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The ultimate budget minded n00bs guide. All contributions welcome!

post #1 of 46
Thread Starter 
Hey guys- been reading here a bit and read a lot of arguments. I have a narrow window to make this purchase so research time had been truncated, so I am asking for specific suggestions. Consider this a challenge blade heads! Going to set this up as easily as possible:

Cooks A LOT at home. What? Food. Same as you guys. Never had to hack through bones in my kitchen so far, so no worries there. Melons though, are popular with the kids.

What do I want in a knife? SHARP OOTB, preferably single material blade. (Because that seems to be the simpler, more popular choice? Elaborate please.) Easy to sharpen, durability of cutting edge is a plus, but not critical as I plan to practice honing and sharpening quite a bit, so ease of sharpening is a necessity. Handle type is of little importance, (60% western 40% traditional Asian right handed is my weight of preference. Pinch grip, but flexible.) I would like it reasonably quickly, as in I don't want to wait more than say 4 days for shipping, and would like to buy everything from 1 vendor. I am massively OCD so production defects will agrivate me if I can not fix them myself, though I would be happiest to avoid this. ( I am a fairly handy man.)

My knife history:a lot of nice pocket knives, can sharpen them well on small smith diamond sharpeners. Awful typical cheap cooking knives, no name. Haven't tried to sharpen a large knife yet, but am fearless when it comes to trying if I have the best tools I can afford to set me up for success.

What I need: to up my cooking knife game. I recently realized I was paying a lot of attention to my pocket edc knives, but absolutely no attention to my kitchen knives. I could chop a small tree down, but can hardly an onion with what's in my block. Why don't I use my edc knives for this? Never thought about it til now, but those onions are big compared to my pocket knives. I want a 240mm gyuto knife primarily and necessary stone(s) to kickstart my journey on the cooking knife blade head obsession now that I have been granted permission by the lovely lady in this brief window. I figure a carbon (non stainless) knife, but am open to others with explanation, and 1-3 stones to maintain/perfect said knife. (I am expecting a 1k/6k type setup here.) Budget is $250 for everything, but I can against my better judgement break that budget; I just don't see a need to as from what I've read the improvement will be so great even to a tojiro that going beyond that won't be worth it until I master sharpening the larger blades on the newly acquired water stones. (I've read a lot about blades on great knives needing to be sharpened or reset before they are worth the price.) I want the best starting knife and stones possible to master and move forward from. If I have money for a second 120mm or paring knife too, major brownie points. I know I'm not interested in German knives, more interested in Japanese/ French tradition.

What I ask of you, dear forum geniuses and dwellers is this: suggested starter packages of 240mm knife + stone(s) for ~$250 or less, that will set me up best to learn large blade sharpening/honing, a good reference for F/F when moving forward later, and will provide an instantly satisfying experience in the kitchen compared to what I'm used to. I know at this price range to not expect perfection, but I expect a nearly enlightening experience compared to the dollar store knives I stole from roommates in college a decade a go. (They lasted a long time, right?) I will answer accurately any further questions you may have.

I hope you guys see this more as a challenge than an annoyance, and I assure you I've read hundreds of posts here, but to be honest the threads wander about somewhat aimlessly from one disagreement and digression to another, and the organization of the forum itself leaves much to be desired, Not to mention contradicting arguments from one thread to the next. I do have a list of potential knives, but I'm more interested in your responses not knowing my choices so far, as that will add weight to my choices should they be similar, aiding in my selection process. I will say that I'm looking mostly at CKTG, though if your package makes since and all comes from the same place, I'll shop anywhere so long as it is reputable. If I choose your suggestion, consider me your knife B**** forever. I'll put it in my signature or something.

Thanks in advanced for your help and cumulative knowledge and expertise. I will place an order Thursday or Friday, so let's hear it. Let's make this thread the best summarized resource for people on a budget this summer.

post #2 of 46

First I will recommend these stones 




Get the 1000 and 5000 and you're good to go.  At some point maybe years away, you may want to add a 200-300 grit for repairs and thinning.  Really good for the money, fast cutting, don't dish much.  Plus the box is a stand.


With your remaining budget there are some real good options in your price range.  Some are out of stock.. cause they are popular 







If you don't mind used post a Want To Buy thread for $150 carbon steel gyuto on kitchenknifeforums. I've had pretty good luck getting stuff there, a lot of it almost new.

post #3 of 46

Sabatier 10 inch carbon knife and a Norton Tri-stone. 

post #4 of 46

For sab look here http://www.thebestthings.com/knives/sabatiercarbon.htm


Yes, softer carbon steel has a purpose beyond being frickin cool vintage knives.   It's more forgiving and less chippy, an easy transition from other western knives.   Also, you can use a honing steel on them!

post #5 of 46
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies,
Do you guys recommend the 4 star elephant Sab over the K Sabatier?
post #6 of 46
Stainless or carbon steel? New or NOS (new old Stock)? For the new carbon ones the grinding of the K-sabs is less uneven than the Theirs-Issard, from the few I've seen and sharpened.
post #7 of 46

I was going to recommend Gesshin Uraku White #2 Gyuto with a Gesshin 2k stone (soaker, cuts like a fast 1k but with a better finish, does a lot of work relative to the wear on the stone, will last a lonnnng time)

Or Ikazuchi 240mm (Stainless clad, AS core) for a more laser-like cutter. Also from Japanese Knife Imports. King 1k, Bester 1.2k, or Suehiro Cerax 1k for a budget starting middle grit stone that you can get used to learning waterstones on and then you can add a fine grit stone in several months down the line.


Both will have good fit and finish, a nice sized, well made handle with a horn ferrule, and an appropriate blade profile particularly for push and pull cutting. You can also request that Jon hand-sharpen the knife before he sends it out so you know it'll have a good edge on it to model off of. 


Edit: I forgot JKI stocked Suien VC Gyuto as well. The 240mm plus a stone like the Gesshin 2k or maybe one of the 1.x k offerings keeps you around budget, and you could go cheap for flattening with coarse sandpaper or drywall screen on a flat surface or hold out for a diamond plate later.

Edited by foody518 - 6/29/16 at 4:30pm
post #8 of 46
Now to answer the OP's question: for home use I would suggest a Robert Herder 23cm chef's from the 1922 series, if you can get it at a reasonable price. Very well performed grinding.
Edited by Benuser - 6/29/16 at 4:56pm
post #9 of 46
post #10 of 46
Thread Starter 
Great replies, undecided between the Sab and some of these j knives you guys are suggesting. Benuser, I know the Amazon Ksab is new old stock, but from what you say I would consider getting it direct if the import fee could be justified. Starting to think I'm more interested in the western handles at the moment.

Thanks guys!
post #11 of 46
Amazon Nos, I don't think so. NOS are from the fifties or so. Anyway, expect a more ore less floppy grinding. No problem after a few sharpenings.
post #12 of 46
Originally Posted by Spydrummer View Post

Great replies, undecided between the Sab and some of these j knives you guys are suggesting. 

Well put it this way -  Do you want to feel like Julia Child with some vintage carbon steel or like one of those young guns on top chef?  Also there were some pretty good american carbon steel makers too.  Crazy pricing these days though easily 2.5x what I paid last summer.  I miss my thinned out forgecraft 

post #13 of 46
With a 1922 Herder you get an almost French profile, but the tip will be a bit thicker. A traditional French tip is almost fragile.
post #14 of 46
post #15 of 46
Thread Starter 
Gotcha on the NOS thing. Can we compare price points a little?
How would a $63 tojiro compare in quality to a $75 Ksabatier? How about the Ksab to the Misono Swedish? I probably like the idea of a western handled jknife more, but the price of the sabatiers is quite good. I understand it may be apples to oranges but I'm thinking more of steel and ff.
post #16 of 46
Thread Starter 
Those used knives look nice- any comments on the peanut gallery on obvious flaws with them?
post #17 of 46
Thread Starter 
Honestly Julia child and young gun top chef sound bada$$. Probably some weight to young gun top chef though.
post #18 of 46
Thread Starter 
Where I'm at right now:
Misono Swedish 240 gyuto (still trying to look away from tojiro and Ksab, but the prices are tempting and I am a frugal guy.

How does one match a saya to this blade? Particularly from the korin site.
post #19 of 46

It's a good choice.  Also sold at http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/ ,  just as fast shipping, maybe a little cheaper, but no initial sharpening.


If you get it from korin just ask them to find you a matching saya.  They carry a bunch from different makers, one might fit.  If not these work great http://korin.com/Korin-Knife-Guard?sc=27&category=17904511  Just make sure to dry your knife before putting it in

post #20 of 46
Originally Posted by Spydrummer View Post

Gotcha on the NOS thing. Can we compare price points a little?
How would a $63 tojiro compare in quality to a $75 Ksabatier? How about the Ksab to the Misono Swedish? I probably like the idea of a western handled jknife more, but the price of the sabatiers is quite good. I understand it may be apples to oranges but I'm thinking more of steel and ff.

All carbons will sharpen much easier than Tojiro's VG-10. The Misono is on the soft side for a Japanese blade but has an exceptional level of fit and finish. The Robert Herder is a bit harder. The French are softer and forgive a bit more abuse. All these carbons get equally scary sharp.
post #21 of 46
If you get the Misono from Korin, make sure to have the free initial stone sharpening. Very useful as the Misono come out of the box with an overly convexed buffered edge.
Edited by Benuser - 6/29/16 at 6:10pm
post #22 of 46
Thread Starter 
Right, how much of a PITA is sharpening those 40/60 and 30/70 bevels? I'm not worried about it, just curious as this will be the biggest challenge for me starting out.
post #23 of 46
For me it is not a big deal at all. I naturally hold the right side to a lower angle anyway. Im a knife flipper though not a hand changer.

Watch the JKI sharpening videos on youtube
post #24 of 46
Thread Starter 
Last question I think: misonu Swedish or Suien VC?
post #25 of 46

I haven't used either personally, a few people on here can probably comment on the misono swedish. 


I have the Suien VC cleaver and I like the steel a lot.  The gyuto is made with the same steel.  I guess it's harder steel HRC 62-63 vs the Misono at 60 HRC.


On the other hand, the misono looks very slightly thinner and it has a dragon etched on it.

Edited by MillionsKnives - 6/30/16 at 4:42am
post #26 of 46

Also if you can hold off on ordering for a day and considered ordering from Korin, I think their July sale might be something like 15% off on knives? I recall something like that last year.

post #27 of 46
Thread Starter 
TBH, the dragon is why I kept looking around. Dragons are awesome, but is it not the most cliché thing to ever put on a knife? I really prefer the look of the plain blades w kanji on them.
post #28 of 46
You can get them without the dragon.
post #29 of 46
Thread Starter 
Just ordered Misono Swedish, no dragon w sharpening. Also picked up the Shapton Kuromaku 1k,5k from Amazon. Pretty pumped! Any knife and stone specific tips are appreciated, thanks guys!
post #30 of 46
Have fun!
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