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Starting a new knife collection at home - Newlyweds in need of advice

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

Okay so I've been "lurking" on this forum for quite some time and have managed to learn a lot about knives thanks to this wonderful forum.  Thanks so much to all of you at Cheftalk.

As the name of this thread may imply I recently got married and am planning to start building our home knife collection, however, my wife will not allow me to keep a Japanese knife in the house because she worries they are too sharp.  Fortunately I think I've managed to trick my wife into getting Richmond Artifex knives because they are made in America and she doesn't realize they can be sharpened up equally as well since I'm the one who has been doing all of the research.  Unfortunately, we have a limited budget these days so I need to build my knife collection slowly … and thanks to someone from Cheftalk whose name needs no mention, I have acquired a new respect for French carbon knives.  

Below is my planned chronology of knife related purchases.  I have budgeted no more than $240/per year for about the next 8 years so as to slowly build my collection as my knife skills gradually improve.  Am not sure if we will both appreciate the benefits of carbon compared to the ease of care for stainless steel, but I think having a couple of the historical Nogents will make us learn to treat the French knives with the love and care they deserve.  Hopefully they won't all disappear before I get around to purchasing the ones on my list below!  Does this seem like a smart way to build my collection? 

2013 -  #1)Victorinox Fibrox 3.25" paring knife, #2)Richmond Artifex 9.4" chef knife, #3)Victorinox Rosewood 10.25" bread knife, #4)Idahone 12" fine ceramic honing steel and #5)Apex Edge Pro DVD

2014 - #1)Apex Edge Pro Kit 1, which includes the 220 & 400 grit stones, #2)800 grit Chosera stone, #3)3,000 grit Chosera stone and #4)20x jeweler's loupe

2015 - #1)Angle Cube, #2)Sabatier Nogent 6" slicer and#3)K-Sabatier 8" carving knife & bayonet fork

2016 - #1)Richmond Artifex 7.5" santoku, #2)Richmond Artifex 3.15" paring knife and #3)Edge Pro Spring, Deburring Felt Block & Lapping/flattening stone (if needed for the Edge Pro)

2017 - #1)8,000 grit Snow White stone, #2)Richmond Artifex 6.75" nakiri and #3)Richmond Artifex 10.5" bread knife

2018 - #1)K-Sabatier 10" slicer, #2)K-Sabatier 5" boning knife, #3)K-Sabatier 4" paring knife and #4)Edge Pro balsa strop w/chromium oxide paste

2019 - #1)Sabatier Nogent 8" fish fillet knife, #2)10,000 grit Chosera stone and #3)K-Sabatier 10" chef knife

2020 - #1)Wüsthof Ikon 3.5" paring knife and #2)Wüsthof Ikon 6" slicing knife

2021 - #1)Wüsthof Ikon 8" chef knife, #2)1,000 grit Chosera stone and #3)400 grit Chosera stone


Or if this chronological list too confusing, here are all the knives listed in a simpler way:

   K-Sabatier 4" paring knife - 2018
   K-Sabatier 5" boning knife - 2018
   K-Sabatier 8" carving knife - 2015
   K-Sabatier 10" chef knife - 2019
   K-Sabatier 10" slicer - 2018
   Richmond Artifex 3.15" paring knife - 2016
   Richmond Artifex 6.75" nakiri - 2017
   Richmond Artifex 7.5" santoku -2016
   Richmond Artifex 9.4" chef knife - 2013
   Richmond Artifex 10.5" bread knife - 2017
   Sabatier Nogent 6" slicer - 2015
   Sabatier Nogent 8" fish fillet knife - 2019
   Wüsthof Ikon 3.5" paring knife - 2020
   Wüsthof Ikon 6" slicing knife - 2020
   Wüsthof Ikon 8" chef knife - 2021


Would love your feedback and any advice you have about sharpening up these knives using an Edge Pro.  Do I really need to get a "flattener/lapping" stone for Edge Pro Choseras?  Also, is a Richmond Artifex easy enough to sharpen for a newbie or should I learn on something else like a Carbon knife instead?  

By the way, by the time our 10 year anniversary rolls around, I do plan to finally lay down the law and tell my wife it's time she allow me to get a Masamoto VG 240mm gyuto.  :-)  

 

Thanks in advance for your feedback!
 

post #2 of 21

Wow, you are quite the planner! smile.gif What line of work are you in?

A few things I might note...you might not want to wait until you get sharpening equipment. Sooner is better. Even if you don't want to spring for the EdgePro stuff right off, you could still get either an inexpensive combination stone or something like a Bester 1200 and try your hand at freehand sharpening.

The Artifex I got (and I've seen pictures of others like it) comes with a fairly wedge-shaped edge, and it won't cut very well until you do some pretty serious thinning. Our resident expert will likely disagree, but that's been my experience. I've never used an EdgePro, so I'm not sure how well it can be used for thinning.

Also, there is a lot of duplication in your list. Once you get a decent gyuto, petty, bread knife, and maybe a suji and heavy-duty knife, the other stuff is just icing on the cake. We've got ten knives around our house- a nice cleaver/slicer (my main knife), the Artifex gyuto, a carbon petty, a stainless petty, a heavier-duty cleaver, a bread knife, and then in my wife's drawer, a German paring knife, a stainless cleaver, and a couple of grocery-store cheapo knives. So, while I can see buying the Sabs for the different experience... getting two different bread knives? I mean, duplication happens (my collection has some), but I'm not sure you necessarily want to plan for it. Better one good gyuto and than an OK gyuto, AND a nakiri, AND a santoku, IMHO.

Hope this helps!

post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 

Thanks so much for the response, Denver!  Since you asked I'm an unemployed government contractor now with more time on his hands to think about knives than I would prefer. 

So you don't think I can go a whole year of using the Artifex/paring knife without sharpening them up?   Don't most people who purchase knives for their home go even longer than that?  Actually the only reason why I didn't go the freehand route is because I'm a little worried I will permanently screw things up with such a nice knife, and I definitely didn't want to invest in an electric sharpener that could also ruin them or scratch them up.  The Edge Pro really does seem to be the only "idiot proof" option for a beginner such as myself.

From what I've been reading, most people seem to get something like a Victorinox to start with but I'd prefer to start with more of a French profile chef knife right away.  Now I'm starting to feel the Artifex may not be as easy for a beginner sharpener to use as an Old Hickory or some other sort of carbon knife.  Your feedback is very helpful, especially since you have one of your own.  Which Artifex do you have?  Are they cuter in person?  Or would you say they are "ugly ducklings" in comparison to the K-Sabs & Wusthofs?  I kind of like the idea of someday having a few beater knives in my collection anyway.   

How would you suggest to sharpen the Artifexes?  Thin them down to 10* and put a 15* micro bevel?  Keep in mind the man who wrote this last sentence has never even sharpened more than a pencil.  

As far as the bread knife goes, I suppose the only reason why I didn't put down the Artifex initially is because it's almost twice as expensive and I wanted to eventually have a few that match.  Also I didn't seem to get the impression that the Victorinox bread knife was on par with the Richmond or other performance bread knives like the Tojiro ITK.  I know that a good knife will last forever - which is why I've done so much research in picking the right ones - but does that same logic apply to serrated ones as well?  Can a serrated knife even be sharpened with an Edge Pro ?   I was planning to treat the Victorinox paring/bread knives like disposables anyway but maybe I should get the Bester 1200 just for sharpening up the bread knife freehand style, assuming that is the only way it can be done.
 

post #4 of 21

Wow! Where to start?

 

First of all... You need to lay down the law with the new wife right away. If you want to have a sharp knife in your house... even a Japanese! knife, you should have one. 

 

Second... By the time 2021 rolls around, I'm sure you'll have long forgotten about buying a surely-to-be-obsolete Wushof Ikon and you'll probably have bought all the stones you need by then. And! I would hope... you'd be an master freehand sharpener by then. Hopefully in about 2 weeks time of reading this forum, you'll realize how silly a knife like the Ikon is, rather than 8 years from now. And, also, I hope in that 2 weeks, your wife will understand you're the man of the house.

 

You're over thinking things. Just buy a cheap, good knife and a stone and practice until that thing is so sharp, your wife will realize (in no time I'm sure) even swiss and american knives get really, really sharp and she's scared of it.   

 

There is so much more that is wrong with that first post, but I guess that was the most important stuff to respond to. Good luck with your new marriage!

 

(BTW, my wife is scared of my knives. It's OK!) 

post #5 of 21

Yes, you can go a whole year without sharpening your Artifex and paring knife, and yes, most people go even longer than that- but most people's knives aren't very sharp! Once you get used to using a sharper knife, it is hard to go back. And once you get the hang of doing it, the sharpening itself doesn't take very long. It isn't rocket science, and there isn't much you can do that will mess your knife up so it can't be fixed. With grinders, power machines, diamond-coated rods- with those things you might succeed in doing some damage. But water stones, not so much... especially if you keep away from the coarse stone to begin with... hence one of my reservations about the Artifex... you'll want to use that coarse stone for thinning, otherwise you won't get much of anywhere.

 

I have the 240 Artifex gyuto. I like the shape- a relatively long flat spot, a pointy tip. It actually works pretty well for coring strawberries. And I like the handle. It is nothing fancy, but on the other hand, it doesn't feel at all cheap to me, it feels solid. If you had somebody who knows what they were doing thin it, I'm sure it'd be a pretty dang nice nice- but you'd pay at least $40-50 for somebody to do that job right (CKtG's sharpening services, as far as I know, don't include thinning, just sharpening), and that puts your total cost up to where you could just buy a different knife in the first place.

 

I've also got an ITK bread knife. It came with a pretty bad burr out of the box, and I haven't gotten around to sharpening it. You can just do it flat on the stones like you can a non-serrated knife. You've got to use a rod or dowel and sandpaper or somesuch (for the scalloped style like the Mac and the ITK), or the edge of a stone (for the toothy style, like the Forschner). Or so I read, I haven't tackled it yet. I'm also not in love with the ITK bread knife because it pulls a bit. I'm a lefty and the edge is such that it does't go where I want it to. No problem for a righty. Odd, because I have other asymmetrically ground knives (for instance, my Fujiwara FKM petty), and with them, I don't notice it at all... Not to bag too much on Mark's knives, but some of them are just ALMOST there for me. I love the CCK cleaver I got from CKtG, though.

 

Anyway, to pull advice right out of my ass, since I've only been enjoying good knives for about a year and a half... if I had to do it over again, and I wanted Western handles and I wasn't the Chinese cleaver nut that I am, I'd buy a Misono "Swedish" carbon-steel gyuto, a Forschner bread knfe, a Bester 1200 stone, and some kind of stainless 150mm petty. I'd get all those right off. Then, I'd work on that medium stone until I could get a decent edge, then I'd go for the Suehiro Rika and a coarse stone of some sort. And I'd make sure I had a nice end-grain board, maybe a Boardsmith. And after that, my imagination runs out. I'm a vegetarian, so the world of sujis and steak knives and specialized fish knives is all just over my head. :-)

It's all a lot of "ifs" since I don't have a Misono or a Boardsmith board or any gyuto other than the Artifex, but I will say that the three stone sharpening set that CKtG carries is pretty sweet, and my experience has been that the carbon steel goes quite a bit easier than the stainless I've tried.

 

Here's a video about sharpness that I found interesting:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xRPrswhMdAc

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Homeboy Chopper View Post

Thanks so much for the response, Denver!  Since you asked I'm an unemployed government contractor now with more time on his hands to think about knives than I would prefer. 

So you don't think I can go a whole year of using the Artifex/paring knife without sharpening them up?   Don't most people who purchase knives for their home go even longer than that?  Actually the only reason why I didn't go the freehand route is because I'm a little worried I will permanently screw things up with such a nice knife, and I definitely didn't want to invest in an electric sharpener that could also ruin them or scratch them up.  The Edge Pro really does seem to be the only "idiot proof" option for a beginner such as myself.

From what I've been reading, most people seem to get something like a Victorinox to start with but I'd prefer to start with more of a French profile chef knife right away.  Now I'm starting to feel the Artifex may not be as easy for a beginner sharpener to use as an Old Hickory or some other sort of carbon knife.  Your feedback is very helpful, especially since you have one of your own.  Which Artifex do you have?  Are they cuter in person?  Or would you say they are "ugly ducklings" in comparison to the K-Sabs & Wusthofs?  I kind of like the idea of someday having a few beater knives in my collection anyway.   

How would you suggest to sharpen the Artifexes?  Thin them down to 10* and put a 15* micro bevel?  Keep in mind the man who wrote this last sentence has never even sharpened more than a pencil.  

As far as the bread knife goes, I suppose the only reason why I didn't put down the Artifex initially is because it's almost twice as expensive and I wanted to eventually have a few that match.  Also I didn't seem to get the impression that the Victorinox bread knife was on par with the Richmond or other performance bread knives like the Tojiro ITK.  I know that a good knife will last forever - which is why I've done so much research in picking the right ones - but does that same logic apply to serrated ones as well?  Can a serrated knife even be sharpened with an Edge Pro ?   I was planning to treat the Victorinox paring/bread knives like disposables anyway but maybe I should get the Bester 1200 just for sharpening up the bread knife freehand style, assuming that is the only way it can be done.
 

post #6 of 21
Thread Starter 

Vic, I hear ya about "laying down the law" but am pretty sure my wife had no idea that I'd develop such an obsession with high quality knives.   Having a Japanese knife in the house is kind of like still driving a motorcycle.  I could do it, but I know it makes her a little nervous.  It's probably easier for a guy like you to convince your wife about the importance of high-end cutlery since you are a professional chef.  A guy like me has to sort of ease my way into it.  :-)

Okay I will scratch the Wusthof Ikons off the list (even though they were actually the last knives on my list).  Both my wife & I grew up using only German knives so they still feel most natural to us, but perhaps after a decade of using only the French/Richmonds it might someday be easier to forget about their sturdiness for doing the heavy duty jobs - and I feel much better after hearing from Denver that the Artifex has a very "solid" feel to it.  Maybe the Artifex can fill that role of a tough German knife instead?  I had thought of the Artifex as a Japanese knife in sheep's clothing, but maybe it's even more versatile ... and made in America to boot! 

However, you've given me a lot to think about and have really changed my feeling about getting the Edge Pro.  If I am going to invest in this type of cutlery, then maybe I should learn to sharpen freehand after all?  I actually ran the numbers on it and was a little surprised at how much more expensive the Chosera stones are in comparison to the ones they make for the Edge Pro.  Wow it's like 3 or 4 times as expensive!  For example the Chosera 3,000 grit stone is only $30 for the Edge Pro but the regular stone is a whopping $120.  So I had to give it some thought about what's a better, more cost effective system for a novice, amateur chef like myself.  How long do these sharpening stones typically last?  Would you say that using an Edge Pro is like driving an automatic, and being able to sharpen freehand is kind of like knowing how to drive a stick-shift?  Taking that analogy further than I suppose a Japanese knife like the Masamoto VG is kind of like having a flashy sportscar or a luxury sedan?
 
But you're probably right and maybe I am over thinking things.   Cheftalk seems to be a great forum for getting advice from people who know a whole heck of a lot more about this subject.  I intend to start with a relatively inexpensive K-Sabatier 8" chef knife ($70), which is the size my wife is more used to and will practice sharpening up that one before getting anything else more for my liking. Plus it will sort of match the other knives I plan to acquire later and be like an elder sibling.

BTW Denver, thanks for your advice about the Artifex gyoto!  Wasn't sure if thinning/reprofiling was such a simple thing that changing angles was easier on an Edge Pro, but now I know to get some sharpening experience so I will know how to thin them myself freehand.  Your review of that knife was extremely helpful!  I feel a whole lot better after your advice since these aren't the kind of knives you can really find in a retail store anywhere.  

Am going to build my collection with the Nogents & K-Sabs first, and get pretty good at changing angles/thinning on those carbon knives, before moving into the Artifex line … in about 2017.  ;-)  
 

post #7 of 21

Your wife is wrong.  Knife safety comes from proper technique and paying attention -- mostly paying attention.  It does not come from dull edges.  If you want dull edges, use wooden spoons. 

 

When my wife first moved in with me she thought that I the time and effort I spent on knives was silly; and wore her history of using bad, dull knives as a badge of pride. It took about four months before she complained that HER knife was dull.  That was notable for two reasons.  First, the knife was sharper than "factory sharp."  Second, she moved in without any cooking equipment at all.  That particular Sabatier carbon chef's was a knife I'd bought for myself at least a decade before meeting her.  Things like "taking your wife in hand," or "laying down the law" are not only sexist and suicidal but unnecessary.  Keep your knives very sharp, and they'll do the convincing.         

 

Your 8 year plan is interesting, but not terribly practical.  It takes no more than four months of ordinary use to dull a knife to the point where it really, really, really needs sharpening.  So, you do not want to put off your basic sharpening kit for an entire year.  If you're willing to learn freehand sharpening, you can cut down your cost of entry considerably as compared to an Edge Pro.  Not only are Chosera not the only option, they are a lousy option if budget is in issue.     

 

You want to get at least the basic knife kit, chef's knife, petty and bread, as soon as possible.  Based on how and what I cook, I consider a slicer indispensable as well, but many people don't. 

 

If you're serious about Nogents, you want to get them ASAP.  They won't be around forever, and some profiles are already gone. 

 

Richmond's Artifex line has a lot more in common with "entry-level" Japanese knives than with just about anything made in Europe.  The closest analog is probably MAC Superior, and they compete fairly equally with Fujiwara FKM and Tojiro DP.  You can make a Richmond a lot better by thinning, but the same is true for a great many knives; it's thin enough, OOTB. 

 

Money is clearly an issue.  I can't tell you how to spend yours, and won't try.  Come up with an actual budget and I'll try to help you work out the best near-future purchases.  If it's going to require more money to achieve your goals, I'll tell you. 

 

BDL  


Edited by boar_d_laze - 7/2/13 at 5:12pm
post #8 of 21

I may not have much experience with knives, but I am a home cook and I am always cooking, and my brother is a line cook, I also help prep food at my job once in a while.

 

I cant reccomend a bread knife, since we do not have one, but I can reccomend some other that have served us both really well.

 

First is the J.A. Henckels Professional "S" S/S 8" Chef's Knife for $130, recommended to my brother from a co-worker. We use this about 1/4 of the time. It is a pretty sharp knife, and it looks great, I like its strength for butchering tasks, but it can handle everything pretty well. My brother uses this one at work for the meat cutting tasks.

 

Second, we bought a set of 4 CeramiPro knives for $150 right before they sold out, and now they are cheaper to pre-order but whatever lol. A friend told us about these knives. These are our favorites. There are 4 sizes, and go from 4" to 8". They look sweet, they are a lot sharper than the Henckel, and lighter. Told not to use it for anything frozen or bones in, but they handle everything else amazingly. I know theres some misconception about ceramic knives but we went ahead and bought them and let me tell you my brother was wiping a cutting board off at home, and the knife fell onto tile floor and it just bounced and was fine. Tiny bit of disadvantage, but the Henckel is there for the meat with bones and hard food cutting, and they overall are a lot better knife.

 

I reccomend both. They each have pros and cons but with those 5 knives, and $280 our kitchen at home and at my brothers job is perfect. Well, except for not having a serrated bread knife, but the CeramiPro 8" works good for that too.

 

Hope that helps.

post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 

Thanks so much again for all the feedback everyone. 

 

Tyrel, thanks for the feedback about the bread knife.  I think I've already made up my mind to start off with the Victorinox Rosewood. 

 

BDL, I am not sure if I should be thanking you because it's almost entirely your fault that I now find myself concerned about obtaining those obscure historical Nogent knives that may soon disappear right at the time I begin caring about them.  So thanks for that as well.  Unfortunately money IS an issue for at least the next year or so until I find full-time employment again, however, I have managed to budget saving up $20/per month or $240/per year for at least the next few years until my knife collection (and sharpening kit) is complete.  Am sure you're right about Choseras being overpriced - and I take your word as gospel, even what you've written over the years about Norton India & Hall's Arkansas stones - but I was planning to start off with the Bester/Suehiro Rika stones until my personal finances improve and I can finally afford the Choseras.  

 

BTW it's actually a NINE year plan now that I've changed my mind about the Edge Pro.  :-)  See below for my latest nine year plan (spending no more than $240/per year) before you made me panic about getting all the Nogents before their stock runs out.... 

 

2013 - #1)Forschner Victorinox Fibrox 3.25" paring knife, #2)K-Sabatier 8" chef knife, #3)Bester 1200 grit stone, #4)20x jeweler's loupe, #5)Universal stone holder/flattening stone/strop kit  and #6)Victorinox Rosewood 10.25" bread knife ... and yes I know all about how a 10" knife is a much better profile but the 8" K-Sab I was planning to start off with is just to develop my sharpening skills and ease my wife into the brand new world of carbon
2014 - If Nogents are still available for purchase ... #1)Sabatier Nogent 6" slicer ,#2)Sabatier Nogent 10" chef knife and #3)Sabatier Nogent 4" paring knife
2015 - #1)Sabatier Nogent 8" fish fillet knife, #2)Idahone 12" fine ceramic honing steel, #3)Deburring Felt Block and #4)Suehiro Rika 5,000 grit stone  
2016 - #1)Angle Cube, #2)Chosera 400 grit stone, #3) K-Sabatier 10" slicer and #4)K-Sabatier 5" boning knife
2017 -  #1)Richmond Artifex 7.5" santoku, #2)8,000 grit Snow White stone
2018 - #1)Richmond Artifex 9.4" chef knife, #2)Richmond Artifex 3.15" paring knife and #3)Richmond Artifex 6.75" nakiri 
2019 - #1)Chosera 1,000 grit stone and #2)Richmond Artifex 10.5" bread knife
2020 - #1)3,000 grit Chosera stone
2021 - #1)K-Sabatier/Thiers-Issard Sabatier Elephant carving set
2022 - #1)Masamoto VG 240mm gyuto  :-) 

 

Do you think the Nogents will all be gone by this Christmas?  If not, then maybe I should start out with spending all of my money on the Nogents?  Would hate to miss out on being the last generation that could buy them brand new.  I can always get the K-Sabs or Thiers-Issard later but get the feeling that the Nogent line makes a much better slicer.  BDL, how does your Nogent 10" chef knife rank in comparison to your K-Sab?  (I know you're also an Ultimatum/Konosuke man too)  Are the Nogents only more special in their smaller/midsize knives?  Just curious.

 

Thanks again for all of your help in showing me prioritize.  Is it wrong for me to want to eventually get so many other knives than just the three or four I'm only supposed to need when starting off?

post #10 of 21
Thread Starter 

Oh and if you want to see how strangely OCD I've become about my knives to be, I've even developed a more detailed budget/sharpening plan.  How does this look?  I know it's not normal to give so much thought to knives I don't yet own but hopefully I'm not alone here on Cheftalk....

 

2013 ($230) -  Initially get the #1)K-Sabatier 8" chef knife ($70). Then a little while later get the #2)Bester 1200 grit stone ($50), #3)20x jeweler's loupe ($10) and #4)CKTG universal stone holder/flattening stone/strop kit ($60) on the same order.  Finally purchase the #4)Victorinox Rosewood 10.25" bread knife ($40).

 

2014 ($230) - If still available, order a #1)Sabatier Nogent 6" slicer ($70) to be used as a petty and a #2)Sabatier Nogent 10" chef knife ($110).  Later get a #3)Sabatier Nogent 4" paring knife ($50).  Practice sharpening cheap knives first, and then sharpen my own knives with the 1200 grit stone 4x/year.

 

2015 ($220) - If still available, order a #1)Sabatier Nogent 8" fish fillet knife ($70) and #2)Sabatier Nogent 3" paring knife ($50).  Later get the #3)Idahone 12" fine ceramic honing steel ($40), #4)Deburring Felt Block ($10) and #5)Suehiro Rika 5,000 grit stone ($50).  Sharpen and oil* all knives 4x/year, eventually going from 1200 - 5K.  *The wood handles will need a periodic oiling as needed, preferably a self curing oil like walnut or grape seed as it does not remain oily*  Flatten stones and sharpen the Wüsthof stainless steel steak knives & Victorinox bread knife just once.

 

2016 ($230) - Begin the year by purchasing the #1)Angle Cube ($40) and #2)Chosera 400 grit stone ($70).  Finally get the #3) K-Sabatier 10" slicer ($70) and #4)K-Sabatier 5" boning knife ($50).  Sharpen and oil all knives 4x/year going from 1200 - 5K+leather strop.  Begin reprofiling all of the Sabatier knives from 21° down to 18° using the 400 grit stone.  Flatten stones and sharpen the Wüsthof stainless steel steak knives and the Victorinox bread knife just once.

 

2017 ($200) -  Start the year off by getting the #1)Richmond Artifex 7.5" santoku ($70).  Later get the #2)8,000 grit Snow White stone ($100) and #3)Mercer Genesis 6" carving fork ($30).  Eventually take all the Sabatiers down from 18° down to 15°, using the 400 grit stone when doing an angle change.  Sharpen and oil all knives 4x/year ultimately going from 1200 - 5K - 8K+leather strop.  Flatten stones every year and sharpen the Wüsthof stainless steel steak knives & Victorinox bread knife as well.

 

2018 ($210) - Purchase the #1)Richmond Artifex 9.4" chef knife ($90) and #2)Richmond Artifex 3.15" paring knife ($50).  Later purchase a #3)Richmond Artifex 6.75" nakiri ($70).  Sharpen and oil all knives 3x/year going from 1200 - 5K - 8K+leather strop.  Be sure to thin all of the Richmonds down to 12° using the 400 grit stone and all of the Sabatiers to 15°.  Flatten stones and sharpen the Wüsthof stainless steel steak knives once a year as well.

 

2019 ($220) - Purchase the #1)Chromium oxide/diamond spray for balsa strop ($40) and a #2)Chosera 1,000 grit stone ($90).  Then get a #3)Richmond Artifex 10.5" bread knife ($90) to complete Artifex collection.  Flatten stones and and sharpen the Wüsthof stainless steel steak knives once a year.  Sharpen and oil all other knives 3x/year eventually going from  1K - 5K - 8K+balsa strop.

 

2020 ($120) - Purchase the #1)3,000 grit Chosera stone ($120).  Flatten stones and and sharpen the Wüsthof stainless steel steak knives & bread knife once a year.  Sharpen and oil all other knives 3x/year eventually going from  1K - 3K - 8K+balsa strop.

 

Someday/Maybe - K-Sabatier/Thiers-Issard Sabatier Elephant carving set ($200), Masamoto VG 240mm gyuto ($200), Masamoto VG 270mm sujihiki ($230)

post #11 of 21

Good call on putting a fair chunk of money into the sharpening supplies... but I don't know Homeboy... the way you've got it set up, after seven years and $1660 dollars, you still don't have a GREAT knife to use and sharpen.

 

How 'bout this:

western gyuto $250.00- Masamoto HC, Gesshin Ginga, Misono Dragon, Sakai Yusuke if you can get the new wife on board with wa... take your pick.
western 150mm petty $150.00- same deal, this kind of money buys you the best you can get this side of a custom knife.
Mac bread knife $90.00- buy it once. Amazon.com price. But if you don't bake a lot of bread, just go with the Victorinox rosewood like you mentioned.
heavy-duty $20.00- for the rough stuff, get a heavier cleaver from your local Asian market.
8-piece sharpening set $190.00 from CKtG- coarse, medium, and fine stones- AND your loupe AND the flattening plate AND a stone holder.
stropping supplies $30.00- CBN lapping slurry 1 micron and .5 micron from US Products Co., and some balsa wood from your local hobby store.
victorinox paring knife $18.00
boardsmith 18 x 24 $227.00- end-grain and decent sized.

mineral oil from your local drug store $5.
 

$980 ($680 cheaper than your way), and you end up with some really nice knives. Admittedly, it is harder to break into smaller-sized chunks, since your main chef knife and your sharpening set both take up about a year's expenditure. But if you took year one and bought a Sab and a Norton combo stone, you could do some cutting and sharpening from the get-go.

 

BDL was hopped up on Sabatier for a long time, but I don't think he has been recommending them in general since he's gotten some knives in harder steels. If you do go with the Sabs, you'll want the Idahone sooner rather than later.

 

If i could re-do the purchases I've made in the last year and a half, and combine the good purchases I did make with what I would've bought in hindsight, I'd have gotten the Ashi Hamono cleaver (used) that I did get (white steel, very easy to get really sharp, just a great all-around knife), a Fujiwara FKM petty (decent but unexciting), the 8-piece stone set mentioned above (I got the five-piece set and am using drywall screen to flatten; it works fine, but the 8-piece is just more complete), the CBN and balsa, a carbon steel Chinese cleaver I got at a thrift store for $2 (which was really the knife that got me started on this whole trip, since it sharpened so much easier and better than the German stainless stuff I had before) and a Victorinox bread knife (my ITK bread knife is OK, but just OK). And I'd probably add in some kind of nicer carbon petty (Ashi Hamono Swedish, direct from Japan?), and maybe a gyuto (Gesshin Uraku, to avoid the thinning difficulties with the Artifex?). I got an end-grain board for Christmas a while back, a Boos board. It split a bit, despite repeated oilings. Maybe the Boardsmith board wouldn't do that.

post #12 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by boar_d_laze View Post

Things like "taking your wife in hand," or "laying down the law" are not only sexist and suicidal but unnecessary.  Keep your knives very sharp, and they'll do the convincing. 

 

BDL  

 

Look, I knew someone would say that what I said was sexist. But, I've got to defend myself here. What I meant by that was that in a healthy relationship, there shouldn't be any restrictions from the other spouse on purchases within reason. For me, and I believe the OP as well, we believe having a few good knives are not an unreasonable purchase. Would you agree?

 

I surely cannot restrict my wife from buying clothes or shoes, within reason. I surely make the snide comment when she comes home with more to "add to the pile"... but I would never tell her she is not allowed to buy any more. She would surely lay down the law with me if I did that. It's not like she is buying an abnormal amount for a woman or we are broke.

 

And it's funny, my wife is kind of going through the same thing your wife did, BDL. She is using a bunch of dull, cheap knives like it's a badge of honor. I've been saying I'd buy her a good knife and she insists, stubbornly she likes hers just fine. The other day I brought home a new ITK to "replace" my sakai takayuki nakiri. She asked me if she could have the nakiri!!!!!! I was pretty happy!

I figured I'd share this because this may also be relevant to the OP's situation. 

post #13 of 21
Thread Starter 

No worries, Vic.  I totally knew what you meant with the expression.

 

However, the most important thing especially early on in my marriage is to sort of make decisions together - or at least appear to comply with her concern not to have knives that are too sharp, especially when we might hopefully have little ones in the house not too far from now.  Of course that doesn't mean I can't somehow steer her into the direction of Japanese knives SOMEDAY.  It's just not going happen right away.  But I should have no problem convincing my that if French carbon knives were good enough for Julia Child, then it should also be good enough for her ... at least to start.  Then after further developing our culinary skills over the next couple of years we can move into the modern advancements made by the Americans/Japanese in the 21st century with more high-end equipment!  Trust me I can't wait for her to try out the American made Richmond Artifex santoku/nakiri as a sort of "gateway knife" but I plan to have a happy marriage AND a Masamoto VG someday as well.  :-)

 

Thanks again for all of your help and for nudging me towards freehand sharpening!

post #14 of 21

Carbon isn't for everyone.  Consequently, I've always been careful about recommending carbon Sabatiers.  Also, I try to be careful about recommending my own choices which tend to be made for either idiosyncratic or extremely idiosyncratic reasons. 

 

Just generally, I'm more interested in giving people enough information about knives and and perspective about themselves for them to make their own, good decisions than in equipping them with the knife of my choice.  For another many people recommend what they bought as way of validating their own process rather than really listening to the person seeking advice.  You've got to remember that there's no single, best knife choice for everyone.  No matter how carefully you searched for the right knife for you, and no matter how happy you are with your purchase it's very possible that it won't suit the person you're trying to help.     

Meanwhile back at the Sabs:

Carbon Sabatiers are spectacularly good knives, although not without flaws.  They are among the best yo-gyutos at any price, just a heart-beat less good than the Masamoto HC and Misono Sweden, and probably the best bang for the buck in carbon, western handled chef's knifes.  They're better than the Fujiwara FKH (much better!), Kikuichi Elite, and Masamoto CT -- to name a few Japanese yo-carbons.  

 

It's not so much that they take a great edge (and they do), or that the edge is so hard wearing (as long as you steel them a lot), but that the profile is perfect.  On the down side, they are soft and do need a lot of truing, won't hold a polish for long, and the sharpener has to work around the finger-guard.  Nogent and some older "Canadian" production are a bit thinner and possibly a bit harder than modern K-Sab au carbone (or the almost identical knives from Mexeur et Cie, and Thiers Issard), but the handles on the newer knives just feel so good in the hand.

 

In whatever guise, carbon Sabatiers are comfortable, agile, and robust -- a great deal more so than most Japanese knives. 

 

However, I've stopped using my go-to carbon Sabatier chef's knives -- except when I'm feeling nostalgic -- because my Richmond Ultimatum 51200 does everything as well or better and along with the Konosuke 270, has become the other player in the go-to gyuto tag team.   

 

BDL 

post #15 of 21

Chop, I think the place to start here is with:

 

  • What are you using now?

                        and

  • How do you feel about those knives, the style-type that is?

 

First off, I've been sharpening stuff for many years, you have to know how to sharpen and have some equipment for it, though it can be very simple and cheap equipment and still get the job reasonably done.

 

I get 95% of my prep done with a 9" slicer (Wusthof Ikon, and  I tell you I would never buy another wussy).  I bought this very soon after purchasing some Shun equipment, a company that will never see my money again either, now that I'm older and wiser.

 

A ground-down-to-thin cheap 9" chefs does big splitting and dicing beets, brunoise of large onions, chopping carrots, etc.  This experience made me believe in the Big Knife, but I will likely continue with the slicer as my go-to.  Here I would likely go with something like the 270mm Ultimatum BDL mentioned, and nothing much smaller.

 

I ground a cheap pairing knife very thin, but haven't found much use for it yet.

 

Some cheap stainless thing that looks like an Old Hickory slicer cuts around heavy bone and through chicken carcasses, etc.

 

A similar 6.5 incher is my utility knife.

 

I have a rather soft waterstone, so know I want something harder for my next purchas(es).

 

This isn't the whole story but enough to show how I'm getting to know what I want to spend money on.  So rather than come up with any more elaborate but apparently not well thought out schemes, tell us what you have and how you've been using it and, if you can, what you think you really want to get out of new knives?

 

Rick


Edited by Rick Alan - 7/3/13 at 6:38pm
post #16 of 21
Thread Starter 

Rick, I presently have an old set of hand-me-down Henkels International 8" chef knife, 8" slicer, 6" fillet knife, 9" serrated bread knife and matching steak knives.  

The Henkels aren't in fantastic condition as I've been using a Chef's Choice 100 electric sharpener from time to time over the years.  I also have a honing steel, but to be quite honest it's been hiding in the basement with a bunch of other old tools that are rarely ever touched.  Obviously now that I've learned so much about sharpening and properly taking care of knives, I do understand the benefit of regularly steeling them.  Just haven't tried doing it yet.  :-) 

Recently we also received an inexpensive Silvermark 5" santoku from Crate & Barrel as a bonus wedding gift and I just made my first/only knife purchase on my own a couple weeks ago - a Victorinox Fibrox 3.25" paring knife.  

I don't love or hate any of the knives so much in my existing collection, but feel them to be only be sufficient.  My wife actually gravitates towards the steak knives for dicing onions & garlic but is also comfortable using the 8" chef knife like for cutting up a watermelon.  Fortunately/unfortunately, neither of us has ever been exposed to using knives of professional level sharpness but we are getting ready to take our skills to the next level after receiving so many other kitchen appliances as wedding gifts (Kitchen Aid, a Le Creuset French oven, etc.).  

As mentioned in the original post I have recently been doing a lot of research about knives and agree with your point about keeping things simple.  #1)a good chef's knife, #2)a good paring knife and #3)a serrated bread knife seems to be a sound foundation - and from what I've also learned from further research on websites like Cheftalk - a proper sharpening strategy is perhaps even more important than having the correct knives.  Right?  

One other thing I've learned is that German knives are for Wussies.  :-)  Unfortunately, my wife has placed an embargo on purchasing knives from our other World War II enemy, so Japanese knives are out of the equation for now.  

Yet since today is the 4th of July and I am in a patriotic mood I now intend to start off with an AMERICAN knife … that's right I plan to get the Richmond Artifex 240mm chef knife (have already started training myself not to call it a "gyuto" so the wife doesn't raise any eyebrows).  

But what most Americans fail to appreciate on this holiday is that we would perhaps have never won our Revolutionary War if not for the help of our first allies, the French!  That's right.  Why do you think there are more cities in America named after Lafayette - including the park in front of the White House - than any other person in the world?  It's because Lafayette and the French fleet came to our defense at the most crucial time in our history and they have been our oldest friends.  We have each other's back and AND they know how to cook.  I respect French cuisine and their knives as well.

Therefore, after I start out with that Artifex and more funds (hopefully) become available, I plan to buy a bunch of Nogents too just because I will regret it if someday I find out I really do love carbon knives as much as I appreciate their history.  I realize it perhaps may not be the most logical way to start off building a knife collection but the Nogents may not even be around this time next year.  Also, as BDL pointed out we may find out that my wife & I may not like the hassle of carbon though - hopefully we'll find out soon enough - but that's where the Artifex line comes in.  

Anyway, this list seems to change almost daily, but here is the equipment I intend to include in my permanent knife collection at the moment and when they will hopefully fit into my $240/per year budget:

K-Sabatier collection:
   K-Sabatier 10" chef knife - 2016
   K-Sabatier 5" boning knife - 2017
   K-Sabatier 10" slicer - 2017

Richmond Artifex collection:
   Richmond Artifex 9.4" chef knife - 2013
   Richmond Artifex 7.5" santoku -2015
   Richmond Artifex 6.75" nakiri - 2017
   Richmond Artifex 10.5" bread knife - 2018

Sabatier Nogent collection:
   Sabatier Nogent 4" paring knife - 2014
   Sabatier Nogent 6" slicer - 2014
   Sabatier Nogent 8" fish fillet knife - 2014
   Sabatier Nogent 3" paring knife - 2015

Temporary knives:
   Ikea Gynnsam 9" bread knife - 2013 (just to stay under budget and to tide myself over until I can afford the matching Artifex bread knife in 2018).  Yes, I know the Victorinox Rosewood is better.  But c'mon aren't we just talking about a bread knife?

Sharpening accessories:
   Bester 1200 grit stone - 2013  
   CKTG universal stone holder/flattening stone/strop kit - 2013
   20x jeweler's loupe - 2014
   Idahone 12" fine ceramic honing steel - 2014
   Deburring Felt Block - 2015
   Suehiro Rika 5,000 grit stone - 2015
   Angle Cube - 2016
   Gesshin 400 grit stone - 2016
   Gesshin 8,000 grit stone - 2018

Thanks again to everyone for being so patient and willing to share your expertise with a novice chef like myself.  I hope to someday also learn enough about knives and sharpening to pass along this knowledge just like all of you have benefited me with your wisdom and advice.  Happy 4th of July!

post #17 of 21

What's holding you on the 20x jeweler's loupe? They are around $5 on Amazon or $10 if you want one with led. So you can move Deburring Felt Block to 2014.

post #18 of 21
Thread Starter 

Very good point, Mostadonte! Heck I think the loupe & the felt block can all be snagged for under $10.  thumb.gif Will try to include both of them into my knife/sharpening budget as early as possible.

post #19 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Homeboy Chopper View Post


2013 -  #1)Victorinox Fibrox 3.25" paring knife, #2)Richmond Artifex 9.4" chef knife, #3)Victorinox Rosewood 10.25" bread knife, #4)Idahone 12" fine ceramic honing steel and #5)Apex Edge Pro DVD

 

I understand your wife's sentiments, as my WWII vet father would say, I fought them, I won't feed them."

 

Actually, you started out pretty good in the OP with the Artifex 9.4 chefs (perhaps with the cktg blade thinning added) and Idahone.  To that I personally would forget the other knives mentioned (but a lot of folks do really dig bread knives) and DVD, and add a stone, the Bestor or the Iminishi combo stone also from cktg, and I believe you are well within budget.  Find yourself a cheap 6" slicer at the local thrift store, it makes for a very useful all around utility knife.  For 2014 I'd get your Nogent/whatever 10"slicer, and maybe a nice petty.  A lot of the other items you mentioned may very well wind up meaning relatively little to you, with the exception of more sharpening accessories.

 

Here I feel you have something that certainly will make you smile for a while, and that prestige blade will be in budget in just a couple more years. :-)

 

Rick

 

Edited addition:  Actually the Bestor 1200 by itself would be way too course for my tastes, add the Rika 5000 or go with the Iminishi combo


Edited by Rick Alan - 7/5/13 at 2:45pm
post #20 of 21
Thread Starter 

Hi Rick, thanks for your suggestion. 

 

Think I'm going to start out with the Bester 1200 in the beginning and then get a 5000 grit Suehiro Riko after I get the hang of using the 1200.  But after that?  It's going to be all Gesshin baby!  My wife may be nervous about the sharpness of Japanese knives but that doesn't mean I can't use Japanese stones to sharpen up my Artifex/Sabatier collection.  :-)  Will first start with the Gesshin 400 for thinning and a little while later I may step up to the Gesshin 8000 grit stone which I'm sure will be all the polish necessary for the rest of my life.  And when it looks like either my Bester or Suehiro start wearing out, I will replace BOTH of them with the Gesshin 2000 grit stone ... ultimately going from Gesshin 400 - 2000 - 8000. 
 

How's that sound?

post #21 of 21
Thread Starter 

I suppose one of the more frustrating things about wanting to get into more high-end knives is that so few of what I'm looking for can be found in a physical store where I can see the knives in person.  Can anyone tell me from experience which Artifex has a closer profile to the K-Sabatier/Masamoto VG, the Artifex 240mm Gyuto or the Artifex Extra Tall 240mm Gyuto?  I definitely would like to have one knife with the stainless convenience and other properties of AEB-L steel but it almost looks to me like the "Extra Tall" version mimics the classic Sabatier profile even better.  Anyone? 

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