This is my first post here, I hope to learn a lot, so thank you for having me.
I am on a search for a good quality sushi knife as a gift for a family member who loves to make sushi. The sushi is always great, but we always end up having an issue "slicing" the rolls, and the rolls "falling apart."
I came into this basically being told by them that I needed a "single sided knife" as that's what allows the sushi to slice easier, without getting stuck/ripping apart.
Before coming here I spoke to 2 other people. The first was with an older gentleman who is a sushi chef.
He had first sent me to http://korin.com/Knives/Style-Sujihiki_2 specifically the Sujihaki section, and told me I needed a 270mm length knife.
After doing some research I found that there is a huge amount of information about knives, and each part of the knife has importance.
I found this guide http://www.allaboutsushiguide.com/sushi-knife.html
and this information about Knife Steel http://www.midwayusa.com/technicalnotes/application_pages/knife_steel_and_handle_material_chart.htm
We then spoke again, and he found this knife for me http://www.ebay.com/itm/181760559451?autorefresh=true
I used the information in there to try and find similar knives. I asked him why not a Yanagi, and he mentioned the "Experience," and said that I should get used to this knife first. The Western-Japanese styles also seem to be cheaper than the Japanese equivalents.
I also found a few nice, cheap ones on Korin's site that were similar in specs to the ebay one.
I spoke to another person who said he liked Tagiharu knives, and liked the Western-Japanese Knife, with Traditional Handle that I picked out here http://korin.com/Togiharu-Wa-Sujihiki-with-Saya?sc=27&category=8549829 . He also seemed to say that it didn't matter what knife I get, but made indications about "beating up the knife ""from a chef's point of view""" Which i'm not sure means if I would cause issues like chipping, at home, or if he's speaking about the face paced work environment? I don't know.
So with the little background I provided, I want to now ask the forum for their opinions since I didn't get to ask all the questions I would have liked from the other guys, but I appreciate their input greatly.
I want to mention that I am coming to this now looking at spending around 300$ for a knife, as well as any accessories that I also seem to need i.e., oil for carbon steel, rags??, sharpening stones, etc, etc.
So here are my questions.
1. For a beginner knife does the specs of a Sujihiki, dual sided 70/30, 270mm knife work out good, or is there something else someone would recommend? It seems in general it's "personal preference" but for a beginner there is always a good starting point it seems. Does the ebay (not sure if a good place to buy knives) link above look like a good choice, or should I start with something else?
2.a Is there a big difference with "experience" as the first guy mentioned? Does it matter if I get a Sujihiki or a Yanagi at first?
2.b Seeing that it seems these knives can last a really long time if proper care is taken, would it be a better investment to get a really good knife to keep for a long time, or get a cheaper knife and upgrade later?
3. Does anyone have brands they recommend more over the others? The second guy said if he had to choose between the brands I was looking at, he would go with a Suisin. Masamoto is one brand that is interesting to me though.
4.a Does the handle matter i.e,. Western handle, vs Traditional round/octagon handle? Does the round/octagon matter as well? I really like the look of the traditional handle over the Western handle, so I really want to get that if possible, which is why I liked the Togiharu Wa that had the Traditional Handle that I posted abovfe.
4.b Do we hold the knives differently with different handles?
5. Is there a Steel that is recommended? In the above ebay link there is a chart that outlines properties of a bunch of types of steel, which is helpful, but not too sure if it's accurate. It seems like you have a trade off between corrosion resistance, sharpness, how long it's sharp, etc; however i am looking for a steel that would be resistant to the elements, but is overall a good sharp knife that we wont have to keep sharpening over and over again... But if there are steels that are just much better, that do rust/corrode I would be interested at looking at those as well.
6.a For sharpening stones http://korin.com/Knives/Sharpening-Stones_2 there is a bunch of choices, but I'm not sure what's what? It seems from reading the description that the rougher stones can produce a sharper knife, faster, but you can mess up easier so it's better for pros, or those who know what they are doing? Is there a stone someone can recommend me for a beginner? I did like the option of the dual sided ones, but not too sure if that's a good choice for me.
6.b Do you buy a stone based on the knife you get, or are all knives similar? I would assume the steel would play into it? I also see something called HRc (Hardness Rockwell Scale) so from what I read up it seems the higher the number, the harder the steel? Would that impact what stones we get, or is that just letting us know how tough our knives are?
7. I was watching Korin's videos where one of the guy's mentioned to use a cloth with some of this oil and then wipe it once (he does it twice, after saying once, so I'm not sure if he took a dry portion of his cloth to the knife afterwards, which seems to defeat the purpose of putting the oil on in the first place)? It seems this special oil is used for carbon steel, or other corrosive steels that will help preserve the steel. Should we buy this regardless of the steel, or is it only for select steel? http://korin.com/Tsubaki-Knife-Oil?sc=27&category=280115
8. On the knives I noticed for the Western style they use "Dual sided" but are Labeled 50/50, 70/30, and 90/10. I cannot find information on this, but this link is very informative about knife edges. http://kitchenknifeguru.com/knives/knife-edges-101/
From the link it shows a Western knife with a "V" and then a Japanese knife with 1 side being flat. I'm assuming that as we get further to the Traditional knife (50/50 -> 70/30 -> 90/10), it's going to get flatter on one side, and possibly sharper on the other? So is Traditional 100/0?
9.a I am curious about cloth usage. Is there a specific cloth that we should use? Korin has this one on their site, but I'm not sure if we need one exactly like this(material), or what? http://korin.com/Cleaning-Cloth_2?sc=27&category=280115
9.b I also have seen chefs do this, and read up a little about it, but I see them wipe their knives clean a lot. One site mentioned you should wipe your knife dry whenever you can, so it doesn't leave moisture on it(to rust). Is this something you do every time you cut into something, or when you take a "break" from cutting?
9.c I also read, I think it was in this link http://www.allaboutsushiguide.com/sushi-knife.html but it mentioned that after each slice through fish, you should wet your knife with a damp cloth so that the food doesn't get stuck to the knife. I read that higher quality Traditional Yanagi will have a concave edge on the flat side, which is supposed to prevent sticking. Also, isn't wetting the knife a bad idea, and completely contradicting to what 9.b says about drying your knife? Or do you have multiple cloths to wipe your knife at various situations???
10.a Guy #2 mentioned about beating up the knife, but how delicate are the knives, and what are things that can go wrong that we should avoid? I'm careful with my equipment no matter what I'm doing, so I want to be extra careful with this knife. I read you can chip the knife, but I'm not sure if I read that happens whiling sharpening, or if you can do it while cutting or something.
10.b This ties back to 2.b where I asked if the first knife should be basic, or if we should get a nice knife, that will last long. Does the delicacy have to do with what quality of knife I should get at first also? Are higher quality ones less delicate, more delicate, the same?
11. Looking at 2.b and 10.b it comes to ask what is a good price point? A lot of people say you want to spend at least 100$, but I see knives into the thousands. I saw some on amazon for 10$, I saw some others for 50$ in other places, but they just seem like jokes knives. I figured 300$ would be a good price to start with, but it seems I could get away with some of the cheaper ones? What would you recommend?
12. One of the knives I posted was from the "Tagiharu Wa" series. It seems that there are a few companies that have a "Wa" series. I also notice there are others like "Ao Ko" that are shared as well. Does each represent something, and is it something we are supposed to look at, or is it just a name, and it doesn't matter when looking for a knife?
13.a From what I read in the allaboutsushi link it said that the first knife we should get is a Yanagi, is this what is recommended? It seems to be what I need.
13.b Would people recommend a set over just 1 knife?
13.c Are there other uses besides sushi that I can use this for? Seems like the Yanagi is meant for slicing fish and meat, so I can see it as an every day knife if carefully maintained!
Those seem to be all of the questions I have now. I'm not sure if I am missing anything, but I would appreciate any feedback, comments, or whatever from people about them. I know I posted a lot of questions, but it seems that Sushi knives are really complicated, and there are so many different options it's driving me crazy haha.
Any help to clear up some of these questions is greatly appreciated.
Overall just looking to get a great starter knife that will do it's job, will last long, and be a great gift. Price doesn't matter, but like I said 300$ was my starting point, so not too sure if it's a good one or not. If it comes down to it I might pay more if people say that knives under a certain price point aren't worth it, or that some knife at some price is a really good deal and would be an awesome knife to buy for me.
I guess that's it, hopefully the post isn't too long, thank you again for having me, have a good night.