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View Full Version : A high-end no-fuss knife - contradiction in terms?



mkozlows
01-04-2013, 11:42 PM
Reading this forum has been incredibly addicting, and I've been very tempted by a bunch of the knives that get recommended here, but...

I know myself. I am lazy. I am sometimes going to cook and leave the knife sitting out on the counter unwashed for hours. I am never going to sharpen a knife with anything other than the Chef's Choice 120 that I have. I'm not horrible to my knives -- they don't go in the dishwasher, I don't "sharpen" them on cheap little junk things -- but, as much as I might wish it were otherwise, they're never going to get tender, high-attention care from me, either.

Still and all, I like nice things, and I don't think that my Henckel's Four Star chef's knife is really the ultimate in knifeware. Given the reality of my lifestyle, is there a knife under $500 that's worth upgrading to, or are all the "good" knives carbon steel things that would be ruined by my care?

Here's the form letter:

What type of knife(s) do you think you want?

Chef's knife or gyuto

Why is it being purchased? What, if anything, are you replacing?

Because I like things that are great, and I'd hope that there's something better than the Henckel's Four Star out there.

What do you like and dislike about these qualities of your knives already?
Aesthetics- Just fine; I like plainish things.
Edge Quality/Retention- Less than optimal. And yes, I'm aware that this is at least somewhat on me and my sharpening.
Ease of Use- Perfectly fine.
Comfort- Very comfortable in the hand.

What grip do you use?

Pinch.

What kind of cutting motion do you use?

A lot of rocking, some push-cutting

Where do you store them?

Block.

Have you ever oiled a handle?

No, but I oil my cutting board.

What kind of cutting board(s) do you use?

Boos maple endgrain

For edge maintenance, do you use a strop, honing rod, pull through/other, or nothing?

Honing rod, but I forget to use it as often as I should

Have they ever been sharpened?

Yes, by the Chef's Choice machine

What is your budget?

Under $500

What do you cook and how often?

I cook daily. Common things it'd cut are carrots, celery, onions, chicken/pork/beef, misc. other vegetables and occasional fruits

Lefty
01-04-2013, 11:45 PM
I'm not sure how far off Pierre's mid-techs are, but they'd be my number one choice, bar none.

echerub
01-04-2013, 11:56 PM
I think you're gonna want to stick with stainless steel knives. There are some good ones... like the Devin Thomas 270 gyuto in the buy/sell forum right now (is it still there? did someone snag it already?) It's right under your budget and the knife is one of the best.

Anyways, assuming for now that this particular second-hand item isn't available... you're probably gonna want stainless, perhaps slightly on the softer side so that you can use your honing rod to refresh the edge a bit (and I hope you've got a smooth rod not a ribbed one!) and you're probably gonna want a handle with stabilized wood, micarta or something else that won't absorb anything. Suisin INOX? Sakai Yusuke harder-variant? Hmm... I'll leave it to some of the other guys who have more experience with the variety of stainless offerings out there to give you some specific product suggestions!

Dave Martell
01-05-2013, 12:03 AM
Welcome to KKF :)

The hekler
01-05-2013, 12:08 AM
Your desire to stick with the chefs choice 120 is gonna be the deal breaker at automatic sharpener is not going to be able to get the most out of a quality knife. The knives recommended are great but with subpar sharoening they will only be subpar knives. There are professionals here you could send it to for sharpening if you don't want to do it yourself or if your willing to learn a new skill you could learn to sharpen freehand and possibly develop a new hobby.

tk59
01-05-2013, 12:10 AM
Any stainless knife and some stainless clad w/ semi-stainless core will handle the sort of treatment you describe. I would stick with blades that are not harder than 60 hrc and a thinner cross section so you don't have to worry about your edge thickening up too quickly. I would recommend a 240 mm. If you want western handles, you might a Gesshin Ginga stainless. A couple of steps down from that, you can try a Togiharu. If you are interested in wa-handles, your options include Sakai Yusuke and Tadatsuna.

tk59
01-05-2013, 12:13 AM
Your desire to stick with the chefs choice 120 is gonna be the deal breaker at automatic sharpener is not going to be able to get the most out of a quality knife. The knives recommended are great but with subpar sharoening they will only be subpar knives. There are professionals here you could send it to for sharpening if you don't want to do it yourself or if your willing to learn a new skill you could learn to sharpen freehand and possibly develop a new hobby.I disagree. The geometry and profile of Japanese and Japanese-styled knives is already a significant upgrade. You will also see an increase in the amount of time that you are able to derive joy from any given edge. :) You just need to be wary of purchasing something that is going to microchip on your auto-sharpener. I know Chef's Choice makes a model for asian knives. That will be a significant upgrade as well.

cookinstuff
01-05-2013, 12:13 AM
I'd get that stainless DT ITK on the b/s/t, I'd prefer a 240 personally. Get a ceramic rod, they can maintain the Devin Thomas ITK knives really well, don't really think you'd need much more for home use, or even professional use really. That's my vote, stainless Devin Thomas and a ceramic, should be under 500$, but getting the Devin is the hard part.

tk59
01-05-2013, 12:18 AM
I think the Devin ITK's are better suited for professional work. They are nice cutters but they truly shine in the edge taking and edge retention department, neither of which is going to matter to you. I should add that a Devin custom job is in another league but also a bit out of your price range, I think.

ThEoRy
01-05-2013, 12:24 AM
You will ruin your new knife with the electric knife ruiner 5000. Waterstones ftw!

cclin
01-05-2013, 12:29 AM
if I'm going to buy $500 gyuto...I'm not sharping it with Chef's Choice machine though!! DT itk gyuto stainless & yoshikane SLD semi-stainless gyuto are good all around knives for me. they are great cutter, easy sharpping, good edge retention, won't reactive food & require no or little to take care of the knives!

Notaskinnychef
01-05-2013, 12:39 AM
In my newbish opinion, get a solid 200-250 dollar knife and a few quality whetstones, hell, even get two carbonext knives and the stones, still be under 500. Granted the CN isn't stainless but being semi stainless you still have a larger time window (but SS is likely better in your situation).

Overall tho, get a combo stone, even a king 1k/4k that lee valley sells. Sharpening seems like something you won't want to do, but like knives themselves, it's addictive.

mkozlows
01-05-2013, 12:43 AM
Any stainless knife and some stainless clad w/ semi-stainless core will handle the sort of treatment you describe. I would stick with blades that are not harder than 60 hrc and a thinner cross section so you don't have to worry about your edge thickening up too quickly. I would recommend a 240 mm. If you want western handles, you might a Gesshin Ginga stainless. A couple of steps down from that, you can try a Togiharu. If you are interested in wa-handles, your options include Sakai Yusuke and Tadatsuna.

So as I look for those, I see that (for instance) the Sakai Yusuke is sometimes described as "Swedish stainless" and sometimes as "White No. 2 Steel." It looks to me like these are different things -- white steel is carbon steel of the sort that'd rust out if not cared for carefully, yes?

As for the sharpener, it looks like the "Asian" sharpeners are different primarily in that they have a 15 degree angle instead of a 20 degree angle. Is 15 degrees a typical blade angle for the sorts of knives we're talking about here? Honestly, though, if it came down to having to buy a new machine, probably I'd just look at hand-sharpening options, so I suppose the question is whether a 20 degree machine sharpened angle is totally unacceptable -- based on the tenor of the responses here so far, I suspect I can guess the answer to this one...

tk59
01-05-2013, 12:52 AM
So as I look for those, I see that (for instance) the Sakai Yusuke is sometimes described as "Swedish stainless" and sometimes as "White No. 2 Steel." It looks to me like these are different things -- white steel is carbon steel of the sort that'd rust out if not cared for carefully, yes?

As for the sharpener, it looks like the "Asian" sharpeners are different primarily in that they have a 15 degree angle instead of a 20 degree angle. Is 15 degrees a typical blade angle for the sorts of knives we're talking about here? Honestly, though, if it came down to having to buy a new machine, probably I'd just look at hand-sharpening options, so I suppose the question is whether a 20 degree machine sharpened angle is totally unacceptable -- based on the tenor of the responses here so far, I suspect I can guess the answer to this one...
White steel is not stain resistant, yes.

It is not a question of what is acceptable. Both angles will work. The question is whether you want to drive your sports car with tires made for a off-roader. Henckels are designed to take a beating: soft and thick. Japanese knives tend toward performance: hard and thin. With an auto-sharpener, you just don't want to go too hard and thin or you'll never come out with a pristine edge. Most of us here, have obviously gone down the waterstone route and we are happy here. :)

I should clarify...
15 x 2 is 30 deg included angle. That's a fairly "thin" edge. (Ultimate thinness is about 20 deg total included angle on the finest steels.) You also want a "thin" knife. 20 x 2 is 40 deg included angle. That's half way to the angle I'd sharpen an ax at. (In the spirit of full disclosure, I admit, I have never actually sharpened an ax.)

mhlee
01-05-2013, 01:03 AM
(In the spirit of full disclosure, I admit, I have never actually sharpened an ax.)

I am surprised at this. ;)

mkozlows
01-05-2013, 01:17 AM
It is not a question of what is acceptable. Both angles will work. The question is whether you want to drive your sports car with tires made for a off-roader. Henckels are designed to take a beating: soft and thick. Japanese knives tend toward performance: hard and thin. With an auto-sharpener, you just don't want to go too hard and thin or you'll never come out with a pristine edge. Most of us here, have obviously gone down the waterstone route and we are happy here. :)

Ah, thanks! That's a point I hadn't considered. I wasn't really worried about the machine sharpening, because I've read enough about sharpening in enough places to have come to the conclusion that it's just fine -- but that's in the context of the wider angles on Western knives, and I can certainly see that it'd be a different story on Asian knives.

So, okay, I'll probably end up down that waterstone road and will have to read up on that. But I still don't want a knife that I need to worry about ruining if I leave it sitting around without immediately cleaning and drying it.

Notaskinnychef upthread recommended Carbonext, which seems to be a stain/rust-resistant carbon steel. The idea of a magical metal that has the advantages of carbon steel but not its disadvantages sounds too good to be true, especially at the cheap prices it goes for. What's the catch there?

EdipisReks
01-05-2013, 01:44 AM
I am surprised at this. ;)

me too! i've on two occasions been lucky enough to sharpen traditional Scandanavian axes (a Gransfors and an old Bilnas), and they are great fun. files followed by Styria whetstones is how my dad always sharpened his axes, and that's how i did these two, and it worked great. they both easy shaved arm hair when i was done, though i don't think i'd want to cut carrots with them.

if i wanted a high end, no-fuss knife, i'd buy a Heiji semi-stainless. scratch that, i've bought two Heiji semi-stainless, so there is no "if." i wouldn't spend that kinda money without knowing how to sharpen, though.

jgraeff
01-05-2013, 01:59 AM
Mario stainless custom- in budget, stainless, awesome performance, although you will need water stones I'd recommend gesshin 600 and gesshin 6k both splash and go easy to use and work fast.

Can't go wrong with that combo.

franzb69
01-05-2013, 02:02 AM
a suisin inox honyaki? =D

Blobby
01-05-2013, 02:07 AM
I disagree. The geometry and profile of Japanese and Japanese-styled knives is already a significant upgrade. You will also see an increase in the amount of time that you are able to derive joy from any given edge. :) You just need to be wary of purchasing something that is going to microchip on your auto-sharpener. I know Chef's Choice makes a model for asian knives. That will be a significant upgrade as well.

I'm impressed! And this objective, down to earth reply from a founding member.

tomsch
01-05-2013, 02:08 AM
I've been in the world of high end folders but have recently started sharpening my new interest of kitchen knives. Since I'm somewhat lazy at sharpening I use an Edge Pro to set the primary bevel at <30 degrees inclusive and then touch up at 30 degrees for a small micro bevel. Seems to work for my daily home cooking chores. Not much work and will still push-cut a soft tomato depending on the knife grind (not the edge finishing).

El Pescador
01-05-2013, 02:19 AM
Maybe you learn to strop and send off the knife to be sharpened by Dave or Jon.

tk59
01-05-2013, 03:09 AM
I am surprised at this. ;)Well, I've thought about it but no. No axes, yet. I do have an ax but I've probably used it twice in my life. With regard to the OP's question, if you are going to go the way of waterstone sharpening, you really have a ton of options. If you are okay with wa-handles, I would second Heiji semistainless or Gengetsu "stainless." The Mario suggestion would also be a good choice. For westerns I might choose a Gesshin Kagero or Blazen.

The CarboNEXT is among the best bang for the buck lower cost knives but not in the same class as the knives I and others just listed. It does stain and turns a blotchy, dull, gray color, if that matters to you.

quantumcloud509
01-05-2013, 03:17 AM
Im sorry that you wont be going with a Takeda Large cleaver as your first chefs knife:( Welcome to the forum!

Chefdog
01-05-2013, 10:56 AM
You might want to consider a different sharpening system that is a little more versatile than the machines, but much simpler than learning wetstones.
I've never used either one, but I'm sure someone else can comment on their effectiveness.

This is very simple, but also cheap enough to try: http://epicedge.com/shopexd.asp?id=86677

The Edgepro is well regarded, but more expensive: http://epicedge.com/shopdisplayproducts.asp?id=1274&cat=Edge+Pro+Sharpening+Systems

ETA: These links are just the first ones that came to mind to show you the alternatives, there are other places to find these, although epicedge is a very reputable store.

Cadillac J
01-05-2013, 12:53 PM
I admit, I have never actually sharpened an ax.)

Funny enough, I'm in the process of sharpening and old axe that a friend wanted me to mess with. It literally was the dullest most red-rusted piece of steel that I have ever seen in my life...but I thought it would be fun to try by hand (don't own a belt sander).

Used my dremel to remove all the rust, but sharpening was a different story...could not do it like a knife with the stone stable and holding the axe in my hands -- instead, it was easier to stabilize the axe and rub stones (i.e. Takeda's way) onto the edge in a rounding fashion to go with the convexity of the blade.

On a scale from 0-10, this thing was a 0.5 to start off in both looks and cutting ability. But now I would say it looks like a 5, and although I'm not completely done...I feel it will cut like a 7 (relatively speaking of course).

I wouldn't want to do this again, but it was fun to experiment.

SpikeC
01-05-2013, 04:42 PM
Most axes are first sharpened with a file, then edge is refined with a sone if needed. The steel isn't all that hard.

EdipisReks
01-05-2013, 05:00 PM
Most axes are first sharpened with a file, then edge is refined with a sone if needed. The steel isn't all that hard.

yep, though traditional Scandinavian axes are quite hard, and took a while even with good files.

mkozlows
01-05-2013, 06:02 PM
Mario stainless custom

I've been able to find most of the things people are mentioning here by Google, but this time I just get Mario Batali knife links, which I strongly suspect isn't what you mean.

Link?

Johnny.B.Good
01-05-2013, 06:14 PM
I've been able to find most of the things people are mentioning here by Google, but this time I just get Mario Batali knife links, which I strongly suspect isn't what you mean.

Link?

I don't know that he has a website, but he is a vendor here with his own subforum:

http://www.kitchenknifeforums.com/forumdisplay.php/93-Ingoglia-Cutlery

You can see pictures of his work here, and send him a PM if interested in commissioning something (username is "RRLOVER").

Marko Tsourkan
01-05-2013, 06:23 PM
A well made high-end knife (steel, heat treatment, profile, grind, balance, handle, etc) can be driven hard, just like a good performance car can be driven hard, provided you won't get your knife mirror-polished, so you won't have a near heart-attack when you put a scratch on it when sharpening.

Think of it as a performance knife first, and fine looks second once you start using it. Performance will be there even if the knife shows signs of abuse.

If you are a minimalist when it comes to taking care of your knives, pick a knife in stainless over carbon. Even carbon with some chromium - 52100, A2 will rust if neglected, not to mention steels with less than 1% chromium (Japanese steels, O1, W2, 1080, etc). There are several good steel options to choose from in stainless.

Hand sharpening is something where you should not skip though.

M

stevenStefano
01-05-2013, 07:00 PM
I wouldn't spend anywhere near as much as $400 to start off with. I'd get something a bit cheaper and see how you like that and then maybe go higher from there. I know a lot of people say this and it sounds like they are negative nancys but going from experience, I really really wish I had done this

mpukas
01-05-2013, 07:07 PM
I wouldn't spend anywhere near as much as $400 to start off with.

Big +1 to this

tk59
01-05-2013, 10:07 PM
Well, most people buy a set of Henckels or Wusthof, etc and get by just fine for the rest of their lives. Why would it be such a stretch to get a Gengetsu and get by? In my old age, I'm thinking it's like marriage. Some people spend their whole lives looking for the perfect one when you really just need to learn to use the really good stuff you've got. If he's gonna become a knut, then maybe go through a progression.

What $400 knives did you first buy that were such disasters for you?

jgraeff
01-05-2013, 11:58 PM
None wish I would have just gone custom and more high end to start off would have Saved lots of money including stones!

chinacats
01-06-2013, 12:38 AM
None wish I would have just gone custom and more high end to start off would have Saved lots of money including stones!

:plus1:

JBroida
01-06-2013, 12:53 AM
Well, most people buy a set of Henckels or Wusthof, etc and get by just fine for the rest of their lives. Why would it be such a stretch to get a Gengetsu and get by? In my old age, I'm thinking it's like marriage. Some people spend their whole lives looking for the perfect one when you really just need to learn to use the really good stuff you've got. If he's gonna become a knut, then maybe go through a progression.

What $400 knives did you first buy that were such disasters for you?

For what its worth, i see this a lot. Its part of the reason i discourage it. Its not so much i have problems with my customers, but at least a couple of times a day people come in to my store with knives far more advanced than they should have bought with all kinds of problems they dont know how to deal with (and were directly caused by their lack of skill/ability to deal with such a knife).

Patatas Bravas
01-06-2013, 01:08 AM
Sometimes I think that it is interesting to have a knife ratings system. I mean that knives can be classified as 'beginner/intermediate/advanced'. I wonder if vendors sometimes considered to put this classification on their websites? This could be a good idea for many people. Already, vendors put many more esoteric informations.

Crothcipt
01-06-2013, 01:15 AM
You are wanting to help out a new person, but for sales the vendors will just post what they want.

franzb69
01-06-2013, 01:33 AM
What $400 knives did you first buy that were such disasters for you?

this i would love to know.

mkozlows
01-06-2013, 01:50 AM
For what its worth, i see this a lot. Its part of the reason i discourage it. Its not so much i have problems with my customers, but at least a couple of times a day people come in to my store with knives far more advanced than they should have bought with all kinds of problems they dont know how to deal with (and were directly caused by their lack of skill/ability to deal with such a knife).

And I mean, let's be clear about this. I've probably spent a dozen hours now reading up on various knives and sharpening systems and what-not. So it's not like I'm someone who just walked into a store and bought something. I know the shape of things and what they entail and all that.

Nor am I someone who really turns things over fast. I bought, fresh out of college 14 years ago, reading all the advice I could find at the time and spending what was then a lot of money, a set of Henckels knives, which I've used for quite a long time now. So when I'm looking for something better, I don't really have any desire to buy something vaguely acceptable and then slowly upgrade until I get something good. I'd rather just buy the good thing upfront. And I know that "good" is a somewhat malleable term, and I'm reasonable about that -- like I say, I'm not looking at a "wipe down between cuts so it doesn't rust" carbon steel experience -- but at the end of the day, I don't want to be thinking "well, this knife seems nice enough, I wonder what the good ones are like."

Crothcipt
01-06-2013, 02:12 AM
The problem here is there is no real answer we can give you. There have been a few times that someone wouldn't try out a "lower, cheaper" knife and was mad when they didn't like xxx about the knife they bought. Each maker has their differences, and some of those will be a deal breaker at the price you are talking about. My first Japanese knife was all chippy, and very reactive. I will not buy that type of knife again. At that time I was also thinking of buying a 600$ knife similar and was glad I bought a cheaper one. I am not saying the 600$ one wont be a good knife, I just don't like the style.

I understand it can be frustrating, but if you spend some time learning what you like you will be more satisfied with having that knife for 10+ years.

ThEoRy
01-06-2013, 02:34 AM
A $200-300 gyuto is not what anyone here would call "vaguely acceptable". There are extremely fantastic cutters in that range. I enjoy those knives and the thousand dollar ones. Though you should really start about that range to begin. With your budget you can get a great gyuto a petty a parer and a bread knife easy. Maybe even a decent water stone as well. Food for thought.

jaybett
01-06-2013, 03:44 AM
Higher end Japanese knives are intended for experienced and advanced users. A higher end knife will have harder steel, maybe with a convex edge. In the hands of a newbie, the knife will likely chip. It takes experience to sharpen a higher end knife, and to use it effectively.

The better choice for a newbie is to get a lower cost knife, learn how to use it, and sharpen it.

There is an expectation with Japanese knifes that the user will know how to sharpen it. Lower cost knives, will have a softer steel, that is easier to sharpen.

Sharpening is not difficult, but mistakes will happen. It's easier to tolerate a mistake on a $100 knife then a $400 one.

The ideal knife can vary by the needs of a cook. A home cook, has the advantage of being able to use any type of knife. A cook in a restaurant, might place more of a premium on edge retention.

Preference in knife profile and geometry is a personal choice. The Hattori Forum knifes are close to my ideal. They are not to thick or thin. Sharpen easily, take a nice edge and have good edge retention. Other members on the forum have found them lacking and moved onto other knives.

One thing the forum agrees upon is that no one knife can do everything. The gyuto is the most versatile knife, often times it will be paired with a suji. A thin edged cleaver is great at chopping vegetables. It gets supplemented with a small suji or pairing knife.

The more you can identify the needs in your kitchen the easier it is to identify the knives suited to your needs. If you like a variety of cuisines, a gyuto would be hard to beat. Prepare a lot of vegetable dishes? You might want to consider a nakiri.

Jay

Patatas Bravas
01-06-2013, 05:32 AM
There is an expectation with Japanese knifes that the user will know how to sharpen it. Lower cost knives, will have a softer steel, that is easier to sharpen.

Yes! This is very, very true, and I am not so certain that other readers here know this or not know this. I have one high-end gyuto knife and honestly this was a new knife that I had not sharpened or had changed myself and very little using. (Geometry original and no thinning.) Well, I have met the maker with my knife and he looked at it and was giving me a lecture that I had not done sharpening correctly. Then he took it to his stones and he thinned it. Very interesting that he was thinking his own original shape was not good enough! Honest, I did not understand his language so well (all Japanese) and I could not tell him that there was no change that I had done. But also maybe he told me that it is my responsibility to buy the original and then adapt, and he thinks why didn't I start yet and he showed me! ;)

ChiliPepper
01-06-2013, 05:42 AM
Coming from someone who recently discovered the addiction: buy yourself a carbonext gyuto (whatever size you're comfortabe with) and a king combo 1000/6000. Then just look at videos and sharpen, cut, sharpen, cut, sharpen, cut... and in no time (say a month) you'll have discovered a fantastic new hobby, not to mention the joy of using a very sharp knife that you've enhanced yourself! Oh, I should probably mention that this will start a series of events and realizations that will soon lead you to try something else... something better... something more expensive... :)

playford
01-06-2013, 05:45 AM
I honestly don't see why this guy would spent anywhere near some of the money thats being talked about here. A stainless tojiro/fujiwara level knife at around $100 that can get scratched up and be left wet in the sink etc and an edge pro shapening set up would be of far more use than some 500 dollar high end job with no means of sharpening properly. This would still be a huge step up for your average cook. I'd also stay, far, far away from anything with damascus cladding.

You don't need a ferrari if you just want a car that takes you to the shops and back and isn't too much hassle to run.

Lefty
01-06-2013, 06:02 AM
I love the idea of classifying a knife as "beginner", "intermediate" and "advanced", but the possible fallout/result of doing so could be different than we had hoped. I think it's widely accepted that softer 50/50 beveled knives are deemed "beginner" knives when it comes to caring for and maintaining them. However, there are some guys out there with fantastic knife skills who use such knives and to deem their preferred weapon of choice "beginner" just doesn't seem right. The members here all know that knives that are easy to sharpen because of their make-up/design are good for beginners, but I don't feel that makes them a "beginner knife".

You then get into the category of "intermediate", which we would likely all accept as a knife with more expensive materials, harder steel to sharpen and more than likely an asymmetric bevel. Of course, yet again, there's a wrench thrown in, because of knives like Fujiwara FKM/FKH and the Misono line-up. All of these are asymmetrically ground, yet have easy to maintain steels, from a sharpening perspective. BUT, carbon steel gets thrown into the mix and these knives now become more difficult to care for (arguably, of course), and then there's that age old issue we call "reactivity/transference". So, now it seems we need a subcategory for carbon steel knives...damn....

Lastly, we have "advanced", which is the easiest of all to define, or lump into a group. Let's agree these knives are:single beveled, carbon, and cost more than many chefs/cooks earn in a week. If this is the case, even a Knut like myself only owns one such knife. You know what? That seems fair to me. Of course, there are some who say a single bevel is easier to maintain. This, of course, is true - once the blade road has been flattened or leveled off, and the owner decides if he is going to make it a chisel grind, or go with a hamaguri style sharpening, and making sure that while doing so, he maintains the intended geometry by making sure the shinogi line moves at the proper rate across the entire face of the knife, and not overdoing the ura, or micro bevel. And then there's that pesky steel type/cost attribute....

For now, I'll just let our community's social conscience decide what's appropriate for whom, while trying to dissuade those who are obviously "not ready for that cheese".

ChiliPepper
01-06-2013, 06:35 AM
Lefty that's a post that, if expanded, could result in a very interesting "sticky", and no doubt it would be quite debated. All for the better. I just want to underline that as a newbie, what gave me the go was to leave behind the "holy scare" of dealing with an expensive object (i.e. Knife) and just put the thing on the stones and try to reach my perceived goals of joy in using a sharp, beautiful and serviceable tool. I still dare to say that for a newbie, starting with a good knife around the 100/150$ range and a decent stone definitely helps in getting that obstacle out of the way and start enjoying a new hobby.

Marko Tsourkan
01-06-2013, 10:24 AM
...

What $400 knives did you first buy that were such disasters for you?

As a first knife, particularly after German knives, it's hard to find a disaster knife in any Japanese (or American made custom knife).

However, I am pretty sure there are knives in that price range that don't live up to the expectations. Maybe they aren't disasters, but $400 is not a pocket change to spend on a knife, particularly, if it comes with a poor resale value. I think the resale value is what the knife should be judged by.

stevenStefano
01-06-2013, 10:56 AM
What $400 knives did you first buy that were such disasters for you?

Masamoto KS. Well it wasn't a disaster for me, but it was for the knife :fanning: In my newbie sharpening, I made every mistake possible and basically the knife went unused for years until quite recently when after becoming more experienced sharpening-wise, I was able to fix it. It was one of my first good knives. Did I think it was amazing? Yes. Would I have thought a Carbonext was amazing too? Yes

If you're used to Euro knives or even Globals, something like a Tojiro DP is a big improvement. If you buy something that even costs $200, you are getting a great knife. I'd spending something around that and see how it goes, then maybe up the budget for the next one.

Some people might say this sounds like snobbery or something like that, but I'm just going from my own experiences. If you see something you really want that costs $400 and you can't stop thinking about it all day long then get it, but I'd just take it easy for the first one until you see how you like it and how well you can maintain it.

mkozlows
01-06-2013, 12:39 PM
So, I am very sympathetic to the idea that I wouldn't want a temperamental, or hard to care for, knife. (That's kind of the premise of the original post, in fact.)

But I don't think that automatically means that I'd want a cheap knife. Yes, I probably want a semi-stainless. Yes, I probably want a more all-purpose blade and not a delicate laser. But I still want something that's as good as possible within my budget, not just good enough. (Which isn't to say that I'm totally price-insensitive. I put $500 as an upper limit in the first post because I just couldn't see myself going above that at all; I'd be a lot more comfortable around $300. But in this, I'm biased to quality over price, so.)

As an analogy, if I wanted a no-fuss, leave-it-in-the-sink frying pan, one might sensibly point me to stainless-clad aluminium instead of copper -- but it would still be worth it to get good clad aluminium instead of cheap Wal-Mart stuff. You know?

echerub
01-06-2013, 01:29 PM
It's not a matter of pricing - there are good knives at a variety of price points and your budget is a-ok. The guys who are recommending things like the Carbonext and others are speaking from their own experience, many with both lower- and higher-priced knives at their fingertips. There are a lot of subtle elements that go into the design and make of a knife. As they say, every design is a compromise - with price being only one of the factors. Part of the reason why folks are suggesting some of the ones they're suggesting is because many of us have experienced that journey of learning and self-discovery that has led us to understand better what we each individually like in a particular kind of knife. A good part of it is personal preference, as you'll probably see from some of the passaraound threads on the forum.

Really, if you want a great knife that's easy to take care of, pick up that Devin Thomas 270 gyuto in the buy-sell section. You are going to be very hard-pressed to get a stainless gyuto with better steel. With regards to other details like profile height, the grind geometry, edge profile, etc etc... well, those are things that truly knutty folks split hairs over. Those elements make a difference to those of us who spend a lot of mental energy thinking about, remembering, and comparing them, but if you just want a great, great knife that's low maintenance and you don't want to wait too long to get it, that DT 270 is a great choice.

You can buy it, use it well, and be happy for years or decades on end. You'll want to get it nicely sharpened every so often - maybe send it in to Dave at JapaneseKnifeSharpening or Jon at JapaneseKnifeImports - but you will know that you have a fantastic knife (one that many folks here would love to have), it won't require pampering, and it'll perform like a champ for you.

In a way it's really a question of whether this is going to be the only gyuto/chef's knife that you want to buy, or if you want to embark on a journey of learning about your own preferences ... which will take you through who-knows-how-many knives by the time you're "through". There's no actual "through" or "end" as far as I can tell though :)

The hekler
01-06-2013, 01:41 PM
Really, if you want a great knife that's easy to take care of, pick up that Devin Thomas 270 gyuto in the buy-sell section. You are going to be very hard-pressed to get a stainless gyuto with better steel. With regards to other details like profile height, the grind geometry, edge profile, etc etc... well, those are things that truly knutty folks split hairs over. Those elements make a difference to those of us who spend a lot of mental energy thinking about, remembering, and comparing them, but if you just want a great, great knife that's low maintenance and you don't want to wait too long to get it, that DT 270 is a great choice.

You can buy it, use it well, and be happy for years or decades on end. You'll want to get it nicely sharpened every so often - maybe send it in to Dave at JapaneseKnifeSharpening or Jon at JapaneseKnifeImports - but you will know that you have a fantastic knife (one that many folks here would love to have), it won't require pampering, and it'll perform like a champ for you.



+1 designed for hard use in a pro kitchen environment by one of the best custom markers out there. The only reason I haven't bout the 270mm on sale now is I love carbon steel.

mc2442
01-06-2013, 01:56 PM
I think it is sold, but the DT would have been a great/bad starter knife. Great knife that would have given you an unfair starting point in comparison point to other knives. Sets the bar a bit high.

echerub
01-06-2013, 02:15 PM
mkozlos, are there some knives that you've come across in your research so far that appeal to you? Let us know what's caught your eye and why, and the guys will be better able to guide you to a choice that you're going to be very happy with.

BTW, the "is there something better?" question never really goes away because there are so many factors to consider. Because every knife is a compromise of factors, there is always another one that is better in one or more ways. That's why many of us have a whole slew of knives and many of us keep trying new or different knives. There is no objectively "ultimate" knife after which you'll never wonder about whether there's something else that you'll like better. However, the breadth of experience here will help get you to a knife that you're going to enjoy using, will be no fuss, and which only serious knife knuts are going to nitpick on the details ... a portion of which are going to be personal preference factors.

We can guide you to a great knife. We won't be able to guide you to a knife that everyone agrees is the ultimate that cannot be beaten, because such a knife does not exist :)

mkozlows
01-06-2013, 02:50 PM
Echerub, this thread has been really helpful and has gotten me pointed in a lot of useful directions.

I think I'm pretty well committed to the semi-stainless stuff. The thread has made me reconsider a lot of my initial assumptions, and I'm now reading up on sharpening stones and all; but even after that, I still can't convince myself that reactive carbon blades would be anything other than annoying to me. I'm also looking for something I can just buy, rather than have to order custom work or whatever -- when I do buy it, I'll want it instantly.

So, things I've been looking at from there, based on comments in this thread and googling elsewhere, are:

1. Gesshin ginga, which tk59 recommended in an early comment. One downside to this one is that I want to try out a wa handle, and this is a western handle.
2. Konosuke HD, which seems to get a lot of positive comments in forums, but might be too "lasery" for my purposes (although I'll still have my Henckels chef knife for breaking up chickens and what-not, so maybe I don't need to worry too much about that?)
3. Gesshin heiji, which I have bookmarked but don't remember why; this is substantially more expensive than the other ones here

Ones that I'm quasi-rejecting are the CarboNext, because a) people say they need serious reworking OOTB and I don't feel like dealing with that, plus b) the name and the marketing just feel really chintzy/gimmicky to me; and the ******** Addict, because a) I don't find many people saying anything about it, and b) I hate the name again. Yes, these are quasi-petty reasons, and if people say I'm being unfair to these knives and they're better than the knives listed above, I'll reconsider.

My tentative plan at the moment is to buy some stones, practice sharpening with my existing knives, and once I'm convinced I can put on a better edge than the machine, order whatever knife I've decided on.

mkozlows
01-06-2013, 02:51 PM
(Er, not sure why that word got asterisked out? Did I break a forum rule somehow?)

kalaeb
01-06-2013, 03:04 PM
Yes, but I won't get into it.

Another good option might also be the hattori forum, or hd. Mano has a great deal on one now with a custom handle in the b/s/t section. I am not just saying that because of the handle, but it really is a good knife. The hattori forum from jck also has a wa option

Lefty
01-06-2013, 03:07 PM
I heard the guy who made the handle is a real dick :D

The Hattori would be a cool throwback/has stood up against the current choice. Nice suggestion.

jaybett
01-06-2013, 03:24 PM
It's understandable that you wouldn't want a knife, that could be quickly outgrown. I don't think that is possible with Japanese knives though. The reason being, that the performance of Japanese knives is directly related to the ability to sharpen. There is a progression, in the beginning, people are happy to get their knives sharper then what they were out of the box. Then there is learning how to thin and putting a clam shell edge on a knife. Advanced sharpeners have a variety of skills to create highly polished edges, mist effects, etc....

There is a variety of features in Japanese knifes. Some features are more expensive, then others. Just because a knife is more expensive, does not make it better. Higher end features such as harder steel, require sharpening skills and good technique to take advantage of them. Hard steel knives are prone to chipping, if not used properly. Even if used properly accidents do happen, so a person should know how to repair a knife.

The reason why people buy multiple knifes, its not that they have out grown them, but because they want to try out different steels, grinds, geometry, and makers. Often, a new knife purchase is funded by selling off knifes. There are some great deals to be found on the Buy/Sell/Trade thread.

Jay

Pensacola Tiger
01-06-2013, 03:31 PM
1. Gesshin ginga, which tk59 recommended in an early comment. One downside to this one is that I want to try out a wa handle, and this is a western handle.



Jon carries the Gesshin Ginga with both style handles:

http://www.japaneseknifeimports.com/kitchen-knives/gesshin-ginga/gesshin-ginga-240mm-stainless-wa-gyuto.html

It's the one I'd recommend, over the Konosuke HD.

Rick

EdipisReks
01-06-2013, 03:33 PM
Echerub, this thread has been really helpful and has gotten me pointed in a lot of useful directions.

I think I'm pretty well committed to the semi-stainless stuff. The thread has made me reconsider a lot of my initial assumptions, and I'm now reading up on sharpening stones and all; but even after that, I still can't convince myself that reactive carbon blades would be anything other than annoying to me. I'm also looking for something I can just buy, rather than have to order custom work or whatever -- when I do buy it, I'll want it instantly.

So, things I've been looking at from there, based on comments in this thread and googling elsewhere, are:

1. Gesshin ginga, which tk59 recommended in an early comment. One downside to this one is that I want to try out a wa handle, and this is a western handle.
2. Konosuke HD, which seems to get a lot of positive comments in forums, but might be too "lasery" for my purposes (although I'll still have my Henckels chef knife for breaking up chickens and what-not, so maybe I don't need to worry too much about that?)
3. Gesshin heiji, which I have bookmarked but don't remember why; this is substantially more expensive than the other ones here

Ones that I'm quasi-rejecting are the CarboNext, because a) people say they need serious reworking OOTB and I don't feel like dealing with that, plus b) the name and the marketing just feel really chintzy/gimmicky to me; and the ******** Addict, because a) I don't find many people saying anything about it, and b) I hate the name again. Yes, these are quasi-petty reasons, and if people say I'm being unfair to these knives and they're better than the knives listed above, I'll reconsider.

My tentative plan at the moment is to buy some stones, practice sharpening with my existing knives, and once I'm convinced I can put on a better edge than the machine, order whatever knife I've decided on.

both the Ginga (which does come in a wa-handled variety) and the Konosuke are going to be too lasery for a first good knife. the Heiji is a kickass knife, but i wouldn't buy it if you aren't already quite good at free-hand sharpening, due to the way it's ground and the maintenance requirements. something like the Birchwood miyabi (http://www.surlatable.com/product/PRO-695916/Miyabi-Birchwood-Chefs-Knives) might work for you. it's a bit more robust than the monosteel lasers, the handle splits the difference between western and wa (though i don't think the handles on these are stabilized, so you'll want to wax the wood), it has a good, fairly simple geometry, which makes sharpening easier (and which is less likely to be immediately ruined by an electric sharpener), it will take a very fine edge and keep it pretty well, and will cut quite nicely. i would say that it will certainly feel high end to you, even if it's not necessarily the kind of knife most people on this forum would buy for the money.

mkozlows
01-06-2013, 03:52 PM
Jon carries the Gesshin Ginga with both style handles:

http://www.japaneseknifeimports.com/kitchen-knives/gesshin-ginga/gesshin-ginga-240mm-stainless-wa-gyuto.html

It's the one I'd recommend, over the Konosuke HD.


Thanks for the link. What would make you recommend it over the Konosuke?

JBroida
01-06-2013, 04:00 PM
I love the idea of classifying a knife as "beginner", "intermediate" and "advanced", but the possible fallout/result of doing so could be different than we had hoped. I think it's widely accepted that softer 50/50 beveled knives are deemed "beginner" knives when it comes to caring for and maintaining them. However, there are some guys out there with fantastic knife skills who use such knives and to deem their preferred weapon of choice "beginner" just doesn't seem right. The members here all know that knives that are easy to sharpen because of their make-up/design are good for beginners, but I don't feel that makes them a "beginner knife".

You then get into the category of "intermediate", which we would likely all accept as a knife with more expensive materials, harder steel to sharpen and more than likely an asymmetric bevel. Of course, yet again, there's a wrench thrown in, because of knives like Fujiwara FKM/FKH and the Misono line-up. All of these are asymmetrically ground, yet have easy to maintain steels, from a sharpening perspective. BUT, carbon steel gets thrown into the mix and these knives now become more difficult to care for (arguably, of course), and then there's that age old issue we call "reactivity/transference". So, now it seems we need a subcategory for carbon steel knives...damn....

Lastly, we have "advanced", which is the easiest of all to define, or lump into a group. Let's agree these knives are:single beveled, carbon, and cost more than many chefs/cooks earn in a week. If this is the case, even a Knut like myself only owns one such knife. You know what? That seems fair to me. Of course, there are some who say a single bevel is easier to maintain. This, of course, is true - once the blade road has been flattened or leveled off, and the owner decides if he is going to make it a chisel grind, or go with a hamaguri style sharpening, and making sure that while doing so, he maintains the intended geometry by making sure the shinogi line moves at the proper rate across the entire face of the knife, and not overdoing the ura, or micro bevel. And then there's that pesky steel type/cost attribute....

For now, I'll just let our community's social conscience decide what's appropriate for whom, while trying to dissuade those who are obviously "not ready for that cheese".

Its really not this simple at all... what might be a beginner knife for one person can easily be an advanced knife for another. It really depends on so many things that its not possible to accurately classify in this kind of way.

Pensacola Tiger
01-06-2013, 04:04 PM
Thanks for the link. What would make you recommend it over the Konosuke?

Two reasons.

In my opinion, the fit and finish of the Gesshin Ginga is better than the Konosuke.

The HD steel of the Konosuke will stain. The Gesshin Ginga won't.

ThEoRy
01-06-2013, 04:05 PM
It's not so much as putting a better edge on your knives than a machine can, which is easily doable. It's more about caring for your knife through proper maintenance. I don't think the machine can put a proper asymmetrical edge which is required for Japanese knives. Without a proper edge the knife will wedge or steer or both. The machine won't properly thin behind the edge as you would after repeated sharpening either, leaving you with a thick wedge over time. Machines just grind away metal shortening the useful life of the knife. Then there's convex edges, micro bevels, stropping etc. There's just so much more you can do freehand vs machines and jigs its ridiculous. You can do anything freehand on stones, any other system has limitations.

jimbob
01-06-2013, 04:14 PM
+1 for the hattori fh. I got 3 knives a month ago as my first j knives after much research. For me the perfect all rounder to begin and from what others say aren't just a "beginner" knife but a genuine cutter also. Easy to sharpen on stones too, (also a beginner) which is actually quite a fast process and wouldn't have to be done all that much in a home environment.

Lefty
01-06-2013, 04:39 PM
That's exactly my point, Jon. :)

stevenStefano
01-06-2013, 06:09 PM
Two reasons.

In my opinion, the fit and finish of the Gesshin Ginga is better than the Konosuke.

The HD steel of the Konosuke will stain. The Gesshin Ginga won't.

Sorry to go OT but I find this interesting since I have an HD. Have you used a Ginga much Rick? Hard to find much info about them

tk59
01-06-2013, 06:14 PM
Its really not this simple at all... what might be a beginner knife for one person can easily be an advanced knife for another. It really depends on so many things that its not possible to accurately classify in this kind of way.I've seen enough poorly maintained knives from respected members of this and other forums that I think in many cases, it's somewhat pompous to tell someone their knife is too advanced for them. I wouldn't be surprised if 90% of the high end knives that get sold out of a place like JKI are operating far below their potential. I'll admit I'm still learning, myself. Any time you buy a tool for the first time, you ought to read the manual. If there is no manual, you'd hope the vendor understands how to best utilize what he/she is selling so that the knowledge can be passed on. Then you just try to be diligent and hope for the best. The OP seems like someone who's being very realisitic in his expectations and is willing to so what is necessary to best utilize whatever knife he chooses. If he just seems that way and really isn't, he can sell his knife back here for a bit of a loss. That said, I would go for something that doesn't have secondary bevels. They will thicken up pretty quick and maintaining large bevels takes more skill than most people want to spend the time to develop. Gesshin Ginga or Sakai Yusuke or for a bit more, Suisin inox honyaki are the logical choice. There's nothing wrong with using these thin knives as all arounders.

mattrud
01-06-2013, 06:33 PM
I've seen enough poorly maintained knives from respected members of this and other forums that I think in many cases, it's somewhat pompous to tell someone their knife is too advanced for them. I wouldn't be surprised if 90% of the high end knives that get sold out of a place like JKI are operating far below their potential. I'll admit I'm still learning, myself. Any time you buy a tool for the first time, you ought to read the manual. If there is no manual, you'd hope the vendor understands how to best utilize what he/she is selling so that the knowledge can be passed on. Then you just try to be diligent and hope for the best. The OP seems like someone who's being very realisitic in his expectations and is willing to so what is necessary to best utilize whatever knife he chooses. If he just seems that way and really isn't, he can sell his knife back here for a bit of a loss. That said, I would go for something that doesn't have secondary bevels. They will thicken up pretty quick and maintaining large bevels takes more skill than most people want to spend the time to develop. Gesshin Ginga or Sakai Yusuke or for a bit more, Suisin inox honyaki are the logical choice. There's nothing wrong with using these thin knives as all arounders.

Its a back and forth thing. I also think most people's knives are maintained improperly or below their potential. For example I likely never take a knife to its maximum sharpness because that would be pointless for me as I need something resilient more then anything. But you know this Tinh. By the way do I still have the title of dullest knife sent back to you. Pretty proud of that one, I used the Sh*t out of that knife.

tk59
01-06-2013, 06:42 PM
...For example I likely never take a knife to its maximum sharpness because that would be pointless for me as I need something resilient more then anything...Actually, I don't think that is an example at all. I'm more referring to things like failing to thin a knife when it's thick or not sharpening the tip or the heel properly or not hitting the edge or not maintaining the height or convexity of secondary bevels, etc., etc.


...By the way do I still have the title of dullest knife sent back to you. Pretty proud of that one, I used the Sh*t out of that knife.Yes. Easily. You must have incredible mental fortitude. :pirate1:

mattrud
01-06-2013, 06:50 PM
fair enough. I won't argue with that. I still say I have yet to meet a chef or cook that knew what they were doing(well actually understood what they were doing) in my career.

If you don't push something to its limit then you don't really know what it is.

Lucretia
01-06-2013, 07:24 PM
Don't know anything about the Miyabis myself, but have heard some good reviews on them. If you wanted to try one low-risk, Sur La Table has a line of Miyabis--"Artisans"--that are SG2 stainless with pakkawood handles, and the 8" chef's knife (http://www.surlatable.com/product/PRO-1039189/Miyabi-Artisan-SG2-Collection-Chefs-Knife) is on sale with free shipping. SLT is known for its excellent return policy. Just something else to muddy the water...

Is there a knife store anywhere near you where you could go and handle some knives? You might find one that feels just right to your hand and grip that way.

tk59
01-06-2013, 07:31 PM
...Is there a knife store anywhere near you where you could go and handle some knives? You might find one that feels just right to your hand and grip that way.Actually, that's a great idea. Where are you at?

mkozlows
01-06-2013, 07:49 PM
So, I've ordered some Chosera stones and a thing to go over the sink, and then took tk's advice and ordered the Gesshin Ginga.

I figure at this point, my choices were mostly between options that are various shades of very good, and I'd gotten about 90% of the information I'd get by continuing to read reviews and forums, so it makes sense to just get something and get hands-on with it. Worst case scenario, I find out I hate it for one reason or another, and now I've learned something that I can use in the future. Likely case scenario is that I'll like it quite a bit.

Thanks to everyone who took time to help me out. Even if I didn't take your suggestion, I did google and do elaborate follow-up reading to everything suggested in this thread, and it all helped me get a picture of the landscape.

JBroida
01-06-2013, 07:54 PM
want me to sharpen it for you before it ships out?

Pensacola Tiger
01-06-2013, 07:55 PM
Sorry to go OT but I find this interesting since I have an HD. Have you used a Ginga much Rick? Hard to find much info about them

I have a 30 cm Ginga suji. I've had a early production HD gyuto (one with the buttcap) and have a current production wa-petty. The spine and choil on the early production knives had more attention given to them than they do now. In my opinion, the F&F on the Konosuke has gone down since Jon stopped carrying them, but that could just be this knife.

wenus2
01-06-2013, 08:00 PM
Good for you, congratulations!

Truth be told, I think this was really the best case scenario.
It's a great knife and those are great stones so you are well on your way.

I like that you wanted the best and that you are research heavy, you fit right in around here. I hope to see you stick around.

wenus2
01-06-2013, 08:02 PM
want me to sharpen it for you before it ships out?
I wouldn't turn that down, ever.

Blobby
01-06-2013, 08:07 PM
.............it's somewhat pompous to tell someone their knife is too advanced for them..............

Don't know about that. If you're inexperienced you would expect that sort of advice, expressed in a non-pompous way obviously, from knowledgeable people.


@OP: If you're after a superior sharpness and edge retention, the entry level carbon knife I've got ($70 delivered) knocks ten barrels of s...t out of any stainless knife I've ever used or owned. Honestly, these things are in a different league. Assuming it's a similar story with entry level Japanese stainless you don't need to spend a lot or you could get several knives. At present I've yet to determine why, aside from the collecting/custom/bespoke/appearance aspect, anyone would want to spend $400 on a single, general use kitchen knife.

mkozlows
01-06-2013, 08:10 PM
want me to sharpen it for you before it ships out?

I, uh, wouldn't complain? :)

I figure I'm going to be terrible at sharpening at first, so my plan is to try sharpening up my Henckels knives until I'm confident I can sharpen a knife without making it worse; and use the Ginga as it comes at first so I have a baseline of what it should do before I touch it.

mc2442
01-06-2013, 08:17 PM
Very nice offer Jon!

JBroida
01-06-2013, 08:21 PM
I, uh, wouldn't complain? :)

I figure I'm going to be terrible at sharpening at first, so my plan is to try sharpening up my Henckels knives until I'm confident I can sharpen a knife without making it worse; and use the Ginga as it comes at first so I have a baseline of what it should do before I touch it.

just made a note to do this before we ship tomorrow

*sorry to the rest of the thread for the OT posts

cclin
01-06-2013, 08:40 PM
....................... I would go for something that doesn't have secondary bevels. They will thicken up pretty quick and maintaining large bevels takes more skill than most people want to spend the time to develop. Gesshin Ginga or Sakai Yusuke or for a bit more, Suisin inox honyaki are the logical choice. There's nothing wrong with using these thin knives as all arounders.

tk, when you said "doesn't have secondary bevels" is mean like #2 flat grind with no secondary bevel in picture? I think it is good for suji but too weak for all around gyuto! my ideal for all around gyuto should able take multi-tasks, won't reactive food & blade won't stain easy with good edge retention. I like my all around gyuto with little weight with Convex grinds like #6 in picture. thin knives is great for vegetable cutting but feel very fragile for cutting high density food, hard root veg. & protein.. just my :2cents:
http://i1054.photobucket.com/albums/s482/54cclin/160px-Ground_blade_shapes_zps452c73fa.png

Johnny.B.Good
01-06-2013, 08:43 PM
Congratulations to the OP, and welcome to the addiction!

JBroida
01-06-2013, 08:45 PM
tk, when you said "doesn't have secondary bevels" is mean like #2 flat grind with no secondary bevel in picture? I think it is good for suji but too weak for all around gyuto! my ideal for all around gyuto should able take multi-tasks, won't reactive food & blade won't stain easy with good edge retention. I like my all around gyuto with little weight with Convex grinds like #6 in picture. thin knives is great for vegetable cutting but feel very fragile for cutting high density food, hard root veg. & protein.. just my :2cents:
http://i1054.photobucket.com/albums/s482/54cclin/160px-Ground_blade_shapes_zps452c73fa.png
i think he's talking more about something like #5 or if #3 had hamaguri edges and a tiny bevel towards the edge

Lefty
01-06-2013, 08:48 PM
I've learned number 4 with a micro bevel is damn good too, for a gyuto.

cclin
01-06-2013, 09:02 PM
I've learned number 4 with a micro bevel is damn good too, for a gyuto.

that be like 99/1 asymmetric edge!! don't you have "steering" problem when you cut??

EdipisReks
01-06-2013, 09:04 PM
that be like 99/1 asymmetric edge!! don't you have "steering" problem when you cut??

steering is up to the user.

stevenStefano
01-06-2013, 09:05 PM
I only sharpen one side of my knives and I've never noticed any steering at all. I have a knife with an 80/20 grid which steers but it's pretty manageable

kalaeb
01-06-2013, 09:09 PM
I've learned number 4 with a micro bevel is damn good too, for a gyuto.

Really? I have a chisel grind and I can't stand it for a gyuto. Even, tried micro bevel, adding a back bevel, everything, I just can't make it cut well. Of course it could be the way I cut too.

Lefty
01-06-2013, 09:14 PM
I'd guess mine is 95/5, so more like a big macro-micro bevel. :)

Matt, are you a lefty? I can't keep track of all of us.

kalaeb
01-06-2013, 09:18 PM
I'd guess mine is 95/5, so more like a big macro-micro bevel. :)

Matt, are you a lefty? I can't keep track of all of us.

No, righty, otherwise I would send you mine.

Lefty
01-06-2013, 09:19 PM
Haha. I was going to offer you a trial of mine in the future! Haha

stevenStefano
01-06-2013, 09:21 PM
I always thin the left side of my knives and only sharpen that side, I get no steering at all and they cut great. Here's a shot of my Kono HD. I guess it's not really a chisel grind but I like it whatever you would categorise it as. I am a lefty. I wonder if being a lefty sort of balances it and stops it steering?

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/55200245/IMG_0114-002.jpg

Blobby
01-06-2013, 09:21 PM
Lefty, I'm a lefty. Post it down under!

brainsausage
01-06-2013, 09:35 PM
Don't know about that. If you're inexperienced you would expect that sort of advice, expressed in a non-pompous way obviously, from knowledgeable people.


@OP: If you're after a superior sharpness and edge retention, the entry level carbon knife I've got ($70 delivered) knocks ten barrels of s...t out of any stainless knife I've ever used or owned. Honestly, these things are in a different league. Assuming it's a similar story with entry level Japanese stainless you don't need to spend a lot or you could get several knives. At present I've yet to determine why, aside from the collecting/custom/bespoke/appearance aspect, anyone would want to spend $400 on a single, general use kitchen knife.

Quality of steel/heat treat/grind. Technique is involved. You don't have to pay $30 for a plate of food. But when you experience technique that elevates common ingredients, it warrants the price.

tk59
01-06-2013, 09:44 PM
i think he's talking more about something like #5 or if #3 had hamaguri edges and a tiny bevel towards the edgeYes. Heiji, Fujiwara, Yoshikane, etc. all have at least one line ground in this fashion. Single bevel knives are also sorta like this. I cut hard root veggies with mine all the time. I actually prefer thin knives for this work.

As for asymmetry and steering, at least part of it is about evening out the amount of force applied on either side of the cutting edge. You can often mitigate some of the steering. You can also compensate a by modifying your angle of attack or applying slight pressure as you cut. After a while, you don't even think about it.

tk59
01-06-2013, 09:56 PM
...@OP: If you're after a superior sharpness and edge retention, the entry level carbon knife I've got ($70 delivered) knocks ten barrels of s...t out of any stainless knife I've ever used or owned. Honestly, these things are in a different league. Assuming it's a similar story with entry level Japanese stainless you don't need to spend a lot or you could get several knives. At present I've yet to determine why, aside from the collecting/custom/bespoke/appearance aspect, anyone would want to spend $400 on a single, general use kitchen knife.
The OP was pretty clear about the way he uses cutlery. I've used a number of carbon steel knives in varying price ranges. In general, I would agree with your assessment with regard to keeness although the stainless options we've bandied about here will at least be in the same "league." I will also agree that price does not correlate to performance. Nevertheless, the best performing 240 mm gyutos I've used have all been over $200, iirc and most have been in the $300+ range regardless of whether they are stainless.

mkozlows
01-11-2013, 01:36 AM
So as a quick update, I've gotten all my stuff in the mail (and am impressed at how much evident care is put into the package from JKI).

I haven't had a chance to use the Gesshin yet, except to chop up some limp celery I had lying around. It is, even on that, easily and evidently sharper than the machine-sharpened Henckels; the fit and finish of it is excellent, and it feels great in the hand. I clearly have little basis to review this knife, but I will say that it does not disappoint, and I'm excited about using it.

(An interesting thing was that when I tried doing a rocking cut with it, a) the front of the knife was clearly starting to cut into the board, and b) the celery took so little effort to cut that it felt like I was just going through the motions; I can certainly see why that's not the preferred method to use for knives like this.)

As for sharpening stones, I got those too, and had a go at sharpening one of my Henckels knives, using just the 1000 stone to start with. I did a total botch job of it (I started at too low an angle, so was "sharpening" the shoulder of the bevel more than the edge itself), but did eventually manage to get a knife to the point where it's sharper than a machine-sharpened knife. It's not pretty, and I wouldn't dare to touch the Gesshin yet, but I've been watching videos and I've got a pretty good idea of where I need to improve (I'm going to try the marker thing to get a better idea of the angles involved, for one thing), so it's a start.

Johnny.B.Good
01-11-2013, 01:49 AM
Excellent!

ThEoRy
01-11-2013, 02:05 AM
Way to go.. And the adventure begins!

chinacats
01-11-2013, 02:10 AM
Congrats! When you get comfortable with using it you can give a more detailed review.

Cheers!

Yamabushi
01-11-2013, 02:31 AM
Great stuff! Keep at it!

Crothcipt
01-11-2013, 06:38 PM
So as a quick update, I've gotten all my stuff in the mail (and am impressed at how much evident care is put into the package from JKI).

I haven't had a chance to use the Gesshin yet, except to chop up some limp celery I had lying around. It is, even on that, easily and evidently sharper than the machine-sharpened Henckels; the fit and finish of it is excellent, and it feels great in the hand. I clearly have little basis to review this knife, but I will say that it does not disappoint, and I'm excited about using it.

(An interesting thing was that when I tried doing a rocking cut with it, a) the front of the knife was clearly starting to cut into the board, and b) the celery took so little effort to cut that it felt like I was just going through the motions; I can certainly see why that's not the preferred method to use for knives like this.)

As for sharpening stones, I got those too, and had a go at sharpening one of my Henckels knives, using just the 1000 stone to start with. I did a total botch job of it (I started at too low an angle, so was "sharpening" the shoulder of the bevel more than the edge itself), but did eventually manage to get a knife to the point where it's sharper than a machine-sharpened knife. It's not pretty, and I wouldn't dare to touch the Gesshin yet, but I've been watching videos and I've got a pretty good idea of where I need to improve (I'm going to try the marker thing to get a better idea of the angles involved, for one thing), so it's a start.

Gratz on a great buy. And welcome to the knut side of knives. I hope you have found what you were looking for at the beginning.

mkozlows
04-07-2013, 02:41 AM
Congrats! When you get comfortable with using it you can give a more detailed review.

So, it's three months later now, and I've got some solid usage of the Gesshin Ginga in. With the same caveat as before -- my only basis of comparison is Henckels knives, not other Japanese knives -- I'll say that I love this knife. The light feel, thin blade, and sharp edge, combine to make it feel much more like I'm slicing food than chopping through it with a food axe. I've used it for pretty much everything I've cut over the last few months, and it's cut better than my old knife ever did, and the difference isn't small.

From a handling perspective, I was a bit worried about whether the extra length would be too much (I got a 240mm, and had been using an 8" chef's knife), but that hasn't been a problem at all; in fact, if I go to use the 8" knife now, it seems too short. The fit and finish are remain excellent, with the contact surfaces of the knife rounded off, and the handle well-finished. It just feels great in the hand.

The last thing I remained worried about for a while was sharpening. As I'd said, I wanted to practice on my Henckels knives until I was confident enough that I wouldn't do any damage to the Gesshin. Well, I wasn't 100% happy with how I was doing on sharpening, but I'd pretty much taken that plan as far as it could go, recently -- the Gesshin should really have been sharpened some time back, and was very noticeably dulled. So, with some trepidation, I took it to the stones, and... it came out just fine. I could be nuts, but I think it's an easier knife to sharpen than those Henckels.

(Also, when I bought the knife, some part of me thought that maybe I should have just bitten the bullet on carbon steel; but as I've used it, there've been plenty of times when I've left the knife sitting out long enough before cleaning that I had to give it a hard scrubbing to get it clean, so yeah, I made the right call going with stainless.)

All in all, I'm very pleased with the purchase, and wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to anyone else looking for an excellent low-fuss knife.

don
04-07-2013, 02:44 AM
Thanks for writing an update. Glad to hear that the Gesshin Ginga is working well for you.

wenus2
04-07-2013, 06:34 AM
Thanks for writing an update. Glad to hear that the Gesshin Ginga is working well for you.
Amen, good to see somebody post an update.

Yes, the Gesh is way easier to sharpen than a Henkels. Why? Because the steel is actually capable of getting sharp. Not something people are used to with most knives, unfortunately.

zitangy
04-07-2013, 07:23 AM
It's not so much as putting a better edge on your knives than a machine can, which is easily doable. It's more about caring for your knife through proper maintenance. I don't think the machine can put a proper asymmetrical edge which is required for Japanese knives. Without a proper edge the knife will wedge or steer or both. The machine won't properly thin behind the edge as you would after repeated sharpening either, leaving you with a thick wedge over time. Machines just grind away metal shortening the useful life of the knife. Then there's convex edges, micro bevels, stropping etc. There's just so much more you can do freehand vs machines and jigs its ridiculous. You can do anything freehand on stones, any other system has limitations.

Sharpening machine> if it is 2 circular stones, then it is designed for symetrical edge. Eventually the edge will become symetrical. Also bear in mind that the thinner Japanese knives, the Cnnvex grind may affect the edge retention as the over all result is too thin.

finally, it may be simple, just sliding it between the stones the whole length but it is too aggresive. The thicker part of the knife towards the handle area is always thicker and needs more grinding. ON a flat stone you can do what is needed accordingly.. ON teh circular stone machine, I suppose there is a way to do this?

Whilst you are at it, Have fun. I used mine for a week adn that was teh end of it..WLd only give it to someone I do not like.

Rgds

d

mkozlows
12-18-2013, 10:42 PM
So, as an update on this nearly a year later: Still loving the Gesshin Ginga, and Iíve gotten to the point where Iím no longer hideously embarrassed at my sharpening ability, which is nice, too. And those scratches on the blade add character, right?

My opinion at this point is not only that this is an excellent knife, but that itís especially an excellent knife for beginners, because:

1. It is stainless, so all the carbon steel care stuff doesnít need to come into it. If youíre coming from a regular olí German knife, you donít need to be any fussier about this one.

2. Itís easy to sharpen. Now that Iíve gotten to the point where I can put a good edge on it, and have a reasonable idea of what Iím doing, I can look at other knives and see how much more difficult theyíd be to sharpen, with their secondary bevels or what-not (as others were saying earlier in this thread). This one is very straightforward: It has a thin edge, and you sharpen that edge straightforwardly, and the blade itself is thin enough that you donít really need to do more than that.

If youíre in the position I was at the start of this thread, I can definitely recommend this knife. It certainly lives up to the no-fuss, high-end goal that I was shooting for. So, thanks again, everyone.

Now thenÖ

While thereís absolutely no reason for me to need another gyuto, I find myself wanting another one just so I can compare and contrast, and find out where my tastes really lie.

So, what Iím looking for is a gyuto to explicitly contrast with the Ginga, one thatís going to be pretty dissimilar in some major ways. Maybe a blade on the thicker side of average (and definitely not another laser). Probably carbon or at least semi-stainless. A different profile maybe. 270mm instead of 240? Although obviously I still want it to be excellent, not just different for the sake of being weird.

Iím biased toward a knife available from JKI, as I was very pleased with the experience from them, but if thereís a strong recommendation for a knife they donít sell, Iím interested in hearing it still.

Right now, after some googling and reading, my first thought is the Gesshin Heiji. Itís a lot thicker, itís got that secondary bevel so would sharpen up differently, and general opinion on it seems to be pretty positive.

Given my goals, does that seem like a good choice? Anything else youíd recommend instead?

jared08
12-19-2013, 02:02 AM
I'd say that meets your requirements spot on. Others to consider woild be shigefusa, kato, or watanabe.

ThEoRy
12-19-2013, 02:34 AM
While thereís absolutely no reason for me to need another gyuto,
Anything else youíd recommend instead?


Lies.

Try a Kato or a shig.

ChiliPepper
12-19-2013, 05:25 AM
A Yoshikane SKD could be another example of a (good) knife with marked differences with your Ginga

don
12-19-2013, 11:04 AM
Gengetsu or Gesshin Heiji would be noticeably different that the Ginga. Heiji's are getting a lot of attention recently and it's justified. Another solid option is Kochi. But if you want thicker than average, the Heiji will treat you really well.

If you want to try a 270, look for a passaround.

keithsaltydog
12-19-2013, 05:58 PM
Congrads on stepping into the world of J- Gyuto's.Also learning to freehand keeps the edges going.I would talk to Jon since your experience with JKI was good.He sells all kinds of high end knives.Stain-resistant & great carbon blades.

tomsch
12-20-2013, 12:03 AM
I too love my Gesshin Ginga. I have a white #2 and the grind makes it one of the best slicers I own. Edge holding is pretty good but due to the grind it still glides through food even when it needs a touch up. The stainless version should be just as good.

clarkgriff
12-26-2013, 08:42 PM
Glad I found this thread! I just purchased my first high end kitchen knife today and I believe its the exact one you have (240mm Gesshin Ginga from JKI). I'm a total novice when it comes to kitchen knives but am looking forward to putting this one to use.