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View Full Version : Humbly asking for some tips for equipment for "newbie" (but not a total amature)



soyo
07-23-2012, 10:56 AM
Hello everybody.

My name is Lucas, and I always wanted to learn to cook good. Not "Professional" good or "Chef" good, but "home" good, meaning I'd like to prepare some nice meal from time to time on my own. Anyways I always were busy, or had some other things to attend to or were interested in. I've finaly decided to find some time on regular basis and try and follow this thought of mine I had a long time ago.

Anyways, I'm a person that tries to be pretty meticulous in every thing I do in my spare time with passion, and I always try to learn from the people with more expierience, and thank God for internet that helps with that.

Ok, going to business. If something is expensive, I'm usually ok with that purchase, as long as I can afford it, and it's not something that is way out of my price range, AND as long as I can use it for a long, long time. I preffer to spend more once, than spend less, but then spend multiple amount of that in consecutive time frames.

From what I've read, I figured that for my type of cooking, and for my level of cooking, this set should be more than enough for me for a long time:
a) Chef's knife
b) Paring knife
c) a tool to use before each "session" of using the knife
d) a tool to sharpen the knife from time to time
e) Butcher's knife
f) Bread's knife (if bought smart, if can also be used apparently to cutting something that needs a bit rough edge on the knife, like some very soft tomatoes, or some roasted meat in the oven to slice it)

I can delay with Butcher's knife and Bread's knife I guess for some time, so I can buy those 2 later on.

So the first 4 elements are neceseary for start (Correct me if I'm wrong). I've often heard that it's a lot better to buy 2, 3 quality knives, than to buy a set of 20 crappy knives. It makes a lot of sense.

Anyways, for the chef's knife, I first thought of Wusthof, but then I started to read more, and the more I've read, the more I've became convinced the japanese knives are worthy to spend that extra buck, especialy since apparently the wusthof knives are not as good for their price range as they appear to be(not sure it's true though, so don't hold me to it).

So to Chef's knife. This is the site to go to apperently:
http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/default.html

I like these 2:
Hattori FH Gyuto 240mm
Misono UX10 Gyuto 240mm

However the 2nd one costs almost 100$ more, which I think is too much for me. Probably 9/10 people would already say I'm crazy enough to spend so much money on the knives when I'm not advanced user, and if I went for the second one, I would probably be considered crazy in 10 out of 10 cases :P

Now the paring knife. Here I have to be honest did not spend as much time, so if some of you would have some nice suggestions for not as expensive, but quality paring knife, that would go with the quality of Chef's knife I would appriciate that much.

Last but not least, the maintance equipment. Here I might stir some controversy :P, as I'm thinking of buying a rods for that. I'm thinking of doing that for start, not in the long term. I've read enough that stones are best sharpening tools, but again, if I can achieve a nice result with the Rod vs a better, but not overwhelmly better(that I would notice) result with the stone, I think I can live with the option a) for some time.

Anyways, the first tool to use it before every use of the knife, is something that I also would appriciate some recomendation. I know it has to be a "honing" rod, and I also know it can't be too hard.

As for the second set, for sharpening, I would like to ask you what you think of this set:
a) Diamond steel for first strokes (DMT Diamond rod at 600 mesh)
b) Ceramic (white ceramic rod) to finish off the sharpening

Please remember I'm not as expierienced as you, so if I said something moronic in this post, do not feel offended ;)

cheers
Lucas

JasonD
07-23-2012, 08:31 PM
Not many people around here would tell you that Misono UX10 is any kind of value for money. The Hattori FH should be a nice option and is in my opinion a very beautiful knife.

I would recommend a simple leather strop with some inexpensive green CrO powder/paste to load it. There's some nice ones available to buy or I'm sure there's some guys around here who can help point you in the right dirrection to make your own. I think it's just as fast/easy to use as a rod, especially in a home environment when you can keep it tucked away but close by in the kitchen. Nothing wrong with a nice smooth steel or ceramic honing rod if that's what you want to do, but I wouldn't recommend the diamond one.

I'd also recommend a good combination waterstone since any way you look at it, you're going to have to sharpen your knives eventually. Bester 1200 / Suehiro Rika 5000 is a nice place to get going, or there is a King 1000/6000 combination stone.

I assume by "butcher's knife" you mean a boning knife like this (http://www.amazon.com/Victorinox-6-Inch-Straight-Boning-Rosewood/dp/B0017SYT9M/ref=sr_1_31?s=kitchen&ie=UTF8&qid=1343089398&sr=1-31) and not something like this (http://www.amazon.com/Victorinox-Cutlery-10-Inch-Straight-Butcher/dp/B0019WUMIS/ref=sr_1_6?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1343089432&sr=1-6&keywords=butcher+knife). If you're talking about a boning knife, you might consider combining your Paring knife and Boning knife into a 120-150mm Petty. If that's something you're interested in, I've got a 120mm Hiromoto Ginsanko 3 (stainless) petty that doesn't get much use, if you're interested in buying something second-hand.

For an easy-to-find paring knife suggestion, the Shun Classic and Suisin Western Inox wouldn't be bad places to start looking.

Hope that gets you started.

Zwiefel
07-23-2012, 08:43 PM
Soyo,

There are a ton of folks on here that will give you a lot of good advice on your knife choice...they know loads more than me about this subject. In general terms, I'd suggest getting an entry-level 8/9" Gyuto (lots of suggestions for that), and skipping any other knife purchases. Then spend 1-2 years learning to do EVERYthing in you kitchen with that knife (i.e. no garlic press, no food processor, no mandolin, etc.). You will build some good skills and learn what it takes to use that kind of knife....and I think you will discover that a paring knife isn't all that much more useful. After that you will be in a MUCH better place to evaluate what you want.

This is the approach I took...except that I waited for 5-6 years...and I started with Henckel's instead of a good jKnife. I feel that time was invaluable for me. I also did a LOT of volume cooking...anything I could make 5 gallons at a time, I did...which enhanced my learning with that knife...that might not be practicable for you though.

Please note: this is advice for a home cook...not someone on the line where things are very different.

Now I'm going to put on my flamesuit b/c I'm sure that will be considered controversial advice :surrendar:

chinacats
07-23-2012, 09:26 PM
Welcome Lucas!

First thing I would suggest is that if you are going to go with Japanese knives that you may want to skip the honing rods period. A good medium stone will suffice...plenty of help here to teach you how to use it. Next thing I would suggest is going for something a little less expensive while you 'hone' your skills with the stone...maybe a Fujiwara FKM from the same site (cost is ~90 with shipping). This knife will be just fine as far as an introduction into the world of nicer knives and again will be a better knife to experiment with sharpening on stones. You could do a paring knife of the same and be in good shape for most kitchen tasks...practice your skills and if and when you feel like the knife is holding you back, then call Jon at JKI and move on up to the fun stuff.

Cheers!

Benuser
07-24-2012, 11:22 AM
You may very well use a rod
to sharpen a symmetric
European blade. You renew
the very edge - and once a
year or so you send it out
for thinning.
Most J-knives are lighter,
thinner and asymmetric.
The Misono you mentioned
is strongly right-biased,
with a large convex bevel at
the right side and a very
small one at left. If you
sharpen just the very edge
you change all the existing
proportions, and soon
steering and wedging will
occur. Proper sharpening
means abrading some
material and restoring these
proportions. A sharpening
job may start very well at
some .5" above the very
edge, thinning somewhat
and working down to the
very edge maintaining its
convexity by varying the
angle. I'm not sure it's
realistic to expect this to be
done with a rod.

obtuse
07-24-2012, 01:02 PM
I would suggest looking into the gesshin ginga line at Japaneseknifeimports.com

bieniek
07-24-2012, 01:33 PM
And I would suggest not spending tons of money on the very first knife.

Agree with chinacats, Fujiwara for 90 bucks is decent starter.

Soyo, You are yet to discover what your knife-rences are. It might happen that when you get the Hattori for example, youll feel it to heavy or you would prefer japanese handle and so on.

Plus fujiwara is so cheap that after few years, you dont even need to sell it, it can just stay as a backup knife.

Colorado_cutter
07-24-2012, 02:42 PM
Those two gyutos look like nice ones. But are they the best for you? Hard to say. Maybe after you buy one of them, you'll get interested in carbon steels, or wa handles, or some other brand or profile of knife. Although it can be a very good idea, it doesn't always make sense to start at the "top."

As an example: I like bikes and bicycling. The bike I would have considered "best" when I first got started is nothing like what I would consider "best" now. If I had bought that "best" bike right off, I'd have just lost money reselling when I learned more about what my true needs and preferences are. So, I agree with those who have said that you might start off with an inexpensive gyuto- Tojiro, Fujiwara, Artifex etc. They'll still probably be much better than anything you've ever used before!

As far as sharpening... I used a ceramic rod system for years and years. Being dissatisfied with how sharp it got my knives was what lead me to learn more about better knives and sharpening in the first place. Rods really don't have much surface area in contact with the knife, so that makes them slow, and more prone to chipping harder steels. I've found waterstones to work a LOT better. Any of the "budget" knives mentioned will be a lot sharper when well-sharpened on a waterstone than the Hattori or Misono would be when sharpened on ceramic rods.
John

AddictforLife
07-25-2012, 12:29 PM
My recommendation for the gyuto would ba a carbonext or an artiflex. Both of them have a very good steel. I guess ok ergonomic. as for the stone Rika and the bester como will serve you well for a long while. As for the bread knife the tojiro itk seem to have a good reviews.

Deckhand
07-25-2012, 01:42 PM
You sound like my thinking when I started. I have a misono ux10 210mm currently for sale on the local list.At least you are going 240mm it's a better length. My current Sakai yusuke 270mm Wa in stainless is my daily use knife. My "bread knife" is a tojiro itk and I use it all the time, bread,watermelon, pineapple,etc. A cheapie paring knife will work fine. I have two expensive ones and they get little use. Depending on where you live you need to try different lengths and western vs wa handles. After i did a test drive I decided I preferred wa handles.Starting sharpening a king 1000 and a magnum sharpie will do the trick. Japanese knife imports has good knives and stones and Jon is very helpful. If you need some help give him a call.

soyo
07-26-2012, 05:49 PM
Hey guys and first of all sorry for the late response. I appriciate all the time you've took.

As for "butchers knife" I misspeled. Sorry ;) I meant the cleaver to cut through bones, but after thinking about it for a bit I won't be needing it just yet. I will first focus on the Chef's knife and paring knife.


Not many people around here would tell you that Misono UX10 is any kind of value for money. The Hattori FH should be a nice option and is in my opinion a very beautiful knife.

I would recommend a simple leather strop with some inexpensive green CrO powder/paste to load it. There's some nice ones available to buy or I'm sure there's some guys around here who can help point you in the right dirrection to make your own. I think it's just as fast/easy to use as a rod, especially in a home environment when you can keep it tucked away but close by in the kitchen. Nothing wrong with a nice smooth steel or ceramic honing rod if that's what you want to do, but I wouldn't recommend the diamond one.

I'd also recommend a good combination waterstone since any way you look at it, you're going to have to sharpen your knives eventually. Bester 1200 / Suehiro Rika 5000 is a nice place to get going, or there is a King 1000/6000 combination stone.

Thanks a lot for your words of advice. I will keep them in mind.



Soyo,

There are a ton of folks on here that will give you a lot of good advice on your knife choice...they know loads more than me about this subject. In general terms, I'd suggest getting an entry-level 8/9" Gyuto (lots of suggestions for that), and skipping any other knife purchases. Then spend 1-2 years learning to do EVERYthing in you kitchen with that knife (i.e. no garlic press, no food processor, no mandolin, etc.). You will build some good skills and learn what it takes to use that kind of knife....and I think you will discover that a paring knife isn't all that much more useful. After that you will be in a MUCH better place to evaluate what you want.

This is the approach I took...except that I waited for 5-6 years...and I started with Henckel's instead of a good jKnife. I feel that time was invaluable for me. I also did a LOT of volume cooking...anything I could make 5 gallons at a time, I did...which enhanced my learning with that knife...that might not be practicable for you though.

Please note: this is advice for a home cook...not someone on the line where things are very different.

Now I'm going to put on my flamesuit b/c I'm sure that will be considered controversial advice :surrendar:
Thanks for that Zwiefel. To be honest my plan is almost the same as you described, except that a paring knife is a must for me. I'm from Poland, and polish meals base a lot on the peeled potates(mostly mashed potatoes). Almost every other meal is with potatoes so it's a must for me ;)

But the Chef's knife you're in a sync with what I had in mind. Get a good chef's knife, pick up on skills and take it from there :)



Welcome Lucas!

First thing I would suggest is that if you are going to go with Japanese knives that you may want to skip the honing rods period. A good medium stone will suffice...plenty of help here to teach you how to use it. Next thing I would suggest is going for something a little less expensive while you 'hone' your skills with the stone...maybe a Fujiwara FKM from the same site (cost is ~90 with shipping). This knife will be just fine as far as an introduction into the world of nicer knives and again will be a better knife to experiment with sharpening on stones. You could do a paring knife of the same and be in good shape for most kitchen tasks...practice your skills and if and when you feel like the knife is holding you back, then call Jon at JKI and move on up to the fun stuff.

Cheers!
Thanks for the warm welcome :)

I took your advice into consideration and I will be probably deciding between the two. Although I'm usually a person who is not afraid of chalanges, so I will probably go with Hattori, but you never know ;)

Thanks also for other tips.



You may very well use a rod
to sharpen a symmetric
European blade. You renew
the very edge - and once a
year or so you send it out
for thinning.
Most J-knives are lighter,
thinner and asymmetric.
The Misono you mentioned
is strongly right-biased,
with a large convex bevel at
the right side and a very
small one at left. If you
sharpen just the very edge
you change all the existing
proportions, and soon
steering and wedging will
occur. Proper sharpening
means abrading some
material and restoring these
proportions. A sharpening
job may start very well at
some .5" above the very
edge, thinning somewhat
and working down to the
very edge maintaining its
convexity by varying the
angle. I'm not sure it's
realistic to expect this to be
done with a rod.
A bit hard to read, but I did my best :>

I know what you mean, and I will take this into consideration along with other suggestions of buying stones to do the "job".



And I would suggest not spending tons of money on the very first knife.

Agree with chinacats, Fujiwara for 90 bucks is decent starter.

Soyo, You are yet to discover what your knife-rences are. It might happen that when you get the Hattori for example, youll feel it to heavy or you would prefer japanese handle and so on.

Plus fujiwara is so cheap that after few years, you dont even need to sell it, it can just stay as a backup knife.
I think I saw you on polish forums :>

Anyways the last advice(a backup knife if I decide to buy a better one in the future) is a nice advice. I will think about it long and hard between the two.



Those two gyutos look like nice ones. But are they the best for you? Hard to say. Maybe after you buy one of them, you'll get interested in carbon steels, or wa handles, or some other brand or profile of knife. Although it can be a very good idea, it doesn't always make sense to start at the "top."

As an example: I like bikes and bicycling. The bike I would have considered "best" when I first got started is nothing like what I would consider "best" now. If I had bought that "best" bike right off, I'd have just lost money reselling when I learned more about what my true needs and preferences are. So, I agree with those who have said that you might start off with an inexpensive gyuto- Tojiro, Fujiwara, Artifex etc. They'll still probably be much better than anything you've ever used before!

As far as sharpening... I used a ceramic rod system for years and years. Being dissatisfied with how sharp it got my knives was what lead me to learn more about better knives and sharpening in the first place. Rods really don't have much surface area in contact with the knife, so that makes them slow, and more prone to chipping harder steels. I've found waterstones to work a LOT better. Any of the "budget" knives mentioned will be a lot sharper when well-sharpened on a waterstone than the Hattori or Misono would be when sharpened on ceramic rods.
John
Thanks.

To reply to your first remark, to be honest I'm so new into quality knives that I think that any knife I will get I will be delighted with it ;) Besides, knives in that price range, and with those recomendations, it's very very very very (not saying there is none ;)) slim chance I will be dissatisfied with purchase.



My recommendation for the gyuto would ba a carbonext or an artiflex. Both of them have a very good steel. I guess ok ergonomic. as for the stone Rika and the bester como will serve you well for a long while. As for the bread knife the tojiro itk seem to have a good reviews.
Thanks man for your quick opinion. I appriciate it.



You sound like my thinking when I started. I have a misono ux10 210mm currently for sale on the local list.At least you are going 240mm it's a better length. My current Sakai yusuke 270mm Wa in stainless is my daily use knife. My "bread knife" is a tojiro itk and I use it all the time, bread,watermelon, pineapple,etc. A cheapie paring knife will work fine. I have two expensive ones and they get little use. Depending on where you live you need to try different lengths and western vs wa handles. After i did a test drive I decided I preferred wa handles.Starting sharpening a king 1000 and a magnum sharpie will do the trick. Japanese knife imports has good knives and stones and Jon is very helpful. If you need some help give him a call.
Indeed I'm thinking of buying a cheaper parying knife. That's one of the advices I got already.

As for the bread knife, is it good knife also to do some slicing of roasts etc? That would be perfect for me. I know that "a thing that is for everything is for nothing", but it would be sweet if I could kill couple birds with one stone (so to speak) ;)

Lastly, thanks again for everybody who took their time in responding. I know you do it for free, so it's much more admirable.

cheers
Lucas

Deckhand
07-26-2012, 06:24 PM
In an ideal world a sujihiki would be the choice for a roast, but the tojiro itk will suffice and can't be beat for the price. It is one of my favorites. My 270 gyuto and my bread knife would be replaced instantly if something happened to them. At least for me it has been the best cost to use ratio at around $55-$60 of all my knives. Only you know what you are cooking and slicing. No matter what put your focus on a good gyuto and the rest will fall into place.

bieniek
07-27-2012, 12:45 AM
I think I saw you on polish forums :>
Lucas

Yes sir.

I jeszcze jedno, ja nie wpierdalam co drugi dzień kartofli :D

soyo
07-27-2012, 02:05 AM
In an ideal world a sujihiki would be the choice for a roast, but the tojiro itk will suffice and can't be beat for the price. It is one of my favorites. My 270 gyuto and my bread knife would be replaced instantly if something happened to them. At least for me it has been the best cost to use ratio at around $55-$60 of all my knives. Only you know what you are cooking and slicing. No matter what put your focus on a good gyuto and the rest will fall into place.
Got it and thanks for the recommendation. Too bad though, the http://www.japanesechefsknife.com does not sell it :/

And btw, you say that your "bread knife would be replaced instantly if something happened to them". But isn't that Tojiro itk a bread knife itself? ;)



Yes sir.

I jeszcze jedno, ja nie wpierdalam co drugi dzień kartofli :D
Haha :P

Didn't say every polish does, just that polish traditional kitchen revolves around potatoes heavily, as I'm sure you're aware of ;)

cheers
Lucas

Deckhand
07-27-2012, 03:18 AM
I am referring to two knives that would be replaced instantly. My Sakai wa gyuto stainless 270mm and my tojiro itk bread knife which I use all the time for many things.
Like the one in this video from Theory
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvNs4zB6zXg&feature=youtube_gdata_player
Sorry if there was confusion because they are both 270mm

soyo
07-31-2012, 10:43 AM
Don't worry about it Deckhand ;)

Hi again guys! :)

After few days of thinking in my spare time, and also thinking over the advices of many people, I decided to give a rest to a rods for sharpening. I still intend to use the rods, but only for honing, not for sharpening. The honing rod for regular use will be the quality MAC black ceramic rod.

As for the sharpening... I will ask again, although you all gave me nice advices, however before I was not very interested in it, so I will try to specify this time, what I would be looking for.

I'm interested in the sharpening set, that will most of all, be very easy to use for me, and that will not be needing lots of time to prepare/maintain afterwards. I'm not asking for stuff that will make sharpening easy(in terms of technical difficulty, I can learn that), but in terms of the convinience. Also to clarify, I'm not looking for something cheep that should never be used for sharpening, but something that will guarantee a nice quality sharpening and at the same time will be convinient and not time consuming for use. To put it in different words, if we say we can classify the sharpening sets into ones that give 1-10 grade in terms of sharpening quality, as long as I will have a sharpening set that will provide me with the things I require above, and at the same time will give me sharpening quality of say 7-8 on this scale, I can easily live with that :) The best sharpened blade in the word I don't have to have ;)

Can you recommend me something that will fulfill the above requirenments?

BTW I will be deffinetly buying the Hattori FH Gyutto 240mm.

cheers
Lucas

Mucho Bocho
07-31-2012, 10:59 AM
Deckhand, Hey man. What is the actual measurement on your Sakai 270 Gyuto edge? Is you'rs very reactive or what? My 210 special thin patina's instantly and for some as anal as I that doesn't dig the patina look, its kinda a PIA to keep clean, but still reach for the knife every chance I get.

Deckhand
07-31-2012, 11:12 AM
Deckhand, Hey man. What is the actual measurement on your Sakai 270 Gyuto edge? Is you'rs very reactive or what? My 210 special thin patina's instantly and for some as anal as I that doesn't dig the patina look, its kinda a PIA to keep clean, but still reach for the knife every chance I get.

I have to take my daughter to sailing right now. Will measure for you in a few hours. I have zero patina issues on my stainless. I have zero reactivity. Is yours stainless?

Deckhand
07-31-2012, 12:44 PM
Deckhand, Hey man. What is the actual measurement on your Sakai 270 Gyuto edge? Is you'rs very reactive or what? My 210 special thin patina's instantly and for some as anal as I that doesn't dig the patina look, its kinda a PIA to keep clean, but still reach for the knife every chance I get.
Blade length is 260mm, 285mm to ferrule. Mine is stainless yours is white steel. Assuming my dimensions are original, but I bought off of Pensacola Tiger when I was test driving some of his knives for length to help with ordering a custom Rodrigue.
I have said it before and I will say it again the skies parted when I used it and I am grateful Pensacola Tiger let me buy it. I use it daily. It cuts really well and is very nimble. I feel like I can do anything with it. When I went to the WCG Jon sharpened it for me which I am also grateful for. I love this knife. I have no staining or patina on it. Hope that helps.

bieniek
08-01-2012, 08:58 AM
Don't worry about it Deckhand ;)

Hi again guys! :)

After few days of thinking in my spare time, and also thinking over the advices of many people, I decided to give a rest to a rods for sharpening. I still intend to use the rods, but only for honing, not for sharpening. The honing rod for regular use will be the quality MAC black ceramic rod.

As for the sharpening... I will ask again, although you all gave me nice advices, however before I was not very interested in it, so I will try to specify this time, what I would be looking for.

I'm interested in the sharpening set, that will most of all, be very easy to use for me, and that will not be needing lots of time to prepare/maintain afterwards. I'm not asking for stuff that will make sharpening easy(in terms of technical difficulty, I can learn that), but in terms of the convinience. Also to clarify, I'm not looking for something cheep that should never be used for sharpening, but something that will guarantee a nice quality sharpening and at the same time will be convinient and not time consuming for use. To put it in different words, if we say we can classify the sharpening sets into ones that give 1-10 grade in terms of sharpening quality, as long as I will have a sharpening set that will provide me with the things I require above, and at the same time will give me sharpening quality of say 7-8 on this scale, I can easily live with that :) The best sharpened blade in the word I don't have to have ;)

Can you recommend me something that will fulfill the above requirenments?

BTW I will be deffinetly buying the Hattori FH Gyutto 240mm.

cheers
Lucas

Its all in your hands.
Its not really that simple to put a sharpening job on a scale, cause for example more polished edges are used for different tasks than the toothier ones.

But I would say, If you buy King KDS big stone 1k/6k and a decent leather strop you can get 7-8/10 in both cases if you have the technique right.
Im not sure how long the edge lasts, but it definitely can be plenty sharp.

Benuser
08-01-2012, 10:04 AM
There's is a problem as the whole scale idea assumes errounesly the result to be a continuous and progressive function of time or effort. One found my previous contribution hard to read, so I will give an example. Let's assume it takes an hour to get rid of the burr on a VG-10. You don't need an excellent edge, just a good one. Will you stop after 45 minutes? The knife won't be a little or fairly sharp, it won't be sharp at all.
This doesn't mean you can't deliberately simplify your sharpening job - and a beginner should. You don't need five stones and three compounds. Two stones and a newspaper will do.