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Oh no not more newbie advice

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Hi there,


I have been lurking around this forum for a while soaking up all the marvelous advice, but now its time for some advice of my own. I apologise in advance for the slightly jumbled format of this post, there is quite a lot of info to put down and I am doing it almost as I think of it!


I am a hobbyist cook and my current knives are (in order of acquisition)


Cheap Chinese Sabatier knock-off set for £25 (bought for me a while ago as a present

8" Sabatier "V" chef knife

5" Sabatier "V" utility /paring knife

and a few other odds and sods


I would really like a "prestige" knife like a Henckels Pro s or Wusthof Classic just because I can, but I think it would be wasted on me, my skills in using and sharpening a knife are not great. Here in the UK the Henckels and Wusthof mentioned are 3 times the price of the stamped Victorinox knives (price is NOT a deciding factor)


Initially whilst looking around the forum I had decided that it had to be forged knife but then hearing great things about the Victorinox (Forschner) stamped ones I think that these would be more suitable to me. And from what I gather here they would be way better than what I currently have.


Are there any other brands I should be considering?


I intend to get some whetstones and practice my technique on the old knives. My current thoughts are to get something like a 1000 and 5000 grit. Would this be a good start for most types of knives? I think it leaves plenty of scope to grow as I become more proficient.


I have found this dual stone on amazon manufacturers ASIN: B003ASDAGU part number: KCMCWHET by masterclass it says 400/1000 grit is that using the JIS system or FEPA? I assume for such a cheap stone it is the JIS rating and thus only for repairing badly worn knives?


My current choice is the Wusthof WUS-4451  which is the 1000/3000 JIS (400/1000 FEPA)


Would that be suitable to match the Victorinox or should I get something better to grow into?


Then there is the question of steel, I cant find any decent source of steel here maybe Im looking in the wrong places but again would something like the Wusthof wus-4461 be adequate? 


On a side note I have found a bargain deal on Wusthof knives however the offer is either a mistake or to good to be true (it is 30% cheaper than the same set any where else I have looked), also the website doesnt look very professional ...



Thanks in advance for the help



PS here is a good conversion table for JIS and FEPA grain sizes



Since originally posting I have found a website selling all types of Naniwa stones at affordable prices in the UK.


What is the difference between the Naniwa Work Stones and the Super Stones, all I can gain from the website is that they are harder and do not require soaking. However the 1000/3000 Work Stone for £25 seems like a good solution to me.


The other option would be to get 2 Super Stones a 1000 and either a 3000 or 5000 (however I think that 5000 might be overkill for me)

Edited by char1iecha1k - 11/25/11 at 2:00am
post #2 of 6

Forschners are a good choice for just about everything but a chef's knife.  Forschner chef's knives are decent value for little money, but no better than that.   My generic suggestion is to buy a Japanese made cook's knife and up your knife and sharpening skills to meet the new quality. 


If you absolutely, positively, must have a German style cook's knife, you can rate the Forschners a step higher, but they're still not as good as a modern Wusthof, Henckels, or Messermeister. 


We don't get V-Sab in the States, and I don't have any hands-on experience.  By reputation they're in the same league (more or less) as the good Germans.


Stones... Cruise around the Dieter Schmid, Fine Tools site, and let's talk.  Amazon is too varied for you to get a really good idea; or for me to handicap every stone sold there.  If you're going to use nothing but traditional style, western made knives, you don't need a super expensive sharpening kit.  But quality stones do make a difference, and you'll want something fast, consistent, and easy to maintain. 


If your Naniwa source has good prices, and you decide on Naniwa stones... why not?


Naniwa SS use "resin" as a binder, the Work Stones use old fashioned clay.  Naniwa's particular resin choice is why most of the SS are pretty much "splash and go," but be aware the coarser stones do need a little bit of soaking.  SS have a greater density of abrasive, and are considerably faster.  The SS are very soft, and I'm not sure you could say the WS are any softer; both types are soft enough that the sharpener needs to guard against gouging.  SS need more maintenance and care than many other stones.  SS are excellent stones, but not particularly beginner friendly. 


Let's figure out the right grits for your kit, after we get the knives sorted.



Edited by boar_d_laze - 11/25/11 at 9:03am
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

If I bought initially a 1000 and 3000 grit stone would it make sense to buy a 5000 grit stone later, would it make the 3000 redundant?


Is jumping from 1000 to 5000 too much? 


Currently I am leaning towards the Naniwa SS 1000 and 3000 which will cost me £43 + shipping I understand that knives sharpend to around the 1200 mark will be sharper than most store bought knives, and 3000 will be way sharper than anything I currently have or have used.


I prefer the western style knife because that is what I have always used, however I am open to change. Are there any Japanese knives for a similar price/performance to those of the Forschner knives? (that are available in the UK/EU). 


I am thinking of getting the Forschner (or Japanese equivalent) first as they are very inexpensive, then I may be prepared to pay more for a knife in the Henckel/Wusthof/(Japanese equivalent) price range once both my cutting and sharpening skill improve.


Thanks for the link and your advice

post #4 of 6

I don't do UK prices, that's up to you. 


Two value leaders in entry-level, good Japanese knives are Tojiro DP and Fujiwara FKM,  These knives are considerably better than Forschner in most of the important ways, and also cost more.  There's no free lunch, and GBP/Euro/Yen antics don't help.


JCK carries Fujiwara, you may want to check their site. They do a good job of exporting from Japan and are quite canny when it comes to international duties.


If you're going to stick with Forschner, 3K is a good finishing stone, and is adequate if not necessarily ideal for any home-kitchen knife.  1K to 5K is not too much jump, but a lot depends on the sharpener.  Big jumps have some inherent limitations, and are especially difficult for beginning sharpeners who are still developing their awareness of sharpness and polish.  3K to 5K is very close to being redundant. 


If you're going SS, you'll want 400 as well, but you can wait a little while.





post #5 of 6

I found some Tojiro DP knives from Nippon Kitchen, which is based in London. Unfortunately there's no 24 cm chef's knife though. I expect the Japanese Chef Knife BDL referenced is probably your best bet for such things. (edit: for Fujiwara like BDL said, not Tojiro. Tojiros can be had from Chef Knives to go.) I haven't really found a EU-based webshop with a large Japanese knife selection and I've looked at length. There's Tojiro knives here, Mac knives there and Korin France is okay place if you've money to burn. But that's about it as far as I've seen. Dictum has a few different stones than the previously discussed Fine Tools website.

post #6 of 6

Just buy what is good for you, what you are comfortable with, and that makes you happy.  I am a culinary student, soon to be graduate, and I hate seeing classmates who have a suitcase full of knives that they bought just because they are popular brands.  As long as it stays sharp, fits good in your hand, and bonds with you, the price does not matter.  My favorite knife only cost $7.00 and it cuts beautifully.  No need to go out and buy a bunch of knives, just one good one that you love is all you need!

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