Good knife for non-cook
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Wusthof pro line about $25 on amazon
The classic has two issues aka features that are problematic on a pull through
1) the bolster - won't even fit in that sharpener, so you're sharpening starting like 1" in front of it. It's going to have a weird shape on your edge, eventually a problem where it doesn't make board contact in that spot
2) it's fat and without thinning, it gets fatter every time you use a pull through sharpener. the pro series is just a thinner stamped knife, thinner throughout
I think the wusthof pro or victorinox (more expensive now after cooks illustrated reviews made them popular) would be more maintainable with one of those sharpening devices because it's thinner over all. Tramontina knives at costco also similar
I don't think you need to go thicker. I personally hate NSF-type handles, and the as-is rosewood vic handle, and I am not too picky about handles. Your brother probably would care and if he would consider these an adequate bday present then the inexpensive Tramontina suggested might seem a big step up for him.
I would never buy another one but if I had to choose a stainless German blade it would be a Wuasthof Ikon. They are nicely thin behind the edge but not too thin, no annoying full bolster, and harder than other German stainless, and they are pretty and the slim handle suites my big hands just fine.
Performance-wise of course get him a Tojiro DP and in either case a MinoSharp 3 to go along unless you're going to be sharpening it for him every couple few months (I'm not supposing he needs things razor-sharp). The 8" Tojiro was $50 (9" not much more) and an 8" Ikon $100 (about the same for the classic) on ebay/amazon.
Given his background I'd say he'll be thrilled with any of these options in terms of usage.
Edited by Rick Alan - 10/17/15 at 1:23am
Recently, I've become impressed by the MAC Chef series knives, with MAC steel which is the same as most of the Professional series, and the "BK" models are the same blade thickness (and stiffness) as the MAC Professional gyutos. An 8 inch MAC Chef series BK-80 chef's knife will cost about $90 on discount through eBay, and will be a better knife (at least in my opinion) than any of the other knives so far mentioned.
For a sharpener, any pull-through will be a choice of not-so-good compromises. "Sharpen Quickly" invariably means a very coarse grind, while anything giving a decently smooth edge will take a huge number of strokes. Complicating matters is that any system short of stones will invariably become clogged with dry steel and stone Since MAC recommends the (Fiskars) RollSharp, that might just be the best of a not-so-very-good choice of alternatives. Sigh.
Agreed. For someone described as a "non-cook" that might be the best the situation will ever get. And poorly sharpened may be better than not sharpened at all.
If he is getting a Japanese knife, then he should DEFINITELY NOT GET a European steel. Better no steel than something likely softer than the steel in the knife he's getting. Using a knife which has an edge harder than the honing rod is a path to catastrophic destruction of both knife edge and honing rod.
If he's going to get a honing rod, then he needs to know how to use it properly. See BDL's web site blog post here: http://www.cookfoodgood.com/?p=551
Also, if he's going to get a steel, then a 12 inch fine grit Idahone probably will fit the bill better than any other honing rod I know of.
I don't know what flexing has to do with your bro's chances of slicing a finger, or why anything needs to be thicker than an Ikon, but you can find ridiculously thick German knives without a bolster, though nothing I would suffer anyone to use.
You can look at the Henkles Pro line. They don't look outrageously thick, they have no full bolster, they to have that German profile I find horrid though.
This is what the Misen folks copied for their now infamous Kickstarter effort, $866,427 and 58 hours still to go. Hey why not sign up for the Misen, leastwise it has better steel, and it's less money, and I'm guessing they'll eventually deliver.
Edited by Rick Alan - 10/19/15 at 8:04pm
I think that the goal has been met. I read that thread as a $25,000 goal and $870,000+ already raised.
For $55 for a single knife, it is a curiosity - but only for roughly the next 2-1/3rd days. Delivery wouldn't be until May of next year.
The KKF forum thread is: http://www.kitchenknifeforums.com/showthread.php/24513-Misen-Kickstarter-Knife
Have fun reading through it. You may need 2 days to do it.
I can't say that this "Misen" is either stiff or flexible - the picture portion with the specs is so washed out that I couldn't really read what the thickness of the blade was. Nor could I get it appropriately blown up.
But if I was looking for a blade of a known quality for the price range, then certainly the aforementioned Tojiro DP, the aforementioned Fujiwara FKM and the (not-quite aforementioned) MAC HB-85 (at $69.95 at various discount retailers on eBay and at CKTG) are certainly strong and measurable competitors of good quality.
It doesn't have to be super thick, but his only experiance with decent knives are the parent's henckles and probably 90% of western cooks would be thrilled with a wusthof, let alone a novice. So should i really sacrefice durability or ease of use for a novice to get an even better cutting knife?