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"Budget" Knives to complement current equipment

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

What I have currently: 

  • JCK Kagayaki Gyuto 
  • Whetstones x 2 - Cant remember the grades now
  • Ceramic honing rod



What I am looking for:

  • Chef Knife x 1
  • Paring / Petty x 1
  • Bread Knife x 1




  • I pretty much keep the Kagayaki for my own use only as others in the household will not be as careful as i am 
  • Want knives that are on a more budget range yet 'good' 
  • I can sharpen knives decently so I want knives that will utilise my current whetstones + ceramic honing rod 




Any thoughts on this? I bought the Kayagaki based on recommendations on this forum and dont regret it at all! I just cringe whenever anyone even thinks about using them ;p 

So thought that a cheaper one would be me feel more at ease yet at the same time, dont want to go for supermarket ones. 

post #2 of 22

Kinda discussed at this thread:

post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 

Yea, saw that thread but it's a bit too concise.. pretty much says Forschner and that's it... I've read from another thread that Forschner chef's knife may not be as good? 

post #4 of 22
Kagayaki is very good for the money. You want to spend less. It stands to reason that whatever you buy won't be as good. So much for reason, because there are a few, very good gyutos which cost even less than the Kagayaki. Some names to consider: Richmond Artifex, Fujiwara FKM and Tojiro DP.

However, you should assess your needs carefully in terms of whether you want a substitute (a thin-ish, light-ish, medium-sized knife which takes a very good edge) or a compliment (something heavy-duty, large, small, or whatever).

I'm a big fan of Forschners generally, but not their chef knives particularly. That's not because there's anything horrible about Forschner chef's, but I don't like their profiles and don't think their edge holding properties are all that great when it comes to doing a lot of chopping. But that's me. They're still good for the money.

A Forschner 10.25" bread is something of a no-brainer.

Petty can be kind of complicated. The first question you have to answer is whether you want something you can abuse, sharpen frequently and replace cheaply; or whether you want a tool of similar quality to your primary chef's with an edge which will hold up to appropriate use. Will it be your primary package opener and string cutter, or are you going to use it mostly for shallots? In that petty / couteau office profile, I've got four: 3-1/2" TI carbon Sab; 4-3/4" Forschner; 6" carbon "Nogent" Sab; and 150mm Kono SS petty, Besides those, I also use a 7" Forschner, wide fillet for all sorts of things which don't want a 10" (or longer) knife. Sometimes my choice is whatever's closest, and sometimes it's task driven. If it's food only, I usually choose the Nogent or Kono; if there's a lot of utility, I go with one of the others.

Horses for courses.

Hope this helps,
post #5 of 22
Forschner is bang for the buck king.

The IKEA damascus clad Slitbar in VG10 at $49.99 is a good buy. Ugly, fit and finish isn't topnotch, but a great performing blade and steel at a great price. Biggest drawback to it IMO is it's only available as an 8" blade.
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
post #6 of 22
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the replies. 


To clarify more...


I'd really want 

  • 1 x 8" Chef Knife - this size more so to suit most others in the household and easier to handle as well. I've got the 240mm Kagayaki 
  • In BDL's words: i'm looking for something "thin-ish, light-ish, medium-sized knife which takes a very good edge" - pretty much similar to my Kayagaki except a tad smaller and much cheaper. 
  • 1 x Petty / Paring knife - I already have a couple of cheapies as throwaways when time comes. But ideally, I am looking for one that's 1 step better and definitely a keeper. Not to open packaging and all but to do finer stuff
  • 1 x Bread knife - Seems like the Forschner 10.25" it is here



Couple of questions I have in mind:

  • BDL: If not the Forschner Chef knife, what would be your next in line recommendation to consider? 
  • Again, need to emphasise the use of my whetstones and ceramic honing rod to maintain all my knives. What knives should i AVOID  with these? Would the Forschner suit? 
post #7 of 22

If you're not cutting through bone and are a reasonably proficient sharpener, I suggest the Richmond Artifex over the Forschner.  It's more expensive, but made with a much better alloy (AEB-L).  And the actual (OEM) maker, Lamson, is every bit as good as Forschner (both are very darn good).


Tell me more about your stones and steel.  If you're using "oil stones," they're very slow for a Richmond but will work.  Water stones -- of appropriate grit size -- would be faster and better; but water stones require more of their own maintenance and there are some specific things you'll want to do.  If you're using a medium, coarse, or "diamond" rod, you should replace it. 


There's nothing very complicated about sharpening maintenance, but there are a lot of different ways to go about it and consequently a lot of different, simple related and unrelated factoids.  We can get into any of the whys and alternate possibilities you want.  Just don't ask for a general treatise. 



post #8 of 22

Petty Knife - SLT got the Shun Kramer Utility going for $109, yeah people poo poo on the Shun Kramer line but that is close out price for a knife that is pretty quality minus the super fake demascus pattern. Its sharp as tits, handle is nice and it will last a long time. 

post #9 of 22

Glad someone got a good deal.  Unfortunately, SLT isn't showing the Shun Kramer utility online anymore -- at any price.  Whether or not it's still available at a few stores is an open question, worth making a few phone calls if you're interested in the knife.  $109 is certainly quite a discount from retail.  Setting the ideas of "retail" and "discount" aside and looking at the knife in terms of absolute value, $109 is a good price for a well made, SG2, san-mai petty if you want a san-mai, SG2 petty; by way of comparison a 6" RyuSen Blazen petty is $169 at Epicurean Edge.


However, in terms of the overall set we're talking about in this thread, $100+ is too much.  Since the OP loves his Kagayaki, I don't doubt he'd be happy staying in the same line.  The "Basic" 6" petty (good, AUS8) goes for $50, and the CarboNext (much better, semi-stainless) for $70.  Carbo-Nexts have (or at least had) something of a reputation for coming with really lousy OOTB edges. 


I've never owned a CarboNext but know several people who bought them.  All were very disappointed with the OOTB edges.  On the other hand, DuckFat (another frequent contributor here) says that was never a common problem; and to the extent it existed at all, does no more.  One way or the other, if you're a good sharpener it's a non-issue. 



post #10 of 22
I sent my sister a CarboNext which I sharpened. I'm not a "good" sharpener, but even a beginni.g sharpener can get a better than OOTB edge. It's a supremely easy knife to sharpen, and while perhaps not quite "laser" thin it's a thin blade. Between that and the steel, I would think it's a good knife to learn to sharpen on if you need to learn. The knife had a slight overgrind. Maybe too slight to matter - no "hole" in the edge -but it might become a problem over time as more knife is sharpened away. It's early to tell.

I got that one with the "extra sharp" option. It came usefully sharp but with an uneven bevel and slightly toothier than I would have thought. I bought another used from a forum member that came without the ES option and it was better in every regard. Small bevel and not uneven. Got a lot sharper again even with rudimentary sharpening skills. No overgrind.

I gave the first one to my sister -- her first non-German knife.... she's freaked at how easy it was to julienne carrots and said she understood this "soft pinch" for the first time when slicing a tomato. Positively wigged out. And convinced her (finally) that she really did need a better "claw" on the off-hand to keep her fingers.

She tarted shopping for an end grain cutting board immediately. Also forbade her husband and daughter from using the knife.

I think it's a good first Japanese knife, in other words. And if you're willing to learn to sharpen sooner than later, it's ok even if you might be rolling the dice on OOTB edge. The one overgrind is more an issue, and more so a problem because beginners might not even notice. I didn't until Jon showed me what to look for. But I have heard of this particular problem from no one else with the CarnoNext. For whatever that's worth. Did I get the "only one" with the overgrind?

Phone typing. Forgive typos or odd zentences please!
Edited by Wagstaff - 6/6/12 at 9:29pm
post #11 of 22
OTOH the person who sold me his CN didn't like the aesthetics in general or particularly the spots/staining of the blade (not an issue for me), and thought the profile wasn't great -felt the flatness at the heel was too much and it felt clunky. I like the profile. De gustibus. It's not my favorite knife but for the bucks I think it's a good choice. I like my wa-gyuto -- a Yoshihiro 270mm -- more in most every respect. It's definitely not as easy to sharpen, but it's also NOT difficult. That was the second knife I ever sharpened... it's not easy for a "first time" sharpener, but a tiny bit of practice goes a long way. And for financial reasons, I don't have a still higher-end gyuto (and/or a true "laser" of one).
Edited by Wagstaff - 6/6/12 at 9:32pm
post #12 of 22
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by boar_d_laze View Post

If you're not cutting through bone and are a reasonably proficient sharpener, I suggest the Richmond Artifex over the Forschner.  It's more expensive, but made with a much better alloy (AEB-L).  And the actual (OEM) maker, Lamson, is every bit as good as Forschner (both are very darn good).


Tell me more about your stones and steel.  If you're using "oil stones," they're very slow for a Richmond but will work.  Water stones -- of appropriate grit size -- would be faster and better; but water stones require more of their own maintenance and there are some specific things you'll want to do.  If you're using a medium, coarse, or "diamond" rod, you should replace it. 


There's nothing very complicated about sharpening maintenance, but there are a lot of different ways to go about it and consequently a lot of different, simple related and unrelated factoids.  We can get into any of the whys and alternate possibilities you want.  Just don't ask for a general treatise. 






Definitely not cutting through bone. For those, I have my trusty old chinese cleaver in my arsenal! 


I have the Naniwa S400 and S1000 Whetstones and a 9" Ceramic (1000 grit) honing rod. Would these work well with the Richmond and/or Forschner. I dont mind carrying out any stone maintenance. Just trying to avoid needing to buy a different set of stones altogether. 


And yes, price point is a big consideration for me too. Just got to remember that everything here in Australia costs a whole lot more than other countries - especially the US. For some items, we may not even get it here! 

post #13 of 22
Thread Starter 

Just browsing around for prices and all.... 


Based on what I've read, seems like the Richmonds are a good choice to go with for my chef's knife. However, a 210mm Gyuto would set me back $70.00... This price range is fine with me. 


Just comparing that to: for example. Seems like a good value? Although I understand that the Rosewood handle would be better than the fibrox. And in addition to that, ideally, I'd like an 8" chef rather than 10". 

post #14 of 22

Ideally, you'd like a finer stone than the 1000; not so much for polishing but to get rid of some of the 1K scratch and create a fine, relatively toothless edge -- at around 3K - 6K.  I've tried quite a few stones in that range including the Naniwa SS 3K and 5K and think the Suehiro Rika is probably your best bet if it's available in Oz.  If the Naniwas are available and make sense from a price standpoint, I think the 3K will suit your needs better.  The 5K is where you start getting into the Naniwa SS issues of dishing too quickly, gouging, and cracking.


Assuming your ceramic rod is "fine" or finer, and not "medium" or coarser, you're good to go.  I can't overemphasize the importance of proper steeling; nor can I overstate how very few people have a clue as to how to go about it.  Unfortunately, nearly everyone does it counter-productively.   


We're both on the same page when it comes to Artifex vs Forschner.  The Richmond is made from a better alloy, will take a better edge, hold it with much less steeling for a much longer time, and has a better profile.  Forschner is Forschner is Forschner.  I like them all except the chef's knife; but happily admit it's the best you're going to get at the price -- at least here in the States. 


I don't know how prices run in Oz, but if you can get one of the less expensive MACs (the Originals, for instance) at anywhere near the price of a Forschner, I'd do it; and would also compare local Forschner prices to importing a Fujiwara FKM from JCK.  Otherwise, Forschner it is... And wotthehell wotthehell, at least Forschners get sharp easily.  And, unlike Furis for instance, as long as they're properly steeled will hold their edge for a very long time.


And yes, I prefer Rosewood handles, but am not sure if the little bit of extra comfort (at least for the way I hold a knife), is worth the extra money for a "house" line knife.  Besides, Fibrox handles are comfortable in their own rite, more secure than Rosewood for people who over-grip (alas, most people), very durable, and very easy to clean. 


Speaking of line knives, you want to think about buying basic Forschner, serrated-edge paring knives by the case.  From an operator's standpoint, it's probably cheaper to toss them when they get dull than spend the time to re-sharpen.   



post #15 of 22
Thread Starter 

(just an note: I will be away most of this week so I will not have much time to look into this till I get back!)

post #16 of 22
Thread Starter 

Back - finally... but I've done some more research and reading up all these while.. 


Purchasing knives

Like mentioned before, specialty knives are scarce here in Australia. I've contacted CKTG and shipping aint too bad especially if I am getting a couple/few knives from one place. So best bet is that I'll be buying these knives from either CKTG or JCK



Sharpening Stone

What a coincidence you mentioned getting a higher grit stone because I was just starting to read up on whether I should consider one or not. I bought the SS400 and SS1000 purely as a starting point - fully aware that I may need to add on to that further along. I have never used sharpening stones before this so that was a good starting point IMO.


Are there any other comparable alternatives to the Suehiro Rika? Just want to make sure I look at alternatives as one stone will last me ages! 




Yep, I am sure my ceramic honing rod is of 1000 grit so it's all good. Just to make sure I aint doing anything 'counter-productive', do you have any links (or videos are even better) that shows proper and wrong steeling practices? 




Since it has been almost 3 weeks since the last post, I am just going to summarise what has been discussed here so far... more so for my benefit but someone else in the same position as me might find it helpful too! These are the knives I'll most likely go for... 



Bread Knife - Forschner 10.5" Knife



Paring/Petty Knife - not a priority to me at the moment but under consideration

  • basic Forschner, serrated-edge paring knives by the case? Are they being sold by the case? Tried looking on CKTG but seems like their Paring Knives are sold individually?
  • Dont seem to see Petty Knives - all of Forschners are paring knives? 




Chef Knife - Knives being discussed at the moment


Question I have now is, what would be order of preference? 


From above prices, the Richmond, MAC and Fujiwara's prices are much of a muchness whereas the Forschners are half the price. But I am always a believer of buying once and spending it right. Am actually TEMPTED to get one of the Richmond / MAC / Fujiwara and if I order from CKTG, add in a Forschner Fibrox just to try it out too - it's only $30 anyway. 




I'm looking at making purchases soon to replace the cheapies I have currently - some of the handles are loose! Not safe! 

Edited by kohno - 7/1/12 at 5:40am
post #17 of 22

The Suehiro Rika is a very good choice, but not the only good choice.  It's conceivably the most bang for the buck in that range if you want a stone with a lot of feedback --  a valuable characteristics especially for relative beginners.  Once you become reasonably adept, you can "break down the mud" as you sharpen and make the polish effectively shift from around 3K to 5K.


Without getting into more expensive stones like Chosera and especially Guinness, I like the Naniwa SS 3K and 5K quite a bit; one of the Kings is quite good (but I forget which); and -- for other people anyway -- my favorite is the Arashiyama/Takenoko.  But, in your position, I'd look around at what was available in Oz or directly from Japan before pulling the trigger on any of my recommendations.  Obviously cost effectiveness is part of your consideration.  I believe there's a Sigma Power or two which are hard to get here but easier in Oz which might suit.


A "petty" knife is any knife with a "couteau office" (aka slicer) shape, between (about) 5" and (about) 8".  The idea is that most cooks don't really benefit from tiny paring knives for most small-knife tasks (like paring, peeling, and so on), or a specialized knife for many medium-knife tasks (like boning); so one knife length, falling between short and medium will nicely do for just about everything your long knives don't.   Switching to a petty for most purposes from specialty parers and medium knives simplified my prep a great deal.  If you're looking for a "true petty," Forschner might not be the best choice; at least I find the 4-3/4" (yes I have one), too short.


Of all the chef's knives on your list only the Artifex is made from a premiere alloy (AEB-L) and is the best hardened for edge taking and holding.  I prefer the looks of the FKM, but would chose the Artifex for myself.


The FKM is good for the price, and has a "bolster" at the blade/handle intersection if that's a consideration.  Here, FKMs are cheaper than MAC Superiors and I'd go FKM for that reason; but at the same price, I couldn't say.  Speaking of price, be aware that a great many people find the FKM/ MAC Superior niche to be entry-level and not "lifetime." 


The Forschners are a cut below the other knives across a couple of fronts.  In terms of edge holding, they need a lot more steeling to keep going -- especially compared to the Artifex.  I really hate their German profile which I find has a lot of drawbacks but no compensations -- but, while French (aka Japanese) profiles seem to be the trend with skilled users, it's a matter of taste.


6" is way too short for most chef's knives purposes; not only does it limit what you can do with a single cut it exaggerates the rocker and belly on the blade.  8" is too short also.  In my opinion, unless you're really short on board space, ~10" (probably 240mm in your case) is the way to go.  Learning to handle the extra length is primarily a matter of grip, plus a little practice.  



post #18 of 22

And the Artifex 240mm is now available at CKtG.  A much more useful size than the 210mm.  Ordered one yesterday, so I hope to get it before the 4th.  Given its price point, it will be interesting to see how it compares with my other J knives (ranging from MAC Chef series, Tojiro DP and ITK, Mac Pro to Masamoto HC).


If you are going to order from the US, I'd seriously consider the 240mm Artifex.

post #19 of 22
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the replies! 


Looking through websites here in Australia and seeing what's available, I dont seem to see the Richmond Artifex around. Can more easily find the Victorinox and Macs. 


For a price comparison (which is a bit confusing to me as different names seem to be used here):

(FYI, at this moment, we can assume AUD$1 = USD$1 or it's close enough anyway)



Bread Knife:

Forschner 10.5" Knife from CKTG - USD$33


Victorinox Professional Bread Knife - AUD$131


Victorinox Rosewood Bread Knife 21cm - AUD$50


- Are these the same knives? 



Chef's Knife:

Victorinox Rosewood Chef's Knife 20cm - AUD$70

Victorinox Cook's Knife 25cm - AUD$60




Sharpening Stone:

I bought my Naniwa SS400 and SS1000 for AUD$55 each here. Those are for the thin ones with base. 

From CKTG, it's $35 each...there goes a difference of $40 just like that.




And prices dont vary all that much here in Australia from store to store.... Costs about 2x more. Considering I will be buying a few things at the same time, I'll certainly be saving even after including delivery charges! Prices are obscene here! 



Dont mean to whinge about it here but I just hope these price comparisons would be good information for those in a similar situation as me - especially if they are from Australia too. 

post #20 of 22
Thread Starter 

In terms of sharpening stones, 


Some of the ones I can get here are: Naniwa Superstone, Chosera, Kasumi, Shun, Global and the likes. Believe it or not, so far I've only found ONE store here that actually sells the Naniwa Superstone and still on a mission to find a price on the Suehiro Rika here. Hence, in my opinion, I'll be looking for advice based on what's available where you guys are in the US. Not sure which japanese ones are there out there for consideration besides the ones mentioned here already though. 


I presume, for a beginner like myself, the Suehiro Rika would be the preference over the likes of Naniwa SS 3K, 5K or even the Arashiyama/Takenoko? Could you explain to me on what the differences are so I can understand better too? 



For the Chef's Knife, I'm leaning towards getting the Artifex due to numerous reviews I've read around too - dont think i'll go wrong with it. The other 2 close 'contenders' are the FKM and MAC Superior - where price difference isnt that much to cause a worry. But the Artifex seems to take the edge in terms if material. Some mixed reviews on the other 2. I, somehow, seem to get the idea that I wont go wrong with any of these knives anyway actually. 


And yes, I would agree that the 6" is way too short for a chef's knives. I have my 10" Kagayaki which my partner thinks is a monster. So I reckon I'll go for an 8" this time just as a step-up towards it first so everyone in the household can get used to it! 



In terms of petty knives, i'll probably look for some cheap ones around and throw it in with the same shipment from whereever i buy the knives from. Going to browse through online stores now to see what's available out there!

post #21 of 22

Suehiro Rika vs Naniwa 3K, 5K and Arashiyama/Takenoko:

They're different stones which do things differently.  One of the aggravating things about Super Stones, especially as you climb the grit scale is how soft they are and how quickly they gouge.  However, the Rika has the same problems.  The Rika is a "clay" aka "mud" binder.  The SS are resin.  Usually resin binders are quicker than mud binders -- but in this case, no.  The Rika can function as both a 3K and 5K stone -- 5K if you sharpen long enough to "break down" the mud.  But the

SS stones are as stated.  I think Rika can reach "down" more efficiently than the SS 5K and polish out more scratch left by a coarse stone; but isn't any better than the 3K.  The Rika has better feel than either. 


The Takenoko is very fast, a little on the hard side, and easier to maintain.  It's really a 6K stone but was frequently sold as an 8K because of how fine it polishes.  However, it polishes a more "slippery" but less shiny edge than the SS 5K, and neither anywhere near as shiny nor slippery as an SS 8K (the 8K has issues, just sayin').  The Takenoko is very fast for a 6K and has a lot of reach; but perhaps not quite as much as the Rika.  It also has somewhat less feel than the Rika. 


I don't own one, but really like the Takenoko as a final, polishing stone for people who don't want an uber polish.  Plus, it works very well coming off the Bester 1.2K.  I think the Rika is especially good for beginners, and also for people who are looking for a good stone to stand between a medium/coarse (around 1K) and an 8K or 10K polishing stone.  I don't mean to underplay the SS, but they've been around for awhile and don't get quite as much interest.  For what it's worth, I really like the Takenoko, the Suehiro Rika and both of the Naniwa SS.   


I've owned all of the relevant Naniwas at one time or another, and have used both the Rika and Takenoko -- but neither fit or fits my personal needs.  I currently have three synthetic water stones in the range -- a Chosera 3K and 5K cut for an EP, and a Chosera 3K bench stones.  All three Choseras were the fruits of great deals.  I really like Chosera bench stones, but don't think they're worth their retail prices.  The Chosera EPs are better than Edge Pro's stuff and very nice to have -- but only if you also have an EP.



Good knife at a very good price.  If 8" is what your partner wants, than 8" is a good choice.  It can be very difficult getting  anyone who picks up your underwear to trust you enough to let you teach them new knife tricks. 



post #22 of 22
Thread Starter 

Just wanna say thanks to everyone and especially BDL for all the insights and advice. 


I think I have enough information for now to make my decision. Just a matter of finding good deals around now! :)

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