Good to be back in the forums; I've missed all the borderline obsessive knife and sharpening talk. :)
I'm getting the itch to add another knife to the collection at home. Much has already been written, repeatedly and with great patience, answering the question of "what knife should I get"? I don't want to rehash opinions on knife brands, et cetera but I do want to open up a question that will help me internalize some of this:
Can anybody give a rundown of the characteristics of different knife steels in use today?
It's a much more complicated world than "carbon", "high carbon SS", and "stainless steel". What I don't have is any way to compare what all these steels are. I don't think the question has ever been asked this way, so I wanted to try and see what comes out - even if it's "That's not really the right way to ask that question".
In the knife block is an 8" Henckels Twin 4-star chef's, 8" Global G-2 chef's, 10" Forschner chef's, 7" Henckels Pro S santoku, 6" Kyocera ceramic santoku, 4" Henckels Pro S paring, miscellaneous pieces from my old Chicago Cutlery set (slicer and boning see the most use), a red Kuhn-Rikon bread knife, some knives my wife had before we got married, and a $1 plastic handled paring knife I bought at the grocery store on a whim. All of them sentimental, now that I stop to write that out - they each have a story.
And before BdL has to ask, I can sharpen on a stone - well, functionally, anyway. Not well yet, but I'm learning. I'll say that I've never sharpened a knife and had it not be sharp, and the edge glint test looks to be even, but I've still got a lot to learn.
The two 8" chefs are my constant-use knives. The Global is thin and good for slicing, the Henckels has more heft and feels sturdier. I like the Forschner a lot - it holds an edge surprisingly well - but I'm rarely on a work surface where it doesn't feel too large. I'm frankly just more comfortable at 8" now.
I know I want something more like a French profile, with less belly than the German profile - it's my one (well, one of a few) complaint about the Henckels.
On the one hand, I'm looking at Sabatier (TI or K) carbon steel - one, because from what I read here they take and hold a screaming sharp edge well and while they need TLC attention it's not so bad, and two, because I'm unabashedly Francophilic in my cooking techniques, flavors, et cetera. (Hey, call it what it is.)
On the other hand, I'm interested in a Japanese gyutou because, well, it's not another German knife. Thinner blades, better slicing, a little more delicate so less hacking on things (does rocking the blade over a clove of garlic or a pile of chopped onions count?). I have less working knowledge of good vs. mediocre vs. bad manufacturers in the Japanese space, so I'm prejudiced to what I read here and what I know from talking to working professionals in town. MAC? Tojiro? Masamoto? etc.
Price point is sub-$200. Even better - don't laugh :) - if it's one I can source from Amazon as I've got a gift card from Christmas itching to be used, but that's not a requirement (otherwise, CKtG is likely who I'll call - interestingly, who also has a line of knives he's designed now, so put the Artifex on my what-do-we-think list).
In fact, it's the Artifex that got this question started for me. AEB-L is a steel I haven't heard of yet, so I threw my hands up in the air and decided to ask you folks.