Lots of questions for you.
Let me see if I have this right. You want a chef's knife, a slicer, and a paring knife, all to be "carbon" and not stainless. And you want them left-handed? Is that it?
In order to convert iron into steel, some carbon must be added. So by definition, all steel alloys include some carbon, and -- again, by definition -- a "high carbon" steel is any steel which contains more than 0.50% carbon by weight. Do you know that there are a great many stainless steel knives which are also "high carbon?"
I'm a huge fan of carbon myself, including using and collecting carbon Sabatiers (not exclusively, though). Still, I wonder if there's any reason you don't want stainless other than sentiment and obsolete "knowledge." Good modern stainless takes and holds an edge about as well as all but a very few of the best carbons. And the difference is something experienced only by very good sharpeners.
There's perhaps another ambiguity which could be clarified. While there are kinda, sorta, such things as "left-handed" knives, most western style knives are sharpened so as to be ambidextrous. Furthermore, any competent sharpener can easily convert them to a left-hand bias by sharpening them asymmetrically. Since you're both lefties, there's no reason your knives shouldn't be lefty-biased. Everything else being equal they'll seem a bit sharper and their edges will last a bit longer. But just a bit. Unfortunately, they won't be any more comfortable or accurate than normal, ambidextrous knives.
Any special issues I should know about? Arthritis, for instance? Love of teeny-weeinie handles? Love of great-big-enormous handles?
Can you sharpen? Can your husband? How well? What sort of sharpening set up (if any) do you have? How often do you use it?
What kind of steel do you use, i.e., is it diamond? Medium? Fine? Polished? How often do you steel your current knives? What about your old carbon butchers' knives?
Price range for the three knives?
Price range for EVERYTHING if you need sharpening equipment a new board as well?
Off the top of my head, and assuming you actually do want carbons, I'm inclined to recommend carbon Sabatiers -- at least for the chef's and slicer -- on the basis of durability, profile, the fact that they get every bit as sharp as darn near anything else, and are somewhat easier to maintain than most carbons... But... BUT... would like to hear a great deal more from you. So, lots more questions.
I know they were recommended by a woman as having some magical properties which specially adapted them to her petite hands and could be kept very sharp with very little effort by even her hapless and loving husband. Unfortunately, the "WY" knives are actually quite crude and not the revolutionary improvement in cutlery their owner thought. Moreover, despite her femininity, most of her "threshold" assumptions about knives were wrong. For instance a small handle and short knife aren't better for a smaller person -- at least not one who knows how to hold a knife. However she loves hers, and that's plenty good enough. If those knives are what you want, we can resurrect the thread and find the maker.
The Fujiwaras are very much "entry-level" Japanese knives and have quite a few of their own issues, including a reactive alloy which will not only discolor but stink every time it cuts onions or meat for months. But again, if that's what you want, it's easy enough to hook you up with a retailer.
If you must have Japanese knives, and if you can afford to spend more than Fujiwara, I think the Kikuichi Elites, Masamoto CT, Masamoto HC, and Misono Swedens (in alphabetical order) are all significantly better than the the knives you listed.
The Masamoto HC is one of the best mass-produced, western-style cook's knives on the planet. The Misono Sweden is also excellent and has a very striking engraving of a dragon on the side of the blade, but it requires a little additional care compared to the other three. The others are very good as well. I'm sure you'd be happy with any of them -- as would any lover of carbons. As a sort of rough and ready evaluation, I'd put the Masamoto HCs at the top of the heap, the Misono and Sabatiers just a half step below that, and the Masamoto CT and Kikuichi another heartbeat behind.
A good to great chef's knife is one thing, and well worth some expenditure -- as long as you can and will keep it sharp. But everything else is something else. Paring knives, especially. While some paring knives are better than others, I strongly recommend against high-end small knives for most people. It is in the nature of their best use to be abused, broken and sharpened into toothpicks in no time.
How long a slicer did you have in mind? Will you use it to trim and portion, or solely to slice and carve? Will you use it table-side, or only in the kitchen? I use my slicer(s) quite a bit, but that's not terribly common, even for cooks with a pro background. And in my case it includes using them for all sorts of things most people don't (and probably shouldn't). What do you envision using yours for? Why wouldn't you use your chef's knife for the same things? How much of your knife budget are you willing to devote to it?
Would you consider "a petty" instead of a slicer and parer? That's a slicer/paring shape in an between length (say 5" - 8") which can be used as a "utility," boning knife, parer, bar-knife, and you name it.
If you do a fair bit of citrus, I strongly recommend at least one stainless knife in your "frequently used" block. Like the small parer, it doesn't have to be expensive.
Sorry about the length of the post. If you take anything at all away from it, let it be this: The only knives which never need sharpening are knives which aren't worth sharpening. Knives are always all about the sharpening. All knives get dull; and no matter how beautiful, how expensive, and how good,it was when it was sharp, any dull knife is a dull knife.
Edited by boar_d_laze - 8/25/11 at 4:38pm