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Help finding a good chefs Knife

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hello

 

Looking to buy a new chefs knife. After owning henkles i decided I want a Japanese chefs knife probably 9 or 10 inches. I am sure I will be cooking for the rest of my life so I am very sure I want to get a great quality knife. I have about $300 US to spend and I am looking for some advice.

I have been looking around online and found a pretty good looking blade. Kikuichi is the brand.

 

http://www.chefknivestogo.com/kigoelgy24.html

post #2 of 14
Thread Starter 

planning on buying a whetstone that would be good for the knife. I use my boss's stone at work for my knifes now, so I have a basic understanding of how that is done.

post #3 of 14
Aaanicholls,

I think you'll find a lot of differing opinion when it comes to picking a go-to gyuto. I just picked up a new one to try out after about 8 years using the same old knife. Some people will change it up every year or so to chase the "perfect" knife ideal.

But, you should do a lot of googling about the different carbon, semi, and fully stainless steels and see where your search leads you. The differences in sharpening ability, corrosion resistance,toughness, and edge retention of the steel can be vast. And this doesn't take into account the greatly varying edge geometries and blade profiles out there.

As you can see, the amount of info can be overwhelming. Try and narrow it down to a specific steel (for the qualities you value), or a specific shape (German vs French profile), or even a general idea ("mighty" vs "laser" gyuto). Then it'll be easier to start looking at specific knives.

Read this for some solid general info on kitchen knife steels:
http://zknives.com/knives/kitchen/misc/articles/kkchoser/kksteel.shtml

IMHO I think that you can find a better performing knife than the one linked above for less money, although it might not look as cool. As far as stones go, the King 1k/6k is universally recommended as a good value and good performing stone. I've worn through a few over the years.

Good luck on your search, but don't be surprised if it takes a few tries to figure out what you'll be using in the future.
post #4 of 14

Well I guess I goofed something up as I thought I posted a short novel on this thread last night. :)

 

The short version is that you really need to share some information so that we can help you (actually most likely some of the more experienced members etc but I will try my best to as well).

 

Everything from your preferred cutting technique(s) and grip  to how often you intend to sharpen and how much of your budget is going towards a stone or stones etc.

 

I see you picked out a really nice looking piece, and you can not take that away from it etc, but like said above there are many other choices in your price range, and also some seriously good performers for less than your initial choice. Also I am a fan of the core steel (VG-10) in the Kikuichi Gold Elite Damascus, but not everyone is and some prefer either carbon steel or one of the newer powdered steels for various reasons. Many of both these other types should fit in your budget as well so thats ok if you choose to go in either of those directions. Since I have never used your choice I can not comment on it beyond appearance and the material used.

 

It is also a western style handle, and I wonder if that is a preference or just what you have become accustomed to, and if your open to other styles? I know I have used western handles forever, but after receiving my first Japanese or wa handled knife I am pretty sure as I replace and add over time there will be some more of these as the decrease in weight helps to create a feeling of precision, and since your showing sous chef I think you may find the thought of lighter to be a positive as it can equal less fatigue after a day etc.

 

I also know that everyone is different and that just may not be for you (I actually was not sure if it was for me either lol) and I agree with chefdog that you need to do your share of searching (a lot of great info can be found in older threads here, and some of the other popular sites) so that you can get a better idea of what you may like.

 

Since I said this was the short version I will leave you with a couple more questions. What grit stone does your place have and do you prefer to use it on full time or until you are able to replace it etc. You most likely will not be able to use the steel you are using for your Henckels on your new Japanese steel knife so expect to add another $25 - $80  for a ceramic or glass honing rod, and I am sure you will see some more in depth questions once some of the other members reply.

 

Lastly what other ones have you considered or looked at and decided against, and what made you pass on them? Just to help weed out suggestions that may not be to your liking.

 

"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 #5 of 14
Thread Starter 

A little about what I am looking for,

 

Definatly needs to be over 8 inches. I have some decend knives about that size so I am looking for a beast to do a lot of prep work.

I also tend to like heavy knives. Since i want a large size, all should be pretty heavy (don't want anything too heavy, since it will be for prep at work)

I have both german and japaneese handled knives. my go to knife now is a japanseese hadle so i guess i perfer that but thats not a serious selling point.

I havn't had a chance to read about the different types of steel yet but since i dont own a stone yet i would preffer a type that stays sharp for a awhile but is also fairly easy to bring back. Probably sharpen once a week.

Like i said i dont own a whetstone but i will buy which ever kind is best for which ever knife i get. I was looking at the king stones on amazon already

My budget for the knife stone and steel is just over $300. So from the sounds of it that is about $200 on the knife and $100 on the steel and stone. Although that could swing an extra $100 or so.

I did pick that knife because it looked good but i have realized that it doesn't make any difference. I would rather a knife that will last than one that looks good.

 

From both your comments it sounds like steel is a great place to start. I will do some reading to  find which kind i would prefer and will also be waiting for a reply to see your suggestions in my price range.


Thanks

Andew

post #6 of 14

If you do not own a stone, how are you sharpening now?

 

You certainly do not think a steel sharpens, do you?
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by aaanicholls View Post... but since i dont own a stone yet i would preffer a type that stays sharp for a awhile but is also fairly easy to bring back. Probably sharpen once a week..


 

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
Reply
post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 

2nd post. i use my bosses. not sure what kind it is. I use the 1000 one

post #8 of 14

My brother is also a sous chef, and has a number of Henkles in his collection (his original knives).  When he decided to purchase a new knife he went with Global.  Global knives are highly-rated knives, and while expensive, they are cheaper than the one you linked to.  While they are not Damascus blades, they are durable, well-balanced, and hold an edge very well.  He was impressed with them, and has used his Global knives (as he has several now) for over three years.  While the Global knives do not have as much of a Western style handle, they would seem to fit what you describe as your need quite well.  I have had the opportunity to use my brother's knives while working with him, and I really liked them.  They are much lighter than the knives I tend to prefer and own (Messermeister or similar...heavy German steel) and are noticeably faster and less tiring to use.

 

My personal recommendation is to find other chefs you know (friends, co-workers, etc) who have different knives and see if you can try them out.  I have done this with several of the chefs I know, and have thus had the chance to try a number of different knives without spending the large sums of money to buy them first (and then find out I don't like how they feel).  I have a liking for Messermeister and Global knives, but that's because I've been able to use them both extensively and I like how they feel and how they perform.  That doesn't mean I'm telling you to go buy Globals...consider them, research them, and if possible, find one to try out, but look at others too.  Find the knife that feels right in your hand that performs to the standards you are looking for..which might take a while (or change over time).

post #9 of 14

There is no single best knife.  There probably isn't even a single best knife for you.

 

Knives are all about the sharpness, and sharpness is all about the sharpening.  Really sharp knives handle differently than half-sharp.  Usually -- but not always -- when cooks transition to real sharpness, heavy knives lose a lot of their appeal.  Reading between the lines, you still have quite a way to go on your sharpening journey.  Kings are generally inexpensive and adequate, with the exception of a few grits, they are not very good in the greater scheme of things.

 

If you don't want a light knife, don't buy Japanese.  If you don't buy Japanese, buy German, Swiss or American.  There are lots of good brands, as long as you stay on the high end, their blade quality tends to be far more similar than different. 

 

If you can tell the difference in quality between Messermeister, Victorinox Pro Forged, Lamshon, Henckles Zwillings, and Wusthof, you're either fooling yourself or are one sensitive fellow.  At any rate, I can't.  Of course there are other distinctions like profile, half-bolsters, and so on which may help you form a decision.  As these aren't my type of knives, I can't do much of a breakdown for you. 

 

You say you're using "Japanese handles."  Which ones?  Given the modern trend in knife making, which is towards harder alloys and narrower and lighter blades, one of the more common moves for someone moving up to his first really good chef's is to buy a western handled, western styled, Japanese made knife.  But, in your case, you've already said you want something heavy and Japanese knives are comparatively light.

 

Steel?  If you don't take it to work with you -- Idahone 12" fine (aka 1200) ceramic.  If you do shlepp it around and expose it to rough handling, probably a DMT CS2, which is also ceramic.  Those two are very reasonably priced.  You might also want to look at one of the fine or polished Forschners -- or even their fine/polished combination steels.  I suggest staying away from anything very expensive -- including the excellent F. Dick's -- because there's just no need.   

 

There's nothing wrong with liking Globals, but they're definitely "old tech."  You can buy much better steel (in terms of edge taking and edge holding) for the same money.  While I happen to like them okay, it's not a brand I've recommended for years.   

 

BDL

post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 

i have tried a global and wasn't too impressed. I also have tried out a co workers shun classic and liked it.

the other brand i was leaning toward was Mac since they seem to be less expensive and still good quality.

 

Although i am accustomed to heavy style knives i do want to try a Japanese style after using the for mention shun. I understand that this will mean it will be heavier than the henkles i own. I only meant i don't want a super light knife, like the global's i have used. Thanks for the advice about which steel to get.

 

BDL

If you dont recommend the king stones is there another stone you do that isn't too expensive? Like i mentioned above i just use my bosses now but need one of my own.

post #11 of 14

Just as a side note, I only used Messermeister & Global as examples because they are the knives I have used the most (not because I think they are the best).  My current knife (a rather inexpensive one) was made by Calphalon, and it does the job for now.  I am in fact looking for a set of knives myself, and am taking any opportunity I have to try as many knives as I can to find the "feel" and result I am most satisfied with.  BDL is quite right with his analysis (better for the same price), I just didn't feel I could talk about other knives I have little to no experience with.

post #12 of 14
Paul I believe you touch on a sub subject that is where all the confusion, and concern are for those wanting their first Japanese Knife.

It is tough to make a comfortable decision without actually using one, and being so different and even unfamiliar to most anyone accustomed to using any of the well known western knives that it is like learning a new language.

Most have little to rely on beyond reviews and word of mouth etc. Just a few seem to be lucky enough to be able to have a chance to try a good enough sampling of different brands to be able to make a decision that is not just between the one or two brands they did get to use and very likely could have done better etc.

I have never actually used a shun but have had a chance to handle and check out a few, and they are attractive and look to be good cutters (based on reviews) but I have passed every time (even when well below retail at clearance stores etc) because I just can not see how that's could be as large a difference in performance as there is in price to other Knives of the same steel that are less than half the price, and also geteat reviews.

In the end it is all personal choice etc but we need to gain as much knowledge as possible if we want a shot at making a good decision

 

"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 #13 of 14

By and large Kings are good stones for the money.  There are better stones, but they tend to cost more. 

 

Similarly, there are a lot of good knives.  You can go nuts trying to choose a perfect knife, or the "best knife," or even "the best knife for me," because such things simply don't exist.  It helps to understand what you're trying to do with a knife, what changes and improvements you want compared to your old knife, then try and put together a group of good choices which fit within your budget.   From there, you can pretty much throw darts and still get a happy ending. 

 

The most important thing to understand when it comes to knives is what it takes to keep them sharp; generally and in terms of your specific purchases.  Once you've got that down to the point of always working with sharp knives, the other aspects fall into focus.  Because you use a very sharp knife somewhat differently than a dull one, things like handle comfort and profile are almost as sharpening dependent as edge properties. 

 

BDL

post #14 of 14

By in large, I love the old knives. They are excellent antiques. I will be soon venturing back to the Salvation Army for more knives. Do you want a brand new knife or an excellent antique? A diamond stone and a few stroppes will ensure that your old knife will slice like no other. New knives are awful expensive and not worth the cost. Venture back to your grand parents time and enjoy.

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