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New knife as a culinary student

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Hello everyone, I've just finished my first quarter as a culinary student, and I am now ready to invest in some serious equipment now that I'm convinced this is the kind of work I want to do.  Right now I am using a 10" Mercer Chef's Knife and although it is pretty nice, I would like to replace it.  I'd like a much lighter knife than the one I have now, and I am a fan of thinner knives.  I'm wondering what kind of knife is right for me.  I only know of the very big brands like Wusthof, Shun, and Global, so I have no idea what other kind of knives are out there for me.  If anyone could recommend a brand/model of knife for me that sounds somewhat like what I have briefly described, it would be much appreciated!  I'd like to stay in the $150 to $250 price range.  (On a side note: I have an 8" Shun Classic Chef Knife that I have used throughout my first two years of high school, (I'm 16 doing college in high school) and I'm sad to say that I have not taken good care of that knife.  Would it be a better idea for me to send it in for repairs and use that for my second quarter?  Or do you think I should try something completely new?)  Thank you again!

post #2 of 9
I wouldn't use a too flashy knive at school. A Fujiwara FKM 240 or 270mm gyuto would be a great introduction to Japanese knives. Costs some $90. You will need two sharpening stones as well. My very personal choice would be the Chosera 800 and 2k, but I haven't recently compared US prices.
Make sure to get your Shun repaired.
Edited by Benuser - 3/6/13 at 8:48pm
post #3 of 9

Ditto to the Fujiwara FKM, which are great knives at a very reasonable cost. BTW, there are some smaller knife makers with that name. But the company he is talking about is the larger Japanese company Fujiwara Kanefusa. 

 

If you want even lighter weight, there are some nice knives made in the US using AEB-L stainless steel, by Richmond Knives called the Artifex.

 

Or if you want to spend a little bit more, a very well regarded Japanese stainless by Konosuke, called Konosuke HH Swedish Steel, but it is also a very light knife  These first three are available from Mark Richmond from Chef Knives To Go.

 

Another I have read is really nice is the Gesshin Ginga Stainless Gyuto from Jon Broida's Japanese Knife Imports. Another very light knife.

 

These are all stainless high carbon knives, not "carbon knives", so you won't have to concern yourself with rust or developing a patina, or leaving them wet too long.

 

Lastly, I almost forgot to mention one of my favorites, though not quite as light weight - but still a great profile and a great name (made in France) and quite a bit lighter than most of German knives - the K Sabatier. There is a stainless version available on Amazon. But make sure you are looking at the stainless (not the high carbon K-Sabatier as the make both versions). Also make sure it is  K-Sabatier, as there are cheaper knock offs. The name Sabatier isn't trademarked. The Amazon "store" selling them is China Fair out of Boston, MA area, and they are also a reputable dealer I have bought from.


Edited by Betowess - 3/7/13 at 1:04am
post #4 of 9

150 to 250 range gives u multiple options.  a kikuchi tkc 240 mm gyuto, richmonds from cktg, masamoto ks, fujiwara, tojiro, konosuke, moritakas, hiromoto. and i suggest you get used to a 240 mm.

post #5 of 9

Keep the Mercer for heavy tasks like splitting chickens, get the Shun fixed up and look into dropping cash on a sharpening plan.

 

Regardless of what you end up getting it will go dull over time and need resharpening. Build a good waterstone kit and learn to take care of that Shun.

 

In the meantime ask if you can try every japanese knife people will let you and see where your taste leads.

 

Lots of choices but once you say I like X and not so much Y then you can get some guidance as to what is a good choice that is similar to X.

 

Jim

post #6 of 9

By all means send your Shun to the factory and have them repair it.  If you don't fix the knife, what good is it for any purpose?

 

That brings us to the first threshold criteria we need to address before delving into the sexy subjects of knife styles and prices.  Those are sharpening and maintenance. 

 

It does not make sense to spend a couple of hundred bucks on a knife you can't or won't keep sharp.  In addition, every professional cook should know how to sharpen.  As with any craft, maintaining its primary tool is an essential part of that craft.

 

You're going to need some sort of usable and appropriate sharpening system, and depending on the knife you'll probably need a "steel" (really a rod-hone) as well.  That stuff doesn't come cheap, a minimum investment in sharpening gear appropriate for a modern alloy is pretty close to $100, and it goes up from there.   For instance, the set of two Chosera recommended by Benuser would cost very close to $200 (they're good stones, but I don't recommend it for most beginners because of the price). 

 

You don't absolutely, positively, need to learn to sharpen on bench stones.  There are a couple of relatively inexpensive gags which will give you an adequate edge -- the MinoSharp Plus3 and one of the Chef's Choice electric sharpners.  And there are a couple of very expensive tool and jig setups which will give you great edges -- the Edge Pro Apex and the Wicked Sharp systems.  

 

If all you can manage is a MinoSharp or a CC electric that you keep the cost of your knife down as well. 

 

If you can deal with the learning curve, there's certainly nothing wrong with bench stones.  You can stay well under $100 for a combination stone or (preferably) a set of stones which will at least take you through cooking school. 

 

Lots to think about. 

 

Don't hesitate to ask questions,

BDL

post #7 of 9

I agree with getting the Shun repaired & keeping the Mercer for heavy-duty tasks that might damage the harder, more brittle Shun, & getting a decent stone to keep both knives sharp. I know, not as much fun as buying a new knife. :-) But your tastes will change as you progress thru school, & buying a knife now may lock you in to something you won't want a year from now. Not that you can't buy another knife at that point....

 

IMO, you don't need anything more than a single 1000 or 1200 grit waterstone. Finer grits will give you a 'more refined' edge (less tooth, better polish), but it's not necessary for proper maintenance of a sharp edge. And the idea about buying knives also applies to waterstones. You can get a perfectly serviceable King or Suehiro or Splex 1000-1200 grit stone for around $25. Learn how to sharpen, then decide if you think you're missing anything from your stone that you hear others talking about with theirs.

post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 

So, I decided that it couldn't hurt to attempt to repair my Shun myself (I used some of my dad's sharpening stones because he used to make knives as a hobby) since I was going to send it in anyways, and I completely fixed it!  It's sharper than it was when it came out of the box!  Thank you guys for all the suggestions and advice!

post #9 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Hamrick View Post

So, I decided that it couldn't hurt to attempt to repair my Shun myself (I used some of my dad's sharpening stones because he used to make knives as a hobby) since I was going to send it in anyways, and I completely fixed it!  It's sharper than it was when it came out of the box!  Thank you guys for all the suggestions and advice!

Well that was easy! I guess you can use the money to buy a basic set of stones, unless your dad doesn't mind you taking his stones.

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