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critique my knife stash

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

Hello all, I am new here.  I am not a professional chef, just enjoy cooking at home.  Please critique the knives I've picked out:


Mercer Cutlery Genesis 7-Inch Forged Granton-Edge Usuba Vegetable Cleaver, Steel/Black

Victorinox Swiss Army 3-1/4-Inch Fibrox Straight Edge Paring Knife, Black 

Mercer Cutlery Genesis 8" Forged Bread Knife, Steel/Black

Victorinox 5-Inch Mini-Chef's Knife with Fibrox Handle

Victorinox Swiss Army 8-Inch Fibrox Straight Edge Chef's Knife 



And I am thinking of buying another $80ish knife.  Originally I was thinking a Wusthoff classic Santoku (get it at BBB for $80 with coupon)... but after reading some of the posts here I was thinking maybe a Richmond Artifex Wa gyuto 240mm. Thoughts?  

post #2 of 24

You need exactly one chef's knife. 


The only knife you have in your kit which isn't a chef's knife of one sort or another is the Fibrox parer. 


The only reason to add another chef's is because you're dissatisfied with all of your other knives.  Assuming you're unhappy with the Forschner 8", assuming you can do an adequate job of sharpening and maintenance and assuming you're ready to make the adjustments it requires to use a 10" knife, the Artifex, in any of its alloys, would be a HUGE step up. 



post #3 of 24
Thread Starter 
Thank you that is the kind of feedback I need. What about mercer any thoughts on that brand?
post #4 of 24

Mercer = Low performance for very low price. 


More specifically: 

  • Inexpensive;
  • F&F is good for the money;
  • They don't take an edge well; 
  • They ding out of true at any excuse;
  • They're heavy, and they're awkward;
  • They look like quality German style knives, but aren't; and
  • Bottom line:  That there are worse knives doesn't make Mercers good. 



Knives are simple tools which bring a sharp edge to a task.  Good knives are comfortable, suited to whatever job you have in store for them, but most of all they are sharp.  The more you understand what a knife is, the clearer your choices become. 


Your Fibrox parer is a good knife, and your 8" Fibrox Chef's is an okay -- but just okay.   Unless you do a lot of baking, a bread knife isn't a big deal and the Mercer is probably good enough for your uses.  You can certainly do better though. 


Personally, I don't understand why anyone would need a 5" chef's.  So from my perspective (which is not the only one) it's just a waste of space unless you really like it, or have some specific use for it, it's not a particular priority.   On the one hand it's redundant, but on the other, you already have it.  


Bluntly, the Mercer "usuba" is a piece of junk which won't do anything as well as your 8" Forschner -- but again, you already have it.  


I know why I'd like to replace all of your chef's knives with something better, but don't know what you're thinking.  Why don't you talk about what you want?  How will better knives make your cooking more fun? 



post #5 of 24

Fwiw Artifexs are only in yo handles..

post #6 of 24
FWIW Artifex are only in yo handles.

All of Vic's other knives are yo as well. 



post #7 of 24
Thread Starter 

Ok so to clarify... I actually don't have any of those knives, and didn't at the time of the posting... I meant to say "my potential knife stash" so sorry for the confusion.  So after reading a bit more and going off of your recommendations, I did end up buying the Richmond Artifex Gyuto 240mm, the Victorinox/Forschner paring knife and bread knife (as I do do a lot of baking).   


So in terms of the other knives I was thinking of getting, there was several trains of thought there.  

1) I forgot with good knives you only need one, since none will be stuck in the dishwasher.  Hence the reason I decided not to get some of the extra ones.  

2) I want to have two good knives simply because sometimes my husband/mom/friends cook with me.  

3) And I'll be honest, in terms of the Usuba, I have really been interested in certain Asian knives simply for the reason that I saw my mother using those a lot when I was a kid (I distinctly remember her having a usuba/nakiri, a Chinese vegetable "cleaver" and a meat cleaver.  So it's sort of sentimental and I try to incorporate as much Asian cooking as I can.  

4) I wanted to get familiar with both a thin, lighter knife and with the thicker/forged knives.  I know they don't sharpen as well...but I figure they can take a in my book variety is a good thing.  Or maybe I just want a back up that can take a beating (thick or thin)...

5) Don't tell me you all only have just one knife.  Com'on aren't knives partially just for the fun of them?  I sort of want to be able to play with more than one knife and get the feel for some of the different types. 



So with that said, I'm still (if not in the immediate future) in the market for a usuba or Chinese vegetable cleaver.  Have any recommendations?  So with all these reasons/motivations, if I really don't need a variety of chef's knives... I'm having trouble picking out my second "main" knife. 


But I'm not in a rush. I really need to know more about what kind of sharpening system I need or if I can get away with taking them to have someone professionally sharpen them.   I'm way in over my head. 


The other question I had is, if I get different types of knives/brands etc. will I need more types of sharpening/honing devices?  I want to try to keep it as simple and cheap as possible if I can since I know my hubby isn't keen on spending a lot of money on knives and their maintenance.  How often would I need to sharpen my knife if I am only using it for personal/household use?

Edited by vic7012y - 3/16/13 at 3:58am
post #8 of 24
Thread Starter 

what are yo handles?

post #9 of 24

Western. You said in the op that you were considering a wa artifex, but they're only western styled.

post #10 of 24
Wa Artifex knives conversions are offered from time to time. I know Tim Johnson has done some nice custom conversions.
post #11 of 24



So with that said, I'm still (if not in the immediate future) in the market for a usuba or Chinese vegetable cleaver.  Have any recommendations?  So with all these reasons/motivations, if I really don't need a variety of chef's knives...



The CCK 1303 is big on fun and low on price!

post #12 of 24
Thread Starter 

Oh I totally thought I was getting the wa handle on the richmond artifex...but the picture was so small as I was buying from my phone.  oh well.  


So I didn't notice the option of adding on a sharpening for the gyuto (+$15).  They are sending it to me with a factory edge.  Should I take it immediately to a sharpener?  And how do I know a good sharpening company when I see one?

post #13 of 24

I am like you, not a professional chef - just like cooking and having good tools. I have upgraded my knives recently and learned a few things including:

When a knife is "high carbon steel" and says hand wash only, they mean it.

Wood handles should avoid the dish washer too, but with regular oiling an occasional trip isn't too bad. I think all my knives say hand wash but I wash my wusthof grand prix ii in the dishwasher all the time with no trouble. 

Blade angle makes a big difference in cutting, blade hardness makes a big difference in keeping sharp. I think that's why a knife like shun feels so much sharper than a chicago cutlery.


I have three types of knives: Chicago cutlery, Wusthof Grand Prix II and a Shun classic.  


I like having a range of sizes and a spare or two, but if i had it to do over again i would just have a few really good knives rather than a full set that includes some cheap knives. one small and one large chef of slicing knife, one paring knife.


Of course everyone is different, I'm still trying to get my gf to stop using her Miracle blade III knives, even after giving her a Shun Premier. 

post #14 of 24

I really hate to sound ignorant here, but what on earth is the point of running a good knife through a dishwasher?

post #15 of 24
Originally Posted by Himself View Post

I really hate to sound ignorant here, but what on earth is the point of running a good knife through a dishwasher?

I think she said she wasn't going to put them in the dishwasher, which of course we all know is a good thing.


Also, if you want to check out some nice, thin but hardy Japanese knives, the Geshinn Ginga stainless line at Japanese Knife Imports is really nice.

post #16 of 24
Removed by author as probably non-contributory.

Edited by Himself - 3/18/13 at 6:37am
post #17 of 24

can always have the artifex knives rehandled by their resident rehandlers.

post #18 of 24
Originally Posted by FranzB69 View Post

can always have the artifex knives rehandled by their resident rehandlers.

Which brings to mind I imagine that cktg would gladly exchange for a wa handled version if the knife is still unused.

post #19 of 24

Switching an already made knife from yo to wa requires getting rid of a lot of metal.  While it can -- no doubt -- be done, it would be expensive. 


Mark was toying with the idea of an Artifex wa-gyuto a couple of years ago, and (I believe) a couple or three knifes were actually converted, but the idea didn't reach the retail-production level; at least not yet.  If you're curious as to whether or not the idea is still in the works, crashed and burned, or whatever, you might want to check the CKtG forum; if you can't find your answers there maybe go right to the horse and ask the source. 


The Artifex is a bargain at its price, but I have to question how well it would compete for value with -- say -- the Gesshin Uraku if the converted Artifex cost $40 more.  Just within the Richmond stable, I think that in terms of money and knife you'd be better off buying an Addict 2 than re-modeling an Artifex. 


Wa-gyuto are all well and good, but at the end of the day, once you get into medium-weight knives, when it comes to cutting onions or other real world tasks they're not any more comfortable than yo-gyuto.  As a practical matter, many users will find that the advantage gained from weight loss is offset by pushing the balance point so far forward.   By way of one example, my 245mm, 7oz Richmond Ultimatum wa-gyuto is no more comfortable in the hand nor less fatiguing than my 9.5oz K-Sabatier au carbone chef. 



Edited by boar_d_laze - 3/18/13 at 11:03am
post #20 of 24
Thread Starter 

Here's what I ended up getting:


Richmond Artifex yo Gyuto 240mm

Victorinox bread knife (12" i think)

Victorinox paring knife (3.5")

CCK Small cleaver

Camellia/tsubaki oil

Norton 1k/4k combo stone

Idahone 1200 grit fine ceramic rod

Bamboo in drawer knife block

...and I have a couple bamboo cutting boards and a wood one


Anyhow... I haven't received all this yet... maybe plan on adding a few things later in the game... but one question I have is will I need to deal with the patina question (how/if I want to create one) on my CCK cleaver (or any of these other knives for that matter)?  The website says there's some kind of lacquer on it already. 

post #21 of 24
Thread Starter 

my post disappeared, but I'm sure it will reappear later.... (I got the 1k/4k combo and the fine idahone ceramic)... anyway, from what I've read so far on deburring and stropping, I'm pretty confused as to what I need.  Any recommendations? or can I get by without?

post #22 of 24

That should be a nice collection when it all arrives! Looks a lot like my knife drawer- I have an Artifex 240 and a CCK also. As far as patinas go, that will only apply to your CCK. Everything else is stainless. You can use nail polish remover (acetone) to remove the lacquer on the CCK, I put mustard on mine to force a patina. I left it on for about half an hour, and will probably go for longer at some point. If it doesn't turn out how you like it, just scrub it off (I used Bar Keeper's Friend, but baking soda would probably do).


You don't have to force a patina. I used my CCK for close to a year before I did, but it's just that the natural patina of the CCK is a little yellowish-brownish, and you can get some prettier colors and less chance of rust if you force a patina.


You can deburr on a wine cork. I haven't found stropping to make a heck of a lot of difference, with my knives and at my sharpening level. Just deburr and use right off the 4k, then use your Idahone (gently) after a while when the edge starts to fade.

post #23 of 24
Thread Starter 
Ok thanks! So would a patina be better than the lacquer they put on it (in terms of preventing rust)?
post #24 of 24

Hard to say, but the lacquered part isn't down near the blade anyway. If you're going to force a patina, you might as well remove the lacquer first. But, an equally valid way to do it is to just let the patina form naturally. How good that looks depends to some extent on what you're cutting. Any way you slice it (no pun intended!) rust is no big deal. If you get a few spots, just scrub them out with something abrasive (Bon Ami, Barkeeper's Friend, baking soda etc.) on a paper towel or a green scotchbrite.


Another (unrelated) thing you can do is to oil the handle. I live in a very dry climate (Colorado) and wood tends to split if not kept pretty well oiled.

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