› ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Food & Equipment Reviews › Cooking Knife Reviews › Questions Concerning Knives and Advice
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Questions Concerning Knives and Advice

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

Hello so this is my first real post here. Now recently I have been researching across the internet for a good first knife set and for advice concerning knives. My roommate has an extreme knowledge of cooking (his grandma was some 5 star famous chef  and taught him everything and I've witnessed his impressive abilities) and what not and I've asked him some questions concerning knives. Some of what he said has confused me though and I'd like a second opinion from you guys. First off he said that its a common misconception that the Chef's knife is the bread and butter of a cutlery set at home, it shouldn't be the most used knife instead a Utility knife should be most commonly used knife. Is this true? I always thought (especially from reading on here) that the Chef's knife should be the most used? Also he used sharpening steel and honing steel interchangeably in our discussion as if they are the same thing, I thought Honing Steel was just that..for honing? Lastly he said whetstones/oil-stones takes hours to sharpen a blade and that spinning wheels are much more efficient for sharpening blades, is this really true? 


Secondly, in terms of knife sets after a lot of thinking and research I'm really set on Western Style Japanese Knives. I like the look of them and they hold an edge longer than German Forged knives which is important to me. These will be my first ever set and I want them to be something that will last me for life. I was considering the MAC Professional Knife Set ($399) and it includes a Chef's Knife. Utility, Paring, and Slicer. I like everything about MAC's and they are highly regarded. Also wondering if maybe I should just get the knives piecemeal so I can get a better array that serves the purposes I need. I know the the responses will pretty much be "well what experience do you have with knives," "do you know how to sharpen knives," and also "what do you primarily cook?"


The answers to those is: 1). I've only had experience with my parents set of Zwilling Henckles, my first knives once i moved out being cheap ceramic Ikea knives and a $10 serrated Chef's knife from a grocery store. I've learned some things over the course of the past few days of lurking on here, mostly the pinch grip and the different strokes you use on a knife (rock and chop for European knives and the glide and push for straighter Western Japanese knives). 2). No I don't know how to sharpen my own knives but i at least know that that those V shape sharpeners manufacturers try to make you use are rubbish. I've seen videos about Honing but don't have any experience. 3). I primarily cook protein and meat dishes: typically slow cooker recipes, pan cooked sirloins, London broils, chickens and various other dishes that include vegetables, sometimes the occasional seafood dish.


Anyway I know it's a lot to read and I'm open to any and all advice you guys may impart upon this lowly skilled at home cooker.

post #2 of 20
Okay so I made this account just too reply cause your room mates a dick a honing steel is just for that and sharpening steels what w call a file is very bad for a knife and too be honest once you can use a wet stone you don't need to hon a good knife now going with a Mac? Strange choice seeing as you have felt the beauty of a zwelling I've been a chef for 13 years and use a utility knife for nothing id recommend a rocking Santorum for the best all round knife but too be honest I keep my Nakiri out all day and grab my chef knife or slicer depending on protein you can buy clips for your knife as you learn too sharpen too get the right edge but please don't blow 400 on a set of macs they are good but best building a collection of the best over time starting with a miyabi 5000 mcd sg2 and you will have that for a lot longer and enjoy it so much more hope I've been a help and yea tell your house mate his a dick
post #3 of 20

There are two types of cutting: on or off the board.  On the board, a chefs knife is more effective.   Off the board is when you use the petty or paring knife.  


I recommend 100% you go piecemeal (and expect to spend more on the chefs knife than the other knives).  Get a good chefs knife first and some sharpening stones.  A lot of people say "I want my edge to last a long time so I want Japanese knives" but they are not willing to learn how they use it, store it, and maintain it.  Those people end up with dull chipped knives.


MAC is alright but I like other options for that price (or cheaper).   I haven't used anything western handled and stainless in a long long time, so others will probably have more recommendations.   Here's a few to get you started:


If you get past the whole western handle thing, there are other recommendations I would make

post #4 of 20
Just don't over-think the situation. In the end a knife needs to be 2 things: sharp and in your kitchen. Only then is if useful. I agree with buying single knives with one exception: some of the smaller 2, 3, or 4 knife sets are pretty well thought out.
post #5 of 20
PS. your buddy's opinion, or his Grams, are interesting but just that... Opinions. Most people would probably say that a chef knife is most used. Maybe not if ones job is to turn veg but that's not often the situation. Your right about steels but lots of folks still call them sharpening steels and say that the are sharpening. Even 5-star chefs have said stuff like that. As long as you know the diff that's all that counts. How to sharpen is almost a religious war. Oil stones vs water stones vs machines. Whatever gets the job done. I use oil stones and it doesn't take me hours EVER. A buddy uses impregnated cardboard wheels and he sharpens faster but more often... I think he burns the edge most of he time.
post #6 of 20

I use water stones.  Unless it's repair work or thinning it only takes 10-20 minutes going up the entire stone progression.   Often I only touch up on finishing stones.   less than 2 minutes

post #7 of 20

Two notes for the OP:


1. Stone sharpening is not that complicated. On the contrary, with the time it becomes a pleasure to prepare the stones and sharpen.

2. Do not buy those Macs with grantons. Grantons are completely useless.

Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
post #8 of 20
Thread Starter 

Grantons? Not familiar with that term sorry. Also i myself am pretty set on whetstones but i have heard you have to be careful with what whetstones you use, any recommendations? I was also looking at Shun knives but i saw on another thread a couple veterans were saying Shun's arent as quality as MAC especially because they are more prone to chipping. 

post #9 of 20
Shun, now there's a topic governed by religious differences! Read some more and you'll find both sides of that issue. Some have had bad experiences and others have had good experiences. I didn't want to bring it up but since you did - you should give them a look if you like European features in Japanese steel. I get good service out of mine and enjoy them. Others, including working pros have posted same or similar.
post #10 of 20
Grantons = scallops, dimples.
In fact Granton is a Trademark of a knife company.
Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
post #11 of 20
Originally Posted by Ordo View Post

Although I have no experience with Grantons, it seems that their preferred functionality is with prime rib or some other humoungous cut of meat.  Please let me know.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.



Brot und Wein
(1 photos)

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.



Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
post #12 of 20

May be. I don't know reallly cause i don't own a Granton knife. I owned and own scalloped blades and scallops are useless in my experience. Besides, when you reach the scallops sharpening is a mess.

Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
post #13 of 20
I have a "Granton edge" slicer. It doesn't get used much; not as good as a long straight slicer.
post #14 of 20
Thread Starter 

Are grantons the same thing as hallowed edge? Also, do knives with grantons have reduced cutting ability for instance? The reason I ask is, for example, a MAC professional chef knife with dimples is about $30 cheaper than its not dimple counterpart.

post #15 of 20

The thing about knife sets is that it pidgeonholes you into being okay with everything in the set unless you have a way to request substitutions (for example, I'd much prefer a 9-10 inch chefs over the 8 inch in that set). You're also paying for the rollsharp.


Other western handled J-knives have been mentioned above. The Gonbei AUS-10, which is said to be the western handled equivalent of the Gesshin Uraku, should be very good. I've handled an Uraku and was quite impressed with the construction and cutting ability of it. It's a very solid option for the price point. 


I don't know how okay with a 270mm knife you may be or if you have a desire to have a matching set, but there is still the 270mm Gyuto left of Hiromoto's G-3 stainless knives.


JCK Kagayaki Basic or VG-10 should be good choices as well


The only work on the stones I've done that has taken over an hour has been heavy duty thinning and sometimes reprofiling. Basic sharpening is around 20, for sure 30 minutes almost all of the time, and I'm slow and like to mess around. Even fairly heavy repair work (removal of many chips) for other people's knives is usually not more than 30-40 minutes per knife.


Stone recommendations will depend on your budget and to an extent preferences. Are you okay with stones that need to soak in water for 30-60 minutes before usage? If so, the Beston 500, Bester 1200, Suehiro Rika 5k is a pretty tried and true soaker stones combo that are all great value great performance stones. If you lean more towards wanting to be able to soak the stone for a minute or "splash and go" stones, Naniwa Chosera/Professionals and Shapton Pros fit the bill better. They are pricier though. If you want some of what may be the best of the best, pick up a couple of Gesshin stones. With the knives you're looking at and the ones that have been recommended, the steels aren't so tricky that most all waterstones will be able to get the job done well or at least adequately.


Personally, as a home cook with stones, I find angle holding for a touch up on the stones (edge trailing strop strokes) to be easier than on a honing rod. Serves pretty much the same purpose as well.


Granton's are the successive holes going along side the edge. Hollow edge may refer to the same or possibly for a concave grind going towards the edge. Depending on the knife, the version with grantons/scallops may be thicker than the version without. They also shorter the knife's theoretical lifetime because you're going to have some issues if you end up sharpening up til the grantons.


Keep reading and looking stuff up and asking questions. Good luck with the knife search and buy!

post #16 of 20

My recommendation for beginners is to stay away from SG2/R2 PM (powdered metallurgy) steel, and never consider VG-10 at all.  SG2/R2 is fabulous stuff, but very chippy and requires a microbevel.  VG-10 has limited virtues, none of which interest me, and it is one of the more difficult steels to sharpen.


It is not rocket science or theology why some popular knives are not recommended by those who have some understanding of knife performance characteristics.  It is because their performance/price ratio is low, they rely on "Big Company Marketing Clout" to get the price, and everyone from housewives to professional kitchen help falls for it, until experience steps in.  Simple as that, no intelligent way around it.  MAC is not the worst here, by a long shot, and I wouldn't fault anyone for owning them, but as Millions pointed out you can get better from smaller companies with less marketing clout for the same money or less even.  Shun is not Western handled so we don't even have to get into that.


Get yourself a decent chefs to begin with, some obvious contenders:


Itinomonn (not stainless! but a great P/P ratio)


Geshin Gonbei, Swedish (AEB-L I think) stainless or aus10


Kikuichi Performance TKC semi-stainless


Takayuki Grand Chef  AEB-L steel


Kagayaki Carbonext semistainless (cheaper than Kikuichi, but keep in mind that you get what you pay for here)



For PM steels (you still need to micro-bevel for best performance, and good knife skills):


Geshin Kagero


Tojiro powdered metal line


Kohetsu HAP40


Yoshihiro Daisu powdered metal



For sharpening waterstones are recomended here.  There are quite a variety of waterstones to choose from, and for a beginner I really feel it it best to start from the beginning, and that comes down to price.  For around $30 you can get a King 1K/6K combination stone, or some may recomend a 800/4K, and it will sharpen your knives very nicely.  In time when you feel you know what you want you can then go out and spend upwards of $100+ per stone on a progression of stones, knowing you will likely be completely satisfied with the outlay.  Or just stick with the King.











Edited by Rick Alan - 3/27/16 at 6:03am
post #17 of 20
A whetstone is by far and away the best device to sharpen a knife, but you do have to spend a few minutes really learning how to use it properly. There’s a great instructional video on youtube:

It’s best to get a whetstone or waterstone that doesn’t require oil, because oil is messy and it traps moisture inside. The one in the video doesn’t require oil (it’s actually the one I use and it works great with just water.


  1. The angle you hold the knife is critical….. If it’s too steep then you’re actually dulling the blade. Too shallow and it will be sharp but break easily. The best angle is about 10-20 degrees off the stone. They sell “angle guides” to help beginners get used to holding the knife at the proper angle, and I highly recommend using one for a while if you’ve never done this before. The whetstone kit I have actually comes with an angle guide in it.
  2. Getting a whetstone with the proper grit combination is crucial. I recommend getting a dual-sided whetstone with #1000-grit on one side, and #6000-grit on the other. That’s perfect for taking an everyday kitchen knife from somewhat-dull to really-sharp. Don’t bother with the other grits, you don’t need them.
  3. You want to be sure to flip the knife every stroke or every two strokes while you’re sharpening. Otherwise, it’s counterproductive. Too many strokes on the same side and you’re just sharpening and then dulling it again. Hard to explain, but just trust me. Alternate from side to side the whole time and you’ll be fine.
  4. Keep the surface of the whetstone wet by sprinkling a few drops of water on it every now and then. If it starts to look or feel dry, add more water. You want the knife to slide easily, and it’s the “mud” that’s actually doing most of the sharpening.
  5. Use a tomato to test the sharpness as you go along (NOT your finger!). As soon as your knife can easily slice through the tomato skin without using any pressure at all, then it’s time to flip to the #6000-grit side for a few strokes of final honing.
  6. Be sure to leave the whetstone out to dry for at least a couple days after using. Even though it may feel dry, remember it has water on the inside too, and you don’t want it getting moldy.

There are lots of good whetstones out there, but this is the one I have and I love it. You can find it on Amazon. It comes with everything you need…. The dual-sided stone, two non-slip bases, and it even comes with the angle guide.
post #18 of 20
Bigchefman, you're probably going to get some disagreement about #3
post #19 of 20

Stick to one side until you have raised a burr (and learn to detect that).  Then switch to the other side and repeat.  Then de-burr.


You'll notice a BIG difference in performance over blindly going at it

post #20 of 20
Follow the existing configuration, unless you have good reasons to change it.
Don't flip sides before having raised burrs.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Cooking Knife Reviews › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Food & Equipment Reviews › Cooking Knife Reviews › Questions Concerning Knives and Advice