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Help setting an aspiring home cook on the right path

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

I've been lurking around the forums for some time now since I've been considering buying a new general purpose chef's knife. I'm hoping I can bank on the collective wisdom of everyone to help make an informed decision. Not until I came here did I know there was this much to know about knives!


A little about me: I'm definitely a newcomer to the scene, as of right now I don't have a stone nor do I know how to properly sharpen a knife. But I'm more than happy to learn how to.


Growing up I did work with a stainless steal Japanese knife (about 8-9 in) but I wasn't taught proper knife holding. Again something I want to work on.


In terms of how I cut, I can do most basic cuts and tend to do a straight up and down "push cut". I would like to get a quality Japanese knife that will last. Preferably less than 10 in. I understand that its a waste to drop a lot of money on a knife at this point but at the same time I live a minimalist lifestyle, I don't want to be upgrading in a year or two. My budget is around $200 but flexible


I live in Montreal and happened to ask a fellow and he pointed out these:


Misono UX10 Chef's Knife (Gyutou), 8.3-inch (210mm)


Sakai Takayuki Grand Chef SP Chef's Knife, 210mm / 8.25 (although I might get the non dimple version if it comes into stock)


Misono Molybdenum Chef's Knife (Gyutou), 8.3-inch (210mm)


For the little I know about whetstones, this is something I imagine I might start with.


Would you recommend any of the above for my skill level or something different? Any help is appreciated. Thanks!

Edited by please - 8/10/12 at 9:12am
post #2 of 9


The threads out here that discuss knives are, to say the least, extensive.

They also contain, to a certain degree, a fair amount of repetitive info.

You may still get some direct, very informative responses from BDL and some other people who really know their stuff, But if I were you, I'd search through the information already out here as it's impressively expansive.

post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

Quite right I do have some homework to do and I have gone through some of the older threads. I crafted my OP based on one of bdl's posts.   Basically I wanted to know if the knives I linked above are a good starting point or if I should just go back to the Victorinox Fibrox 8 inch that got me off looking for a good chef knife.

Edited by please - 8/10/12 at 9:05am
post #4 of 9

You could give Mark Richmond a call and see if he'll ship to Canada.

post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the heads up ^.


I've kept going through some of the older threads and came across a link to a Chad Ward, author of An Edge in the Kitchen.   Is he well known in these forums and is he knowledgeable?

post #6 of 9

Chad is well-known because he has a great intro book and has been generous with info on his website.  I think the written materials on sharpening is some of the best instruction available for kitchen knives (i.e., the book chapter and the online material are the same). I like videos, too, but I think the Ward chapter is pretty ideal to get all the background/theory before finding videos to learn.


His info is a bit limited and obviously not particularly updated for particular knives he recommends in the three or so price classes he discusses.

post #7 of 9

Chad Ward's Edge in the Kitchen is a wonderful book if you're seriously interested in knives, knife skills and knife maintenance.  That said, it's something of a "Coffee Table Book," and you get most of the important information for free on the net. 


Paul's Finest is great.  So is Paul.


The Misono UX-10 is a beautiful knife, but it's expensive and for several reasons is the not best choice for most people's first good knife.  The Misono Moly is an excellent entry into the low end of the good knife class.  It's got a bigger handle, but otherwise is not really any better than a Fujiwara FKM -- a very popular first good gyuto, which is less expensive than the Moly. 


The best choice at Paul's for you is probably the Sakai Takayuki Grand Cheff -- not any of the "damascus knives, but Grand Cheff only.


If you buy any of the knives you linked from Paul, you'll be getting a great knife from a great dealer.  But there are plenty of knives in this world, and you might like others more.  Worth taking a look and worth asking some questions. 


If you really like any of the knives at CKtG, call or email Mark at CKtG and find out what he can do about shipping to Canada.  You might want to take a look at JCK as well; they do very cheap shipping as well as creative custom valuation; a lot of Canadians buy from them. 


I strongly recommend 240mm (aka 9.5") over 210mm (aka 8") for your go to gyuto.  The little bit of time you take to learn the skills necessary to handle the longer knife will return years of efficiency. 


Finally -- what comes first -- There's no point in buying a good knife unless and until you have an equally good plan to keep it sharp.  Sharpening is everything.



post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 

BDL, quoting one of your posts you lay it out pretty straightorward, there is no king among dull knives (to that effect anyway).  I've decided this might be one of the projects that takes me a few weeks to decide and have stopped worrying about getting the best knife but focus more on understanding sharpening or find someone who would take care of that.


Looking into the Sakai Takayuki for example, says its a very hard blade.  From the little I've gathered so far, you'd want to get a stone with a higher grit count to properly sharpen it but on a softer knife a high grit count would wear it down or cause it to roll.


I managed to snag a pdf of the sharpening section of Ward's book, going to read that.  But I'm not sure how much info it has on selecting sharpening stones to go with your knife.


Nonetheless I did find these for any others who are following my thread:  - some good info in there although if you're a newbie a lot of the terminology might fly over your head :(

Edited by please - 8/13/12 at 4:55am
post #9 of 9

The Sakai Takayuki Grand Cheff isn't particularly hard; its nominal 58RCH is the same Rockwell number as a modern Wusthof.  But "hardness" is a very complicated subject and unless you want a lot of information plus a lot of editorial... let's not go there.  On the other hand, if you do, we can. 


If you do decide to sharpen freehand on bench stones, what you want for the Grand Cheff (and most modern, high quality knives) is a decent set of synthetic water stones.  Ultimately you'll probably want a coarse stone for profile and repair; a medium/coarse stone for initial sharpening; and a medium/fine stone for final sharpening and light polishing.  


Since learning to sharpen is part of your personal equation and still assuming freehand + bench stones, you'll want to learn to sharpen with the medium/coarse stone first; then the medium/fine; and only try the coarse stone once you've become reasonably proficient with the medium/fine. 


But, it's important to consider that bench stones are not the only choice.  Although freehanding on stones is very versatile, and once you're good at it is also very efficient; other options might be better for you.  What's best?  It depends on your knives, your eventual plans, and your willingness to spend. 

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