German vs Japanese
Poll Results: German or Japanese knives?
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Favorite for what? Traditonal J-knife or western?
When you buy knives you don't have to make a commitment to using only one style. A 10" wide heavy Wustie is a lot more cost effective and works just as well as a lot of Debas. Maybe it's not as attractive but having $$$ left in your wallet on pay day trumps having cool knives. For a Chef's knife I would not want to give up my Gyuto's. There are good German knives and really lousy J-knives and vice-versa.
I voted J-knife but if there would have been a third option for "Both" in your poll I would have picked that. I like both and I'd add cleavers in their own category.
+ 1 to this and +1 to your previous post. Wait. No. Plus infinity to both posts. And, let me add that while I prefer French carbons to German stainless for nearly every purpose, there are many wonderful German stainless knives and "German" is certainly a legitimate choice. You couldn't make me argue with Norman Weinstein about the validity of his own choices with a knife to my head.
The "best knife" depends on the person and the purpose.
Nathan: Patience, my friend. Patience. Let the wisdom come to you with practice, experience and in time. Don't try to impose your conclusions on a reality which refused to divide itself into distinct categories.
They are neutral and probably shouldn't be brought into this kind of discussion. Ha ha ha.
Anything that i can sharpen will do the job these days. But it happens that i can sharpen J knives much better than any blade. Name it geometry, steels, bevels, etc., I can get my best super sharp edges from J knives. And i rather go stainless than carbon steel. Today. Tomorrow we'll see.
It's been awhile since I used or sharpened one, but the problem was/is the alloy. Compared to knives made from X50CrMoV15 the Sabs have crummy edge properties and ding out of true too easily. However, compared to "classic" German knives, they're slightly lighter and have better profiles.
Compared to carbon Sabatiers and modern Japanese knives -- both of which have comparatively amazing edge properties, I don't think the stainless Sabs or classic Germans are worth recommending unless the person asking has some special interest.
As is so often the case: It's all about the sharpening.
The most basic questions are what you expect to do with a knife, what you want it to do and not do, how much you're willing to spend, and what you do to keep it sharp.
What I said about stainless Sabs doesn't mean there isn't a valid place for them in that greater scheme of knife ownership, but that there are other choices which provide better value for people who want a stainless European knife they won't keep terribly sharp; or people who want a stainless, French profile knife they will keep sharp.
You have to remember that when someone gives you his analysis, he's talking as much about himself as the subject of the analysis. As to me, I try to keep my prejudices in the open, but I'm just some guy on the internet.
... and for that I thank you. That is a good posture to assume.
Stainless until the eighties is in general horrible indeed. Won't take hardly any edge, soft like butter.
Today a good exception I know is K-Sabatier. Still soft, around 54Rc, .5% C, but sharpens well. Lighter and thinner than its German counterparts, with flatter profile, just like the carbons. Reducing the finger guard is much harder with stainless than with carbon, though.
There is, however an important difference with carbons, Stainless steel has more abrasion resistance. That makes it harder to reduce the finger guard.
Why mentioning it? Most people here know French carbons, find the finger guard reduction one of the unpleasant sides of it. They probably don't know French stainless, and could think, it's all the same. It's not.
Your second question. How much?
If you don't do anything you'll get a recurve belly after the heel, and the whole edge won't touch the board any longer. You will cut only with a few inches before the curve.
Every time you establish a new relief bevel you should reduce the finger guard to level it with the bevel.
Some go much further and remove a larger part of it too free the edge entirely.
The advantage where the finger guard is concerned would be that you have only the right side to work at. If you sharpen the right side at 13 degree, and the left one at 17 degree, proportion 70/30, hardly anything has to be removed from the left side. Only the right, convex side will get thinned.
Perhaps an occasion to remember that traditional French blades have a dead flat section of a few inches near the heel. Try to keep the heel a fraction shorter than the edge to make sure the flat section actually touches the board.
americans do make decent knives, just not the mass produced kind.
hand forged custom stuff. they're great stuff.
semi custom ones are also pretty good. get on some knife forums you'll find some pretty nice ones. of course, the price will be quite a bit more, but you're paying for skill and quality.