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View Full Version : First Day of School Coming up...What to take



Gravy Power
05-27-2012, 10:50 PM
I start kitchen labs on June 6th. Here is the standard issue, and what everyone else will have:

http://i154.photobucket.com/albums/s280/shaneury/IMG_0907.jpg

9-inch Mercer. I have been able to get it pretty sharp with elementary skills, but still, it doesn't perform anywhere near as well as this:

http://i154.photobucket.com/albums/s280/shaneury/IMG_0906.jpg

8 1/2 inch Carter. Do I take it to school? It seems like I saw another post where someone suggested that knives seem to disappear in Culinary School kitchens. But I want to learn the basics with this. The thing is, is that we have a max of 12 people per Foundations class, and almost half of them will probably drop before the end of the quarter. Not to mention, none of them will have any idea what this knife is.

I have some second-year students using custom Japanese knives.

What are all of your thoughts?

Dusty
05-27-2012, 10:57 PM
On the first day take your Mercer, after that you will know whether or not you will want to take you Carter. If it were me, I'd probably invest in something budget for the first little while at school.

Crothcipt
05-27-2012, 11:07 PM
ya when you get used to the people around you then take it in. Other wise use the Mercer, it will make you so much more happy when you are practicing at home.

kalaeb
05-27-2012, 11:43 PM
I would probably get a cheaper J knife to use for school, maybe a Carbo Next or something like it. Not flashy, but still better steel than the Mercers.

SpikeC
05-27-2012, 11:43 PM
If you take the Carter just keep it on your body in a holster when it's not in your hand.

Deckhand
05-27-2012, 11:54 PM
There is a Japanese saying that the nail that sticks out of the board gets hit by the hammer. Just bring the "standard issue." after you get a feel of your classmates and instructor there will be plenty of time to bring the Carter if you feel comfortable. Humility first and let your work ethic and desire make the statements first. Just a thought.

obtuse
05-28-2012, 03:19 AM
Mercer makes me shudder. Too bad it's standard issue. I agree with deckhand.

stereo.pete
05-28-2012, 09:52 AM
Bring the Carter but then also bring a 13" Scimitar, you know for slicing proteins :rofl2:

DaveRossy
05-28-2012, 10:56 AM
:D thats the Liverpool way :pirate1:

mhlee
05-28-2012, 11:48 AM
There is a Japanese saying that the nail that sticks out of the board gets hit by the hammer. Just bring the "standard issue." after you get a feel of your classmates and instructor there will be plenty of time to bring the Carter if you feel comfortable. Humility first and let your work ethic and desire make the statements first. Just a thought.

+2

I brought my personal fish cutting kit to work when I worked retail. They were in so much better condition than the other knives, everyone asked to use them. They were nothing special - a Dexter Russell fillet knife with a different grind and shortened height, Dexter-Russel Stainless Chinese Cleaver and Forschner Scimiter - but relatively new, with fresh edges and well take care of by me. Then one dude (a friend) asked to use my fillet knife and then, even after asking him to not steel it like he usually does - he usually steeled knives 30 times total at an obtuse angle without abandon - he proceeded to do so the second time he used it (the first time he didn't because I was right there and had just reminded him) and completely F*****D up my edge.

From then on, I never let anyone use them again. I brought them to work and pulled them out only when I was setting up in the morning and breaking fish down, or doing special orders.

Most people WILL NOT take care of your stuff because they don't take care (or know how to take care) of their own stuff.

Eamon Burke
05-28-2012, 12:08 PM
Yeah, don't rock the boat first day in. Institutions like conformity, and doing things your way will give you a bad first impression(which, they say, takes 28 subsequent impressions to override).

Gravy Power
05-28-2012, 12:54 PM
Appreciate the advice guys. I think I'll leave it at home for awhile...

On another note, has anyone ever had a problem with sharpening guides leaving a mark on their knife? I've since ditched the guides, but as you can see on the Mercer, they left some sort of mark that won't scrub out.

Lefty
05-28-2012, 02:09 PM
Mercer, but when you do bring in the Carter, wear it as a footlong neck knife, complete with custom kydex sheath.

Benuser
05-28-2012, 04:08 PM
Get a simple Jknife, I would say a Fujiwara FKH, and give it the darkest patina. A great knife but without the looks.

Duckfat
05-28-2012, 06:46 PM
Appreciate the advice guys. I think I'll leave it at home for awhile...

Wise choice. You will know when the time is right to take it if that time comes. Just remember quality tools have a way of walking off if you turn your back. I agree with who ever posted up-thread that you might consider a better knife than your standard issue that's not as expensive as the Carter.
Get involved with the ACF.
Enjoy school and remember Eyes and ears open....mouth shut.
Party on Friday not M-F. ;)
Best of luck!

Dave

Gravy Power
05-29-2012, 09:36 PM
Get a simple Jknife, I would say a Fujiwara FKH, and give it the darkest patina. A great knife but without the looks.

Took your advice. This knife will accompany me on the first day. I'll still use the Mercer initially, but will need to learn on the Fujiwara as well, as it's a different knife.

Benuser
05-29-2012, 10:14 PM
Thanks for your response! It will need a good patina (mustard) and a good sharpening, and you will be fine.

Benuser
05-29-2012, 10:34 PM
Please note it will need a few sharpenings before it will arrive to its full potential.

knyfeknerd
05-29-2012, 11:33 PM
I thought a lot of culinary schools make you use the school issue when in skills class.

Gravy Power
05-31-2012, 05:35 PM
I thought a lot of culinary schools make you use the school issue when in skills class.

I've gotten mixed responses on this, it may depend on the instructor...

Gravy Power
05-31-2012, 05:39 PM
So I got the Fujiwara today. Feels great to hold. Not a bad edge OOTB.

Now, please forgive my ignorance on this question. It has one edge, or is single beveled (?), is that the preferred way to keep it?

Eamon Burke
05-31-2012, 05:47 PM
That is an asymmetric grind. Almost every single Japanese made knife is biased for right-handed users, few are biased for lefties, and almost none are 50/50 ground(like western knives are). It is best, when sharpening, to just maintain the angles and proportions of the blade as it came unless you are having a problem with it.

Gravy Power
05-31-2012, 09:43 PM
That is an asymmetric grind. Almost every single Japanese made knife is biased for right-handed users, few are biased for lefties, and almost none are 50/50 ground(like western knives are). It is best, when sharpening, to just maintain the angles and proportions of the blade as it came unless you are having a problem with it.

Thanks. Another ignorant question, do I hone it like a regular blade?

Benuser
05-31-2012, 09:55 PM
Thanks. Another ignorant question, do I hone it like a regular blade?
How do you hone your "regular" blades?

Gravy Power
05-31-2012, 10:01 PM
Equal number of strokes on both sides, alternating, hopefully at the proper angle...

Benuser
05-31-2012, 10:10 PM
What medium do you use? Stones, ceramic rod, sandpaper? Edge leading or edge trailing strokes?

Gravy Power
05-31-2012, 10:26 PM
I was referring to the steel hone, but need advice on stones as well. I have a Shun steel purchased about a year ago at SLT. I also have a 1000/6000 Shun stone from SLT, but I've only practiced on it with inexpensive knives.

Gravy Power
05-31-2012, 10:28 PM
Oh, and I believe I hone with the edge trailing...

Benuser
05-31-2012, 11:33 PM
Don't steel your FKH. Steeling might be an emergency solution with soft German steel types, don't try it with a hard Japanese one. As an introduction to sharpening I would suggest Chad Ward's An Edge in the Kitchen, excerpts here: forums.egullet.org/index.php?/topic/26036-knife-maintenance-and-sharpening/

Read it, and you will understand what sharpening is about. Making two bevels to meet, raising a burr, and getting rid of it.
These are the general principles.
About the asymmetric edge (Ward won't treat): some will advice to ignore it, especially when they're selling inappropriate devices, I won't. Follow the existing edge with the Magic Marker Trick (Ward explains) on both sides. Probably you will just have to deburr the left side - without other material removal. If you will some day perform thinning behind the edge, don't touch the left side: it should stay
as flat as possible.
Use your Fujiwara and sharpen it, again and again. It's great to learn on.

Benuser
05-31-2012, 11:55 PM
A last suggestion if you don't mind...: don't touch your 6k yet.

Gravy Power
06-01-2012, 12:52 PM
Thanks for the help!

Benuser
06-01-2012, 01:28 PM
You're welcome!
Perhaps interesting for you: Murray Carter's free sharpening tips by mail. See www.cartercutlery.com

keithsaltydog
06-01-2012, 02:23 PM
Took your advice. This knife will accompany me on the first day. I'll still use the Mercer initially, but will need to learn on the Fujiwara as well, as it's a different knife.

I think you did well getting the Fujiwara.Good choice.Learn freehand sharpening the carbon Fuji will take a sharp edge.Ward,Dave Martel,Mark ******** at CKTG,Jon,Chiharu Sugai at Korin are all good freehand teachers wt.DVD & online tutoral.NO pull through jigs,throw it away.

You mentioned trailing stroke,this tech. will serve you well once you master it.Steel honing rods are for trueing the edge sharpening is done on the stone.You are correct angle is important on a steel should be the same as last angle on stone,not steep,that can round your edges.Smooth polishing steels are best,or polishing ceramic.I like the Forchner 12" combo steel around 30.00 it is tough & will not break the bank.It is fine on one side & polish smooth on the other.Do not use coarse or daimond steels on good knives.

You see cooks wailing away at a steep angle on steels trying to get a sharp edge,this shows a fundimental lack of sharpening skills.I used the Forchner polishing(correct angle)on my carbon Masamoto's to hone the edge during long cutting sessions.Steels do serve a purpose in a production Kit.Stick to the polishing rods,it only takes a few lite measured strokes.

keithsaltydog
06-01-2012, 03:56 PM
I might add polishing steels can be used on Gyuto & cleavers,I never use a steel on a Japan single bevel like Yanagi,Usuba or Deba.

brainsausage
06-02-2012, 12:47 AM
I might add polishing steels can be used on Gyuto & cleavers,I never use a steel on a Japan single bevel like Yanagi,Usuba or Deba.

I use a ceramic on my single bevel Kono white #2 petty whilst cleaning proteins, and I get a marked increase in performance. Just my two cents:)

Vertigo
06-02-2012, 01:14 AM
A single bevel petty? Whaaa....??

GlassEye
06-02-2012, 01:25 AM
A single bevel petty? Whaaa....??

Thin, short yanagiba essentially; I recall Jon having some at one point. Yet another knife on the endless list of knives I want but haven't bought because I still need to buy food for eating and not just cutting into as many tiny pieces as possible.

brainsausage
06-02-2012, 02:42 AM
A single bevel petty? Whaaa....??

It's so awesome. So thin. Like a whisper. Works wonders on fine tuning proteins. Ive been using it a bunch lately to seam out pork shoulders for sausage. My only complaint would be the length(150, have to choke way up more often than not) , and that the tip is just a bit too pointy. Which might sound odd to some, but it it snags easily. I might have dave round when i eventually send it off to him. I dont dare fumble with it on my own, hands are too big and barely outta school;) And yes- I got it from john:)

keithsaltydog
06-02-2012, 08:53 PM
I use a ceramic on my single bevel Kono white #2 petty whilst cleaning proteins, and I get a marked increase in performance. Just my two cents:)

Is that a single bevel wt. flat backside or hollow ground back?I use a polishing steel on single bevel gyuto,but not on my Yanagi's which are mostly for cutting Ahi Sashimi & Sushi topping.The edges are so sharp wt. my finishing stone,they never touch a steel.With fine carbon single bevel hollow ground blades,the edges are thin & razor sharp,personally I prefer no steel ,the finishing stone is enough:doublethumbsup:

brainsausage
06-02-2012, 10:48 PM
I'd prefer not to steel as well, I definitely notice some waves in my edge after steeling for awhile. But I keep blowing my load on new knives instead of getting a proper stone/strop setup. I'm moving into a new place later this month, after I catch up financially I'm gonna start throwing money at John and Dave and get my kit together. Followed closely by a big Boardsmith for work :)

Gravy Power
06-02-2012, 10:59 PM
I need to figure out what exactly a strop is and how to properly use it...

keithsaltydog
06-03-2012, 05:00 AM
I need to figure out what exactly a strop is and how to properly use it...

I would encourge learning freehand on stones as a first step.A little freehand skill goes a long way & sets a good foundation for things like strops.Again spend a little coin for Dave Martell's(The Art Of Knife Sharpening)He covers freehand skills,strops + some good tips & theory,one of the better sharpening DVD's

Gravy Power
06-28-2012, 12:58 AM
Couple of updates.

Since beginning this thread, I have aquired Dave's set of core stones and a strop set from...ugh...wherever, but yeah. I've been practicing pretty hard on some cheap knives on the stones (either mine or some dull friends kitchen knives). Last night I decided to go all out on the Shun 7-inch Asain cooks knife, which I have been primarily using at school in place of the Mercer that is issue (Shun far superion).

I have picked up a few comments, as one of the TA's noticed the Shun on the first day and said, "wow, nice knife." Keep in mind this is a $95 Shun. I said, "yep, you can get them for a great price with our student discount at SLT right now." He responed, "oh yeah, I love Shun, I have their chef's knife. I don't think I've ever seen a Foundations I student carrying one though..."

I chuckled a little.

Well last night as I went to sharpen said Shun, I was working pretty late. At some point I screwed up. After stropping and removing scratches with those colored sand paper things, I ran my finger over the edge. The bottom half of the blade was completely smooth. It was like a used up kitchen knife. Not sure how I screwed up, as I had checked progress after the stones. Additionally my sharpening on the stones had been extremely effective on my friends butterknife-like Santoku.

Anyway, it was too late to restart. So I said, "screw it, I'll just take in the Carter for our hour on knife skills." Bearing in mind everything we've mentioned in this thread, I wasn't worried about anyone taking it, or even any one grabbing it for their own use a la minute. We have a small lab with four stations and 13 people total. My station only has three people. A 45-year old pilot and his 17-year old son whom I've built a great relationship with. (Note, the father has a 9-inch Shun Chef's knife which he's pretty proud of, and I won't discount him for that. He did drop it the other day though and completely took the tip off). Additionally, no one in there has any clue whatsoever who Murray Carter is. Frankly I don't think the Chef Instructor does either. Maybe he does, but I'm not about to brag about the fact that I'm carrying a $500 knife.

Anyway...I proceed to go through knife skills. Damn. I'm so much more efficient and precise with this knive. It's a shame that some chef's would do themselves the disservice of not employing the superior technology that is available out there. My fine jullienne received high marks, and I was the only one who did it properly. There is no way I'm leaving this at home for our remaining three classes. When I start Foundations II, I'll leave it at home for a few classes, just so I can get a feel for my classmates, but it makes my tasks so much damn easier.

Crothcipt
06-28-2012, 02:13 AM
Great to hear!:EDance2: