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Knife and Stone help please

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Lets start with what I have. I have the Henckles Twin Gourmet 3” paring, 5” serrated utility, 2 x 6” utility, a 6” chefs knife and an 8” chefs knife. In addition I have a Henckles Pro S 7”Santoku and a Shun Ken Onion bread knife.

With the exception of the Shun, my wife uses the knives. I intend to let her continue to use them because I am getting 2 knives for me. (c:

I grew up with Buck knives and have tried, without success, over the years to keep them sharp. Maybe I waited to long and the knife was just too dull, or maybe I didn’t truly know how, or maybe I just didn’t have the right tools to sharpen them (Buck Arkansas oil stone kit). At 43, I am not too old to learn a new trick. If that is what it takes for me to have a sharp knife, so be it. Too be honest, the Shun is so much sharper, I carve the roasts with it.

I mainly trim beef and pork, trim and dice chicken and cut vegetables and mince herbs.

I wash and dry the knives I have and intend to do so with my new purchase.

I was thinking along the lines of a 120 Petty and a 240 Gyoto. I have been reading the forums here and elsewhere. I have been looking at the Tojiro DP series, Fujiwara FKM, Yamashin, and Richmond Artifex, but I am not stuck on a particular brand.

I like the way the Wa-Gyoto looks, but never having used a non-western handle, I am not sure how that would feel. I do use a pinch style grip, although my technique has a lot to be desired.

I would like to spend no more $200-250 for both knives and stones (1000/4000 or 6000?) but can wiggle some. Do I need to get a good rod, most likely the Idahone?

Any and all suggestions for BOTH knives and stones would be greatly appreciated.




post #2 of 9

don't really need a rod. the knives you've chosen are great choices.


get a 80mm paring, a 150mm petty and a 240 gyuto and you're all good with these three for the most part. you can even cut bread with these babies. they're just that sharp and that good.


and then for stones get dave martell's 3 stone sharpening set or mark's cktg 3 pc. stone set.


500 beston, 1000 bester, 5k suehiro rika




the artifex paring is my suggestion, the rest you can take your pick. any of the three you mentioned and you're good. mix and match it up if you want. i would.

post #3 of 9

The three-stone kit that Chef Knives to Go sells is quite nIce. However, you don't really need the whole shebang to get started. The Beston 500, the coarse stone, is more for repair and reprofiling. And the fine stone is sort of icing on the cake. Your main sharpening is done with the middle stone, in this case the Bester 1200, which is available by itself for $48. You can pick up the one stone, and learn freehand sharpening with that, then pick up a finer stone as finances permit. 


There are some great online resources for sharpening. Both Jon Broida of Japanese Knife Imports and Mark at Chef Knives to Go have some great online video tutorials for sharpening:



If you put the balance of the funds into your gyuto, and hold off on the petty, you'll have more money to put where it counts. What you've got right now will get you buy as far as small-knife stuff, especially once you start getting your German knives sharp.


So, what gyuto for around $150, give or take? I'm a cleaver guy myself, so I'm not much help with particular knives, but I can say what I'd be interested in looking at around that price point:


Masamoto CT for $190:


Gesshin Uraku for $155:


Carbonext for $128:


Fujiwara for $83:


Yes, it is all over the map. Stainless, semi-stainless, carbon.... 3 yo and 1 wa. Maybe others who have more experience can chime in. FWIW, I bought a Richmond Artifex gyuto. I like it, but so far, I don't LOVE it. I also have a 150mm Fujiwara petty. This knife I quite like, but like I said, you might hold off on the  petty for while to save money for the gyuto and stone(s). 


Hope this helps!


post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 

What about this:


Also, it looks like both of the three stone kits are OOS, should I just get a Bester 1200 to start?

post #5 of 9

if you're in a hurry to get a stone then a 1200 is fine.

post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 

I think I read too much and end up second guessing myself..

I detest the thought of buying something twice.  Sometimes you have to though (can't buy a 6 year old  the same compund bow as a 12 year old).  I was thinking that if I bumped my knife budget up, I could get something like Takayuki Grand Chef, or the Sakai Takayuki Grand Chef.

I am leaning more toward the Wa handles so that my wife will clearly have no reason to think my knife was athe Henckles she will be abusing.

Am I going to far to fast?

post #7 of 9

Let's start with sharpening:

At the end of the day you're going to need at least three Japanese synthetic water stones for your (new) good knives.  A typical three stone set would look like this:

  • Medium/coarse (800 - 1200JIS ), to draw the initial burr;
  • Medium/fine or fine (3K - 6K), to refine the edge; and
  • Coarse (150 - 800), to thin, do other profiling, and grind out minor nicks.


I put them in that order, coarse last, because you shouldn't use a coarse stone until you can hold a very good angle as well have a good understanding of the general sharpening process.  Coarse stones have consequences. 


Be aware that you'll need to flatten and bevel any water stone before using it for the first time, so you'll need some method of flattening.  Diamond plates work best and CKtG sells a cheap one which is very good for flattening for a very reasonable price.  Otherwise, diamond plates tend to be expensive.  I like drywall screen as the ultra cheap option. 


If you're just learning to freehand, I think it's a good idea to get the two finer stones at the same time for two reasons.  First, learning the fine stone will help a great deal with the learning process.  Second, the finer edge you'll get from a fine stone is a lot closer to the edge you want than the toothy edge you'll get from a medium/coarse.   


The Bester 1200 is a very good stone, but not perfect.  It needs at least 30 minutes of soaking before use, an hour is better, and a couple of hours is better still.  The stone is hard enough to limit feedback.  On the other hand, it's fast, polishes out deep scratches, and leaves a finish that's easily reached by fairly fine stones.  At the time I bought mine, it was the best value in easily available medium/coarse stones and something of an obvious choice.  I'm not sure if that's so true now as I don't have the same opportunities to compare a broad variety of stones which I had then. 


At around the same price, I also like the Naniwa SS 1K.  If money were no object, I'd choose the Gesshin 2K and Chosera 1K over the Bester. 


And on to Knives:

The more you can do to limit the universe of knives to a general type the easier it will be to help you.


The easiest thing to decide is whether or not you can live with carbon.  Because there are so many good stainless and semi-stainless options now, you only get a few bonus points for answering "yes." 


The handle question is an obvious one.  There aren't a ton of great wa-gyuto for under $200, which isn't a bad thing because it does some winnowing. 


I recently added a Richmond Ultimatum to my block.  It's robust enough to remind me that answering whether you want something stout enough to be "all purpose" or whether you'd prefer something lighter but which would also mean keeping a heavy knife around for heavy duty tasks might be even more basic than alloy or handle type.  If you've never had a very light knife, you might want to try that.  On the other hand, if you break a lot of chickens, cut a lot of thick-skinned squash and melon, something heavier and stiffer might be just right. 


You're drawing too much conclusion from the way CKtG worded its website.  There's no real difference between "Sakai Takayuki" and "Takayuki" brands -- which, by the way aren't actually brands at least not in the way Americans think of brands.  Both names refer to the same hamono.  I'm not sure if the two knives you're asking about are made by the same OEM maker(s) or not. 


The wa-handled knife with the plain looking blade is a stainless, very light (laser) knife; and very good -- especially for the money.  The blade (which is made from Uddeholm's AEB-L alloy) takes a GREAT edge and takes it easily, but its edge holding properties are a little bit mixed.  It's a bit soft and rolls out of true pretty quickly, on the other hand it's one of the few ultra-thin and utlra-light knives which can be easily steeled, and is fairly chip resistant.  The apples to apples competitors to the Grand Chef are the Gesshin Ginga stainless, Konosuke HH, and Sakai Yusuke stainless.  All of them are better hardened, and all more expensive.  The Richmond Laser probably belongs in that category but I don't have enough information to venture an opinion. 


If you don't mind adding a tiny bit of extra weight and go for a light, but not ultra-light, stainless, wa-gyuto you might want to think about the Gesshin Uraku (which I haven't actually tried but is supposedly very good), and the Richmond Addict 2, which is pretty damn good. 

The Sakai Takayuki yo-handled, tsuchime patterened, cladded VG-10 knife is typical of the breed -- neither much better nor much worse than a great many of its type.  BDL is not impressed.



And neither is McKayla.



post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 


Many thanks!  Just the type of info i needed

post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 

Gesshin Uraku order placed.  thanks BDL and Jon

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