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kbrookes
06-06-2012, 08:08 AM
I'm extremely new to this whole knifey thing and have been suffering through an old set of RACO for a while. I've got a cheap bread knife and am getting a couple of Victorinox paring knives because I'd prefer to spend my money on a decent chef's knife.

I hesitated to post such a green question, but after going through the first four pages of the board didn't see anything that really matched my query so thought I'd ask!

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

Why is it being purchased? What, if anything, are you replacing? Getting rid of the old cheap block set and miscellaneous cheapies, need something good as my main knife.

What do you like and dislike about these qualities of your knives already?
Aesthetics- Neither like nor dislike my current all-stainless (inc handles) knives. I'm partial to a good looking knife (http://www.ironchefknives.com.au/chef-knives/purpose-style/gyuto-chefs-cooks-knives/damascus-steel-chef-knife-gyuto-210mm-g-208-by-shiro-kamo) but it isn't the most important consideration.
Edge Quality/Retention- Current ones are terrible and it's important to me that the new knife holds an edge
Ease of Use- No idea really
Comfort- Average, never really had a problem, except during big dinner party prep.

What grip do you use? Hammer, willing to learn pinch

What kind of cutting motion do you use? Rock and walking mostly.

Where do you store them? Current site and spine-down in their knife block. I'll either get a case or a block that holds the knives on their side.

Have you ever oiled a handle? No.

What kind of cutting board(s) do you use? Wooden board for vege, plastic boards for meat/onions

For edge maintenance, do you use a strop, honing rod, pull through/other, or nothing? I have an old steel rod that seems to get my RACOs reasonably sharp

Have they ever been sharpened? No

What is your budget? Around $200, no more than $250

What do you cook and how often? Quite a variety, a lot of roasts.

Special requests(Country of origin/type of wood/etc)? None

I'm in Australia and likely to buy from a retailer here. I've used a Global set several times at my sister-in-law's place and found it a revelation, which is why I've started this hunt. I quite like the look of the Shun Classic, but looks aren't really of primary importance.

Thanks for your help.

Dream Burls
06-06-2012, 08:55 AM
Hold on to you hat kbrookes. You will certainly get a boatload of great suggestions from this well informed and experienced forum. My only advise to you is that before you buy anything spend some time with it at the store and get a good feel for it. Cut up as much stuff as you can. Is the weight right for you, the balance, the feel of the handle? Does the knive feel like an extension of your arm or an out of place appendage? Good luck and welcome.

chinacats
06-06-2012, 10:35 AM
Welcome!

You will get plenty of good advice about the knife itself, but I would start off by suggesting that you will want to have a plan as to how to keep the knife sharp. A steel rod will hone but not sharpen the edge (may not be very useful on many J-knives). Anything you buy will dull before long and the only thing that will matter is how you get it sharp again...also many knives people buy here are sharpened before using as often the out of box edge is marginal at best. Finally, a location will help because you may be living near someone with sharp knives or maybe even a retailer with quite a few sharp knives.

Cheers

Eamon Burke
06-06-2012, 12:09 PM
:ntmy:
Welcome!


I'm not sure what retailers are there in Australia, so I'll forego specific suggestions. But you should expect to get a new maintenance tool, the rod you have will likely do nothing to a higher performance knife. There are lots of options from ceramic rods to strops.

Are you wanting a Japanese knife especially? With a Wa handle, like the one pictured?

And it seems you are ok with Carbon steel, correct?

kbrookes
06-06-2012, 05:57 PM
Thanks for the replies guys - I don't know much about honing or about the relative hardness of the sharpening tool to the knife (it would seem clear that the sharpening tool needs to be harder?) or what steels are harder.

But as I am first and foremost a coffee geek, I understand the need to get decent supplementary tools to ensure the experience is optimal.

I'm also happy to take recommendations on starting out on my sharpening journey.

The only decent knives I've tried so far are the Globals and I really liked those. My hammer grip probably means I fatigue faster than with other grips and better techniques, but I haven't used it long enough to know if it would be a problem on the Globals.

I don't necessarily want a japanese knife, I haven't had a chance to use any yet, I just like the look.

Korin_Mari
06-06-2012, 06:03 PM
If you're looking for a really sharp knife, I might recommend going with a 70/30 bevel knife instead of a Damascus 50/50 unless you're left handed. Damascus knives look really nice though, I agree. :)

I also recommend trying out a sharpening stone on your future knife. I guarantee that it will be sharper than using a honing steel.

Good luck on your knife hunt!

Johnny.B.Good
06-06-2012, 08:04 PM
Welcome to the forum.

Someone here posted a source for good knives in or around Melbourne recently (if memory serves); not sure where you're located...

Deckhand
06-06-2012, 08:17 PM
welcome!
You would have a lot of Fun with one of these.
http://www.kitchenknifeforums.com/showthread.php/6718-Sakai-Yusuke-Wa-Gyuto-Stainless-240mm-and-Suisin-Inox-Honyaki-240mm-Gyuto?highlight=Sakai+thin
There are many threads here about Sakai gyutos you can read by using the search engine on the forum here. I checked they sell them on Australian eBay. You can message on eBay for increased HRC, stainless,etc.

Benuser
06-06-2012, 08:30 PM
If you're looking for a really sharp knife, I might recommend going with a 70/30 bevel knife instead of a Damascus 50/50 unless you're left handed. Damascus knives look really nice though, I agree. :)

I also recommend trying out a sharpening stone on your future knife. I guarantee that it will be sharper than using a honing steel.

Good luck on your knife hunt!
I really like Korin's no nonsense comment; my first thought was get a 240mm carbon gyuto by Fujiwara (with JCK some US$ 80) to learn sharpening an asymmetric edge. Get a 1000/3000 stone by Naniwa, a single sheet of P320 sandpaper and you will be fine

Dusty
06-06-2012, 08:57 PM
Where in Australia are you?

JasonD
06-06-2012, 09:39 PM
If you want something a little flashy and you're ok with carbon steel, Misono Swedish Steel series with the engraved dragon would be a cool choice and an excellent knife. If you want something a more afforadable but still good value, the Fujiwara FKM series is stainless and a reliable choice. JCK Gekko (under Specials) offers some very affordable options if you have your eye on something damascus patterned. All can be bought from japanesechefsknife.com with a flat rate $7 shipping that is absurdly fast.

Welcome and good luck on your search.

kbrookes
06-06-2012, 10:25 PM
@Deckhand - ooooh shiny. They look nice and bang on budget.

@Benuser - thanks, I definitely need sharpening advice too.

@Dusty - Sunshine Coast, an hour north of Brisvegas

@JasonD - I have no idea about the merits of carbon steel. Not sure I need a dragon tho! JapaneseChefsKnife looks awesome tho, thanks!!

kbrookes
06-06-2012, 10:28 PM
Just looking at the eBay listings for Sakai gyuto knives - what's white steel?

JapaneseChefsKnife is great for visuals, super hard to know what to look for, for a novice. Verbiage overload!

jm2hill
06-06-2012, 10:32 PM
Just looking at the eBay listings for Sakai gyuto knives - what's white steel?

JapaneseChefsKnife is great for visuals, super hard to know what to look for, for a novice. Verbiage overload!

Very good steel. If its from a reputable seller and decent maker then it should be great. Good edge holding, gets real sharp.
One of my favourite japanese steels.

chinacats
06-06-2012, 10:37 PM
White steel is carbon steel though, so it will patina/rust if not treated properly...

Dusty
06-06-2012, 10:43 PM
White steel is a type of carbon steel made by the Japanese company hitachi. It is well known for its ability to take a very keen edge. Like all carbon steels it will patina with use and rust if not cared for properly. Carbon steels are sometimes favoured because of the edges they can take and the ease of sharpening. A search on this forum will yield plenty of results discussing the differences between stainless and carbon knives.

The Sakai yusuke knives you are looking at from bluewayjapan are excellent, and very light and thin. For an everyday kind of knife, you may not need the 'ultra thin' model.

Jck probably offers the best budget sub-150 dollar range.
Fujiwara, carbonext, Hiromoto, are also worth looking at from that site.

If you wanted an Aussie vendor, you could try chefsarmoury.com.au but they can be on the pricey side compared to Japanese vendors.

Dusty
06-06-2012, 10:47 PM
If you're unsure about a knife that will go rusty if you leave it in a sink, Sakai yusuke also make great stainless knives - usually described as 'Swedish stainless'.

kbrookes
06-06-2012, 11:01 PM
I've just done a little reading - wiping the knife when switching foods and then a thorough hot-water & detergent hand-wash, followed by air-drying seems to be the recommendation for carbon steel. Is that correct?

Additionally I've discovered I actually use a finger-point grip: thumb and middle finger behind the bolster (?) and index down the spine. Don't know where I picked that up, but apparently that's how I cut.

jm2hill
06-06-2012, 11:05 PM
I've just done a little reading - wiping the knife when switching foods and then a thorough hot-water & detergent hand-wash, followed by air-drying seems to be the recommendation for carbon steel. Is that correct?

Additionally I've discovered I actually use a finger-point grip: thumb and middle finger behind the bolster (?) and index down the spine. Don't know where I picked that up, but apparently that's how I cut.

Yup that's generally what I do when I use carbon. Keep a cloth handy for quick wipe downs in between foods or if you have to put something in the oven. Then once everything is all said and done wash with hot water and soap and dry immediately.

Finger on the spine is a common grip for cutting, although it may not be the best kinesthetically. I use it a lot for tougher foods that need a bit of an extra push. I find with most foods and handles a simple pinch is the easiest.

Vertigo
06-06-2012, 11:16 PM
I use it a lot for tougher foods that need a bit of an extra push. I find with most foods and handles a simple pinch is the easiest.
Funny, I use the "finger along the spine" thing almost always, especially with lighter/longer knives and precise cutting. I don't pull the finger back to a more "classic" pinch grip unless I'm really needing an extra push. Different strokes, lol.

jm2hill
06-06-2012, 11:22 PM
Funny, I use the "finger along the spine" thing almost always, especially with lighter/longer knives and precise cutting. I don't pull the finger back to a more "classic" pinch grip unless I'm really needing an extra push. Different strokes, lol.

That is funny. Different Strokes for different folks.

Do you cut more at the tip or heel?

Vertigo
06-06-2012, 11:43 PM
Do you cut more at the tip or heel?
Definitely at the tip, or within a few inches of it. I tend to crawl my fingers down the spine so that a longer knife becomes "shorter" as appropriate for whatever I'm doing, and really only pull back to a full pinch using the heel when I'm doing a large volume of product at once (or chopping something huge and tough). If I'm just doing one onion with a 270, my pointer finger is touching the spine about halfway down it's length.

kbrookes
06-07-2012, 12:12 AM
Alrighty. What do we think about these as possible choices:

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Japanese-Sakai-Takayuki-Blue-Steel-Gyuto-Knife-210mm-/230785016461?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item35bbdbe28d#ht_2541wt_1163

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Japanese-Sakai-White-Steel-Wa-Gyuto-Knife-240mm-Special-Thin-Blade-/230785022875?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item35bbdbfb9b#ht_3437wt_1163

http://japanesechefsknife.com/SwedenSteelSeries.html#No.113

sachem allison
06-07-2012, 12:49 AM
welcome

Crothcipt
06-07-2012, 01:43 AM
welcome, it looks like you have a tough choice just between the 3 you posted. I have not used either of them so I'll let those that know say their piece.

:welcome2:

Deckhand
06-07-2012, 02:02 AM
I like Sakai and the misono with the dragon. I am sure any of those will make you happy. Personally i like my stainless Sakai which you can request from the seller. I prefer the low maintenance of stainless. I have a 270mm. I don't know your preference there is a thread here on patina if you like a knife in the materials you listed.
http://www.kitchenknifeforums.com/showthread.php/299-My-favorite-color-is-BLUE!-A-patina-thread?highlight=Blue
Best of luck I think whichever you choose you will be happy.

kbrookes
06-07-2012, 03:11 AM
Thanks for that link Deckhand. Is it possible to avoid the more extreme patina effects as seen in those photos without extreme effort? The blushish oil-like sheen doesn't bother me, but some of the more 'skanky rust' appearances were a bit of a turnoff!

Dusty
06-07-2012, 09:37 AM
Yep, just wipe the blade after use and you should avoid rust entirely.

Out of the three you've shortlisted I've used the misono and the normal - not extra thin - Sakai yusuke and like them both.

You're choice there is between super thin and light, and a western handled knife that will feel a but more solid. Both perform exceptionally well and will be leaps and bounds passed anything you've used before. :)

Dusty
06-07-2012, 09:38 AM
I've never used the Takayuki.

kbrookes
06-07-2012, 06:20 PM
A friend questioned whether they'd be too thin for 'roast duties' - i.e. cutting through pumpkin and doing carving. Not that there's a lot of that around here - once a week at most.

Deckhand
06-07-2012, 07:38 PM
A friend questioned whether they'd be too thin for 'roast duties' - i.e. cutting through pumpkin and doing carving. Not that there's a lot of that around here - once a week at most.

Certainly not for me! And FYI if my primary concern was in fact cutting roasts a sujihiki would be my choice, but your gyuto will work and is a much better primary chefs knife.
:2cents:

kbrookes
06-07-2012, 09:42 PM
No, certainly not the primary concern - I definitely need a general everyday chef's knife to work with, but it will need to do a roast once a week or so. I'm sure upgraditis will eventually kick in and I'll want more knives, but I'm trying to limit myself to one very good primary all-rounder.