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View Full Version : First Real Knife Recommendation



caseyswenson
11-15-2011, 04:28 PM
What type of knife(s) do you think you want? Santoku or Gyuto - I have a cheap Santoku, I don't like the rocking action of traditional french chef knifes - no personal experience with a Gyuto.

Why is it being purchased? What, if anything, are you replacing? I have junk :) A $80 set.

What do you like and dislike about these qualities of your knives already?
Aesthetics- cheap feeling
Edge Quality/Retention- i don't think there ever was one
Ease of Use-
Comfort-

What grip do you use?

What kind of cutting motion do you use? Push-Cut, Chop, Slice

Where do you store them? Block

Have you ever oiled a handle? No

What kind of cutting board(s) do you use? Cheap paperstone - looking also to purchase end grain wood block

For edge maintenance, do you use a strop, honing rod, pull through/other, or nothing? nothing but need to learn something

Have they ever been sharpened?

What is your budget? $150 for my first real knife.

What do you cook and how often? Meat, BBQ, Italian

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


Love to cook but one area that is very lacking is my knives. Finally decided to spend the money to slowly piece together a set of better knives. First knife looking to purchase would be a general purpose knife - I'm not a big fan of the traditional french knife - too curved. I have a cheap Santoku that I enjoy. Gyuto seems like a flatter chef knife but larger then a santoku so has my interest. I truely don't know brands of what is good, Shun is a name the mainstream knows but seems frowned upon by those in the know. The Shun Premier Santoku 7" looks interesting but I would prefer something bigger but without the rake(is that the correct term) of a traditional chef knife.

To give an idea of future plans I would like to also get a boning knife and paring knife in the next 6 months or so to go with it. I believe these 3 knives will cover most of my needs but I'm sure as every other hobby I have or had, lust will set in to some degree and I'll want more.

DwarvenChef
11-15-2011, 05:33 PM
Welcome to the addiction ... er hobby?? :p

Shun is an ok knife what pulls them down is the cost for what your getting. You can get a better knife for that money or an equil knife for less. It's still a good knife... Just not something I would ever own again lol (I'm a carbon steel junkie).

A few more things you need to consider

Handle styles and sizes, not all hands fit all handles. Handle styles western or traditional japanese, both have their folowings, I prefer traditional japanese... It's a personal choice.
Steel family, Carbon steel (yesss) or stainless (the icky shiny stuff :p) again both are a personal choice and have their own followings.
Size... Yes size matters... What size? what your personaly needing and feel good with, thats what size is best... So again personal choice. If the 7" (210 ish) seemed to short than a 240 (8+"ish) or 270 (10"ish) may be more to your liking, hard to say untill you get your hands on one.

A gyuto does seem to fit you interests and is the usual first jump into higher grade cutlery. But again not all gyuto are made the same. Some have more belly than others, so you'll want to read as many reviews with Pics to get an understanding of who makes what and how that fits your needs.

After you get used to your first knife, I suggest a more affordable line till you get used to them, than start looking for the real knife of your dreams :p For your budget a cheaper learning knife and a stone or two can be had.

I suggest a "training" knife because some people are hard on their knives. And western knives allow you to be hard on them and bad habbits can become everyday use. I sure had my share of weird habbits I had no clue I was using till I got my first japanese knife. I just about killed it daily while working on the line. I learned fast what I was doing wrong that damaged my knife, changed a few practices that work well with japanese knives and my knife skills improved dramatically. And I learned to repair my own knives (learned by doing the damage lol).

Not everyone is interested in that level of use but if you hang around here very long it tends to rub off on you :p So read back posts and ask questions, lots of questions... it will only help you narrow down the huge pile of choices that are ahead of you... Or you can jump in with all four feet (like I did) and learn as you go, it all works lol.

Welcome to the insanity :)

Eamon Burke
11-15-2011, 07:31 PM
Whichever knife you choose, get a honing rod. My favorite is the Idahone Honing Rod.
:ntmy:

Lefty
11-16-2011, 04:44 AM
If you like the look of Shun (they are pretty), but don't like the cost per quality inch ratio (I made that up, I think), I'd take a good look at Miyabi Kaizen, and Miyabi 7000D. They have a much nicer pricetag, at $99 for an 8" gyuto, and the steel should be pretty good. One complaint I have read about the 7000 series is the weight seems to be too far back into the handle. I haven't tried one, but these knives have me going back and checking them out online almost daily. For just $149, you can try the 7000MC line which has zdp-189 (if I remember correctly) and is an insane price, if I am correct about the steel.
With all of that being said, you could just go with the old standbys and get a Carbonext, Fujiwara FKM, Tojiro, or Ashi.
Let us know what you choose :D

caseyswenson
11-16-2011, 09:15 AM
After doing a bunch more research last night and the suggestion of more of a starter knife I'm considering the Tojiro DP Wa-Gyuto 240mm. Compared to most others in this price range this also has the Japanese style handle. This also leaves more room for buying 3 stones and honing rod.

Ratton
11-16-2011, 10:50 AM
After doing a bunch more research last night and the suggestion of more of a starter knife I'm considering the Tojiro DP Wa-Gyuto 240mm. Compared to most others in this price range this also has the Japanese style handle. This also leaves more room for buying 3 stones and honing rod.

Hi There,

I think that is a very wise choice! It's a great learning knife, good steel and fit & finish is more than adequate. Over the years I have given a couple of these away to start people down the road of J-knives and Wa handles!! You will like it. :2cents:

tk59
11-16-2011, 11:07 AM
Hi There,

I think that is a very wise choice! It's a great learning knife, good steel and fit & finish is more than adequate. Over the years I have given a couple of these away to start people down the road of J-knives and Wa handles!! You will like it. :2cents:
+1. Not a bad decision.

caseyswenson
11-16-2011, 11:09 AM
Now just trying to figure out what sharpening process to start off with as well.

tk59
11-16-2011, 04:42 PM
Get a nice 1-3k stone. I started with a 3k Naniwa Superstone. It's a splash n go, soft and makes you pay for every wobble but you learn to not wobble pretty quick, lol. Some nice, harder ones are bester 1.2k (solid budget performer), chosera 1k (long time standard for performance), Gesshin 2k (a current popular choice) and Gesshin 1k (my current favorite).

caseyswenson
11-18-2011, 03:02 PM
Well changed my mind. I realized that I didn't know jack about any of the vendors and what they know or don't know. Being a noob myself it is hard to figure out sometimes who the experts are. Well reading a lot of this forum has helped me at least realize who some of the people that truly care about their customers, profession, and are more knowledgeable. I realized there was only a couple places selling the Tojiro. The more I read the more I didn't like. I've decided that I would rather get a knife from Jon at Japanese Knife Imports based off what I have read so far. What would your opinions be between the Yoshihiro 240mm Stainless Wa-Gyuto and Zakuri 240mm Blue #1 Kurouchi Gyuto. Carbon has my interest the more I read and seems like it is easier to keep sharp. The Zakuri is carbon so I would have expected it to be thinner then the Yoshihiro but based off the measurements that doesn't seem to be the case. Odd to that the text for the Yoshihiro states "Our customers have been asking us for an alternative to the super-thin wa-gyutos we have been carrying" and the Zakuri is thinner.

Johnny.B.Good
11-18-2011, 04:05 PM
I've decided that I would rather get a knife from Jon at Japanese Knife Imports based off what I have read so far.

I haven't felt the need to post here yet, but have done a great deal of reading (here and elsewhere) over the past six months or so. I have spent some pretty serious coin on sharpening supplies with a few vendors, and one nice knife. I would probably do some things differently in hindsight (like not buying an Edge Pro Professional and then deciding to learn to freehand sharpen too), but no big deal.

Like you, I feel like I have learned something about the various vendors and personalities in the small high-end cutlery community from my extensive research/reading, and really came to admire Jon and the way he runs Japanese Knife Imports with his wife. I haven't had reason yet to interact with him personally, but last night a package of Gesshinn stones I ordered last week was waiting on my doorstep. Inside was a rather lengthy handwritten note from Sara (Jon's pretty wife) thanking me for my purchase and assuring me they are there to answer any questions I might have etc. The main box was filled with rolled up newspaper to keep everything from shifting around in transit, and individual boxes were encased in bubble wrap sleeves. Within that bubble wrap sleeve, each box was wrapped in black tissue paper (like presents) with a Japanese Knife Imports sticker on top. For a guy that can't wrap a Christmas present without help from his sister, I find all of this pretty impressive. Just first class all the way from sale to delivery.

In the future, given a choice between spending my money with Jon at JKI vs. another vendor will be an easy decision. I live in CA (which means sales tax buying from Jon), but still, easy decision. It's worth a few dollars more to me (that I can thankfully afford to spend given the tough times so many are experiencing) to support such a cool little company and nice people.

Good luck with the knife purchase Casey. Let us know what you end up getting!

caseyswenson
11-18-2011, 04:17 PM
I would probably do some things differently in hindsight (like not buying an Edge Pro Professional and then deciding to learn to freehand sharpen too), but no big deal.

That is one area I'm also debating. I'd be interested in your opinion from the perspective as someone new to this hobby on the pro's and con's you have with the two different systems.

Burton
11-18-2011, 06:24 PM
Like you, I feel like I have learned something about the various vendors and personalities in the small high-end cutlery community from my extensive research/reading, and really came to admire Jon and the way he runs Japanese Knife Imports with his wife. I haven't had reason yet to interact with him personally, but last night a package of Gesshinn stones I ordered last week was waiting on my doorstep. Inside was a rather lengthy handwritten note from Sara (Jon's pretty wife) thanking me for my purchase and assuring me they are there to answer any questions I might have etc. The main box was filled with rolled up newspaper to keep everything from shifting around in transit, and individual boxes were encased in bubble wrap sleeves. Within that bubble wrap sleeve, each box was wrapped in black tissue paper (like presents) with a Japanese Knife Imports sticker on top. For a guy that can't wrap a Christmas present without help from his sister, I find all of this pretty impressive. Just first class all the way from sale to delivery.

In the future, given a choice between spending my money with Jon at JKI vs. another vendor will be an easy decision. I live in CA (which means sales tax buying from Jon), but still, easy decision. It's worth a few dollars more to me (that I can thankfully afford to spend given the tough times so many are experiencing) to support such a cool little company and nice people.


+1!!

Johnny.B.Good
11-18-2011, 06:29 PM
That is one area I'm also debating. I'd be interested in your opinion from the perspective as someone new to this hobby on the pro's and con's you have with the two different systems.

I started getting into all of "this" (!) after taking a collection of knives to be professionally sharpened. The results were dramatic but short lived, and I decided I wanted to learn to keep my knives that way all of the time without the hassle and expense of sending them out.

After reading a number of positive reviews and endorsements of the Edge Pro system from seemingly knowledgeable people, I decided to take a chance and order the “professional” model. The inventor/owner of the Edge Pro system is a terribly nice man named Ben Dale, who I am just as happy to endorse and support as Jon/JKI. Small family operation, guy answers his own phone all day long giving advice to customers, etc. You just can’t help but wish for him to succeed (could use a new website, but I could say that about many of the vendors in this arena). I gave very little thought to the idea of learning to sharpen freehand on stones, as I imagined a steep learning curve and months of frustratingly poor results.

The Edge Pro really is a nice product. As I said, I purchased the “professional” model, which feels substantial and very well made. If you decide to go this route and have the money, I would order it in a heartbeat over the less expensive “Apex” model. It clamps down securely to any surface (without suction cups), allows you to purchase a scissor attachment (I did, but haven’t used it yet), comes in a nice hard plastic briefcase (that Ben writes your name on in fancy cursive in shiny silver ink!), and has some other advantages (all of which comes at a price of course).

I was able to get pretty good results with the Edge Pro my first time out, including shiny “mirror” polished edges (I have since come to learn that shiny doesn’t necessarily equal sharp and isn’t required for a knife to be scary sharp). I took dull knives and made them all slice paper in a matter of hours with zero experience, so…mission accomplished. Using the EP isn’t a completely intuitive process and there is definitely a small learning curve involved, but not bad. Of course, in the hands of a skilled and dedicated user there is theoretically no limit to the results that can be achieved (one of the more divisive figures in this small community, a man not welcome here, does really amazing things with an Edge Pro).

The more interested in all of “this” that I became, the more the idea of freehand sharpening began to appeal. While the idea of sharpening on water stones sounds like a bit of a production (soaking them, securing them somehow, keeping them flat, etc.), frankly, so is using the Edge Pro. Even though I am comfortable setting it up and putting it away, I wouldn’t just get it out and use it for fifteen or twenty minutes on one knife. If I had a workshop or fancy garage (I don't), I would leave it set up all the time.

I can’t really speak to the pros and cons of using a “guided” system (there are many threads about this here and elsewhere) vs. sharpening freehand, as I have not yet learned to do without the Edge Pro, but that is now my intention. People collect and discuss sharpening stones in the same way they collect and discuss knives, which no longer sounds messy and annoying but fun!

Do I regret buying the Edge Pro? Not really. Only in the sense that it feels a bit wasteful to have it sitting there while I learn to do without it. Thankfully I can afford to have it and still “start over” with a nice set of stones from JKI. I plan to learn to freehand sharpen on knives I don’t care about, and will probably continue to use the Edge Pro on my one (for the time being) high end Japanese knife, as I feel confident that I won’t do any knife irreparable harm using it.

To me, the Edge Pro remains a nice shortcut to solid results. I don’t know that it would be a good idea for someone on a budget, as a few inexpensive stones and some practice would be far more affordable. If you just want to sharpen a set of knives or two reasonably well with little to no practice a few times a year, it will do the trick nicely.

caseyswenson
12-30-2011, 09:48 AM
Well got a bit delayed due to having to buy my girls xmas presents before I buy for myself, but my first J Knife should be arriving today from Jon. Got a Yoshihiro 240mm Stainless Wa-Gyuto to introduce me to this world. Now if I wasn't stuck at work.....

heldentenor
12-30-2011, 10:40 AM
Forum rules say that pics and/or videos are now required. Enjoy your new knife!

caseyswenson
01-04-2012, 10:22 AM
Very happy with the knife. Edge is very sharp for me (compared to my old Henckel Synergy set I'm coming from). Able to slice carrots to make so thin I can see through them. The most noticeable difference is the steering, it just wants to cut straight, very easy now for me to get very thin consistent cuts that I used to have to use a mandolin to get that consistency.

Well I'm going to sing to the choir for a moment here but so far very impressed with Jon at JKI. Have had a few email exchanges and gave me good advice on my knife purchase and took the time to explain...I had emailed a similar question to CKTG to compare and got a one liner no use answer back. Jon is now helping me get a starter stone package. Included in with the knife was a full page hand written letter from his wife thanking me for my business. A very nice touch that obviously shows how much they care about their customers.

Lars
01-04-2012, 11:57 AM
Congrats on the knife - sounds like you are in good hands at JKI..

Lars

Eamon Burke
01-04-2012, 04:31 PM
So, wait, which knife did you get?

caseyswenson
01-04-2012, 04:34 PM
So, wait, which knife did you get?

I got the Yoshi 240mm Gyuto

Eamon Burke
01-04-2012, 06:01 PM
Nice. I wonder what steel that is?

caseyswenson
01-04-2012, 06:25 PM
To be honest I'm not 100% sure. I've found this as well online previously and they list it is a Carbon Cobalt Molybdenum Steel, Ice- Hardened. Not sure if this is a stainless or not. Their price is a lot higher - not sure if that is just their prices or this is a higher end steel from Yoshi.

http://www.echefknife.com/molybdenum-steel-wa-gyutou-chef-knife-9.5-240mm.html

tk59
01-05-2012, 01:56 AM
I could be wrong but that looks like the stainless yoshihiro I've got right here.