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Requesting Some Assistance

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Hello All,


I know that there are many posts regarding which knives to buy but each seemed to ask specific questions for each person as knife suggestions varied upon those answers.


I am getting married in April and I wanted to put knives on the registry.  I do not plan on asking for a set since, the current set I have I only use about 3 knives.  That being said, I believe that I should be asking for a 10' chefs knife, a carving knife, bread knife, and a boning knife.  I was dead set on Shun mostly because I have to admit I am a big fan of Alton Brown and I saw him do a few videos on them a while ago.  Plus I always liked the look of them.  They seem to be unpopular here though with the most common critique being their price to value ratio.


I am not a professional chef.  Just a person who prefers to cook at home instead of wasting money going out.  Since these items are going onto the registry, I figured I could go a little bit higher on the price point and see what people may pick up, but not put it so far out of reach that I would not consider buying them myself.  The Shun knive's fit within the range I was looking at.

Can anyone give me solid recommendations for everyday home cooking that will last, hold an edge, (I know proper care per Alton Brown, if that's legit) and be easy to use ( I have seen some posts regarding weights making it easier to cut, how thin the blade is, etc).  Also any knives that I may also need to look at?


Thank you all in advance,


post #2 of 12
Originally Posted by Sand359 View Post

The Shun knive's fit within the range I was looking at.

Which line, the Classic? Meaning like 100ish per knife? Can you be a bit more specific please?

Can anyone give me solid recommendations for everyday home cooking that will last, hold an edge, (I know proper care per Alton Brown, if that's legit) and be easy to use ( I have seen some posts regarding weights making it easier to cut, how thin the blade is, etc).  Also any knives that I may also need to look at?

I'm not sure how much you've read and which websites/store you've looked at, but the more you learn, the more you'll understand that those are fairly general yet still subjective (varies person by person, particular perspectives) requirements. Doesn't really narrow down much, and leaves many things at or above about $60-100 bucks still up in the air. 

Depending on how much you've read, you might have already encountered these questions and started thinking about your preferences and plans for the following choices:


-Stainless only? Or are non-stainless knives okay?

-Handle preference? Western style, or are Japanese wa-handles okay?

-What is the size of your current cutting board/workspace?

-Any aesthetic or knife construction preferences?

-How do you plan to sharpen these knives, and do you have a budget for that? Alton Brown is not doing home cooks who are willing to maintain their stuff properly a favor by implying that they shouldn't be sharpening their own knives/that using a honing steel is enough/that they should be sending them out to some nebulous 'professional sharpener'. Depending on where you live, you might not have that many people nearby who really fit the bill. This is THE most important action you can take to make these knives last a long time. Also, importantly, getting decent at sharpening your own stuff is pretty manageable and highly satisfying. 


Thank you all in advance,


Please chime back in! There are contributors here who want to help see you end up with some quality things. And congratulations on your upcoming marriage!

post #3 of 12
For home use an 8 inch knife is sufficient for 95% of what you'll do. The Shun 3 piece set: 8 inch chef, 6 inch utility, and 3.5 inch paring is probably exactly what you'll need. Plus a bread knife.

And congratulations on the impending nuptials!
post #4 of 12

The registry leaves few options as I understand as I think you have to go through places like Sur La Table, You may be limited to Shun and Myabi.

post #5 of 12
post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thank you everyone for the congratulations!


I realized after the post went into approval by the mods, that I forgot to mention the Classic line.  And yeah our registry is at Williams-Sonoma.  But if the concensus is that we can get a much better value in cutlery by not going through them, I may not put them on the registry and just know to allocate funds after the wedding to a solid few knives.


I am not 100% sure on handle style, I did like the classic Shun D shaped handle but that was only holding it for a short time so I am not sure how valid that is (I wonder if its like going on vacation somewhere saying you would love to live there, then move there and hate it after a while).  


My cutting space is small currently, but we have a friend who is building us a custom island for our wedding present so that space is going to be quite a bit larger.  We did put a large endgrain cutting board on the registry though I don't remember the dimensions off the top of my head and my future wife has all the access to the registry info currently (she doesn't live with me yet). 


To give a little more info, I am currently using JA Henckels that were part of a $180 set so definitely not the best and my main chefs knife got dull pretty quickly.  I have not tried to get it sharpened yet but do know there is someone local that does it.  My only concern about doing it myself is that I may ruin the blade as I would be starting to sharpen as a complete novice, though I did see the Shun honing and wet stone combo.


As for aesthetics I was always a fan of damascus but that's not a deal breaker.  More importantly is that it would hold an edge for a bit longer than my current set.  I do not use a dishwasher, and I do hone them after each use, at most 2 uses if I was cutting something soft.


Thanks again everyone!

post #7 of 12
I'm quite the minority opinion on this topic, John, but I like Shun knives... Both Classic and Premier. Mine are very sharp, are easy to use, and stay sharp for a long time in use at home. When they get dull they do take some effort to sharpen, and I have sent them out to pro sharpening with no ill effect. I also have enough experience and wisdom to know the difference between internet hysteria/rumor/opinions (there seems to be a bit of each) and my own valid experience. Don't discount your own experience or intuition.
post #8 of 12

The Shun honing rod is not good. The grooves are quite big and just not very fine. Avoid using with harder steel knives (own personal experience). 

What does the local guy use to sharpen knives? Quality of what you get can depend on where you live, honestly, and who is nearby.


If you don't use a coarse stone (sub 800-1000 grit by the JIS scale) you'd have to really try hard to truly ruin a knife. Scuff up a bit, maybe. Practice on something you care less about first :)

I'm irked by this sentiment that seems widely perpetuated that cooks at home shouldn't take care of their own stuff, like sharpening is some out of reach skillset. I don't buy it, and especially not for people who are trying to get nicer things and want to keep them nice. You don't have to go crazy and become a knife or stone nut, just have 2ish good stones and that takes you through most of sharpening.


Pretty much any of the knives that commonly get brought up here in the forums here above 60-100 bucks will hold an edge longer than your current set.


With honing, use very gentle strokes, light pressure, and hone when needed (don't necessarily start off a prep session with honing unless the knife really needs it. When you get good knife edges there's not really a point to immediately scuff up that edge with the rod due to a habit of honing before/after each use. )

post #9 of 12
Good point, foodie518... No steel should be used on shun except a ceramic hone. And very good points on using stones too.

That Shun honing steel is one of the few things about that brand that I consider to be really dumb.
post #10 of 12

They respond well to a Mac ceramic, or an Idahone for quick touch up during prep.  Remember you are only realigning the edge not "sharpening" it.  

post #11 of 12

Most of us around here prefer the flat profile typical of French and "real" Japanese knives, as opposed to the big rounded belly of German knives.  BTW, the latter is a German innovation of the 20th century, adopted not for cutting performance but to make sharpening over the long term a little easier.


Shun's Fuji line finally adopts this flatter profile, and a number of Myabi's display it also.


You have the choice of VG-10 or SG2 steel with Shun and Myabi.  The former metal is difficult to sharpen, the latter takes a keener edge but is relatively more brittle and requires particular care in use.  In both cases you should reserve your Henkles for the more rigorous tasks.


 I suppose you will go with the factory sharpening, which is inconsistent in terms of results.  But then there are the Henkles.  What are your thoughts here as regarding sharpening?

post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 

If I can learn how to sharpen them myself I will likely try that out.  At some point I need to learn sharpening as I am also building a woodshop and will be sharpening my chisels.  Though I think that will be easier than a knife due to the simple flat edge of chisels.

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