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Your work chefs knife, a discussion. - Page 2

post #31 of 39

The sky would be the limit for $1,000.  You could easily get a complete set of Naniwa Chocera stones for that with money left over for a J-nat or two.  Heck, maybe even a 42" Kalamazoo grinder.

"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 #32 of 39

$1K is far more than you need -- I think -- for what you're trying to do.

 

It depends what you're trying to do, of course.  If you're going to be sharpening a lot of yanagiba for all the sashimi you do, you might (might, mind you) have a legitimate need to polish the blade roads and edges past the equivalent of 8,000K JIS.  But otherwise, no. 

 

Round out your oilstones with a pair of Arkansas, and buy a good four oilstone kit, plus a DMT XXC (to be used as a diamond flattening plate) and you're still looking at less than $500. 

 

You could, I suppose, spend more money by buying Chosera series stones -- but there's no reason to do so.  Choseras are only among the best, they do not stand alone there.  Other, less expensive, stones are just as good.  I have a couple of Choseras, use them, like them, but don't recommend them because they're overpriced.  For instance, the no name 10K magnesia stones are just as good as the 10K Chosera and less than half the price. 

 

Getting back to spending (your) money:  Perhaps add in a Hand American stropping set and a Hand American borosilicate glass honing rod -- both of which I have -- but at some point you've left the world of sharpening for effect and entered the universe of puttering around and hobbyism.  If that's what you want, fine; but know that's what you're going after.  Then, of course, you'll have to admit that your life is unmanageable because of it. 

 

Trust me.  I don't always use my finest stone, a Naniwa SS 8K, and then only for a few strokes.  But I'm thinking of replacing it with a Naniwa Pure White or a Kitayama or [gulp] both.  Bottom line: I like fooling around with this stuff, I can afford it, so why not?  But, I'm not kidding myself that my knives will be significantly sharper.  The edge quality might be more slippery; I won't have to flatten as often; and I won't have to guard as vigilantly against gouging; but those improvements are very much around the margins. 

 

If you want a really good working edge, you can do it with a good three stone kit:  Beston 500, Bester 1200, and Takenoko 6000.  If you want to max your Japanese knives by putting the best edge they can hold for more than a few minutes of cutting -- then we're talking a four stone kit (say Beston 500, Bester 1200, Suehiro Rika, and 10K magnesia), or stropping, or possibly both.  But that's as much -- if not more -- about fooling around with knives than cutting onions.

 

Anyway, if you do prefer to strop your finest edges, you don't need a fine polishing stone -- because you'll be doing that with the strops anyway.  For instance, you might come off a 6K to a 1u boron strop and follow that with a 1/2u CrO2 strop.  You're not going to get a better edge than that. 

 

Just between you, me and the wall, you might want to start out with an inexpensive waterstone kit -- say 10mm SS or even a 1K/6K combi stone -- and [ahem] hone your skills (including flattening) before running out and spending a lot of money on a complete high-end set.  Also, at this point, it might be worthwhile to start participating, or at least lurking, in a more knife oriented forum (I recommend Fred's Cutlery Forum as the sanest and least backbiting).  Not that you're not getting very good advice here, but you'll see a wider spectrum and get a better feeling for what the consensuses are.

 

Bottom Line:

The recommendations you asked for -- but without the links. 

 

You've got a lot of knives that you'll want to keep using that will sharpen best on oilstones.  As a set, I really like:  Norton coarse India; Norton fine India; Hall's soft Arkansas; and Hall's Surgical Black Arkansas.  "India" is Norton's trade name for aluminum oxide.  Crystolon is another Norton (who owns Bear) trade name for Silicon carbide.  In my opinion the aluminum oxide stones are easier to control and tend to scratch less, and I use the (venerable) Norton IB-8 coarse/fine India combi stone.  But if you like your synthetics, there's no need to trade them for the Indias. 

 

Arkansas stone quality varies very much by quarry, by vein within the quarry, and even by the position in the vein.  Most of the historically good quarries in the Ouashitas (where Arkansas stones come from) are pretty much played out.  Hall's, though, has a good quarry and they sell really good stones.  I'm particularly high on their Surgical Black and think you'll love it as a final stone for most of your Euro knives.  They're also very reasonable, as these things go.  You can get Hall's from Hall's Pro Edge online.  Don't get anything shorter than 8" or narrower than 2".  8x2 is very convenient and well priced; but you may want to go with longer and/or wider.  Bigger is faster.

 

You may want to bolster your oilstone set with a Norton IM-50 sharpening station.  Good idea.

 

You need a good honing rod.  For now, go with the Idahone 12" fine ceramic.  Chef Knives to Go sells it, and I believe Mark calls it the 1200 or something like that.  Later, you can add the Hand American glass if you're of a mind.

 

You'll find that waterstones work so much better on hard, strong knives and oilstones on softer, tougher knives, that it's worth owning a set of each.

 

I've already talked about the Bester 500, Beston 1200 and Arashiyama (aka Takenoko) 6000.  I think those are all outstanding stones.  You can either flatten on dry wall screen (lifetime supply for around $10) or with a DMT XXC (around $90 unless you find it on sale which sometimes happens at Amazon).  I suggest bypassing the coarse ceramic sharpeners.  They're not worth the money or effort. 

 

You can get a waterstone holder if you want, but they don't really add enough height to make them significantly better than the non-skid, waffle, rubber drawer liners you already have rolls of in your garage.  But to each his own.

 

All of the waterstones are available from Chef Knives to Go.  In fact, I've tried to color pretty much within the CKTG lines to make it easier for you.   Mark sells everything but the Hall's soft Ark.  

 

Hope this helps,

BDL

post #33 of 39

BDL, Thanks! I'm going to poke around CKTG and make some orders next week. I'll post what I came up with.

 

Your experience and time is of great value to this community. THANKS!

Do or Do not - There is no Try. - Yoda
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Do or Do not - There is no Try. - Yoda
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post #34 of 39

 I envy you guys and your knives... the only blade I seem to care for as carefully as you is the straight razor I use to shave with.

 

For working knives I have two sets:  home and "to go"... the working blades.

 

At home I have old Heckels 4-star and Shun Classic.  I have a severe case of Japanese knife envy but too cheap - err, thrifty - to buy better Japanese knives. But I look at them all of the time and drool a lot.

 

For the working blades, I like sharp and something I won't cry over if it takes a walk without me.  So I have an few older carbon steel knives: 8" Sabatier that I treat more like a paring knife, a 10 inch no-name stamped steel with wood handle and a 12 inch no-name stamped steel with wood handle.

 

If I keep reading the tales and exploits of this forum I might be "shamed" into buying some Japanese knives that I can use to cause envy amongst my friends and family.  Who knows?

 

 My Working Blades.jpg

post #35 of 39

Well - here is the new family member. . . Ordered, shipped and delivered in three days. Wow. I added my 240mm UX10 for comparison between the two...

270mm_Carbon_gyuto.jpg

Do or Do not - There is no Try. - Yoda
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Do or Do not - There is no Try. - Yoda
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post #36 of 39

Brian, I like your set. I feel the same way: I didn't know I needed a "better" knife until I decided I needed a better knife. Lol.

That 8" Nogent is sweet looking. If you suddenly hate it, PM me.   : D

Do or Do not - There is no Try. - Yoda
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Do or Do not - There is no Try. - Yoda
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post #37 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianShaw View Post

 I envy you guys and your knives... the only blade I seem to care for as carefully as you is the straight razor I use to shave with.

 

For working knives I have two sets:  home and "to go"... the working blades.

 

At home I have old Heckels 4-star and Shun Classic.  I have a severe case of Japanese knife envy but too cheap - err, thrifty - to buy better Japanese knives. But I look at them all of the time and drool a lot.

 

For the working blades, I like sharp and something I won't cry over if it takes a walk without me.  So I have an few older carbon steel knives: 8" Sabatier that I treat more like a paring knife, a 10 inch no-name stamped steel with wood handle and a 12 inch no-name stamped steel with wood handle.

 

If I keep reading the tales and exploits of this forum I might be "shamed" into buying some Japanese knives that I can use to cause envy amongst my friends and family.  Who knows?
 

Brian, it's not a question of envy and shame -- or shouldn't be.

 

Have you ever used a medium-high-end Japanese knife? I mean, honestly, you might not like them: you're clearly serious about cutlery if you use Sabatier carbon, but Japanese knives are a lot lighter. I also don't know how old (or set in your ways) you might be: you might see what the fuss is, as it were, but be uninterested in re-learning basic things you learned umpty-zillion years ago, if you see what I mean.

 

If not, and you want to give it a go, these knives are really not so expensive as all that. Think about it: you fill up on gas, that's $50 or so these days, and you probably do it once a week. If you decided to take a break on driving just because there's rain or whatever, generally cut down on fuel spending, you might be able to save $400 in 6 months. Or cut corners somewhere else. How much do you spend on cable, compared to that? And so on. And you know what? $400 will buy you one freaking scary Japanese knife, high-end lunacy kind of thing.

 

I'm not trying to sell you something -- I have no axe to grind. I want you to recognize that there are possibilities other than envy.

 

Here's one: search around the various knife forums, such as Fred's and KnifeForums and so on, and see if there is someone in your neck of the woods who's got one of those extensive collections of madness. Betcha there is. Go make friends, and see about borrowing something, just for home use, to try out, for one week only, with some kind of absolute promise that if something horrible happens you'll suck it up. Lots of knife people are awfully friendly, because their wives won't talk to them about their hobbies and so they want to meet more crazies. Join in. See if this is a craziness for you.

 

Envy isn't necessary, and neither is shame. If you get a chance to really try these things, and you hate 'em (or don't see why your great Sab is any less of a knife, which it isn't), then your problem is solved. If you love 'em, you save up, buy something, treat it like royalty initially and soon become inured to it because it's your right-hand-man, and the problem is solved.

post #38 of 39

I agree with BDL in most respects, but I disagree in one:  The 10k Chocera truly does stand alone in a field of one.  If you know of another synthetic stone, cheap or not, please PM me.  I've found no peer to the Chocera 10k.  The 8k Jyunpaka (aka Snow White) is also a marvel, but not quite in the order of magnitude. 

 

BTW, sadly I've "gone down the rabbit hole" of J-nats.  I fear all is lost...lol.gif

"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 #39 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisLehrer View Post

Have you ever used a medium-high-end Japanese knife? I mean, honestly, you might not like them: you're clearly serious about cutlery if you use Sabatier carbon, but Japanese knives are a lot lighter. I also don't know how old (or set in your ways) you might be: you might see what the fuss is, as it were, but be uninterested in re-learning basic things you learned umpty-zillion years ago, if you see what I mean.

 OK, you may have done me a big favor in this post.  Now I can tell my wife that although I don't need a new knife... I WANT ONE.

 

The only Japanese knives I've used are the Shun, but nothing higher grade than that.  Those are seriously light and seriously sharp enough for me.  Any thoughts I have had of higher-end Japanese knives has been more a matter of "really cool-looking appearance".

 

I really want one now so I can see what the fuss is about!

 

Lets hope the logic will work on my wife.

 

(It isn't really a matter of money, but I have found that the older I get the more likely I am to stop looking for something new when I find what works well -- whether it be knives, or cameras, or women, or cars.)

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