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Yet another 'recommend me some knives' thread!

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

I recently realized I have a fair amount of money in the bank, so it's time for me to build a knife kit. From my long-time lurking, I've managed to get a basic idea of what I want, but would like a bit of guidance.

 

I work in a busy kitchen, demanding a lot of cutting. I don't know how to sharpen, but will learn freehand. Looking for a good chef's knife, (maybe) a petty, and paring knives. The mangled knives at work will suffice anytime I need a lobster cracker.

 

Chef knife:

I find myself interested more in carbon steel than stainless; it just sounds sexier. I don't know if the need to wipe the blade off frequently would prove to be a major issue in a professional environment, but if so I might go stainless. Definitely prefer French/Japanese profiles. I'm leaning toward K-sab au carbone, but want to look into some Japanese gyutos. If I go Japanese, I'd be inclined to get a 'laser.'

Size-wise, I'm somewhat torn. I've often seen people recommend larger as better--as big as you can comfortably go. OTOH, some say anything larger than 10" is too clumsy. At work, I find myself reaching for the 12" french-profiled knife most often, and using that well enough. What's the argument for going smaller?

 

Petty:

If I go for a 12", I'll probably need a decent petty. No real thoughts on what I want here, other than possibly just grabbing a smaller version of whatever chef knife I get.

 

Paring knives:

Forschners, most likely. Relatively cheap, and I rarely need one at work.

 

Anyone know of a good veg peeler? I'm rarely the one stuck with the potatoes, but I'm starting to develop a phobia.

 

And on to sharpening. I'm inclined to get a beginner/budget set of stones, probably waterstones because I'll own a Japanese knife someday. Not knowing much, I'll say I'm looking for a basic setup: profiling, sharpening, polishing.

 

Finally, honing rods: beyond fine/extra-fine grit, I don't know what I'm looking for. How likely is it that a ceramic rod might break at the workplace?

post #2 of 11
Thread Starter 

After poking around a bit more, I've got my chef knife options narrowed down to:

K-Sab au carbone

Misono Swedish gyuto

Kikuichi Elite Carbon Gyuto

Masamoto HC (only if the price jump compared to others is REALLY worth it)

post #3 of 11

Hi, Allium.  Somehow I missed this thread.  I'll chime in with a few suggestions after work tomorrow.

"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 #4 of 11

HC is the best of the bunch.  Worth it?  Feel, profile and ergonomics of a Sabatier with the hardness and all the other Japanese advantages, gets incredibly sharp and holds the edge for a very long time indeed.  

 

I personally prefer Sabatiers to just about everything else.  They need a lot of steeling compared to the Japanese knives, and you have to sharpen around the finger-guard; but they're just as thin, get just as sharp, and the profile and handles are superb.

 

But considering money, maintenance, and the whole ball of wax the best choice for most cooks with good skills is probably the Sweden.

 

By the way, how are you planning to sharpen?  If you want the most out of the Japanese knives you're going to need some pretty good waterstones.

 

BDL


Edited by boar_d_laze - 12/13/10 at 6:25pm
What were we talking about?
 
http://www.cookfoodgood.com
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What were we talking about?
 
http://www.cookfoodgood.com
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post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 

Reading various rave reviews, I'm feeling inclined to spring for the HC. If not now, I'd probably end up getting it at some point, so I'll rationalize the big expense as saving me money in the long run.

 

Now let's talk sharpening and honing. Would the 3 pc chosera set (800/3000/5000) at CKtG be sufficient? Or would buying piecemeal be more practical and/or economical?

Apparently I'll also need something to flatten stones. I know next to nothing about sharpening. Fortunately, when I get stones, I have an old chef's knife from Ikea to maim and fix for practice.

Honing: Idahone Ceramic, or is a Borosilicate rod necessary? Or, alternatively, could I simply carry a polishing stone around for truing the edge?

post #6 of 11


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Allium View Post

Reading various rave reviews, I'm feeling inclined to spring for the HC. If not now, I'd probably end up getting it at some point, so I'll rationalize the big expense as saving me money in the long run.

 

Now let's talk sharpening and honing. Would the 3 pc chosera set (800/3000/5000) at CKtG be sufficient? Or would buying piecemeal be more practical and/or economical?

Apparently I'll also need something to flatten stones. I know next to nothing about sharpening. Fortunately, when I get stones, I have an old chef's knife from Ikea to maim and fix for practice.

Honing: Idahone Ceramic, or is a Borosilicate rod necessary? Or, alternatively, could I simply carry a polishing stone around for truing the edge?


I meant to jump into this thread a little sooner.  First, the 3 pc set at CKtG is priced very well, but I'd hold off.  I think he only includes the 800 because he's out of 1k's, which he should have in shortly.  I've meant to speak with him about that set; IMOHO it would be better to include the 1k/2k/5k instead of the 3k.  I have the 400, 800,1k, 2k, 3k, 5k & 10k- of them I find the 1k feels better and works better than the 800.  I also personally like the 2k better than the 3k.  Of course that's just my subjective opinion, but I think many would agree re the 800 vs 1k.  There are many ways to flatten a stone.  My favorite method is a DMT Diasharp.  BDL is known to use drywall screen over glass or a very flat stone.  You can use sandpaper over a granite plate or float glass as well.  I have a Naniwa stone fixer & silica powder that I sometimes use, too.

 

Is a honing rod "necessary"?  Opinions vary.  I use both an Idahone Ceramic and a Borosilicate; for me both are near-necessities.  Of course, many people get by just fine with neither.  The glass rod is pretty spendy, and you won't use it an immense amount, so you may be better served putting the money into stones if you're on a budget.  Working the line I surely wouldn't ever pull out a stone for a quick touch up, though.  Water stones are a bit messy, and the Choceras really need at least 20 minutes to soak.

 

If you like carbon you may like the Hiromoto AS.  It has an Aogami core that's clad in stainless steel, so there's that (cue BDLwink.gif).  It gets very sharp, is reasonably thin and is pretty easy to maintain due to the stainless cladding.  I'm a big fan of the Moritaka Aogami knives, too.  They're kuroichi knives, so also clad.  I don't have any mono-steel carbon knives, so I can't offer much advice there.  The closest I can come is the Ichimonji TKC and Kagayaki CarboNext.  They're both mono-steel knives made of a near-stainless tool steel.  They take a very good edge akin to carbon but hold it better.  Both will patina but resist actually rusting.  They're very good choices for a commercial kitchen.

 

I hesitate to offer too much specific advice...as BDL has said, all we can really say is 'I like this so you should, too.'  And you may not.  Also I hate to bang the drum to the point of coming across as a fanboy of any particular knife.  There are tons of good ones out there, and plenty of nice ones I don't have yet but plan to try.  These include the Aritsusu A type, the Konosuke HD and the DT ITK.  At any rate, my favorites and my reasons for choosing them are here in black and white for all to see; I have many posts re knives.  It's a bit like a movie review- the best you can do is get to know how the reviewer thinks, then extrapolate his or her thoughts to your own process.  Ultimately you'll have to roll the bones and try a few out.

"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 #7 of 11
Thread Starter 

Took me a month from my original post to make up my mind, but I ended up going with a Konosuke White #2 270mm gyuto and bester stones.

 

Definitely going to need a more robust knife to compliment this guy. Probably going to get a 12" k-sab au carbone--compared to today's purchase, it's a wonderfully cheap knife. And I'm looking into something stainless for a petty (I peel and quarter A LOT of lemons), likely something thin (but not laser-thin) and Japanese. Haven't done a lot of research on petties, and there's significantly less talk about them on forums as compared to chef's knives. Any pointers?

post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Allium View Post

Took me a month from my original post to make up my mind, but I ended up going with a Konosuke White #2 270mm gyuto and bester stones.

 


It arrived today. I've cut every bit of produce in my house into fine brunois. I don't know what to do with ten pounds of tiny little potato cubes.

Can't wait to bring this baby into work tomorrow for prep, after hitting the stones after work tonight. Now I just need to figure out how to sharpen asymmetrically. Probably going to take a whole lot of metal off of one or two of my practice knives before touching the good one.

post #9 of 11

Sharpening asymmetrically is the same as symmetrical -- if one of your legs is shorter than the other. crazy.gif

 

Seriously, you just put the knife on the stone, tilt until it almost bites, and hold that angle. Repeat on the other side, bearing in mind that the two won't be the same, but since you'll have to hold the knife quite differently, it's easy enough. And remember, if you decide you don't like asymmetrical, you can always re-profile symmetrical.

post #10 of 11


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Allium View Post
Now let's talk sharpening and honing. Would the 3 pc chosera set (800/3000/5000) at CKtG be sufficient? Or would buying piecemeal be more practical and/or economical?

 

 


 

Yeah, that sounds like a very good set indeed. Add in a leather strap though

 

I can allso easely reccomend a Vulkanus sharpener, im still amazed by the fact that my left arm is completely hairless after playing around with a knife i sharpened with it :p

 

Oh yeah, and a leather strop is just another peice of leather!! You can get it at any kind of hobby store, dont go buying some dedicated knife strap :p

post #11 of 11

I don't like the jump from 3k to 5k. That seems too small to me, with synthetics, especially ones as aggressive as the Choceras.

 

I have good results with Chocera 400, 800, 2k, and then an Arashiyama (which you could replace with Chocera) 6k, and a Naniwa SuperStone 10k (which you could also replace with Chocera). Jumps less than this strike me as coals to Newcastle, and likely to encourage you to screw things up that don't need messin' with.

 

If you are totally new to sharpening, I think Chocera stones are not the best choice. They're not bad, for this purpose, but not great. They just don't give the kind of introductory response you really need.

 

If you are a bit into sharpening, have some clue what's going on, Choceras are brilliant. They teach you. GO SLOW AND LIGHT. I mean this. Gentle strokes, pay attention, lift off, relax, think meditational exercises, whatever the heck works for you. DON'T try to make the stone work: let the stone work for you, by itself. Soak 30-60 minutes, and the first few times break up the surface with the little dressing stone they give you (not to mention flattening).

 

For me, a non-expert non-hardcore sharpener with some seriously frightening knives, this system works beautifully every time I find my edges not where I want them. For everyday sharpening, I use something else -- long story, honestly, don't ask -- but this Chocera followed by cheaper stones regimen keeps me where I can reasonably expect to be in terms of dangerously sharp.

 

The set listed -- 800/3000/5000 -- seems stupid. You can jump 800-5000 if you want, and from 3000 you could easily go 10k. There's definitely an extra stone here. If the price is less than 800 + 5000, go for it, but otherwise I'd say no. I want to see a 1k or 2k in between, preferably 2k, which is a lovely stone that eats metal slowly and beautifully, if'n you ask me. And if you can't get 2k for less than 3k, there's something seriously wrong with the 3k, sez I.

 

Of course, this assumes you have high-end Japanese carbon steel. You assume that the 2k will be good enough for most purposes, and then you start polishing up from this with your really crazy knives. The 800 is for minor but serious imperfections, and you have a coarse stone for fixing things. A set like this only makes sense if you're heading toward about 5k-6k for your mainstream knives, and above that for others. I feel that one stone is not enough, frankly: I think it makes weird lines and narrowness in a knife. I could well be crazy. But the point is, you should assume that the Chocera set -- assuming it's fixed to 800/2000/5000 -- is there for a reason, and that serious hardcore Japanese knives are going to want to go the whole way. Granted that, I think it's a good set, but recognize that pretty soon you're going to be saving up for a 10k stone, or 12k, or whatever.

 

It's an addiction. Am I a pusher? Is Naniwa an enabler? You decide...

 

 

 

YES

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