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Japanese knives are not for everyone...

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
Recently I sold a Shun 10" Chef's Knife to a coworker; I made him an incredible deal on it, well under 1/2 the new price for a knife that you literally couldn't tell from new. He was pretty excited to try it out at his other job.

Well, a few days later he showed me a picture of a really wicked chip taken out near the heel. Seems he was cutting some meat and solidly contacted a bone. He couldn't believe that a knife could chip like that; he figured a Shun was very hard, hard enough it couldn't be chipped! Furthermore, he was dubious when the manager of the store where I bought it explained that due to the hardness it was more liable to chip. He figured she was blowing smoke up his skirt, but I gently explained that she was telling him the truth. I went on to explain that if a knife with a very thin, hard edge is used as you'd use a German chips were inevitable. I even told him that cutting extremely crusty batard could result in microchipping. He was very dubious of that, don't think he believed me...but of course anyone who's tried it knows better.

Now he's convinced that his Wusthofs are better knives. I'd have to concede that for him, they are. As nice as a Porsche 911 is it's not going to be ideal for deer hunting on logging roads or carrying loads of firewood.:rolleyes: Anyone who won't use a Japanese knife as it should be used is probably much better off with a German.
"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
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"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
Reply
post #2 of 27
Good post and an excellent example of the principles: "Right tool for the purpose;" and "Right tool for the craftsman."

A tendency to chip is a caveat emptor which goes along with certain alloys hardened to a certain level in certain Japanese knives. Some gyutos require something along the lines of a chef de chef or "western deba" to make up for their unsuitability for certain tasks like cutting through chicken back and keel bones, skinning pineapples, splitting hard squash, etc.

Shun chef's knives are pretty tough (term of art, meaning resistant to chipping) as Japanese knives go. That's partly the nature of VG-10, the "core" (aka hagane) steel which makes up the edge; partly Shun's choice not to overharden the VG-10; and partly due to the "constrained layer mode damping" which is a product of san-mai (three layers, with the edge steel in the middle) construction and the soft steel used for the jigane (outer layer(s)). There are one or two excellent reasons to hate Shun chef's knives; but "chippiness" isn't one of them. VG-10 is not CowryX.

So, what's the lesson here? "Japanese chef's knives are less suitable for people more likely to abuse them?" The related, "Japanese chef's knives are less suitable for people who won't reach for a heavier knife when one is called for? Or what? Isn't there some rule which cuts a little finer than different strokes for different folks?

Really asking for your insight here .

I think you're drawing the right lesson from the situation, and are more than right to share it because it illustrates the importance of matching your go-to knife to your technique (which includes switching to a specialty knife when necessary). But, I think that whatever caused the chip in a Shun, might well have done as much damage to a Wusthof.

"German" knives DO chip -- especially stainless, and especially since the switch from X45CrMoV to the slightly higher carbon X50CrMoV15 (and equivalents). In fact, any sharp edge can chip -- usually as a result from hitting something hard or fibrous at an angle less than square.

Moreover, the "German" choices of tougher (as opposed to stronger) steel, and restrained hardening results in blades with a tendency to roll -- and a roll is the functional equivalent of a chip. It can't be unrolled by any amount of steeling; but just like a chip, only abraded off.

If I were buying a new chef's knife, the only imaginable reason for me to buy a non-Japanese blade, would be to keep adding to my collection of Sabs. The difference a good Japanese knife in the hands of a reasonably skilled user makes in performing almost every chef's knife task is just that great.

However, my dream gyuto short list is restricted to relatively practical knives and excludes the super high end. Ironically, you reach a level where expense and exclusivity carry a lot of limitations which I regard as impractical.

While my dream list is at a price level or two beyond the "sweet spot" on the chef's knife cost/benefit continuum, there are several Japanese stainless knives at that point which are very chip resistant, such as the MAC Pro (VG-2 I think), and the Sakai Takayuki Grand Cheff (Uddeholm's AEB-L).

When someone asks me to recommend a chef's knife (which happens fairly frequently), in order to move up in performance from their old chef's, I sometimes but rarely see a set of characteristics which would cause me to recommend a "German" knife which doesn't include an expressed intent to abuse -- in which case I recommend cheap uber alles."

BDL

PS. "German" in quotes, because several of the very best manufacturers making modern top-line German type knives, aren't German at all.
post #3 of 27
Thread Starter 
Very true. I've seen just about every type of damage imaginable over the years. The most common things I've seen are 1) broken tips, 2) crushed or rolled heels and 3) profiles ruined by improper sharpening. Yes, a "German" can chip just as any knife can. And you make an excellent point re edge rolling- a bad roll is just as bad as a chip. Sure, it may stay attached but it's like keeping a useless limb instead of having amputated; the difference is psychological.

That said, the thicker bevel and softer steel usually makes a knife like a Wusthof a bit more durable than, say, a Shun. In a perverse way the fact that most guys don't keep 'em sharp also probably helps matters as the actual cutting portion of the edge often resembles a well used axe.

I haven't yet seen the chip in person, just a picture he took on his camera phone. It looks bad, though...worse than anything I've done to a knife. I'm not sure what action Shun will take. Hopefully they'll replace it since grinding the chip out would remove a lot of metal. Hard to say since it's really a case of operator error, not a failure of the knife. Hopefully he'll learn from this and try to use the knife in a way that takes advantage of it's strengths instead of getting spooked and ditching it.

On one level I feel something akin to guilt, or at least remorse. I "assumed" that he'd absorbed enough of my knife ramblings to understand the role of a knife like that Shun. And although I didn't really have much use for it anymore myself it certainly didn't deserve being treated like that!


It's often true that as you spend more money you get a knife that's perhaps superior but also very tuned for a specific purpose, and probably generally limited to very specialized things. What can you use a $2,500 aogami yanagiba for except raw, boneless protein? Would you let your mom carve a pumpkin with a Hattori KD? Often expensive knives become "case queens", too valuable and delicate for real world use.


Very true. But this incident has served to remove my rose colored spectacles where cutlery recommendations are concerned. I like so many other inveterate knife geeks, when I'm pressed for a recommendation I'll immediately start rattling off J-knives in the appropriate price range. But obviously a J-knife isn't always appropriate. There's no free lunch where design is concerned; if a knife is made extremely thin and sharpened to very acute angles, all else being equal that edge won't be as strong as a thicker one. Advanced materials can compensate to a degree but they can't cheat the laws of physics.

The problem is people still want to believe in the free lunch. They honestly seem to believe a good knife should be able to cut thru a nail and still slice your tomato paper thin. I'm careful not to over-promise when discussing J-knives, and I always explain that they're a specialized sort of tool...but obviously that sometimes falls on deaf ears. And everywhere there seems to be some type of mystique, some legends surrounding steel. Just look at Busse- he's got people convinced that Infi is an alloy of Admantium and Kryptonite.

Incidents like this annoy me to no end. One of the main reasons is that now, in this guys mind, Wusthofs are simply better and Shuns are too flimsy. In reality he might have seriously damaged his German nailing a bone like he did but that won't enter into his thought process. And of course it highlights the fact that I often tend to give people too much credit at times. You'd like think that people are trainable and have good access to common sense, but often that's not the case.


That's also very true. The world "German" with respect to knives is for me like calling any cotton swab on a stick a Q-Tip or any facial tissue a Kleenex. The ubiquity of those brands and their total dominance in the marketplace has made their brand name synonomous with their product category.
"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
Reply
"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
Reply
post #4 of 27
Thread Starter 
I really do want to muse on those paragraphs a bit, and explain why I stated in the header that J-knives aren't really for everyone. As you point out, most of us are comfortable with using a thin gyuto (or in your case, a thin & hard Sab) for most stuff, switching to something heavier for stuff like splitting lobsters, cutting chicken bones, etc. Of course, a die hard knife nut will carry things much further. IIRC, Chris Lehrer mentioned that there are over 600 styles of Japanese knives (hopefully I have the citation & figures correct). This reflects a mindset of specialization that verges on OCD. On the other hand, I recall watching Pepin pick up basically any knife to do any job; basically the polar opposite end of the spectrum.

If I try to explain that a very thin gyuto is great for some things but can't safely handle batard, that creates a disconnect for many people. They think if you need three or four J-knives to cover all the tasks I do with my Wusthof, my knife is probably better. Of course, a Wustie can't do any single task as well as any single J of appropriate build, nor is it going to be happy when asked to chop thru bones. Years and years ago my Dad had a bad habit of snapping hunting knives in half while field dressing deer. He had this idea that you could place the tip of the knife on the pelvic bone and hammer it thru. Well, few knives are really designed with that purpose in mind. Eventually he solved the problem by substituting a $15 camp axe for a $125 knife.

This is a bit of a disjointed ramble, I'll admit. :lol: If you are a homemaker and just need to hang a picture or put up curtains on occasion you can get by with a pretty minimalist tool box. But if you're a contractor you really will need a lot more tools; better ones and ones specialized to do certain jobs efficiently. This is true in the kitchen to a degree, too. Of course, where a master like Pepin can do more jobs with less specialized tools, mere mortals often need more tools. Sometimes a mandoline is more efficient than a knife, especially if the operator lacks advanced knife skills.

Lastly, one has to remember there are people to whom knives are tools and those to whom they're objects of obsession!:lol: I just grok on knives and enjoy optimizing the blade to the task. For those with less geekish/OCD tendencies a more one-size-fits-all approach is probably in order. And if you're only gonna have one knife, you have to think hard before making it a J-knife unless you're committed to learning to use it right.
"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
Reply
"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
Reply
post #5 of 27
Phaedrus,

Interesting stuff. We agree on an awful lot, that's for sure.

Thanks,
BDL
post #6 of 27
I've never seen a GermanX knife chip. Ever. I would venture a guess that's true for the vast majority of Chefs. I have seen them bent and broke from abuse but I've never seen one chip. It may happen but it's going to be exceedingly rare Vs being a fairly common occurrence with j-knives at large.
Re-setting an edge is not difficult. When you chip an edge you can not replace metal that is not there. Re-setting a edge may be similar to grinding out micro-chips but that's a separate issue.
So in your mind it is a "fact" that most guys who use German steel don't keep their knives sharp......Oiye. :lol::lol:
It may not have been your cook that had been given too much credit.



The Japanese fanboyism does get a bit carried away.
So no "wustie" (I assume that bash is directed at all German steel) can do ANY task as well a J-knife. Talk about painting with a broad brush.:rolleyes:
IMO this is a prime example of poor, if not just totally false information that can lead others to the wrong tool.
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 #7 of 27
I have. Lots. It usually happens when the knife is freshly sharpened, and gets "grabbed" by the board. The worst part is you can feel it in your teeth when it happens.

Some truth to that; but it bears mentioning that better knives made in Japan for the western market chip a lot less than they used to. This is especially true at the higher end where AEB-L, 13C26, 19C27, VG-2, VG-5, VG-10, and G3 dominate. Those are all tough steels -- especially if not overhardened.

Some knives do have a reputation for being a bit chippy, including a couple of the pricey VG-10 "warikomi" type. MAC Original and MAC Superior are very thin and very hard, considering the alloy used, and can be a bit chippy as well. But with the MACs, its worth it. I can't speak to the VG-10 warikomis like Shun and Hattori HD. I dislike them for other reasons and only"know" about their tendency to chip by internet gossip.

I'm not sure what you mean by "re-setting." To me, the term means changing the bevel angles; "re-profiling," to use another term. If an edge has rolled, the entire edge needs to be repair by grinding out the old bevel all the way to the entire depth of the chip in order to form a completely smooth edge. If that's what you mean by "re-setting," cool. In any case it's a total PITA; and a moderate roll requires exactly the same amount of repair as a chip of equal depth.

If your point is that a really bad roll won't be as large as a really bad chip (which can completely ruin the knife, yes that's true.

On the other hand (the other, other hand?), "German" knives roll more frequently than Japanese knives sustain serious chips -- at least in skilled hands. Also, you fail to account for bent and broken tips which are (a) very common with "Germans," and (b) require aggressive grinding in order to repair.

Your passion is admirable and infectious. But no need to get personal. We're just calling it as we see it... Same as you. It's not an attack on your knives, your choices, or the validity of your reasoning. There's room for lots of opinions.

At a certain level, with minor exceptions, there pretty much only is one "German" knife -- in that they share a common profile, common blade alloy, and common method of manufacture. This is true for F. Dick, Forschner (the forged line), Gude (including Viking), Henckels (all of the Twins), Lamson (LamsonSharp), Messermeister, Wusthof (all of the "forged," with the possible exception of LCB which is no longer manufactured, and Ikon), and probably a couple of others who aren't leaping to mind. Even most of the exceptions like the Wusthof Ikon offer onlyslightly differing blade and handle profiles; but are otherwise very much the same ol' same ol'. Thus, the generalization is fair.

Not all Japanese knives, but all of the good ones take a better edge and hold it longer. Not all Japanese made knives, but nearly all of the good ones are patterened closer to a "French" than a "German" profile, and are more agile. If sharpness and agility are in the job description, Japanese knives are superior. On the other hand, there's no need to spend the money on a "western deba," when a western made knife will do the same heavy-duty jobs less expensively and be less prone to damage.

Moreover, some of the "Germans" (notbably Henckels and Wusthof) recognize that Japanese cutlery is mounting a serious challenge at the high end to what was complete German dominance and are introducing knife lines which mimic to one degree or another Japanese knives. Wusthof's Ikon and LCB series offer a bolster without a finger guard, and a slightly slimmer blade profile with a bit less belly; while Henckels actually markets a made in Japan line under the Hencels name as its very top of the line, the Cermax series.

Well, that's your opinion; and it's one I respect. On the other hand, my opinion is that Phaedrus has a lot more right on his side in this discussion.

Maybe an illustration would help everyone. In your opinion, which characteristics of knife and buyer make the choice of Wusthof Classic better than MAC Pro?

In my opinion, when it comes to buying a quality chef's knife in the "$100 and up for 8"" category, the reasons to buy European are slim -- but there are good ones.

It's fair to point out that my knife kit, including all my chef's (at least four, maybe more -- who knows what's in the garage?) is entirely European. I.e, they're French carbons of one ancient vintage or another. And my other knives are also European -- mostly old Sabatiers, but a few Forschner Rosewoods, and even a Henckels (bread).

Best tool of the job and all that. In the case of a chef's knife, that usually means Japanese.

My 3 cents,
BDL
post #8 of 27
I call it the way I see it. Fanboyism is what it is. When I see people making statements that are absurd to the point of being laughable involving brands it's usually (IMO) a result of fanboyism. Making wide sweeping statements like a Wustie can not perform as well as any J-knife is just absurd. A statement like that does no one any good and if this is what young impressionable cooks hear it's no surprise that they buy J-knives and think they will perform like a ginsu only to discover just how easy they can be damaged.


Ahh, The caveats. "In skilled hands". But that's the real catch. People read these threads and hear some of these broad (false) statements about ALL J-knives or ALL German knives with out any accounting for brand, hardness, steel type etc and then you wind up with the wrong tools in the wrong hands. A J-knife can easily be destroyed by an inexperienced user. While German steel may roll easier it's not much of an issue for any one maintaining their knives. Then again there are those who would have you believe that if you have a German knife in your roll that you just never sharpen or maintain your tools. I did not fail to account for broken tips as this is only the result of extreme negligence but you can chip a J-knife with minimal negligence.


Based on your disdain for German knives and length of time I've been working with them I would venture a fair guess I've handled a lot more German steel. I have never seen one chip. Ever. In 30 years I have never even seen one IRL that some one else has chipped.
I'm not sure if I would call it gossip but there are some well known and well respected professional knife sharpeners out there that claim the Hattori is notorious for chipping.
Finally I just say non-sense to that last sentence as it assumes facts not in evidence. If you have a user that can not keep a German knife maintained then a J-knife is not going to be an improvement in most cases. Any knife is only as good as the user and only as sharp as the ability of the individual maintaining them.
I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
Reply
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 27
I think you miss the point my friend. Phaedrus is claiming ALL J-knives out perform ALL Wusties (all German knives?) at any single task. I'll line up a half dozen gyutos of my choice (your expense) and I'll wager a C-note that I can snap each of them like a tooth pick crushing garlic. I'll also wager you a fair amount that I can chip the edge of a J-knife with the steel of my choice and a traditional grind just by using an edge grain board and "walking" the knife across the board chopping herbs Vs slicing in a Japanese style.
Both are common every day occurrence for knives in many kitchens.
OTOH I'm sure we could both bend or break the tip of many knives if we try to use them as a screw driver. Sadly this is also fairly common.
Using the wrong tool for the job or miss-using any tool irrespective of the country of origin only illustrates one thing, the user was either taught poorly, ill-informed or just negligent. What I find really unfortunate is that there are those who make huge sweeping statements that have the potential of miss-leading others to the wrong tools.
I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
Reply
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 #10 of 27
Thread Starter 
Yikes!:eek: Talk about being taken to task! And my, I haven't been called a "fanboy" since my early days of discussing AD&D 2E vs AD&D 3E!:roll: Allow me to make my case and perhaps thaw your chilly opinion of me.

For starters, you're misstating my quote, deliberately I imagine. But no matter- you'll recall the title of my thread was "Japanese knives are not for everyone..." I've copiously pointed out that they're more delicate and not appropriate for those who don't take the time to educate themselves about the differences between J's and typical Western blades. It's just that type of misinformation I'm trying to dispell; my point isn't to perpetuate the tired "German vs Japanese" debate that you're trying to keep alive.

Ah, the "fanboy" crack...Well, perhaps I'm guilty as charged!:lol: Few people have the fervor of a convert. Of course, before I was a J-Knife Fanboy I was a working chef using Germans, ranging from Wusthof and Henkels to G-types that aren't technically German (like Forschner, Dexter, etc). My first "good" knife was an 8" Wustie. Matter of fact, I still have it today. When first confronted with powers of the J, I went thru the K├╝bler-Ross...but I'm open minded enough that I reached acceptance faster than some.;)


Again, you're changing the meaning of my statement by leaving off the last part. You accuse me of painting with too broad a brush, but you do so with a "straw man" argument. I never said "a German Chef's knife can't do anything as well as a Japanese Gyuto", but you're pointedly implying that I did. But I said no such thing.


I dunno. Chipping with J-knives is more common among nOObs that don't appreciate that a Gyuto and a Chef's Knife aren't the same things. Um, you do realize they're aren't, right?;) Just like you're gonna smoke the clutch until you master a stick, you're gonna chip thin, hard knives til you stop cutting frozen food, chopping thru bones, etc. Fixing your technique greatly mitigates the problem. Still, I disagree with your statistics. I've seen plenty of chipped edges in my day, and I'm not talking J's. And I think rumors of Japanese chippiness are exaggerated...but yeah, it's definately more of an issue with J's.

BUT, rolled edges are verrrrrry common with G's. And I'll agree with BDL- a badly rolled spot if just a chip that didn't fall out. A bad, deep roll will weaken the edge steel to the point where all you can effectively do to fix it is grind out that part of the blade.


**** right! But not because they're German- it's because, by and large, being a line cook and being a good sharpener aren't remotely related. You're experiences may be different than mine but I've known maybe 3 cooks in my life that were really knife nuts, and maybe one that really knew how to sharpen a knife professionally. I've had a lot of guys work for me that graduated good schools, and what passes for knife and/or sharpening knowledge is flatly scandalous!

Besides, consider this- before he retired and turned his attention to sharpening professionally, my Dad spent 40+ years doing construction, much of it with his own small construction firm. He appreciated the value of quality tools but do you think he even once considered creating a clawhammer forum? Or sat in his chair polishing his spirit level to a satin sheen? **** no! They're tools. That's the view most cooks I've known have- their knives, if they even own their own, are simply tools. Only we rare few hold them as objects of fetish. Most kitchen guys and gals take their knives for granted.

But I see this less with J-knife users, and I'll tell you why I think this is (although you're not gonna like it!:lol:). Almost no Western cook starts out with Japanese knives- one usually comes to them through a process of learning. Often they like knives and actively learn about them; the types, how to sharpen, etc. Once one starts using them one usually either abandons them in frustration over damaging one or being unable to keep them sharp, or one tends to adopt them fairly enthusiastically. The J-knife is the tool of an enthusiast; therefore they tend to better maintained that those who view knives as hammers and saws for the kitchen.


Ouch!:lol: I dunno, maybe you're right. But considering that he did a ton of damage despite my tutorials, either I should've harped more or he should've listened better. There's a reason people still cut their toes off with lawnmowers and fall off the top "this-is-not-a-step!" of stepladders. It concerns that trait that a well known comedian says can't be fixed.:p I'll allow that that it might have been a error to think he understood the proper use of the knife; that's the only way I meant I gave him too much credit. Maybe I should have provided a few hours of training? Still, in my defense my only crime was selling him a fine knife for about 40% of it's value.


Hmmm...a broken tip is the result "only the result of extreme negligence" yet chipping a J-knife isn't? That would depend on the degree of chipping, I guess. Still, at the risk of sounding gauche, and with apologies, I have to ask- have you ever used J-knives extensively? Do you own any? Some of your statements don't seem to correspond to the reality I've encountered in daily kitchen life. My roll is comprised nowadays almost completely of Japanese steel and has been for quite some time. I'm speaking from experience- from what place are you speaking?


I realize that was directed at BDL, but I'd still like to address it. I'm not sure how long he was a chef but it was a good long while at some good places (iirc he left it all behind for the glamorous life of a lawyer...). First off, congrats on 30 years! It's quite an accomplishment to reach that level of seniority without becoming a raging alcoholic or convicted felon!:lol: For my own part I've spent over 20 years in the trenches. That said, I recall the story of the proverbial guy with 50 years experience that really learned everything he knew in the first year and spent the next 49 repeating it. No, no, that's not an insinuation, but I'm frankly stunned if you spend 30 on the line (as opposed to 25 in the office) and never saw chipping! That truly astounds me! It leads me to hazard a guess that I've handled about 15 miles more German steel in my 20 years than you have in your 30!:lol: And most of that was before my Dad hung out his shingle as a pro sharpener. Some of the steel a pro sees would straighten your curlies!:roll:


I too have heard that rumor, and I'm of two minds. First off, I've owned (and still do own) a number of Hattori's. Personally I haven't found them any more liable to chip than any similarly constructed knife (ie suminigashi-style, San-mai construction with a V-Gold 10 hagane). Part of this may be because I was pretty familiar with the breed before I ever bought a knife of that level. Could be I "got lucky". My other thought is that, next to Shun, Hattori is among the most famous & popular brands of Japanese knife. They sell a lot of HDs, many of those to punters & pikers stepping up from G's for the first time. People are generally more apt to have problems with their first ones, til they learn the proper care & feeding. Along the same lines, a more popular item will naturally generate more complaints. Think Ford or GM- if there cars where as bad as you hear, they'd be teetering on the brink of bankruptcy right now! Oh, wait...bad example!:lol: [NOTE: That said, even among 'fanboys' the HD line has a rep for being easier to chip than, say, an Akifusa or Aritsuga].


This is where you really misunderstand me. To compare a Wustie with a gyuto is pointedly not what I said. In fact, this is the exact quote (the only change being formatting emphasis for clarity):

The simple fact is, there is no such thing as a Chef's Knife in the lexicon of Japanese knives. I think you're perhaps confusing them due to the similarity in shape between it and the gyuto. The closest match for a Chef's Knife in current Japanese manufacturers Western lines would be the Western Deba, not the gyuto. You wanna compare a German truck to Japanese car. If you want to compare the Wustie to a good Western Deba, feel free to lay down your C-note.;)

Therein lies the problem, and the reason for this post: your ignorance (no offense meant) mirrors that of most guys. A gyuto isn't made smash garlic or walk across a cutting board any more a Suzuki Hayabusa was made to Motocross, or than a bottle of Chateau Petrus was vinted to make Saurbraten. Subjecting an instrument like a gyuto to frozen chicken legs is like subjecting a Wusthof Chef to chopping coconuts or battonning firewood. A fair comparison can only be made by evaluating each Wustie knife (of various patterns) to its' Japanese counterpart designed for the same use. Fillet knife to deba or yanagiba. Boning knife to Honesuki. Chef Knife to Western Deba or Chinese Cleaver. Carving knife sujihiki. So on and so forth. Until you're prepared to do that, my wallet is standing pat.;)

In this I'm in complete agreement. I'm going to hazard a guess that I've used roughly the same amount of German knives as you but an order of magnitude more J-knives than you have. Would I be close to the mark? I say this because I've never met anyone who's given them an honest and thorough test and failed to come away impressed. And if you had, you'd see that my statement was less sweeping than you first implied, and what's more contains no hyperbole whatever. In fact, it's recognition of just those facts that leads me to conclude that they're not appropriate for those users not able/willing understand the differences. Those who don't want to learn to use them properly should stick with the training wheels. [NOTE: Sorry, that was a zinger! Just having a little fun.]


I finally must concede one point: a Wustie is superior as a screwdriver! Hey, I did admit I still have one Wusthof, remember?

Sorry for the length; this is among the longest posts I've ever made, but I think the discussion warranted a thorough reply.:thumb:
"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
Reply
"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
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post #11 of 27
You may want to consider knocking that chip off your shoulder (pun intended) as your imagination is a bit over active. You were not miss-quoted.

I think you should read your own posts. What part did I leave out? The bit about your dad (the pro?) thinking he could split a pelvic bone by hammering a knife through bone? :lol:
I never said you mentioned a gyuto I just posted a direct quote from your post, one that you are now trying to alter and attach caveats too. :rolleyes:
Lets look at what you actually said again;
What you stated is that no German knife (I assume the bash was aimed at all German steel since you didn't deny that) can perform ANY single task as well as any J-knife. No amount of deflection is going to change just how poorly informed you appear to be.
I had thought that any one claiming your vast experience would understand the difference between appropriate build and appropriate use. The two are not the same, not by a long shot. I'd say apples and oranges but it's more like a different solar system.
Like it or not a gyuto is perhaps the most commonly used J-knife used in place of a chefs knife. In fact according to many a gyuto IS a chefs knife. So if a gyuto by your own words can not perform the basic tasks of a Chefs knife like chopping herbs or smashing garlic with out damage you only illustrate my point in spades.

That's true but it has nothing at all to do with what you said. You claim it to be a "fact" that those who use German steel lack the ability to keep their knives sharp. That is absurd and reflects the quality of your work experience. So yes, my experience is vastly different than yours. While not all cooks are knife geeks the VAST and I do mean VAST majority I have worked with have had a fair amount of interest in keeping their tools sharp. Simply put it makes their job easier. Then again I never worked in a chain restaurant.
I would venture a guess that tens of thousands of Chefs and cooks world wide use Wusthof or similar German knives. Suggesting it's a "fact" that all of them lack the skill to maintain their knives is more than a little dull. :rolleyes: What was that question you asked in regards to experience again?
Indeed? From what place?:lol::thumb:
Your post has the appearance of just regurgitating what others may have said on the internet only with out the benefit of thought or experience. A polished edge for a line cook is just not necessary or even desirable for many. An excellent working edge can be maintained with out being a knife geek. That doesn't imply that every one who uses German steel lacks the knowledge or skill to maintain their knives and it's certainly not a universal "fact" as you stated. If a line cook lacks the skill to maintain a German knife then it's not very likely that they will maintain a thin hard knife that most agree is more prone to chipping and is certainly far less forgiving to poor knife skills. You do realize that not all J-knives are ground with a western edge....right?

Really? I think a lot of folks might disagree with you. A gyuto and a "western" deba are both a form of a chef's knife. Not that this is the be all end all source but I think they may have a titch more knowledge than you in this regard;
Western Knives


I guess it should have been alimantery that you would take the fanboy quip a bit hard.
My initial take on your inane post was that it was just exuberant fanboyism run amuck. At this juncture I can plainly see it's see that's not the case.
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 #12 of 27
Thread Starter 
Um, so does that mean you really haven't ever used a Japanese knife? Or are you just 'regurgitating' stuff you've been told? If you ever mentioned this at all I guess I missed it. To clarify, just what brands and types of Japanese knives have you used extensively? Do you have any actual experience to relate or are your comments just posturing & hot air? Your ad homs amuse me but they produce more heat that light.

BTW, my Dad broke his last hunting knife on pelvic bone over 30 years ago...he's learned a bit over the last three decades. I wonder if you can say the same?;)

And please don't lay awake nights thinking your "fanboy" comment has me riled up- I don't want your sleepless nights on my conscience! And pithy and utterly original as it is to hear a (presumably) grown adult calling someone that, it reminds me of an old joke..."Arguing on the internet is running in the Special Olympics. Even if you win you're still [an unpleasant pejorative term for a mentally challenged person]." After 20 years of real ranking and razzing on the line and being married once, your pixellated bluster isn't likely to get much more out of me than a chuckle.:thumb:
"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
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"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
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post #13 of 27
[Moderator]

Drop the YOU speech. Speak about the knives, not the person. Critique the opinion, not the person holding the opinion. And don't take disagreement with your opinion personally.

[/Moderator]

Phil
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #14 of 27
Thread Starter 
Yeah, this one's pretty much run it's course. This is how threads on this topic sometimes go. It's gotten so far off the original topic that there's not much point to it now.
"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
Reply
"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
Reply
post #15 of 27
I replaced my "old " knifes with the one from type301 Porsche design and like them very much . I don't use them to cut a tree but for normal home cooking .
post #16 of 27
Thread Starter 
Are those Porsche made by Chroma?
"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
Reply
"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
Reply
post #17 of 27
Yes they are .
post #18 of 27
Thread Starter 
Their knife briefcase is dead sexy!:smoking:
"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
Reply
"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
Reply
post #19 of 27
Have you seen the cases from Glestain?
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
Reply
post #20 of 27
Thread Starter 
Nope, not a glestain.
"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
Reply
"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
Reply
post #21 of 27
I have only one remark on this whole debate...
Despicable. Everyone knows OAD&D was far superior. :laser:
post #22 of 27
Thread Starter 
Haha! I was into D&D before there even was AD&D (although I was too young for the White Box ed). For many years I played AD&D 1E, then 2E, then a hybrid of both. To this day I have about 3 or 4 really large totes filled with OOP RPG books...Rifts, Torg, Gurps, TRS games of all stripes, etc. I've got as many as 8 copies of certain critical books like DMGs and PGs.

Ooops, I am a fanboy after all!:lol:
"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
Reply
"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
Reply
post #23 of 27
You do not want to get me started on this. :crazy:
post #24 of 27
Thread Starter 
Don't worry, Chris- you're fine so long as you don't have a collection of painted lead miniatures...:thumb: Um, I have hundreds of 'em.
"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
Reply
"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
Reply
post #25 of 27
Here's the one I have been eye balling.

Glestain Knife Case
I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
Reply
I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
Reply
post #26 of 27
Thread Starter 
Oh, I've seen that one. Nice looking but wouldn't work for me. I like to keep gadgets and other stuff in my case along with the knives.
"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
Reply
"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
Reply
post #27 of 27
This Glestain is a lot smaller. Probably not very practical. My most used box is a plastic tool box from Home Depot. The top tray is great for smaller items and it's no larger than a lot of the brief case style cases. I think it was under $20.
I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
Reply
I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
Reply
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