I'm going to buy a new japanese chef's knife and am doubting whether I should go carbon (Masamoto HC 270mm) or not.
First of all, what a great forum this is! I've been reading TONS of topics over the last two weeks and you guys have so much knowledge and put in all the time and effort to pass this on to others. BDL, i've learned SO much from you! Chris and the others. You guys are absolutely fantastic!
=== Background info ===
I think I should give a little intro first i'm an 26 year old engineer and hobbyist cook. I bought my first knife (Wusthof Ikon) immediately when I moved into my own place as I like to have good tools. But since i'm now considering moving in with my significant other I like to have a good set (want a petty, parer and eventually a slicer as well). As I want to make an educated decision i've been reading here in the last two weeks and learned a lot already but still have a few questions I couldn't find the answers to.
As i'm looking for a knife that is sharper and holds it's edge better I want a Japanese knife. I started looking at stainless (Kagayaki VG-10, Masamoto VG, Hattori FD (love the looks)). But after reading I found out that carbon have better sharpness than stainless and almost everybody really serious with knifes uses carbon. As i'm a lefty and she's a righty I think it's best if we stick to Yo handles. And since the HC is "arguably, the best mass-produced, western-style chef’s knife at any price" and "a masamoto is a masamoto" I don't think I can find a better knife (in quality and suitability) in this price range.
So carbon and the HC should be the way to go if you don't mind the extra maintenance, but this is where my questions start as I've never used a carbon steel knife before.
I don't mind using stones, in fact I really enjoy it. I've already got a set of chosera 400, 800, 2k, 5k and a ss 10k (which I also use for honing my chisels/planes, although i've got a guide for that). I'm freehanding my knives and although i'm certainly no expert, I get my wusty to cut through paper without effort.
=== To carbon, or not to carbon? ===
"Carbon needs attention right away". I don't mind wiping my knife after i've cut some onions or lemons. But what happens when you forget about this? You've made a nice diner, are enjoying your food, and then an hour later come back in the kitchen to realize you forgot to clean your knife. Is this big of a deal? Has it started to rust / form heavy patina? If so, can you fix it, or do you have to buy a new one?
Also if your sharpening, and in the beginning when opening the knife up this takes more effort, especially if you're not pro yet, do you have to limit the time sharpening because of the knife being wet all the time? Maybe i'm way too scared for the effects, but since i've never used a carbon knife i'm not sure what to expect.
I've also read BDL rubs his knifes with baking soda, is this only in the beginning? Do you keep doing this? Or do you only need to do this when you forget about your knife? Or when the natural patina has not started to form?
Also forcing a patina, is that recommended? I love the way my guitars age naturally, get scratches, buts etc, so I think i'll love the way the knife ages over time as well.
The bottom line is i'm afraid carbon might not be for me as I (or her) might, although very seldom, forget about the knife, although we really intent to look after the knife properly. But I don't want to ruin the knife if that happens once.
Sorry for the length of the post, but I thought I'd better give a good explanation than just asking "should I got carbon or not?". As I learned here knifes are so personal you need some extra information to give a good answer. I'm hoping somebody will have the time to answers my questions, it's really appreciated!
PS: I'm open to any other knife recommendations, my budget is around $200, or a little more if you get a better knife (like the HC).
PPS: I know the Masamoto is 70/30 ground, so this a not optimal for me (although it is for her), but i'm planning on moving the edge to 50/50 over time as suggested.