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New Forum Member looking for advice to get my first gyuto :)

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

I know this topic has been done to death (sorry).


After much research (several weeks worth), I found out that I knew absolutely nothing about knives. Thanks to the wealth of information everywhere, I am more confused than ever about which Gyuto to buy. Which is why I am here.


About me:

I am a home cook. I cook mostly for myself, and sometimes my family. All my life I've used western style p.o.s. "cheapy" knives (think Ginsu knock-off level...). I feel it's time to upgrade to a truly great knife, and begin my collection. I am right-handed by the way.


I have no experience honing, or sharpening knives due to the fact that after a few months of use I would just buy a new crap knife for like $8.


What I am looking for in the knife:

1. Wa handle (japanese handle, I hate western handles [or rather I'm sick of them]).

2. 240 mm - 270 mm in blade length

3. Keeps an edge very well

4. Does not require much maintenance

5. $250 budget


Additional Questions:

What knives would you recommend?

Where should I buy the knives from? (ChefsKnivesToGo, JapaneseKnivesDirect, JapaneseChefsKnives, amazon, etc...)

What cutting board is recommended with the knife (seperate budget)?

What sharpening/honing tools would I need to maintain the blade (seperate budget)?


All help is appreciated! Thank you in advance!

Edited by Weepypostman - 9/1/14 at 5:41pm
post #2 of 6

Here's one option, from Jon at Japanese Knife Imports:




Wa, stainless, supposedly a decent grind. There are all sorts of options $190-$270 (Gesshin Ginga, Sakai Yusuke from Blueway Japan on ebay, but you might start lower on the chain and see what you like and learn how to sharpen.


For a board:




Get some mineral oil from your local drugstore to preserve the wood. $4 max for a pint or so.


To sharpen:




To hone:

1.0 micron CBN slurry, water-based, from United States Products Co., $17 or so shipped (shipping costs more than the material...)

applied to balsa wood (under $10 for a bunch) from your local hardware store or crafts shops (Michael's etc.).


So, all in you're at $304.

You might want a petty and a bread knife, but this would be a pretty fine way to start, IMHO.


Upgrade the gyuto if you find it lacking, and by then you may know more about what your preferences are...


I should mention that I've only used some of these items... I was given a Boos board (it cracked in the dry Colorado weather, still trying to resuscitate it, got a Boardsmith board on order), I like cleavers as my main knife, so I have an Ashi Hamono carbon cleaver. And I bought a three-piece Beston 500/Bester 1200/Suehiro Rika 5000 set of stones.  But I think good attitude is more important in sharpening than the particular stones used. The dime store mineral oil and the CBN slurry on balsa I do use all the time, though. I mixed the mineral oil with melted beeswax, but it works well enough without.


Boulder, CO

post #3 of 6
I just bought the gesshin in carbon steel. I'm loving it.
post #4 of 6
If you're willing to get the good habit of cleaning your knife when done cutting, carbon is easier to learn sharpening on.
post #5 of 6

Konosuke HD 240mm. gyuto is semi-stainless proved performer also, just in the limit of your budget at $245 HERE.

Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
post #6 of 6

First, I'm not seeing what types of foods you normally cook, so perhaps the best guesses by the rest of us is to assume this is for generic western-style "meat and potatoes" foods.


Since you are saying that the cutting board and the sharpening process will be separate budgets, I'll suggest the following (first for knives, then for cutting board, then for sharpening tools).  


As for retailers, I've ordered from Chef Knives To Go, and I have not been disappointed.  I have not ordered from Japanese Chefs Knife, though I have heard very good things about them.  Japanese Knives Direct is the same people as Japanese Chefs Knife, but deals with non-culinary knives, so you would instead deal with Japanese Chefs Knife instead.  Also good is Jon Broida at Japanese Knife Imports (as DenverVeggieNut noted above).  As for Amazon, figure them to be "big box", much offered, good shipping, prices equal to almost anyone else, but zero knowledge or special service.  That being the case, on occasion I have ordered from them.  However, I limited my expectations to no-frills when it came to service.


First, the type of steel for the knife.  You are admittedly someone with a minimal knowledge of knives.  You are looking for a really good knife, but with minimal maintenance levels.  That strongly suggest that the first knife be more, rather than less, stainless.  While a carbon steel knife in the $250 range would offer a wonderful edge, it might be too much immediate effort to properly maintain (think RUST if you do not IMMEDIATELY deal with washing, rinsing and wiping IMMEDIATELY after use).


DenverVeggieNut's suggested knife from Jon Broida at Japanese Knife Imports is probably a good one, and while I have not seen or handled the knife in question, I would trust Jon Broida's selection for a good, workhorse stainless gyuto.


And in looking through various web sites for wa-handled gyuto's, not much appears, outside of the above.


However, I am also wondering if you should really invest much money in a first Japanese knife, especially if you have never used one before.  I sort of wonder about your statement of "hating" western handled knives.  If all you have handled is cheapo knives, with no sharpening, then switching to a Japanese-handled knife may be a bit much.  Limiting your cost to $155 may be prudent here.




As for other knives, you're going to need a paring knife and a serrated edge bread knife.  My advice is to not spend much money, but to get inexpensive, commercial-market knives.  Look for a local restaurant supply house and especially for one which offers Victorinox knives.  Or you can go online to eBay or Amazon.


For a paring knife, I would suggest following the advice of the former semi-resident knife expert, Boar De Laze ("BDL"), who suggested getting cheap, fibrox-handled Victorinox paring knives.  They run in the $5-$7 range per knife.  My recommended blade length and shape are 3-1/4" straight-edged spear point or sheep's foot.  Stay away from  serrated edges on the paring knives.  And you don't need a bird's beak.  Here's one from Amazon:




For a bread knife, BDL waxed poetically about the 10-1/2 inch MAC Superior bread knife.  But with a price now approaching $100, I would instead suggest a 10 or 12 inch Victorinox serrated edge bread knife.


For a cutting board, end grain is simply the best way to go.  Certainly, DenverVeggieNut is right about the quality and reputation of The BoardSmith's products (though I simply cannot afford them myself).


However, on a budget, I would go for a stock, standard board, The big names are John Boos and Michigan Maple Block.  I would suggest the following:




The retailer is an authorized on-line Michigan Maple Block retailer, and the price (with free shipping in the USA) at under $50 is better than anything else I have seen for at least a year for this board.  (It's good enough so I have just ordered another for myself today)  I do suspect that this is either a limited time offer or a limited quantity offer.  Michigan Maple Block has in the past sold through Overstock.com, but that offer ended a year ago and I suspect that MMB might be spreading their bargain excess capacity value boards through selected and favored local e-tailers.


Upon getting the board, you should immediately saturate it with food-grade mineral oil.  Put it in or above your sink (to contain the inevitable spill and just lather on as much mineral oil as the board will take, both sides - then wait and do it again (and again and again), until the board simply won't accept any more oil.  To save money, I would also suggest the cheapest possible food-grade mineral oil.  I shopped around and found the cheapest for me was $3.49 per pint at my local Safeway.  But if you can find it cheaper, better for you and your wallet.


Now about sharpening - until you start sharpening, your knife will start to get dull and will remain that way and get worse until it is sharpened.  That's just the nature of edges.  Learn to sharpen, and you will more than compensate for all those past el-cheapo knives.  Ignore sharpening, and you should just continue to buy cheap knives.  It's that simple.


Plenty has been written on sharpening, including this on eGullet:




It's the condensed version of Chad Ward's Book, An Edge In The Kitchen, published in 2006, and with the book likely available in libraries or through inter-library loan.  The prices in the book are hopelessly out of date, but the info is still good.


Also, on-line videos from Jon Broida and CKTG are very instructive.


The first tool you will IMMEDIATELY need will be a ceramic honing rod.  Avoid steel "sharpening steels" and just get a ceramic hone.  Length does matter, so my quick recommendation is the 12 inch Idahone (Chef Knives To Go, $30).


A combo stone is a quick and inexpensive way to start sharpening.  DenverVeggieNut's King Combo stone is pretty common.


As for me - I am a EdgePro Apex user at heart.  


But whatever you do for sharpening, the key is to try.  


Hope that helps



Galley Swiller

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