or Connect
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

First proper knife.

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

Hello, I'm an enthusiastic cook at home and am keen to get myself a knife to use. I've been struggling to find one that would suit my purpose and price range, however I am interested in a Japanese knife. I looked online a bit and found the Sane Tatsu range on Amazon which suited my price range, but when I looked on this website I read a few negative reviews which suggested I could find a better knife for around the same price. If anyone could help me it would be greatly appreciated as I've gotten myself in a bit of a rut! Thanks, Roddy. 

post #2 of 20

Welcome to the Rabbit Hole of cutlery.  Those are a generic knife marketed under different brand names.  Not bad knifes, but over prices IMO.  Check out - http://www.chefknivestogo.com/closeouts.html for some good deals and most of them have video and reviews.  If you save money you can get a couple of water stones to maintain your (soon to be growing) collection.  :thumb:

post #3 of 20

VG-10 is not a beginner-friendly steel sharpening-wise, and aside from initial sharpness its properties in general leave a lot to be desired.


Aside from the closeout knives Mike9 mentioned, this knife will be back in stock after the holidays, it's got the glitz that many folks like for their first real kitchen knife, very nice steel and geometry and a charm for the price range: http://www.japaneseknifeimports.com/collections/hammered-damascus-series/products/gonbei-240mm-hammered-damascus-wa-gyuto





post #4 of 20

RoddyL, Welcome to ChefTalk!


I agree with Mike9 and with Rick Alan.  Sane Tatsu is one of any number of generic brand names using VG-10 steel for the core and VG-10 steel is notorious for difficulty in sharpening.


Right away, I would suggest against any VG-10 core steel knife.  I also do not like Damascus blades (once they get scratched up, restyoration involves polishing out the scratches and then the application of etching fluids - not for the faint of heart and also involving the proper disposal of probably hazardous waste for the etching fluid).


I also doubt the effectiveness of hammered blades for food release. I have not seen any evidence that it is effective.


If we are to work with you, please be advised that this will need to be a "give and take", with both you and the rest of us engaging in a back and forth dialogue.




If you could answer a few questions:


Where do you live?  (I ask, because knife availability is to a large degree limited to the country which a person lives)


What is your overall budget?


What is the largest blade you currently work with?


How are you currently keeping your knives sharp?


What kind of cutting board do you use and how large is it?


What is the largest number of people for whom you will be preparing a meal in a year's time?


What type of foods do you usually prepare?


Now, for a little bit of editorializing.


About sharpness.


With use, every knife gets dull.  That's a fact of life.  The rate a knife gets dull differs between knives, but with use they dull.  


The only good way you can guarantee that your knives will get sharp and stay sharp is to do it yourself.  


Here's a very good description on how to sharpen by Chad Ward:  https://forums.egullet.org/topic/26036-knife-maintenance-and-sharpening/


And here are some excellent videos on how to sharpen by an expert, Jon Broida:  https://www.youtube.com/user/JKnifeImports


 Next, what you use for a cutting board will, to a very large degree, determine how fast (or how slow) your knife dulls.  The best boards are end grain hardwood, properly oiled.


And that brings up money issues.  The cost of a knife is only part of the overall cost.  The cost of sharpening gear and of a good cutting board also have to be considered.  If that means getting a less expensive but serviceable knife, so you can afford a good board and basic sharpening gear, so be it.


If your goal is just the knife, then you will soon be disappointed.  But if your goal is having a knife that you can keep sharp, then you will be on your way to being able to enjoy food preparation.


Galley Swiller

post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 
Hi, thanks for all the feedback! I'm currently in the North east of Scotland which is why I might be finding it hard to find a reputable dealer? I'm looking to spend anywhere up to £150 on the knife. The knife I'm using at the minute is one my old boss (who was a chef) gave me and is around 7.5 inches long. I've never really given it any thought about sharpening the knives because they always seemed to be sharp enough for what I was doing, is this something I should be doing often? Or less so? And the same goes for cutting boards, I've just used what was in the house! Thanks again, Roddy
post #6 of 20

Well comes the obvious question, what do you want a new knife for?  We still have no idea about the "puropose" you only alluded to.





post #7 of 20
Thread Starter 

I'd be using the knife for general purposes, mostly meat and fruit. This is why I'm trying to find an all round knife to use. I've researched and found that the Santoku is one to consider? I'd also like to get a petty knife. 


post #8 of 20

OK I can appreciate this.  Unconscious deductive processes are just now starting to infiltrate your conscious thoughts, and at this time you just have a sense, and a reasonable one, that the grass is greener somewhere else.  Only this and not much else more.


I thought a santoku would best suite me when I was going through this stage, but I personally was soon enough disabused of that.  The santoku was designed with the specific idea of being an all around knife for the average Japanese house wife who didn't want anything too big or ever have to think about which knife to grab.  Well the concept is close enough, and that plus a petty might actually suite you.


But most of us, even myself who elevates the suji/slicer higher than others, would prefer as the single-knife option a 240 gyuto/chefs knife.  The petty/utility knife just always goes along, and a cheap one at that, because because you need something smallish and which you wouldn't be shy about abusing a little.  You probably already have something like that that will do for now.  To that you might want to add a nice thin and sharp parer.


A 240 middleweight gyuto lets you do all sorts of things, everything a santoku can do and more.  Though it essentially can be seen as a santoku with an extended pointy tip, that's a big difference.


So get thinking on that for a bit, and while you are at it also start thinking about what "sharp" may mean to you, and what you might be willing to go through to get it.


I think maybe that's enough for the moment, but others may be able to illumine your thoughts a bit more.





post #9 of 20
Thread Starter 

Okay I think I see where you're coming from, are you saying that a gyuto would be able to do the jobs a petty and a santuko could do, just in one knife instead of 2? If that's the case I wouldn't mind having 2 different knives as I'd be able to use them for more specific roles i.e. one for larger food one for smaller. 

As for sharpness.. I've seen how people sharpen their knives with the whetstones and all, I'm just wondering if this is OTT for what I'm doing? Or would you say that this is necessary for every knife being used in the kitchen? 


post #10 of 20

Better tools need some more attention and maintenance.  It's true for tools in any craft.  If you're not ready for it, just stick with mass produced stainless.  I used only Victorinox for 3 years.  At the time, I thought it was awesome!  After all, Cooks Illustrated told me so.

post #11 of 20

Roddy, I'm suspecting that you have never worked with a good, sharp knife.  Once you do pick up and use that first quality blade, your entire outlook will change.


Normally, I would just say, "MAC BK-100" and leave it at that.  But, you are in the UK, and, for all I know, you are also a considerable distance from any available brick and mortar store which would let you see, feel and try any very good knife.


You also do not have sharpening gear, nor do we know if you have a decent cutting board.


And all of that involves a budget of £150.


So, we need to prioritize.


You are going to need a basic knife.  The reason that many of us suggest a 240 mm gyuto is that it's an all-around knife, it's long enough to do the vast bulk of jobs in the kitchen and yes, length matters.  Santoku knives are usually not longer than 180 mm, and often, that's not long enough.  And it's a reality that anything a santoku can do, a 240 mm gyuto can also do.


So, for a first good knife, I am going to suggest you look outside of the UK.  All the way to Japan.  And order from Koki Iwahara at JapaneseChefsknife.com


Specifically, I am going to suggest ordering a Fujiwara FKM series 240 mm gyuto.  The price (currently on sale) is $74.70.  Add a shipping cost of $7 and your price is $83.70.  In Pounds Stirling, that's £55.59.  As for duty, Koki is usually good at working out how to minimize your import duty pains.  But, it's still a risk.


The web link is http://japanesechefsknife.com/FKMSeries.html#FKM


The Fujiwara FKM is a basic entry level knife of known, reasonably good quality.  The steel is AUS-8, which is respectable.  And it doesn't have the sharpening problems of VG-10.


As I said at the top, I normally suggest a MAC BK-100.  But MAC knives are very specifically marketed in countries only through authorized dealers and no one selling MAC's in the UK seems to be carrying the Chef Series BK models that I could find.


Hopefully, that's also going to leave you with about £94.  You still need a sharpening system or gear.  And you still need a good cutting board.  That's what the £94 can be dedicated for.


The links to Chad Ward and Jon Broida (Post No.4 above in this thread) will give you a better idea than I can in this Post.


And, unfortunately, I must sign out at this point, because my computer is reaching the end of its battery power for this session.


Galley Swiller.

post #12 of 20

Yeh I have a 10" Vic Rosewood chefs, $45 delivered to my door.  I put a little TLC into it to better suite me, thinning the tip and edge (which was already pretty thin) and reshaping the handle a bit, but it's still pretty much a $45 Vic.   I use it to break 4 pound swede, split squash, and I use it exclusively for cutting the ends off onions, I just do.  It actually does most everything just fine, better than a lot of other German knives for 3x more .  A Vic and a 1k/4k King combination stone would be a very good place for you to start.





post #13 of 20

I love my Vic - it was the start of the slippery knife collection slope :)

post #14 of 20

Well for about the same price nowadays in the UK the Fujiwara is really a much better knife.




post #15 of 20
Ehhh I vote for used vintage carbon steel for $30-40 on ebay
-Learn to thin
-Leaern to sharpen
-Learn to manage reactivity, build patina, clean off rust etc
-Edge is hard enough to hold an edge well and take sharper angles, yet soft enough to not get chipped by n00b
-You can use honing rod on these no problem
-Custom rehandle oppurtunities
-Historical value

I can't believe i had 3 forgecrafts earlier this year and rehandled, gifted or sold them all
post #16 of 20

My recommendation would be the Tojiro 240 Gyuto


Amazon £47-80 and I would say utter bargain




I have the Shirogami not sure what the difference is, (Rick or Millions will surely know) but they look very similar and are priced the same


The Tojiro was my first wa handled J-knife and since then I have bought a few others for a lot more money, but this is the one I reach for most, and at the moment is my favourite knife of the bunch


It sharpens up on the stones a breeze to a razor edge and in pinch grip mode does everything I want - push, pull, chop and a bit of rocking too. It's light and balances perfectly


Wipe clean and dry, back on the rack and in the couple of months I have been using it, despite my best efforts to get a patina going, it hasn't changed 


Highly recommended

post #17 of 20

Normally, if it involved someone in the USA, I'd be willing to accept MillionsKnives's suggestion.


Unfortunately, RoddyL is in the UK.  And in the UK, just try to find a used chef's knife through eBay.


About the only knives I can find on eBay.co.uk (the British edition of eBay) are steak knives.


And forum threads found through Google (for other web sites) strongly suggest that it's eBay.co.uk's policy simply to not allow the sale of any knives through eBay.co.uk.


Buying through eBay.com (the USA eBay site) seems to be hit-or-miss as to whether it can be accomplished for a UK buyer to buy through eBay.com.


Mind you, that's about a private company's policy.  Not Government regulation.


As far as importing the knives, the UK authorities do have a number of restrictions.  Most seem to apply to whether the knife is something like a switchblade knife, with a spring-loaded opening mechanism.


But a fixed-blade chef's knife?


Doesn't seem to be a problem.


It still doesn't mean you can get a used knife through eBay.





post #18 of 20

bonesetter's link is to a Tojiro F-695.


Good entry level, but fully reactive carbon steel, for both core steel and cladding.  Which means it will take colorization upon use.  And it will rust, if it is not carefully cleaned and dried immediately after use.


The core steel is White No. 2.  The cladding is iron (and even more reactive than the core).


And yes, it will sharpen up with no problems.




post #19 of 20
Originally Posted by Galley Swiller View Post

bonesetter's link is to a Tojiro F-695.


Good entry level, but fully reactive carbon steel, for both core steel and cladding.  Which means it will take colorization upon use.  And it will rust, if it is not carefully cleaned and dried immediately after use.


The core steel is White No. 2.  The cladding is iron (and even more reactive than the core).


And yes, it will sharpen up with no problems.




Thanks GS


That is the same number reference as on my receipt, described as F-695 Shirogami ITK Gyuto


As I say, great knife and in my time spent with it hasn't changed its appearance a jot, and that's despite a ton of onions and the like 


I particularly like the profile which allows for all useage styles


Good value for the money

post #20 of 20

BTW - eBay UK will not allow the sale of knives, which makes trying to sell your unwanted stuff tricky 


Amazon allow their sale, but they don't have listings for all knives, and their selling fees are ludicrous 

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Cooking Knife Reviews