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Looking to buy a chefs knife

post #1 of 39
Thread Starter 

I am new to this forum and i am also relatively new to cooking. I have enjoyed cooking a lot recently and have always been into knives. I know how to sharpen knives and have been sharpening my parents five star Henckel knives since i was about 14. I have a 300-600 and a 1000-6000 grit stone and am quite proficient on them both. 


I am looking into buying my own chefs knife so that i can use my own knives and care for my own knives. Sometimes i find these knives tip down in the sink full of dishes, needless to say they are pretty well chipped and it takes a while to get all of the chips out not to mention the amount of material needed to be removed. 


I have been looking at many threads on these knives in my price range which by the way is about 200-300 or below CAD. I have also tried to narrow down the models of knives that i am interested in, but i am always searching for new models. I really like the french knife shape and the shape of a lot of the Japanese knives. The most common grind that i have sharpened is a 50/50 but again it is not the biggest deal breaker. The knife i am currently using the most is an 8" Henckel but it doesnt hold an edge for very long and i find it a little bit to wide of a v grind on the knife blade.


Some of the models i have been looking at are the mac pro 8", the shun classic 8", shun premier 8",Miyabi 6000,600 or 7000 series of 8" guyutoh style knives , the kasumi 8" chefs knife, fujiwara guyutoh 8.25" chefs knife, global 8" chefs knife i believe it is the g8, the hu-G150 hattori, massamoto vg, and i have also found a bob kramer knife by zwilling on sale for 300$ i think its scratch and dent though but i am not sure. The fit and finish on the knife is not a huge deal i am mostly looking for a knife with a shape similar to most of the knives i have mentioned ,which i believe are considered Japanese renditions of a french chefs knife, and that will hold an edge for a decent amount of time. 


And i am open to any and all suggestions as long as they are under 300$ and i will be using this knife at home only so it will not be getting beat up at the restaurant that i am working at right now. I do understand that there are also many threads started on this topic and i am not trying to be ignorant by starting my own so i hope that you all do not mind my asking of this question.




Edited by notquiteachef - 3/27/15 at 3:17pm
post #2 of 39
Hi Jason,
I take it that you're after an 8 inch / 210mm knife as opposed to a 240 gyuoto.
Do you have any preferences on carbon/stainless, damascus/plain etc.
your budget allows for quite a lot of choice.
My most used knife at the moment is a $138 Tanaka 240 blue 2 damascus gyuoto from metalmaster. The handle is quite plain, mine now has a new one.
My favorite knife is a Takamura hana R2 gyuoto, but is a bit small for my tastes at 210. This takes the best edge of the knives I have, even better than my Tadatsuna white 2 gyuoto which is a laser.
I'm just mentioning these to demonstrate that there's a lot of knives at a lot of price points, and even though the Tanaka is one of my 'cheaper' knives, it is one of my favorites.
If you have a preference for a sharp edge which lasts, then maybe consider one of the pm steels - srs15, r2 etc.
You could do worse than give Jon at JKI a call.
Else maybe a little more info on preferences to help narrow down recommendations a bit.
Enjoy the journey
post #3 of 39
Thread Starter 

Thank you for the reply, 

As for a few more preferences, i think i can do that :), i would prefer to have the best edge capability more in the sense that it can take an amazing edge, and less in the sense that it can hold it forever . I have no problem with sharpening my knives often. 


As for my want to have great edge holding i assume that means that i would be looking at a harder carbon steel blade, would it? I also appreciate the look of Damascus steel but if the knife without Damascus steel performs better than a knife with it than i would have no problems sacrificing the Damascus look for the better knife. 


You are right on the point of the blade length i would like, at about 8", i would feel comfortable going above eight inches if necessary but i think there are plenty of options with 8" blades. As for the blade shape i believe i am mostly looking at a french knife shape, but i also like the gyuto shape which i think that i read the the gyuto shape the Japanese rendition of a french knife. This is not the reason i like the gyuto shape i like it because of the form factor and the function ability in most of my cutting roles, which by the way are mostly vegetables and the odd bit of usually cooked meat.




post #4 of 39

The high end Myabis in SG-2 steel are nice for home cooks, but they are chippy compared to the better makers and I wouldn't recommend for rough professional kitchens.  Many don't care for the feel of the Kramers, they have a nice flat section to the profile but are a bit tall.  Goku is a good value in white #1.


Serious prep work typically demands 240+, but I guess you know what's right for your particular station.


Kevpenbanc made some great suggestions, particularly the Geshin Kagero SRS-15 supersteel blade.  The HAP40 steel offered by cktg is another supersteel option, but I'd go with what JKI offers here.  If you want to go laser then consider the Geshin Ginga line, or Konosuke when available.




post #5 of 39
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the reply, i would be fine going up to a 9 inch knife if prep work goes faster, the only reason i had said 8" is because that is what i have experience with thats all. As for the options suggested so far like the gesshin ginga 240mm gyuto is looking promising, i also like the mac pro which in have had a chance to use recently, is it a good knife or are the knives being mention such as the gesshin better for my situation? Thanks again for all the help so far! A chef that i work with right now recommended i look at the kassumi damascus v gold no 10 knife, and what konosuke model are you referring to Rick?
post #6 of 39

Even as a home cook I wouldn't consider anything smaller than a 240.  That is me though, and my big hands, and I can't intelligently speak to your needs here.  For the higher-end knives I feel you can look elsewhere from VG-10, but for entry level Japanese knives the Tojiro in VG-10 is considered a very good buy.  You can't go far wrong with Konosuki in general, but I was referring to their HD series which is a semi-stainless laser configuration.  The MAC pro is a very good workhorse stainless option.  Jon at JKI has an impeccable reputation around here and elsewhere.


To summarize:  From what you are telling us there are a number of steel/knife options you would be happy with.  More good suggestions are likely on the way, but only you can pinpoint it from there.




post #7 of 39
Any recommendations I make are based on a small sample size.
I am about to buy another pm steel knife though, as I'm becoming a fan of it based on the Takamura. I've also got a 10 inch SG2 Kramer by Zwilling, and that takes a very keen edge too.
It sounds like you know what you want in the knife so I'd strongly recommend you give Jon at JKI a ring, the Kagero recommended by Rick sounds like a very good fit for your requirements.
As to VG10, I have a number of knives in this steel and don't mind it myself. I can get very good edges on them, but not as good as the carbon or R2 knives. Still plenty good enough for home use, but you did mention sharpness as a requirement.
Some people don't seem to like VG10, but I've had no problems with sharpening it, nor chipping.
Hope this helps a bit.
post #8 of 39
As to size, as a home cook, 2 years ago I was using 6 inch knives. After getting into Japanese knives I was using mainly 240 with a little bit of 210. After a kitchen extension at the end of last year I finally have some space on the worktop and now vary between 240 and 270, with an occasional use of 210.
That's just me, I don't know what you'll be comfortable using wink.gif
post #9 of 39
Thread Starter 

Thanks again for all of your help, i am sure there are many new options for me to look at on the way and i will also go to call Jon at JKI . Kev it is good to hear your experiences with vg10 as well. 


I plan on talking to jon and seeing what knife options he can recommend as well, but by all means if you guys think of any more in that price range it is greatly appreciated as with me seeing so many options i have no clue exactly what knife i am looking at now :crazy:


So, i should say that i do live in canada so a lot of these knives are a fair amount more expensive including shipping and the exchange between the USD and the CAD. 


I have been looking at the knife dealers in canada and i seem to be at a bit of a shortcoming for some of the more exotic brands, but who knows maybe i am looking in the wrong places. I may have to just bite the bullet and order from the States.


As for the size i think i am going to get a 210 and maybe if i handle a 240 i will be comfortable my station at work has tons of space and my station at home also has tons of space with large cutting boards and often i find myself wishing for a longer blade.

post #10 of 39
Thread Starter 

One last questions for tonight i have an early start to late tomorrow at work so i will make it quick! 


What are your opinions on the global G-2, shun classic chefs knife, and kasumi v gold no 10?


Had this message all typed out yesterday then got sidetracked haha! Ended up getting off early 

post #11 of 39
Very shortly: the so-called Kasumi is a very common VG-10 with a faux-Damascus clad. Not very interesting performance-wise. The clad will look terrible after a few months of use. The Shun is in the same category, just more expensive, and has a very German profile: a lot of belly, and a high tip. Poor value, and fairly thick behind the edge. The Global was an interesting knife on the market when it appeared some 30 years ago. Relatively soft stainless, sharp out of the box, an appealing design -- to some at least. Amongst the Globals it's my favourite when properly thinned. But it is clearly outdated by much better stainless steels, and remains quite expensive.
Better have a basic stainless or stainless clad with a carbon core with JCK, japanesechefsknife.com
Check the Hiromoto G3, the Misono 440, the different JCK Kagayaki series. Much better knives for less money.
post #12 of 39
Thread Starter 

Definitely look sharp ;) do you know if they come out of the factory with the mirror edge as it appears? 


As for these carbon steel knives that a lot have recommended from all of the things i have read over the past few weeks, do they rust easily, i wipe all of my knives off right after i am done but sometimes i am doing 3 or four hours of work without wiping the knife, is this still okay?

post #13 of 39
A carbon core with a stainless clad has a very easy maintenance, just the same as you should do with full stainless: weap off the edge after every use, clean and dry the entire blade before putting it away.
Aogami #2 core as used in the JCK Kagayaki series is not very reactive. As on all carbon steel a patina will appear, and from that moment on, you're quite sure about keeping real rust staying away. With full carbons you may encounter some -- not too dramatic -- surprises. Usually rinsing with very hot water will transform beginning rust into a solid patina.
post #14 of 39
I'm one of the few around here that seems to like both the German profile and my Shun knives. No problems with sharpness, chipping, or bad looking clad after years of fairly intense home use. I did drop one onto tile and it chipped and the tip bent. Other than that I've been quite satisfied. Suggest you try and decide for yourself. There are plenty of shops that will let you try before you buy.
post #15 of 39
I should add a factory edge is generally a poor edge, made by the youngest apprentice in a few strokes and involving a buffering wheel that will weaken that same edge. Most users won't care, as they put their own edge as soon as they have the knife. Some retailers do offer stone sharpening. Don't expect too much, but it might be helpful to novices.
post #16 of 39
Thread Starter 
Benuser, thats good to know about maintanance on carbon steels, seems straight forward enough for a guy like me to follow !

BrianShaw, for sure i am going to be going to a few of my local restaurant suppliers and seeing if i likw the knives first but some of these recommended knives i have no way of trying like some from JCK or JKI.
post #17 of 39
Thread Starter 
Benuser, i will be putting my own edge on the knife as soon as i get it as with all of my knives but i do always like to see what edge ,or not so edge, will be on the knife
post #18 of 39
I always want to try the OOTB edge, but invariably end with my own edge, after an hour, or after one day.
post #19 of 39
Thread Starter 

I know how you feel, with all of the knives new or old that i have received i invariable end up with a new edge within my first or second using and always fun playing with a new knifes OOTB factory edge :lol:


As for trying the knife before you buy i don't think i will be able to do that with the Japanese imports so i am thinking maybe i should try to focus on mass produced knives instead, or should i just try to buy in the dark going off looks and reviews?


If I shouldn't do that i will call the knife dealer  that is near me like 40 km away :cry: and ask them what models they carry, they have a huge selection of knives and they had a few more exotic knives if i remember correctly from the last time that i was there.

post #20 of 39
Trying a new knife doesn't make much sense to me -- the first impression is mostly very wrong. It says more about what I'm used to than about what I'm actually handling.
If you're not very precise about your requirements have a middle of the road blade, and perhaps develop your technique a bit further. Once you know what you can and you can't you may specify more precise wishes.
post #21 of 39
That is a rather unique perspective. I don't totally disagree with it but only when the requirements or "desirements" are well understood. When uncertain of those requirements trying a variety of options is invaluable.
post #22 of 39
Thread Starter 

BrianShaw, I feel like that would be the best thing to do in terms of finding the right fit but Benuser does bring up a good point in that the first impressions may not be the right ones.


I guess what i will do now is rephrase the question as follows


If you were asked to buy a gyuto in the 0-300$ price range what would it be and why?


I feel like this will give me the best results as i can go off the reasons people like the knife and see if i can concur to those reasons in the case of my working space, my knife skills and my requirements. 

post #23 of 39

well, i did that recently and i bought the mac pro 10 3/4"

post #24 of 39
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Atatax View Post

well, i did that recently and i bought the mac pro 10 3/4"

Atatax, how long have you had it for, and so far what do you think of it?

post #25 of 39
Would you buy a car, or marry someone, sight unseen? If you have money to risk ending up with something your not compatible with then taking the advise of random Internet folks rather than trying for yourself is ok. Not too many people would agree that trying a knife leads to a wrong impression.
post #26 of 39
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by BrianShaw View Post

Would you buy a car, or marry someone, sight unseen? If you have money to risk ending up with something your not compatible with then taking the advise of random Internet folks rather than trying for yourself is ok. Not too many people would agree that trying a knife leads to a wrong impression.

Good point, i am going downtown tomorrow to try out some knives but i wouldnt mind seeing what people would look at and why to add to an already large list of knives to try at the store :)

post #27 of 39
There are a lot of smart people on this forum. benuser is one of them so comparing their knowledge with a bit of your own experience an testing will get you the right gear. Enjoy the experience!
post #28 of 39
Thread Starter 
Thabks for the advice and the good wishes Brian!

Is there a health risk if you are using carbon steel knives when preparing foods like chicken and beef then clean the knife then go onto cut vegetables to be served raw?
post #29 of 39
Not if you properly wash the knife in between.
post #30 of 39
Originally Posted by Atatax View Post

well, i did that recently and i bought the mac pro 10 3/4"


Originally Posted by notquiteachef View Post

Atatax, how long have you had it for, and so far what do you think of it?


(disclaimer: I am not Atatax, but I do own and use the the mac pro in that length) I have had mine for two years now and love it. It is my primary knife at work and I use it for upper 90% of my knife tasks in an 8 hour day, which consists of tons of prep work working for a caterer.

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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