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JDA_NC
07-07-2014, 05:38 AM
... to recommend to a cook that was interested in owning and/or learning to sharpen their own knives, what would it be? Basically that first step for someone who was looking to really maintain their knives - not just hit on the steel or give to the knife-guy every month.

I thought it might be interesting to hear some thoughts on this.

For me it'd be a Hiromoto AS. It's not a knife that I'm in love with but I really feel it's taught me a lot of good lessons.

It's affordable in the sense that it's just slightly more than say a Shun or MAC. The handle, weight, and profile is a good transition moving from Western knives and techniques to Japanese ones. It's not reactive in the slightest but the steel behaves well on most stones and the edge retention is pretty good. A nice step up from most mid-range stainless.

It's also fairly asymmetric which teaches you a good lesson when it comes to sharpening and maintaining (or if you're a lefty like me, changing) blade geometry. It thickens fairly abruptly behind the edge once you start to remove some steel and so you are forced to learn how to thin a knife to get it to perform how you like. I've found that the cladding is fairly soft so it's not a chore to remove. It might have just been my incompetence but compared to the other knives that I was learning to sharpen on, the profile gave me more issues over time as far as accordion cuts (the heel height/belly?) and so it's forced me to be more mindful about maintaining a solid profile.

There are other more inexpensive options that I'd recommend to someone just trying to buy their first knife. But for someone who was really looking to get their feet wet when it came to owning and caring for nice knives, I think that would be my first pick.

Mangelwurzel
07-07-2014, 07:20 AM
.

For me it'd be a Hiromoto AS. It's not a knife that I'm in love with but I really feel it's taught me a lot of good lessons.

It's affordable in the sense that it's just slightly more than say a Shun or MAC. The handle, weight, and profile is a good transition moving from Western knives and techniques to Japanese ones. It's not reactive in the slightest but the steel behaves well on most stones and the edge retention is pretty good. A nice step up from most mid-range stainless.

It's also fairly asymmetric which teaches you a good lesson when it comes to sharpening and maintaining (or if you're a lefty like me, changing) blade geometry. It thickens fairly abruptly behind the edge once you start to remove some steel and so you are forced to learn how to thin a knife to get it to perform how you like. I've found that the cladding is fairly soft so it's not a chore to remove. It might have just been my incompetence but compared to the other knives that I was learning to sharpen on, the profile gave me more issues over time as far as accordion cuts (the heel height/belly?) and so it's forced me to be more mindful about maintaining a solid profile.

There are other more inexpensive options that I'd recommend to someone just trying to buy their first knife. But for someone who was really looking to get their feet wet when it came to owning and caring for nice knives, I think that would be my first pick.

I would second this! I'm still fairly new to Japanese knives and a Hiro AS was my first purchase about 8 months ago. For all the reasons you outlined, I'd also recommend this as a great introductory knife (although my experience is limited).

Interestingly, I've had almost identical experiences as you, especially with the accordion cuts. I posted on the forum a little while ago to see if other people knew why this was happening. The consensus was that it was due to it being slightly too tall at the heel (which left a high spot directly in front of the heel). I recall Dave Martell said he'd seen this quite a lot recently on Hiros. I ended up taking the heel too low though so now I've got the opposite problem! It's only minor so I'm hoping it will be corrected after a few more sharpening sessions.

Timthebeaver
07-07-2014, 07:23 AM
I'll say it.

JCK Carbonext gyuto.

JDA_NC
07-07-2014, 02:04 PM
I would second this! I'm still fairly new to Japanese knives and a Hiro AS was my first purchase about 8 months ago. For all the reasons you outlined, I'd also recommend this as a great introductory knife (although my experience is limited).

Interestingly, I've had almost identical experiences as you, especially with the accordion cuts. I posted on the forum a little while ago to see if other people knew why this was happening. The consensus was that it was due to it being slightly too tall at the heel (which left a high spot directly in front of the heel). I recall Dave Martell said he'd seen this quite a lot recently on Hiros. I ended up taking the heel too low though so now I've got the opposite problem! It's only minor so I'm hoping it will be corrected after a few more sharpening sessions.

Good to see I'm not alone on that.

It's a fun knife to play with. I know that I've seen Dave Martell say that they seem to be coming in a wide range of thickness these days. Mine was definitely on the thicker side when I first got it.

I'm much happier with it now that I've put some time in on it.

http://i.imgur.com/BqKPEeF.jpg

(240mm gyuto)

There's still plenty of room for improvement but it's cutting really well these days. I own other lasers so I don't want it to be too thin. The food release is good but not great, continuing to work on improving that. Sadly the heel height is getting shorter than my liking but I think I can get another 6mo-1yr of hard use out if it. Especially since I'm not needlessly removing as much steel as before.

panda
07-09-2014, 09:07 PM
victorinox, they're going to F it up, why start with a $100+ knife...

JDA_NC
07-09-2014, 10:19 PM
victorinox, they're going to F it up, why start with a $100+ knife...

Lol, yeah, I agree with that. But I'm talking the next step afterwards.

I think many people will have experience with Victorinox before stepping foot in a kitchen where it's expected to own your own knives. I know I had been using them for a few years before that point.

The first knife that I ever bought for work was a $15 Rachel Ray santoku from Bed Bath & Beyond... LOL. It was my first time doing fine dining (really nice restaurant too - no idea why they put up with me) and I was very anti-fancy knives. I used it for about a year before caving in and buying a MAC.

http://www.northernvirginiamag.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/0912relishToolkitKnife.jpg

Look at me now...

panda
07-10-2014, 01:29 AM
i cant endorse the hiro AS for noobs. it's carbon and requires too much work to get cutting well. so does every other knife really but it's easier to start with something that is thinner behind the edge.
for learning on, i think global is the way to go. theyre easy to sharpen and retention is crap so they'll be forced to practice often. :D

Chuckles
07-10-2014, 09:21 AM
Suisin virgin carbon - so easy to sharpen.

Misono dragon - really nice knife but more $$$.

Lizzardborn
07-10-2014, 10:00 AM
Really inexpensive is the

Kockkniv 4261UG Svart from Mora.

http://www.moraofsweden.se/food/chefs-knife-4261ug

It can take a good edge and is a great starting knife for a project. And at 58HRC and 15 euro price is hard to beat.

CoqaVin
07-10-2014, 10:07 AM
Really inexpensive is the

Kockkniv 4261UG Svart from Mora.

http://www.moraofsweden.se/food/chefs-knife-4261ug

It can take a good edge and is a great starting knife for a project. And at 58HRC and 15 euro price is hard to beat.

[QUOTE=Lizzardborn;307507]Really inexpensive is the

Kockkniv 4261UG Svart from Mora.

http://www.moraofsweden.se/food/chefs-knife-4261ug

that knife looks just like a Victorinox

what about a Fujiwara FKM? or something of the sort

CoqaVin
07-10-2014, 10:07 AM
reply fail, my bad

JDA_NC
07-10-2014, 10:33 AM
Suisin virgin carbon - so easy to sharpen.

Misono dragon - really nice knife but more $$$.

How is the reactivity of these two? Do they need a (forced) patina to settle down or can you let one form naturally w/o it affecting product?

It's funny, when I started out it was Global/Shun/MAC ----->>> Misono UX10, which was The Best Sh*t Ever (TM)

I've worked with a number of people who used UX10's and swore by them, and they're nice knives, but I guess the price has jumped the last few years which stopped people from recommending them. Same with MACs.

Chuckles
07-10-2014, 10:47 AM
I never got any reactivity from either knife. I gray patina set in and I never took it off and they were as stable as can be.

I like the profile on the UX10 and it has a comfy handle. I just prefer the handle on the dragon. I don't enjoy sharpening the UX10 line at all. It is much trickier to maintain than the carbon dragon. I've worked with a few cooks with UX10 knives that they just couldn't keep sharp because they couldn't get a proper edge on it. All most everybody I've worked with that has had a dragon has had a very serviceable edge on it.

I also really like the Mac Pro line. If the idea is to get a knife that doesn't require much maintenance than I think Mac Pro is a great choice.

Benuser
07-10-2014, 03:22 PM
The Misono Dragon i've got was extremely reactive until a patina was set. Hot strong coffee, hot vinegar, whatever you want. Degrease before and rinse with really hot water after. Hardly an issue.

cheflarge
07-12-2014, 06:53 AM
HHH line knife in AEB-L

Jordanp
07-12-2014, 01:56 PM
My misono dragon was barely reactive at all and set a patina quickly and is still extremely stable. I would highly recommend this knife to someone looking for the next step if they are up to taking care of a carbon steel knife.

Benuser
07-12-2014, 02:13 PM
Yes, that reactivity is really an non issue, whether you have one from a more reactive batch or not. The Misono sharpens very easily and comes with great Fit & Finnish. A great pleasure to use.

masibu
07-13-2014, 05:57 AM
I appreciate a good bargain personally. when starting out sharpening something with good feedback and something fairly cheap are pretty important qualitiea so I wouldn't be so worried about destroying an expensive knife and can get a working edge somewhat comfortably. I just bought a fujiwara carbon which is pretty good so far and fairly inexpensive for what it can do. The stainless version should also be adequate for an aspiring apprentice

jai
07-13-2014, 09:40 AM
My masamoto ks is the knife I would choose over all my others. Not the most expensive but i love it.

Benuser
07-13-2014, 05:42 PM
I appreciate a good bargain personally. when starting out sharpening something with good feedback and something fairly cheap are pretty important qualitiea so I wouldn't be so worried about destroying an expensive knife and can get a working edge somewhat comfortably. I just bought a fujiwara carbon which is pretty good so far and fairly inexpensive for what it can do. The stainless version should also be adequate for an aspiring apprentice
I can agree about the Fujiwara carbon. Good stuff, a bit coarser grain than the Misono, which gives it some bite you may like. Highly reactive, so it will need a patina. After that, nothing to worry about. Some will complain about the sulfur smell, it will disappear as soon as the patina has been installed. Good F&F at that price level, factory edge is poor though.

CutFingers
07-16-2014, 01:46 PM
I like vintage ugly carbon knifes. They can be found from time to time and each one seems to take a great edge despite having softer metal.