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[Request] Suggestion and opinion in choosing a personal chef knife.

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Hi guys, Im writing to ask for your opinion about choosing chef knife, I kinda like damascus knife. I alrdy have a few in my mind but i just can't decide. there are 3: 10-inch yaxell zen, 10-inch yaxell ran and 10-inch Shun classic. The dealer offered me these 3 and the prices are quite closed.


What do you think abt these 3? or is there any affordable knife recommended?

post #2 of 7

Ivan.  You'll likely be getting lots and lots of advise.  I have one question for you: which one felt right to you?  Some here disagree with me but I know that trying before buying is better than buying a pig-in-a-poke every time.  I believe there is enough difference between the knives you looked at for you to determine which knife style meets your needs and cutting/cooking style.  For me, the Shun Classic works exceptionally well, but the Premier even moreso due to the handle design.  But when cooking I grab either for a lightweight and eye-wateringly sharp knife.  For butchering chickens or heavy chopping, though, I grab a German knife (Henckels 4-star, to be exact).

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

I m most likely stick to the belly when cutting to comfort myself, im kinda scared of the knife to be honest. However im slowly improving my skills as i m carrying on my internship.


Shun has the biggest belly but somehow the review i read on the net is nt really that decent although my chef recommended me Shun because he has 1 too.


Im kind of budget driven. Zen is cheapest among the 3, n Ran is the most expensive 1 but with good review.


I just cant made up my mind which to invest. I dont wanna regret n ended up wasting money again n again...

post #4 of 7

Shun, indeed, has the biggest belly.  If you like a German knife but want the lightweight feel and sharpness of a Japanese knife it is a good option.  Buy bandaids to go with it.  The folks here are mostly oriented toward Japanese/French profile.  It is a matter of what you are most comfortable with, not what you can/should learn.


To avoid having to buy and re-buy I suggest you figure out which knife style is best for you.  Listening to internet advise is good but only you will know for sure.  I laugh at the thought recently expressed that trying before buying is not a good idea - could be misleading.  How much more misleading might taking random advise be?


Likewise I chuckle, but don't laugh, at the notion that buying a J-knife is a safe bet because you can always sell it when/if it doesn't work out.  I'm like you ... that is too much money being spent over-and-over and simply too much of a hassle.


The "Shun isn't a decent knife" comments are rampant.  But ask yourself... why haven't they gone out of business and why are so many folks using them.  Are they all either stupid or unknowing of decent equipment... or are they primarily marketing shills?  I think not, although I have no doubt that the endorsements are compensated.  A lot of those comments stem from the cost.  Sure, you can beat the price.  And sure, some people have experienced chipping... but it is interesting that they all deny that it might have something to do with abuse of their tool.


What about a Mac... inexpensive and well regarded.  Not Damascus but if you want a good affordable cutter  it is a reasonable option. Maybe you should add that to your list??


So... are you comfortable with a German profile knife now?  Do you want to change your style?  How important is the Damascus look (and it is just that... mostly appearance.. but if you like it you should get one)?  That kind of soul-searching should guide you somewhat.  But do look into the Mac also.

post #5 of 7

p.s.  maybe the best thing for you to do is ask your chef if he'll loan you his Shun to try in a real-world trial.  Just don't drop it; I can assure you the tip will bend and it will chip... and chef will be very unhappy with you.  :)

post #6 of 7
Thread Starter mind is so much clearer now. I will just follow what im comfortable with. Thanks :)

post #7 of 7

Hello Ivan.  Welcome to ChefTalk!


I'm presuming that you are looking at the 255 mm Yaxell knives.  The length is good and VG-10 in the right (maker's) hand can be either good or bad.  Some makers have VG-10 core knives which chip, some make knives with little chipping.  Sometimes, knives from the same batch will have different reactions to chipping.  With VG-10, it can be a crap shoot.


However, I am definitely not a fan of Damascus.


I don't have a problem with clad blades - I have several Tojiro DP's and have picked up some Hiromoto AS gyutos, but anything Damascus is just in my mind will either end up either lookingh like something the cat just dragged in, or will become a "Queen of the Drawer" - never taken out and used, so that it will not get all scratched up.


Restoring such a knife is a real Pain.  Not only do the scratches need to be abraded out, but then the blade needs to be chemically etched to restore the layering effect.  And, how many times do you want to do that?


As for belly - I'm a fan of straighter blades, rather than big belly blades.


For much less than the cost of any of the knives you mentioned, if you want a VG-10 edger, you could get a Tojiro DP 240 mm or 270 mm.  Or, a Fujiwara FKM is also a good knife, with an AUS-8 blade.  Each is without the Damascus effect, and to my mind, more honest as working blades for the kitchen.


Also, with any of these knives, you are going to need to do a preliminary sharpening, then maintain the edge.  You will find that these knives will stay sharp longer than European knives, but they are like all knives - they need to be regularly sharpened.


I will make some pitches about sharpness.


To me, it's a simple set of principles.


A safer knife is one where you can best control where the edge cuts.


Control of the knife is based inversely on the amount of effort.  Less effort means you have more control.  More effort means you have less control.


A sharp knife require less effort to cut.  A duller knife requires more effort to cut.


Therefore, a sharper knife (if not stupidly waved around)  is a safer knife.


But, it's going to be your money and energy.




Galley Swiller

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