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Hi denisl. Welcome to ChefTalk!

As kevpenbanc said above, the majority will (probably) recommend you spend piece by piece, rather than as a set. Certainly, I am going to do that here.

Kev was right about starting off asking about sharpening. As one former participant here, Boar D. Laze, put it, "If you don't know how to sharpen, don't want to learn, and won't or can't invest in one of the choices which don't require much learning - my suggestion is to stick with very cheap knives. Anything expensive is just a waste of money."

For this to work best, we will need to work together in a dialogue. You'll ask questions and we'll reply - We'll ask questions and you'll reply. That way, we can get to a mutual understanding of what will work best for you.

First, think about this as a three-part issue. Only one part involves knife purchase. A second part involves a good cutting board and a third part involves tools and techniques for sharpening your knives.

Next, let's start off by knowing what may be available to you. We get questions (and we have participants) from around the world. However, knife availability is largely dependent upon what country the Original Poster (the "OP") lives in. It's little or no use to you, the OP, if someone on the thread recommends a knife which you have no way of obtaining, because you live in a country which that particular product cannot be imported into. Sooooo:

What country are you in?

What type of foods do you normally cook?

What's generally the largest number of people you occasionally cook for (say, a particular meal in the course of a year)?

What's the largest knife you currently use (in terms of blade length)?

Will you be the only person in the kitchen, or will you be sharing it with someone else?

Again, I'm going to harp on what Kev emphasized: sharpening. Keeping in mind that no knife in use escapes dulling, how do you intend to maintain the sharpness of your knives' edges?

To get you off to an idea of what's involved in sharpening, read Chad Ward here: https://forums.egullet.org/topic/26036-knife-maintenance-and-sharpening/

And here are videos by Jon Broida: https://www.youtube.com/user/JKnifeImports

Hope that gives you some food for thought (and I hope we hear back from you)

Galley Swiller
 

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denisl, please be advised that I did not find Korin carrying the Tojiro brand. However, Amazon does carry the Tojiro DP in various lengths, including the 210 mm, the 240 mm and the 270 mm.

What I find in terms of importance are: 1) the shape of the blade (I prefer an edge profile with little "belly"; i.e., a not-so-curved profile with a low tip); 2) the length of the blade (for a gyuto, a 240 mm); 3) a generally conventional handle which is easy to pinch grip; 4) non-decorated steel (i.e., no Damascus); and 5) a steel which is easy to sharpen.

As noted, I prefer a handle which is easy to pinch grip. I usually have found that, with the exception of ergonomic handles, most western-style or traditional-Japanese-style handles are irrelevant as to feel with a pinch grip. Ergo handles are just uncomfortable and difficult to use with a pinch grip.

I tend to seek out knives which are tools, not showpieces. However, if you want Damascus, that's up to you. Just be aware that once scratched up, it becomes a Royal PITA to restore. You need to polish out the scratches, then apply etching fluid to restore the Damascus effect. Not for the faint of heart.

I myself don't recommend VG-10 steel (Damascus or otherwise). It can be difficult to sharpen, in that you need to use multiple sharpening grits and carefully abrade off each bead after raising that bead. If the bead is just snapped off, then it has a tendency to knock off the edge, and then you have to begin the process all over again.

Length is critical. If you are going to be doing a big cooking session, then I would strongly recommend a blade length of 240 mm or 270 mm. 210 mm is a bit too short for production work, while 300 mm is unwieldly, while the additional length can put unwanted leverage on the tip of the blade.

For a workhorse, you might also want to consider a MAC BK-100. This is MAC's web page on it: http://www.macknife.com/kitchen/pro...es/42-bk-100-chef-series-10q-chefs-knife.html It's a knife mostly marketed to line cooks, but will be big enough (at 255 mm) to do production work. The steel in the blade is the same as the Professional series MAC gyuto's, and is the same stiffness as the MAC Professional gyutos (at least to my personal comparison).

I do understand that, at $135, it is more than your initial budget of $100, but you can find it on eBay discounted down to $110. You can also check out the MAC retailers as listed here: http://www.macknife.com/kitchen/about-mac-knives/locations.html

You can also consider an Idahone 12 inch fine ceramic hone. They run about $30 or so.

Hope that helps.

Galley Swiller
 
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