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Carbon Knives

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

So, I'm a line cook in a fairly high volume restaurant. I'm currently building a knife set, and I'm considering adding a carbon chefs knife to the range, probably a carbonext.

 

I'm just wondering how much care I'd actually have to give the knife, while on the line. Is there a significant amount of care, or is it just giving it a wash and a dry every time I use the knife? When on the line, will the extra sharpness I gain from having a carbon, outweigh the troubles caused by it?

 

I'm also considering getting a Richmond, either an Artifex or Addict. Is there a significant difference in the knives or is it mostly the handle?

 

One last thing, I'm also getting my first stone soon. I've previously been sharpening on sandpaper, but as I'm using the knives more now I'm willing to spend the extra on a stone. How long would a stone usually last? What grit(s) should I get?

post #2 of 22

So, I'm a line cook in a fairly high volume restaurant. I'm currently building a knife set, and I'm considering adding a carbon chefs knife to the range, probably a carbonext.

A CarboNext is not a "carbon," it's "semi-stainless" and more stainless than semi.

 

I'm just wondering how much care I'd actually have to give the knife, while on the line. Is there a significant amount of care, or is it just giving it a wash and a dry every time I use the knife? When on the line, will the extra sharpness I gain from having a carbon, outweigh the troubles caused by it?

Carbons are are more demanding than needy.  They don't require much extra care; rather they require their care RIGHT NOW. 

 

You don't get much extra sharpness anymore from carbon as opposed to the really good semi and stainless alloys.  And, don't forget, if you want to exploit what difference there is you'd better be a very good sharpener.  Carbon alloys typically feel better on the stones than their more stain resistant counterparts; and may get sharp a little faster.   Plus, not all carbon alloys are created equal. 

 

I used nothing but carbon during my short career on restaurant lines (at a time when carbon was still hugely superior in most ways) and didn't find their care particularly onerous. 

 

It's best to look at the problem as whether a specific knife is worth pausing for frequent wipe downs; and many certainly are.  Word to the wise though, don't go carbon with your citrus knife.

 

I'm also considering getting a Richmond, either an Artifex or Addict. Is there a significant difference in the knives or is it mostly the handle?

Yes they're different.  The Addict is more refined in a lot of ways, while the Artifex is huge bang for the buck.  If I could afford them equally, I'd probably base my choice on profile and appearance; but can't tell you which you'd like better.  A fair comparison would be looking at the differences between a Wusthof Classic and a Forschner Rosewood. 

 

Call Mark Richmond (at CKtG) and talk to him.  It's not an imposition, he loves to talk to customers.

 

One last thing, I'm also getting my first stone soon. I've previously been sharpening on sandpaper, but as I'm using the knives more now I'm willing to spend the extra on a stone. How long would a stone usually last? What grit(s) should I get?

It depends on how many knives; how often; how you maintain; how much money you're willing to spend; and whether you consider the extra cost and harder feel of longer lasting stones worth the price.  Grit is often a big factor as well.

 

If you're a home cook who only sharpens his own knives and doesn't have too many of those -- you could probably get two years out of a King Combi, and a lifetime out of a Gesshin 8K.

 

Your grit choices depend mostly on what kind of knives you have and what kind of edges you want to create.  It also depends on how you view the sharpening processes.  I see those as profile/repair, sharpening itself; and final sharpening/polishing -- and view sharpening through the prism of pulling a burr and deburring.  Seen that way, you want either a three or four stone kit.

 

CKtG sells a nice, Japanese synthetic, three stone kit with a little discount attached:  Beston 500, Bester 1200 and Suehiro Rika (3K - 5K, depending).

 

Don't forget that water stones require flattening.   

 

Depending on your knives (and your future plans), your best choice may be "oil" instead of water stones. 

 

Before you get out the credit card, let's talk a little more about what you have, what you're going to have in the foreseeable future, what sort of edges you want, the level of PITA you consider worthwhile, and how much you're willing to spend. 

 

BDL

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post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 

I'm going to quiz Mark on the stone issue, so for now we could ignore that. 
I'm thinking of getting the Artifex, but as I live in the UK, the total price would probably come out around 120-130$. For this price, is it still a good 'bang for your buck' knife, or is there something else I should look at, given that the postage is fairly expensive (40 dollars) and I'll have import taxes no matter what? I was previously considering a Konosukue HD gyuto, but I'm really unsure of what to get.

 

For the sake of this, we can say that I have no budget on the knife. In that, I mean that if there is a real advantage in getting say a 400$ knife over a 100$ knife, then I don't mind spending the extra, but I don't care about branding, purely the quality of knife. Ideally I want something 210mm as I feel most comfortable with that, but I'd also consider a 240mm. I don't think that I'd like anything longer at this time.

 

I have reasonable sharpening skills, I think that if I was properly equipped with stones and the like then my skills would be pretty good. I'm also willing to work on them, and have the time to do it.

 

At the moment, the knives which I'm really considering are the Richmond Artifex 210mm, Konosuke HD 210mm gyuto, and the MAC pro, purely because I've seen you recommending that knife so often, and everyone who has followed up the purchase has been extremely happy with it. I'd say I'm leaning towards the Artifex, as I don't know what I'd be gaining from the extra money I'd be spending on the other knives, but I'm not sure if the Artifex is a good knife if it were to be costing as much as it will for me. 


I can also get the Tojiro DP 210mm for 90$, posted and delivered. Should this be something I consider over the other knives I'm considering?

 

If I were to place an order right now, I'd probably get the Artifex, an Idahone ceramic steel, and whatever stone was pointed out to me by Mark.

post #4 of 22

I don't want to make your choices for you, and don't have any expertise about the practical ins and outs of shipping to the UK. 

 

But look closely at JCK's choices.  They're supposedly magicians with keeping costs down.  The three knives which probably come closest to meeting your needs (including price) are the Kagayaki VG-10, the Kagayaki CarboNext and the Fujiwara FKM.   You may also want to take a look at a couple of the HIromoto knives, the AS and the G3.  But I think the Kagayakis are not only better value, but better knives.

 

The CarboNext had something of a reputation for shipping dull -- and that could be a problem because they were so dull the user needed to create an edge practically from scratch.  But I'm not sure if that still holds or not.  The posts I've seen over the past six months seem to indicate that the knives arrive with a better proto edge so it isn't the issue it used to be. 

 

Stay away from the carbon Fujiwara FKH, it's made from a lousy alloy.  It's stainless sibling, the FKM is made from an uninspiring but decent stainless.  A lot of people really love the knife.  While it's not everything I love, I'd choose it over a Tojiro DP for its better "feel" and because I don't like san-mai (three layer laminate).

 

BDL

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post #5 of 22
Thread Starter 

I thought that VG-10 was quite a mediocre steel?

I've messaged JCK about the prices for leftie knives, so I'll probably make a choice from them. I'm leaning towards the Kagayaki VG-10, as I like that most aesthetically.

Out of the ones you mentioned from JCK, which would you get? I know that you personally don't really like giving recommendations, but I'm quite lost, and from what I've seen of your posts you seem more than qualified to give me a recommendation

post #6 of 22

Of the ones you mentioned, based on everything I've heard, I'd probably go with the CarboNext.  Remember though, that putting an initial edge on a knife isn't a problem for me.

 

Of the knives I haven't mentioned but are on the JCK site, I'd most likely recommend the Masamoto VG for someone who wants a stainless, mass-produced. western-handled, "first very good" chef's knive; but would choose the "carbon" Masamoto HC if I wanted a mass produced, western-handled chef's; and the Masamoto KS if I could choose anything at all.  But, similar to the initial edge thing, "carbon" is also a non-issue for me.  

 

I'm not sure how to advise you, because I'm not sure if you want the most bang for the British Pound Sterling, or the most bang period as long as you can afford it.  Not only are those two different knives you've been cae canny (as the Scots say) about how much you're willing to spend. 

 

Remember also, that sharpening is going to eat up at least some of your budget; and if you think I'm not of much help when it comes to knives in Old Blighty, I'm really going to disappoint you when it comes to stones.

 

Speaking of Scots, I'm going to have a nice glass or so of Dalwhinnie without any ice to screw it up.

 

BDL 

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post #7 of 22
Thread Starter 

I want the most bang for my buck, period, but I'm willing to spend up to 200$ on a chefs knife, but if the best 200$ knife isn't significantly better than something at 120$, then I'd go for the 120$ one. I'm not sure how well I've explained that, lol.

 

I think I'm going to order then Carbonext and the 1000/4000 combi stone from JCK.

 

Is it worth paying the extra 10$ to get the extra sharpness on the Carbonext or is the OOTB edge still poor either way?

post #8 of 22
Thread Starter 

Quick update, I ordered the Carbonext about a week ago, it arrived today. I paid for the ES, because they claim to sharpen it to a 70/30 (or in my case as a leftie, 30/70), and indeed they do.
Unfortunately, the knife was still below par OoTB for my tastes, which mean for some other people, it would seem to be plain blunt.

Never-the-less, I'm sure I can get it sharp enough once I run over it, and I have the 30/70 to work off, although it looks more like an 15/85 or something to me. The F&F seem to be good, the balance is good for me. Overall I'm happy with it, I'll give it a sharpen, and a week and I'll probably make a review on it.

post #9 of 22

I'm looking forward to your review.  It's a very easy knife to sharpen.  I like mine a lot.  I end up using a lot because it fits in my knife block (!) unlike my 270mm Yoshihiro gyuto, which I generally prefer.  But the CarboNext is easier to sharpen.  Almost too easy -- it's hard to get sharpening practice in!

post #10 of 22
I'd like to expand on two of king's questions:

1. Should I be oiling my carbons every time I'm done cutting for the day and store them?

2. Any advice for sharpening knives with thick bolsters? I keep hitting it in the edges on the stone.

Thanks.
post #11 of 22

1. - probably not.  If you live in an incredibly high-humidity environment (a rainforest?) maybe --but if you're using the knife every day or nearly so, generally no.  Oil it for longer term storage.

2. Hate that.  And I don't have a solution for you -- you have to run the knife with a more perpendicular-to-the stone angle of approach to avoid hitting the bolster. Which is a drag.  I don't know what else you can do (other than knocking off the bolster -- or finding someone who will for you).

post #12 of 22
I live in Florida and although it's not a rain forest it's pretty humid and no rusting and I leave mine out on a cutting board. No oil needed

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post #13 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scubadoo97 View Post

I live in Florida and although it's not a rain forest it's pretty humid and no rusting and I leave mine out on a cutting board. No oil needed

 

...same here in south Georgia.  I don't worry about my carbon steels rusting any quicker than anywhere else in the U.S..

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-T

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post #14 of 22
Thanks guys. You've got me beat on humidity, I'm in Atlanta, so my carbons should be fine.

Wag- I do some light metal fabricating so removing the bolsters or more specifically the finger guards, wouldn't be difficult. I just don't like the idea of changing the knife that much. Guess I'll have to sharpen them as you say, perpendicular style.
post #15 of 22

I am in Florida also and when my knives are in the toolbox they rust, and handles mold, (they are real wood and old) but if not in the box they don't .Therefore they need air circulation to stop mold. Make sure you thoroughly dry before putting away. If you are not using for a long time wrap in an oiled towel and store.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #16 of 22
Interesting I have a Hiromoto 300mm carbon that I rarely use in its box in the kitchen drawer. Our house has A/C but we keep the house at about 79* and the knife shows no sign of mold or rust. It is dried well before storage

You can't lay on the beach and drink rum all day unless you start in the morning

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post #17 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by chefedb View Post

.... Make sure you thoroughly dry before putting away.....

This.

post #18 of 22
Thread Starter 

Where would one be best looking for carbon Sabatiers? 

I'm cautious about buying them because of all the confusion I have over the actual branding, but I'd be interested in getting one if I was sure of the quality etc.

I'm in the UK too so no Ebay


Edited by kingofkings - 8/19/12 at 3:56pm
post #19 of 22

I'm not a massive fan of the Hiromoto AS, a blunt Masamoto VG cuts more effortlessly, probably due to the thickness/geometry used. 

I recently purchased a few (170 mm bunka, 210 & 240 mm gyutuo)  Masakage Koishi's which are absolutely mind blowing in all respects (http://www.masakageknives.com/knives_koishi.html), particularly in edge retention and ease of re-sharpening.  I was very hesitant purchasing more than one knife from one manufacturer after off-loading several UX-10's, but in this instance I had to make an exception.

post #20 of 22

tHESE 3 OR 4 KNIVES  ARE AT LEAST 45 YEARS OLD AND HAVE BEEN THROUGH HELL

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #21 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by chefedb View Post

tHESE 3 OR 4 KNIVES  ARE AT LEAST 45 YEARS OLD AND HAVE BEEN THROUGH HELL

 

Can we get a picture please?

post #22 of 22
I just got three Sabatier Nogents here:
http://thebestthings.com/knives/sabatier_nogent.htm
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