you can by reading some one else's opinion on the Internet. Not that the latter should not be considered. Lets not forget that many sellers do not accept knife returns if they have been used. Irrespective of whether you handle a knife in the store or at home, at some point you have to decide to keep it or not. That choice is almost always going to be based on looks, feel, perceived value, quality and the buyers preference.
You won't be able to slice and chop away, sharpen it and then return it if you are un-happy in most cases.
The notion that X45CrMo and X50CrMoV15 is "harder" to sharpen than VG-10 or other Japanese steel is little more than one opinion. One that is not universally shared by any stretch of the imagination. It's meaningless to just openly suggest Wusthof is "harder" to sharpen. Repeating a thing that is widely subject to interpretation if just not flat out inaccurate will not make it a fact.
Sharpen any of these brands on a grinder like Chef's Choice and one is not going to be any "sharper" than the other. I'm not saying that's a bad thing. Not every one is interested in spending their free time putting steel to stone. However any talk of sharpness etc. needs to be put into perspective with the owners ability.
I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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post #16 of 17
Duckfat,

No offense meant, but you've significantly mischaracterized my post.

BDL
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post #17 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by boar_d_laze View Post

The less expensive MACs are very thin and a little difficult to sharpen, but aren't particularly hard, around HrC 58. The MAC Pro is not at all thin for a Japanese knife. On the contrary, the MAC Pro chef's knife has a little extra beef and unlike most chef's knives is quite stiff and particularly suited to the way most western professional cooks work. MAC uses alloys with plenty of moly, and their knives are a good blend of strength and toughness. Admittedly a MAC Chef series is slightly more prone to chippng than a Wusthof, but it gets a lot sharper, stays that way a heck of a lot longer, is lighter, more agile, and a lot cheaper.

Chef's Choice machines are an excellent choice for many.

You have to know who you are. If you've got a lot of different kinds of knives with various bevel angle requirements a Chef's Choice is not a good choice. You need the versatitlity you get with stones or at least a rod guide.

But if freehand sharpening seems daunting, or if it merely seems too inconvenient to do fairly frequently, and a rod guide seems dauntingly inconvenient, then a Chef's Choice, left on the counter, could be the best solution.

It's as much about what gets used as what does the best job. A Chef's Choice will give you a very good edge. Not the sharpest or the most polished but a nice, long lasting double or triple bevel (depending on the machine) edge.

There are several Chef's Choice machines which sharpen a "Japanese" bevel angle of 15*.

BDL

 

Hi BDL,

 

I just ordered a MAC MTH-80 chef knife. You said you don't consider it thin for a Japanese knife? It's 2mm. 

 

Also, why would a longer knife be better than an 8" if you have good knife skills?

 

And, you mentioned how you think a Chef Choice might be a good choice for many? I've read on other forums people saying a CC will actually damage your knives. Not true? Adding a recurve and maybe grinding off the tip. False?

 

I'd like to say I want to learn to use water stones but there's the chance I won't use them. As you said. I might invest in a few stones. Start working on my skills. Then find it too much trouble (e.g. pulling out the stones, holder...setting them up over the sink...flattening the stones before using...getting rid of the metal in the sink...setting up the strop...putting it all away). So if using a CC is a more realistic and worthy choice for me...I might buy a Tryzor or 2 stage Asian knife model.

 

It's good to have 3 bevels per side? (Tryzor) What if I just want to keep one bevel? Would using a 2-stage leave 2 bevels per side or 1?

 

Thanks.

 

Rob.

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