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Same Noo-b Question--with a twist

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

Hello all...I know this form of question has been asked many times....and I have been lurking and learning...so I appreciate the education.

 

I am a single at home cook in a smaller apartment-sized kitchen....I typically prepare meals 2 to 3 times a week...mostly veggies and boneless meat,poultry, and fish. Have been using "cheap, dull hand me downs"...no sharpening skills or experience.I'm willing and able to go CC Model 15 XV. I'm a "neat freak" in the kitchen. I'm ready to enter the good knife world....budget $400 to $700 for everything.

 

Here's what I'm looking for/decided on:

 

1) Gyuto- leaning yo maybe wa. Not really sure if I need 240...or just go 210.(Richmond,Faj,Suisun..or other step up given above and below)

 

2) Petty- either 120 or 150....should I spend as much on this as #1?

 

3) Bread/Slicer---will purchase Tojiro ITK or Victorinox.

 

4) Paring-will purchase a ~3in Victorinox

 

5) Sharpener---at this time knowing myself the CC Model 15 XV is what I can commit to....with that-will I still need an Idahone 1200?

 

6) Board---wood end or edge based on what left in budget.

 

 

Mainly interested in suggestion on 1 & 2 ...based on 5 limitations and my overall need level.

 

Thanks in advance for your input, ideas, and suggestions

post #2 of 16

For boards check out Boadsmith or Marko Tsourkan that makes custom boards, they really are worth the cost. 

 

on to knives. for gyuto i would suggest stainless for your first knife. 240 more versatile but at home i dont see anything wrong with 210

 

http://www.chefknivestogo.com/kohd240gynew.html

http://www.japaneseknifeimports.com/kitchen-knives/gesshin-uraku/gesshin-uraku-210mm-stainless-wa-gyuto.html

http://www.japaneseknifeimports.com/kitchen-knives/gesshin-kagero/gesshin-kagero-210mm-powdered-steel-gyuto.html

 

break knife so with ITK

 

petty go with 150-180 konosuke is very good option for this

 

paring knife - good choice

 

sharpening, honestly get some water stones, learn to sharpen. the 1k/6k stone for JKI is great and will last forever. 

 

good luck

post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 

Thanks jg.....I think the Chef & petty are a little outside of what I'd like to start with...I basing this on starting with the CC Model15 for sharpening......not sure if that's the route I take if it's worth it/ advised to go with a $150+ knife

post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 

TTT....any other takers on this???

post #5 of 16

Fujiwara FKM and Suisin Western Inox are very similar; except the Suisiun has much better F&F, and slightly better ergonomics.  The FKM is fine; but the Suisun really is well made.  Edge taking and holding qualities for both knives are adequate but unexceptional.

 

Richmond Artifex is a nice piece of alloy.  I prefer the handle to the Fujiwara's in terms of comfort, but it's certainly not as nice looking.  For a stainless knife, edge taking -- including the fell of the knife on the stones is excellent.  The Artifex is more robust than either the Fujiwara or the Suisun.  F&F is okay, but nothing to write home about.  Don't be surprised if you find grind marks on the blade left by the knife making machine; but not a big deal because any effort at aesthetic is non-existent.  However, homely utility is the knife's charm.  

 

Typical of Lamson knives, OOTB edge quality can be variable.  If you're going to use a CC electric anyway, you might as well skip the extra cost, "in-house" new-knife sharpening.   If you're going to buy some sort of sharpening system that has a learning curve, buy the sharpening.  

No.  You don't have to spend as much money on the petty as on the gyuto.  Still, since you're looking at "entry level" stainless gyuto, you're not going to find many good, cheaper choices.  Artifex and FKM are both nice choices.

 

Chef's Choice electric sharpeners are extremely easy to learn and use, but they are not perfect.  The best things which may be said about them is that in exchange for barely adequate sharpening, they are reasonably priced, fast, and so convenient they get used as often as they should.  On the other hand, a CC edge is adequate at best.  

 

Edge quality, okay to begin with, improves slightly as the abrasive wear in, and then begins to degrade as (a) the sharpeners get dirty and load up and (b) as the stones start to wear (those aren't the same things).  You have to clean the machine regularly to keep it working well. If I recall correctly, the Model XV Trizor 15 has a setting for cleaning and dressing the stones.  The stones should last for a few years at least before they get too worn down.  They're not user replaceable (at least they're not made to be); and I'm not sure if Edgecraft will do it for you or not.

 

The XV is a three stage sharpener.  The first stage is very coarse and after the first time you establish the CC edge, it should only be used occasionally.  The final, polishing stage is a flexible wheel which should not only be used to finish your knives after every sharpening session, but for frequent be used for "touch-ups" and -- like you'd use a steel -- to true blades which get dinged out of true.  The polished finish is, as you'd expect, adequate but not very good.  The XV's "Trizor" edge shape is practically convex, and similarly durable.  

 

Unlike old fashioned "can-opener" type electrics, CCs will not eat your knives as long as you use them correctly by applying very gentle to the knife while pulling it through at a moderate speed.  

 

In my evolving opinion, CCs are better than any other home sharpening strategy other than bench stones or a good tool and jig system (like an Edge Pro).  And, yes, that specifically includes the Spyderco Sharpmaker and the Minos pull-throughs.  I was high on the Minos Plus3 for a long time, but after using one for not much more than a year my Northern California daughter started bringing her knives back to me when she visits SoCal.   

 

BDL


Edited by boar_d_laze - 7/18/13 at 7:09am
post #6 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by boar_d_laze View Post

 

Richmond Artifex is a nice piece of alloy.  I prefer the handle to the Fujiwara's in terms of comfort, but it's certainly not as nice looking.  For a stainless knife, edge taking -- including the fell of the knife on the stones is excellent.  The Artifex is more robust than either the Fujiwara or the Suisun.  F&F is okay, but nothing to write home about.  Don't be surprised if you find grind marks on the blade left by the knife making machine; but not a big deal because any effort at aesthetic is non-existent.  However, homely utility is the knife's charm.  

 

 

 

I can personally recommend the Artifex (the extra tall version atleast). Also *if* you're willing to put in the work you can get much better performance out of the knife. I just wish it didn't look so.... ugly....

post #7 of 16

I can personally recommend the Artifex (the extra tall version at least). Also *if* you're willing to put in the work you can get much better performance out of the knife. I just wish it didn't look so.... ugly....

Yes.  I'm not an owner but have put in a few days with a couple of them, and agree (if you don't mind me putting words in your mouth) that the Artifex is a helluva good deal for an extremely useful chef's knife.

 

If you thin them you can get more perceived sharpness, but they lose some of their robust, practically-Old Hickory, hack-through-anything versatility; which is a lot of what I like about them.  It depends what you want out of the knife.  Horses for courses.  

 

BDL

post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 

Thanks BDL......I actually settled on my 1st "good knife" based on yours and others info/advice and my own "gut" feelings...went with RA 210 AEB-L, FKM 150 petty, ITK bread, and a Victorinox 3.25in paring.

 

 

I think I'm good in everything else except for sharpening "system"... I feel more confident with the CC.....but wonder if I should give freehand a shot......with NO prior sharpening experience I imagine for the 1st year or so I would be a fair to poor sharpener.....How would that equate to the OOTB CC quality....in other words how long for me to get better than the CC sharpening my 3 knives 4 to 6 times a year....I guess the other option is do both....use practice knives on stones and use CC on my new knives until I feel confident. I know everyone has a different learning curve so.....MMMV.........

 

Again appreciate the help and advice.......and education.

post #9 of 16

That's a very useful knife set.  

 

There are a lot of right ways to freehand sharpen on bench stones.  The easiest one to conceptualize is what I call "the burr method."  That means learning to create a burr, to detect it, to "chase" it, and to deburr -- creating a fine, fresh-metal edge.  There are a couple of very well written FAQs, particularly the one written by Chad Ward posted by eGullet.  And  Mark Richmond at CKtG and Jon Broida at JKI and both have excellent free video series demonstrating how to do it.  There are a couple of forums besides this one for good sharpening advice; and I'll try to help you over the initial hurdles.  

 

You don't have to be a genius to learn to sharpen, nor do you need to be particularly handy.  I'm living proof.  It's easy to learn to do well -- as long as you're patient with yourself.  

 

It takes most guys about 6 - 12 sharpening sessions to get consistent with a medium/coarse stone -- which is the first stone you want to learn.  Another 6 sessions or so before your consistent with a medium-fine stone. After that, you're a better sharpener than a CC.  At first it will take you close to an hour an edge, eventually you'll knock your times down to about 10 minutes.  It usually takes somewhere between 6 and 12 hours before developing minimal competency.  There's some frustration along the way, too.  After awhile, it becomes enjoyable in a mindless/meditative sort of way.   

 

A lot of guys feel that it helps the learning process to use an old knife, if they have one, or a purpose bought very cheap knife to learn to sharpen.   If you're going to buy a cheap knife I suggest getting an Old Hickory for an abundance of reasons -- mostly, because they're nearly indestructible and fun knives to have. 

 

An adequate combination starting stone will cost you around $50; a set of two good stones a little more than $100.  In addition you'll need some method to flatten -- figure between $15 and $25, depending.  There are a couple of three stone "soup to nuts sets" which run between $130 and $170, depending on the soup and nuts.  Because you've chosen the knives you've chosen, you'll want a honing rod -- figure $35.

 

Whether or not freehand is better than a CC for you is a question only you can answer.  Unfortunately you're handicapped by not knowing much about either.  If you're the type of person who gets easily frustrated or is very impatient with himself, you'd probably be happier with a CC or an Edge Pro than freehanding.  To my mind an Edge Pro with decent stones is sort of a "best of all possible worlds" solution for many people -- but they're not cheap.  And frankly, neither are they perfect.  Nothing is.     

 

BDL 

post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:

Originally Posted by boar_d_laze View Post
 

  If you're the type of person who gets easily frustrated or is very impatient with himself, you'd probably be happier with a CC or an Edge Pro than freehanding.  To my mind an Edge Pro with decent stones is sort of a "best of all possible worlds" solution for many people --    

 

Well that pretty much describes me....replace very with somewhat.....and that would be me to a tee......So as I suspected...NO freehanding. How ever after reading about and watching videos on the Edge Pro....my reaction is "I could do that"......I gather the learning curve is less and the likelihood of moderate success in a somewhat quicker timeframe with somewhat less frustration is typical....the payoff would be a much nicer looking and better quality edge than the Chefs Choice at only 1.5X to 2X the cost.

 

So....which one? EP#3 or EP#4.....I don't envision myself a "stone collector" or a "knife collector"....but rumor has it that's a slippery slope. I'd just want something to sharpen and maintain newly purchased knives. I more than likely add a carbon wa gyuto and/or petty as well a nakiri and/or slim cleaver in the the future...Do carbon and traditional knives work with the EP #3 and/or #4?

 

My last questions....then we can put this thread to bed. 

post #11 of 16

I would not discard freehand sharpening right of the bat. Its quite entertaining and gratifying activity. It might look somewhat complicated at the first look, but believe me its not that difficult as you might think. If you have old set of knifes that you do no mind to scratch I recommend you to buy a "cheap" stone like king brand and try it out. King 1000 or 1200 is nice not expensive stone. Also a combi King 1000/6000 has a good fame. You will need to soak this stones for 15+ min before use.

 

I personally enjoy to see how the knife that barely cuts paper become a hair popping sharp in 10 minutes all done with my own hands! :)

post #12 of 16

you got good advice, I'm not at your side of the pond, so here is my two cents on the topic.

 

I am a bit surprised that you seem to think you need to spend so much money on knives. (and I work as a line cook)

sure, go for the best quality but doesn't neccessarily have to come with a high price.

what you also want to look into, is what kind of metal is being used in the knives (hardness degree of metal here in europe is rockwell and you want something with at something close to 58/ 60, although mine are 63 japanese), are they forged, is it one piece of steel and how does it sit in your hand?

ordering over the internet is not something I would do myself unless I knew what I was buying, and whether there is good customer service.

 

the suggestion to practice sharpening on your old knives, and even get them sharp with practice, is a very good one.

so is, learn to sharpen free hand.

I am selftaught on japanese waterstones and although it took me a few months, am now mostly happy with the results each time.

its worth considering and believe me, it also is very relaxing, almost meditative....

post #13 of 16
I've spent several hours reading posts on this forum over the past couple of days as part of my research to find a better chef's knife to replace my Wusthof. I started with the assumption that I could just buy a good knife, but now the problem of sharpening presents itself as an important decision factor. (I've used a CC and steel to maintain the Wustof). So I have a question about frequency: If I'm using a good Japanese knife with decent edge-holding characteristics for home cooking, and I'm cooking on average 6 meals a week for 2-4 people, mostly cutting vegetables, herbs, and boneless meat (ie, no abusive use), what is likely to be the schedule for various edge maintenance tasks? Does this differ if I'm using stones or a CC?
post #14 of 16

hmm well I think it really depends.

sorry... but it depends on which knife you have, what kind of metal/ hardness, how much use ...

 

I notice my wusthof loses its edge much faster than the japanese knifes do, but then I use them professionally.

in my home kitchen before I started this job, I did not need to sharpen as often, simply because my knives did not get as much use.

if you use them more than a hour a day say, thats more intensive use and will wear your edge faster.

when at home cooking I used to sharpen my knives once a month, that was before the ceramic steel came in.

 

if you switch to a ceramic steel, you won't have to sharpen as often as when you use a normal steel like you do now.

because ceramic steels actually DO sharpen your knives, (aka take a bit off the edge) whereas normal steels don't.

so its great to keep the edge sharp.

 

also, I recommend to keep the edges of your knive as sharp as you dare......

once you have experienced what its like to work with real sharp edged knives, you won't look back....much more ease to work with with less muscle strength, and more precise work too.

 

sure you will get more opinions. 

take your pick what feels best for YOU :)

post #15 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crispy View Post

I've spent several hours reading posts on this forum over the past couple of days as part of my research to find a better chef's knife to replace my Wusthof. I started with the assumption that I could just buy a good knife, but now the problem of sharpening presents itself as an important decision factor. (I've used a CC and steel to maintain the Wustof). So I have a question about frequency: If I'm using a good Japanese knife with decent edge-holding characteristics for home cooking, and I'm cooking on average 6 meals a week for 2-4 people, mostly cutting vegetables, herbs, and boneless meat (ie, no abusive use), what is likely to be the schedule for various edge maintenance tasks? Does this differ if I'm using stones or a CC?


Depends on a lot of things.  If I were using a Wusthof as my daily driver in my home kitchen, I'd use the steel daily -- at least -- and sharpen at least every two weeks. 

 

Using a "good" VG2 Japanese knife" hardened to 58RCH like a Masamoto or MAC Pro, I'd use the steel twice a week, and sharpen at about the same frequency as the Wusthofs, because (a) VG2 isn't as tough as X50CrMoV15 and wearks more quickly; and (b) I'm a sharpness junky.   

 

In practice, I split my gyuto duties mostly between two knives.  I steel my 61 RCH 51200 Ultimatum once a week, and would probably sharpen at least every three if it were the only knife I used -- a little less frequently if I didn't use it for heavy duty work.   I never steel my 61 RCH Konosuke HDs, and they could maybe go a month between trips to the stones.  

 

But not only are you not me, you're sharpening is different than mind, so are your standards for what constitutes "usably sharp," and you'll almost certainly choose different knives.  You have to find your own way on sharpening frequency.

 

BDL

post #16 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Soesje View Post

 

if you switch to a ceramic steel, you won't have to sharpen as often as when you use a normal steel like you do now.

because ceramic steels actually DO sharpen your knives, (aka take a bit off the edge) whereas normal steels don't.

so its great to keep the edge sharp.

This is very misleading. 

 

All steels, even polished packer's steels will take some metal off the knife -- If only because knife edges themselves aren't smooth.  There's always some degree of toothy jaggedness -- whether serration or micro-serration, and the teeth break off when they're bent back and forth by steeling -- making the edge, not sharper but more toothier, with more "bite."

 

How much metal comes off the edge is a function of many things.  Just in terms of the rod, the most important things are the (related but not identical) texture and coarseness of the rod. 

 

Ceramic is no more inherently abrasive than metal.  The Idahone "Fine" ceramic is roughly the same grit as an aoto waterstone, about 2K JIS.  That's probably a lot finer than you sharpen your knives.

 

A rod hone should ONLY be used to true a burr.  It should NEVER be used to sharpen the knife.  Any hone coarse enough to pull a burr will (a) eat your knives; and (b) is too difficult to control to create a good edge. 

 

BDL


Edited by boar_d_laze - 7/22/13 at 2:49pm
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