View Full Version : I need an education on the basics (or a link to the already posted info)

12-22-2011, 10:18 AM
Hi, my name is Brian, and I'm a simpleton when it comes to knives. :bye:

I hadn't planned on posting here, or anywhere, about knives but found myself sucked in last night on a different topic. Now, I'm thinking maybe you all (y'all) can help me Shorten the long uphill climb that is the initial learning curve of, well... anything. I know what a knife is, even if I've only ever used crap examples (stamped). But as I've been reading over the past few weeks, trying to educate, I keep running into technical things that I just don't understand. For instance, knives are Biased for right or left handed use? Huh?!? There's only one sharp edge, and so long as that goes down through what you want to cut, all's good, right? I understand about a single bevel vs double, but what difference does it make? Why are some people so fanatical about one bevel over another.. is it a Functional difference, or a placebo/mental difference? I know that a LOT of things are done/bought/promoted on being "different", without being better (and in some cases being much worse) ~ I want to avoid that. How about bevel angle? I think I get that, as thinner will wear faster (but cuts better), and wider can deal with more abuse. Sort of like using a mauling axe for splitting wood vs. a normal axe. But what's the difference in "cutting feel" that I see mentioned? How about hardness? Again, I think I sort of understand this in that "softer" steel will take an edge better and "harder" will take more abuse, but in what scenarios are they each the "best" choice?

I'm sure I'll have more "heavy" questions, but how about a "light" one? What's the best way to store knives? I'm sure that my current method (tossed in a drawer with my oven mitts and hot pads/trivets) isn't the best. I imagine wood blocks aren't ideal either as running the edge along the wood has to wear on it, maybe magnets? I don't have kids to worry about, just a clutsy wife (but I do 99.999% fo the cooking).

Anyway... Hi Everyone. Hope you don't mind helping with an education. Like I said, no need to reinvent the wheel is this info exists somewhere and you post the link. I've been searching, but I don't think I know enough to search effectively yet.. or I need a more basic understanding before I can understand the search results I've found. And if you have More info (if I didn't ask something, it's not because I know it already, it's because I'm Completely unaware), by all means, post it up. :D

Brian melting in GA (is 70* and rain RIGHT for the first day of Winter?)

mr drinky
12-22-2011, 10:38 AM
You'll find a lot of people store their knives differently. I do it two ways. Nicer Japanese knives that come in boxes, I just keep in those boxes opened up and on a shelf. I imagine this isn't your case. I also use the totally bamboo drawer knife racks. Here is the link (http://www.amazon.com/Totally-Bamboo-20-2091-Drawer-Knife/dp/B002RL9CZ4). I read about them in Chad Ward's book Edge in the Kitchen and I really like it. Just be aware that they are very long and might not fit in all drawers so measure first before buying.


12-22-2011, 11:12 AM
Actually you might want to check out Chad Ward's book as a basic primer.


Andrew H
12-22-2011, 11:18 AM
Welcome Brian.
I'll second AJ's suggestion of An Edge in the Kitchen by Chad Ward. I'd also recommend you look over the terms listed here: http://www.kitchenknifeforums.com/showthread.php/2023-Kitchen-Knife-Glossary So you get a better idea of what we are talking about.
As for storage sayas (wooden sheaths that come with many a Japanese knife) are popular, and so are mag-bloks. http://benchcrafted.com/Magblok.html

mr drinky
12-22-2011, 11:38 AM
Actually you might want to check out Chad Ward's book as a basic primer.


I agree. If you don't want to shell out the cash right now you can also go to eGullet and read his primer that eventually led into the book. This instructional from eGullet is where I started, then I got his book, and then I got Dave's sharpening video (among others).

Here is the eGullet link by Chad (http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?/topic/26036-knife-maintenance-and-sharpening/). Just be aware that it is a bit dated and the book will ultimately be a better resource.


12-22-2011, 11:46 AM
Good, a book. I knew the info had to be somewhere, I never imagined it'd be in a book though (maybe this is bigger than I thought!) I'll have to hit up my local library after Christmas. I did find a link to the glossary earlier and have been referencing it as I browse topics and run searches.

Thanks for those.

The mag-blok is what I was thinking of when I mentioned magnets above, though those are way nicer than the generic magnetic bars I've seen in the past. Not quite fitting with our Atomic-Modern style, but I'm confident there's something out there.