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Beginner's Knife Questions - limited options, are Globals my best bet?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Greetings from Christchurch New Zealand! A disclaimer on the below: I'm consciously aware of my own ignorance here, so if any of my statements are factually incorrect, misguided, or just plain stupid, do let me know - I won't take offence.


Having just picked up some money for some unexpected contract work (which required the sacrifice of a few weekends), I've decided to treat myself and get some decent kitchen knives. I'm a home hobbyist cook, chopping on a wooden board, have recently discovered the pinch-grip. Cooking a mixture of European, Indian, Mexican and Asian food, no one style predominating. I'm looking for a set of knives that can grow with me, and hopefully tolerate the usual schoolboy errors along the way.


I currently do just about all my cooking with a 6 inch chef and a 4.25 inch petty, plus a bread-knife and a carver for roasts. These are all from a cheap early aughts stainless "V" Sabatier set, which has seen better days. I'm realising from reading around here that the phrases slicer and carver are used interchangeably, and people do quite a bit with their slicers other than carving roast meat.


Question(s) #1: What kind of tasks do you use your slicer for, and what kind of profile should I be looking for in a slicer/carver?


I'm currently leaning towards Global knives. They have a good reputation for sharpness, I'm used to a French profile (although I have no real experience with a German one), and I like how light they feel in the hand. I was worried about sharpening, as I've never done my own, and I've heard Japanese knives can be difficult, but I was pleasantly surprised to read on these forums that the Minosharp 3 does a "more than adequate" job of sharpening them. More than adequate sounds good enough to me - I had previously heard roller sharpeners were pretty lousy, but that may just be snobbery.


At present, I'm looking at the G-16 Chefs (24cm / 9.5 inch) for the chef, the GS-36 Utility (11cm / 4.25 inch) for the petty, and I'm not sure about the slicer - either the G-1, G-3 or G-8, depending on the slicer advice above. Add to that the Minosharp 3 for sharpening, and all I'm missing is a honing steel. I'm not sure what to get here, as I'm not sure Global's honing steels are available in NZ, and I've heard they're not great anyway.


Question(s) #2 - what steel would people recommend for Global Knives? How often to they need steeling/sharpening?


For the breadknife, I think I'll take the forum's advice and go for the Forschner 10.25 inch.


I'm aware of a general "You can do better than Globals" sentiment, but given my local options, I'm not sure I can. I'm keen to get something I can hold/heft before purchasing, rather than making a mail-order leap-of-faith. Having surveyed the field, local options are limited to Wusthof, Henckels (Twin), Global, Shun, Ran, Forschner and Brasila. We'll say, for the sake of argument, that price isn't an issue.


Question #3 - do Globals sound like a good match for me, or can I do better locally from the brands listed above?


Apologies for the essay - thanks for taking the time to read it!



post #2 of 14





My cooking style is similar and mostly just use my 10" chef's knife (nogent ****/Elephant Sab).  I do have a carbon 270mm slicer that I use for fun--onions/pineapple/meat, anything you like--though recommended not for bones/chocolate/other hard stuff.  Not the ideal use for the knife, but you asked and it is what it is.  I do believe the difference between a slicer and carving knife is that the slicer does not like/deal well with bones.  I enjoy the fact that the slicer will take a rather keen edge and has a sweet shape--that being said, it is of a low grade steel (doesn't seem to hold said edge that well) that I probably would not buy again.  From my experience, a quality chef's will do everything you would need/want to do.


As to sharpening, I would only recommend waterstones as that is what I know, though I have heard good things about the Minosharp.  No snobbery on previous 'roller sharpeners,' they stink and will ruin/not do what they are supposed to do on good knives.  White steel Jap knives are fairly easy to sharpen, though I believe nothing is as nice/easy as the Sab's.  (Both knives are carbon though and likely not of interest to you as you are looking at Global's)  As to steeling, the standard recommendation nowadays tends to be the Idahone ceramic steel (made in USA--so maybe not best for you cost wise), or MAC, I believe both are of more or less similar quality though I have only used the Idahone.


I can't be of too much help as I am not too familiar with Globals--personally can't stand the handles.  As to sharpness though I would comment that out of box sharpness means nothing at all--give me a dull knife oob and I will be happy as long as the steel is of good quality.  The new edge will wear off of any knife and then this is where the fun/work begins.  I understand not wanting to buy something you can't put your hands on, but do believe you may have more options than you may think (an assumption with no basis in fact whatsoever).  Realize too that what feels good in the store is often not what will feel good over the long haul.  I would recommend a little more research and then possibly taking the leap of faith that comes with what someone with more knowledge than you/me would recommend--people here are extremely helpful/knowledgeable.  What I am confident in is that you can find a much better knife for the long term than Globals.




Edited by chinacats - 3/25/12 at 7:38am
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks Chinacats. I'm aware OOTB sharpness is dubious at best with most brands - I wasn't proposing doing sharpness comparisons in-store, just holding/gripping/hefting the knives to get an initial impression of how they'll suit me.


As you say, this may not directly equate to long-term compatibility, but I'm keen to have some grounding in reality. I suspect my comfort criteria are different from the average joe, as I've got small hands, so I'm wary on spending a lot of money on a mail-order knife without the first idea of how it feels.


OOTB sharpness aside, I understand the Globals have a decent rep once sharpened up, certainly in comparison to German knives. Is that correct?

post #4 of 14

Here, check out these two(2) places. If you don't have any shipping issues, this is the way to go for selection and customer service. 


Chef Knives To Go             Cutlery and More



"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.


"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

post #5 of 14



You are correct--much better than German knives... that being said German knives don't have the best reputation for sharpness/edge holding.  The reputation of the Globals may be more of a marketing miracle than anything else...yes they are sharp oob, but within a few weeks--or less depending on use--this is entirely irrelevant and the only thing that will matter is what kind of edge you can put on the knife.  For the price of Global's you are already in the mid-high end of the market, you can find anything you like--you just need to be able to figure out exactly what it is that you want.  This includes weight, handle (obviously important to you), blade composition, length, etc...there are excellent blades for less money.


As to small/large hands, correctly holding (read pinching) the blade while you work is the preferred method for larger knives, so the handle size/comfort becomes less relevant--especially with the chef's knife.  I would also look for input here from people who also have smaller hands, though I've seen women with very small hands handle very large knives and be in full control with no evidence of discomfort--again really in learning how to properly hold/use the knife.  I have fairly large hands and my favorite handle is on my nogent Sabatier chef's--it is a very small ebony block of wood and looks like it would feel terrible--blade feels so good it doesn't seem to matter.


Good luck!


Edited by chinacats - 3/12/12 at 8:42pm
post #6 of 14



You are basically looking for a truly good chef's knife (or Japanese gyuto, which is the same thing).


What's your budget?


You have a sense of sharpening, and its importance, so I let that go. The remainder of your kit is good, so I let that go too. But if you're going to buy a life-altering knife, it will cost you. Global is almost certainly NOT the way to go. But let's get some basics clear.


Beyond money, how fussy / pernickety / OCD / whatever are you? Do you leave your dirty knives aside for later, or are you anal about cleaning them now? Could you imagine turning anal about that while leaving nasty dirty dishes in the sink?


Who but you uses your knives? How often? How much do you trust him/her/them?


And so on. We need to know a LOT more about your habits before good advice can be given. This is not a criticism: you are just not aware, as rightly you should not be -- you said from the outset that this is all new to you, and I accept that with pleasure (welcome!) -- of some of the odd, seemingly extraneous factors that enter into this.

post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 

Budget is more of a concept than a hard-and-fast figure. I've just had a contract payout, and I'm prepared to pay what's necessary for good quality, but not splash out for needlessly fancy stuff or thing that aren't going to last well. I keep hearing people say that you can do better than Global for the same or less money, so take that as a ballpark.


I have the ability to be anal about my cooking equipment, such as being borderline obsessive about re-seasoning my carbon steel wok or my griddle pan after use, or properly caring for my cast iron cookware. Quite happy to follow care instructions. That said, I know my limits, and purchasing a set of sharpening stones and learning to use them is probably pushing it, hence my attraction to the Minosharp.


My wife will also use my knives, and can be trusted to take care of them, given appropriate care instructions. I'm not sure she'd bother with steeling, sharpening etc, but I'm happy to manage that part myself.

post #8 of 14

I am delighted to help anyone who uses Tove Jansson images! So...


The price tag, based on Globals, is in the mid-high $100s, with an upper limit around let's say just over $200. (This is US$, and you can make the conversion if you like.)


If you use carbon skillets and such, you are more than obsessive-compulsive enough to go with carbon steel, which helps immensely. All things being equal (which they never are, admittedly), you get more bang for your buck with Japanese carbon than with stainless.


What I would recommend, for a start, is a 240mm gyuto. A 270mm is better, but it will cost significantly more and may be a little overwhelming. Once you really get the hang of loving your carbon gyuto, and keeping it terrifyingly sharp, you will wonder how you ever survived with anything else.


What I don't know is availability in New Zealand. And that's crucial: you don't want to add $50 to the price tag just for shipping. You want someone who either ships directly from Japan or else is dealing in New Zealand. There is a considerable Japanese population in Australia (which I realize isn't the same thing as New Zealand -- no fear!), so I would expect that there must be dealers Down Under. I know that JapaneseChefsKnife.com ships direct from Japan, so you might email them and find out whether there is any significant premium on sending things to you in Christchurch.


So... which brand and model?


I am a fan of all things Masamoto. At one time, people were saying that their Western-style handles were inconsistent, but I hear they have long since solved that problem. You might consider a Masamoto HC-series gyuto, e.g. their HC-5024, which weighs in at just under US $200. That's 240mm, western-handled, virgin high-carbon steel. What everyone says about Masamoto's gyutos is that there is nothing whatever against which to argue -- they're great in every way. Some people have favorites in some direction (lighter, let's say, or prettier, or whatever), but you always seem to take a bit of a loss in some other direction; Masamotos are, so far as I can tell, the perfect balance of everything. The problem is the price, but the HC-5024 is just about perfectly where you want it to be. And believe me, it will make any Global look laughable.


I am not, however, saying that the Masamoto is the best bet for you. I am not especially knowledgeable about brands and styles, not being a collector or whatever. So I leave that one open for others.


What we're looking for is:


gyuto, carbon steel, 240mm, <$200 US, stunningly wonderful and a joy in every way.


Suggestions, boys and girls?

post #9 of 14

What about the new Richmond Ultimatum? The carbon version is 245mm and made of 52100 Carbon. It checks in at just under $200 ($199, to be exact). It looks like a pretty sweet knife.


Check out the link here: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/riulcagy25.html



post #10 of 14

I like the idea of the Masamoto, but think you may have trouble sharpening it with the Minosharp...the blades are asymmetrical 70/30 and I'm not so sure that you would want to run that blade through a sharpener designed for generic 15 w/ symmetry?


I might throw out the Konosuke HD, the 240 of which is ~205 USD.


Good luck,


post #11 of 14

I'm going to buck the trend here based on the OP's desire to not buy any thing that can't be purchased locally and say at least consider going with the German knives. They are simply a far better value than Globals and paying that much more for a bit of edge retention is a big trade off considering that so many dislike the handles. I'd suggest hitting the review link under my post count for a more detailed view of Globals. German knives will not keep an edge like the J-knives but they are easy to sharpen, tough, forgiving and a great place to start that won't eat your budget. Remember the old adage that the Chef makes the knife....Not the other way around.

You may also want to consider just getting Forschners. Not a suggestion I would normally make but given the limited local options it is worth considering especially combined with your sharpening plan. 

 If you are going to take the leap of faith and mail order do so from some one that is well versed in shipping world wide.

The only viable option I could offer there is JCK knives as Koki ships World Wide at very fair rates. If you consider ordering from JCK don't under estimate the value of their Original series. They slap the livin schneikies out of Globals or Wusthof at a very good price point.

I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
post #12 of 14

I work in a busy resturant and my 10 inch chef knife is my main knife.  It is nothing fancy but it holds a edge and is easy to sharpen.  I have globals but i leave them at home.  They are sharp but in a busy kitchen i dont have the time to keep the edge on them.  At home cooking for my wife and me they are very good knives and pretty too.  At work every second day i take 10´15 minutes to shapren my knives.  Spyderco has a great sharpener to get the right angle on the blade.  When some fool in my kitchen has abused my knife i pull out the Vulkanus to get the edge back.  I think kinves are personal item that shoud fit your had well and be balanced for safe use. I have seen and used may brands of knives in the professional kitchen either mine or collegues    but i always stick with ICL  a German kinfe.  The handels are a bit thicker they hold a edge and are easy to sharpen.  They range in price from low end 30€ to high end 120€ for a 10 inch chef knife.

post #13 of 14

Ditto on japanesechefknives.com


I live in Oz and got my first batch of knives from this site. Great range, good price and only $7 flat rate shipping.


I just got into this obsession about a year ago. My advice - invest in a good 240mm gyuto, the best you can afford. Learn to sharpen. And don't be intimidated by a traditional japanese wa handle. If you are gripping right, you'll hardly know the difference.


There is a somewhat better range on CKTG, but the $45 shipping to down here in the Antipodes is a little prohibitive.


As to what is available at JCK, I woould suggest:


-Misono Swedish steel - great steel, yo-handle, and a sweet dragon engraving

-Hiromoto AS - also fantastic steel (aogami blue super)

-Masamoto CT

-JCK Carbonext (stainless, but the steel is purportedly out of this world, and with great symmetry. Supposed to be one of the best value J knives, although you need to know how to sharpen as it is apparently not so sharp OOTB)



post #14 of 14

The point about sharpening with a Minosharp is very well taken, Chinacats. Fortunately, elementary high-quality sharpening is not difficult to learn, and the Japanese carbon knives will reward those who try -- they sharpen easily and enjoyably. And a decent 1k King stone is both cheap and a terrific place to start sharpening.

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