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Cooks4Chicks
09-17-2011, 12:28 PM
Warning: Knife enthusiasts may cringe reading the following post. This thread is a plea for help to straighten me out. I'm eager to learn as much as i can on the subject.

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

Seeking a chef's Knife of unknown style, length, brand, etc. I don't know anything about different styles, pros vs cons, which are good for certain cutting styles, etc. I'm new to the cutlery scene so bear with me...

Also seeking a quality paring knife though i am much less concered about that at the moment.

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

I really enjoy cooking as a hobby and prepare fresh from scratch meals several days a week. I believe my knife skills to be far above the average home cook (though i have tons to learn i'm sure) and would like to get the proper cutlery to make cooking even more enjoyable and efficient.

I currently use, and am trying to replace, a 10"(i think?) Cutco Chef's knife that i took from my parents when i moved out because they never use it and said i could. From my brief research before coming here it seems that Cutco is considered a very marginal brand though i am ashamed to admit it is the nicest chef i've personally used (my friends don't cook etc). I've become increasingly more into cooking over the past several years (25 yo now), see myself doing it for the rest of my life, and am ready to step it up to the big leagues with my steel (or carbon?...).

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

Aesthetics- Moderately attractive. I haven't seen a ton of chef's knives but it's better looking than the 25+ year old scraggly wooden handled chef's knife that my roommate brought to our apartment from his parents old stuff back in college. I'm open to all new styles and designs.

Edge Quality/Retention- Poor. Though admittedly this knife has had a rough life and has been abused. It's ~5-8 years old and has lived in a drawer tossed in with other kitchen knives in my parents house for years. I bought one of those $20 pull through sharpeners from Walmart and have run it through there a couple times (i have a feeling some of you are stroking out reading that). I also don't have a honing steal but will absolutely get one with the purchase of my new knife. I have a feeling i'm going to be absolutely SHOCKED when i find out how a high quality well sharped knife can cut.....as this Cutco is the sharpest thing i've used.

Ease of Use- Again, I have only worked with a few very low end knives, but this Cutco knife doesn't seem very well balanced or weighted. I just know that there are far superior products out there.

Comfort- Megh, it's decent. Not terrible. Though again, weight, balance, and I just know that there is better.


What grip do you use?

90% of the time, pinch grip. Sometimes a hammer grip if cutting through some root veg, water mellon, etc.

What kind of cutting motion do you use?

Push-Cut, Slice, Draw, Walk, Chop.

Where do you store them?

Currently in a small kitchen drawer with 3 or 4 other large kitchen knives, which i'm sure is terrible. I'll store it however you advise me to store it. Magnet on wall? Chopping block?

Have you ever oiled a handle?

Huh? o_O

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

Currently a large plastic one. Should i be using wood?

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

$20 pull through from walmart. Would love to learn what i should actually be doing. I definitely need a good honing rod and whatever else is suggested.

Have they ever been sharpened?

Not since factory. How often should a knife be professionally sharped? Or sharpened at home in using the ______ method?

What is your budget?

I'm willing to spend up to maybe $300 or so. I might be able to be talked into more but would prefer less. I want something fairly high end. Considering what i'm using now i'll be thrilled with any real upgrade...but i want something good.

What do you cook and how often?

The knife will be strictly for home use. Used nearly every day for chopping vegetables, potatoes, root veg, gourds, squash, fresh fruits (pineapple, melon etc), meats of all types - usually off the bone. 5+ nights a week. My chef's knife is my go to knife for probably 90% of my meal prep.

Special requests(Country of origin/type of wood/etc)?

None.

ptolemy
09-17-2011, 12:52 PM
What kind of cutting board(s) do you use?
Currently a large plastic one. Should i be using wood?

definitely wood. plastic maybe kept for fish/chicken/meat if you properly sanitize it after with bleach after each use.

Have they ever been sharpened?
Not since factory. How often should a knife be professionally sharped? Or sharpened at home in using the ______ method?

there are several ways they can bed sharpened. from professional to home... kinda early to discuss that since sharpening is as broad topic as a knife choice

What is your budget?
I'm willing to spend up to maybe $300 or so. I might be able to be talked into more but would prefer less. I want something fairly high end. Considering what i'm using now i'll be thrilled with any real upgrade...but i want something good.

there are many options sub $300. I am sure you will get some recommendations.

Eamon Burke
09-17-2011, 01:43 PM
:ntmy: Great to have you!

Your budget is very realistic, that's good. I think you should go this route:
Maple End-grain cutting board from The Boardsmith(100-150, depending on the size).
Idahone Ceramic honing rod (30)
JCK Carbonext 240 Gyuto (130)

Hope you stick around! You seem an avid cook, and we'd love to hear how your knives do. Share some dishes!

Pensacola Tiger
09-17-2011, 01:55 PM
Hi, Cooks4Chicks, welcome to the forum.

Are you near a Williams-Sonoma or Sur la Table? If you are, I suggest that you visit one. Ask to use the knives you are interested in. Most of them will have a cutting board and something to cut (usually a carrot) so you can get a better idea of what you like and dislike about a knife. Williams-Sonoma carries Shun and Global, and other brands depending on the store; Sur la Table carries Shun, Global, Miyabi and the new Zwilling-Henkels Kramer knives. Remember, you're not buying a knife, just looking for features you like or dislike.

After you done that, see if any of your answers to the questions change. I'll bet they do, and we should have a much better chance of making a good recommendation.

Eamon Burke
09-17-2011, 02:00 PM
Good idea.

Cooks4Chicks
09-18-2011, 01:12 AM
Thanks for the warm welcome folks. This forum seems a great little corner of the interwebs.

I appreciate all the above advice. I will absolutely check out a William Sonoma as soon as i'm able, though it may be a week or two. In the mean time if anybody can direct me to some quality reading material or videos or the like. My mind is a sponge at the moment and i'd love to learn as much as i can.

I'll be busy with google for a while to see what i can find out.

sachem allison
09-18-2011, 01:22 AM
welcome!

Eamon Burke
09-18-2011, 01:28 AM
My mind is a sponge at the moment and i'd love to learn as much as i can.


We've got a nice Knowledge Centerhere that offers insight from a Kitchen Knife perspective on a lot of issues, though it is a bit new. The Glossary (http://www.kitchenknifeforums.com/showthread.php?2023-Kitchen-Knife-Glossary) was written to provide knowledge that is tried-and-true when it comes to kitchen cutlery to help newer folks make sense of terms and concepts as well as sniff out BS.

You'd be surprised how much you can learn by reading threads around here.

Pensacola Tiger
09-18-2011, 09:12 AM
Thanks for the warm welcome folks. This forum seems a great little corner of the interwebs.

I appreciate all the above advice. I will absolutely check out a William Sonoma as soon as i'm able, though it may be a week or two. In the mean time if anybody can direct me to some quality reading material or videos or the like. My mind is a sponge at the moment and i'd love to learn as much as i can.

I'll be busy with google for a while to see what i can find out.

Pick up a copy of "An Edge in the Kitchen", by Chad Ward if you can.

You also may want to read what "Boar D Laze" says about choosing a kitchen knife in his blog, "Cook Food Good":
http://www.cookfoodgood.com/

Wagstaff
09-18-2011, 10:04 AM
I'll second both of the above.

Re: Chad Ward -- he's got the best sharpening chapter I've seen in a book. It's probably still all available on egullet, if you want to check it out online (the chapter, not the book). He's got a bunch of things that make it a very good book. But he does dismiss carbon-steel a bit too fast (which may or may not be fine for any particular reader), and he leaves a much stronger impression about 3 particular knives as dollar-for-dollar values than he ought to (in my opinion, and in lots of people's opinions). For chef's knives, at least, a Global, Messermeister, or Mac will be left in your brain after reading. He's got good reasons for mentioning those in their price class, but I wish he opened that section up a lot more. And the Tojiro was considerably less expensive when he wrote it -- still a good choice for those for whom he's writing, but not nearly the no-brainer it was when the price was lower. Similarly with his brief mention of the Togiharu as "better but more expensive". When he wrote it, it was less expensive than now, and I think isn't quite the value the book implies any more.

All that said, the book is excellent indeed; it gives you a lot of kinds of things to think about and a bunch of knowledge with which to talk more knowledgeably to people (here, for example). It dispels a lot of conventional false-wisdom. But IMO he points at too few knives too specifically. And I'm repetitive. And redundant. (I'll apologize when I'm more repentant).

(OK, now -- sorry).

bieniek
09-18-2011, 10:32 AM
Welcome. From my personal experience I would say that the first knife after cutco or any other rather iron I would go for decent steel but in the cheaper regions, or even a used knife.

Then You could always change for better.

Cooks4Chicks
09-18-2011, 01:35 PM
welcome!

Gracias.


We've got a nice Knowledge Centerhere that offers insight from a Kitchen Knife perspective on a lot of issues, though it is a bit new. The Glossary (http://www.kitchenknifeforums.com/showthread.php?2023-Kitchen-Knife-Glossary) was written to provide knowledge that is tried-and-true when it comes to kitchen cutlery to help newer folks make sense of terms and concepts as well as sniff out BS.

You'd be surprised how much you can learn by reading threads around here.

Read through while posting the OP. Will continue searching around!


Pick up a copy of "An Edge in the Kitchen", by Chad Ward if you can.

You also may want to read what "Boar D Laze" says about choosing a kitchen knife in his blog, "Cook Food Good":
http://www.cookfoodgood.com/

Noted.


I'll second both of the above.

Re: Chad Ward -- he's got the best sharpening chapter I've seen in a book. It's probably still all available on egullet, if you want to check it out online (the chapter, not the book). He's got a bunch of things that make it a very good book. But he does dismiss carbon-steel a bit too fast (which may or may not be fine for any particular reader), and he leaves a much stronger impression about 3 particular knives as dollar-for-dollar values than he ought to (in my opinion, and in lots of people's opinions). For chef's knives, at least, a Global, Messermeister, or Mac will be left in your brain after reading. He's got good reasons for mentioning those in their price class, but I wish he opened that section up a lot more. And the Tojiro was considerably less expensive when he wrote it -- still a good choice for those for whom he's writing, but not nearly the no-brainer it was when the price was lower. Similarly with his brief mention of the Togiharu as "better but more expensive". When he wrote it, it was less expensive than now, and I think isn't quite the value the book implies any more.

All that said, the book is excellent indeed; it gives you a lot of kinds of things to think about and a bunch of knowledge with which to talk more knowledgeably to people (here, for example). It dispels a lot of conventional false-wisdom. But IMO he points at too few knives too specifically. And I'm repetitive. And redundant. (I'll apologize when I'm more repentant).

(OK, now -- sorry).

Hahaha....ok....


Welcome. From my personal experience I would say that the first knife after cutco or any other rather iron I would go for decent steel but in the cheaper regions, or even a used knife.

Then You could always change for better.

I'm the type of person that throws myself fully into a hobby. my MO is almost never to start low and upgrade along the way. In this case, i'm sure that i will be cooking for the rest of my life and would rather just get something high end to start with. It's not like i'm buying a motor cycle for the first time and need to start with a beginner bike because i can't handle the power. I'm looking to get the highest quality stuff i can within my ~$300 budget.

bieniek
09-18-2011, 01:48 PM
Yis, I understand, you just want one buy and have the feeling of well spent money and good product which will amaze and scare you. Its not about power you cannot handle, but about understanding your own preference.
To give simplest of examples: you will buy Global. You like the shape but the handle annoys you so you use cutco again.
You buy Shun, and the handle is perfect for you, but the profiles driving you mad and you dont feel like using it.
You will buy some thick chefs knife, and it will be supersharp, but when cutting carrots both pieces will shut from under edge like bullets and youll look for them around kitchen.

So my point is, if you find BUT big enough to stop using a piece of cutlery, then the money werent used properly, were they?
And the passion for cooking will only remind you of it.
Think of 10 specifics of a blade and ask yourself do you know what you like?

Cooks4Chicks
09-18-2011, 02:03 PM
Point taken. Though I figured a few afternoons of playing around at W&S should suffice to learn my preferences. I'm just not patient enough to do it piece wise.

heirkb
09-18-2011, 03:08 PM
Here's that chapter on sharpening:
http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?/topic/26036-knife-maintenance-and-sharpening/

Cadillac J
09-18-2011, 04:44 PM
All just my opinion, but I think most who have been in your shoes in the past would agree:

I really think it is beneficial to get a less expensive, but amazing performing knife off the bat and spend the rest of your money on sharpening/up-keep equipment. Being able to put an edge on a knife and maintain it is far more important that buying a more expensive one...can't stress this enough.

You can get a 240 CarboNext gyuto from JCK for under $150 with shipping, and if properly sharpened, it can perform as well as knives 5X the price. You may even be able to get a used one from a forum member for even cheaper, and they can put a great edge on for you that will blow your mind (although I love mine, I've thought about selling to a newbie for this particular reason, so maybe I will consider)

Spend the rest of your budget on a stone(s) and maybe a strop and take the time to learn to sharpen...it is fun and really rewarding once you get proficient at it. After you gain experience on both fronts, you will be much better educated to know what you really want/need in a knife. Konosuke and other super-thin knives are my favorite and fit my cutting style well, yet other people like a mightier knife with more weight behind the cut...I like flat profiles, yet other people like a bit more belly to suit their needs...etc, etc. Everyone is different, so it is hard to make recommendations with very general information.

tk59
09-18-2011, 04:55 PM
At the OP: I've been refraining from posting on this thread but now I have an excuse I cannot ignore. One of my knife buddies just texted me. He says he wants to "kick you in the nads." I think he's frustrated... :rofl2:

I'm sorry, that was completely inappropriate... My apologies.

toek
09-18-2011, 05:20 PM
Welcome =)

+1 for getting a less expensive gyuto and a stone or two. First of it will be amazing honestly. Second use it sharpen and do it over and over untill you get the hang of it. Probably you will scratch it and such, it wont hurt as much as a with a more expensive knife. Sharpening is imo big part of the fun.

obtuse
09-21-2011, 10:07 AM
Take a look at the Togiharu Inox line at Korin. http://korin.com/Togiharu-Inox-Steel-Gyutou?sc=7&category=17362 for a beginner in good knives you can't go wrong. Good profile, thin, easy to sharpen, durable, relatively inexpensive. Also, if You want to try carbon steel, look into the Hiromoto AS gyuto.

NO ChoP!
09-21-2011, 01:53 PM
You will also need to familiarize yourself with your preference between wa or yo handles; carbon, stainless, semi-stainless, clad, etc....

Maybe you noobs are the wiser, seeking advice from those who have purchased and used dozens of knives to find what their own preference is..... I would be the idiot who asks no questions, but has drawers full of knives I don't use. lol

macmiddlebrooks
09-21-2011, 03:59 PM
"[QUOTE]All just my opinion, but I think most who have been in your shoes in the past would agree:

I really think it is beneficial to get a less expensive, but amazing performing knife off the bat and spend the rest of your money on sharpening/up-keep equipment. Being able to put an edge on a knife and maintain it is far more important that buying a more expensive one...can't stress this enough.

You can get a 240 CarboNext gyuto from JCK for under $150 with shipping, and if properly sharpened, it can perform as well as knives 5X the price. You may even be able to get a used one from a forum member for even cheaper, and they can put a great edge on for you that will blow your mind (although I love mine, I've thought about selling to a newbie for this particular reason, so maybe I will consider)

Spend the rest of your budget on a stone(s) and maybe a strop and take the time to learn to sharpen...it is fun and really rewarding once you get proficient at it. After you gain experience on both fronts, you will be much better educated to know what you really want/need in a knife. Konosuke and other super-thin knives are my favorite and fit my cutting style well, yet other people like a mightier knife with more weight behind the cut...I like flat profiles, yet other people like a bit more belly to suit their needs...etc, etc. Everyone is different, so it is hard to make recommendations with very general information./QUOTE]

+1... Well put and couldn't agree more.

Cooks4Chicks
09-21-2011, 09:07 PM
Looks like a few people have recommended the JCK Carbonext 240 Gyuto. I can definitely handle learning how to sharpen after some reading and advice around these parts. I'm mechanically inclined and have sharpened pocket knives on stones back in boy scouts (does that count!?).

Thanks for the input folks! Would love to hear any more opinions if they're out there.