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post #31 of 49
Originally Posted by SquamishSteve View Post

Oops, double post

Quoted this post cause it would take up less space lol.

Far as length is concerned there is a fair if not majority of those who believe 270mm to be optimum length. Though I have no issue with this thinking or the length for my own use (ex. it has been comfortable when I used longer length knives in the past etc) I also decided on 240mm for both of my current gyuto/chefs.

The reason for this was twofold as I do not have the pressures of working in the industry (production and time etc) so the longer length would not add the same value and my most previous chefs were 8" (210mm) so even a 240mm would be an improvement, but also very important in my decisions was the added costs of going up from 240 to 270. On both my Fujiwara and Konosuke 240mm gyutos there was a significant enough difference in cost to make the 240mm attractive wink.gif

I know your comparing the 210 & 240mm and I am not familiar with the current prices but I am consideringthem to still create a "sweet spot " in price.

Though we all can enjoy a bargain or value etc and going shorter can offer a savings I have to advise going with the 240mm unless you have some sort of limitation or just a preference for the shorter 210mm.

I still get to use a couple shorter gyutos on occasion when at friends and relatives (most often a 180mm Tojiro DP that I also end up sharpening a few times a year) and they are fine, but at the same time just not as effective and sometimes just a little cumbersome when you would be better with the longer ones.

I know BDL has very good input on this as he was very helpful in the past etc

Also the limitations I refer to above could be physical or even as simple as a very small work area.

Its a bit difficult to explain but once you get comfortable with a longer blade the shorter ones make less sense in use because they end up making you do more work and the longer ones are no extra work even on smaller products/jobs. I had even held onto a santoku at one point as at the time I found it easy for smaller stuff and the four small cutting boards I had, but since I have found I hardly reach for the small boards or that knife either. Its still a great cutter and I keep it maintained sharp etc, but it just doesn't get any real use anymore.

Hope that helps, and sorry I can't really help in your comparison request as the only one on your list I have used for any speakable amount of time is the FKM, but I do still use it often, and remain amazed by its value (price compared to quality and performance).


"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!



"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!

post #32 of 49

I like 210mm (8+") or 240mm (9.5") for a home all purpose gyuto.

I understand why some recommend the 270's (10.6") I just find them huge.  To each their own.

I actually have a pretty spacious kitchen/cooking area, with a boardsmith 22x16" board and I reach for a 210 quite a bit.

That's what works for me.

post #33 of 49

On the size question... there are differing opinions and it boils down to your personal preferences.


I have and use both sizes... At work it's no question, 240mm/10 inches was the go to knife while at home the first knife I grab is the 210/8 inch one. There's very little I can do with an 240mm/10 inch that I can't do with a 210/8 inch size.


What's the average prep in a home kitchen? A couple of onions, a few stalks of celery, a little meat maybe. My point is there is no where near enough prep involved that would make any/much difference with one size of the knife (210/240) being more comfortable or easier to use.


With pro cooks who put in 1 to 6 hours of knife work, no doubt use a bigger knife. For home use, a bigger knife can be used but I find it's not needed.


With the 210 size, I also rarely use/need a Petty/Utility and can get away with using smaller boards (easier to wash).


If you combine a 210 Gyuto with 270mm Suji/bread knives you can also have your bases covered for larger tasks.

post #34 of 49

You have the two things working against you that all of us had working against us at one time - you want to expand your knowledge and you're not sure what to invest in.  I'm going to go against the grain here and say that there is nothing wrong with San Mai construction.  Anyone who thinks there is can argue it with Murray Carter then let me know how they make out. 


If you are game you should learn to sharpen free hand.  As for what type of steel that depends on how much attention you are willing to pay to it.  Carbon requires attention no two ways about it, but the pay off is an edge that is almost effortless to use, touches up easily and for a home cook you should not have to take it to the stones more than two - three times a year.  If you aren't up to the maintenance of a carbon blade there are plenty of semi and stainless knives. 


For your target budget I would get this for $50:


And this for $45


All you need to deburr after sharpening is a synthetic wine cork or an eraser or soft wood or even cardboard.  Or you can buy a block of hard felt from CKtG for $5 along with the other stuff.


That leaves you with $105 for a knife - if you can put a little more towards it fine.  You don't need a fancy strop - cardboard is fine followed by news paper.  As for a $105 knife there are a few to choose from - remember you are new at this - no point in spending big money to find out you don't like something.  I have several Tojiro ITK's and have only had issues with one so my advice is don't buy the Kiritsuke - lol.gif -  the 240 gyuto is fine OOTB.  Just wash the knife with a 3m type of pad and the loose kuro uchi will come off and it will be smooth.  It's a great knife to learn stone work on as it gives you results you can see and feel quickly.  I rehandle them, sharpen them and give they as gifts.


Personally I have been sharpening cutting tools most of my life so I may have a leg up there, but it's not rocket science and there are plenty of tutorials on line.


Be advised however - you are venturing near a slippery slope my friend . . . and there is no going back   thumb.gif

post #35 of 49
To mike: Thanks for the advice and the links to the stones much appreciated! I took a trip to a cooking equipment store today in pasadena( i live in southern California if your wondering) and from what i could tell they had a good selection of knives. After seeing how they all feel in my hand and cutting carrots with them i went for an 8" shun chefs knife. I liked the round handle ( is there a certain name for that style?), the weight, and balance of it. It also looks pretty cool and was normally $200 but on sale for $100, it was also the last one in stock and they apparently lost it. I felt it was ment to be haha. Took it home and put it to some use and im satisfyed with the results. The store had a lifetime warranty on it which was a plus for me. Now im just looking for a good steel and whetstone. Would i need to get a diamond dusted steel or is their some things that i should look for in one? Also when buying a whetstone what grit should i look for? Should i get multiple grit? Once again thank you! This is a slippery slope im looking forward too biggrin.gif
post #36 of 49

New 8" Shun for $100 is a bargain I have a classic here somewhere.  I would not recommend a diamond steel too aggressive IMO.  I like the Mac SBR-104 10.5" steel.  It has two grooved sides and two  smooth sides and realigns blades nicely with very light pressure.  Stones can be pricey but if your Shun is VG10 do some homework as to what type of stone is best for that steel.

post #37 of 49
Here's my advice.
This (I own the 210 mm., beautiful blade, terrific edge):
And this (great all purpose stone):
Total: $178. For home cooking a #5000 stone is overkilling,
Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
post #38 of 49

What?  Who?

This thread is confusing because two people are asking similar but different questions and getting advice from other people who aren't identifying whom they're advising. 


For what it's worth, because the comment seemed as though it were addressed to me, and to whom it may concern: 

I have nothing against "san mai" knives for other people.  I don't like them for my own use, and think that it's an honest and necessary part of conveying my "reviews" of san mai knives to include that fact as well as my reasons for my dislike.  When I do, I'm always very clear that my dislike of their numbness is unobjected to and/or undetectable by most people -- including many very skilled good cutters.


Murray Carter would not say "I make the world's best knives and if you don't like them there's something wrong with you."  Murray Carter would say, "Buy what you like."  Want to ask how I know?


There are many makers who make san-mai knives arguably as good as Murray's, including inter alia Shigefusa and Takeda.  And, while I recognize that they're well made, I don't like them using them either. 



I don't like Shun for a lot of reasons, the fact that they're san-mai is only one of them and not nearly as important as the wretched Shun chef's knife profile, their tendency to chip, or the propensity for the "faux Damascus" pattern to scratch and fade.  That doesn't mean they don't have a lot of other things going for them, but -- bottom line -- they aren't good value for the money.  On the other hand, I like Tojiro DP (for other people) for a lot of reasons, and the fact that they're san-mai doesn't bother me in terms of making a recommendation. 


There are a lot of good cutters who like Shun chef's, but the trend is away from German profile knives, towards French profiles and even flatter, uniquely Japanese profiles, and for good reasons.  At the end of the day it's a matter of taste, but I think it's a good idea for people to have some idea of what they're getting into upfront.  Rather than making decisions based on "balance," "heft," or because the handle feels good in the store.  Over time, those perceptions often prove false and they're unimportant in terms of knife handling and knife skills. 



From your description, I assume you bought a Shun Classic from SLT on Colorado Blvd., and that it can be returned even though you bought it on super sale.  If you're trying to develop the sort of pro knife skills you see on Top Chef, Iron Chef, or even Chopped, an 8" Shun is not a good choice because it's too short and too German.  Am I saying you should return it?  No.  It depends on what you're trying to do with your new knife. 


But in my opinion -- and it's just my opinion for heaven's sake -- you can get a better, longer (9-1/2") knife for a $100 by choosing between 240mm Fujiwara FKM, Richmond Artifex, and Tojiro DP. 


Stones and Grits:

King makes three combination stones in the same series; 800/4000, 1000/6000 and 800/6000.  They're all adequate, good bang for low bucks, but in the greater scheme of things they're not very good.  Combination stones generally are somewhat problematic in that they tend to be rather fragile (the stones separate when dropped); always need to be flattened; and one side usually wears much faster than other.  Specifically, the Kings are slow and they're short.  You'd be surprised at how much difference there is between sharpening on a 7" surface vs an 8" surface. 


A 1200# finish is good for a chef's knife if you like a very toothy edge.  But be aware that a 1200# finish will wear and chip more easily than more polish. 


The right amount of polish depends on the type of alloy, hardening, and type of use.  A Shun 3000# finish will hold up much better on a Shun (for instance) than a 1200# will. 


My suggestion for "best stones for least money" sharpening would be to buy a 1000# and a 3000# 10mm Naniwa Super Stones; and to later purchase a 400# Naniwa SS only when you'd develop enough skill with the 3000# to be sure that you could hold a consistent angle, and you needed to repair, thin or otherwise profile.  If you could afford a little more the "five piece set" at CKtG (which includes 3 stones) is a very high value "soup to nuts" solution.  But it appears you cannot afford more. 


Speaking of money, you're going to need something to use as a flattener.  The $25 diamond plate at CKtG makes the most sense; but you could use dry wall screen if you want.  A pack will run you less than $15, but screen is a great deal messier and slower.   


Honing Rod:

The MAC Black is good, but the Idahone "Fine" (aka "1200") is a better and significantly less expensive rod.  That said, if you drop your rod frequently, the MAC has a steel reinforced core and stands a better chance against a tile floor.  The MAC's probably a better choice for a knife roll for the same reason.


Honing chippy knives like a Shun is problematic at best, especially if you don't know how to do it.  At least read my article Steeling Away.

post #39 of 49

All good points BDL - and really no one is pointing any fingers at your 'druthers.  Looks like he bought a Shun so we should support his purchase in what ways we can IMO.  OP didn't say what kind of Shun he bought so steel is still up in the air.  MAC honing steel is a good one and I have an Idahoan 12" `1200 and prefer the smooth edge of the Mac.  One thing I like is the optional sheath/strop for the Idahoan ceramic.  The 140 diamond plate with stone holder is a great deal and it makes a great stone fixer/slurry raiser.  A Gesshin 400 for my course stone followed by my 1k Miso and my 6k KIng will be my new setup with the Gesshin replacing my Bestor 500.


The most important thing is to learn to free hand sharpen and use your knives enough to get the hand of them.  I'm not crazy about the Shun chef's profile.  I like a flatter belly than they exhibit.  

post #40 of 49
To B.D.L. and mike: I've done some work with and happy with the results. Im a senior in high school still so the way i see it im not doing any high- production work yet so I'll stick with my choice. None the less i greatly appreciate your help and insight! The model i purchased is PREMIER 8-IN. CHEF'S KNIFEMODEL TDM0706, after doing some research i was not able to find exact information other then that it is vg-10 steel
If if was not able to get a set of stones at this time what grit would be the best for a kind of "all purpose stone" if there is such a thing.
Once again thank you!
post #41 of 49
If money is seriously tight I would (and also did myself in the past) at least consider one of the less expensitcombo stones because though they will not last as long as singles and may or may not be as good of quality as others they will accomplish what your after (keeping a good sharp edge) and also offer a few other benefits.

One thing I do not see discussed often is that since most new to sharpening will no doubt gouge chip and otherwise damage their stones while developing their skills. Why anyone would want to do those things to a $80 or $100 and more stone is beyond my understanding.

Also since I have sharpened on all kinds of different things including wet sand paper I can't see why you couldn't get acceptable results with a king combo etc. Sure they may not last as long as the singles etc but your a home cook on a budget with one knife to sharpen. It should last a long while.

Sure there are much better performing and lasting options but lime everything else in life those cost much more.


"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!



"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!

post #42 of 49

Liking it is what counts. 


Just as an FYI...


The Shun Premier line is the same as the Classic line, with two differences.  Like the Classic, it is made from a three layer laminate with S403 (soft stainless) outside (jigane), and VG-10, hardened to 60-61, inside (hagane).   But,

  • The Premier has a tsuchime (hammered) finish instead of a suminagashi (wavy line, aka "Damscus"); and has
  • A wood colored, ergonomic, ambidextrous handle instead of the black colored, pakka wood, "D" handle of the Classic.


[And Also Note:  There are no practical advantages to the tsuchime finish; and no practical advantages to the user from Shun's three layer laminate (san-mai) construction, other than perhaps a slight boost in stiffness.  Shun advertising has made claims in the past that san-mai is easier to sharpen, and that both of their pattern welded finishes create a non-stick surface, but the claims are false.]


Otherwise, the Premier has the same profiles throughout the line, including the very German, deep bellied, high tip shape of their chef's.  Because there's so much curve on the blade, the chef knives want to "rock chop," and are somewhat awkward for a (classically French) forward glide action, or for straight up and down push cutting.  That's truer still with knives 8" or less where the arc of the curve is accentuated. 


Like other Shun VG-10 knives, Premiers are extremely chip prone when they first come out of the box, and should be sharpened as soon as possible to a medium-fine finish in the (roughly) 3000# - 5000# range.  For whatever reason, sharpening seems to strengthen the edge, and for easily understood reasons a fine edge is less chippy than a toothy one. After sharpening, Shun VG-10s remain chip prone, and -- indeed -- the common wisdom that Japanese knives are chippy owes a lot to VG-10 knives, Shun in particular. 


The knife will need some babying to avoid chipping.  Only use wood cutting boards if possible; and try not to cut through bones -- even poultry bones.  If you use a steel use it appropriately; i.e., no clanging, a minimal number of strokes, and very light pressure. 


The jigane are very soft and scratch easily.  If you want to preserve the finish as long as possible, don't scour the knife.  I'm sure you already know that the knife should not go through the dishwasher. 


On the plus side, Shun F&F and cosmetics are EXTREMELY good, as good as anything coming out of Germany; also that Shun factory support and support from their dealer network is second only to Henckels. 


King combi stones are adequate sharpeners and good value for the money.  A great many of us started with them (not me, though) as our first Japanese water stones.  However, "adequate" and "good value" are not the same thing as "good."  They suffer from three problems.

  • They are slow.  Slow not only means that sharpening takes longer, it meas that sharpening requires more strokes.  This is a bigger problem for new sharpeners than experienced ones, because more strokes means inconsistent angle holding;
  • They are short.  You wouldn't think that a 7" stone would be so much less practical than an 8" stone, but there it is; and
  • They are soft, prone to crumble, you only get one surface for each grist, and consequently shold be beveled and flattened before every use.  I don't know about you, but maintenance tools which require so much of their own maintenance drive me nuts. 

If you can afford better, get better. 


Shun knives come from the factory with a 16* bevel.  However, if you're using some sort of tool or gag which allows very fine angle setting, there's no reason that you shouldn't sharpen them at 15* and lots of reasons if you should.  Shun Kershaw makes an electric, 16* sharpener.  It is made by Edgecraft (the company which makes Chef's Choice), and costs around $80.  


If you take the knife back to SLT for sharpening, they'll use a Chef's Choice electric sharpener.  While CCs are not ideal they will provide a durable edge and are very convenient.  They will not eat your knives, as some "experts" claim.  They are very good solutions for people who don't want to climb the learning curve of freehand sharpening.  The 15* Model 316 you'd use if you bought one runs around $80.  The Model 316 is not as compact as the Kershaw, but it holds angles better and is a better overall choice. 


Another, convenient and easy to use sharpening solution is the MinoSharp Plus3.  It's also a good, practical choice for sharpening any knife with a 15* bevel angle, and is better in a few respects than a CC.  They also run around $80.  I bought one for my daughter to use to care for her MAC Pro knives, and it's worked very well for her. 


That said, if you have the patience to learn to freehand on benchstones -- that's probably the best choice.


I don't recommend the "Scary Sharp" method of sharpening kitchen knives on wet/dry sandpaper.  It's very good for wood working tools, okay for pocket knives, but very difficult for longer blades.  The method is slow, requires you to find or create a dead flat surface, requires you to change paper frequently as the paper loads up, leaves a lot of swarf on the paper which will tend to scratch your knife, and produces tenacious wires.  Also, while the cost of entry is low, "scary sharp" isn't cheap over even the medium term.   Scary Sharp had a burst of popularity when it first moved from carpentry tools to knives, but very few (probably none) serious sharpeners use it for longer edges.  You're welcome to try it if you want though. 



post #43 of 49
Thread Starter 

Still a couple questions that I don't think have been answered



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


Any thoughts on the Tanaka Ginsanko or Tanaka Blue Steel Damascus? Haven't seen much talk on the forums about them.


post #44 of 49

Q.  Bad to Use a Plastic Cutting Board?

"Plastic" covers a lot of ground when it comes to cutting boards.  But there are two basic types.  Hard and soft.  Both types are more likely to damage your image and cause chipping than almost any wooden cutting board.


Composition boards (made from sawdust and wood chips) are better than plastic, but not nearly as good as wood.  The same is true for rubber, Sani-Tuff boards.  For awhile Sani-Tuff was a big thing, but there are issues -- go with wood. 


End grain boards are easier on your knives, will hold up longer, etc., but the difference between any good wood board and any synthetic board is far more meaningful.  Compared to good long grain boards, a good end grain board will be slightly easier on your edges and hold up better.   


A large, end grain cutting board is easy on your knives and a beautiful thing to have in your kitchen.  If you have the space and the money you should have one, at least.  We have two, one on each side of our galley-style kitchen.  One is a Boardsmith mahogany, the other a Boos maple.  Both are top of the line, both are beautiful, both are excellent, both are highly recommended. 


Q.  Tanaka Knives?

I don't know enough to have an opinion. 



post #45 of 49

I have a Tanaka blue damascus 240 gyuto and it's a wonderful knife - thin, light & well balanced.  I paid $175 shipped EMS from Japan and couldn't be happier for the money spent.  End grain boards are the shizzle and I paid $47 shipped free for my Catskill Craftsman 18" x 22' x2" maple end grain board.  With the holidays coming look for sales that include free shipping.  I do think poly boards are harder on edges than end grain.  The biggest edge killer IMO is dragging and pushing food with the edge and not the spine of your knife.

Edited by Mike9 - 11/6/12 at 4:51pm
post #46 of 49
One of the main things I have learned with the switch to J-knives is how things change with your choice of cutting board.

Since I have several larger "plastic " boards they do still get use and especially when cutting proteins, but know in advance that the really sharp edge that these various steels can produce combined with this board material are very unforgiving of bad cutting habits and any twisting gives immediate and ugly feedback.

I know their also tougher on edges in general too so I do try to use the end grain board as much as possible, but being.a home cook exclusively now the wear on the plastic boards is not a serious issue for me. I still prefer the feel of end grain boards and just enjoy using them more plus they are much more attractive etc. But the ability to just throw a plastic into the dish washer is very convenient with no fuss or special handling is great when rushed for time etc.

Also I have found the VG-10 knives I have seem to be the most sensitive with the Konosuke in the middle and all the western knives I have owned being the least problem with the plastics.

I guess just like knives and stones boards involve some compromises as well.

All that said I have to agree with BDL that a nice end grain board is a real nice addition and I would suggest one to anyone who has the budget.


"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!



"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!

post #47 of 49
Originally Posted by Mike9 View Post

...The biggest edge killer IMO is dragging and pushing food with the edge and not the spine of your knife.

I have noticed in some videos that you flip the knife to use the spine of the knife to push food, is that the suggested practice?


Meanwhile, I just got a shipping notification from Boardsmith (so happy!) seems he is amazingly punctual in fulfilling orders.

post #48 of 49

Posted by Wubu View Post

I have noticed in some videos that you flip the knife to use the spine of the knife to push food, is that the suggested practice?


Not in my corner of the universe; but to each his own.



post #49 of 49
Originally Posted by Wubu View Post

I have noticed in some videos that you flip the knife to use the spine of the knife to push food, is that the suggested practice?...


I use my knives' spine all of the time to push food and I'm a former chiro so therefore go figure!    8^)

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.



Brot und Wein
(1 photos)

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.



Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
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