In need of knives!
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Do you ever swing over to Austin? Metier cooks supply is a great place to get kitchen stuff and look at excellent knives in person. Don't know if there is a similar place in Dallas.
Edit: Metier's got some Misono, Suisin, Togiharu, as well as JKI offerings like Gesshin Uraku and Kochi that you can see in person. As well as custom maker stuff *drools*
Edited by foody518 - 5/31/16 at 7:49pm
Welcome to cheftalk Roger.
Both the Geshin Kagero and Tojiro powdered metal line score top points, and they are both about the same price. I have a Kagero, and after a few sharpenings to get past the "factory edge," it simply laughs at the cutting board.
Myabi is not the best choice for you as it is SG2 and pretty chippy, not as tough and won't have the edge retention of the other 2.
All 3 are a breeze to sharpen. They may be hard but they abrade pretty well on the stones and there's not much of a burr to struggle with.
Roger if you know your way around stones then the Tojiro DP series is great bang for the buck. As mentioned once you get past the factory edge and raise a bur - (the only tough part of sharpening VG-10) sharpening will be easy. http://www.chefknivestogo.com has some really good prices on that and some other lines. Check their "resources/closeout section for discounted items. The Richmond Artifex series is great, but you'll need to sharpen to your liking.
You can't beat the DP for value, Amazon sells them dirt cheap and they're a huge leap past the Mercers. VG-10 holds a serviceable edge really well, and if I were a line cook I'd be perfectly happy with it. If you'd rather not break the bank right now then that's the one to go for. But nothing holds a sharp edge like the powdered steels.
Considering that you seem to be more familiar with less expensive (and likely) European style knives, many of the Japanese style knives with thinner edges and harder steels will give you a massive boost in performance. As others have stated, the Tojiro dp with vg10 will put you miles ahead of what you are used to. But all knives including those made with "super steels" such as zdp189, hap40, m390/cts20cvn etc. will eventually need to be resharpened. Steel is only part of the equation. Your cutting geometry, cutting surface, and carelessness will be as much as a factor in edge retention as the steel. Get a cheaper stone and start practicing on your old k Ives once you get some new ones. A simple fine ceramic steel will help keep your edge for a much longer time.
One caveat here, you really do not want to use any sort of steel on the PM steel knives. They never go out of alignment, but eventually wear through carbide drop-out and micro-chipping, and really require the stones at that point. Also, being very hard, even a ceramic steel can do damage because its "point contact" can put so much pressure on the edge. My "softer" R2 knife does get some touch ups in between full sharpenings by stropping on a fine stone.