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noob knife question

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

SO i bought this new knife for about $30 Canadian and it was super sharp but I was told to use the steel before using it. Now it's less sharp on one side than the other. Did I ruin my knife or is this normal?

 

post #2 of 26
Thread Starter 

I forgot to add it's an 8" german chef knife

post #3 of 26
Not enough info, but probably not. $30 chef's knives don't need much help to become ruined. Then there's the question of what you mean by describing one side as sharper than the other. What do you mean?

BDL
post #4 of 26

Not sure this helps, but I have 'rolled' the edge of a cheap (Whustoff pro) chef's knife just scraping stuff off my cutting board.  Strictly a guess, but can you feel the 'burr' flipped over to one side?  You can run a finger from the spine directly to the edge and feel a 'bump' on one side (right at the edge) and not the other--bad explanation might need someone else to jump in. 

post #5 of 26
Thread Starter 
When I run my thumb across the blade, from left to right there's more resistance than right to left.
post #6 of 26

Try steeling (lightly) on the side with resistance...on the less expensive knives it seems as if the edge will just roll over...again this is in my limited experience.  When you finish, both sides should have equal lack of resistance.  Also, just to be clear, most knives do not come 'sharp' out of the box....usually decent edge, but I almost always sharpen a new blade...believe it or not, in my limited experience, the better the knife the worst the edge out of the box...I think they figure if you buy a good knife (tool) you will want to sharpen it yourself.  Also, to be clear, a steel does not sharpen a knife...it aligns the edge...not sure why they would have told you to use a steel first, though it is a good habit when using your knives in general.  One other note is that when using a steel, it should only take a few 'swipes' on either side of the steel/knife.

 

Cheers,

Chinacats

post #7 of 26
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much.I'm new to cooking but really liking it and wanted a knife better than my walmart one. The knife is a caphalon contemporary and it seems really nice for what I paid. Do you know of it?
post #8 of 26
I'm familiar with them, what do you want to know?

BDL
post #9 of 26
Thread Starter 
Are they a good beginner knife?
post #10 of 26

I'm not familiar, but with any knife, a sharp one=a good one, does it feel good in your hands?  I believe cost has more to do with different steel material and somewhat nicer aesthetics.  Good luck, and if you need info on sharpening, there is a ton of good info here, you just may need to search through some other threads. 

post #11 of 26

Contemporary's are a "high carbon stainless steel" (I have two of them - a 6" utility and a 10" slicer) and they actually aren't that bad (I don't think). They hold an edge fairly well with regular steeling; however, I have yet to sharpen the ones that I have since I got the stones, so I can't say how well they take an edge.

 

They're really not that bad of a knife for the price, I don't think. 

post #12 of 26
Thread Starter 
You mentioned regular steeling, do you have anything to say about my op?
post #13 of 26

Perhaps you were just too aggressive with your steeling or maybe use a bad angle or maybe your steel itself isn't right for the knife. What type of steel are you using?

post #14 of 26
Thread Starter 
Just a cheap one that came with a knife set...
post #15 of 26

There is a book by Norman Weinstein that goes into pretty good detail on how to steel your knives..  You can find some of his videos on youtube and this may be the best way to figure out how to use a steel properly.  Angles and technique are clearly important.  Most any steel will work fine for what you are trying to accomplish including the cheapo that came with the set.  As you move to other knives and your skills improve, you will likely want to learn more about actual sharpening, or you can use a service--likely once a year or so depending on:  knife itself, how often you use, what you are cutting, the board material, cutting techniques, etc.

 

Hope this helps,

Chinacats

post #16 of 26

+1

post #17 of 26
Are you steeling wrong? Unless someone's showed you how, you probably are. Go to my blog, and read Steeling Away. The article is also available in this issue of the Chef Knives to Go Newsletter as part of a series I'm doing on basic maintenance and sharpening.

Cuisinart knifes are made with X45CrMoV15, which is indeed German, is kinda sorta "high carbon" (0.45%), but is pretty lousy.

They can take an edge on regular stones, but not a very good one without extensive "profiling." They can be profitably maintained with a steel. Because the factory geometry is so thick, the steel so soft and "tough," and the knives' edge holding properties are so bad, it's a lot of work to profile them thinner and probably not worth it unless you're using them to practice your sharpening technique.

Are they a good buy at the price? No, not really. Forschner Fibrox and Rosewood represent considerably more bang for the buck in terms of better hardness, better edge taking and holding, and are also considerably thinner. Because I don't care for the "German" profile I can't recommend a Forschner chef unless the prospective buyer has some idea of what "losses" that entails. But getting back to the question, Cuisinart knives are outclassed in their price range. If price is not in issue, they're adequate at best.

As a generic recommendation, I like Forschner Rosewood and Fibrox (same knives, different handle materials) for everything BUT the chef's; and one of the entry level Japanese knives for that.

The recommendation can change depending not only on what you can afford or what particular knives you need but how you sharpen. I can't overemphasize the importance of sharpening in every aspect of knife use -- including making the decision on when and what to buy. The best advice I can give is: Learn to Sharpen.

Hope this helps,
BDL
post #18 of 26

BDL your above post caught my attention because I believe the steel you mention is pretty much the same that was used in the Henckels Pro-S I had previously and my attempts to find info on making them "better" is what caused me to find my way here in the first place.

 

I had re profiled most of them (slicer, util, santoku, and chefs as well as made the chefs pretty asymmetric as well) and though doing this did make them better or feel sharper etc my problem was that the same thinning that I had done when re profiling was also what was making them such a problem. The edge would fold just from thinking about using them or so it seemed.

 

So my point is that though you can thin them, and get them to feel and even be sharper the steel used just makes it a waste of time. Actually if memory serves me correctly the Santoku somehow produced the best overall results, and I think it had to do with it being a thinner blade in the first place etc, but it still needed frequent steeling, and then in short order it needed to be sharpened again. What a pain.

 

Now many of the Pro-S I had were purchased on discount or clearance etc and the actual cost was not too much different than the $30 the OP spent. Found some great prices on them and went for it.

 

My issue here is that for just about the same money or for slightly more I moved up to the Tojiro DP and Fujiwara FKM, and I have to say that even though these were more than the less expensive pro-s, but at the same time a whole lot less than the retail price on the Pro-S so I believe they are worth every penny.

 

Another thing to consider is that anyone can sell their previous knives on eBay and there is a good chance they will sell for similar or even more than what was originally paid. Not sure that will be the case, but I know that when I was comfortable with my new knives and listed most all my old ones all but two sold for more than I had paid for them.

 

I know it can be a financial issue for many to just go spending hundreds of dollars on a couple of knives, but from my direct experience all most need to do is make the jump to one of the more popular entry level brands (for those not familiar with these just check out the link in my signature) where the cash outlay is low so that they can get a good first hand experience in just how well these knives perform and then also better understand why most around here are hooked for life/

 

In hind sight making the change was likely one of the more important and difficult at the same time.

 

 

 

"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 #19 of 26
Henckels uses a "proprietary" steel it has specially made. It's not X45CrMoV15, but something very much like X50CrMoV15 -- which is more or less the same thing but with more carbon.

X50CrMoV15 and it's big sister, X55CrMoV15, are the sweet spot in German steels if you want something extremely durable and are also willing to settle for thick knives. You wouldn't think that 0.05% carbon content would make an enormous difference but it does. Even though I like the high-end German knives (within their context), I can't think of a single X45CrMoV15 I'd consider acceptable.

Forschner Fibrox and Rosewood are made from X50CrMoV15, hardened to a nominal 57-58, and will hold a 15* edge quite well. Fujiwara FKM is also nominally 58, and the alloy isn't much to write home about. Global is Cromova 18, also nominally 58, and they don't perform or maintain any better than 15* Forschners. Carbon Sabatiers run 55ish, will happily hold 15* or even go more acute, and they get and stay sharp as all get out.

There's just a lot to this, and "Japanse" isn't enough to describe Dumbo's magic feather.

But all in all, I agree that moving to the type of alloys used in Japanese knives is very positive.
post #20 of 26
Seems l sort of jumbled up the p/n's of my old Pro-s and Mundial ( the later is x45 CR mo 14 and feels a bit softer in comparison) so thank you for sorting it all out lol.

Your comment on the FKM sparks my interest as I have wondered more then once just what is the cause of it having a similar hardness and apparently not so different steel from my german knives but some how manages to get much sharper, feels even more sharp, and with an even more acute edge and asymmetric geometry still goes many times longer before it doesn't feel sharp anymore and needs to hit the stones.

I have assumed it is in the exact make up of the steel and how it is hardened. But honestly am not sure.

Just did not make sense to me from the very beginning, and the specs were not like VG10 or any of the higher grade stainless and like you said earlier more similar to the softer western blades.

On a side note much as I like this knife and it has served me well etc I can not compare the edge taking and holding to the VG10 knives I own, and now that I have allowed the praise of the semi stainless steel in the Konosuke HD (yours included) to lead me to owning one my thinking and likely future choices.are are changing.

Just where the different lower cost "value" knives will end up being used in the future is to be seen, but I suspect most will remain active in my kitchen at least because the same price vs performance that drove me to their value initially is still making them all a keeper wink.gif

 

"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 #21 of 26
LennyD,

I enjoy your curiosity and reasoning process. The first is fun, and the second always makes sense.

BDL
post #22 of 26

Glad to be of service wink.gif

 

No seriously,

 

Ooops was I just reinforcing your point :)

 

Have to say your observant, and the two things you picked up on have come up in just about every single personality profiling I have ever done (normally second and third most prevalent out of four) so it just seems to be me lol. I guess somehow it is engraved in my brain that life should be fun, but also there is an analytical part that can not leave out reason and purpose too. But hey this is a cooking/knife forum so we need a good dose of sensible too.

 

After thinking about this all a little I am finding that I am trying to reinforce some of the more important things I have learned about J knives "as a noob" in an attempt to try and make things a little easier for others who find their way to becoming noobs themselves.

 

I even re read one of my first threads (I am sure you remember the "is a Tojiro DP a good entry level" etc) to revisit what I had thought previously and compare to what I think I know today so I could get a better feeling of just how overwhelming some of this can be initially.

 

We have to remember that much of what most consumers have been advertized into believing about what quality cutlery is will be turned upside down by what they read on this and other similar forums. So from the get go things get both interesting and confusing, and I believe this works the same for home cooks right on up to seasoned professional cooks. Just think of how many posts describe most of the lines of Henckels and Wustof as being things like "soft, old school, blunt, heavy, not worth the money, not worth sharpening" and so on, but also consider that most who read these comments for the first time thought or think those are the two premier brands, and also most home cooks believe all pro cooks love them.

 

Then when they find all the "enthusiast" based threads on all the higher end (aka higher cost) knives many are immediately driven to think this is what they want or need because either A. they are typical "best product" buyers, or B. if their previous idea of the two best brands has just been turned upside down how can they make due with entry level now.

 

I am trying to make sure of two things for those just finding there way etc first is that they do not become as overwhelmed as I was, and not think they need a $300+ knife to get good results, and second that those who just do not have the budget for the more expensive knives (even a $160 Mac is a lot of money for many) do not miss out on the opportunity to really see what this is all about because they just go and buy a BS inexpensive $75 block set made of cheap materials that was made in China.

 

I mean I purchased a gift for someone last year that cost under $50 (a Tojiro DP 180 gyuto) that is both affordable and better than any western brand name I have owned, and it also is now used more than the entire two "brand name junk" block sets (Calphalon and Cusinart if I remember right) they had collected over the years. I added to their new "set" this year and were still under $100 and the block sets are pretty much decoration at this point.

 

It just gives someone with a smaller budget some options and also the idea that if they have a small budget they can still get something that will out perform what they have now, and will be happy with without having to worry about all those more expensive knives so many praise.

 

One last comparison note is that as much as I love my Konosuke HD and all the improvement it offers I am not sure I want to be recommending it to every home cook, and especially not to those on a tight budget (just like you did not recommend it to me when I chose a much lower price point last year) as the cost could make it impossible, and the average if not most home cooks moving up from bargain block sets etc very well just may not be able to fully distinguish the advantages over a sub $100 Fujiwara or Tojiro DP etc. If there is more experience involved or for many professional cooks (notice I did not say most or all BTW) the extra cost could very well be worth, and I believe those with larger means or higher credit limits they desire to burn may be better served as well, but just like we discussed over a year ago there seems to be a point where the increase in cost is not as well matched to the increase in performance as it was in the initial increase when moving from typical western knives to typical entry level J knives.

 

I also can appreciate your point that not all J knives are the same, or of the same quality and performance etc. I have not used them all personally but I am finding that just like in every other industry there are value leaders, price leaders, quality leaders, and even imitation leaders.

 

I mean just look at the typical follow up posts from those who just used their new Tojiro DP for the first time. Comments like OMG, fricken sharp, sharpest I have ever, and so on just reinforce the idea, and from experience it is all pretty accurate, and also very positive when you consider the price point.

 

Sorry for the length, but oh well :D

 

"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 #23 of 26
We don't always agree about knives whether here or at Fred's, yet the compliment stands. Your last post does is a good example of why.

BDL
post #24 of 26
Lol. Odd as it may sound I fully understand your point.

Difference of opinion and otherwise is what makes things interesting.

What fun would it be if everyone thought the same as you, or even me.

What really sets much of the discussions here apart is that much if not most is preference as opposed to fact etc. It could be thought to be similar to interpretation of law (something I believe you know a bit about) and how things can change, and even possibly be manipulated.

No worry all is good smile.gif

 

"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 #25 of 26
Yes, but...

CT is one of the easiest places to get facts as opposed to opinion or taste to the various OPs. There's a lot less random noise here from uninformed or poorly informed posters than in the specialty knife forums; and not many people here seek validation from having other people make the same choices they did. Also, there are enough posters with enough of a sound knowledge base to correct one another when any of us comes down with foot in mouth disease.

Many choices come down to taste, but taste works much better when informed with fact and context.

For instance, it's one thing to say "Compared to even entry level Japanese knives, Wusthofs suck," and another thing to talk about edge taking and holding properties, weight, agility, profile, durability, maintenance, sharpening, and thereby inform so that the OP has enough context to begin to re-frame what he thought he knew about knives.

Again... that takes us back to something which makes CT special. So many of the guys who post here in order to help the noobs -- and you're very definitely included -- talk more about the evolution of their own thinking and selection processes rather than just pimping their own choices as right for everyone.

BDL
post #26 of 26
Wow who would've thought that behind it all we were thinking pretty much the same, or at least a lot more than our words would have led one to think.

Just seems the info here is overall more practical to actual use, and most members more interested in performance in their actual use than debating the newest best super steel being used in industrial or utility knives etc.

I bet you guessed why I like this place lol.

Also I hear you on your Wustof v entry level j knife point, and I may be a bit guilty of over simplifying and therefore lose some of the details, but I think the point gets across and also in a way that is less intimidating to those who may find the technical aspects confusing.

 

"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
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