Hey all, I'm new to this site and this is my first post. Let me say first that I hate this site!! I stumbled across it doing research on knives and after about 5 hours of searching and reading I'm more confused now than I was when I started! There are some people on this site that know way more than anyone should on this subject.
All kidding aside I really am more lost now as I had no idea how many factors you had to think about when looking for a good knife or set of knives. So I am going to ask on advice for buying a Chef Knife. I'll try and be as detailed as possible and answer questions I've seen asked in other threads.
I'm a home cook not a pro. I'm not spending hours a day prepping and chopping. I'm not preparing a meal every day as I eat leftovers when I have them. I think I use decent technique given that I've never been taught how to use a knife and given what the sharpness of my knives allow. After reading this forum and I went and grabbed a knife and noticed I use a pinch grip just naturally.
My current setup:
7” Forschner Santoku-This is my main knife. I know there are certain opinions about these type of knives. Plain and simple this knife was given to me and is the sharpest knife I own which is why it is my main knife. Although I can't say I've ever felt limited by the size or type of it.
5” JA Henckel International Santoku and 3.25” paring knife set-I got these for Christmas last week. I was pretty excited because I had heard Henckels were good knives. To be honest they don't seem that sharp to me OOTB. I tried to sharpen them (we will get to that in a moment) but still not as sharp as my Forschner. Are these decent and can I somehow get them sharp?
A Philippe Richard knife set-I bought this when I moved into my house because it was all chrome or stainless or whatever. Basically it looked cool, I didn't cook at the time. It is a complete set, bread, slicer, chef, santoku, honing steel, etc. Blades are pretty dull and once again I can't seem to get them sharp. The steak knives get the most use.
15X21 wood cutting board (From Wal-Mart or something. Nothing fancy)
18X12 Pampered Chef plastic board (Another Xmas present from a few years back) Plastic board get the most use because it fits better with what counter space I have. Had no idea plastic wasn't good for knives.
Sharpening: Presto 08800 EverSharp Electric Knife Sharpener-Which probably explains why I can't get my knives sharp. Although the Forschner is decently sharp to me and I've sharpened it on this several times.
What I'm looking for: This is going to be my first serious knife purchase so here is what I'm looking for.
Budget: Under $200. I would think this is plenty to spend for a home cook on one knife. I have no preference on brand. I would like something that will last a really long time though.
Size: 10” seems to be the standard. As I've mentioned my main knife has been a 7” and I've never felt limited with it being a home cook. But I have no problem buying a 10” if that is what recommended based on my needs.
Type: Japanese, German, etc. Not really sure and might become more defined based on other criteria I give.
Steel type: Once again I'll leave that up to you given my other criteria. I'd like something that holds it's edge the best though.
Balance/Feel: There might be a store around here that I can go try out knives but I don't know of it. After I read about this I grabbed my Forschner and it seems a little forward heavy but that has never really bothered me. And once again I'm not chopping for hours so I've never had a problem with it being uncomfortable.
Durability: I've never broken down a whole chicken at home or anything but would like a knife that is a workhorse and could do that, then go chop veggies. One thing I've learned when reading this site is some knifes are fragile and can chip if you hit a bone or the board wrong. I can keep my Forschner for the really rugged work but I was planning on passing it on to my nephew. His main knife is a Chicago Cutlery chef knife that scares the crap out me. It is so dull you can't even make horizontal cuts in an onion without using a ridculous amount of pressure. You are better off not even trying because you are more likely to hack a finger off. And I've tried to sharpen it on my handy dandy sharpener with no luck. :)
Sharpness: I think anything is going to be a step up from my current knives. Does it need to be sharp enough to slice a tomato paper thin horizontally on its own without you even holding the tomato as I've seen on a couple Youtube videos, no not really. Do I want the sharpest knife in my price range with what I want to use it for, of course.
Maintenance: I clean my kitchen as I cook and finish up almost immediately once I'm done. I don't put my knives, good pots and pans, or cutting boards in the dishwasher. I feel I take good care of my things.
Sharpening: I have zero sharpening experience other than my electric sharpener. Would I be opposed to learning? Well that depends. Sharpening seems almost more complicated than picking a knife from what I've read. If I didn't want to take it to the extreme what would a decent sharpening set up cost me and how often/how much time would I need to spend sharpening given I would use the knife much less than someone in a professional kitchen?
Looks: Least important of the criteria but come on, if I'm going to spend $100-$200 on a knife I'd like it to look cool. Honing steel: I'll need a good honing steel to go along with my knife so suggestions welcomed for those as well.
I think I've covered what I'm looking for. Might be some miss information in there given my confusion on the subject so if you need me to clarify or have other questions just ask. Other than that, thanks for reading and my suggestions left.