Hello all, well I'm ready to pick my first "good" Japanese chef knife. I am not a pro, just have a passion for cooking at my home for my wife and occasional friend. I currently have a cheap set of Henkels from Costco, like $250 for the set. I will leave these for my wife as she loves them. I'm looking to spend between $200-$300 (and I don't mind spending in the upper end of that number) for the knife and then will start to slowly build a set of knives (matched or unmatched). For sharpening, I think it's best to get an Edge Pro setup. I have done a bit of research, starting off with being set on the Shun Elite. I like that the Shuns have a lifetime warranty and they are endorsed by my hero Alton Brown. Plus I LOVE LOVE the look of the Damascus blade, but looks aren't everything. I found by searching that for the money the Shuns could be out done, which means value and I like value. I will be mainly cutting veggies, fruits, meats (with no bone), nuts, and the like. Next will probably be a paring and then a long sushi blade.
I have always used a western handle, but like the looks of the Japanese handles. I could use either as I want to start using the pinch hold at all times. As far as balance goes I think you'll all know best as I have probably never held a knife that is balanced. So reading the forums and web here is a short list of knives I think may be winners. Hopfully with your help I can shorten it to one or two. Oh and help me decide on a size 8-10", I have large cutting boards!
JCK Hattori FH Gyuto