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Your perfect knife set

post #1 of 45
Thread Starter 

As I'm in the process of building a knife set, I thought that I'd ask this.

Rather than asking individual people what knives they'd buy, I'd like to ask, if you were to build a knife set right now, what would you purchase? What particular knives would you get, in terms of the style and branding of them? Usage of said knives? Any multitaskers?

Money no object.

post #2 of 45
Fun post! My kit would look as follows:

240mm wa gyuto Kanehiro
210mm kurouchi wa gyuto zakuri
210mm yo gyuto kikuichi TKC
270mm bread knife Tojiro ITK
270mm sujihiki konosuke
210mm wa petty gesshin
80mm wa petty takeda

Mowgs
post #3 of 45

No serious knowledge of names/brands... need SHARP!?!  Chef to paring... if sharp, or easily sharpened... that's what I want.  Have a decent, long serrated knife that's good for carving and slicing things like bread. 

post #4 of 45

Chairlady,

 

Sharp knives are mostly a matter of knowing how to sharpen, and the rest is having knives which you can effectively sharpen and keep sharp.  The best knife choices for someone like you are going to partly depend on how you decide to sharpen. 

 

From my end, as someone who wants to help you make good choices, it's pretty easy to set you up with a set of knives and a sharpening kit which will be right for you.  There are lots of good options. 

 

The Serrated Knife Syndrome

It's very common for the sharpest knife in even a good cook's house to be the bread knife, a steak knife, or something else serrated.  In fact, I'd venture to say that's true for the vast majority of good cook's homes. 

 

Unfortunately, serrated knives are seldom actually sharp knives, they're usually dull but still serviceable saws.  They tear more than they cut, won't cut herbs cleanly, leave ragged surfaces, and make chopping onions a tearful and uncomfortable experience. 

 

Sharp, fine edged knives do a much better job. 

 

How much time and money are you willing to spend on learning to sharpen and on sharpening equipment? 

If you don't want want to learn to use benchstones, that's okay.  There are other good options.  Chef's Choice Electric sharpeners do a better than adequate job, are extremely easy to learn, and cost between $80 and $160 depending on how much flexibility you need.  One of the only manual pull-throughs worth a darn is the MinoSharp Plus3.  It costs $80, but is only suitable for knives sharpened to 15* and those are mostly Japanese made. 

 

How much money do you want to spend on knives?  

Without making any specific brand suggestions, it's a good idea for most cooks to invest in a "basic set" of knives which can perform all knife tasks well rather than a big block of knives; with the most money spent on the highest quality chef's knife they can afford and which is also appropriate for their sharpening and maintenance habits. 

 

It doesn't make sense to spend a lot of money on a knife you can't or won't keep sharp. 

 

Interested?  Let's talk.

 

BDL

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post #5 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by rdm magic View Post

As I'm in the process of building a knife set, I thought that I'd ask this.

Rather than asking individual people what knives they'd buy, I'd like to ask, if you were to build a knife set right now, what would you purchase? What particular knives would you get, in terms of the style and branding of them? Usage of said knives? Any multitaskers?

Money no object.

 

Let's worry less about what I use or wish for and more about what's best for you, your knife skills, your sharpening skills, your board, your aesthetic, and your budget... even if that's unlimited.  

 

Most good cooks can handle just about everything with a chef's knife (aka gyuto), a slicer (aka suji); a petty (a long paring knife/slicer-shaped "utility knife); and a bread knife.  Those are all multitaskers.  

 

The most common additions are a heavy-duty knife to compliment a chef's knife which is not made for splitting chickens, skinning pineapple, cutting through thick gourds, etc.; specialty knives for meat and fish prep; and knives for doing decorative work. 

 

My generic recommendations for people who were looking for their first high-quality, western handled, stainless chef's, suji and petty used to be MAC Pro and Masamoto VG, and a MAC Superior 10.5" inch bread knife. Those are still great knives, but there are many other possibilities as well. 

 

Let's start by talking about how you're going to keep your knives sharp, which lengths are comfortable for you, whether there are some particular alloys which interest you, what style handles you want and so on.  Let me also ask if you'll be purchasing from US retailers.  

 

BDL

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post #6 of 45
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by boar_d_laze View Post

 

Let's worry less about what I use or wish for and more about what's best for you, your knife skills, your sharpening skills, your board, your aesthetic, and your budget... even if that's unlimited.  

 

Most good cooks can handle just about everything with a chef's knife (aka gyuto), a slicer (aka suji); a petty (a long paring knife/slicer-shaped "utility knife); and a bread knife.  Those are all multitaskers.  

 

The most common additions are a heavy-duty knife to compliment a chef's knife which is not made for splitting chickens, skinning pineapple, cutting through thick gourds, etc.; specialty knives for meat and fish prep; and knives for doing decorative work. 

 

My generic recommendations for people who were looking for their first high-quality, western handled, stainless chef's, suji and petty used to be MAC Pro and Masamoto VG, and a MAC Superior 10.5" inch bread knife. Those are still great knives, but there are many other possibilities as well. 

 

Let's start by talking about how you're going to keep your knives sharp, which lengths are comfortable for you, whether there are some particular alloys which interest you, what style handles you want and so on.  Let me also ask if you'll be purchasing from US retailers.  

 

BDL

 

Right now I have in my case as follows:

210mm Carbonext gyuto

10 inch Sabatier Nogent Carbon

220mm Forschner Fibrox Chefs

10 inch Henckles serrated bread, which I got as a 'second' from a supply store. I can't see any faults with it

3 inch SS Sabatier paring, also have a 4 inch of the same from a set

Two steels, only one of which I use.

 

For sharpness I use stones, currently I have a 1k/4k, willing to invest in others. I'd say I'm somewhere between being a reasonable sharpener and a good one. Western handles, purely because I don't have any experience with traditional style.

 

At the moment, when prepping my go to is the Sabatier, when I'm on the line I'll either use that if I'm on the station alone or the Forschner because the people I work with can't be trusted. I used to use the CN but I now find it too short, making me wonder if I should get a 270mm gyuto. I have no preference towards alloys, but I'm more than happy for it to be carbon or SS. I know how to care for the carbon, and as I said I enjoy using the Sabatier carbon I have.

 

When you say a heavy duty knife, what would that entail? Would the Sab be classed as that? I don't do any work with pineapples, but gourds/pumpkins, blocks of parmesan and breaking down poultry/rabbits are fairly common tasks for me.

 

I'm fine purchasing from US retailers

 

 

At the moment, all I could really see that I could do with getting is perhaps a new chefs/gyuto in a slightly longer length, and maybe a better alloy and a real petty somewhere in the 150mm range, as at the moment I have to do quite a bit of work that isn't too suited to using a 10 inch for, although I have being considering using the CN for these.

post #7 of 45

I would say you should own at least one Shun Knife,

 

I have the Shun Premier  8in Chefs knife, it's the sharpest knife I have every used, It has a beautiful Damascus design and a rosewood handle. It's also very light weight.

The price for this knife is $150, I have my eye on owning the whole set. I only have the Chef Knife and Honing Steel at the moment.

 

 

LowlyCook

post #8 of 45
I recently purchased a misono Swedish Suji and this metal they used is amazing!

So smooth, though it colors easily.

I wouldn't mind a misono ux10 270mm gyuto and deba.

I know misono isn't that great but seems great for my level.
post #9 of 45

By heavy duty I mean something which can handle splitting chickens without chipping; afterwards can have the edge restored by (proper) steeling; and can be sharpened to a good, serviceable edge on bench stones.  A 10" carbon Sabatier is adequate, if a little light and flexible.  A 12" is better, because (wait for it) it's a bit stiffer and heavier, and the extra length allows you to get a little more leverage when powering through chicken bones. 

 

A 10" Forschner Cimeter is a relatively low-cost option which is useful for a lot of stuff, and a better choice than just demoting your Sab. 

 

A very cheap knife which would suit admirably would be the Old Hickory 10" (around $14) or 12" (around $18) butcher knife.  Cheap to get it to you?  I dont know, for some reason I keep thinking you're located outside of the US.  If so, that's something you'd have to research. 

 

I use a 12" K-Sab au carbone and 10" Forschner Cimeter, but if I were buying a knife for the purpose it would be the 12" Old Hickory.  Speaking of Old Hickory, if you sand the handle down, you'll find it a very comfortable knife.

 

Paranthetically, you'll find that despite how good your next chef's knife is you'll want to keep the Sab around for its outstanding profile and feel in the hand.

 

The 150mm CN petty is an outstanding choice, considering you can sharpen.  150 is the most versatile length if you're only going to have one petty.  Mine is a 150 Konosuke stainless (since replaced by the superior Konosuke HH series), I like it a lot.  Knowing what you know about the 8" CN gyuto, would you replace your Sab with a 10" CN?  CNs are a lot of bang for the buck but they can't compete with the way a Sab feels on the board or in the cut, can they?

 

In terms of a chef/gyuto you might want to consider a "laser" and/or a Japanese, "wa" handle.  If you really like your Sab, and can afford the price, the 270mm Masamoto KS is really special -- but it's wa only.  If you're not in the US, you can get it from JCK; as you know from your CN purchase, they are experts at keeping shipping and customs costs to a minimum.  If you're here, you can buy through CKtG.  In addition CKtG sells the Richmond Ultimatum which is a clone of the KS.  The 52100 version looks like a particularly attractive, more affordable alternative IMO.  I'm thinking of adding either the 52100 Ultimatum or a KS, not because I don't love my current knives but -- you know -- just because. 

 

Several high quality lasers are available yo or wa; stainless, semi-stainless, and carbon.  Reading between the lines, I think you should seriously consider a Konosuke White #2, Konosuke HD, or a Gesshin Ginga White #2.  CKtG is a good source for the Konos.  JKI is the only source for Gesshins.  One thing about lasers though, you can pretty much forget about maintaining them on a steel. 

 

For heaven's sake, don't thing about getting a Shun!

 

Misono UX10 series knives have some issues.  UX-10s have great handles, among the best in the business.  The chef's knives are very narrow, about half way between a typical suji and typical gyuto, but the profile is good -- if not great.  Also, quite a few people think they're difficult to sharpen, in that many stones cut slowly as though the alloy has too much chromium and is consequently a bit too tough.  I've sharpened a few, and that's not something I've noticed.  While I'm not about to discount the complaints, I suspect it's more a matter of which stones you have in your kit than anything else.  The overly streamlined, narrow profile is another matter; and frankly the quality of the alloy is nothing to write home about.  Masamoto VG and MAC Pro are better overall choices.   

 

Misono Sweden are excellent yo knives in every respect, except they are VERY reactive compared to just about every other high quality carbon knife.  If you want to go carbon yo, it's a close call but the Masamoto HC gyuto have better profiles (very much like Sabatiers') are less reactive, easier to maintain, and well worth the price difference. 

 

If you do upgrade your knives, consider upgrading your sharpening kit.  Since you're using a 1K/4K I'm guessing you're using a Norton.  In any case, you seem to be at the stage where you can benefit from something better than a synthetic, natural-binder, combi-stone. 

 

BDL


Edited by boar_d_laze - 10/19/12 at 1:51pm
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post #10 of 45

Hi,

 

What are your thoughts about the Shun Hiro 8" chef's knife (SG-2 R62-64) $280 vs... 

 

 

- Ryusen Blazen: (SG-2 R62-63) $213

Kikuichi TKC: (R:61-62) $170

- Akifusa Ikeda (SRS-15 PM steel): $180

 

-Hiromoto Aogami Super (carbon clad in steel, except the edge, R: 60-62): $135 

-Moritaka Supreme Aogami Super: (R:64-65) $180

-Konosuke HD:  (R61) $172

- Konosuke White #2$183


Edited by Silverdiabolik - 10/21/12 at 5:04am
post #11 of 45
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by boar_d_laze View Post

By heavy duty I mean something which can handle splitting chickens without chipping; afterwards can have the edge restored by (proper) steeling; and can be sharpened to a good, serviceable edge on bench stones.  A 10" carbon Sabatier is adequate, if a little light and flexible.  A 12" is better, because (wait for it) it's a bit stiffer and heavier, and the extra length allows you to get a little more leverage when powering through chicken bones. 

 

A 10" Forschner Cimeter is a relatively low-cost option which is useful for a lot of stuff, and a better choice than just demoting your Sab. 

 

A very cheap knife which would suit admirably would be the Old Hickory 10" (around $14) or 12" (around $18) butcher knife.  Cheap to get it to you?  I dont know, for some reason I keep thinking you're located outside of the US.  If so, that's something you'd have to research. 

 

I use a 12" K-Sab au carbone and 10" Forschner Cimeter, but if I were buying a knife for the purpose it would be the 12" Old Hickory.  Speaking of Old Hickory, if you sand the handle down, you'll find it a very comfortable knife.

 

Paranthetically, you'll find that despite how good your next chef's knife is you'll want to keep the Sab around for its outstanding profile and feel in the hand.

 

The 150mm CN petty is an outstanding choice, considering you can sharpen.  150 is the most versatile length if you're only going to have one petty.  Mine is a 150 Konosuke stainless (since replaced by the superior Konosuke HH series), I like it a lot.  Knowing what you know about the 8" CN gyuto, would you replace your Sab with a 10" CN?  CNs are a lot of bang for the buck but they can't compete with the way a Sab feels on the board or in the cut, can they?

 

In terms of a chef/gyuto you might want to consider a "laser" and/or a Japanese, "wa" handle.  If you really like your Sab, and can afford the price, the 270mm Masamoto KS is really special -- but it's wa only.  If you're not in the US, you can get it from JCK; as you know from your CN purchase, they are experts at keeping shipping and customs costs to a minimum.  If you're here, you can buy through CKtG.  In addition CKtG sells the Richmond Ultimatum which is a clone of the KS.  The 52100 version looks like a particularly attractive, more affordable alternative IMO.  I'm thinking of adding either the 52100 Ultimatum or a KS, not because I don't love my current knives but -- you know -- just because. 

 

Several high quality lasers are available yo or wa; stainless, semi-stainless, and carbon.  Reading between the lines, I think you should seriously consider a Konosuke White #2, Konosuke HD, or a Gesshin Ginga White #2.  CKtG is a good source for the Konos.  JKI is the only source for Gesshins.  One thing about lasers though, you can pretty much forget about maintaining them on a steel. 

 

For heaven's sake, don't thing about getting a Shun!

 

Misono UX10 series knives have some issues.  UX-10s have great handles, among the best in the business.  The chef's knives are very narrow, about half way between a typical suji and typical gyuto, but the profile is good -- if not great.  Also, quite a few people think they're difficult to sharpen, in that many stones cut slowly as though the alloy has too much chromium and is consequently a bit too tough.  I've sharpened a few, and that's not something I've noticed.  While I'm not about to discount the complaints, I suspect it's more a matter of which stones you have in your kit than anything else.  The overly streamlined, narrow profile is another matter; and frankly the quality of the alloy is nothing to write home about.  Masamoto VG and MAC Pro are better overall choices.   

 

Misono Sweden are excellent yo knives in every respect, except they are VERY reactive compared to just about every other high quality carbon knife.  If you want to go carbon yo, it's a close call but the Masamoto HC gyuto have better profiles (very much like Sabatiers') are less reactive, easier to maintain, and well worth the price difference. 

 

If you do upgrade your knives, consider upgrading your sharpening kit.  Since you're using a 1K/4K I'm guessing you're using a Norton.  In any case, you seem to be at the stage where you can benefit from something better than a synthetic, natural-binder, combi-stone. 

 

BDL

 

 

Correct, I am outside the US, I'm in the UK. I can get an Old Hickory from Amazon for about 1/2 of what the Cimeter costs. Are any of the other Old Hickory knives any good or is that the only one?

 

I am also going to update my stone set soon, I'll most likely be getting the set from CKtG, I'm just biding my time to order because of the postage cost meaning that I'll be placing a 400-500$ order; namely the stones, an Idahone, and probably a few knives just to give them a go, maybe the Artifex nakiri, just to see how I like it, along with a wa handle knife. 

 

I'm intending for my next 'real' gyuto to be something that I won't need to replace, so the cost won't really be an issue. I'm just concerned about the care of a true laser on the line, as accidents happen and I believe that they require a fair amount of babying. I'll look into the Masamoto, and the Konosuke. Would your choice be the White #2 or the HD? 

 

I probably wouldn't trade my Nogent for a CN, but when I first received my Sab I would have done. It has grown on me greatly since then. But then I also really like using my Forschner, which some research has shown me is actually a 220mm carving knife.

 

Would I be right in thinking that a Nogent is not dissimilar to a Wa handled knife, in the sense that it is very light?

 

Silver; Check BLDs post above - to quote him

 

'For heaven's sake, don't thing(think) about getting a Shun!'


Edited by rdm magic - 10/21/12 at 9:00am
post #12 of 45

haha

 

Yes, I saw that about Shuns... but, why? Quality issues? Price issues? or Aesthetic issues?

 

Since I'll be breaking down my own meat, I'll probably get a Victorinox cimeter, boning knife, and filet knife ( but I'm open to other options for the latter two). I'm also looking for a decent skinning knife and meat cleaver, for down the road.

 

Therefore, I'm really looking for a great Japanese chef and pairing knife (top budget for both: $500) I'm open to carbon.

 

I've narrowed it down to the knives that I had listed above.

 

While I obviously wasn't able to try out most of them, I was able to hold the Shun Hiro, and I liked how that felt. However, I see that there are less expensive options... and  I'm intrigued by the other non-Shun Japanese knives. (For the record, I tend not to rock the knife much.)

post #13 of 45

RDM,

 

The Old Hickory knives are made with 1095, which is a decent alloy; are nearly indestructible; get reasonably sharp; sharpen easily on oil stones; can be maintained very easily on a steel; and are very inexpensive -- at least if you're not shipping them to the UK.  But, to be blunt, they're crude.  Fun crude.  But crude.  Best tool for the job?  I don't know.  But fun in your kit, even a pro kit.  If it's a knife you plan on using frequently, you'll want to sand the handles down.  As a matter of practicality and performance per pound, I'd go with either a used Henckles or the equivalent, or a Forschner butcher's knife or Cimiter.  I don't know the English knife scene, but don't you guys have some inexpensive, old tech options? 

 

My experience with HD is that it's all of the good parts of stainless and carbon, with none of the drawbacks. 

 

It's been more than three decades since the last time I prepped food for money, so consider the source.  But, I've heard a lot of opinions on lasers in the home and on the line and -- of course -- have developed my own.  There are few if any things a laser can't do that an ordinarily thin Japanese knife, like any Masamoto gyuto can.  However, because lasers are so thin they're even more susceptible to binding if the user torques the knife or gets it out of square to the cut.  Even though pros usually have MUCH better technique than home cooks it's more of a problem in a professional kitchen because time pressure tends to breed carelessness.  If you're technique is consistently precise, a laser's benefits outweigh its drawbacks.  But if not, not.  

 

It's difficult not to love a carbon Sab once you've figured it out.  The Nogents are especially seductive.

 

Wa-gyuto come in all sorts of thicknesses and weights.  But as a result of its bolster/finger guard, a "Nogent" runs a little heavier than a typical wa-handled knife. 

 

I don't think you can go wrong with a Masamoto KS, it's just an outstanding knife.  Would a Konosuke suit you better?  Impossible for me to judge.  In my case, they're equally good. 

 

BDL

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post #14 of 45
Thread Starter 

Now that you mention it, we probably do have some old knives that I could look into. 

 

Would it be any advantage to re-handle an Old Hickory if I were to buy one, or is the steel not really good enough to bother with?
 

As for the gyuto, I'll keep lurking, and maybe ask for your opinion once I have a real shortlist formulated. I see no reason that I wouldn't be okay with a laser though, especially considering I'd have other chefs knives knocking around if it wasn't working out having the laser out in service.

 

Thanks for all the help.

post #15 of 45

Old Hickory steel is 1095.  Not very expensive, but very good.  A few years ago, Ontario (Old Hickory's maker) upped the quality on its blade manufacturing, which had become very inconsistent, to a fairly high level. 

 

You don't need to rehandle an Old Hickory, but you will want to sand the handle down, fill any gaps with putty, and oil it frequently until it's absorbed as much as it can.  Afterwards it will be as smooth, silky, and water resistant as any natural wood handle.   

 

BDL

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post #16 of 45

Silverdiabolik,

 

Looking at your posts, especially your list of knives, I get the feeling that you might benefit more from a general discussion about knives than brief takes on your current choices.  I'd like to help you out but am not sure where to begin.  I don't want to push you or anyone else into my preferences, and would rather help you develop enough knowledge about knives, how you'll use them, and sharpening to help you form your own practical perspective.

 

As a general rule, I do not recommend any 8" German profiled chef's knife, but suggest 240mm, 10" or 270mm French profiles.  A French profile is more agile, at around 10" a French profile has enough of a flat spot to push cut effectively, and 10" is more efficient in that it can handle bigger handfuls and holds on to sharp "spots" along the length of the blade longer if only because there's more length to the blade.  

 

There are a lot of things I don't like about Shun chef knives, their German profile is only one.  That's not to say they aren't good knives, you shouldn't like one, that there aren't lots of very knowledgeable and skilled people who love theirs, or that they aren't the best possible choice for a lot of people.  At the end of the day though, there are much better knives for the same money and better knives for less. 

 

I don't see much reason for many people to pay extra for a knife made from an extremely hard metallurgical powder.  Very few people get any benefit from them as compared to "regular," appropriately hardened alloys.  And, in general, I think you're overemphasizing the importance of hardness and/or particular, prestige alloys without understanding their benefits or drawbacks. 

 

In terms of your list:

 

  • Shun:  No.
  • Ryusen Blazen:  Good knife except for mediocre quality control in the non Epicurean Edge versions.  SG-2 is overrated. 
  • Kikuichi TKC:  Excellent, semi-stainless knife.  Very similar in all respects to the less expensive Kagayaki CarboNext, but comes with a better OOTB edge and more consistent quality control. 
  • Akifusa Ikeda:  Okay, but not as good as the Kikuichi TKC or CN. 
  • Hiromoto AS:  A very popular knife a couple of years ago, but they have issues.  I bought two AS gyuto, a suji and a petty with the idea of replacing my Sabatiers, but neither my wife or I liked them nearly as much as the Sabs.  The Hiromotos didn't get any sharper, their handles were short, narrow and just generally less comfortable, and their profiles much worse.  We sold the disappointing Hiromotos after only a few months. 
  • Moritaka Supreme AS:  Not just a little variance from all the hand work, but major quality control issues.  I don't like san-mai knives, don't like kurouchi finishes, don't like gyuto profiles that flat, but if I did I'd pay the markup for a Takeda and forget about the clone.    
  • Konosuke HD:  Excellent semi-stainless knife.  Highest recommendation.  I own three HDs. 
  • Konosuke White #2:  Excellent carbon knife.  Highest recommendation. 

 

That said, there are a lot of knives made with more "normal" alloys like AEB-L and VG-2 worthy of your consideration.  For instance, the MAC Pro, Masamoto VG, and Sakai Takayuki Grand Chef are fine choices for someone looking for his first really good knife.  If you really think you can live with the neediness which is carbon, in addition to the Konosuke White #2, you might also think about the Masamoto HC, and Misono Sweden series.  As mass-produced, non-laser, western-handled, carbon gyutos go, the Masamoto HC is as perfect a knife as you'll find.  That doesn't necessarily make it best for you.  It depends on a lot of things. 

 

The first big step in moving up to better knives is understanding the importance of sharpening and developing a plan to keep your knives sharp.  Once you get a grasp of what's involved in getting and keeping a knife sharp, and what sort of strategy will work best for you, we can start talking about knives.  

 

Your thoughts?

 

BDL


Edited by boar_d_laze - 10/22/12 at 11:58am
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post #17 of 45

Thanks... I really appreciate your response.

 

 

-Since I'm very meticulous in the kitchen, I wouldn't have a problem taking care of carbon knives. (However, since my wife is less meticulous, that'd be my only reason not to get a carbon.)
 
-Sharpening: I think I'd find sharpening knives a relaxing process. I was considering the Edge Pro Apex 5… but I'm open to other suggestions and/or additional stones. (My wife initially had her eye on the electric ChefChoice 15/20 and the Wicked Sharpener.) 

 

As I said, since I'm turning toward Victorinox for most of my meat knives, I just want Japanese for the chef and a pairing. (Although, I'm intrigued by the honesuki boning knife for chicken...or should I just stick with a normal boning knife?)

 
Does your recommendation of the Konosuke HD or Kikuichi TKC for chef knives also extend to pairing knives, or should I look elsewhere for that?
 
- While I've never used a knife with a wa handle, I'm open to it… but I am used to western handles.
 
- I don't tend to rock much. Plus, I'm strong, but my hands are small.
 
 
Other knives that I've been considering are…
 
-Masamoto KS 
-Richmond Ultimatum 
-Hattori FH
-Tojiro Dp
post #18 of 45

Thanks... I really appreciate your response.

 

 

-Since I'm very meticulous in the kitchen, I wouldn't have a problem taking care of carbon knives. (However, since my wife is less meticulous, that'd be my only reason not to get a carbon.)
 
-Sharpening: I think I'd find sharpening knives a relaxing process. I was considering the Edge Pro Apex 5… but I'm open to other suggestions and/or additional stones. (My wife initially had her eye on the electric ChefChoice 15/20 and the Wicked Sharpener.) 

 

As I said, since I'm turning toward Victorinox for most of my meat knives, I just want Japanese for the chef and a pairing. (Although, I'm intrigued by the honesuki boning knife for chicken...or should I just stick with a normal boning knife?)

 
Does your recommendation of the Konosuke HD or Kikuichi TKC for chef knives also extend to pairing knives, or should I look elsewhere for that?
 
- While I've never used a knife with a wa handle, I'm open to it… but I am used to western handles.
 
- I don't tend to rock much. Plus, I'm strong, but my hands are small.
 
 
Other knives that I've been considering are…
 
-Masamoto KS 
-Richmond Ultimatum 
-Hattori FH
-Tojiro Dp
post #19 of 45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boar_d_laze View Post

Old Hickory steel is 1095.  Not very expensive, but very good.  A few years ago, Ontario (Old Hickory's maker) upped the quality on its blade manufacturing, which had become very inconsistent, to a fairly high level. 

 

You don't need to rehandle an Old Hickory, but you will want to sand the handle down, fill any gaps with putty, and oil it frequently until it's absorbed as much as it can.  Afterwards it will be as smooth, silky, and water resistant as any natural wood handle.   

 

BDL

 

Would you recommend a specific oil/putty?

post #20 of 45

Silverdiabolik,

 

Carbon knives which are left out dirty overnight, or even just left out wet in the drainer, aren't ruined, but they can take significantly longer to clean up than if they'd been rinsed and wiped immediately.  A knife either suits the way you live or it doesn't.  You shouldn't have to perform contortions to get along with a kitchen tool.  Anyway there's plenty of good stainless from which to choose.  Unless you have your heart set on a particular carbon alloy or particular carbon knife, you're not going to miss anything by going stainless. 

 

I have four completely different sharpening kits, one of them is an Edge Pro Apex.  It's great.  If "Kit 5" is the Chosera kit, that's the EP kit I use, and happily recommend; although while you're at it you might as well by the collet and angle finder -- you'll nedd them eventually.  The Wicked Edge system is supposedly just as good.  It's as expensive as an EP Apex, or even slightly more if you get into a complete range of stones.  The EP is a bit more flexible, the WE has an even easier learning curve.  While I've never used a WE, based on what I've heard, it's as good as the EP and a bit faster.  The WE is based around diamond plates, while EP has more and better stone choices.  If I had to do it again, I'd still get the EP and the Choseras; but I'm not you. 

 

CC machines are great for people who can't or won't learn to sharpen on bench stones, or take the time, trouble and expense to use a good tool and jig system like the EP or WE.  CCs are very convenient and do an adequate job quickly.  However, CCs leave something to be desired relative to those other methods.  I recommend CCs all the time, but if you're really willing to go EP or WE a CC doesn't make a lot of sense. 

 

Paring knives shorter than 5" or so take so much abuse and get sharpened so often they get worn into uselessness quickly, so spending a lot doesn't make much sense to me.  Unless there's something specific you have in mind, I'd keep the price down and buy something cheap enough to replace every year or so.  I know a few people who buy the little Forschner, serrated disposables by the case, and replace every couple of months.  I've got a bunch of paring knives but hardly ever use them for anything other than cutting string or opening packages. 

 

A "petty" is something of a different matter, will last you years and years (if you don't abuse it), and is worth climbing the higher on the quality ladder somewhat higher.  I don't think a Kikuichi TKC or Konosuke HH is out of line.  I've had a Kono petty for the last year and like it a lot. 

 

If you don't "rock" you really don't want a Shun.  Hand strength is nice and all, but it's something you want to get beyond in terms of knife use.  You want your knife sharp enough to do the work with a very soft grip.  Compared to strong grips, soft grips are significantly more accurate, allowing smaller and more consistent cuts.  They're also significantly more adaptable, and less fatiguing.  Sharpness is everything. 

 

The other knives you're considering are all very good, but all somewhat different from one another. 

 

The Masamoto KS is one of the very best knives in the world, but carbon.  It's also well over $300.  The only knives in your lists which compare in terms of performance to the KS are the Ultimatum (which is a clone) in any alloy, and the Konosuke in any alloy.  The Masamoto KS and K-Sabatier au carbone were the two best chef's knives I'd ever used, until I tried the Konosuke HD.  Then there were three.  

 

The Richmond Ultimatum is a KS clone with the same, remarkable Sabatier profile.  The Ultimatum is supposedly (I've never tried one) very, very close to the 240mm KS and huge bang for the buck. 

 

The Hattori FH is a beautiful knife, perhaps the best VG-10 knife made, but I'm not a huge fan of the Hattori profile.  Nearly everyone I know who's bought an FH (and that's a lot of people) sold it after not too long and moved on to something "better."  Usually a wa-laser. 

 

The Tojiro DP is a good knife for the money, but it's entry level and not like the other high end knives on your list.  It's good enough to benefit from good sharpening and at the end of the day will probably cut onions about as well as any of the more expensive knives but it isn't as well made, doesn't have the same quality F&F, isn't as comfortable, and doesn't have anywhere near the same prestige. 

 

BDL


Edited by boar_d_laze - 10/24/12 at 8:14am
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post #21 of 45

RDM,

 

I don't know enough about what's available in the UK to recommend specific products. 

 

Any waterproof wood putty will do.  So, for that matter, would Bondo -- but it would look ugly.

 

Here in the US we use something we call "mineral oil" for oiling wood.  It's ubiquitous, sold in drug stores as a laxative, in hardware stores for all sorts of purpose,  and is relatively inexpensive.   It's not the same thing or the same price as the stuff sold in Jolly Olde as "mineral oil."  If you can't find the British equivalent, Vaseline works almost as well.  Spread it on, let it sit for a few hours, and wipe it off.  Do it every few days, then every time you see the gloss fade.  Eventually you'll oil (or grease up) when you sharpen.  

 

BDL

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post #22 of 45

Thanks Boar,

 

Just a few more questions before we make our  final decision...

 

- For carbons, how is the Konosuke Fujiyama white# 1 vs the white # 2 or Masamoto KS? (less edge retention?)

What about the super expensive ZDP189s?

 

- I see that chefknivestogo has two versions of the wa-handled Konosuke HD (H2) What's the difference?

 

Unfortunately, they're sold out of the Konosukes that I had my eye on. :-(

However, they DO have the Kikuichi TKC in 210 & the Richmond Ultimatum in 245mm

Do your recommendations feel better in 210mm or 240mm or 270mm? (I'm used to the 8")

 

- What steel rods would I need for the Japanese knives, if any? (Hand American borosilicate rod?)

What about for the Victorinox knives?

post #23 of 45

Whites #1 and #2 are very similar, but #1 has more carbon.  #1 is stronger, but not as tough as #2.  Everything else being equal, white #1 will take and hold a slightly better edge than white #2, but it is more chip prone.  White #2 is less expensive than #1, and is a better practical performer -- especially for a gyuto which gets a lot of impact.  You could probably make an argument that #1 is better for a chisel edged knife which does nothing but slice fish, but I wouldn't know.  

 

Probably the most important phrase in the preceding paragraph is "everything else being equal."  For your purpose, everything else is NOT equal.  The Fujiyama knives are not equal to the other Konosukes in that they are not lasers.  They are thicker and heavier, and although they're also stiffer I have no interest for myself.  Furthermore, it's highly unlikely that anyone other than a very skilled and painstaking sharpener would be able to exploit the minor differences in edge properties between White #1 and White #2.   Even if I could, I'm pretty sure the difference in use would be meaningless. 

 

ZDP189 is a metallurgical powder alloy.  It has excellent wear and sharpening characteristics.  An internet acquaintance of mine, a knife and sharpening junkie of epic proportions, and something of an EP pioneer, has one and loves it.  I don't think it's worth the money unless you're as crazy as he is.  The "improvements" in the alloy relative to White #2 and HD aren't going to help you cut onions any better.  If you want to fool around with an exotic powder, you might think about the Richmond Ultimatum. 

 

As to the Ultimatum in any alloy, worth a thought if you're interested in a KS but can't swallow paying $300+ for a kitchen knife; and/or are interested in "interesting," American manufacturers.  On the other hand, not only is a Masamoto a Masamoto, but the KS is the quintessential western Masamoto.  I'd have one or the other in my kit, but simply can't make up my mind for all of the above reasons.  Since I already have a 10" K-Sab chef's, a 270mm Konosuke KD gyuto, and a 300mm Konouske HD suji which I sometimes use as for chopping, I'm in no hurry to get another chef's.

 

The difference between the original and "new" Konosuke shape is that the original has some belly and rocker, and the new knife is significantly flatter.  The old knife has a more French style and suits a "glide" action, while the new one is more suited to push cutting.  The old shape suits my action perfectly.  FWIW, my HD gyuto is the knife I most often use for general prep.   I don't know what the difference is between HD and HD2; you should call Mark at CKtG and ask. 

 

The Masamoto KS is not quite as thin as a Konosuke White #2, but almost.  It's significantly thinner than the Fujiyama. The Masamoto KS, Konosuke White #2 and Konosuke HD are three of the five or six best chef's knives I've ever used.   If I had to choose one among the three to use as my only chef's knife it would be the Konosuke HD. 

 

The ten inch range (240mm, 245mm, 10" and 270mm) is a more efficient and better length for home users and pros than 8" (210mm).   The exception is people who work in a very tight space or on a very small board.  8" knives are definitely easier to control if you don't have a good grip.  Otherwise, they are not.  Some people, usually women, tend to think that shorter knives are better for people with small hands, and/or are otherwise "petite."  Not true, it's the grip. It's better to spend a few days improving your grip than spend the rest of your life using a knife that's all tip, requires lifting the handle to heaven to chop an onion, dulls quicker, and has all the other short-knife flaws.  In my opinion. 

 

No matter how good the rod hone, steeling is not particularlly profitable for very thin, very hard knives, nor for knives with highly asymmetrical edges.  Thin, hard knives tend to chip.  As a rule, the harder the chippier.  Thin knives don't out of true very easily, and when they do it's more efficient to true them with a touch up on a fine stone or strop than on a rod.  In spite of knowing that, I occasionally use a hard, ultra-fine (HA borosilicate) rod on my Konos because it's easy to get to.  But it doesn't work the same magic it does on a Sabatier or a Forschner. 

 

Regarding the HA borosilicate rod in particular.  It's an excellent rod, best as the ultra-fine in a two rod system. It's also very expensive.  I do use two rods and use HA borosilicate chasing burrs and when the knives are still fresh enough off the stones that they retain some polish.  If your knife kit includes knives which need steeling, and you're only going to get one rod, get an Idahone fine ceramic.  Not only is it more versatile it's considerably cheaper.  You can add the HA later if you feel the need. 

 

BDL


Edited by boar_d_laze - 10/25/12 at 10:48am
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post #24 of 45

Thanks.

 

Based on what's available, we've narrowed it down to the following..

 

Chef:

 

- Kikuichi TKC 270mm (or 210mm)

- Richmond Ultimatum 245mm

- Richmond Addict 2 240mm

- Mac Pro MBK-95 9 1/2" (how are the other Macs: Ultimates & Chef series?)

 

The Richmonds intrigue me (which is best?), but I'm not sure how the wa-handle would feel.

While the 240mm length seems right for us, if we HAD to choose between the 210 or 270 Kikuichi, I assume you're recommend the 270mm.

(We were thinking of also getting a Victorinox 10" for tougher items...or should we just stick with the 270mm TKC? (or both?)

 

Petty/Pairing:

 

- Kikuichi TKC 120mm

- Konosuke HD 120mm

- Henckels Twin Cermax M66 5"

 

- Mac Pro 5"

 

Thoughts?...


Edited by Silverdiabolik - 10/27/12 at 12:05am
post #25 of 45

Although it's the most popular length by far, I don't like 210mm (8") for chef's knives.  If you're willing to spend a few weeks for the awkwardness to pass, adjusting your grip to a pro-style, soft pinch, will allow you to handle a 10" knife with the same intuitive ease as an 8", and the 10" length is considerably more efficient in several ways.  That said, I don't understand why you're talking about your Kikuichi choice as being between 270 and 210mm.  240mm is probably you're best choice.

 

I can't tell you whether you'd like the Ultimatum or Addict better. 

 

If you want to try a wa-gyuto take a chance on the Ultimatum.  Of the knives on your list that would be one of my top two recommendations. 

 

The other is really three knives -- a tie between the MAC Pro, the Kikuichi TKC, and the Masamoto VG (not on your list). 

 

I'm a huge fan of the MAC Pro for people (like you) moving up to their first really good chef's knife.  Good to excellent everything, edge taking; edge holding; ease of maintenance; stain resistance; great handle; good French profile; excellent stiffness.  It also has a consistently good F&F (as Japanese knives go), an excellent warranty (unusual in Japanese made knives) and excellent factory support.  The knife brands which compete in those three respects -- Global, Miyabi, and Shun -- make knives which are otherwise problematic in important ways. 

 

The Kikuichi TKC uses a better alloy than the MAC, and has better edge properties than the MAC although you probably won't be able to exploit them.  The TKC was one of THE knife's connoisseur's secret choices and built a following of cognoscenti when sold under the Ichimonji name, but now that it's sold under the Kikuichi name -- with better product support by the way -- the identical knife made by the same maker is less trendy.  Go figure.  It's a tiny bit lighter than the MAC, but not as stiff MAC, has a slightly less universally comfortable handle, etc., etc. 

 

A Masamoto is a Masamoto is a Masamoto.  Like the MAC and the Kikuichi, everything is very good to excellent with one proviso.  Because Masamoto had issues in the past with bad handles, even though those are supposedly completely resolved, you're going to want the retailer to make sure that the handle fits properly and without gaps before he ships the knife.  Incidentally, that's not a bad idea with any knife.  The Masamoto alloy is supposedly "proprietary," but whatever it is, it's awfully damn similar to the MAC's secret alloy (probably VG2).  The Masamoto gyuto profile is frickin' perfect, matched only by Sabatier and the Ultimatum (a Masamoto KS / Sabatier clone).  If that profile is more important than stiffness or "absolute" edge taking properties, get the Masamoto. 

 

Speaking of trends, the Kagayaki CarboNext (sold by JCK only), is supposedly almost identical to the Kikuichi TCK but $60 cheaper at the 240mm length.  Cheaper is of course better, but the drawback of CarboNext is that they often ship very dull, so you have to be prepared to profile and sharpen a good edge on the knife as soon as it comes out of the box or the savings are pointless.  Because I know that your sharpening skills aren't up to the task, I don't think it's a good idea for you to take a chance on the CN.   

 

The MAC Ultimatum is overpriced for what it is.  Don't bother.  The MAC Pro is worth the extra money, compared to the MAC Superior for its stiffness, comfort and ergonomics -- the second two are mostly a product of the Pro's excellent handle.  The Richmond Artifex is almost certainly a better choice than the MAC Superior if you want a western knife without a transitional bolster (or ferrule) between handle and blade.

 

I think 5" is on the short side for a petty and 6" is far more useful.  I also think you're climbing the price ladder about as high as you'd want to go for a petty.  The Twin Cermax M66 (aka ZDP 189) is difficult to sharpen, is very expensive, and chips very easily for a knife which is going to be cutting around and scraping bone.  The MAC Pro 6" "utility" is probably a better choice than the 5" "petty."  The Kikuichi TKC is supposedly very good, but I've never tried the petty.  Konosuke HDs are great knives, but if the HH is less expensive go HH for the petty.  Stainless might be a better choice than semi-stainless in that its extra stain resistance is a good thing in a knife which is going to be cutting a lot of citrus. 

 

Lots to think about,

BDL

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post #26 of 45
BDL,

You mentioned the Mac Superior. According to Mac's page, the pro chef knife uses the same steel as the superior series. Would you recommend the Superior for the budget minded?
Edit: just remembered that Mac doesn't make the same blade in the superior series.... :/
post #27 of 45

Thanks,Boar.

 

We really appreciate your patience & advice.

 

We'll think this over.

 

What's your opinion on the Richmond Artifex 210mm Gyuto M390? How is that steel?

 

BTW, the reason why it was a choice between 210 & 270, is because CKtG doesn't currently

carry the Kikuichi TKC or the Konosuke HD in 240mm.

 

* Update: I've just noticed that they do have a 240mm Konosuke HD, but in an extra tall heel version...

http://www.chefknivestogo.com/koadhd24wa.html

 

and this version...

http://www.chefknivestogo.com/kohdkigy24we.html

 

Also, I see that Konosuke did their version of the Richmond Addict (but it doesn't mention the length)...

http://www.chefknivestogo.com/riadhdbykowc.html

 

they also have the HH version

http://www.chefknivestogo.com/ko24stwawebh.html

 

 

 

 


Edited by Silverdiabolik - 10/28/12 at 2:44am
post #28 of 45

While we'll probably either get the Kikcuichi TKC or the KonosukeHD, I'm beginning

to re-evalue the Masamoto VG, & the Misono UX10 vs the Mac Pro (The Misono seems overpriced.)


Edited by Silverdiabolik - 10/29/12 at 10:50pm
post #29 of 45

The Kikuichi TKC is not a laser, but the Konosuke HD is.  They're not really comparable.  If those are the two at the top of your list, I suggest that difference is even more important than the difference between yo and wa handles. You do realize that if you get the Konosuke in a "regular" yo handle (ho wood, which makes it a yo-ho knife) it's not only less expensive but lighter than ebony? 

 

I gather Mark Richmond is very high on M390.  I don't know enough to have an opinion. 

 

The Richmond Ultimatum is an honest 245mm. 

 

It appears that the knives at CKtG which were out of stock in the 240mm length and were causing you to choose between 210mm and 270mm are now stocked at 240mm.  The moral of the story is call Mark and see what the wait for restocking is before accepting a "second choice."  You're going to own this knife for a long time, don't panic and accept something you don't really want because of a month's wait. 

 

I can't tell you which length you should buy, but 240mm seems to work best for most home cooks who are developing their knife skills.  210 is better for  people who won't or can't.  270 is for people who (a) have, and (b) have big cutting boards.  210s have a much shorter flat section along the edge, which makes them feel like they have more belly.  Consequently they promote more of a rocking action with a high handle when the point is down than do 240s and 270s.  The difference in the hand and on the board between 210 and 240mm is much greater than the difference between 240 and 270mm.  The first is the difference between a small and a medium knife; the second between two mediums.

 

Yes, the Misono UX 10 is overpriced.  It was a breakthrough when it came out, but now it's just one more good knife priced like a great one.  It's a pretty knife, very stream-lined looking; but you really have to want something narrow.  Some people say they have trouble sharpening it. 

 

After the last round of price increases, and considering the competition from the likes of the Kagayaki CN, the Kikuichi TKC and the Masamoto VG, it pains me to say the MAC Pro is overpriced as well.  More than $200 for the MBK 95 doesn't seem like a great deal.  That said, it's still a great all-around knife, stiffer than the other, has service and warranty advantages, a great handle, etc., and from your various lists it appears you can afford to spend high end money.  I've bought half a dozen MAC Pro chef's for friends and relatives, and "sold" another few dozen with my online recommendations. 

 

BDL


Edited by boar_d_laze - 10/30/12 at 8:48am
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post #30 of 45

I'm new here but I've been lurking for quite some time now and decided to post my opinions bc I own some of the knives you seem to have an interest in. I'm very much a noob when it comes to blade material, sharpening, and the like so I can only offer my opinion on the basic handling of knives.

 

It seems that with Western handled knives the blade length is measure from tip to heel while with Wa handled knives it is measured tip to handle. So western handled knives are heavier due to more blade length. The richmond ultimatum maybe one exception.

 

I have the following:

Kikuichi TKC 210mm: Though not a laser, it is very light and agile. Handle is comfortable and F&F is decent but some is left to be desired for its price. 

Richmond Artifex AEB-L 210mm: Not a laser and heavier than the TKC, No flair handle but still comfortable.

Richmond Laser AEB-L 210mm: Its a laser. Super light at around 123g. Very agile and great F&F

Konosuke HH Funayuki Ebony 240mm: It is definitely true that ebony is heavier than ho wood. It shifts the balance of the knife back a bit. F&F is superb. Its thicker than the Richmond Laser but its also a longer knife so that may come into play.

Sakai Yusuke Ultra-thin 240mm white #2: the thinnest and lightest of all my lasers at 1.6mm thickness at the heel. F&F is at the Konosuke level.

 

Also Gesshin Ginga line from JKI are very high valued among many forums for their quality and F&F. They offer them in carbon and SS blades and comes with Sayas. Konosukes have raised their price lately so you might want to take a look at Sakai Yusuke from bluewayjapan on ebay and Gesshin Ginga if you want Sayas.

 

I started out with an 8" blade and am fine using it. But the more I cooked, it left me wanting a longer blade when I started using the pinch grip. Unless you're very small, a 240mm will be good. just my 2 cents.

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