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Looking for a good starter knife(s). Hello as well ;)

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

So for XMAS I have $250 to spend from the in-laws and I'd like to pick up some nice knives (aiming for a Chef/Santoku and a paring knife).  I'm a home cook, no experience really, nothing special just enjoy good knives.  I have been lurking for about 6 months and reading reviews and yesterday I finally went into a store to hold some knives.  I really enjoyed the handle on the Shun knives (and that style handle or similar) vs the handles on the Wustofs.

 

I do have the opportunity today to buy some Caphalon Katana knives for a VERY good price (I'd be able to get 3-4 knives).  Now, I'm one of the types that does tons of research and then wants to buy something that lasts me a LONG time.  I don't want to have to do this process again for years and years to come.

 

I have an issue getting a knife online without being able to hold it, but the only knives in my area I can hold are caphalon, shun, wustof and that's about it.  I thought I'd like the german for it's ability to hold up a little more to abuse, but man did I enjoy the Japanese cut.  I prefer the straight type handle as well, so going off of that info, does anybody have some good suggestions?

 

$250 is my limit (I'd like at least 2 knives - with some money left for sharpening stuff if possible but I can buy that on my own if need be).  I cut a lot of fruits and veggies as well as chicken and beef.  Never with bones in them.  Just a basic at home guy who likes to cook and wants some good knives to last a long time.  

 

I've read about the MAC and Tojiro and hears good things.  I also think I read some good things on Artifex as well.  Again, beginner but I don't want to have to go through this process again for at least 5-10 years.  I plan on keeping very good care of them and sharpening often with a service (until I learn myself).

 

Thanks guys!

 

EDIT:  I'd also like to add that I enjoy supporting companies with great customer service.  If an issue does arise with the knife I want the replacement process to be effortless on my part.  And odd request I know.


Edited by millerb7 - 12/8/13 at 10:31am
post #2 of 9

Well shun's are good but you pay their price cause of their advertising( its like Mcdonalds & global..ppl buy them because of the name) so you pay more for the shun cause of the name...

 

i'v recently bought the yaxell ran 69 layers for my restaurant work and its amazing...its light...cuts perfect...balance well between the handle and the blade...

you can get them in a good price...

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Yaxell-RAN-69-Layers-VG-10-Damascus-Micarta-Handle-Knife-Anytype-from-JAPAN-/111176148455?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&var=&hash=item19e29d65e7

 

other great brand is the miyabi...had one of those until it got stolen...they stay sharp for ever and they are amazing for work...not that cheep but you wont regret...

http://www.cutleryandmore.com/miyabi-7000-mc

 

Yaxell and miyabi by far better then shun....

post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrShapiro View Post
 

Well shun's are good but you pay their price cause of their advertising( its like Mcdonalds & global..ppl buy them because of the name) so you pay more for the shun cause of the name...

 

i'v recently bought the yaxell ran 69 layers for my restaurant work and its amazing...its light...cuts perfect...balance well between the handle and the blade...

you can get them in a good price...

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Yaxell-RAN-69-Layers-VG-10-Damascus-Micarta-Handle-Knife-Anytype-from-JAPAN-/111176148455?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&var=&hash=item19e29d65e7

 

other great brand is the miyabi...had one of those until it got stolen...they stay sharp for ever and they are amazing for work...not that cheep but you wont regret...

http://www.cutleryandmore.com/miyabi-7000-mc

 

Yaxell and miyabi by far better then shun....

Thank you for the reply.  I did get to hold the Miyabi and liked it's feel as well.  I will do a little research on both.

post #4 of 9

and if you are a home cook dont get to fancy with the knives and brands...go for something cheep, buy a stone and thats it...its not like you are working all day with it and cutting all day...buy something cheep and good...for 200$ you can buy 2 good knives and a stone to work with at home...

my advice..get a good cheep chef's knife and for fishes and other slicing work get a yanagiba..thats it for home work you dont need to go crazy and brands.

post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrShapiro View Post
 

and if you are a home cook dont get to fancy with the knives and brands...go for something cheep, buy a stone and thats it...its not like you are working all day with it and cutting all day...buy something cheep and good...for 200$ you can buy 2 good knives and a stone to work with at home...

my advice..get a good cheep chef's knife and for fishes and other slicing work get a yanagiba..thats it for home work you dont need to go crazy and brands.

Yep, 100% home use.  I'm in the marketing/website business so I don't see every becoming a chef in my future ;)  Just want a nice sharp knife and the ability for it to take and hold a good edge.  Something that will last me a good few years at least of home use.

post #6 of 9
If u are looking for a chef knife and paring knife I would recommend you spend the majority of your money on the gyuto. You can get a victorinox paring knife for a few dollars and when it gets too dull for you either try and sharpen it or buy a new one. You will use the gyuto for 90 percent of your work. If you want to try hand sharpening with your budget youccod try something along the lines of a king combination stone and if u like sharpening u can upgrade to better stones later some people don't like freehand sharpening, dont spend a bunch of money there until u know its worth it. As for the gyuto there are a lot of options if u buy online. If u want to hold it first this will limit things depending on where you live. I'm personally not a fan of shun gyutos but that is due to their profile. Their customer service from what I understand is excellent. I believe they also still have the lifetime free sharpening if u send then ur knife. Mac is another one that has very good customer service. My first japanese knife was a Mac Pro and I still have it on my wall and use it. Very sharp out of the box and holds an edge well. It has a western handle and sounds like you may want a japanese (d handle if u like he shun). I don't know much about miyabi but I've read some good reviews. They are under the henckels umbrella so I'm guessing customer service would be very good. A lot of people will tell you not to get a shun, let's be clear, shun is not a bad knife. They are on the expensive side but the f&f is very good and the customer support is good as well. The steel isn't bad but the Tojiro you mentioned has the same steel for a much better price. I guess your first decision is to determine if you need to hold the knife prior to purchase.
post #7 of 9

I do agree you can go cheap on the paring, however, I dont agree you need a slicer.

My advice for the gyuto (chef's) is:

  1. Go for a 240mm for achieving the best result of them. 
  2. Artiflex is a good option, although, the AEB-L steel is a little tricky to sharpen, mostly for novices.
  3. The VG-10 steel, is not easy to sharpen also, but there are good options with it, such as the Tojiro DP. Although, Shun VG-10 sucks because of poor heat treatment.
  4. Once you have mentioned you like knives, are you considering carbon or only stainless?
  5. Options Stainless 240mm:
    1. Fujiwara FKM ($83) - Good option for the price.
    2. Tojiro DP ($100) - its core (VG-10) is not stainless it is a carbon steel clad with a stainless steel.
    3. Suisin Inox ($135)
    4. Misono 440 ($180)
  6. Options Carbon 240mm: usually easier to sharpen and good edge retention, compared to theyr stainless brothers.
    1. Fujiwara Carbon ($90) - have used once. good knife. holds a great edge.
    2. Masahiro Carbon ($135) - Really good one, less reactive than the fuji.
    3. Misono Swedish ($170) - This is a badass knife. I really don´t need it but I will probably get one soon. You cannot find anyone who dislike this baby. Quite reactive though.
    4. Kagayaky Carbonext ($130) -  this is a semi stainless (has some Cr but bellow limit to be considered stainless). This is a very good knife.

 

From this list, and considering you have not answered if you are open to carbon, I would pick:

  1. Cheap paring/petty ($20) - maybe a victorinox fibrox.
  2. Kagayaky Carbonext 240mm Gyuto ($130)
  3. waterstone combo (1000/6000 grit is a good option) (King has one 800/6k for $50)
  4. Book An Edge in the kitchen, by Chad ward ($30). Help on sharpening. there are lots of good online video tutorial also.

 

Total $230!!! 

 

If you are open to Carbon, the bet option for me is the Misono Swedish, this would take budget to $270.

 

Best Regards,

Daniel.

post #8 of 9

Since I did not see any info on where you live, I'm going to take a generic position that you are somewhere in the U.S.  While that might sound limiting, in truth, almost all knife purchase advice has to be related to the available market, and where the purchaser lives has a great deal to do with availability and pricing.

 

I wish you could just go to your local retailer and try out the knives listed.  Unfortunately, almost all of the knives mentioned here are specialty items, and retailers are extremely few and far between, unless you live near one of the major urban areas.  That's why the Internet becomes the only practical marketplace, and handling the knives sometimes just is not pragmatic (actually, it's more like the word "sometimes" really doesn't apply).

 

Daniel's advice is good, though I would add that, if you live in a community with a decent public library system, you can usually either find An Edge In The Kitchen through your local library or through an inter-library-loan system.  That will give you the ability to read the book, without having to spend the money to buy the book.  And yes, saving even $30 does make a difference in your budget.

 

The best on-line sharpening videos I have seen are by Jon Broida at Japanese Knife Imports.  The video tutorials at Chef Knives To Go are also useful, and it can also be fun to watch Murray Carter and Bob Kramer videos.

 

Daniel's cost for the paring/petty ($20) might be a bit on the high side for the fibrox-handled Victorinox paring knife, though it is in the price range for the 3-knife Victorinox set.  I would just get a single fibrox Victorinox paring knife (my preference would be for the sheeps-foot flat blade profile, but the spear point would also work well) for less than $7 at a local restaurant supply shop and spend the other $13 or so on a serrated edge bread knife from either Dexter or from Victorinox.  A serrated edge bread knife is probably the best knife for foods with a tough skin and a soft interior, such as french bread and tomatoes.

 

I would not get a yanigiba.  It's a pretty specialized knife (fish, exclusively, for filleting with a single stroke - mostly for sushi), which can be a real bear to try to learn to sharpen properly, and cheaper yanigibas are actually harder to sharpen properly than more expensive ones.  Yanigiba knives are single bevel knives, and the better ones have a hollowed-out or curved back - and that really affects the ability to properly sharpen the single bevel.  The better ones will set you back more than even a moderately-expensive gyuto - and for a knife that you will not use all that much - is it worth it?

 

Initially, you can use a gyuto for general slicing, and later look for a specialty knife for slicing, such as a sujihiki.

 

Hope that helps.

 

 

Galley Swiller

post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 

Okay, so for XMAS I was given a few of the Caphalone Katana series knives (Santoku, paring, bread, and steel).  I returned them today (was not a fan)... so I now have about $200 to spend on a nice knife and steel/stone.  I'll be reading up on the posts already made but figured I would bump this up to see if there were any new ideas floating around as well.

 

Thanks,

Blake

 

EDIT: Just wanted to note that my limit isn't $200... that's just some freed up cash I got for returning the Caphalone series.  I'd still like to keep it around $250 though.


Edited by millerb7 - 12/31/13 at 12:02pm
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