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So, should I just buy a Mac Pro, or what?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

It’s past time for new knives! I’m hoping folks here will help me select the right ones.

 

I want a chef’s knife/gyuto (240mm or longer), a 5” or 6” short slicer/petty, and a long slicer/sujihiki. I already have a Mac Superior bread knife my wife bought me. I might want a small paring knife too.

 

I’m an at-home cook. Most of the meals my wife or I prepare during the week are quick productions or leftovers, but once a week or so we try to prepare something a little nicer and more elaborate. I do most of that cooking, but my wife will be using the new knives too. And the kids as well someday; the two older like to help, and the oldest is starting to cut things up under Dad’s anxious supervision. Everyone in the family is right-handed, except maybe the baby, who isn’t saying, or even trying to help in the kitchen, the ingrate.

 

Most of what we cut is vegetables and fruits. We usually purchase meat and poultry pre-portioned, but this could change when the kids get bigger and the food dollar needs to stretch more.

 

The knives we currently have, as far as I can tell, are these, which we received as a gift some years ago. I don’t know exactly what they are made of or anything, but that’s what we’re used to. They are thick and heavy. I think of them as faux-Wusthof.

 

I’ve been sharpening them (the ones we use anyway) with a Spyderco Sharpmaker, including occasional use of the diamond rods purchased separately. The Sharpmaker seems to be better than nothing. Friends’ knives, apparently never sharpened, are duller than ours even if higher end. Also, when I recently tried to use our own deboning knife, rarely used and never sharpened, I might as well have used a pencil, but the 5” slicer, often used and periodically sharpened, did the job easily.

 

Here are my answers to a questionnaire from somewhere or another, with some questions of my own mixed in:

 

Do you have good knife skills? I would describe my knife skills as plodding and methodical.

 

Do you pinch grip? I do.

 

Do you have good sharpening skills? No.

 

How are you planning to sharpen? I’m leaning toward EdgePro, about which I do have some questions:

 

Am I exaggerating the learning curve for freehand sharpening? I’m leaning toward the EdgePro because long hours at the office and three children at home don’t leave me time to sit down unmolested and learn to sharpen freehand. I also don’t have a dedicated space for such activities like a shop or basement workbench; I’ll be using the kitchen table or counter when I sharpen.

 

If I purchase an EdgePro, will the "Essential Set" at Chef Knives To Go work both for my current knives, and for something along the lines of a Mac Pro or even a bit higher end?

 

How soon do I need that EdgePro (or whatever I get), and how long will I get away with merely honing? Also:

 

Do you have any sharpening equipment you want to use with your new knife? Dunno; maybe. Will the Sharpmaker be of any use for touch-ups temporarily, or is it useless once I have a knife with harder steel? It sure is easy to grab out of the cabinet and set up!

 

What knives do you consider absolutely essential? Chef’s knife/gyuto and small slicer/petty. I already have my Mac Superior bread knife. I want a nice slicer/sujihiki too, but for now, for the occasional roast beef or turkey, I hope to get away with using the Mac, which is double billed as a “bread/roast slicer”. Do I need to rethink this strategy? Way down the list would be a short paring knife, but I hardly use the one I have; the only thing I find it better for than the 5” slicer is coring strawberries.

 

Would you be comfortable with a 10” chef’s knife? I certainly want something longer than the current 8” chef’s knife. There have been many occasions I wished for a blade of greater length, but none when I thought, thank God this knife isn’t the slightest bit longer. I’m leaning toward a 240 mm. But should I consider 270 mm? Or is that crazy talk?

 

How important is appearance? I wouldn’t pick a prettier knife over one that cuts better or has better ergonomics, but all else being equal, attractive appearance is a plus.

 

Is there a particular aesthetic you really want or don’t want (for instance, a “damascus” appearance)? All else being equal, I like the look of handles from natural materials. I like the shape of the handles on the Hattori Forums knives at Japanese Chefs Knife, the way they kind of swoop into the bolster. I don’t want a Damascus or hammered blade look unless it’s integral to the knife’s actual construction; it turns me off the same way as fake undersized shutters for window trim. Maybe I'm being silly about that. On the other hand, I do like (for instance) the kanji and flower on the Kikuichi Peformance TKC and the dragon on the Misono Swedish Steel and even the logo amid the scrollwork on the Mac Ultimate series. The unadorned Mac logo on the Mac Pro line does not turn me off, but it is not a plus either.

 

Will you be buying them all at once? I will not. I will put them on a wish list and buy them as I can, or my wife can use the list for gift inspiration!

 

Stainless or Carbon? Stainless. But I wonder if semi-stainless is a viable choice? Ninety percent of the time I wash and dry my knife as soon as I use it, but occasionally something like this happens: “Dad, I dropped Barbie in the toilet!” and down goes the knife, and away go I, only later to resume slicing lime for margarita (which by now I really want...)

 

Japanese handles (wa) or western (yo)? I like the looks of both but have never tried a wa-. I don’t think my cutting skills are so practiced that switching handle type will lead to great problems. But perhaps the more experienced among you can let me know if I am wrong about this?

 

Do you have a good board, yet? I do not, but I want a Boardsmith board or something similar. For now, I’m using a series of plastic boards and a lower end J.K. Adams wooden board. So maybe I should spring for a cheaper wooden board, for now? I just fret that anything I buy “for now” will still be around to throw on my funeral pyre, never having been replaced.

 

How big? The plastic ones are about 12”×18” and smaller. The wooden board is like a quarter-circle paddle about 14” across the wide part.

 

How would you rate “value” as compared to “performance?” I’m not sure. I am willing to pay, say, twice as much for knife that is not quite twice as good, so I suppose increased performance matters more than value, up to a point. Breaking the bank for a marginal improvement seems wasteful; I still have that nice board to buy.

 

What’s your budget for knives? Chef’s knife, I’ll happily spend in neighborhood of $200, plus or minus, with an absolute upper limit of $300 if I really like something and drink three glasses of wine first. Petty knife, $100 or less, preferably? I have seen some advice around here not to spend too much on a petty, but maybe that’s not a given? Sujihiki, I don’t know. I have a lot of questions about sujihikis, perhaps for another post.

 

What’s your budget for everything? I’m prepared to spend $1,000+, over time, for knives, board, and sharpening equipment.

 

Are you comfortable breaking up the purchases over time; or do you want everything now? I will certainly be breaking up the purchases over time. Of course I want everything now...

 

And finally, here are some other questions I have, that didn’t arise in the questionnaire:

 

I read a lot about how Japanese blades ought not be used for certain heavy duty tasks. How heavy duty are we talking about here? I rarely split a chicken, and I can keep my old knife for when I do, but I often cut into pineapple, cantaloupe, watermelon, cheddar cheese blocks, and (less often) squash.

 

Do I want a laser? I’m not experienced enough to know what I don’t know and would appreciate some guidance here. Those Konosuke HH and Gesshin Ginga stainless are lovely to behold, but perhaps I should resist their call for my purposes?

 

If my ideal chef’s knife comes from one line, does it follow that my ideal petty would come from the same? Or do different brands have different virtues in the different types?

 

I sometimes see here discussions of the relative flexibility or “whippiness” of various knives. The only knife I own that others here are likely to have experience with is the Mac Superior breadknife, which is noticeably more flexible than my old knives. I’m hoping that someone can tell me where that falls in the “whippiness” spectrum, for comparison purposes.

 

Thank you in advance to anyone who can help me make this difficult – but fun – set of decisions.

post #2 of 20

Wow.  No one ever responded to you.  That sucks.

 

MAC Pro is a great knife line.  Hardly the last resort. 

 

It's hard to say whether or not your exaggerating the difficulties in learning to freehand.  Adequacy takes time and practice, competency takes more time and practice.  Proficiency takes still more, and -- sadly -- a proficient sharpener usually ends up investing as much money in stones as someone just buying an Edge Pro.

 

I'm a huge fan of the Edge Pro system -- but mostly for other people.  I bought one to see if they were as good as they were cracked up to be, used it until I found they were, and hardly ever use it anymore.  What you can divine from that... quien sabe?   

 

The SharpMaker is OK as a honing rod, but just OK.  As a sharpening system it's really too slow to be even OK.   

 

Okay... so a 10" (ish) gyuto/chef's, and a petty for sure.  It bears repetition that MAC Pro is good stuff.  However, there are lots of equally wonderful choices -- some of which you may find even more wonderful.  More later. 

 

There are some really nice paring knives in the world, but if you use short knives for all the wrong reasons; AND a paring knife is not an essential part of your prep life -- for instance you don't to tons of tourne -- go cheap, go Forschner. 

 

With a slicer though, quality is as important as with a gyuto.  But the slicer saga can wait.  

 

Get a decent board.  Dave (screen name DuckFat) found some pretty good looking boards on overstock.com.  I don't know if they're still there.  Boardsmith is the best.  Boos is easy to find and also good.  If the best you can afford is a Boos straight grain -- get it.  It will start to warp at about the same time you can afford better.  Funny how that works.  

 

I suppose there are some people who hate wa handles, but I've yet to meet them.  I use both types and like them equally for smaller knives, but for longer knives generally prefer wa because wa knives are lighter and I'm willing to live with their more blade-forward balance.  It's not a decision I can make for you, but my best advice is Don't Fear the Wa.

 

None of your tasks are anything a laser can't handle -- as long as you take your time and don't bind or wrack the knife.  The only $200 or less laser is the Richmond Laser -- which is a very good knife. 

 

Speaking of Richmond, at $200, I'm incredibly stoked about the Richmond Ultimatum.  It is a very robust, versatile, do it all knife.  I like it as much as my Konosuke HD, which speaks volumes.   However, I wouldn't want to give up either -- and you might want something which comes closer to splitting the difference. 

 

I just posted in this list in another thread.  Start googling and see what you think:

 

Under $100:

  • Fujiwara FKM;
  • Richmond Artifex;
  • Richmond Artfiex "wa" (basically a wa-FKM); and
  • Tojiro DP.

 

Just over $100:

  • Kagayaki CarboNext; and
  • Suisun Inox Western;

 

A little more, but still under $200:

  • Gesshin Uraku;
  • MAC Pro;
  • Masamoto VG;
  • Richmond Laser; and
  • Sakai Takayuki Wa Gyuto

 

$200:

  • Kikuichi TKC; and
  • Richmond Ultimatum (one of my go-to gyutos, but mine is carbon).

 

BDL

post #3 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by boar_d_laze View Post

Wow.  No one ever responded to you.  That sucks.

 

 

 

I read really really really slow.

post #4 of 20

BDL said everything that needed to be said. From your Q&A post, it is clear you have an informed buying position going into this. 

 

I do not concur with BDL's paring knife statements, however, most cooks I've worked with do as BDL said: They just burn through cheap pairing knives, dragging them across diamond hones until the next $7.50 per three-pack sale of Forschners pop up again. 

 

I use a cheap tourne knife, but only because it works better than any other turning knife I've ever used or wasted money on. 

 

Attached is what I most frequently use, among all the other random knives one accumulates over the years. I have better and worse knives, but these are what I use most frequently. The point is that none of these knives are amazing or uber-expensive. They are just common knives. I took a bunch of stuff out of my knife roll that never got used. Each one of these knives will be used at least once in a course of a week if I'm working a line or catering gig. 

 

The ideal knife is what feels right for you. Nothing else really matters. Some of the best cooks I've worked with still use their school knives or Forschner's with either wood or plastic handles. Most cooks blow a ton of cash on one primary knife, either their main chef or line knife... everything else is secondary. 

 

You clearly know what you are looking for. I'm sure whatever you decide on will be perfect for you. 

Do or Do not - There is no Try. - Yoda
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post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 

BDL, thanks! I'm sure what happened is that my effort to anticipate every question I've seen asked of others bloated my post into the realm of tl;dr. I should've broken it into different subject matter posts I think. My bad.

 

But I've been reading other people's knife-seeking posts back in time through the present and a lot of my questions are being answered indirectly.

 

I'll post some specific questions about some of the more commonly recommended knives I've seen in these forums, perhaps after work.

 

Thanks again.
 

And Trooper, thank you for your input on paring knives. At a minimum my wife likes paring knives, so perhaps I ought not give up on one of those so quickly...

post #6 of 20

I like pairing knives without the bolster (I turn shrooms with the heel of the blade) - Best ones I've used are the Le Cordon Blah Wusthof and Globals. 

 

Most cooks I work with use their pairing knife to cut sousvide bags, twine, salt boxes and tape. I'm too low on the totem pole to survive without a good paring knife. 

Do or Do not - There is no Try. - Yoda
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post #7 of 20
I think most everything has been covered, but as far as 240mm vs 270mm - I recently purchased my first high(er) end carbon Wa gyuto, to upgrade from my 8in Mac Pro which I do love, and went through the same dilemma myself. I work in a very small, high volume kitchen & so I went with the 240mm, and while I love it, if I could do it again, I'd buy the 270mm.

It just feels so light in the hand & is so much fun to use, I don't see the extra length being a negative whatsoever. If you are going to splurge & have a little extra room @ home, I'd recommend taking the leap to 270 FWIW.
post #8 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by NorthCack View Post

I think most everything has been covered, but as far as 240mm vs 270mm - I recently purchased my first high(er) end carbon Wa gyuto, to upgrade from my 8in Mac Pro which I do love, and went through the same dilemma myself. I work in a very small, high volume kitchen & so I went with the 240mm, and while I love it, if I could do it again, I'd buy the 270mm.

It just feels so light in the hand & is so much fun to use, I don't see the extra length being a negative whatsoever. If you are going to splurge & have a little extra room @ home, I'd recommend taking the leap to 270 FWIW.

I use a 9.5" UX-10 as primary. Also have a Mashiro or whatever 270mm that comes out in squash season, but just for hacking gourds. I like it, but found it too heavy and too cumbersome to use for general prep. I may splurge on the 270mm version of the UX-10 in hopes that the weight is manageable. The bigger knives work well on my station at home, but clank around too much in a busy, cramped kitchen.
Do or Do not - There is no Try. - Yoda
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post #9 of 20
Thread Starter 

Thanks again to everyone weighing in.

 

Just to clarify, on length: it sounds like a longer (270mm) knife is problematic only if you are working in close quarters with others at high speed and might maybe stab them, or if your longer knife is sufficiently heavier that it wears you out over time? But for a home cook like myself this should be a non-issue, as long as the knife is light enough not to be burdensome otherwise?

 

At home I prepare food on a standard 2-foot deep counter against the wall; I don't have a snazzy oversize center island or anything like that. No problem there?

post #10 of 20

Just to clarify, on length: it sounds like a longer (270mm) knife is problematic only if you are working in close quarters with others at high speed and might maybe stab them, or if your longer knife is sufficiently heavier that it wears you out over time? But for a home cook like myself this should be a non-issue, as long as the knife is light enough not to be burdensome otherwise?

 

At home I prepare food on a standard 2-foot deep counter against the wall; I don't have a snazzy oversize center island or anything like that. No problem there?

 

Totally depends on the knife.  Some knives are shorter than their nominal length, some longer.  Some knives are very light, but agile at 240mm and clumsy at 270mm.  Within a given line, weight tends to vary with spine thickness.  Manufacturers usually increase that at either 240 or 270.  However, a little extra weight at 270 is not an entirely bad thing because without that extra thickness, stiffness can suffer too much.  

 

Agility and handling are everything.  Well almost everything.  Well, maybe skills are more important.  confused.gif  I'm confused.  You?

 

Shorter knives "point" more intuitively than longer knives.  If you use a good grip (soft pinch, straight wrist) and good posture, a middle length knife will point as intuitively as a short one.  For instance, it's as easy for me to place a 270mm knife as it is a 210mm.  But, you'll probably have to work to achieve my skill level.  Practicing knife skills is a good thing because it's fun in itself, and will make cooking more fun forever. 

 

As a general rule, 240mm has more in common with 270mm than 240mm has in common with 210mm or than 270mm has in common with 300mm.  210 is very long short knife, 300 is a fairly short long knife, and 240 and 270 are both middle.  But that doesn't mean there won't be a difference between 240 and 270.  The stock Amer/Euro "middle length knife is 10" which is 254mm, or damn near exactly in between 240 and 270.

 

The conventional wisdom is that 240mm is better for home cooks and 270mm better for pros; but in my opinion a variety of specific and individual considerations trump.    Room to work; cook's skills; agility of the knife; whim.

 

My counter is also 2' deep, but use fairly large boards.  The three knives I use most commonly for generic chopping are nominally 300mm, 270mm, and 10".  The 10" is the most agile, not because it's shortest or lightest (it's actually the heaviest by some margin) but because it's got a frikkin' perfect Sab profile.  None of them feel cramped.      

 

BDL

post #11 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by CJSchulte View Post

Thanks again to everyone weighing in.

Just to clarify, on length: it sounds like a longer (270mm) knife is problematic only if you are working in close quarters with others at high speed and might maybe stab them, or if your longer knife is sufficiently heavier that it wears you out over time? But for a home cook like myself this should be a non-issue, as long as the knife is light enough not to be burdensome otherwise?

At home I prepare food on a standard 2-foot deep counter against the wall; I don't have a snazzy oversize center island or anything like that. No problem there?

Indeed - if you have a good working space at home, nothing wrong with a big, heavy knife. It is all preference - 9.5" to 10" seems ideal for most common work. My 270mm is great for splitting big melons, hard squash, even mince if there is a lot to do. But if it is a one or two item prep, I'll use whatever I have. As BDL said - huge difference in weight and balance between a 2mm spine, a forged German or French knife, and a stamped-steel like a UX-10.

I fillet pepper and tomato skins with my flexible UX-10. Not as easy or clean using a rigid knife, but still doable. Maybe you can 'Stage' in a few kitchens and try out some different knives. Cooks will either laugh at the request or hand over their blade with beaming enthusiasm.
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post #12 of 20
Thread Starter 

So perhaps I'll table the question of 240mm versus 270mm for now. It sounds like the final choice may depend on which model I settle on or even what's in stock by the time I'm ready to jump. But before then...

 

Sharpening System Questions

 

I have about resolved to purchase sharpening equipment before replacing any more knives, which means making a final call between EdgePro and some sort of freehand setup.

 

Money. On the one hand, it sounds like I can blow quite as much money on freehand stones as on an EdgePro. On the other hand, it sounds like if I choose, I can keep the initial outlay lower with freehand sharpening equipment. On the third hand, I'm guessing those smaller EdgePro stones need replacing more often than the larger freehand stones, so the EdgePro may have more long term costs too? Anyway, money seems like one reason to gravitate toward freehand, but the difference isn't big enough to make my mind up for me, as it might have been if I'd been on this search in my twenties.

 

Learning curve. As I said originally, the EdgePro seems to make more sense for me if it truly has a shorter learning curve, and it certainly seems to offer more precise angle control, which appeals to me.

 

Aesthetic considerations. I'm not sure why I feel some amount of resistance to the EdgePro, but I do. It may just be because it seems less like something my grandpa would've leaned toward; thus do previous generations create anxiety among their descendants, all unmeaning. But perhaps this is all silly. At the end of the day, I'm picking tools to maintain another tool, not something to replace my great aunt's rosary.

 

My question then: do people have specific recommendations about which way to jump on this?

 

It seems like people who started on freehand stones are happy with freehand stones, and people who started with the EdgePro seem happy with the EdgePro. BDL says he's tried both and gravitated back to freehand sharpening. The problem seems to be that no one seems to have started with both, so no one can say for sure which is better to start with.

post #13 of 20
I ruined a knife starting out on freehand-stone journey. Went through every possible technology and method. Adapted, evolved, and became proficient in both stone and jig type activities... arrived at a spyderco sharpmaker for 99% of eeverything. I use stones for reprofiling or chips or long slicers. My value proposition is: What will take up the least amount of space, minimize erosion of the blade, maintain a consistent edge, and can be setup or stowed in a moment? Spyderco.

All the stones and jig systems are great. But a blade that's already sharp/just needs mmaintained: Simple and cheap sharp maker.
Do or Do not - There is no Try. - Yoda
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post #14 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by trooper View Post

I ruined a knife starting out on freehand-stone journey. Went through every possible technology and method. Adapted, evolved, and became proficient in both stone and jig type activities... arrived at a spyderco sharpmaker for 99% of eeverything. I use stones for reprofiling or chips or long slicers. My value proposition is: What will take up the least amount of space, minimize erosion of the blade, maintain a consistent edge, and can be setup or stowed in a moment? Spyderco.

All the stones and jig systems are great. But a blade that's already sharp/just needs mmaintained: Simple and cheap sharp maker.

 

I kinda see your point, but I just strop on newspaper for maintaining. If the sharpeness doesn't come back after that then I put it back on the stones. I started freehand and enjoyed sharpening my knives that way and didn't find it necessary to buy a edge-pro type machine. 

post #15 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by CJSchulte View Post

So perhaps I'll table the question of 240mm versus 270mm for now. It sounds like the final choice may depend on which model I settle on or even what's in stock by the time I'm ready to jump. But before then...

 

Sharpening System Questions

 

I have about resolved to purchase sharpening equipment before replacing any more knives, which means making a final call between EdgePro and some sort of freehand setup.

 

Money. On the one hand, it sounds like I can blow quite as much money on freehand stones as on an EdgePro. On the other hand, it sounds like if I choose, I can keep the initial outlay lower with freehand sharpening equipment. On the third hand, I'm guessing those smaller EdgePro stones need replacing more often than the larger freehand stones, so the EdgePro may have more long term costs too? Anyway, money seems like one reason to gravitate toward freehand, but the difference isn't big enough to make my mind up for me, as it might have been if I'd been on this search in my twenties.

 

Learning curve. As I said originally, the EdgePro seems to make more sense for me if it truly has a shorter learning curve, and it certainly seems to offer more precise angle control, which appeals to me.

 

Aesthetic considerations. I'm not sure why I feel some amount of resistance to the EdgePro, but I do. It may just be because it seems less like something my grandpa would've leaned toward; thus do previous generations create anxiety among their descendants, all unmeaning. But perhaps this is all silly. At the end of the day, I'm picking tools to maintain another tool, not something to replace my great aunt's rosary.

 

My question then: do people have specific recommendations about which way to jump on this?

 

It seems like people who started on freehand stones are happy with freehand stones, and people who started with the EdgePro seem happy with the EdgePro. BDL says he's tried both and gravitated back to freehand sharpening. The problem seems to be that no one seems to have started with both, so no one can say for sure which is better to start with.

 

I think the most important part is how much time are you willing to invest in practicing sharpening by freehand. Its definitely shorter on an edge-pro. There were some forum members (or just one I forget) that bought stones (really nice ones like chosera), but sold them because they didn't like the time involved in learning freehand sharpening. If you're that type then I would suggest getting an edge-pro and be happy.  :)

post #16 of 20
If you want to restore an edge, the edge pro is perhaps a great instrument. I believe though sharpening is more than restoring an edge, it's more about restoring an entire geometry. See it as moving an edge geometry a very little towards the spine. That implies thinning with every sharpening, and is not that simple with a jig system.
post #17 of 20
Thread Starter 

Benuser, thanks for chiming in!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Benuser View Post

If you want to restore an edge, the edge pro is perhaps a great instrument. I believe though sharpening is more than restoring an edge, it's more about restoring an entire geometry. See it as moving an edge geometry a very little towards the spine. That implies thinning with every sharpening, and is not that simple with a jig system.


Is that because the static angle setting of the jig prevents small angle changes that you would make as you move your knife across a freehand stone? Can you accomplish something similar with an occasional back bevel? My experience is limited to the Sharpmaker, so I'm not trying to pretend I understand much about sharpening; I'm just trying to learn enough to pick a direction here.

post #18 of 20
Making a back or relief bevel is the same as thinning behind the edge, of course. Make sure to blend the relief and primary bevel by removing the new shoulder.
Freehanding will generally generate a slightly convexed edge. In order to keep the friction the same the sharpener will slightly raise the spine after a certain numer of strokes. This convexing strenghten the edge and is great for avoiding wire edges.
post #19 of 20

Don't let my "gravitation" back to freehand sharpening mislead or convince you.  I didn't buy the EdgePro because I thought I needed it or would stay with it -- only because I wanted to see what all the talk was about if I was going to talk about it myself.  I have four, more-than-complete sharpening kits, and am hardly an example of someone who sticks with any one thing. 

 

You can use an Edge Pro to get most knives as sharp as you can get them on stones.  The Edge Pro has a much flatter learning curve; you'll be producing good edges after three or four knives, as opposed to dozens.  You can use an EP to create very precise, flat bevels; especially if you use an aid like an "angle cube."    You can use an EP to create very precise double bevels.

 

On the other hand, the EP will not convex; doesn't do some odd shaped knives well; and won't do some complex geometries -- including "chisel."  The EP does an excellent job of "thinning behind the edge" -- which is just another way of saying "double bevel" -- but will not do a good job softening the transition between angles, but that isn't particularly important and can be accomplished with micro-mesh (sanding pads) if you think it matters.

 

The Wicked Edge (aka WE) system has most of the same strengths and limitations as the EP, but is supposedly faster and somewhat easier to use, while being a little more expensive.  

 

I think the choice to go with a high quality tool and jig is a no-brainer if (a) you don't already know how to sharpen; (b) you are not going to make a hobby out of knives and/or sharpening -- although more than a few people have combined an EP with hobbyism (e.g., Mad Rookie); (c) your plan is to stay with "regular" knives and "regular" edges; and (d) you can afford the high initial outlay of an EP or WE with appropriate stones. 

 

EPs and bench stones are not mutually exclusive.  You CAN have both, if you want; strops too.  Also, the Wicked Edge system is supposedly as good as the EP. 

 

BDL

post #20 of 20
Thread Starter 

Oh man. I thought I had at least the number of decisions to make under control, even if I hadn't made any of them yet, then BDL's last post sent me down the Google hole trying to figure out Wicked Edge versus Edge Pro.

 

I've also spent a little time watching sharpening videos at Chef Knives to Go, and it seems freehand sharpening is (1) something I am capable of learning; (2) something I would even enjoy once I was good at it; but (3) something I realistically don't have the time right now to learn. For instance, I love reading books and used to read four a week, but I've hardly cracked one since the baby was born. So when am I going to find a few extra hours to nail down sharpening technique? I think I get what Benuser is saying, and I've read where others have said similar things, but I'm afraid that slightly inferior sharpening I actually do is still better than superior sharpening I never get around to. 

 

(I may find a little more time when this particular internet quest is over, but still...)

 

So I'm thinking a device is the way to go for me, at least for now. As to the Wicked Edge versus Edge Pro, it seems like a lot of folks like the Wicked Edge more except for two main things: you can't get more acute than 15° and the difference in price exceeds the cost of a good large cutting board. Seeing as how I want a good large cutting board, that price difference puts me off, especially since I have a notion I'll want to give freehand sharpening a go anyway, down the road.

 

Based on that, I'm thinking Edge Pro is for me. If I do get an Edge Pro setup, is the "Essential Set" at Chefknivestogo the right kit, or the similarly priced Apex 3 or 4? I gather those Shapton GS stones are good stones for any of the Japanese knives in my price range, but I wonder if they are wasted on my current knives, linked to above?

 

Thank you, everybody, for making me think about these things.

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