View Full Version : Looking for some advice on upgrades

12-17-2011, 04:15 PM
First, I'd like to say that I've really enjoyed the forum. Its really opened my eyes to how much there is to learn about knives.

My wife and I are avid home cooks. She cooks a lot of Asian and I do more traditional American or Italian dishes. Like many others, we're finally getting to the point where we're looking at upgrading some of our knives beyond our current set and I'm looking for some advice.

Our current knives/equipment are listed below:
Henckels Pro-S 8" Chef's Knife
Henckels Pro-S 8" Carving Knife
Henckels Pro-S Paring knife
Henckels Pro-S Serrated Utility knife
Calphalon 7" Santoku knife
Shun Ken Onion Boning Knife
Generic cleaver
Henckels sharpening steel

For sharpening, we're currently using a Chef's Choice 1520 Sharpener. We got this as a wedding present last year after it was recommended at W-S knife class. While its easy (I briefly tried sharpening with a stone a few years ago), I haven't been very impressed with how sharp the knives have gotten and have been scared to try the shun on it.

We'd like to get a Japanese knife to replace the Calphalon knife. It would be mostly used for cutting veggies. Any recommendations? We're not looking to spending more than $150. My wife's hands are on the smaller side.

After reading through the forum, I've realized we should probably get a new honing steel for our shun and the new knife. Any recommendations? If we do get the new steel, can we use that one on our older knives too?

For sharpening, it seems pretty clear that you need to sharpen with a stone if you want to really get a razor sharp edge. I have an old chef's choice edgecrafter sharpening stone, is that a decent stone to learn on? If not, what would you recommend to start on? For starting out, would you recommend working on one of the older knives until I get the hang of it?

Thanks in advance.

12-18-2011, 12:58 AM
I would try the Gekko or Inazuma lines: http://japanesechefsknife.com/SPECIALS.html#INAZUMA. Another nice option is a nakiri: http://www.japaneseknifeimports.com/kitchen-knives/yoshihiro/yoshihiro-165mm-skd-nakiri.html. As for sharpening, the diamond plate is fine (I'm assuming that's what you're talking about.) but it probably isn't going to be a very fine edge. I would imagine it's sub-1k grit. I'd suggest you go to a 1-5k stone after that one to refine it a bit depending on what the actual grit on the diamond plate is.

12-18-2011, 04:19 PM
Surprised there are not more suggestions so far. Everyone must be busy with the holdiays.

12-18-2011, 04:32 PM
Yeah, me, too. I guess I'll throw out a few more options that are nice and stainless: http://www.japaneseknifeimports.com/kitchen-knives/yoshihiro/yoshihiro-165mm-skd-santoku.html#, http://www.japaneseknifeimports.com/kitchen-knives/yoshihiro/yoshihiro-210mm-stainless-wa-gyuto.html, and a semi-stainless option that I like a lot: http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/KAGAYAKICarboNextSeries.html. These are purported to be nice too as are the Gekko series at JCK (prob. same stuff): http://japan-blades.com/recommend/sale/3516.html.

12-18-2011, 05:45 PM
I would probably go with the carbonext santoku or the yoshihiro stainless gyuto. I guess out of the two I would like the gyuto more since I find the shape to be better to be all around. I have also owned a knife from that series and the steel sharpens up pretty good and its easy to do so.

12-18-2011, 06:04 PM

Really good value Santoku with highly regarded core steel. Western handle



These blades are generic, very popular and offered by many makers. Most have good things to say about them.

If you would consider a 7.5 inch gyuto, i'd go for the Sugimoto CM 210 wa gyuto. Very basic wa (japanese style) handle, very sharp out of the box. Fine grained, decently hard, easy to sharpen (just follow the factory bevels) stainless. Very thin, superb cutter and bargain priced. It's actually 195mm on the edge.


edit: Just saw the kanetsune "hammered damascus" above. Haha.

12-18-2011, 06:09 PM
The common consensus is that the Carbonext comes with a poor edge. Is it a "I polish my gyutos to 8000 grit" poor edge, or is it actually crap?.

12-18-2011, 06:44 PM
The minamoto kotetsu is decent. It cuts well but the fit and finish on the bolster is really not very good, imo. I've tried a carbon steel Sugimoto and thought it was a very nice cutter. As for the CN's coming with a poor edge, the example I used was a good working edge. The bevels were not very even and I would guess it came with a 2k ish edge.

12-18-2011, 06:50 PM
I thought I'd put it out there as I remembered Curtis giving the Minamoto Kotetsu a glowing review. Interesting about the Carbonext, from reading about them I had gotten the impression that they were more or less unsharpened, with the "Extra Sharpness" option also being poor.

12-18-2011, 06:54 PM
I thought I'd put it out there as I remembered Curtis giving the Minamoto Kotetsu a glowing review. Interesting about the Carbonext, from reading about them I had gotten the impression that they were more or less unsharpened, with the "Extra Sharpness" option also being poor.On the Minamoto, I thought so at first but the one I've been keeping track of has seen light use and is well cared for, relatively speaking and is a little rusted and goopy at the bolster. As for the CN, I've only actually used one. It may be that the edges are inconsistent OOTB. Admittedly, I didn't use the stock edge (not the extra sharp) very long before I installed my own edge.

12-18-2011, 09:47 PM
Thanks for replies. Just to clarify, we'd prefer stainless so we don't have to worry about rust. On another point, I said in the original post that it would primarily used for vegetables. Since we both are often cooking/prepping meals together, I think it would be best to get a pretty all around knife that isn't too delicate as it will probably be used for more than just vegetables. Would this change your recommendations? Since we're new to hand sharpening, I'd prefer something that comes pretty sharp on arrival. On other posts, I've seen the Miyabi Kaizen, Fujiwara FKM and Tojiro DP Wa-Gyuto recommended. How do these compare with the above recommendations?

What would you recommend for a honing rod? Assuming I keep the Chef's Choice Edgecrafter Diamond sharpening stone, how fine should the second stone be? Is there a big difference between 1k and 5k?

12-19-2011, 04:13 AM
Kaizen, FKM and Tojiro DP are all well regarded, good value knives, as are everything else mentioned on this thread (imo). The choice of gyuto vs santoku is up to you, japanese or western handle and aesthetics, obviously a personal thing too. For a stainless knife in the hardness 57-60 range (which all of these stainless are) a stone in the 1k-5k grit range would be fine in my opinion. I don't know about your Chef's choice stone, but google suggests it is 400 grit. Personally i finish my stainless knives on a Bester 1200 or Chosera 2000, then strop on newspaper. Personally i wouldn't bother with the honing rod, just touch up on the stone and strop. Everyone will have a different view on this.

12-19-2011, 10:48 AM
All of the suggestions offered so far are fairly stain resistant. I have not tried the Kaizen. I no longer recommend Tojiro unless we need a big handle due to only adequate geometry. The Fujiwara is nice but since you were replacing a somewhat "fancy" looking blade, I made the assumption that you would prefer that. You will probably not notice a difference in the performance of these knives unless you really get into sharpening. Since you don't sharpen per se, a rod such as the MAC 2k honing rod might be a good investment. There is a Chef'sChoice sharpener that supposedly works well for Japanese knives. I have not tried it but if you like that system, you may want to invest in that. As for stones, assuming yours is a 400 grit plate, you will definitely want to refine that edge and if you are a fairly unabusive user, you may never need to use such a coarse stone. In your shoes, I might just get something in the 3-5k range and advise you to touch up your blade often like a Gesshin 4k perhaps.