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Home cook looking for first real knife

post #1 of 49
Thread Starter 

Hello all,

 

Looking for my 1st real knife, and stone(s) to maintain it. Looking for some advice on what some of you feel should be purchased. I don't have a firm budget but hoping for under $200 for both. I would like to try a wa handled knife, probably SS, thinking 240mm as this seams to be the most popular. Is this doable?

 

Background, have a couple cheap knives with western handles, a cheap manual pull through sharpener and plastic cutting board. No formal training, usually just cook basic meals, veggies, meats, etc

 

Thanks in advance

post #2 of 49

Hmm, wa handle and keeping the whole thing under $200 doesn't leave you with a ton of choices. I'd say get a Tojiro ITK gyuto, and Bester 1200 Suehiro Rika stones. That's $80 for the knife, and $50 each for the stones. The steel on the Tojiro (Hitachi White #2) is quite nice. I haven't used the gyuto, but I have the 130mm petty and it is easy to sharpen and gets very sharp. It is a little rustic looking. The only thing I don't care for is the d-shaped handle, since I'm a leftie. Should be no problem if you are right handed. Oh, and the ferrule is plastic, which is a bit cheap and slippery. Also, it is carbon steel. At the price range you're looking in, I think carbon is a better choice. There are super-stainless steels that can get sharp and sharpen easily like carbon steel, but they generally run quite a bit more, especially with a wa handle.

 

Another thought would be to go with a CCK 1303 cleaver for the time being. It's a great cutting knife. Very thin, gets nice and sharp, way handy in the kitchen for all sorts of things if you can get over the slight learning curve of using a different kind of knife. Also carbon. The benefit here is that it is only $40. Also, later, when you decide to buy something nicer, you won't end up with the duplication of having two gyutos- you'll have a gyuto and a cleaver.

 

Heck, if you wanted to stage it, you could get the CCK (or the Tojiro) and the Rika, and just used the Rika to touch up the factory edge as needed, and pick up a 1000-1200 grit stone later.

 

Another option would be to spend the bulk of the money on the gyuto, and use the sandpaper "scary sharp" method of sharpening. That opens up the choices on gyutos a lot. In the end, though, I'd say it would be a better idea to learn freehand sharpening with a cheap-but-decent knife and nice stones than with a more-than-decent knife and a cheap sharpening solution. Less frustration, less worry.

John

post #3 of 49
Thread Starter 

This budget isn't set in stone. What would be a good entry level, yet future compatible, knife and stone?

 

Thanks again

post #4 of 49

Go to a store dont look at brands just   find one that feels comfortable to you in your hand . weight, balance etc.  To spend a lot in beginning to me is crazy. As your cooking progresses so can your knives,

CHEFED
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post #5 of 49

Carbonext 240 gyuto and a Beston 500 and Bester 1200 that'll put you over by about $40 but will give you a great sharp knife forever.  The 500 is probably necessary to put on the initial good edge and fix problems such as some chipping that tend to happen. Buy a higher grit 5000 Suehiro Rika when you have the $.

post #6 of 49

$200 is not doable for a quality, wa-gyuto plus quality sharpening kit.  For the knife alone, no problem.

 

The deal with wa handles is that -- if you have a decent grip -- they're no big deal.  It doesn't take any time to get comfortable, nor is it difficult to go back and forth.  If you don't have a good grip, it's easy enough to develop one even though that will take a few days to lean and a couple of weeks to master and make habit.  Everything else being equal, wa-handled knives are lighter than yo, and consequently tend to be less fatiguing if you do a lot of prep.  Wa may be more conducive to speed if you've got extreme knife skills, or maybe not.  I've heard both sides argued by great cutters. 

 

If you're interested in a wa-gyuto and can afford a good one don't stress too much about the move from yo.  Nearly everyone likes wa.  If you buy from a retailer with a good exchange policy there's no reason to worry at all. 

 

The Tojiro ITKs have a LOT of issues.  I don't recommend it as a first, quality knife.  They get very sharp, but quality control at every level, including the kurouchi finish, is very spotty.  I'd say it's more in the line of a novelty for someone who already has a few knives he likes; or perhaps someone who's really not sure whether he'll like a wa handle or not.

 

CCK Chinese knives are also crudely made.  Fine, if that's what you're looking for.  But not only would I not recommend it as a quality knife, I wouldn't recommend a Chinese knife to someone looking for a gyuto/chef's. 

 

I don't think many stores in the US carry reasonably-priced wa-gyuto at all, much less a selection; certainly no more than 10 nationwide.  Furthermore, in-store knife trials which don't involve several minutes worth of cutting are worthless.  Consequently, I can't agree with Ed.

 

You have a lot of choices for an excellent quality, 240mm, wa-gyuto at under $200,  here are a few:

  • Gesshin Uraku (stainless)
  • Kagayaki KV-10 (VG-10 stainless);
  • Konosuke HH (stainless)
  • Konosuke White #2 (carbon)
  • Richmond Addict (stainless)
  • Richmond Addict 52100 (carbon); 
  • Sakai Ichimonji Kichikuni(white #2 carbon san-mai); and
  • Sakai Yusuke White #2.

Both Addicts, the Kagayaki and the Gesshin Uraku are good, thin knives.  The Sakai Kichikuni borders on stout.  Both Konosukes and the Sakai Yusuke are "lasers."  The Gesshin Uraku is the least expensive at $155, a good all-around and tremendous bang for the buck.  The Kagayaki is nice, but too chip prone.  I think Gesshin, both Konosukes and both Richmonds are equally good choices and suggest choosing from those five.  I prefer lasers and carbons, but that's my taste.  What's best for you depends on yours.

 

A good, three stone sharpening kit, plus flattener will run in the neighborhood of $150.  CKtG's three stone ("Five Piece") kit is a very good deal, add their very inexpensive diamond flattener and you're looking at $160.  You can keep the price down by buying two stones, with the idea of adding a coarse stone later.  You can keep it farther down by buying a "temporary" kit like a King 800/6000 combi stone ($45, not including flattener). 

 

I'm assuming this post will raise as many questions as it answers.  Feel free to keep asking.

 

BDL

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post #7 of 49
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the info, and yes this does open the door to more questions

 

Is there better "bang for your buck knives" out there in a yo handle? I wont be doing tons of prep as I am the at home cook, so fatigue is not an issue. 

 

I think I want to go stainless at this point due to maintenance, but am willing to go carbon if there is a knife that really stands out. 

 

As for the stone, why do you call the combo set as a "temporary" solution? Does the quality leave a little to be desired? If I was to purchase only 2 stones, which stones are the ones to buy?

 

Lastly, what else do I need to maintain the knife? Stone holder? Sharpening guide? Etc...

 

Thanks again

post #8 of 49

Yo handles are cheaper by a long way; you could look at the Richmond Artifex, or the Carbonext as two good choices.

 

If you get the 3 stone set from CKtG, all I can think extra you'd need for now would be an idahone rod, which sets you back about 25$ from CKtG too.

post #9 of 49

There's more of a continuum with yo-handled knives than with wa where quality and price go together.  It's not so much a question of how much it costs to make a knife, but more of what's available.  There are plenty of wa-gyuto below $125, but most of them are junk.  On the other hand, you can get an excellent western handled chef's for under $100. 

 

The thing of it is, that after you get into the good wa price range, quality tends to run about the same for wa and yo with -- of course -- the same value for money considerations.  Once you've decided to pay $150 or more for a good knife you're not going to get extra value for that particular feature.  

 

Combi stones are "temporary" because (a) they wear very quickly, with one surface wearing faster than the other; (b) they're more fragile and tend to break along the corners and edges, more frequently -- not to mention separate; (c) you really need a three stone kit so you're going to end up buying another stone anyway; (d) separates offer more and better choices; and consequently (e) it's easier to rotate various separates in and out of your kit or your progression. 

 

Don't read more into those five reasons than I wrote.  A lot of good sharpeners use combi stones as their medium/fine stone for decades, and good for them.  However, most frequent sharpeners prefer separates.   

 

BDL

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post #10 of 49
Its been a couple years since I have been seeking my first japanese knives but I can still feel the confusion and excitement of the OP of this thread.

I even remember how just trying to get a grasp on what everyone was trying tell me was job in itself and how even as knowledge and understanding progressed so did the amount of information and learning.

I am believing everyone goes through some similar process and though we do all find our own way I think there are some basics that can apply to all and getting just a few things in a clear perspective will help tremendously.

First is being honest about your budget. There is no more sense in claiming you need to stay under $100 when that's peanuts to you any more than it is to say its OK at $500 or more when that's your life savings etc. There is always time to upgrade in the future once you are more comfortable etc.

I know all members mean well but I would suggest only getting an idea on the costs of stones for now and re visit the whole thing again once you have decided on your knife. I think it is just too overwhelming to do both at once until there is a better understanding of what your really getting into here.

Second and this is almost as important as first lol is to be honest with your skills, use, needs, and what you think is important.

All those will change over time but up front you really need to work those out and let everyone know etc so we can help you use this info to help guide you to a decision that will better suit your exact situation.;

Some examples are what skill level, if you are a prep cook at super busy facility, do you mostly just prep a single meal at home and have lots of time for care, what knives your have used in the past and your thoughts on them, and how all of this really shapes what you would like best, get the most use of and also get the most bang for your buck.

Remember a $300 knife in unskilled hands doesn't cut any better than a $50 one in the right hand.

Also I am very much convinced that the difference between the typical "celebrity " or " cooking equipment " brand and even the well respected German made knives and an entry level Japanese knife (Tojiro, Fujiwara etc) is considerably more than the difference between low end and the much more expensive high end ones. This is more true with the less experienced knife handler.

I know there is a lot to consider and it gets a bit confusing but if you can get through the questions above I am sure you will be able to determine a short list and get started looking at stones.

Just don't put too much weight on needing a $300 knife unless from experience you know you will benefit from one, or budget is of no concern.

 

"love my country" but "fear my government"  Something is just wrong with this

 

 

 

Looking for info on entry level J-knives? Need help on finding the most bang for your buck? Hope you enjoy learning from the info here, I know I did!

http://www.cheftalk.com/t/63213/tojiro-dp-f-809-240mm-g...

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"love my country" but "fear my government"  Something is just wrong with this

 

 

 

Looking for info on entry level J-knives? Need help on finding the most bang for your buck? Hope you enjoy learning from the info here, I know I did!

http://www.cheftalk.com/t/63213/tojiro-dp-f-809-240mm-g...

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post #11 of 49
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the info

 

I think I am pretty realistic about my talents and needs. My knife wielding talent is nonexistent and my needs are a sharp knife that will hold a decent edge and is easy to learn to maintain/sharpen. 

 

I have only ever used yo handled knives that is why I was leaning towards a wa, as it is different, but if I can get into "an excellent western handled chef's knife for under $100" like BDL says, that may be more attractive at this current time. 

 

My budget is an arbitrary number that I have made up, this is based on a comfort level of monetary spend, not on need to limit my purchase. I wouldn't feel comfortable spending much more, considering my current lack of talent maintaining the blade.

 

So I guess I should change my original question. What is the best knife under/around $100? Also, if I was to buy only 1 stone, which one would it be? If there is just 1 stone for now, how long will it maintain the blade with minimal usage(one meal daily for family of 3, no breaking down of bone, just veg) until I need to purchase a more course stone(assuming the 1 stone is fairly fine)?

 

Thanks everyone for the time you are spending answering my questions and steering me towards a great knife

post #12 of 49

No-one on here really mentions it, but you can maintain knives pretty well on wet n dry sandpaper, and a flat surface. It isn't ideal, and it has its problems, but for someone working on a very tight budget its a very good midground to stones, as you can get various grits for around 15 bucks. The sharpening principles are the same, although you have to use a slightly different technique in the edge being trailing.

The knife for under 100$, for me would be a carbonext, 240mm. But, be prepared to sharpen it when it arrives. Even if you pay for extra sharpness, mine wasn't able to pop hairs when I got it. Other people may say the Richmond Artifex, but I haven't used one so I can't really comment.

post #13 of 49

The CarboNext 240 is currently "sale priced" at $128.  The words "sale priced" in brackets because the CN has been "sale priced" since its introduction a few years ago.  Whatever.  At $128 it's a good deal, but exactly $28 over the $100 limit.  Can you tell I was a math major?

 

The three best 240mm gyuto under $100 are the Richmond Artifex for $90; Fujiwara FKM, $83; and the Tojiro DP at $100. 

 

The Artifex is a very plain knife with good geometry, good profile, very good alloy, and no cosmetics (or bolster).  Takes a very good edge, holds it well.  Thin enough, stiff enough, the handle is good, but not great.  Even though I prefer a bolster on western handled knives, the preference is entirely cosmetic.  Even without a bolster, the Artifex would be my choice for myself and recommendation for most people looking for the most performance at the least price.  In that sense, the Artifex is a lot like a Forschner -- but at a much higher performance level.

 

The Fujiwara is entry-level to the high end.  Decent alloy, good geometry, good profile, nicely styled -- it looks a lot more expensive than it is although F&F can sometimes leave a little to be desired.  Takes a good edge, holds it adequately.  Thin, a bit flexy, the handle is okay but a trifle short and thin.

 

The Tojiro DP is a san-mai VG-10, also entry-level to the high end.  Good alloy, but san-mai.  Geometry and profile are nice.  Cosmetics are average, F&F are much improved and good for the price.  Takes a very good edge, holds it very well, but VG-10 chips and cannot be profitably maintained on a steel.  The handle is a bit large and boxy (not nearly as bad as it was a few years ago), some people like the handle but others find it uncomfortable.  In my experience, san-mai knives provide "damped" feedback and I don't like them.   However, "my experience" is a minority view point.  Most people don't notice the damping, but about one third do and find it bothersome.  Will you?  It's 2 to 1 you won't. 

 

The Tojiro and Fujiwara both punch well above their weight, and both have devoted followings.  I don't think you can go far wrong with any of the three knives, but -- as I said -- think the Artifex is the best choice if you can live without a bolster. 

 

I don't recommend sharpening kitchen knives on sandpaper (aka "scary sharp").  The contrary, in fact.  While a very good system for wood-working tools, it's too slow for longer edges because slow translates as too conducive to error.  Furthermore, it tends to leave very difficult burrs which are very difficult for beginners to (a) feel, and (b) remove.  It's also very messy.  And the initial savings is a false economy in that sand paper clogs very fast, cannot be cleaned effectively, and must be replaced with every knife or (nearly so).  If keeping the cost of your sharpening kit down is extremely important, get an inexpensive combi-stone like a King 800/6000 and use it until you need and can afford better. 

 

BDL


Edited by boar_d_laze - 10/23/12 at 11:57am
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post #14 of 49

I didn't even check the price of the Carbonext, apologies.

post #15 of 49
I can not comment on the carbo-next or richman as I have never used either, and will only add that some seem happy and others not etc, but in general I have never been a fan of "house brand" items as I have experience with different items (primarily industrial products) where basically the whole premise was to increase profit by creating a brand where the company could purchase at a lower cost/quality. I can not say if this is the case with the above but that's my experience and I never was comfortable selling house brands etc.

I do agree with the other recommended knives, and own both the Fujiwara and Tojiro. This is where my original quest (like your own lol) had taken me, and I have no problem advising any noob to consider both the DP and FKM series.

There both stainless, get really sharp, hold that edge longer than my old Henckels pro-s which frustrated the life out of me, and feel much better while still haveing a somewhat familiar feel (yo handles etc).

Even though I do own a much superior and more expensive Konosuke HD gyuto that I love I still make good use of the Fujiwara and am still amazed at how well it feels, performs, and just plain works for what I paid for it. The more I discuss this knife the more I appreciate its value even if its not the best material or highest cost etc.

The Tojiro DP is also a winner to me. I do not have a gyuto but have used others and have a petty and santoku. Though I prefer the ergo of the Fujiwara I have to admit I prefer the steel of the Tojiro. It just seems to get sharper (though a bit more work) and stay that way longer.

I have learned that I do prefer the profile and feel of the Fujiwara for a gyuto, but have no plans on changing from my Tojiro petty and am including their sujihiki in my list for my next purchase. The santoku may not survive as long because much as I like the steel I am finding as time goes on I just do not use it as often asin the past. I think this knife was part of a bad habit I developed due to my previous pro-s knives and that due to the slightly thinner blade on their santoku it ended up being the sharper of the ones I had back then and I just worked it into my routine more. That's just not the case anymore lol.

If you like and have extra time I put a link to my first thread here in my sig

 

"love my country" but "fear my government"  Something is just wrong with this

 

 

 

Looking for info on entry level J-knives? Need help on finding the most bang for your buck? Hope you enjoy learning from the info here, I know I did!

http://www.cheftalk.com/t/63213/tojiro-dp-f-809-240mm-g...

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"love my country" but "fear my government"  Something is just wrong with this

 

 

 

Looking for info on entry level J-knives? Need help on finding the most bang for your buck? Hope you enjoy learning from the info here, I know I did!

http://www.cheftalk.com/t/63213/tojiro-dp-f-809-240mm-g...

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post #16 of 49

Lenny D, fwiw I owned both the Carbonext and Konosuke HD 240 gyutos until I gifted the CN to a friend. While a better knife, the Kono is not "much superior." The Carbonext has a relatively thin blade, is light, nimble and when properly sharpened it is an excellent cutter that holds its edge very well. The yo handle versus the wa of the HD is a matter of style. The HD is a true laser with a very thin blade which holds its edge just as well; perhaps a bit better. Both are semi-stainless proprietary steels. The fit and finish on the HD is better and I prefer its profile, but that, too, is a matter of style. 

 

IMO, the CN is a Camry or Honda Accord. A plain Jane knife that does everything well and if maintained, will provide professional or home cook satisfaction for a lifetime.  The Kono is a higher performance knife that holds up in professional use without having to pamper it.

 

Well thought out and well made house brand knives like the CN are a great bargain. That's why the Carbonext stays so popular.

 

I also own a Tojiro DP honesuki and place it roughly in the same category of the CN. A utilitarian knife with a well deserved reputation among cooks and chefs across the board as a work horse that performs as intended for a very reasonable price.

post #17 of 49

Would you say that the Konosuke is worth the extra investment over a CN?

post #18 of 49

Posted by rdm magic View Post

Would you say that the Konosuke is worth the extra investment over a CN?

 

To me?  Yes.  Also, it would appear, to Lenny and mano.  To you?  Depends what you're looking for and how much you can afford, but how many endorsements do you need?

 

BDL 

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post #19 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by rdm magic View Post

Would you say that the Konosuke is worth the extra investment over a CN?

For me, yes. But I still miss the CN and would be perfectly happy if it were my only knife for a lifetime. 

 

As more of a dedicated home cook than a knife guy I'm convinced that any properly sharpened very good knife will do a spectacular job in the hands of a talented cook or chef. The CN is a very good knife but the first order of business is to sharpen it properly and then focus on developing your culinary skills.

 

The guy I gave the CN to is an expert skier who still uses a pair of skis from about 1975. People who first meet him think he's as good as his skis until he shows off on the slopes. Same with knives. They're only as good as the person using them, regardless of how cutting edge they are.

 

After switching to the CN from 30 years of German knives, my skills improved immediately, but only incrementally. I can buy better knives than the Konosuke, but the reality is I'll probably never develop the skills to meet the HD's full potential.

 

Edited to add: Effective today Konosuke increased their prices about 30%. I'd contact Jon Broida at Japanese Knife Imports http://www.japaneseknifeimports.com/ for a good alternative. He used to carry Konosuke and still regards them highly, but should be able to guide you toward the right knife for you.


Edited by mano - 10/24/12 at 5:58pm
post #20 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by mano View Post

Lenny D, fwiw I owned both the Carbonext and Konosuke HD 240 gyutos until I gifted the CN to a friend. While a better knife, the Kono is not "much superior." The Carbonext has a relatively thin blade, is light, nimble and when properly sharpened it is an excellent cutter that holds its edge very well. The yo handle versus the wa of the HD is a matter of style. The HD is a true laser with a very thin blade which holds its edge just as well; perhaps a bit better. Both are semi-stainless proprietary steels. The fit and finish on the HD is better and I prefer its profile, but that, too, is a matter of style. 

IMO, the CN is a Camry or Honda Accord. A plain Jane knife that does everything well and if maintained, will provide professional or home cook satisfaction for a lifetime.  The Kono is a higher performance knife that holds up in professional use without having to pamper it.

Well thought out and well made house brand knives like the CN are a great bargain. That's why the Carbonext stays so popular.

I also own a Tojiro DP honesuki and place it roughly in the same category of the CN. A utilitarian knife with a well deserved reputation among cooks and chefs across the board as a work horse that performs as intended for a very reasonable price.

Agreed, but I think you may have misunderstood my superior reference as it was not to the CN, but rather the Fujiwara or Tojiro etc.

Like I said earlier I have not owned a CN, but judging by reports of those I trust it appears to be a good performing value and was on my short list at one time as well.

Judging by info from the same that had good reviews of the CN I also suspect that the konosuke HD advantages that do make a difference and this is part of why I decided on the HD.

 

"love my country" but "fear my government"  Something is just wrong with this

 

 

 

Looking for info on entry level J-knives? Need help on finding the most bang for your buck? Hope you enjoy learning from the info here, I know I did!

http://www.cheftalk.com/t/63213/tojiro-dp-f-809-240mm-g...

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"love my country" but "fear my government"  Something is just wrong with this

 

 

 

Looking for info on entry level J-knives? Need help on finding the most bang for your buck? Hope you enjoy learning from the info here, I know I did!

http://www.cheftalk.com/t/63213/tojiro-dp-f-809-240mm-g...

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post #21 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by mano View Post

For me, yes. But I still miss the CN and would be perfectly happy if it were my only knife for a lifetime. 

As more of a dedicated home cook than a knife guy I'm convinced that any properly sharpened very good knife will do a spectacular job in the hands of a talented cook or chef. The CN is a very good knife but the first order of business is to sharpen it properly and then focus on developing your culinary skills.

The guy I gave the CN to is an expert skier who still uses a pair of skis from about 1975. People who first meet him think he's as good as his skis until he shows off on the slopes. Same with knives. They're only as good as the person using them, regardless of how cutting edge they are.

After switching to the CN from 30 years of German knives, my skills improved immediately, but only incrementally. I can buy better knives than the Konosuke, but the reality is I'll probably never develop the skills to meet the HD's full potential.

Edited to add: Effective today Konosuke increased their prices about 30%. I'd contact Jon Broida at Japanese Knife Imports http://www.japaneseknifeimports.com/ for a good alternative. He used to carry Konosuke and still regards them highly, but should be able to guide you toward the right knife for you.

Contacting Jon is a great idea as he is very knowledgeable ans helpful. Its also nice to be able to get info live and off the boards, but just be aware he can be very busy etc but if you do call at a bad time its worth the wait as he is a straight shooter type of guy and in my experience will not "sell" you etc and seems to truly want to be sure to help you make the right decision.

I still have to be honest that I believe most noobs would be well served and very delighted with either the Fujiwara FKM or Tojiro DP and the savings could buy a few stones etc.

Still its all very personal and we all have to get to our destination our own way etc and I do not see any bad suggestions as these are all quality knives that will perform well.

In a past thread I made a comment about how the things that set these various knives apart for the more experienced members would likely not be noticeable to the average home cook or new pro for some time etc.

The tough part is really being able to gain the knowledge to be able to make a comfortable decision.

 

"love my country" but "fear my government"  Something is just wrong with this

 

 

 

Looking for info on entry level J-knives? Need help on finding the most bang for your buck? Hope you enjoy learning from the info here, I know I did!

http://www.cheftalk.com/t/63213/tojiro-dp-f-809-240mm-g...

Reply

 

"love my country" but "fear my government"  Something is just wrong with this

 

 

 

Looking for info on entry level J-knives? Need help on finding the most bang for your buck? Hope you enjoy learning from the info here, I know I did!

http://www.cheftalk.com/t/63213/tojiro-dp-f-809-240mm-g...

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post #22 of 49

Talking to Jon at JKI is a good idea, but JKI's selection is higher priced than CKtG's.  If you're only going to talk to one knife store owner, talk to Mark at CKtG.  I don't endorse one guy or store more than the other; both stores are great, both men are knowledgeable, and each has his or its own different strengths and weaknesses -- but you're not trying to decide between a Gesshin Ginga, a Konosuke HD and a Tadatsuna Inox.  Your ideas are more in line with CKtG's stock than JKI's.  If you're still serious about keeping the cost of the knife down to $100 or less, your best choices come down to Artifex, Fujiwara FKM and Tojiro DP, all of which are carried by CKtG and not JKI. 

 

BDL

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post #23 of 49

Hows the Fujiwara FKH series?

post #24 of 49

Other than the blade alloy, the FKH is the same as the FKM.  That is, it's a well designed, capable knife with adequate F&F, decent materials, decent cosmetics, and reasonably good ergonomics.  The blade alloy is supposedly SK4 or some equivalent like Daido YK4.  Whatever.  The knife takes a decent edge, and holds it fairly well.  However, the alloy is not only normally reactive it stinks when it does react, probably because there are more impurities, especially sulfur, in the alloy than there should be. 

 

Once the knife is stabilized with a patina or repeated and regular cleaning with baking soda it stops stinking, mostly; but when the patina is disturbed, which happens on a regular basis with all carbon knives, the odor starts up again.   Also, when it's reacting it's not only stinking but discoloring the food and lending it a slight off taste and aroma. 

 

Some people like them as a Japanese made carbon knife at an attractive price, and I used to share the opinion.  But I've changed my mind, because there are several good stainless knives at or near the price, and at least one good semi-stainless.  Even though the FKH performs as well as the FKM, and will spend most of its working life stabilized (as long as it's appropriately maintained), my feeling is that knives shouldn't stink, leave a taste in food, or discolor it.  I wouldn't own one, wouldn't give one as a gift and can't recommend them.

 

BDL


Edited by boar_d_laze - 10/25/12 at 4:47pm
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post #25 of 49

Steve, the things you are looking for in a knife are similar to what I wanted in a knife.

 

I spent a little over a year buying different knives, visiting a local knife guru (saltydog/idiotking) and playing with his knives, spending countless hours on forums, and just searching for what I wanted in an every day gyuto.  

 

My search ended with Jon Broida from Japanese Knife Imports recommending his Yoshihiro line.  I believe the line is now called "Gesshin Uraku".

 

A 240mm stainless steel Gesshin Uraku will set you back $155.  A 210 mm $145.

 

I absolutely love this knife.  It doesn't have the fanciest handle, the blade doesn't wow you with a damascus pattern or some fancy writing/japanese characters on the blade, but it's just soooo functional.  Other than whether a knife is stainless or not, the next single biggest factor for me personally is weight/thickness/flex which, while not absolute, those three usually work together.  Lots of western handled knives feel heavy to me.  Most german/european styled knives feel thick & heavy.  I thought I had my dream knife when I landed a Sakai Yusuke stainless for $200.  It's a cool knife.  Mine has an "ichi" wood handle, the japanese characters on the side look cool, it's a "laser", etc... the one downside, for me, the thing is too thin.  When I first played with it I loved it.  As it became my "daily driver" I started to not like how thin it was.  It's just a personal preference thing. 

 

For me, the Yoshihiro/Gesshin Uraku did the best job of walking that line of heft and thin/responsiveness.  It feels very solid & stable but yet it's very light and responsive.  I look back now and think of the money I "wasted" (not really wasted though in my opinion because I enjoyed the process and the learning), I think I bought 3-4 knives in a row that were all more expensive than this one, and I ended up liking this "cheaper" one the best of all. 

 

It's hard, but not super hard.  It's plenty hard though.  And it's easy to sharpen.

 

Which, by the way, for sharpening, I'm a fan of Chef Knives to Go kit that they have for $139.

http://www.chefknivestogo.com/3pcstoneset.html

If you can't afford the $139 right now, just buy the SR5k stone which you can find for $48.  That stone alone will get you buy for 2-3-4-5 months depending on use and how much you sharpen but eventually you'll need something coarser and you can then pick up the Bester1200 for $48.  If you don't ever abuse your knives you might not ever need the Beston 500 anyways.

 

 

So for $155 + $48 you can pretty much, IMO, get a GREAT wa handled stainless steel gyuto and a stone for roughly $200.  

Then, in 3-4-5 months, add a coarser stone like the 1200 Bester.

 

Good luck!

post #26 of 49

I now see Steve might want to keep it down around $100 and western handled.  It seems like Steve is somewhat flexible on pricing though :)

 

I owned a Carbonext and loved it as a cutter.  It was much better, again, than some more expensive knives I owned.  I would highly recommend the carbonext if you are willing to up your budget to around $130. 

 

I don't have much experience with the Fujiwara or Tojiro stainless offerings but they seem to be the two go-to options at the sub $100 pricepoint.

post #27 of 49

I can't talk about the knife because already the advice that you've got is the best and provided from people with way more experience than me, but since the "sharpening on a budget" subject came I just want to share some info.

 

By far separate stones are better than combo stones, but I had an "Oishi" 1000/6000 that was awesome, it was only 31 bucks (from epicurean edge.com) and it worked perfectly for me at home and as a personal stone... But once I took the stone to my professional kitchen, it started to give me issues, it started to separate and it crumbled like a cookie...Not a good "professional" stone, It couldn't handle the abuse, the soaking/drying process on a very regular basis and at the end it ended in the dumpster.

 

But while at home, it was a great piece, I think that it can be a great first stone while you get some money in the piggy bank to buy separate stones, and maybe it can last much longer and you may not need to replace it, but just add a coarse stone and a very fine grit stone.

 

My two cents.thumb.gif

 

P.S. I got also the Idahone "fine" rod tha BDL suggested me and that's a keeper, I think that it's a "must have".

 

Regards!

post #28 of 49
Thread Starter 

Thanks everyone for taking the time to assist me in my decision

 

Couple follow up questions:

1. For a home cook that cooks in a full size home kitchen, which size is preferable? 210mm or 240mm? I know there is a lot of professionals on this forum, but what do those of you who maybe don't have the skills that the pro's do prefer and why?

 

2. Outside the knife and maybe a 5k stone, what else is required? Honing rod? Or does the stone replace this?

 

3. Is it bad to use a plastic cutting board? Or should I invest in a large end grain board? Will the plastic dull the knife fast?

 

So those are the questions(for now). Below are the knives that I am considering, let me know what you think of these choices and if you have and experience with them.

 

Brand       210mm/240mm

 

Fujiwara FKM $75/$83

Richmond Artiflex $69/$89     M390 $119???

JCK Carbonext $105/$128

Tanaka Ginsanko $110/$130

Tanaka Blue Steel Damascus $130/$150

 

Cheers

post #29 of 49
Thread Starter 

Oops, double post

post #30 of 49

     Hello everyone, ive been reading these forums for awhile now absorbing knowledge from all the different chefs and ive finally decided to join! Instead of creating a new thread with the same topic i figured it would be much simpler to just post in this one. Im a 17 year old home cook who basically handles all the cooking in my house. I plan to attend culinary school and with that soon aproaching i decided it was time to invest in my career choice and finally buy a good chefs knife. My experience with proper chefs knives is limited to the typical random knives in my kitchen drawer. I have never used a stone before but im willing to invest the time & energy to master the skill. I barely started working as a waitor in a local restraunt so my finaces are limited in that aspect. Im looking for a good quality 6"- 8" chefs knife, my budget is around $150 with the most being $175. Is it possiable to get a knife and a stone in this price range? I do alot of chopping vegatables & meat if this helps. Im Basically looking for a knife that would put me through culinary school and for a couple years. I dont mind taking the time to have to sharpen my knife every so often and to take real care of it. It is the most essential tool for a chef after all! 

-Thank you

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