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Can someone help me get a good set of Japanese knives

5423 Views 24 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  ordo
My current set is walmart cheap special, so everything is a definite upgrade. My husband is a really good cook. I like making bento boxes and I have done quite well despite my knife set. However it is starting to bug me. The uses I use them for is sushi, apple swans and other similar 3d food art, and i bake bread daily. He uses the basic traditional chop and slice and parring activities. My biggest problem is I'm semi left handed in certain knife activities. My husband likes Japanese knives and I think they will suit my cooking style very well compared to the german.
  • My budget is about 600-800 (for all 4)
  • My husband prefers the hammered finish (tsuchime) bc he thinks it's pretty (this is flexible if i can convince him the knife is very good and pretty)
  • I really just want a bread, chef, parring, and utility. Extras would be boning knife and slicing knife but trying to stretch the budget. Also need a honing steel.
  • Ambidextrous (husband is right handed and i go back and forth)
  • VG 10 (very important to me)
  • Husband has nickel allergy
  • We don't care about brand, I care about function, will it work for me, and is it comfortable
  • Looking for mid-high end knives that will last a lifetime
My husband and I keep getting stuck on a fracking shun premier set but i have to compromise on the ambidextrous that I want and the knife set that fixes that is something he doesn't like the look of therefore He'll be more reluctant to take care of.

I know shun aren't the cream of the crop or any blade dream but is there any other knifes someone can recommend. The others i'm finding don't feel right. The shun feel good but then i'm stuck not using my better hand on some things (I'm ambidextrous but left hand dominant)

What is a good solution? get a right handed set now to please him and then get a left handed set for me? Is there an ambidextrous set similar to the shun premier in price and blade finish? I'm just feel cornered without options on knives

I get 10% off shun knives too so that helps the cost but I'm still not sold and I think there may be better for the money. Thank you in advance for your help
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VG 10 is important to me because i think it maintains it's sharpness better than certain other ones (like my current set). But really it's more material of the knife is important to me because I don't want just a pretty face in a knife. I'm looking for a good knife to last me for years. I can compromise on material if it will last and is semi time tested. 
Please be aware that VG-10 contains cobalt -- don't ask me in which form, I'm no metallurgist. Cobalt may be problematic when someone is known for nickel allergy.
What metal would you recommend for someone with a metal allergy. I am open minded on vg 10 but just not the shun's weaker versions sorta deal. I'm really looking for a common and nice metal that is fairly easy knife to take care of (with proper washing, and professional sharping every now and then).

My husband's allergy isn't horrible but with prolonged contact with nickel he will break out in a rash.
masakage looks pretty good to me. Still researching everything tho. My husband and i feel complicated on this subject. My husband isn't super sensitive but he does get a rash from wearing certain items
OK so I've given considerable consideration these six days now concerning a choice between the Masakage and Kagero. Well actually I've been watching a lot of public television this past week.

But never the less I have a reasoned conclusion to the present conundrum and here it is:

The Masakage while a great value has some serious drawbacks for you, as you have described your situation and needs. Firstly the only knives in there line you should be considering are the Mizu, Shimo and Yuki. The Mizu and Shimo are carbon clad carbon. They won't provoke your husbands allergies, but they will rust if not immediately cared for after each use. The Yuki is stainless clad carbon, a little better on maintanence, but we don't Know its stainless's composition.

These knives will get a little sharper than the Kagero, but their edge retention is no where near as good. Also, they have very thin edges, and this is a concern for someone who does not have very good knife skills nor any experience with thin edges such as these.

The Kagero is thin behind the edge also, but less so than the Masakage, It's SRS-15 steel not only takes a great edge, it holds that edge amazingly well. You could very conceivably go a whole year without sharpening given ordinary home use. The only question is what the stainless cladding composition is, Jon Broida will probably know this.

All of these knives are symmetrically beveled, and so ambidextrous.

Given a nickel content in the Kagero's cladding, there are mono-steel knives in Swedish stainless (19c27 in particular for it's edge holding) and Japanese Ginsanko. These will have no nickel.

Can't find the knives you are recommending. If you could give a link I'll look them up. I don't really like ceramic out of bad experience
I'm sure goldilocks knives are probably really nice and great. I'd love a set for myself if i didn't have the husband allergy issues.

With a nickel (more than trace) knife, if i cut a tomato he might react to it. I'm ok with trace amounts of nickel because my current knife set and all clad cookware has trace and he does fine. However larger is not a good idea (being certain more decorative patterns). Unfortunately, he is also drawn to said patterns and knives that contain high nickel.

I think we're going with the Masakage Yuki when we save up the money for the knife "set." The word set being used loosely as a group but they are being purchased individually.

Last item i need to find is a knife block that is, simply put, decent. I'm looking for an in drawer knife block. Nothing fancy but helps maintain the knifes and wood prefered.

Counter space is a premium in my mid century house. I have a grand total of 36x10 in. It's not a bad kitchen just a poorly layed out one (I had nothing to do with this kitchen design). And magnets and wall mounts just scare me. I am clumsy enough i prefer to accidently drop the knife in a drawer or counter rather than downward to the floor and possibly my foot. Which it's the user that scares me more than the mounting system.

I'm thinking the Wusthof but open to suggestions.

I get a 10% veteran discount at william sonoma. So it ends up being $36 but the

the other one is shun|knife-storage|

It's roughly $50 and the difference is bamboo vs rubberwood.
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Well I took my time. I decided to do a lot more research and ask a lot of questions and I got my new knives

My new Knife block is coming soon too. I went with Gyuto, Santoku and petty.

I went with the Gesshin line from japanese knife imports because I decided it was more new person friendly

I figured the Santoku would help with my occasional short work space issues and bad kitchen design. But I debated for a while on that one of whether or not to get it. The other 2 the debate was more which one.

Eventually I will get a boning knife but that's less used for me. Working on bread knife but that will be a western knife
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