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Another "help me find a knife, i'm new" thread

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 

Here goes, i'm a home cook looking to take things up a notch in the kitchen. After looking around a bit i decided on the Kai Shun Classic series, but after reading a few threads here you've changed my mind, thank you.


I'm looking for a 240mm Gyuto and a small Petty / Paring knife.


We're mostly vegetarian so it won't be used for meat often if that's a factor.


Since i am new to, what i've come to realize to be, a complex industry. I've opted to go for a stainless steel knife instead of carbon, to reduce the risk of me ruining it. 


I've been scouring your forums for suggestions, and found so many that i am more confused now, than when i began my journey. So now i'm throwing it all up in this thread in the hopes you can help steer me in the right direction.


A lot of the choices here are based on old threads, so please enlighten me if anything new and exciting has come along.


The price for the Gyuto should not exceed 400$, and i won't complain if it's less


I'm planning on using DMT DuoSharp diamond stones for sharpening up to #1200 and thinking of getting some extra to get to #4000/8000 if it is needed?


Havn't decided on honing rods yet, also looking at DMT for those. Suggestions are appreciated.


Regarding the bevel, i need something easy to control and sharpen.


For the Gyuto/Chef's knife i've been looking at:


Mac Pro


Gonbei 240 mm Hammered Damascus WA-Gyuto


Itinomonn Stainless Kasumi 240mm Wa Gyuto


Gesshin Uraku 240mm Stainless Wa-Gyuto


Grand Cheff 240mm Cook's knife




Also have an eye on Masamoto's SS knives


The Richmond Ultimatum was also a contender before i found out it was discontinued (though i know it's a touchy subject for some reason)



I know that's a lot of knives, but i will greatly appreciate any help. 


I have no idea for the Petty/Paring knife, and will most likely go for something that matches the Gyuto 


For cutting board i'm looking at a walnut.


As for looks, i'm a bit of a sucker for Damascus with and without hammering. But it is definitly not a top priority.



Phew! I hope you can help me.


Happy new year! 

post #2 of 32

Hi Mikkel! Welcome to ChefTalk!


I'm glad to see you are including both sharpening gear and a cutting board in your considerations. That saves a lot of time in the discussion.


But, first, can I ask you where you live? We get inquiries from all around the world, and knife availability is to a very large degree dependent on where someone lives.


Next, about my attitudes. My priorities are about performance first, cost second and looks a distant third. I simply cannot justify Damascus, hammering or kullenschliff (those are the ground-out “dimples”). So, you need to take what I say with that in mind, and if you want any of them, that's your decision.


For the gyuto/chef's knife in your list, I can only speak for two: the MAC Pro and the CarboNext.


I would recommend against the CarboNext, if only for the simple reason that it's not a knife really intended for the beginning chef. It's a knife which is sent from Japan as a blade which is intended for the chef to finish the sharpening process. That's the way chefs and cutlery makers in Japan do it. But not the way Westerners expect a knife.


That's not to say the CarboNext is a bad knife. It's actually gotten good commentary from those who have used it. But the need to work on it before it can be fully used makes it less than ideal for you.


The MAC Pro 240 mm (MAC MBK-95) has long been a regular workhorse and all-around recommended knife. But if this is going to be your first Japanese knife, I would suggest a less expensive knife – the MAC BK-100. It's a knife in MAC's “Chef” series. The steel is exactly the same steel (MAC's “Original” steel), the blade thickness is exactly the same (2.5 mm), the stiffness is exactly the same. The differences are: 1) the BK-100 does not have a metal bolster; 2) it's slightly longer; 3) the angle that the blade and handle have the user's wrist is slightly raised, compared to the MBK-95; 4) the BK-100 costs somewhere about 40% less than the MBK-95 (on discount, the BK-100 is about $110 in the US, while the MBK-95 runs about $185 on discount); and 5) the BK-100 is a bit harder to find than the MBK-95 (not surprising, since the MBK is more expensive and has greater prestige).


I'm sure others will chime in with comments about the other knives and with their individual recommendations.


For a petty, I might suggest a MAC HB-40, which is a 100 mm paring knife/petty, also in the MAC “Chef” series and relatively inexpensive at less than $40 (discount in the USA).


About sharpening gear: I would strongly suggest against any diamond sharpening equipment. Yes, diamonds are harder than steel. But diamonds tend to not want to bond to any adhesive. The only way to hold diamonds is to surround them in a thick surface material that bonds well to the underlying plate or rod. The problem is that the diamonds can very quickly get knocked out of that surface material – at which point you no longer get to use that marvelous hardness.


Instead, I would suggest regular sharpening stones. A 500 grit stone for repairs, a medium stone (800 to 1200 grit) for general maintenance and a 3000 to 5000 grit stone for polishing edges.  Try to get stones with a minimum size of 200 mm x 50 mm, but bigger is better.


For a basic primer on sharpening, read Chad Ward here:  https://forums.egullet.org/topic/26036-knife-maintenance-and-sharpening/


For some very good videos, watch Jon Broida here:  https://www.youtube.com/user/JKnifeImports


For a honing rod, I use the fine grit Idahone. At about $32, it's not too expensive and does honing fairly well.


For how to use a honing rod, read Boar D. Laze here:  http://www.cookfoodgood.com/?p=551


For a wood cutting board, the major considerations are size, wood orientation and type.


For cutting board size, the minimum for use with a 240 mm blade should be 18” x 12” (450 mm x 300 mm).


For wood orientation, end grain (where the wood grain is vertical) is better than edge grain (where the wood grain is horizontal). For end grain boards, try to avoid anything thinner than 2 inches (50 mm) thick.


Your preference is walnut, which will work well. But don't overlook the old standby, hard northern maple.


And be sure to thoroughly soak your wooden board with mineral oil before using it (or washing it) for the first time.


Hope that helps!



Galley Swiller

post #3 of 32
Thread Starter 

Thank you for the reply!


I'm from Denmark, so i live close by Japanese Natural Stones http://www.japanesenaturalstones.com/ which sells the Itinomonn Stainless Kasumi 240mm Wa Gyuto. But otherwise i think i can import most items.


The reason i went with the diamond plates was a guy called Richard Blaine on youtube. He said he had had the same plates for 40 years, and they don't deform like the japanese sharpening stones so i thought they would be better for a beginner like myself.


Thank you for the suggestions for petty and honing rod, will give them a look.


I will consider the Mac Chef instead, got a local dealer that sells them.


It seems the cutting board i had in mind http://www.noyer.dk/produkterne/skaerebraet-i-trae-med-saftrille/ seems to be too small

post #4 of 32

The CarboNext can be purchased with the sharpened option (extra $10). It's a good functioning knife and sharpens easily. It's a little boring though


For more fun factor (as well as a good all round performer) I would be going for the Gonbei. Have you checked out Jon's review video on this knife?


Edit: video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yoYV3n7Thf8

Edited by bonesetter - 1/3/16 at 4:00am
post #5 of 32

Don't use a honing rod (even ceramic ones) on harder steels.  I'd cut it off at like 57 HRC

post #6 of 32

Agree. Better perform a few edge trailing strokes on your finest stone or the one before. Or consider stropping on charged leather or a leather pad. Rods tend to fatigue the edge.

post #7 of 32
Thread Starter 

Since the moderators apperantly wants to hold my post hostage, i'll try again without links.


Thanks for the reply Galley


I'm from Denmark, so i live close to Japanesenaturalstones .com that sells the Itinomonn. But i imagine i can import most items.


The reason i want Diamond is because a knife guy called Richard Blaine on youtube, that claimed his DMT stones had been with him for 40 years and still worked perfectly. Also a knife sharper blog that said the only drawback of diamond, is the price. The top reason why i want them, is because they stay flat, so again, like with the stainless steel they require less maintenance.


It seems the cutting board i had in mind is both too small and has the wood gain in the wrong direction. So i guess i'm on the prowl for another candidate.


I will look at the petty knife you recommended, thank you.


And thank you Benuser and MillionsKnives


If i can save a bit of money and just use a fine stone to hone the edge, i might do that. But i thought the ceramic rods were a lot harder than 57?

post #8 of 32

Use of honing rods is usually a subject of dispute.  My feeling is that better ceramic rods (such as the Idahone) are good for steel up to about 60 to 61 hRc.  Beyond that, it's stones.


You don't use hones to sharpen - you use hones to  re-align and microscopically straighten the edge of the blade.  That has the effect of feeling like a sharpening, since the edge becomes effectively narrower and presents less frontal area to the food being cut.  You hone as a means to extend the period of time between proper sharpenings.


Since you are in Denmark, my recommendation of hard northern maple is probably not applicable.  The change in condition involves prohibitive shipping costs across the Atlantic Ocean.  Daniel Smith, formerly of The BoardSMITH, suggested beech as a European based wood for a cutting board.  Acacia is also provisionally acceptable for an end grain board (but not recommended for edge grain boards).  The primary problem with acacia is that it is a wood which often has voids, which have to be filled.  Take a look at this older ChefTalk thread:  http://www.cheftalk.com/t/74564/cutting-board-advice


As for links, you usually have to have a number of posts in the system before you get linkage privileges.  I don't know the number.  That's policy which is up to Nicko, the Site Administrator.


Hope that helps



post #9 of 32

Of the knives you mentioned the Gonbei will get the most praise, it might be my choice also except I know nothing of the Itonomin at this time.  But the Gonbei has very good food release, you like its looks, so there you go.  In terms of performance only there are a lot of good choices in that price range, both carbon and stainless.


There is no reason you should have fear of ruining a carbon knife, but of course you can't cut an onion or tomato without rinsing and wiping it very soon afterwards or you'll see your edge disappear rather quickly.  For long prep sessions with acid foods frequent rinsing may be needed to prevent the iron from contaminating.  And of course if you leave it wet long enough you'll see rust.


Professional sharpeners don't use DMT's because they wear to quickly, but for the home cook does it really matter?  The 8" stones should give years of service, but Atoma's will last even longer and are about the same price, but they stop at 1200 I think, and that is the courser JIS scale.  The DMT 8K will actually give a 3k finish until it is "very" well worn in, and even then no one seem to rate it any finer than 6K.


So regardless of how my words may have sounded in the beginning here, I do not recommend diamond stones in general here, except maybe a course Atoma for thinning and maybe a DMT 4K for raising a burr (I think a 1200 DMT will gouge excessively deep for general sharpening by my experience with other diamond stones), but if you want to use diamond for finish sharpening then a loaded strop as Benuser suggested is the way.


Knowledgeable folks all seem to use waterstones for general sharpening and, if they use them at all, fine diamond loaded strops for fine finishing. Fine diamond strops do leave a very nice edge, but for a knife that is going to see lots of board work the extra refined edge is just not going to hold up long enough to make it worth putting on.


You can do some very fine slicing with the finish off a 6K waterstone.  Does it seem as though I'm leading you to waterstones?





post #10 of 32
Originally Posted by Mikkel Troelsen View Post

But i thought the ceramic rods were a lot harder than 57?

Hardness is hardly the question here, if I may say so. With a rod the contact area is literally minimal and this seems to be the cause of the fatigued steel that has been described after rod use.
post #11 of 32

I really should read posts more carefully.


Didn't notice you are in Europe.  Both Sakai Takayuki and Kanetsune have a hammered damascus in Swedish Stainless.  I am not absolutely certain but I believe both are very similar to the Gonbei, at least a choil shot of the Takayuki shows it to be comparably slender and thin at the edge.  I would always recommend buying from Jon unless shipping is prohibitive.


It should be noted that Benuser has talked a lot of us out of using steels, ceramic or otherwise.


BTW, Richmond/CKTG is not a touchy subject around here.  My experience talking to Mark was kind of mixed, and I do have to say that Mark has not always been diligent about the quality of what he sells.  The Richmond line that was produced by Lamson in particular did have some significant quality issues, those knives were discontinued.  Despite this I did recently purchase a knife from them.




Edited by Rick Alan - 1/3/16 at 6:21pm
post #12 of 32

I suspect that many of the oversteeling and fatigued metal cases come about from people following the "Gordon Ramsay School of Knife And Sharpening Steel Hard Impact Percussion".


In short, they bang the "sharpening steel" (i.e. honing rod) and the knife edge together to "sharpen" the edge.


That foolishness certainly is done by many so as to make it look dangerous.  Over the years, that stunt probably has resulted in some serious injuries to the fools doing it.  And most certainly, it has done damage to knife edges.





post #13 of 32
Thread Starter 

Thank you guys for all the help. 


But i have found out that the Danish domestic postal service refuse to transport knives more than 12 cm (5 inches) since they apparantly will jump out of the packages and stab them in the neck. Also because of terrorists... of course. SO! I would have to get the package by GLS, which will probably cost more than the knife, and i think that's a waste of money. So now it's become more a question of what i have access to than what i want to get. And i hope maybe you can help me anyway.


Tojiro knives seems to be wildly popular in Danish retailers.


Yaxell, who makes some beautiful stainless damascus knives in their Ran 69 layers, Gou 101 layers and Super Gou in 161 layer series. Do any of you know of them? And what benefit do the added layers provide? I think it only increased 1 Rockwell from 69 to 161 layers.


The Mac series




Toyama Noborikoi








I can't find any Kanetsune dealers


You've broken me, i will try the Japanese water stones, are there any differences from brand to brand?


For cutting board i have found an affordable end grain beech 45 x 30 x 4.5 cm for 50$ + shipping from the uk amazon, though they were not as easy to come by as i hoped.

post #14 of 32

Wont DHL deliver to you?


I have had a few delivered from outside UK and they came through (2 from Oz) is 3 days flat

post #15 of 32

Layers of steel folded into the cladding have 0 performance impact.  It is all cosmetic.


BTW  Maksim at JNS has an annual gathering.  It's wayyy too far for me, but It's a great chance to try out the most expensive knives on your list in person



post #16 of 32
Thread Starter 

DHL will deliver for 60$-ish through shipito. Still not cheap, but it seems affordable. I will definitly use that if the Yaxell are not good enough, thank you.

post #17 of 32

JNS has free shipping on most stuff.  I mostly use cleavers, but Itinomonn is one of the few gyuto I kept (stainless clad v2 version);  really great cutter

post #18 of 32
Thread Starter 

Thanks Millions


Can you give me a link to it? Since i can't post a link to confirm the knife. I really like the damascus look, but if it's just tacked on, it doesn't matter to me, and the itinomonn is also a pretty knife.


I might drop by his event, Denmark is a small country so it's only a couple hundred kilometers away

post #19 of 32
Originally Posted by Mikkel Troelsen View Post

DHL will deliver for 60$-ish through shipito. Still not cheap, but it seems affordable. I will definitly use that if the Yaxell are not good enough, thank you.

GKTG chrge $51US and Chefs Armoury $41AUD to UK. Might be different to Denmark, but can't see why


I really wanted a Damascus (to start with) then after realising what it really is and using other knives for some time, performance is my priority, followed by looks and then cost (most here - as well as sense - would put the last two the other way around but that's just me)


See this thread here for Damascus 


I do still like the rustic look though, so black hammered, black Kurochi, is something I am presently looking for in a good performing knife to complete my quivver


Here's a coreless Damascus for drooling over, and something I would quite like


post #20 of 32

There are a few different versions


Kasumi -  Stainless clad carbon core (V2  steel)

Stainless Kasumi - I think it is monosteel stainless throughout

Kurouchi -  V2 with kurouchi cladding not stainless at all


I have the first kind  http://www.japanesenaturalstones.com/itinomonn-kasumi-240mm-wa-gyuto/ 


240 is out of stock but they come in stock regularly, email Maksim about when they come in stock.


I'll say it is really thin behind the edge, part of what makes it a great cutter, but that also makes it a bit chippy.  No problems with chipping after I put a microbevel on. 


Here is my review of the performance and sharpening:


post #21 of 32
Thread Starter 

Any downside to getting the stainless?

post #22 of 32

Why can't I get to like this Itinomonn? Other than the looks it ticks every box, including blade height at heel (a whopping 58mm) and the 208g weight

post #23 of 32

It's a personal preference.  I like carbon steel because it is easy to sharpen.  A few stropping strokes on a finishing stone keeps it going for weeks at home.  Stainless clad carbon is great because only a few mm a the edge is reactive carbon that needs to be managed.


@bonesetter  what if you etched it like this:




Maybe that's enough  for cool looks.   For me, cool looks come from custom handles.  The blade is all business

post #24 of 32

Interesting, thanks


The Itinomonn gets repeatedly recommended by all those who should know, so I must give one a go


V2 - looks to be same (or similar to Hitachi #2 white ( shirogami #2).so as you say holds good edge well 

post #25 of 32
No need for etching. Just use it and delay cleaning it except for the very edge by lightly cutting in a cork. Only before putting away, rinse abundantly with very hot water and let it dry really well.
post #26 of 32
Thread Starter 

Thanks, will get the Itinomonn, but i think i will go for the stainless. Can go for a carbon knife when i get a bit more into taking care of a knife.


Any suggestions for waterstones then?

post #27 of 32

Just a thing about "hard" steels.  Very hard steels with high carbide content will micro-chip with a steep sharpening angle.  Some keep cutting well even as they chip, but the chipping is the primary means of dulling.


You can minimize and even eliminate the chipping with a micro-bevel, and only minimal loss of peformance because your edge remains relatively thin.  Just a few light stropping strokes at a more obtuse angle as Millions said.


Itonomin V2, Raxel Gou, Shigafusa (big bucks), Tojiro powdered metal series, these will certainly benefit greatly from a micro-bevel.


Well actually all knives can benefit from a mico-bevel, or highly asymmetrical sharpening which is equivalent in effect .  But with softer steels, and high edge-stability steels like AEB-L, 12C26, 13C27, you can go more acute with the micro-bevel.  The practical effect is the same with these steels, you micro-bevel to reduce the need for touch-ups and full scale sharpening, while sacrificing little in performance.


To give the short of it, you initially sharpen to  20deg inclusive or less, then you would micro-bevel to something like 30 to even 40deg inclusive, depending on how durable you want the edge.





post #28 of 32


post #29 of 32
Thread Starter 

Thanks Rick


Did not know that. Is there a large rockwell difference between carbon blades and the stainless, or is more a matter of nuances? There is no Rockwell number attached to the knives

post #30 of 32

I only used the V2 carbon and I'll say it sharpens and acts a lot like white steel 61-62 HRC.   I have no idea what the stainless is hardened to, but it gets good reviews so I guess it must be appropriate for the steel.  If it's not published then you need to ask Maksim about details

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