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Another knife set selection question - $400 budget

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 

Hello! Thanks in advance for your help. 


I was given a generous gift of $400 to spend on a nice set of knives. I would rather spend the money on a few knives that will last a long time and keep an edge very well rather than a larger set of lesser quality knives. I've been looking at sets by Henckels and Wustof, but I feel a bit lost. Can anyone give me a suggestion for a set that might fit the bill? 


Thanks very much!

post #2 of 34

When the responses start rolling in your head is likely to start spinning.  If you have looked through the archives you know what I mean.  :)


When I asked the same question as you just asked it was 1982.  I bought a set of Henckels 4-star based on a recommendation of a world famous chef.  The set of 6 knives (plus block and steel) eventually expanded to a collection of about 9 or 10 knives.  I still have that set of knives in use but only use a few, in this order:  8 inch chef, 4 inch paring, and bread knife.  The ones that get occasional use are the meat slicer, 10 inch chef, and boning knife.  The remainder are  basically dust collectors.


About 5 years later I bought a set of 3 Shun classics - 8 inch chef, 5 inch utility, and 3 inch paring. I also bought a "spare" chef knife. I use them all but the spare chef knife is definitely an extravagance because I bought it mostly because liked the looks of the Shun Premier. They are sharper, lighter, and "faster" than the German knives but don't like hacking tough things like bones or big squashes.


On this site you'll find a general orientation toward Japanese knives.  I understand that as a good option to those who like them but for me (and many that I know) a more European knife form is more effective and efficient.


If I were to do it all over again I'd get a 3-piece Shun set (Classic or Premier), a 10 inch German (Henckels or Wustof or the like) and a bread knife.  Maybe a boning and carving knife too.  With 6 knives I could do everything I'd ever need to do.


But don't forget a steel.  I use a steel steel on German and American Carbon knives but a ceramic rod for the Shuns.  You will be getting plenty of advise on these also.  :)


My recommendation is to try a few.  If you live near a Williams Sonoma (or the like) you can check out a few and give them a try.  The will have Henckels, Wustof, and Shun for sure but not the Japanese knives.  For those you need to either know what using them will give you or drink the kool-aid and buy sight unseen/unused.

Edited by BrianShaw - 1/5/15 at 5:49pm
post #3 of 34

Since you have few specific requirements at this time, you really can't go wrong looking through recent knife forum posts to inform your reasoning and see what might best suite your fancy.


BTW, everyone has a good laugh when the cutco guys appear.  They've been having a party lately resurrecting old posts.




post #4 of 34

That's helpful to me as well Brian thank you

post #5 of 34

Welcome to ChefTalk!


First, tell us a little bit about yourself.


What country are you living in?  We get people from all parts of the world, but any knife recommendations need to be made so that the Original Poster will actually have access to being able to buy the knives (knife availability tends to be national)


Is your knife spending money in the form of cash, or as a generic gift card or limited to one or two stores or chains of stores?


Are you willing to buy from the Internet, or do you want to buy from a brick and mortar store (and if so, specifically where)?


What types of foods do you generally prepare and cook?


What knives are you currently using?


Currently, what is the longest knife blade you generally use?


What type(s) of cutting surfaces do you currently use?  Wood?  Plastic?  Bamboo?  Other? (please specify)


Are you currently sharpening your own knives?


Let's start with those questions.  I suspect others will have something to add, in terms of clarifying what your needs will be.



Galley Swiller

post #6 of 34

I would like to find out my next knife as well.


I am from the U.S. with a $300 budget, I am willing to buy online (have had the opportunity to try many different brands)

I am a sous but do alot of butchery and grill cooking on the line. I currently use a 10" chef for most everything, and am interested in replacing it with a shun premier. I cut on a bamboo laminate, and I sharpen my own knives but have no qualms with sending it out. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

post #7 of 34

Any wood board is better than any bamboo one, end grain is really preferable if you go with Shun as they tend to be on the chippy side, both their VG10 and SG2, and this is true of some other knives, like white and blue #1 taken to 65RC.


If you like the shun classic with its German profile then maybe you should stick with it, as virtually all other Japanese made knives have far less belly.  If you're ok with the flatter profile of a Sabatier then of course your option are as legion there.


As far as German profiles go, this one is a super bargain.  S35VN is a super steel, it will hold a steep and keen edge better than VG10, is not known for being chippy, and Warther is a bit of an American legend, I suggest you check out the meuseum and his story.


Most here know little about butcher knives, but if you do a search for them in this forum here you will find some expert opinion.




post #8 of 34
I guess this is the one you were referring to. No fat German belly, as far as I can see. Some of the heel seems to got retrieved. What a bizarre finish, by the way.

post #9 of 34

DOHHH, thank you, I forgot the link.  I understand the finish is more subtle when you see it for real, made by spot-facing with a spinning wooden dowel I think.




post #10 of 34

adeason, Welcome to ChefTalk!


The Original Poster ("OP") of this thread, Jpicard, seems to have dropped out of sight after a day after starting this thread (or, at least has not been on-line in the past 20 days).  That thread was for a recommendation for a knife block set.


Your inquiry raises other questions, but is just as valid, so here's my take.


I'd like to know about whether you are looking for a general chef's knife, or for a butchery knife, or something inbetween.


First, for butchery knives, you might want to read this thread which was started by Boar d Laze : http://www.cheftalk.com/t/59981/butcher-knives-how-to-choose-how-to-use


Here, former contributor Boar d Laze is asking Daniel at Mad Cow Cutlery about the various types of butchery knives, shapes and their general prevalence in the meat industry.  Daniel's answer gives a pretty good overview of the types.


I include the thread, because it is one extreme in the possible answers which might come up on this thread.  You should keep in mind that Mad Cow Cutlery is mostly aimed at the industrial market and that financial cost control is a significant consideration to Mad Cow's industrial customers.  Thus, nothing "cutting edge" in design or blade manufacturing.


The other extreme is a straight chef's knife, with just occasional butchery.  For that, let's ask you a few questions.


Will this knife be used near bone?


What knife are you currently using (that you would mostly supplant with the new knife)?  How long is the blade?


With your intended use for the new knife in mind, how long would you want the new knife's blade to be?  What range of lengths would you be comfortable with?


Would the $300 budget be strictly for the new knife, or would there be other purchases with the $300 which might be needed as well as the knife (such as a hone, some sharpening stones or a new cutting board?)


Which blade profile are you more comfortable with, a flatter, "French" profile (such as Sabatiers or Japanese gyuto's), or a more pronounced curve, such as a "German" profile?


Hopefully, that will help us get this thread running again, albeit not with the OP's question.



Galley Swiller

post #11 of 34

really interesting knife. as soon as I looked at it it seemed very "right" 

post #12 of 34

I will not be using this knife near bone, Im mainly looking for a new chef knife which I use more frequent than most. Currently im using a 8" Wusthof chef, but have had the opportunity to try a friends Shun 8" Premier...and im sold. I like the feel of it most of all, but also enjoy the curve and width. I was very close to purchasing it when I decided to come here and talk it out. While checking out the Walther 9" French Chef knife another user pointed out, I noticed I was intrigued with its style. I also saw a Walther fillet that I think I will be getting. What are your thought on the Shun premier?

post #13 of 34
Never owned any Shun, have sharpened quite a few of them. Very German profile: high tip, fat belly. That tip seems to be suited for very tall guys behind a far too low counter. Not exactly my case.
The steel: VG-10, or its proprietary form VG-MAX. A nice steel provided a careful Heat Treatment. I'm not sure this is possible at an industrial scale. I've seen much better VG-10 than Shun's, and better stainless than VG-10, by the way.
The Shuns I've seen were invariably too thick behind the edge. This may be part of their marketing strategy. Shun is very popular in Europe and America amongst a general public, used to soft German stainless, that won't change its poor habits like rock-chopping and walking. Keeping the blade a bit thick behind the edge may be an attempt of damage control.
The faux damascus looks horrible after a few months of use.
The Shuns are largely overpriced. For much less you may get a much better performer. Have a look at ANY Misono, Hiromoto, Masahiro, Kagayaki, Fujiwara. Even a humble Fujiwara of $80 will easily outperform a shiny Shun.
post #14 of 34

I really appreciate your feedback, very helpful. I found a few that really seem to match what I need. http://www.chefknivestogo.com/koaswegy21.html  This guy really intriguedme, also http://www.chefknivestogo.com/mi.html this misono. I am narrowing down towards 210mm gyuto western style... Thoughts? 



post #15 of 34
post #16 of 34
A bamboo board and a Kohetsu AS hardened at 64Rc...no good idea. Besides the board, such a hardness in a professional environment requires a lot of attention. AS can get brittle. Perhaps you better get the Hiromoto AS instead whose hardness is kept more reasonable.
The Misono UX-10 is an excellent knife and that vendor offers it at a great price. Fit&Finish at an exceptional level. A great all-rounder.
No own experience with stainless Masahiro, but they use to offer great knives which are good value. Expect a forgiving moly steel, not overly hard.
Anyway, have that board changed, it will eat your edge because of the silica -- sand -- in bamboo. I guess you're even better off with a basic poly board than with any bamboo one.
Have you considered a 240mm??
post #17 of 34

The guy you point to here:  http://www.chefknivestogo.com/koaswegy21.html , has a sharp knife, but look at this guy for technique: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/kohd27wa.html




post #18 of 34

Im kinda leaning towards this misono http://www.chefknivestogo.com/misono3.html, I am choosing 210 because im used to that size, what are your thoughts on 240?

post #19 of 34

You already have a big knife for breaking down swede and such, so that is not so much of an issue.  But for knuckle clearance I prefer 47mm+, the Misono 210 is only 44.  For that reason I personally would get the 240 over the 210.  Also, there are likely many slicing tasks you will likely find yourself wanting to use this thin and very sharp knife for and which would benefit from the extra length.




post #20 of 34
Rick is right. The 240 has a width of 52mm according to JCK, mine has lost with the years a few mm. Which brings me to another point: the edge retention of the Swedish carbon is only average. That shouldn't be a great problem as it sharpens very easily, but expect daily touch-ups.
If edge retention is important to you, get the Hiromoto instead.
post #21 of 34
As you seriously consider a mono-steel carbon, do have a look at the Masahiro Virgin Carbon. It's a bit harder than the Misono's Swedish.
post #22 of 34

I went with the Hiromoto 240mm gyuto, I really appreciate your feedback. Ill get back on here with my thoughts once i get some testing in. Thanks again!

post #23 of 34
My pleasure. Let us know what you think about it.
post #24 of 34

Got my Hirimoto today and just wow, this guy is a seriously nice knife. My only concern is it seems slightly bent to the left. just a mm but slighlty noticeable. Is it worth returning?

post #25 of 34
Could you show us some pictures? The edge is off-centered to the left and the blade has its distal taper -- getting thinner towards the tip-- so when you lay down the blade it may look bent but is not. Look at the spine instead. Your vendor should have checked before shipping.
post #26 of 34
If it looks bent to you; it probably really is bent. When I bought a knife that was. When I returned it immediately and had to listen to the "it makes no functional difference" and "its not bent very much" comments. It might not make functional difference, but if you see the bend today you will see the bend forever.
post #27 of 34

http://imgur.com/rnVO9Ir Here you can see it has a slight bend at the tip to the left.

post #28 of 34

Here is a pic of the spine. it does seem negligible...http://imgur.com/jub84n2

post #29 of 34

post #30 of 34

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