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Questions on First Good Knife and Sharpening

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

Hey everyone, I've been reading around the forums for a few weeks but just recently joined.  Before I get into my questions, here's a background about me.  I'm 20 years old, living at home (to afford college, but not culinary school).  I really enjoy cooking and do a lot of cooking for my family.

 

I've been using a set of Cutco knives (I know, I know...) my parents bought from a friends son before I really took an interest in cooking.  Anyways, I know they're not great and way overpriced and am looking to start a nice collection of knives.  I started looking with one of the first steps up, German made knives.  From there, my research led me to the big name Japanese knives like Shun and Global.  When I was almost ready to order a Shun or two, I started to look into better Japanese knives and now here I am.

 

Cooking is a hobby for me, and most likely always will be.  However, I like to get the best I can afford no matter hobby I'm talking about (cooking/cutlery is only the latest in my set of expensive hobbies).

 

One of the things I've always wanted to do was learn to sharpen my own knives (used to be to keep a nice edge on my pocket knives, now it's more about my kitchen knives).  So after reading multiple threads, I'm going to order a Bester 1200 and a Suehiro Rika 5000 to get started with.  If anyone else has a recommendation I should look at, please let me know.  Also, would a super cheapo Target/Walmart knife be something good to practice on? (I obviously don't want to practice on a $200 knife).  Is there anything else I absolutely need to start sharpening?

 

Now on to the knife.  I'd like to get a wa-gyuto, something in the $200-250 USD range or less.  I'm probably going to get a 240mm because I just don't think I have adequate work space for a 270mm.

 

The knife is going to be used for general purpose prep work on 5-10 meals per week (mostly dinners, but I'' break out the knife for weekend omelets and such too).  For anything needing a heavier knife, I've always got the old Cutco knives.  I'd like to stick with a stainless or semi-stainless because I'll admit I'm not the best at always wiping down my knives right away.  I've got a medium sized bamboo cutting board an a few various sized soft plastic ones.  I'd eventually like to get a nice maple board for my everyday work.

 

My top choices right now are the Konosuke HD or even HH series, the Gesshin Ginga line, or Richmond Addict/Ultimatum/Laser.  I also looked at the Tojiro DP and Fujiwara FKM for more of a budget option, but I did want a wa-handled knife.

 

I really like the gyuto style because it has less belly than a German style chef's knife, and all these knives look good in that respect.  I know these are all good knives, but I'm really looking for something that will be easy for me to sharpen after I've gotten a little practice on my stones.  I also don't want to have to sharpen it too often (shouldn't be too much of an issue with the light use it will get).

 

Any opinions/experiences on the knives I'm looking at would be greatly appreciated;  other recommendations as well.  I tried to include everything important, but ask if I left something out.

 

Thanks!

post #2 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by A144 View Post

 

 

My top choices right now are the Konosuke HD

You have done your research, the whole time I was reading this was going to be my suggestion.   It's an amazing knife and is one of the best values around right now.   I love mine and it gets more use than my more expensive masamoto KS.

post #3 of 19
240 or 270? Doesn't really make a lot of difference, especially with "wa" handled knives.

If 240 fits your board better, you may not only want to get the 240 but get a bigger board as well. A generously sized board works to make prep a LOT easier.

The Konosuke HD is great, but it's not an all purpose gyuto. If you go laser, you'll need something heavier for the rough stuff. You probably want a heavy-duty gyuto in any case. You'll also need a serviceable "petty."

BDL
post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 
BDL, I will be getting a larger board and another knife or two (including a petty) when my budget allows for it.

What would you classify as the rough that I should avoid if I go the Konosuke HD route? And what would you recommend for a heavier duty wa-gyuto?

Thanks!
post #5 of 19

BDL is a TON more experienced in all of this than I am, but I avoid cutting things like sweet potatoes/yams, pineapple, lemongrass etc with the kono.   Anything frozen solid would also be a huge nono.    You said you already had a cutco chefs knife, you could use that for the rare occasions you need something heavier sice for a home cook the times you are going to actually use something other than your kono are going to be few and far between.

post #6 of 19
Thread Starter 

Twyst, thanks for the reply.  I rarely cut any of those things (except sweet potatoes, we roast them quite often), so I didn't really think of them.  I've heard a lot of good things about the Konosuke and for most of my prep work it should work fine.  I'm thinking the HD 240mm Wa-Gyuto will be the one I go with.

 

Also, I ordered my stones today.  Hoping to get them before the end of the week so I can start practicing my sharpening.

 

Thanks for the advice! Any other thoughts or recommendations are still appreciated though.

post #7 of 19
I don't have a Kono HD. I do have a stainless petty "laser" though, short suji profile. It's made for sweet potatoes. I can't imagine the Konosuke HD is too delicate for that??? Maybe a hard squash if you're tempted to slam on the board on your way through.... anyway, I'd be curious to hear from other HD users. I could be totally wrong. If I can't slice sweet potatoez with it, it just left my list of "next gyuto to consider".
post #8 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wagstaff View Post

I don't have a Kono HD. I do have a stainless petty "laser" though, short suji profile. It's made for sweet potatoes. I can't imagine the Konosuke HD is too delicate for that??? Maybe a hard squash if you're tempted to slam on the board on your way through.... anyway, I'd be curious to hear from other HD users. I could be totally wrong. If I can't slice sweet potatoez with it, it just left my list of "next gyuto to consider".

Depending on variety and season many sweet potatoes as hard as if not harder than the hardest squashes.   Yams can also be like trying to cut through a tree sometimes. 

post #9 of 19

the thin profile of the konosuke alone is enough to cut up sweet potatoes, add to that one of the best edges out there, you really can't go wrong

post #10 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wagstaff View Post

 Maybe a hard squash if you're tempted to slam on the board on your way through.

 

The problem is not slamming the knife into the board, unless your really lacking knife skills, it's following the contour of a curved hard item if you are peeling it. It doesn't take a lot of twist or torque to chip an edge. I sure wouldn't use my suhji for sweet potatos but hey that's just me. Lasers have their place and I wouldn't be with out one but a standard gyuto needs to be in the knife roll as well.

As far as length goes 270 is very long for most home cooks. 240 or even 210 is just fine. 30mm is a pretty noticeable difference as long as you compare two WA gyutos of the same series.

I grab a 240 the most at home.

 

Dave

I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
Reply
I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
Reply
post #11 of 19
Ignoring finer points then, Dave, it seems you would vote it's fine to slice sweet potatoes/yams with a laser too, then, yes? And there's nothing unique about the Kono HD in this regard, that would make it a bad idea? I won't dispute peeling issues, even I don't share them.
post #12 of 19

go ahead and slam it a few times on a wood board, a few strokes on a ceramic honing rod will put it right, buy the knife, thank us later,

post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by spikedog View Post
buy the knife, thank us later,

This should be the main point of the thread lol.   We're all squabbling about sweet potatoes and yams when the real point of the thread should be that the kono is an AMAZING blade.   

 

Just pull the trigger, I have not heard a single complaint about the blade.    I baby mine a bit, but probably because I get pull out my masamoto ks for jobs I htink the kono is a tad too thin for.

post #14 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wagstaff View Post

 Dave, it seems you would vote it's fine to slice sweet potatoes/yams with a laser too, then, yes?

 

I would not use my laser for sweet potato's or yams. That doesn't mean your laser won't be able to handle it but rather it's just not the tool I'd grab for the job. I  can't say I've never seen a complaint about the Kono but the ones I have seen are pretty trivial FF issues that one can't really complain about at this price point or even much higher for that matter. I'd also look at the thin Sakai in this price point and I don't see how you could make a poor choice between the two.

 

Dave

 

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Japanese-Sakai-White-Steel-Wa-Gyuto-Knife-240mm-Special-Thin-Blade-/230785022875?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item35bbdbfb9b

I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
Reply
I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
Reply
post #15 of 19

yeah -- I was looking at some side-by-side photos of those two on Fred's forum.  That's cool.  I suppose the big selling point of the Kono is the HD steel.

post #16 of 19

No cutting into or too close to bone (accidents happen). 

 

As to cutting squash with thick skin, melons and gourds with hard skins... If you keep the knife square to the cut and not allow it to torque, the sharpness and thinness of the blade will make a positive difference.  If you allow the knife to torque, it will tend to bind and not only stress the knife but make your task more difficult.

 

Slamming a blade on the board isn't good for any blade or board.  To be avoided, always.

 

Some times strong, hard alloys will chip -- but as long as you're square, they'll most likely ding.  Softer, tougher alloys just ding.  If I'm looking at a task prone to dinging a knife out of true (rolling, waving, burring, whatever you want to call it), I'd rather use something I can steel back to true, rather than clearing a space and going through the other various intermediate projects it takes to prep a sheet of paper, card-stock, strop, or very fine stone ready to go.  

 

How not to torque:  Keep a soft grip on your knife.  Establish a straight cut; using the keenness of the edge to make the cut, don't force the blade.  Continue cutting, using the kerf itself (the cut) to keep the blade following the initial, desired line.  Don't use pressure to force the blade go faster, you'll end up waggling the knife from side to side or otherwise twisting it.  Keep a soft grip on your knife. 

 

Note:  A "straight cut," doesn't mean you can't cut on the bias.  BUT if you're going to cut down quickly all the way to the board (as when chopping) you want the edge square to the board -- so, no chopping on the bias.  The keys to keeping your knife square to the board are a soft grip and practice.  The key to being able to use a knife with a soft grip, is a sharp blade.

 

Take your time,

BDL

post #17 of 19
Certainly I wasn't suggesting it was a good idea to slam a knife into the board. People do, if they lean on it while using too dull a blade for a pumpkin. And it would harm some knives more than others. So far, my Gesshin Ginga petty fears no yam or gourd though. Yes, straight in the cut is necessary. I was curious to see people say 'no' to these items with their Konosukes.
post #18 of 19

everything  thing bdl said is correct, as always, but just buy the kono and you will not be sorry!

post #19 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the info everyone!

 

I looked at that Sakai on eBay.  It's a nice looking blade, but I want to stay away from carbon knives until I get better at remembering to wipe my knife down.

 

BDL, Thanks for the good info on not torquing the blade. I will be consciously watching for this from now on.  Once I get a good sharp knife, it should with the soft grip and everything like you said.  I will give sweet potatoes a try, carefully, using the techniques you explained.

 

I did order my stones and they should be here today.  But I'm going to want to get plenty of practice in before I take my good knife (I am going to get the Kono) to the stones.  I'm thinking I should probably pick up a steel before I get my knife as well. I know to stay away from the grooved ones, but any recommendations beyond that? Smooth steel, ceramic?.  I know I don't need it, but a DMT plate would be a great help to flatten stones and fix a few pocket knife tips that have gotten bent (I noticed they always seem to fall on the tip when they get dropped).  Will there be anything else I absolutely need for sharpening?

 

How do you guys store your knives?  I'd love to get a magnetic knife holder, but like I said I'm living at home cooking for my family and I don't think anyone else wants to look at my knives stuck to the wall.  Would a knife roll be a decent want to store my knives (there WILL be more) in a large drawer with some of my other misc. cooking utensils?

 

Thanks again!

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