Hello everyone. I have spent probably the last 3 hours searching and reading these forums and I have come to discover a couple of things that have lead to my joining of this community. Unfortunately, I'm about to perform what some veteran forum posters (including myself) view as almost a taboo: the dreaded (queue dramatic music)..... INTRODUCTORY POST LACED WITH INQUISITION!
From what I've read, BDL is a base of great knowledge for rookie and veteran alike. Humorously, I've discovered that when commenting on a question post, his preference lies with clear details in the questions being asked, so I'll make my best attempt not to let my nerves get the best of me and speak clearly. Some of what I mention and ask may seem irrelevant, but I promise they have an ultimate meaning in the end.
I'm a 23 year old man who has taken to cooking for the past 4 months or so. An inadequacy in self-worth/confidence from a childhood scarcely social due to not being in the "rich popular crowd" (sadly where I live that's all that seems important) combined with a selfless "consider myself last" attitude with my family (family meaning my wife and son who will be 1 on the 28th), I haven't done many self-gratifying things. Deciding to make some life changes and take more time out for myself, one of my focuses is in my cooking. Not possessing much in the money range, I bought a cheap Wal-Mart knife. Low cost meant low risk as I had intentions of upgrading anyway, and I began developing my knife skills. I have always been quite fond of Japanese culture and craftsmanship, so Japanese knives came naturally.
The point to all of this is that I'm looking for a self-pleasuring experience through use and maintenance - though some will consider maintenance viewed as pleasing to be slightly sadistic :P. I've absolutely loved some of the Japanese knives that I've looked at, and am teeming with nerves and excitement both in my gut and my wallet. I've seen plenty of great knives that I've loved, but spending over $200 and approaching $300 right now just isn't in the cards. I've seen some good knives in the low price range, and look to the more experienced for direction.
If you're still reading this, I appreciate and applaud your patience. Now to the juicy details.
Preference: Traditional wa-style handles.
Knife brands considered thus far: Takeshi Saji, Fujiwara, Tojiro ITK, and Richmond Artifex.
Use: Use will be to home cooking for my family with the occasional dinner party of friends or family, no more than 10 guests really. Prep work with vegetables of all cutting sizes and cutting meats including beef, chicken, and fish.
From the research I've done, the knife setup I'd like to build is one of two sets that I'm hoping are feasible and accurate, though I'm hoping for some guidance if I'm in the wrong neck of the woods. First would be a wa-gyuto, nakiri, and a petty, and the second a deba, usuba, and petty, possibly a yanagiba.
From the research I've done, the traditional Japanese Takeshi Saji series and the Tojiro ITK are the ones that stick out to me the most because they seem to fit the aesthetic bill as well as the use bill - from my limited experience that is. The prices are in the low range which is nice, but I'm afraid of the "you get what you pay for" consequence. The first one I fixated on was the ITK series because of the looks and the price was awesome, but then I found the Takeshi Saji. I don't mind to go either way because they both fit my desires. I do not mind the maintenance necessary to care for and sharpen the blades, as I plan to build a water stone sharpening set as well - not to mention the zen of it all, as goofy as that may sound.
In an attempt to lure the rare and elusive BDL from his hiding spot, I'll attempt to further entice him.
To directly ask my questions: of the brands listed, which shines the best for value, quality, and longevity. From what I've seen, if you maintain them and sharpen them, they'll take and hold scary edges and cut with almost no effort. I've read that BDL isn't a fan of san-mai knives, but as my skill grows and budget grows, I think I'll be able to move towards the better knives on the other end of the spectrum - still within reason of course.
Budget wise I'd like to stay under $100 per knife if at all possible for my list of desires.
I would like to apologize for my long-windedness, and I hope that I've managed to keep the attention of some cutlery gurus residing here. If there is any detail I may have left out in this book I've written, or you need further information to help you in your answers, please ask and I'll gladly elaborate or provide the information you require.
I appreciate any and all help given to me here, and I look forward to enjoying these forums.