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Knives and new stone help

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hello all, first time post looking for some help with choosing new stones and a knife or two.


First of all a little background on me.  I'm starting culinary school at the CIA Greystone in August.  I spent 2 years working as a sushi chef and have done stints in restaurants helping friends out when they're short staffed over the last few years off an on after the hours of my regular job.  


I am looking for some advice on sharpening stones and selecting a new knife or two.  I'll start with the stones.  I learned to sharpen from the gentleman who taught me sushi.  He had given me 2 stones which were recently thrown out on accident by my girlfriend.  I don't know what happened, or how it happened.  Heartbreaker.  Thing is I have no idea what they were and I need to get a new set up going to sharpen my knives.  I asked Mark over at chefsknivestogo and he recommended I pick up this set http://www.chefknivestogo.com/3pcstoneset.html  what are your thoughts on this set?  Would you go another direction?  If so what should I pick up? I was looking at the Naniwa Chosera stones?  I just want to be able to get the knives I do have sharp as can be and maintain whatever new and future knives I will pick up for years to come.


I currently own a Shun 10" chef's knife which has last many years and gets the job done.  A Global paring knife that was given to me as a gift that does the job and a Tanaka Sashimi knife http://www.chefknivestogo.com/tanakasashimi1.html  I am looking to upgrade my chefs knife and maybe grab another toy or two as well.  I have an $800 budget to work with for everything. This means new stones, and a knife or two.  I am leaning towards a carbon blade for its sharpness and holding the edge but am not married to the idea.  I could go a number of directions.  I am okay with some weight and actually like to feel a knife in my hand so weight doesn't bother me at all.  I have been checking out these Takeda Gyuoto's but I haven't had the chance to use one or hold one yet.  There are just so many options and I don't know which way to go.  I like the Fujiwara knives too such as http://knifewear.com/knife-family.asp?family=7 .  


I guess what I'm asking is where do I start and how do I navigate this sea of high end knifes and choose something I will love? 

post #2 of 8

Choosing knifes really comes down to the individual. I personally would never buy a knife without holding one first, or at least one from the generation of band you are buying. Personally I love mercer even though its a lower end brand. It was the first chefs knife I bought. I own 3 different shuns, and I do like them, but I vary on knifes. All my culinary kids from Le Cordon Bleu have mercers as well as my interns from Kaiser University. And that stone set looks good, but always finish with a fine ceramic rod. check out Knifecenter.com for more options.

post #3 of 8

Along with a lot of other people, I had a lot to do with those three stones being in CKtG's three stone set, so -- yeah -- it's a good set.  Not a "best money can buy set," but it will certainly do the job especially if you want to stop with the Suehiro Rika.  The Rika is a very practical finish -- once you learn how to break down the mud so it polishes to 5K -- but if you're buying really nice knives you might want something which polishes higher. 


If you want to stay with the Beston and Bester for coarse and medium/coarse the best ways to get a higher polish is to simply swap out the Rika for something like a Takenoko (fast 6K) or to get two stones in place of the Rika -- say a Naniwa SS 3K and either a Naniwa Pure White 8K or the Kitayama (also, nominally 8K).     


Don't forget, you'll also want something to use as a flattener.  CKtG sells an inexpensive diamond plate (around $25), which is a steal.   


You can get a very good gyuto, good to very good suji, and a workable petty, along with a really nice sharpening it for $800.  


I don't want to start throwing a lot of knife names around though until I have more of an idea of what makes sense for you in terms of your tastes and priorities:  For instance:

  • "Single steel" vs "san-mai" (three layer laminate like your Shun);
  • Sturdy gyuto vs very light;
  • Wa vs yo;
  • Profile preferences;
  • Etc., etc.



post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 


1. Single steel vs. San-mai: i don't know. Don't they both have their advantages and disadvantages.  I personally don't care either way, I take the upmost care of everything I own, especially all my kitchen equipment and can work with anything but blade retention is very important to me.  However much I love to sharpen a knife I prefer to do it as little as possible.  Aren't single steel knives much, much more expensive?

2. Sturdy gyuto vs very light:  I would prefer something that is sturdy and is less prone to chipping and such.

3. Wa vs yo:  I'm Wa all the way, just more comfortable for me.

4. profile preferences:  I really don't know what direction I want to go in this regard.

post #5 of 8

There are plenty of single steel knife options available. Spend some time at JCK shopping as well.

Forget the starter sharpening sets no matter who sells them as you just wind up buying crud you do not need. There's no need for a 500 and a 1200 grit stone when starting out. BTW that kit is just a clone of Dave Martell's kit with out the DVD.

Pick up a single 800 or 1K and a 3-5k stone. Those two stones will carry you a very long ways. Chosera stones are an excellent investment if you want stones that will last a long time. They are not the cheapest but they are very nice. I use the 1K chosera, others prefer the 800. You can't go wrong with either. Add a Rika or 5K Naniwa SS and that's a great combo for about $175 with a flattener.  The SS's are not as nice as the Chosera's but are a good value and give a new user a lot of feedback.

I'd suggest spending $250 ish on a Gyuto.

$50-75 on a bread knife.

Skip the petty until you know for sure what length you want. The Global pairing knife isn't half bad.

No need for a Suj as you have a Yanagi and that works fine as a slicer.

Focus on a sharpening kit and a good solid working gyuto but right now $500 should more than cover it.

BTW If you want to PM me a copy of your acceptance letter I'll be happy to send you a copy of Dave Martells sharpening DVD and the DVD from Korin.





I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
post #6 of 8

bruceh, I do agree with Dave to take a look around JCK.

Also, for both your knife and stone choice, this is a very wellknown and reliable source to visit too.


I bet you could live happily ever after for a very long time with this knife in white steel;



They had them also in stainless Swedish steel. Here's a remaining example (slicer);


post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 

So I ended up picking up a Gesshin Ginga Wa-Gyutoa 240mm from Japanese Knife Imports.  Exactly what I wanted, comfortable, sharp, thin blade, very light.  Very happy with my selection.  Jon also helped me select a few stones from his Gesshin stone line.  A 400, a 2000, and a 6000 grit stone.  Fixed a few knives with the 400 very easily.  Great, fast stones.  Now I just need to pick up a good deba (mine was stolen years ago) and maybe a petty for something.

post #8 of 8

and we had a good time

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