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Looking to buy a good lasting set of Japanese knives

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

I have come to a point in my life where I have decided to enter culinary school within the next year or two, up until this point I have never owned a proper set of knives, nor have I looked into buying them. I have spent the last week reading up about the east vs. west knife debate and I am really liking the sounds of the eastern hybrid styled knives.


This leads me to my next point, I am from a small city in the middle of Manitoba where even in the next largest city there is very little for knive selection to try, or at least in the way of Japanese knives. That being said I have been asking various people I have contact with about their personal choice of knives and why, and I hear the name Victorinox but after reading a bunch of threads on the site I have been leaning towards a set of Korin Togiharu Inox (yesI am aware that they are not stainless but stain-resistant which in turn means the purchase of mineral oil is needed if I am correct), my question lies in the fact that the knives are never mentioned, good nor bad and I am wondering as to why that is.


I am also a large individual and I am wondering how that will come into play with the knives, I am 6' 4.5" with average to slightly above average hands. Will this be deterimental to my purchasing knives online due to the fact the only store I have in this town is a stokes or canadian tire for the way of knives (pitiful I know (half joking)).


Part two of my curiosity stems in the realm of sharpening and I already know which stone I am going to buy, King two sided - #1000 and #6000, but more from the technique side of things I am aware that there are probably tutorials but I am concerned that having never really sharpened knives at all before that this is a durastic step to take. That being said of course I do know how to use a knife for the most part some things I am still working on under the guidance of the executive chef at the restaurant I am working at. I just hesitate that I may be jumping in headlong and not knowing how deep the water is essentially, despite my research into the topic.


So I ask if anyone has any suggestions and/comments I would very interested in hearing them, I appreciate the time taken to respond to this and I know these questions have been asked before but I feel that I would like personal clarification as well just to be safe.



post #2 of 9
I would stick with victorinox through school. Knives tend to walk off if you know what I mean. It is a good knife to learn sharpening and it is soft enough that you will be forced to practice sharpening.
post #3 of 9
This is great advice. Victorinox perform great with maintenance sharpening, less desirable for others(only time I had a knife stolen was culinary school), and if you screw it up somehow sharpening it, its a nice soft metal and a higher angle so its an easy fix.
As for your questions about buying knives, of you're buying online, don't buy a set, buy one piece at a time as you can afford it. I'm a big guy too, I'm always more comfortable with bigger knives, my go to is a 10" wustohf. But I own several knives i purchased online, and experimenting with different styles can be fun. Just don't break the bank in case you make a mistake!
post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
Okay so Victorinox should be my go to at this point in time. Now correct me if I am wrong
but they are not German and are made in Switzerland yes? Is there anything on par with them as far as Japanese style?

And i am also taking that I should not but everything all at once buy it in pieces to be sure that I am not making a mistake and it also gives me room to play around with other styles and what not.
post #5 of 9

I only addressed one of your questions. 


Handles -  I use a pinch grip, and I do not find handles to be a big issue.  You should grip the knife with your pointer finger and thumb.  The other three fingers are just under the handle for the handle to rest on.  They do not grip the handle strongly.  You'll find that there is more control with this grip and also that the handle really does not matter so much.   <-- that's for chef's knife for most tasks.  Sometimes I use point grip with slicers, hammer grip for something tough.  It varies by task.


For what it's worth, I prefer light wa handles.  If you work with knives for hours on end, you will appreciate why.


Sharpening-  King 1000/6000 is a solid standard starter.  It will require 15 min soaking every time you want to sharpen though.  I'm sure in a kitchen you can find something to multi task for 15 minutes.   Watch the Japanese Knife Import videos about sharpening on youtube.  There are a lot of other sharpening videos, some good, some very bad.  This is the best series.  I've since moved on to splash and go stone to avoid soaking, but the king stones are good for beginners.  They cut slow, which means you have more time to address mistakes and to reflect on them.  You will spend 90% of your time sharpening on the 1000 grit side.  Finishing 6000 grit side should not take as long.

post #6 of 9

Victorinox Forchner is different and on its own.  It is stamped, which allows it to be thin.  Thin is good!  The steel is softer than japanese (55-56 HRC).  The 8" has a german profile IMO, lots of curve on the belly.  The 10" is surprisingly flat like on a japanese/french profile.  If you want to get used to push cutting or 'guillotine and glide' get the 10".  The 10" seems japanese-ish except for the handle and the softness of the steel (big ifs).  Also with the pinch grip I mentioned, you'll notice you lose part of the heel, so the longer knives don't seem as long.

post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
I have currently been working towards using a good pinch grip, my knife skills are still lacking a bit which is why I figured I should have a set that I can become extremely familiar with.

I believe lighter would be the way to go as well, there is a fair bit of prep I do on line when I work days.

Thank you so much for the section on the stone. I know the idea and the basic premise but that really helps. I will look into those videos for sure and see what I can do.

Thanks again
post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
So there's not much for an alternative as far as victorinox, as a starting knife. Or if that statemet is incorrect then I assume that there is not much of a need for anything else at this point.

Also what knives should I have in my kit to be fully prepared.
post #9 of 9

IMO 10" VF is great for $40; it is a good knife to learn on.  I have more expensive knives, but I keep this one in good shape as my beater knife.  I have other opinions at higher price ranges, but they are of course my preferences.  To get the perfect knife for you, you need to explore your own preferences and figure out what you like in a knife.  I wouldn't recommend expensive knives for school.  Lose it, chip it, drop it in a stew, and you won't be too sad.


I can't comment on what your school will require.  Most require a chef and paring to get started.  I've left paring knives in favor of a 150mm petty.  You are there to learn, so you should use what they tell you.  Some sell sets for students at a discount (sometimes victorinox sets even).  Maybe check out what the school sells and make sure to have at least those types.

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