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View Full Version : Beginner setup in UK. AKA: What else to buy?



Rosco
01-25-2013, 05:24 PM
Hello everyone. I am a home cook living in Manchester. I already own a Tojiro Senkou 7" santoku and 5" utility knife, and have recently purchased a set of Globals. I never like the santoku because I found it too heavy and unweildy. I know everyone advises against buying a knife set but I am actually finding it quite useful in determining what type of blade I like to use and what I will find useful. I never thought I would use a paring knife but now that I have one as part of the set, I find myself using it on a regular basis.
I will no doubt soon want to upgrade and/or thin out my knives but I want to learn to make the most of what i got first. I need a chopping board and a sharpening system and that is what I want help with. Do I also need anything else?

Chopping board:
Being in the UK, it seems my choices are limited. The only place I can find sani-tuff boards are here: http://www.buymats.co.uk/product/227/cutting-boards-sani-tuff and it seems they cost a small fortune. Is there a cheaper supplier? The only endgrain board I can find is this one: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Rectangular-Chopping-Board-Grain-Natural/dp/B000G04NRU/ref=pd_sim_kh_1 and while the price seems very reasonable, is it any good? Which is better suited to the home environment? For those who use endgrain, do you prepare raw meat/poultry on a different board? Is it necessary?

Sharpening:
I don't really want to spend the time learning how to freehand sharpen if I can get very good results using some kind of Jig. It is my birthday in a few weeks and I was considering getting the Shapton GS Edge Pro from **************. Will it provide me with good edges on all blades? Will it restrict my knife choices? Also, should I get a decent steel to use with my knives or a strop. I have an 18"x3" leather strop I could use as well as some chromium oxide powder.

This post seemed a lot shorter in my head. Probably should of made it to posts but you know what newbies are like. Too many questions!

Edit: I just noticed the filter has automagically edited my post with asterisks. If I made a mistake by mentioning that vendor, I apologise.

Benuser
01-25-2013, 06:17 PM
I would strongly advice against any jig system. Free handing is much more versatile. Almost all J-knives are asymmetric and sharpening these with a jig system is time consuming, just as thinning behind the edge. And believe me, your Globals will need a lot of thinning.
My first problem with these systems though is the preoccupation with the very edge. Sharpening is not just restoring an edge, it's more about restoring geometry. I've seen some blades with the nicest edges - who were poor cutters.

keen81
01-25-2013, 07:15 PM
I live in the UK too and used to think it was tough but now i've come to realize that most people on here don't buy knives in person, its all mostly done online. If you dig around though its all out there in the UK and Europe. The only American site i choose to buy from is Koki, $7 shipping is amazing.

I have often thought of buying an edge pro, but i understand the limitations. though i have had no dealing with him Lloyd knives has them in the UK for a reasonable price.

End grain chopping boards are great and wipe them down and, perhaps my personal oddity ,flick it over, i've never been a fan of plastic/sani boards , Norfolk Oak normally do worktops, but if you dig round you should bespoke chopping blocks, again at what i think of as a reasonable price and they do a good job.

I'm sure your wise enough to know but never never buy Japanese knives from a swanky chain of shops in London.

stevenStefano
01-25-2013, 07:29 PM
Yeah I'd stick with JCK if I were you if you're gonna buy knives. In terms of sharpening, again I wouldn't bother with the Edge Pro. I got one when I started but I sold it and freehanding is really the way to go. You can pick up King stones for very little and I'd practice on the Globals with them. It shouldn't take you too long. I guess you could try the EP but I found the results with freehanding infinitely better. Yeah I'd get a strop too, I got mine on ebay for like a tenner

eaglerock
01-26-2013, 11:26 AM
I just bought this one and it is very nice: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tuscany-Rectangular-Chopping-Finger-Grooves/dp/B0086WQ5EO/ref=sr_1_1?s=kitchen&ie=UTF8&qid=1359213891&sr=1-1

Benuser
01-26-2013, 11:48 AM
In Europe, Chosera stones are considerably less expensive than in America.
edenwebshops.co.uk
edenwebshops.de
You might consider the 800 and 3k.

Rosco
01-26-2013, 12:30 PM
Thanks everyone. For the chopping board, I think I will get one of the T&G ones from amazon. Possibly he acacia one as recommended by eaglerock. Do I need a separate board for raw meat?
For the knife sharpening it seems like freehanding is the way to go, and I do understand that it will take a while to become proficient at it, but how long, and am I likely to have useable edges in the learning period or will I probably screw things up a lot at the start?
As for the stones, I understand that feedback should probably be a major factor in choosing stones as a beginner in order to make life easier. I don't really mind paying the money for good stones if they are better for the job at hand. Should I cough up and get some Choseras or go with the Beston 500, Bester 1200, Rika 5k? Atoma 140 seems to be the way to go for stone flatening. Oh, I almost forgot. I have a 8"x3" Coticule. Would this be useful for knife sharpening/maintainence/touch-ups at all? Is chromium oxide to fine an abrasive to use on a strop or am I better off leaving my strop nekkid?

eaglerock
01-26-2013, 01:11 PM
You don't really need the beston 500, just go with Bester 1200, Rika 5k and atoma 140 if you can afford it, you can also use sand paper to flatten your stones.

SpikeC
01-26-2013, 05:33 PM
About the separate boards for meat and veggies, to me that makes as much sense as having a separate set of hands for each of them!

Rosco
01-26-2013, 06:22 PM
About the separate boards for meat and veggies, to me that makes as much sense as having a separate set of hands for each of them!

So if you are preparing meat and veg for your meal, and you prepare the meat on the board first (boning a chicken for example), do you just wipe the board clean with a damp cloth and then prep your veggies?

Rosco
01-26-2013, 06:29 PM
You don't really need the beston 500, just go with Bester 1200, Rika 5k and atoma 140 if you can afford it, you can also use sand paper to flatten your stones.
The Rika 5k seems to be unavailable in the EU and shipping makes it quite expensive to obtain from elsewhere. I also can't find the Beston 500 anywhere. The Bester 1200, I can find as well as the standard Suehiros and the Sigma Select II stones. Naniwas and Kings seem to be the most widely available stones on this side of the atlantic. I am considering the Chosera 400,1k,5k setup with an Atoma 140 for flatening the stones. What do the other European members use/recommend?

stevenStefano
01-26-2013, 06:53 PM
You can get the Beston 500 and the Atoma 140 from Maxim at JNS, (http://www.japanesenaturalstones.com/Synthetic-Stones-s/1818.htm) who is an awesome vendor here. He is based in Denmark. The JNS 1000 is highly recommended so maybe you could try it too?

TB_London
01-26-2013, 06:54 PM
After using lots of stones my preferred progression is chosera 400 1k 5k, they are really nice stones, quick cutting, good feedback and slow wearing.
The Lamplig boards from Ikea are pretty good, and all I used until I got my awesome Boardsmith.
I will use a plastic board for meat still as I like being able to bleach it every now and again.

There are some end grain board makers in the UK I'll have a hunt for the links.

Whilst learning to sharpen you may not have the best edges, but if you follow the basics of forming an even burr then removing it you should have a sharp edge.

I'd leave the 5k stone for now as the 1k will be plenty to learn on.

Benuser
01-26-2013, 07:01 PM
I would suggest the 800 instead of the 1k - more versatility - and prefer the 3k over the 5k for a less experienced user.

eaglerock
01-26-2013, 07:26 PM
look for bluewayjapan at ebay, he got both stones with good shipping price.

Benuser
01-26-2013, 07:37 PM
How about custom duties and handling costs?

eaglerock
01-26-2013, 07:54 PM
you can email Keiichi to ask, but i paid 29$ for shipping.
you can also ask Keiichi to write a lower value for custom duties but i didn't do that.

Blobby
01-26-2013, 08:13 PM
About the separate boards for meat and veggies, to me that makes as much sense as having a separate set of hands for each of them!

Sorry, but that makes total sense unless all you make is one pot meat/veg stews or curries. In some religions it is a requirement to have complete seperate preparation areas. Although it might have been inspired by the desire to make and look at more end grain boards, I've got three. One for meat/fish, one for vegetables including onions and other "smellies" and one purely for fruit and non smellie veggies. Obviously they're relatively small boards. Don't know about you but I've never been able to keep the stale onion smell out of any board.

stevenStefano
01-26-2013, 08:13 PM
I bought stones from Keiichi before and didn't have to pay any import fees or anything at all

Blobby
01-26-2013, 08:24 PM
you can email Keiichi to ask, but i paid 29$ for shipping.
you can also ask Keiichi to write a lower value for custom duties but i didn't do that.

Don't know what you bought but from Keiichi (Bluewayjapan) a knife will cost you $4 and a stone $16 US to ship virtually anywhere in the world. No customs or other duties. At least not to Australia.

rdm_magic
01-26-2013, 09:15 PM
What about the stones from JCK?

eaglerock
01-27-2013, 03:31 AM
Don't know what you bought but from Keiichi (Bluewayjapan) a knife will cost you $4 and a stone $16 US to ship virtually anywhere in the world. No customs or other duties. At least not to Australia.

Bester 1200 and Rika 5k with base. In Finland you have to pay 23% customs if you package is over 40 even if it came as a gift. but that didn't matter because it was only 25 extra.

scotchef38
01-27-2013, 08:10 AM
Don't know what you bought but from Keiichi (Bluewayjapan) a knife will cost you $4 and a stone $16 US to ship virtually anywhere in the world. No customs or other duties. At least not to Australia.

Be aware that any goods imported into the UK over the value of 15 will attract VAT and a Royal Mail handling fee.I sent my dad a Christmas present and he had to pay 24 to get it released.You can ask the vendor to put a nominal value of 10 and you should be ok.
Check out Nisbets for chopping boards.They are,or used to be the biggest commercial supplier in the UK ofcookery equipment.

Blobby
01-27-2013, 08:55 AM
Bester 1200 and Rika 5k with base. In Finland you have to pay 23% customs if you package is over 40 even if it came as a gift. but that didn't matter because it was only 25 extra.

Wow...that puts the skids on e-bay purchases in Finland.

playford
01-27-2013, 08:56 AM
I wonder if some places like JCK would put a $10 sample on customs and that way you'd avoid those charges.

Not that I've done that a few times in the past and never been charged.

course, I havent.

franzb69
01-27-2013, 09:13 AM
i'm sure koki would be willing to oblige you. =D

i plan to do the same. hehe.

he actually undervalues his stuff so you don't get charged a lot.

eaglerock
01-27-2013, 10:16 AM
Ya Koki and Keiichi will do it if you request. both did it for me before :)

Biggest problems i have is when i buy some camera lenses, 23% hurts :sad0:

bathonuk
01-27-2013, 02:06 PM
I bought some items from Koki few times and I never had to pay any custom duty fee except the last one. I bought Nakiri and petty Furinkazan and there was only few dollars on the box but I had to pay very little custom fee (not much) and handling fee which was about 10. I still don't understand why I had to pay it. Customs in UK are bad...

Rosco
01-27-2013, 06:45 PM
You can get the Beston 500 and the Atoma 140 from Maxim at JNS, (http://www.japanesenaturalstones.com/Synthetic-Stones-s/1818.htm) who is an awesome vendor here. He is based in Denmark. The JNS 1000 is highly recommended so maybe you could try it too?

Cheers. I think I will get the Beston and the atoma from Maxim and the Bestor from fine-tools.com. Am I right that I shouldn't really use a higher grit stone until I get the hang of the 1200? I will probably see if I can finish on my coticule first and if not, then I will look into getting a finishing stone for my knives. Any tips on learning to sharpen freehand?
Yeah, UK customs are a PITA. To be fair I have only been hit for the VAT on imports on about 20% of the stuff I have bought from overseas but I would still prefer to buy from within the EU if I can get the same stuff. Japan seems to be the best country to import from. Never had a problem with anything coming from there, but maybe that's just a coincidence.

chinacats
01-27-2013, 11:06 PM
Any tips on learning to sharpen freehand?

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLEBF55079F53216AB&feature=plcp

Cheers!

stevenStefano
01-28-2013, 11:34 AM
I bought some items from Koki few times and I never had to pay any custom duty fee except the last one. I bought Nakiri and petty Furinkazan and there was only few dollars on the box but I had to pay very little custom fee (not much) and handling fee which was about 10. I still don't understand why I had to pay it. Customs in UK are bad...

I've never heard of anyone paying fees after ordering from Koki, though maybe if you buy multiple knives he can't really value it at $20

Rosco
01-28-2013, 02:52 PM
http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLEBF55079F53216AB&feature=plcp

Cheers!

Thanks for the link. Everything you need to know in one youtube playlist. I have been watching the Mark ******** videos, and I think between those and Jon's videos I feel ready to start sharpening. Time to order some stones!