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View Full Version : In the market for some high end knives! Need your thoughts!



etbenton
02-22-2013, 11:18 PM
I am new to this forum and this is my first time posting. I am interested in purchasing some new kitchen knives and I would love your opinions on some top names. I found the following set of questions in another thread so I will start with that.

What type of knife(s) do you think you want?
I am looking for 3 or 4 primary knives to use. I am not interested in buying a set of say a dozen knives. I would like either a chef's or santoku knife (although I will surely end up owning one of each), a paring knife, and one or two other knives that I am still undecided about (cleaver, honesuki, slicing knife, etc.)

Why is it being purchased? What, if anything, are you replacing?
I was given a few Chicago Cutlery knives before I left for college. I recently graduated, and my father gave me money to buy a gift that will be special to me and last a long time. I decided that a few high quality knives was the way to go.

What do you like and dislike about these qualities of your knives already?
Aesthetics- They are very plain. Aesthetics for the new knives is very important to me since it is a gift from my dad.
Edge Quality/Retention- I am a novice when it comes to edge maintenance. So a quality edge would be ideal, although I obviously plan to learn how to maintain these knives.
Ease of Use- I don't mind if the knives are not the easiest to use right away, I plan on using them for a long time and practicing my knife skills with them.

What kind of cutting motion do you use? Typically a rocking motion with my current chef's knife.

Where do you store them? I have a cheap knife roll that I will use at least for a while.

Have you ever oiled a handle? Nope.

What kind of cutting board(s) do you use? Wooden Boos block.

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

Have they ever been sharpened? No.

What is your budget? $700

What do you cook and how often? Primarily Asian cuisine (meat/vegetables for dishes done in the wok, soups, dim sum, etc.) I would say about 3-4 times a week.

Special requests(Country of origin/type of wood/etc)? Not set on anything yet, but Japanese knives have mostly caught my eye. When I first started searching, I thought that Shun was the way to go. And quickly found out that although they may be nice knives, they are overpriced for what they are. I also researched Global's, which were less costly but I wasn't as in love with the appearance of the knives as I was the Shun Premier or Shun Fuji.[/B]

Does anyone have any ideas for me?? Just to reiterate, I would like the knives to be very visually appealing since they are a commemorative gift, but not to the point where I felt like I couldn't use them regularly. Let me know your thoughts!

franzb69
02-22-2013, 11:29 PM
carbon steel? or stainless steel?

is the $700 for one knife or for all?

are you willing to buy knives directly from japan or would you rather buy local?

just to help clarify.
=D

etbenton
02-22-2013, 11:57 PM
Ah yes, great questions.

Leaning towards carbon steel, although your opinions on that would be great as well. My understanding is that carbon is generally better, you just have to care for it more and make sure it doesn't rust.

The $700 is for all 3-4 knives. The chef or santoku knife will cost the most I'm assuming. The knives I was originally looking at were around $400, and that was just too much for me to spend on one knife starting out.

I would be willing to buy directly from Japan, as long as there was decent customer service if anything happened to it that wasn't my fault.
Thanks!

franzb69
02-23-2013, 12:03 AM
couple of last questions, do you know how to sharpen? how do you sharpen?

are either of you left handed or right handed? both?

forgot to include this one.....

=D

if you wanna buy from the states, Jon Broida of japaneseknifeimports.com has great stuff and is a great guy with awesome customer service, Jon also has a sharpening service......

if you wanna buy directly from japan, Koki of japanesechefknife.com also has great stuff and has the cheapest shipping and also reasonably fast shipping, also willing to undervalue your purchases to keep taxes down to a minimum =D

for stones....Dave, the founder of this forum has a site that sells sharpening stones among other things, also has a sharpening service as well...... at japaneseknifesharpening.com

etbenton
02-23-2013, 12:08 AM
I would say I do not know how to sharpen...I have used a honing steel for edge maintenance. But again, this is something that I would like to learn!

Great! Thank you for the links. I will check them out.

franzb69
02-23-2013, 12:09 AM
oops didn't update my post fast enough.... please check my previous post. =D

i'll let the others do the recommendations....

also check out korin.com for knives and stones, based in new york, great store as well with great people.

etbenton
02-23-2013, 12:13 AM
Haha that's okay. One more thought, and this is pretty specific, but I have seen Asai knives being discussed on a few different threads. Anybody have thoughts on those?

airplay355
02-23-2013, 12:24 AM
Buy something cheap and learn how to sharpen with it :hungry:

Johnny.B.Good
02-23-2013, 12:38 AM
Haha that's okay. One more thought, and this is pretty specific, but I have seen Asai knives being discussed on a few different threads. Anybody have thoughts on those?

I haven't seen the Asai line discussed much, but here are a few positive reviews:

http://www.kitchenknifeforums.com/showthread.php/5573-Asai?p=90948&viewfull=1#post90948

http://www.kitchenknifeforums.com/showthread.php/6079-Asai-240-mm-gyuto-SG2-in-stainless-damascus?p=100593&viewfull=1#post100593

Welcome to the forum, and good luck with whatever you decide!

chinacats
02-23-2013, 12:54 AM
Welcome!

Do you think you would like a wa handle? Also, a santoku and gyuto are somewhat redundant, I would recommend getting a nice gyuto to start with. Definitely recommend carbon--the care you need is the care you should give any good knife--and I believe it gives you more good options.

Cheers!

El Pescador
02-23-2013, 01:11 AM
One of those reviews is my Asai. I got lucky with mine as its not too thick like some of them are. If you could find one like mine I would highly recommend buying it. While not as popular as some knive brands, they are both unique in texture and quite rewarding to use.

don
02-23-2013, 01:32 AM
Welcome to the forum and congratulations on graduating.

Since you're cooking Asian with a wok, then you'll want to seriously consider a cleaver like the CCK 1303. And since you're new to sharpening, this knife is inexpensive and it's tall. If you make a mistake, it's not expensive so it's not a big deal. And since it's tall, you have lots of material (metal) to work with. By the 3rd or 4th time sharpening, you should be pretty comfortable.

For paring, I'd go with an Ealy paring knife. At the cost of a Shun paring knife (the Shun classic is actually quite nice), you get a knife from a fantastic custom knife maker.

For the gyuto, I'll let others make a recommendation. I do have some Shun classic and premier knives. While I don't dislike them, I don't like them enough to recommend them. I have an Asai aogami super damascus that sees no action. I prefer thinner knives and non-kurochi finishes.

bieniek
02-23-2013, 02:05 AM
I would go for chefs knife, paring knife and an usuba. You sound like a man who is eager to learn, for asian style cooking home, I think it is fun to use usuba.

And a stone to match. Dont nee to start with many stones, you need one grit, maybe two. Learn from there.

cclin
02-23-2013, 02:55 AM
$700 is not much for 3~4 knives if you want high-end with Aesthetic J-knife! IMO, spend $180 for stones, $120 for cheap paring knife & Chinese cleaver(if you do lots Chinese cooking, you need one for sure) & $400 for a nice gyuto! use your old knives to learn how to sharpen....

etbenton
02-23-2013, 08:51 AM
cclin - I agree with that. "High-end" may have a different meaning for me just starting out. I like the way you broke that out, makes a lot of sense to me. I guess the main task I have ahead of me is finding the right gyuto!

I may be posting links to knives that I find on this thread to gather more opinions as I am searching. Thanks!

etbenton
02-23-2013, 08:54 AM
bieniek - Thanks for the recommendation. Yes, I will mainly be cooking asian in the home. Lots of vegetables so usuba makes sense. Question for you though, why usuba and not nakiri? Is the only difference that the usuba is sharpened on one side and the nakiri on both? What affect will this have when prepping?

etbenton
02-23-2013, 08:56 AM
Welcome to the forum and congratulations on graduating.

Since you're cooking Asian with a wok, then you'll want to seriously consider a cleaver like the CCK 1303. And since you're new to sharpening, this knife is inexpensive and it's tall. If you make a mistake, it's not expensive so it's not a big deal. And since it's tall, you have lots of material (metal) to work with. By the 3rd or 4th time sharpening, you should be pretty comfortable.

For paring, I'd go with an Ealy paring knife. At the cost of a Shun paring knife (the Shun classic is actually quite nice), you get a knife from a fantastic custom knife maker.

For the gyuto, I'll let others make a recommendation. I do have some Shun classic and premier knives. While I don't dislike them, I don't like them enough to recommend them. I have an Asai aogami super damascus that sees no action. I prefer thinner knives and non-kurochi finishes.

Thanks Don! Great advice there. I have seen CCK cleavers around on this forum and other sites. I will definitely look into that.

Pensacola Tiger
02-23-2013, 10:00 AM
bieniek - Thanks for the recommendation. Yes, I will mainly be cooking asian in the home. Lots of vegetables so usuba makes sense. Question for you though, why usuba and not nakiri? Is the only difference that the usuba is sharpened on one side and the nakiri on both? What affect will this have when prepping?

An usuba is a traditional Japanese knife, and excels in such tasks as katsuramuki, but the nakiri is much more suitable for prepping vegetables for a stir fry. Usubas are also one of the hardest knives to master. The single-bevel construction of the usuba also results in excessive "steering" when attempting to use it in the Western manner of cutting vegetables. If you want to experiment, then by all means get an usuba, but you will me much better served by a nakiri or a Chinese cleaver.

You may want to browse the knives available from Japanese Chefs Knife to see if there are any knives that catch your eye and you want to ask about in the forum. Although somewhat "plain", the Hattori Forum knives with cocobolo handles are very good "high-end" knives: http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/JCKHattoriForums.html

http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/images/Img16.jpg

Katsuramuki:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eC7EUa-S_qs&feature=player_detailpage

ThEoRy
02-23-2013, 12:56 PM
I agree. Unless you are doing katsuramuki there's no reason to jump in on an usuba as a first time purchase. They have a steep learning curve and if you don't fully understand single bevel sharpening you can mess one up pretty bad. Considering you have to spend a good bit to get a decent one its a potentially high risk situation.

Gyuto, nakiri and a petty may be the order of the day here. Throw in a cck 1303 just for fun because they are cheap too and you are off!

WiscoNole
02-23-2013, 01:12 PM
Gyuto, nakiri and a petty may be the order of the day here. Throw in a cck 1303 just for fun because they are cheap too and you are off!
I like this combo. Don't waste money on a nice paring knife. A paring knife rarely needs to be razor sharp, so you should devote more money to your gyuto/petty/nakiri.

rdpx
02-23-2013, 01:34 PM
I like this combo. Don't waste money on a nice paring knife. A paring knife rarely needs to be razor sharp, so you should devote more money to your gyuto/petty/nakiri.

I was humming and hawing over whether to spend on a good japanese paring/petty, mainly due to oft seen advice on here "you need a gyuto and a petty". I ended up figuring that as I have always tended to use a chef knife for pretty much everything, I didn't need one, but in deference to the experience behind the advice am going to get one of these Victorinox ones, on sale for equivalent of $8.50 down the road.... I actually really like the way it looks as well, with the "bubinga wood" handle [fibrox version is only about $5!]

http://www.chefex.co.uk/images/products/C623-Parer-(plain).jpg

Regarding advice to the etbenton, would a cleaver and a nakiri not perform the same function?

Robert

ThEoRy
02-23-2013, 02:36 PM
Yeah, I just threw the cck in there cause it's pretty cheap to try it out and see if he likes it. Not essential but for Asian cooking it's obviously pretty useful. I myself have decided that I am not a cleaver guy.

cclin
02-23-2013, 07:29 PM
......would a cleaver and a nakiri not perform the same function?
they are very different knife! Nakiri is thin & lite weight with narrow & flat profile. it mainly design push cut or forward cut for vegetable! Chinese cleaver has more wide/heavy/thick/tough blade with little cure edge. it can use for push cut, rock, chop & forward cut. Chinese vegetable cleaver is all-purpose knife for vegetable or protein without bone, Chop cleaver for protein with bone.
you won't see any Chinese chef use a nakiri in the kitchen..........at less I never seen one!!
http://i1054.photobucket.com/albums/s482/54cclin/CIMG1419.jpg

bikehunter
02-23-2013, 08:47 PM
An usuba is a traditional Japanese knife, and excels in such tasks as katsuramuki, but the nakiri is much more suitable for prepping vegetables for a stir fry. Usubas are also one of the hardest knives to master. The single-bevel construction of the usuba also results in excessive "steering" when attempting to use it in the Western manner of cutting vegetables. If you want to experiment, then by all means get an usuba, but you will me much better served by a nakiri or a Chinese cleaver.

+1 Couldn't agree more

rdpx
02-23-2013, 08:58 PM
The single-bevel construction of the usuba also results in excessive "steering" when attempting to use it in the Western manner of cutting vegetables.

(An aside from main thread, not hijacking, but not worth new thread.....)

I cut up a swede yesterday (rutabaga in US?) with my 70/30 210mm Carbonext, to see how it would fare. Got a fair bit of steering after it was about half way through. Is this poor technique, wrong knife, or just normal?

ThEoRy
02-23-2013, 09:21 PM
(An aside from main thread, not hijacking, but not worth new thread.....)

I cut up a swede yesterday (rutabaga in US?) with my 70/30 210mm Carbonext, to see how it would fare. Got a fair bit of steering after it was about half way through. Is this poor technique, wrong knife, or just normal?

It's a hard vegetable and just harder to correct steering once it sets in regardless of how it started. I wouldn't call it "poor" technique, it can happen when applying more force. More force = less accuracy.

Benuser
02-23-2013, 10:39 PM
Loosen your grip. Add a few strokes on the left side, and ease the shoulder.

keegan
02-24-2013, 01:28 AM
I have an Asai damascus knife on order. I was able to see the whole line in person in Seattle at Epicurean Edge a couple weeks back. I was very impressed with the fit and finish of the knives. The attention to detail seems immaculate. Also they had nice balance and are VERY pretty to look at. Apparently, Mr. Asai has terminal cancer and will likely not be producing these knives much longer. I opted to get one of these beautiful knives while I still can. If you like damascus, the acid etched damascus powdered metallurgical steel (Asai PM line) is absolutely stunning. Like contour lines on a topo map. Here is a video: https://vimeo.com/59814616


https://vimeo.com/59814616

Hope this helps in some way!
Keegan


Haha that's okay. One more thought, and this is pretty specific, but I have seen Asai knives being discussed on a few different threads. Anybody have thoughts on those?

bieniek
02-24-2013, 02:12 AM
bieniek - Thanks for the recommendation. Yes, I will mainly be cooking asian in the home. Lots of vegetables so usuba makes sense. Question for you though, why usuba and not nakiri? Is the only difference that the usuba is sharpened on one side and the nakiri on both? What affect will this have when prepping?

You see. This forum is all about standarization.
From my own experience with nakiri I can tell you, I have one good one and never use it, its like a chefs knife without a tip and its use is pointless. Same with cleaver. Same with petty to some extend, yet that one is used a bit more.
For some others the santoku is pointless.
You could say that 100% of home cooking can be done without any stress with chefs knife and a paring/petty, yet you will hear many times nakiri/santoku/cleaver/whatever shite is a must-have. Must for what exactly?

So my point is, take a knife that is a challenge. You dont do it for living and if chopping takes few more minutes, so what? What super-tough asian veg do you cut everyday to have soooooo much steering problems?

You also said no big deal about learning new skills, there you go then, you'd have to learn to sharpen, use and look after single bevel knives.

As to the price, well
http://www.japaneseknifeimports.com/kitchen-knives/gesshin-uraku/gesshin-uraku-180mm-white-2-kamagata-usuba.html

One of the favourite vendors here sells this decent one for 180 dollars. Stones? You anyway have to get them.

:idea2:

don
02-24-2013, 02:46 AM
The recommendation of a cheap parer is interesting (and good). Kinda depends on how you want to spend the $700 gift money. If you're thinking of going with an inexpensive parer such as the Forschner, then I wouldn't even include this as part of the gift money.

In that case, your gift could look something like the following:
1. $600 for a gyuto
2. $60 for a 1000/6000 combo sharpening stone (http://www.japaneseknifesharpeningstore.com/Combination-sharpening-stone-1000x-6000x-p/combo1x6x.htm)
3. $40 for the CCK 1303 cleaver

I know that you mentioned that >$400 is too much to spend on one knife, but if it's a gift and your primary knife for many years to come, then it can be worth it. However, if a >$400 knife means that it won't be used, then it's not the right knife right now.

The chinese cleaver is recommended since you cook Chinese food - wok and dim sum. Whether it's the intro to Eat, Drink, Man, Woman, or Martin Yan, or Iron Chef Chen Kenichi, you're going to see some amazing food and knife work. And you'll want to try it out.

franzb69
02-24-2013, 02:51 AM
that's gonna be one of a wow of a gyuto for $600 =D

ChiliPepper
02-24-2013, 04:29 AM
Coming from a home cook: the holy standard set made of gyuto-petty-suji-bread knife and a good combo stone will never disappoint and will go a long way. You should be able to buy all that with your budget easily. And I agree with cclin to keep your old knives for practicing on the stones.
If you feel the need or simply the curiosity to try out "specialized" knives like usuba, nakiri, chinese cleaver well, why not? :)

ChiliPepper
02-24-2013, 04:38 AM
Oh and btw I agree that, out of the bunch, the gyuto should be probably the knife to invest more on but I can't see why it should be more than 400$ unless the nature of the gift from your family says otherwise and you're willing to buy a "heirloom" sort of knife, in which case there are excellent customs around but that could easily absorb all your budget for just that one knife.

etbenton
02-25-2013, 08:58 PM
Great suggestions by all. One additional question I have on the gyuto. I am new to this style of knife so I'm sure this is something I need to be educated on, but it seems like there is not nearly as much connecting the blade to the handle when compared to western style knives. Some of them look like they were just stuck in the handle and if something happened to it, the blade could come out. Again, I know I am new to this, but just a thought that I had. Is there any chance of that happening?

Here is an example. It just looks so thin where it connects compared to western knives.
http://www.epicureanedge.com/pics/89961_1_b.jpg

franzb69
02-25-2013, 10:29 PM
don't worry about the handle coming off. it literally takes a hammer and a piece of wood to take the knife out of the handle. unless it was wrongly installed.

Mingooch
02-25-2013, 10:40 PM
I have almost all wa handles and have never had one come off.

etbenton
02-25-2013, 10:56 PM
Good to know. I assumed that was the case, just wanted to make sure this did not happen from time to time.

ThEoRy
02-26-2013, 12:29 AM
That's never happened to me before. The main difference between wa and yo is weight. Wa handled knives are lighter.

ChiliPepper
02-26-2013, 03:56 AM
If it is any help, roughly the same technique of mounting a blade on a handle has been applied to katana swords for centuries and those were not used to delicately cut thin slices of raw fish...

bieniek
02-26-2013, 05:16 AM
Wasnt there a pin in the katanas handle?
Just like pin in the handle of
http://ep.yimg.com/ca/I/yhst-27988581933240_2250_28174289

SpikeC
02-26-2013, 04:50 PM
When I use mine to change tires I have no problems.

Benuser
02-26-2013, 04:55 PM
Thanks, Spike!