View Full Version : Looking for a small set of knives, an help much appreciated

07-26-2011, 04:03 AM
Hi all, I'm new here, and I hope I don't come across as being rude that my first post is asking for help. :wink:

I'm a chef and I'm looking to buy a set of knives to work with. I own a set of cheap knives that I keep in the house. They are kept pretty sharp (just with a steel), partly due to limited use, but I know they would never withstand the rigours of a professional kitchen.

I have done a bit of looking around and have spotted a set that I rather like the look of, the Kai Shun DMS-300 (http://www.cookwarebycsn.co.uk/Kai-Shun-3-Piece-Knife-Set-DMS-300-L1402-K~KAA1042.html?refid=GUK74450.%2BKai+DMS-300&gclid=CLzc36vAnqoCFQJO4QodTk2s7A). Are the aforementioned a good standard of knife, or are there better available in that price range? I have gone ahead and filled out the form from the sticky thread.

What type of knife(s) do you think you want? A small (i.e. 3-piece) set of very good quality knives.

Why is it being purchased? What, if anything, are you replacing? First set, to be used in a professional kitchen.

What do you like and dislike about these qualities of your knives already?

I own no high quality knives, so I'll answer this as my 'ideal set of knives would be...'

Aesthetics- I like the look of folded steel
Edge Quality/Retention- Extremely high preferrably
Ease of Use- I can learn to use any knife, especially if it is of good enough quality to last a lifetime ;)
Comfort- Would need to be rather high given constant use. I find Globals very uncomfortable

What grip do you use? I have no real preferrance, other than 'not Globals'.

What kind of cutting motion do you use? Depends on what I'm cutting.

Where do you store them? Ideally they will come with a case.

Have you ever oiled a handle? No

What kind of cutting board(s) do you use? Colour coded plastic chopping boards.

For edge maintenance, do you use a strop, honing rod, pull through/other, or nothing? A steel, but I am open to being taught the error of my ways if that is wrong.

Have they ever been sharpened? Only steel

What is your budget? 250, can perhaps stretch to 300

What do you cook and how often? Everything and I never seem to stop ;)

Special requests(Country of origin/type of wood/etc)? None, although as I say, I love the look of folded steel.

As I say, your help is very much appreciated. Thanks for your time. :)

07-26-2011, 04:25 AM
Hiromoto 240 AS Gyuto
Hiromoto 120 AS Petty
King stone 1000/6000 or 800/6000

I dont know if CKTG got their cupon for 5% off still active...

The Hiro is a Carbon knife cladded with stainless, so you get the best from both worlds. And when you can afford, you can have the knife rehandled and etched. The Hiro is a legendary knife, and for a firsttimer you can learn how to maintain your knifes. Free vids on how to sharpen both on youtube, on the forum and at different vendors sides :)

07-26-2011, 04:34 AM
Thanks very much. They look like very elegant knives. I shall look to see if I can get a good price in the UK. :)

07-26-2011, 04:39 AM
I am not a pro but I do second Oivind's recommendation. The Hiros are great knives. The Japanese gyutos are overall a bit flatter along the edge than Western chef's knives - and the Shuns. So, you can rock them but they are not as curvy. The folded steel does not add anything to performance, it's pure aesthetics - I actually think food sticks more to the blade and there is more friction when cutting. One thing to keep in mind: while the carbon core steel of tje Hiromotos is great and retains an edge for a good amount of time, the stainless cladding is a bit soft, i.e. You will very likely get scratches very quickly - badges of honor for the working cook ;)


07-26-2011, 04:40 AM
If you live in UK, we can find someothers as well. Carbonext perhaps.
There are vendors in japan that ship to UK as well :)

07-26-2011, 04:43 AM
Thanks very much. They look like very elegant knives. I shall look to see if I can get a good price in the UK. :)

Don't know the scene in the UK but I understand that prices are on the ridiculous side... If you don't find them there for a decent price, don't hesitate to ask for sources. You can get them from Japan (and the US) for prices that may be lower even if you have to pay duty/taxes on them.


P.S. I give up, Oivind is faster and I need to go to bed now... :)

07-26-2011, 04:48 AM
Hello and welcome! Not a problem asking for advice in your first post.

Generally, you find better value buying knives piece by piece than as a set. Even if you prefer to have knives all from the same manufacturer/series, most high end japanese styled knives are sold individually and sets from the big manufacturers are designed to look like a better value than they are. Also, you probably use a chef's knife 80% of the time anyway and use a parer and utility knife more sparingly. You might be better off spending more of your budget on a nicer chefs knife, saving on knives you use less, or adding them later.

Second, you will not find a lot of people here who like Shuns. They are usually higher priced than other brands made of similar steel and craftsmanship. The profile on their chef's knife tends to be regarded as a poor design choice.

When the questionnaire asked about grip, it was asking about how you grip the handle, not the design of the grip. Common grips are "hammer", where you grab the handle as if you were to use the knife in the same manner as a hammer, or "pinch" where your thumb and first 1 or 2 fingers are pinching the blade, and your remaining fingers loosely grip the handle.

People will also recommend sharpening stones to you, and to include those in your budget. You can add them later if you must skip them at first, and they can be pretty affordable.

Some lines to check out are the Miyabi Fusion (http://www.surlatable.com/category/cat490420/Miyabi-Fusion), Togiharu Damascus (http://korin.com/Brands/Togiharu_3), or the Kagayaki CarboNext (http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/KAGAYAKICarboNextSeries.html)

07-26-2011, 05:10 AM
Excellent (and quick) advice from everyone. Very much appreciated. I'm sorely tempted by the Hiromoto 2pc set with the 120mm and 210mm knives. Looks like it'll cost 166.57 (which is $272.49, you lucky devils) including shipping and VAT, which is still a good deal cheaper than the above Shun set I posted, albeit with one less knife (which you are correct JohnnyChance, would probably be redundant). That means I can get a nice small case and sharpening stone.

JohnnyChance, I would probably describe my grip as pinch, although it varies depending on what I'm doing with the knife. Sometimes even been known to hold it like a surgeon would hold a scalpel for the odd job. :ninja:

And thanks very much, I'll check out the knives you have posted.

Much obliged everyone. Thanks.

07-26-2011, 06:19 AM
You might wanna consider ebay

lots of us have ordered from bluewayjapan:

I truly belive you should go for at least a 240 gyuto!

I also recommend the Buy/Sell/Trade marked both here in the forum, at KF, FF and other forums. This way you will get really nice knives that will last a lifetime :)

07-26-2011, 06:22 AM
Nobody mentions Fujiwara KHM/FKH as a cheaper alternative? Tho the Hiro is superb in terms of edge retention.. I've been using it as my main knife since I got it. Loads of scratches, mostly from sharpening.
You might want to drop the steel and get some stones instead. The Kings 1000/6000 might be a good starter. Might want to invest in strops sometime down the road, tho I have not reached that stage... Yet...

Cadillac J
07-26-2011, 08:37 AM
Since you are not in the US, I would recommend going to www.japanesechefsknife.com (JCK) and take a look around at some products. Shipping is only $7 internationally and takes a few days to get their...EMS is a wonderful thing.

Brands to consider for your first real j-knife:
-JCK CarboNext
-Fujiwara FKM series
-Hiromoto AS (or G3 series for full stain-resistant)

Or find something you like and then ask more questions about that particular line/product.

07-26-2011, 09:16 AM
I have been using a 210mm gyuto for a long time, i just got my first 240mm a kono HD and man was i making my life harder on myself! A 240 is just a nimble and do much more so i agree with Oivind on that one!

Im not expert on knives by any means i normally turn to these guys for help and they have led me in all the right directions with purchases. But i also agree that "sets" just dont measure out as well as buying them individually. I would recommend a 240mm gyuto and a petty i like a 180 or 210 but it depends on what tasks you would be using it for. I have always just used cheap pairing knives for small tasks and they work just fine for the most part. But the fujiwara FKH is a great steal i was highly considering it a while back for a work knife cant beat the price and i have heard only good things about it.

Although i would definitely recommend getting a couple stones as well to start so you can maintain your edge on your knives, the videos on youtube by mark from cktg and jon by japanesekniveimports have really helped me with my sharpening. I only use a 1k and 6k, and it works pretty well, if i just touch it up every 4-5 days or so on the 6k i dont have to resharpen for almost a month.

07-26-2011, 09:31 AM
I would not recommend a Hiro due to mediocre performance. I'm certain you will be happier with a TKC or CarboNEXT. I had one guy with a 240 Hiro come by about two months ago. He tried out my 210 CarboNEXT. I saw him again a few weeks later and guess what? That's right. He had a CarboNEXT. This knife is far superior in my opinion. It has better geometry, better fit and finish and it is semi-stainless so it resists water and acid damage far better than the Hiro.

07-26-2011, 02:15 PM
I really like the CN. The Kagayaki line of knives, of which the CN is a part, have great fit and finish and exceptional value.
The CN is certainly lighter than the Hiro but I have never had any performance issues with the Hiro AS and I would not rate it sub par on any level. I feel the Hiro takes a little better edge and retains it longer. They are in the same price range and you could not go wrong with either.

07-26-2011, 06:06 PM
Thanks to everyone who replied. Really grateful to everyone who has given their opinion. I have a confession to make, I order the Hiromoto 2pc set before I left this morning from CKTG, and they are on their way as we speak. Very excited. They worked out a little more than I thought earlier, as I failed to take into account the fact that exchange rates are always less favourable than the absolute, though I am still rather happy. I hope they arrive soon.

As for the point about 240mm vs 210mm, I'm rather confident that the 210 will be sufficient. I really favour a smaller knife, and while a 240 isn't too large, I feel a 210 is a perfect size for me. I can always add to my collection later should I feel the need. ;)

Also, I didn't order a whetstone, as I'm hoping the blade will retain it's edge for the near future. In the meantime, I will learn as much as I can about sharpening knives with a whetstone, and hopefully, when the knives need work, I will order a stone and feel confident in using it. I can feel an addiction coming on.

Thanks again to everyone, and hopefully I'll be able to share with you soon how much I enjoy my knives.

07-26-2011, 06:16 PM
Have fun with them. If you decide to play with waterstones, this place ca get you started with a basic set: http://www.axminster.co.uk/waterstones-dept207976_pg1/


07-26-2011, 06:27 PM
Good luck!

Hope to hear from you when you get them :)

07-26-2011, 07:27 PM
Heya, good to see someone else from the Uk here
I'll be interested to hear how you like the hiros, when I've ordered from Mark it usually takes about 10 days to arrive and clear customs, (HMRC sometimes add import duty in which case you have to go pick them up from parcelforce and pay the charge).
I'd definitely order some waterstones sooner rather than later, that way you'll have a chance to practice, there are quite a few sellers in the uk, let me know if you want links.

08-16-2011, 05:14 PM
Hi all. Been using my knives for a week or so now, and I adore them. :laugh:

When they first arrived I was absolutely amazed at how sharp they were; I had never used a knife as sharp. My colleague tried them, and a somewhat terrifying grin appeared on his face. A surefire sign of approval. :biggrin:

Anyway, the constant use has dulled the edge a little, so I figure I should get in about the waterstones. I was hoping for some hints as to what stones to get and where to buy them. Also, if it's not too much trouble, some links to tutorials? I've watched a few on youtube, and the techniques are similar, but perhaps there are one or two that everyone agrees upon.

Thanks again for your help everyone. :)

08-16-2011, 06:48 PM
King stones are by no means top of the range, but they are pretty good and are very easy to get in the UK. I think this set looks reasonable (http://www.axminster.co.uk/ice-bear-ice-bear-waterstone-sharpening-kit-prod23188/) though if you don't want a holder you could save a few quid. I say you should be looking at one 800-1000 grit stone and one finisher at 4000-6000. Did you have to pay much to clear your Hiros from customs? It is usually a PITA for me when I order from Japan or the States, but JCK is way better and you only pay $7 postage. Just something to think about in future, you could probably have got the Hiros cheaper there

Cadillac J
08-16-2011, 07:27 PM
When they first arrived I was absolutely amazed at how sharp they were; I had never used a knife as sharp. My colleague tried them, and a somewhat terrifying grin appeared on his face.

From the stock/factory edge? Just wait several months after you get good at sharpening and remember that feeling...you will look back and see those as relatively dull. Man, I'm excited for you just starting your journey!

08-16-2011, 11:36 PM
As you're living in Europe you may get Chosera and Naniwa stones much cheaper than our American friends at Edenwebshops.
My suggestion would be to get a relatively coarse stone as well. You will need it whenever you will want to adapt the edge to your wishes, especially in the case of the Aogami Super steel. I use 400, 800 and 3000 Choseras. Regards.

08-19-2011, 04:07 AM
I have ordered bester and chosera stones from dieter Schmidt in Germany and they arrived quickly, being Europe no import duty as well, Dictum tools also in Germany have a good range of stones. If you want king stones they were on sale at greenman bushcraft in the UK but that was a few months ago. I'll check later today and post some links.
In terms of progression I'd go for a 1k and 4k or a 1k/6k combo stone plus a piece of leather to strop the edge on