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View Full Version : Hello all, need help choosing first knife



joe88
07-10-2012, 11:10 AM
Hello everyone, I have been reading a fair bit about knives lately but I have gotten to the point where i would appreciate feedback from members who have actually used knives before. I will be moving to england for a year and will be on my own so I have a very small budget and need to get the very basics. I have been looking at ebay since most places in toronto are over priced. I am looking at picking up a chefs knife and a paring knife, as I should be able to do everything with those. I have zero skill cutting and very little skill cooking but I am learning slowly.

The following are knives ive been looking at:

YAMAWAKU water proof chestnut Gyuto chef knife Houchou210- Around $69, plus shipping if I want it registered.
-appears to be a great price for what you get
-blue steel
-length at 210
-handle

Japanese Hideyuki Tanaka stainless silver3 chef knife hand forged pear Gyuto 180-US $53.33 plus shipping if I want it registered.
-price
-still good steel
-kind of small
-a negative is the lack of a full tang

Japanese Kazuki Tanaka 16 Damascus blue st JP chef knife Gyutou 180mm HRC63+ $85 plus shipping if I want it registered.
-pretty
-vg-10
Negatives:
- price
-kind of small

I.O Shen- 270mm -around 66
-handle looks neat
-price is great for the size
-cons- metal is unknown, i have searched and havent found much on the knives if anything at all, other than they are popular in Britain

Zhen Japanese Steel Gyuto Chef Beef Cutting Knife 9.5in【Z014M-2-95】- price 45 and up depending on bid, plus 10 shipping
-vg-10 core
-I have found reviews for this, seems pretty good
-decent sharpness
-price may be great depending on what it ends at
negative
-made in taiwan

Zhen Japanese Cooking Chef Knife 8" - price 35 and up buy it now is 50 something plus 10 shipping
-vg-10 core
-I have found reviews for this, seems pretty good
-decent sharpness
-price may be great depending on what it ends at
negative
-made in taiwan

tojiro japanese knife sushi chef dp cobalt alloy steel gyuto 210mm sanjo japan-100 including shipping
cons- price

May consider a CCK cleaver, there is an official distributor at a nearby mall- i think their around $40


Pairing Knife:
victorinox- $5.25- i can get this local
maybe a henckels twin master yellow handle paring knife- price unknown
I know both will be stamped, but I have a hard time justifing the extra expense right now.

I know I will get asked about sharpening so here it goes.
-I have little money for stones so I have been using 400, 1000 and 2000 grit sandpaper taped to glass so its perfectely flat. i then have been following up with cleaning/polishing compound (its green) on mdf board that I had lying around. (makeshift strop).
-I picked up a cheap 9inch steel which I havent used yet.
-I have practiced on a few knives now and although I have been getitng better, still cannot get razor sharp. i can get the knives to slice paper easily, but cannot shave at all.
-I probably dont have any money for a stone, but if i did it would probably come from lee valley.
-i was instead thinking of getting some diamond film from lee valley as its cheap and light, and i already need to fit a ton of crap into one suitcase. What grit would be good to get.

I am looking for anyones advice as i am new to the world of knives and simply looking to get the best deal for my dollar. I appreciate everyone taking the time to read this lengthy post.

tk59
07-10-2012, 11:30 AM
I would get an FKM series gyuto here: http://japanesechefsknife.com/FujiwaraKanefusa.html. It is a nice cutter. It sharpens up easily. Edge holding is okay. It's stainless and inexpensive. Shipping to the US is a few bucks. I would imagine it's the same for you.

joe88
07-10-2012, 12:15 PM
I appreciate the response, the fkm is $82 usd shipped. This is really at the upper limits of what I willing to spend. Also isnt the steel worse then the blue carbon #2 for edge retention and sharpness or the vg-10? Do you happen to know anything about the I.O. Shen metal?

EdipisReks
07-10-2012, 12:31 PM
I have zero skill cutting and very little skill cooking but I am learning slowly.

just buy a pair of Forschners, then.

Timthebeaver
07-10-2012, 12:40 PM
The Zhen is good value for $45.(I have the 300mm version). They'll probably chuck in a rubber handled parer as well.

joe88
07-10-2012, 01:31 PM
I feel the Zhen is the right price for me, now if I could just get it for the 45 plus 10 shipping. Would still like to know more about the I.O. Shen though. I am working on my cutting skills, as I have been watching videos, and I dont feel the victorinox will hold the edge I want.

Crothcipt
07-10-2012, 01:52 PM
found some kind of write up here http://www.cooksknivesshop.co.uk/Knives/IOSHEN_Knives/1223

I did a write up on my zhen 300 http://www.kitchenknifeforums.com/showthread.php/5632-ZHEN-296-(12-quot-)-Gyuto-Review
I use it just about every day. I have since put a better edge on. for the price not bad at all. But if you are just learning cooking and sharpening I would go with a old carbon. You can't beat the edge it will hold, and also give you some good knife up keep skills. Good luck on the hunt.

Oh ya Welcome to the forum. Please let us know what you end up with.

labor of love
07-10-2012, 01:54 PM
you could definitely get a much better knife if you just found a way to raise your budget to atleast $130 or so.

EdipisReks
07-10-2012, 01:59 PM
I feel the Zhen is the right price for me, now if I could just get it for the 45 plus 10 shipping. Would still like to know more about the I.O. Shen though. I am working on my cutting skills, as I have been watching videos, and I dont feel the victorinox will hold the edge I want.

what are you sharpening with?

Crothcipt
07-10-2012, 02:00 PM
Also what cutting board are you using?

EdipisReks
07-10-2012, 02:02 PM
you could definitely get a much better knife if you just found a way to raise your budget to atleast $130 or so.

and if he found a way to raise his budget to $250,000, he could buy a McLaren MP4-12C.

labor of love
07-10-2012, 02:18 PM
ofcourse my statement is a bit rhetorical, but i think the jump in quality is worth it.

joe88
07-10-2012, 02:20 PM
it is a nice car, but Id still buy the zr1 if I had the money. For the cutting board, it is plastic. i know a hardwood butcher board would be ideal, but thats dollars I dont have and weight I cant take back and forth on a plane. for sharpening i have mentioned it at the bottom of that wall of text lol. "-I have little money for stones so I have been using 400, 1000 and 2000 grit sandpaper taped to glass so its perfectely flat. i then have been following up with cleaning/polishing compound (its green) on mdf board that I had lying around. (makeshift strop). -I picked up a cheap 9inch steel which I havent used yet."

labor of love
07-10-2012, 02:29 PM
dojo blue steel knives are popular and in your price range but ive no expierence with them.

Deckhand
07-10-2012, 02:50 PM
Some of the knives you are looking at are tiny. My only advice is to get at least a 240mm or you may have regrets. Unless of course you choose the cleaver.

joe88
07-10-2012, 03:19 PM
I think you are rigth about the 240mm, I measured my parents nella knife and it is 10inch. I like the size of the knife and I am unsure if i would like the smaller 8 inch.

JasonD
07-10-2012, 04:29 PM
The Tanakas and the Yamawaku are available in 240mm if you contact the seller. I'm assuming you're going through 330mate_com on ebay. Also, I'm fairly certain that Yamawaku works in V2 carbon steel, not aogami.

My experience with a VG10 damascus Tanaka wa-gyuto was that it was an excellent cutter and the handle felt like junk. I've looked pretty hard at the Gin3 pear finished knives, because I think I'd like their western handle better, but at the size I want the value seemed to drop off for me. (I think it was a little over $100 at 240mm, which kinda took the fun out of a cheap knife to try out)

Also you could check out some info/pictures in this thread (http://www.kitchenknifeforums.com/showthread.php/7253-Pics-of-three-Yamawaku-knives?highlight=Yamawaku) about the Yamawaku knives. I'm considering grabbing up a gyuto in 240mm (price increase is only up to $69 I believe).

Hope that helps.

joe88
07-10-2012, 04:57 PM
I saw the Yamawaku knives and yes i have been looking at 330mate_com listings. The 240 from him is $90 usd though which is really more then I want to spend, although i do like the look of it. I have emailed the seller of the zhen knives to see if I can get it for the 46 plus shipping, if i can I will go with that if not Ill go back and look at some of the more expensive knives, and the I.O shen. Wish they would state what steel it was, as I like the look of it. Appreciate the help thus far everyone, if anyone else has any other suggestions let me know.

chinacats
07-10-2012, 09:31 PM
Welcome! Not so sure the steel will matter that much on the knives at this pricepoint. Fujiwara (FKM) is imho the best bang for the buck--$90 USD including shipping.

Good luck

joe88
07-11-2012, 01:24 PM
So the seller is willing to sell my the zhen knife for 56 shipped, this seems like a good bang for my buck. Any reason not to get the knife?

Deckhand
07-11-2012, 03:24 PM
Might ask Crothcipt.

http://www.kitchenknifeforums.com/showthread.php/5632-ZHEN-296-(12-quot-)-Gyuto-Review

Crothcipt
07-11-2012, 03:30 PM
I still use this knife almost every day. The edge I got was first very chippy, being vg10 I found out later that this is normal. If you are wanting a laser then it wont be that for long. If you want to learn the steel and how it will work with your style and boards it is fine. For the price I am still happy with it. I would just get a longer one.

joe88
07-12-2012, 12:17 PM
I still use this knife almost every day. The edge I got was first very chippy, being vg10 I found out later that this is normal. If you are wanting a laser then it wont be that for long. If you want to learn the steel and how it will work with your style and boards it is fine. For the price I am still happy with it. I would just get a longer one.

Well you have convinced me to give it a try, i am going with the 270mm for 48 plus 9 shipping. I think the knife should hold a decent edge for awhile. i dont have the best sharpening tools anyways. Now did you happen to pick up the paring knife also? any review on that? I appreciate the helpful responses from everyone.

Sara@JKI
07-12-2012, 12:55 PM
I just noticed one thing - I have never purchased a knife in my life (for my personal use)! Not even one! I always used my Mom's or someone else's... and also I was/am lucky to receive really nice knives as gifts.

If I were to chose the first knife(or knives) to purchase, I will keep it very simple. Asking myself fairly simple things like these:
- What types of knives do I want? (I probably just want Wa-gyuto and Wa-petty because they seem very useful and multi-task)
- Carbon or stainless? (It doesn't matter too much to me as long as I understand what they are - I grow up using carbon ones since my Mom had carbon knives... but maybe stainless for wa-petty? I do a lot of lemon, fruit cutting with the small knives)
- How much can I and do I want to spend? Is this amount of money justifiable considering my skill set and knowledge?

The only thing I would be worried about is getting something so beyond my skill set and end up not using them....

I will let you know if I (ever) purchase my first knife sometime in the future... You are so ahead of me on this since you are taking a serious first step to ask people here for recommendation. Good luck, and let me know what you decide on :)

I love shopping, and I love listening to shoppers' happy problems :coffeelove:

Sara

joe88
07-12-2012, 01:10 PM
ive tried to do that, ive set it out so that I am getting the basics, a paring and a chefs knife. I am starting off with some pretty simple knives, I know their not the best but I cant afford that rigt now. You have some lovely blades on your site but unfortunately way out of my range. i think what I am looking at should last me a few years till I get on my feet and can afford to get something better. i hope that the zhen knives wont rust too bad and will hold their edge for a reasonable amount of time. In the end, i am no chef and just need something better then the "stainless made in china knife" from walmart..etc. i will make sure to post some nice pictures of the knives I get, and will try to do a review to help future people looking about the brand.

Sara@JKI
07-12-2012, 01:28 PM
It's not like fancy knives are going to disappear with time :) ! I think it's a good thing to take it slow and not to rush into anything when it comes to knives (and other hobbies).

Enjoy your new knives :D

(PS Now I think I will spend some time to pick up my knives too... )

Crothcipt
07-12-2012, 07:26 PM
Well you have convinced me to give it a try, i am going with the 270mm for 48 plus 9 shipping. I think the knife should hold a decent edge for awhile. i dont have the best sharpening tools anyways. Now did you happen to pick up the paring knife also? any review on that? I appreciate the helpful responses from everyone.

I didn't do a review on the paring knife. I gave it to Mano here on the forum and he did one. It can be read here.

http://www.kitchenknifeforums.com/showthread.php/6967-zhen-fruit-carving-knife