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What Is The Best Style Knife for Doing this? ............................. - Page 3

post #61 of 70
Mrs. Salt.

Sorry you felt offended, but you're the one with the Cuisinart knife.

There's a practical limit on how sharp you can get a Cuisinart no matter how well you sharpen. It's determined by the geometry of the knife and the alloy used to make it. If you think it's sharp, you don't know what sharp really is. That's not meant as an insult or to be insulting. It's just the way it is, and if it's any comfort to you -- you're part of a vast majority of cooks who share a similar level of awareness.

The Tojiro DP is a pretty good, entry-level Japanese knife. The Fujiwara FKM is just as good and a little cheaper. The new Artifex from Chef's Knife to Go is also an excellent and even less expensive choice. They each have their strengths and weaknesses, perhaps one will be the right knife for you -- and perhaps it will be something else.

It doesn't matter which knife you buy -- it will get dull eventually. The most important distinctions in making one knife different and better than another are how long the edge lasts when you maintain it, and how good an edge it takes when you sharpen it (or have it sharpened).

Good luck,
BDL
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post #62 of 70

@BDL- I'm not offended at the least and I'm sorry if you felt I was offensive to you, I do tend to have an odd sense of humor which may be misunderstood specially when read as opposed to me saying it to your face...No worries at all, its all fine and good.

post #63 of 70
Thread Starter 

MRS Salt  I think I should share this as I know it was hard for me to grasp until I actually made the jump, and I was previously using some various Henckels Pro-S that were and still are believed to be some of the better choices and then soon as I finally received my first Japanese knives pretty much everything I thought I knew previous was completely out the door (literally since I sold off those Henckels real quick lol).

 

Maybe research some threads here on the two first brands BDL mentions above (Tojiro DP, and Fujiwara FKM) and see if you believe either or both could fit into your needs and budget as those are the brands that changed my thinking, and are far better than most could believe due to the "entry level" description, and far beyond most western knives that are considered "high end" like my previous ones etc.

 

Sorry I can not comment on the other suggestion as it is still sort of new and unknown, but seems to be seeing mention lately.

 

Myself I just wouldn't comment too negatively on your current choice etc unless I knew you personally, and if I did you would well know how poorly I look at all similar products that sell based on a known name in order to confuse the consumer into creating a level of value based solely on name recognition in order to allow them to produce and sell an inferior or inexpensively made product at a higher profit.

 

Do not feel bad as it has happened to the best of us, and my own experiences is where I developed such a strong opinion, and I really do not enjoy being duped into something that was not of the quality I had anticipated etc.

 

Also much of this can be a bit confusing so just try and hang in there, learn as much as you can, ask as many questions as you need to, and once your comfortable with making a decision know in advance there is almost no chance of turning back as like most all before you the difference in the performance of even entry level Japanese knives to that of "higher" end popular western knives is that good.

 

Hope that helps clear things up a bit :)

 

"love my country" but "fear my government"  Something is just wrong with this

 

 

 

Looking for info on entry level J-knives? Need help on finding the most bang for your buck? Hope you enjoy learning from the info here, I know I did!

http://www.cheftalk.com/t/63213/tojiro-dp-f-809-240mm-g...

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"love my country" but "fear my government"  Something is just wrong with this

 

 

 

Looking for info on entry level J-knives? Need help on finding the most bang for your buck? Hope you enjoy learning from the info here, I know I did!

http://www.cheftalk.com/t/63213/tojiro-dp-f-809-240mm-g...

Reply
post #64 of 70

Great thread...currently I almost use my 10" TI Sab for virtually anything, mainly because it is a rather new addition, finally got it super sharp, and it seems to be a great overall knife for my style of cutting. 

 

As to the Usuba; just curious why the 20 dollar variety is not worth trying--where the cheap deba is?  I would think (gets me in trouble every time) that the difference would lie in the weight and blade shape?  If the 20 buck usuba is made of carbon and cheap handle, I would think that the blade could still be manipulated/worked.  Just curious what makes the more expensive models that much better.

 

Not likely to try anytime soon, but do have a rather inexpensive nakiri and do find the shape helpful...if for nothing else but picking food up off the board...fwiw, I've finally learned to use the back side of my chef's knife:>)

 

One other question:  does anyone know of any online videos that show proper use of the usuba...I found a few and did see some interesting techniques.

 

Cheers,

Chinacats

post #65 of 70
Darn. I hate it when a joke gets lost on the internet. My apologies for missing it.

In terms of getting a sharp edge, the problem with Cuisinart knives is their alloy. You can just take my word for it, but it's probably better if you have some idea of what's going on. There are two "materials" (term of art) qualities which usually exist in some degree of tension. Those are "strength" and "toughness." Basically "strength" refers to a material's tendency to resist deforming, while a "toughness" refers to the tendency to avoid breaking or tearing. Put in opposition to one another -- which is understandable if not quite accurate -- a strong alloy will break before it bends and a tough alloy will bend before it breaks.

Sharpening usually involves abrasion, which is the process of wearing away tiny particles of metal -- in other words, breaking pieces off. So, very tough steels don't sharpen well or easily. Which takes us back to your Cuisinart knives -- they're made from extremely tough steel. The only really efficient way to sharpen them is to use something like a set of coarse carbide wheels or rods -- and while that will get you a toothy edge which will seem sharp in the sense that it cuts efficiently, it's really more of a saw than a knife and it can't do what a fine edge can.

The alternative to using something like a carbide sharpener (note the word "like") is letting the knives go fairly dull. Then they tend to crush their way into the food, rather than cut.

Saw or crush, you lose taste and texture compared to a sharp, fine edge. It makes a difference in mouthfeel with some foods in particular, and taste with others; sometimes there's an overlap, and sometimes it just doesn't matter. But it matters enough, often enough, and with enough common foods that edge taking and holding properties make a good knife worth the investment in time and money.

And, if you need further incentive, you can cut a lot more onions with a sharp knife without crying than you can with either a saw or a club.

Like many lower end knives, your Cuisinart is made from a rather lousy alloy, and no matter what you do, you can't get the edge you want.

Rather than just making a recommendation I like to help people narrow down their current likes and also peer into the future a little, so they can make their own informed choice rather than just listening to some internet guy tell them what they should want. When I talk with women, they frequently (oh, if you only knew how frequently) start by telling me that because they have small hands or are 5 foot nothing, they want a short knife.

So... real apology. It was not only a failure to take things in their proper order but sexist on my part to launch into a diatribe on how hand size and height don't matter. They don't, but I should have kept my mouth shut only if the subject came up.

It's intuitively clear there's no such thing as a "best" knife for everyone. What's less clear, is that it's very unlikely there's one best knife for you either. The trick is to narrow down the choices into a few -- any of which would be excellent.

The best way to start is by narrowing things down by budget, how you use a knife now, what you want from a better knife, how much you're willing to spend; and how much time, trouble and expense you're willing to accept to keep the knife sharp.

The largest and most important paradigm shift for people who want to upgrade their cooking with a better knife is the importance of sharpening and maintenance. Bear in mind that all knives, even the nicest and most expensive, get dull; and any knife is a dull knife.

Another thing to remember is that if there's a "cost effectiveness analysis" with a "point of diminishing returns" when it comes to knife and sharpening choices -- it's purely individual; there's no general sweet spot. A very sharp $75 dollar knife will work almost as well as a very sharp $400 knife, yes. But don't kid yourself, there are real differences and to some people they're well worth the money.

BDL
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post #66 of 70
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
The best way to start is by narrowing things down by budget, how you use a knife now, what you want from a better knife, how much you're willing to spend; and how much time, trouble and expense you're willing to accept to keep the knife sharp.

The largest and most important paradigm shift for people who want to upgrade their cooking with a better knife is the importance of sharpening and maintenance. Bear in mind that all knives, even the nicest and most expensive, get dull; and any knife is a dull knife.

Another thing to remember is that if there's a "cost effectiveness analysis" with a "point of diminishing returns" when it comes to knife and sharpening choices -- it's purely individual; there's no general sweet spot. A very sharp $75 dollar knife will work almost as well as a very sharp $400 knife, yes. But don't kid yourself, there are real differences and to some people they're well worth the money.

I couldn't agree more. From everything I have learned about choosing a new knife (much from your own insightful advice) and how important different things can be to different people etc there is absolutely no best knife for everyone and also that everyone changes and so may their thoughts on what is best for them.

 

Just one point on the last paragraph above as I learned rather quickly that the knives I had purchased in the past @ $75 (mostly on clearance sales etc and typically half off lol) which were mostly Henckels etc were very different than the ones I had purchased after finding this site for a similar amount (or even less).

 

The real issue for me and I am fairly sure many others is understanding what the difference is all about. I mean it is hard enough to be able to absorb the idea that a $75 Fujiwara can become sharper and hold that sharpness longer than a $150 Henckels or Wustof etc. Then even once the mind starts to accept that much of what it had thought previously may not be totally accurate (basically the idea of the Major brand name western knives being so superior etc) and then warms up to the idea of these so called entry level knives it just gets totally thrown for a loop with the inclusion of the idea that there are real differences and advantages that go well beyond this when considering $400 range knives.

 

It really is a lot to handle, and I know for me at least it took a whole lot of reading and researching various knives, manufacturing processes, designs, reviews, metal comparisons, and countless videos and other sources before I was comfortable making a change.

 

One good thing though is that much of the information is either on or linked in various threads right here!

 

"love my country" but "fear my government"  Something is just wrong with this

 

 

 

Looking for info on entry level J-knives? Need help on finding the most bang for your buck? Hope you enjoy learning from the info here, I know I did!

http://www.cheftalk.com/t/63213/tojiro-dp-f-809-240mm-g...

Reply

 

"love my country" but "fear my government"  Something is just wrong with this

 

 

 

Looking for info on entry level J-knives? Need help on finding the most bang for your buck? Hope you enjoy learning from the info here, I know I did!

http://www.cheftalk.com/t/63213/tojiro-dp-f-809-240mm-g...

Reply
post #67 of 70

This thread has mostly moved on from usuba, but chinacats asks a very important question:
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chinacats View Post
As to the Usuba; just curious why the 20 dollar variety is not worth trying--where the cheap deba is?  I would think (gets me in trouble every time) that the difference would lie in the weight and blade shape?  If the 20 buck usuba is made of carbon and cheap handle, I would think that the blade could still be manipulated/worked.  Just curious what makes the more expensive models that much better.


Try this as a deliberately exaggerated thought-experiment. Fashion a blade, with a total angle of about 10 degrees, out of tinfoil. Do another from ordinary window glass. Do you see what will happen? In the one case, it'll just crumple before it cuts anything; in the other, it may start to cut, but it will then break. A cheap usuba is made out of steel that simply will not withstand pressure when taken down to a 10-degree angle. What you're supposed to do, if you buy one as an apprentice in a good Japanese restaurant where they use the things, is to put a strong micro-bevel down at the edge. This helps a great deal, but doesn't actually solve the problem -- you'll still get chipping all over the place every time you do something slightly awry. You will also find that a lot of precision cutting is extremely difficult, because the blade has a "shoulder" produced by the microbevel, and with this blade design that is a major problem. Nevertheless, a combination of extreme perseverance (as in cutting with the stupid thing 7 days a week on a professional prep line) and good teachers (both senior apprentices who are actually helpful and a master/chef who will abuse you every time you do anything slightly problematic) will produce results. Then at some point you upgrade to a decent usuba, knowing how to use and take care of it, and suddenly you are liberated from all the horrors of the cheap knife -- and can begin the process of becoming stunningly good with the thing.

 

I don't advise this for people who aren't going to be dealing with a situation like this. It just means constant frustration, and you'll spend all your time wondering why anyone ever says anything nice about usuba. If you're going to learn this yourself, you've got to have a knife that not only punishes your mistakes (which all usuba do, brutally) but also rewards your successes.

post #68 of 70

Chris, thanks so much for the response.  I had read about the cheap usuba being no good on quite a few boards but hadn't seen a logical explanation--just the same statement repeated by everyone.  I personally don't have any interest in learning how to use a knife all over again...that being said, it is nice to at least understand the uses as well as limitations of some of the tools that others use. 

 

This thread has been quite informative.

post #69 of 70

What is a good knife for slicing potatoes?

post #70 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by carpenter View Post

What is a good knife for slicing potatoes?

Any of the general purpose knives like chef's, gyuto (another name for a chef's), santoku, nakiri, usuba, etc. Most people prefer a chef's. Also a slicer (aka suji) is good. You want a knife which makes it difficult for the potato slices to cling; which can mean kullens (dimples in the blade), appropriate sharpening and/or a low profile knife like a suji.

At the moment, my 12" suji gets used for general purposes as much as any of my chef's/gyutos. That's not a recommendation by any means, just pointing out that any sharp knife can do just about anything; and that when it comes to slicing and chopping a longer knife has some advantages providing you have enough room on your board and sufficient technique.

Which segues to a related topic deserving its own paragraph. Usually people who use extra length knives (a group which tends to be overwhelmingly male) for general purposes, especially those who use slicers as chef's knives, do so mostly to show off their skills -- with the operative expression being "showing off," rather than "skills." That expressly includes me.

If meaningless challenges aren't part of your personal menu, I recommend a good, sharp, chef's. Everything else is something else.

BDL
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