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Knives and stones and steels, oh my!

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

I, unskilled newbie extraordinaire, have an oft-repeated and thoroughly answered question; my twist on it is that I've read those answers and come up with a synthesis of them, and would like everyone's opinion of my plan. Essentially, I am creating my kitchen from scratch, want nice things, and came up with a list of stuff I'm interested in that seems to be well reviewed.

Hopefully, the following list can act as something of a reference point for other newbies like myself, as it covers nearly every aspect of kitchen cutlery, and may be helpful to some people.

Here are some pertinent details and background info:
-I'm in no way, shape, or form a professional (or skilled) chef. I really enjoy cooking though, and want to get more into it now that I live on my own.
-I have no formal culinary training (something I plan on rectifying, but you should know where I'm at).
-I am setting up my kitchen from scratch, and as far as I'm concerned, price really isn't an issue. I'm addicted to quality, and I'm willing to pay for it. Buy once, cry once; right? I also don't need everything all at once, so I can spread the spending out (I know it'll be expensive).
-I'm looking for the best bang-for-the buck, the best value possible. If the best value is a $250 knife that's made out of adamantium and meteor dust, alrighty then wink.gif

Alright, on to the meat of it. I have compiled (after MUCH reading and comparing) a list of what I think I want. Here goes:

Japanese knives:
-Tojiro DP 90mm paring
-Moritaka 150mm petty
-Konosuke HD2 240mm gyuto ho*
-Hiromoto 270mm gyuto*
-MAC 10.5" superior bread

*I listed two gyutos primarily because, if I'm not mistaken, the Konosuke is a laser and the Hiromoto is not. I think I'd prefer a laser, but I know that it'll last longer and be better if I use a heavier knife for the tough work. Towards that end, if a heavy cleaver or some other style of knife would be superior as the "heavy duty" knife, I'm all for it.

Other cutlery:
-Cutco kitchen scissors
-Cutco spatula spreader (looks gimmicky, I know, but darned if this isn't the best thing for spreading on sliced bread)
-Cutco cheese knife

Water stones*:
-Beston 500
-Bester 1200
-maybe eventually a ~4000
-Arashiyama 6000
-maybe eventually a really high grit stone for super fine edges

*I don't know if this is possible, but I would love if those stones (or any combination of stones) would work on all my various knives and tools; steels are everything from O1 tool steel in my straight razor to 440C in my fishing knife, to 154CM, S30V, and S35V in my pocket folders, to a 5160 alloy in my axe. I doubt I'm that lucky, but that's their intended usage ... I'll be sharpening a lot more than just my kitchen knives, haha. My goal is practical sharpness, I'm not concerned overmuch with polish or shine.

Honing steel:
-Idahone fine ceramic 12"
-Idahone sheath

Cutting boards/butchers blocks:
-all made of teak, end grain, board is 1.5" thick and block is 2.5" thick

A couple of notes on the thought process behind my choices: one, I chose several carbon steel knives; I'm aware of the extra care considerations and they don't present a problem. Two, yes, I realize I'm probably over-thinking this: but since I have the opportunity to buy whatever I want, without previous attachments, I think it makes sense to buy with a plan. Three, besides a knife block, what are the best ways to keep the Japanese knives? (I ask because I don't particularly want a block, but the only other method I know of is a magnetic wall strip, which I think would stain the carbon steel ... there must be a better way.)

Thank you for reading this far, and helping me! I can read all the forums and info in the world, but you have the experience, and experience trumps book learning any day.
Edited by STATES - 11/29/14 at 6:48am
post #2 of 9

I'll contribute to a few:


Get a Robert Herder spreader if you really want something classy and cuts great, $40 I think.


Unless this is a competition ax, just get a medium diamond hone for it, that'll get it touched up real fast.  Otherwise your stones will work just fine for everything.  Personally, I use a chain saw for cutting and a 5lb maul for splitting, my ax has lain idle for years.  Excuse me if you're talking about a woodworking ax or the other thing.


I think a lot of folks have dedicated stones for their razors, as you want them very flat and staying that way.  Shapton Glass stones are popular here as they dish so slowly.


Do a knife storage search here and you'll find interesting options to an ugly block.  For their good knives a lot of folks use sayas for protection and store them in a drawer.


BTW, the HD2 and DP are semi-stainless and stainless.


Some one correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't teak one of those woods that's slightly abrasive?  Not terrible but you might want to consider something else if you'll be getting another board.




post #3 of 9

Regarding the knives: the only kind of knive where spending a lot of money really makes sense is your chef's knive and, to a lesser degree, the bread knife too. For that I recommend you take a look at the Tojiro ITK, it is extremely well regarded in professional circles. The German manufacturer Güde (inventors of the serrated knife btw) also offers some amazing (and amazingly spendy) bread knives.


For a heavy duty knife a good German chef's knife with softer steel and sturdier geometry might be better than the Japanese ones - Wüsthof Classic, F. Dick Premium Plus, Messermeister Oliva, San Moritz, Meridian ..


For the parer and peeler and petty a Victorinox or Dexter for a couple of bucks work just as well. Expensive knives of those types tend to have a very elaborate handle that matches the large chef's knife of the same collection, but makes them very handle-heavy due to the much smaller blade.


A cutting board made from teak is a bad idea, as the wood is notoriously hard and dulls sharp edges very quickly due to a high mineral content. If you really want to knock yourself out  and get something that lasts you for the rest of your life contact this guy:


Some of the best sharpening stones are the Naniwa Choseras or the Shapton glass stones. The Idahone is an excellent choice

post #4 of 9

You can by Chosera stones on ebay for $68 shipped to your door, about the same for Shaptons.  But I think the best deal right now for knives is the 3 stone set offered at JKI for $200 that takes you from 400 to 6K.  The buzz is that Jon's Geshin line are really superior stones.




post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Rick and mhpr262,

Thanks for the input! I've looked at the boardsmith boards, those look fantastic, thank you. Also, the ITK bread knife is apparently the bee's knees, I've replaced MAC with it in my list.

As far as stones just for my razor, I'll consider that. Someone else suggested that I get a DMT xxc plate to flatten my stones, do you think that would work instead of getting a dedicated group of stones just for the straight razor?

Thanks again for the help. Anyone else have any input?
post #6 of 9

 I have never sharpened a razor myself, to tell you the truth, and I should have added that I personally don't know how best to advise you here.  A place like bladesforum or kitchenknivesforum would be better for this.  I was going to ask you, how are you sharpening your razor with now?


You can flatten your stones on anything that is flat, my point was I think you'd be flattening a lot more for the sake of your razor. The one time I flattened mine was on the rough side of a counter top granite sample.  I use my stones in such a way as they stay pretty flat, but I don't think I'd sharpen a straight razor on them.  CKTG has a diamond plate for $30, but you might have to break it in a little first as I hear they can have some high spots that can leave marks on you stones.  Dry wall screen is another cheap solution.


Anyway, we have some SR users here, maybe some will chime in with what they think is reasonably acceptable here.




post #7 of 9

I don't think a dedicated stone is needed for a razor. Just something 6000+ and a good leather strop loaded with chromium oxide (used as a paint by artists for its dark green colour, can be had in good shops for painting equipment. Pretty sure it can be found on the internet too).


For flattening my stones I use another, super cheap stone I bought in some home depot like store and which turned out to be so hard it was useless for anything else. Normaly though you can flatten any stone by putting a wet sheet of rough sandpaper on a flat surface (liek your countertop) and moving your stone across it in figure eights, turning it by 90° after a few of them. For hard stones you can add silicium carbide powder.


Btw I also recommend The boardsmith has his own vendor subforum there and sometimes posts pics of really cool made-to-order stuff he does for customers.

post #8 of 9

The higher the better for a razor.  You don't want a "toothy" edge on your face.

post #9 of 9

I don't much care for a toothy edge for much of anything.  However I realize I'm in the minority in that regard.

"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
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