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View Full Version : Oh no! Not another "Which knife should I buy" thread!



bishop27
09-17-2012, 05:59 PM
Hi all,
i'm admittedly a "knife noob" but decided to post on here after reading how genuinely helpful people are on this forum as opposed to others i've been on (get into photography to see what i mean). I've been a huge fan of knives for some time but only recently have gotten enough into cooking to really be able to appreciate kitchen knives.

After a lot of trial, and mostly error, in the kitchen, i've decided on 2 types that i'd like to get for the kitchen. 1 being an 8-10inch all around chef's knife that is an absolute work horse. Something that is strong, i don't have to worry about cutting on a variety of surfaces and can do anything i ask of it. the other one i'd like to get is a Japanese blade, maybe something a bit smaller (6 inch?) for slicing fish, sushi, sashimi and meats. i've always loved Japanese steel, have admired it ever since i lived there for a year and recognize it not only as a utensil for cutting but also a piece of art.

I've also been slowly learning about sharpening just by reading/watching things online as i would like both of these to be the last knives i NEED to buy for a very long time (note i said "need"... no doubt i'll be wanting to buy many more).

What type of knife(s) do you think you want?
8-10inch chef's
Smaller Japanese knife for slicing fish, meat, etc.

What grip do you use?
pinch
fingerpoint - for more delicate slicing

What kind of cutting motion do you use?
push-cut, slice

Where do you store them?
magnet

Have you ever oiled a handle?
no

What kind of cutting board(s) do you use?
wood

For edge maintenance, do you use a strop, honing rod, pull through/other, or nothing?
honing rod

What is your budget?
I'd like to stay about $150 for the "work horse" and around $250 or less for the Japanese blade

What do you cook and how often?
I cook a wide variety of meats, fish, vegetables, etc. Probably mostly red meat and chicken though. Cook about 3-5 times a week.

Johnny.B.Good
09-17-2012, 06:11 PM
Welcome to the forum Bishop.

Few more questions that will help the pros here (not me) give you some good advice (other than calling Jon at Japanese Knife Imports, which is always good advice).

What kind of budget do you have in mind?

And are you open to carbon steel?

Do you have a handle preference? (Japanese "wa" style or western.)

ThEoRy
09-17-2012, 06:14 PM
Hey welcome! I would say the knife shapes you may want to look at first would be the gyuto for general purpose and the sujihiki for slicing. Typically though slicing knives are longer than 6". Depends on what you are slicing though.

240mm is a good starting point for the gyuto length to tackle most tasks. For the suji I usually recommend 270mm. But if you have your heart set on a smaller length then maybe think about a longer petty, perhaps something in the 210 range. This could be used as a utility blade basically.

bishop27
09-17-2012, 06:17 PM
Welcome to the forum Bishop.

Few more questions that will help the pros here (not me) give you some good advice (other than calling Jon at Japanese Knife Imports, which is always good advice).

What kind of budget do you have in mind?

And are you open to carbon steel?

Do you have a handle preference? (Japanese "wa" style or western.)

Thanks!
I'd like to stay about $150 or less for the "work horse" and around $250 or less for the Japanese blade

I don't really mind either, have used both before and didn't have a preference. i'd say definitely a Japanese handle for the Japanese blade. otherwise no preference.

Von blewitt
09-17-2012, 06:18 PM
When you say japanese knife do you mean single bevel or just made in japan?
Check out the buy/sell/trade section, The Hiromoto AS 240 gyuto and the Zakuri 150mm petty Would be a good place start. And would leave you some change for sharpening gear

stevenStefano
09-17-2012, 06:20 PM
When you say "Japanese blade" could you be a little more specific? Do you mean something with a wa handle, as in the light ho wood and horn ferrule, or you do mean something single bevelled, as in a yanagiba? I'd go for a 240 gyuto and a 270 sujihiki perhaps unless you're cutting very large things then I'd go 270 and 300 perhaps

bishop27
09-17-2012, 06:27 PM
When you say japanese knife do you mean single bevel or just made in japan?
Check out the buy/sell/trade section, The Hiromoto AS 240 gyuto and the Zakuri 150mm petty Would be a good place start. And would leave you some change for sharpening gear


When you say "Japanese blade" could you be a little more specific? Do you mean something with a wa handle, as in the light ho wood and horn ferrule, or you do mean something single bevelled, as in a yanagiba? I'd go for a 240 gyuto and a 270 sujihiki perhaps unless you're cutting very large things then I'd go 270 and 300 perhaps

Sorry, I meant made in Japan with wa handle.

bishop27
09-17-2012, 06:32 PM
Hey welcome! I would say the knife shapes you may want to look at first would be the gyuto for general purpose and the sujihiki for slicing. Typically though slicing knives are longer than 6". Depends on what you are slicing though.

240mm is a good starting point for the gyuto length to tackle most tasks. For the suji I usually recommend 270mm. But if you have your heart set on a smaller length then maybe think about a longer petty, perhaps something in the 210 range. This could be used as a utility blade basically.

Thanks for the input! I think these lengths (240mm and 210mm) are what i'm looking for. Something like a solid gyuto and a smaller utility blade.

theorange
09-17-2012, 06:56 PM
Hi Bishop,

I share your noobiness, but having just gone through a shopping experience, maybe I can offer some food for thought. First, why settle for one Japanese knife, when you can have two? Your budget can certainly swing this. The "work horse" sounds like a Gyuto to me. Here are a couple close to your range:

http://www.**************.com/tanakagyuto2.html
http://www.epicedge.com/shopexd.asp?id=83467
http://www.**************.com/ko24wa.html

For the small knife, maybe a Deba, or a petty knife? Deba is a pretty specific knife though, and I would either be sure you want it, or not spend too much on it. I'm non-committal myself on this one, and I'm looking at getting this:

http://www.epicedge.com/shopexd.asp?id=85690

You might want to provide some specifics about what you're looking for in this knife.

Honestly, I'd drop more cash on the "workhorse" than the accessory, or at least explore the field with this as a possibility. You can get serious beauty AND serious functionality all in one package, and well within your budget.

theorange
09-17-2012, 06:59 PM
oh, whoops. well, the third link is a Konosuke HH Gyuto.

heirkb
09-17-2012, 09:25 PM
I would second the 240 gyuto and 210 petty/suji.

Consider these lines for your gyuto:

I know it's a western handle, but it's a sweet line IMO: http://www.japaneseknifeimports.com/kitchen-knives/suisin/suisin-inox-western.html
(thinner, nice cutting, in my limited experience)

http://www.japaneseknifeimports.com/kitchen-knives/gesshin-uraku.html
(thicker, but if I remember correctly, Jon described these as tougher. I liked mine for a pro kitchen, not sure I need the toughness at home)

For the 210 petty...

Gesshin Ginga, Konosuke, etc. all make pretty thin ones.
There's a Tojiro DP one. I haven't ever tried or seen one, but they're always recommended for noobies.
There's Sakai Yusuke from bluewayjapan on eBay. You could get a gyuto and 210 petty both from Sakai Yusuke if you want something really thin...

cclin
09-17-2012, 11:30 PM
Thanks for the input! I think these lengths (240mm and 210mm) are what i'm looking for. Something like a solid gyuto and a smaller utility blade.

I would recommend 240mm gyuto(Hiromoto AS) & 165mm santoku(Shigefusa Kurouchi Wa santoku):biggrin:

bishop27
09-18-2012, 02:41 AM
Hi Bishop,

I share your noobiness, but having just gone through a shopping experience, maybe I can offer some food for thought. First, why settle for one Japanese knife, when you can have two? Your budget can certainly swing this. The "work horse" sounds like a Gyuto to me. Here are a couple close to your range:

http://www.**************.com/tanakagyuto2.html
http://www.epicedge.com/shopexd.asp?id=83467
http://www.**************.com/ko24wa.html

For the small knife, maybe a Deba, or a petty knife? Deba is a pretty specific knife though, and I would either be sure you want it, or not spend too much on it. I'm non-committal myself on this one, and I'm looking at getting this:

http://www.epicedge.com/shopexd.asp?id=85690

You might want to provide some specifics about what you're looking for in this knife.

Honestly, I'd drop more cash on the "workhorse" than the accessory, or at least explore the field with this as a possibility. You can get serious beauty AND serious functionality all in one package, and well within your budget.

Hey! thanks for all the suggestions (and glad someone else shares in my noobness!). actually, i saw one of your other threads and saw this Kumagoro Hammer Finish Gyuto and thought it was just beautiful:
http://www.epicedge.com/shopexd.asp?id=84320

I really like that "hand made" or "hand hammered" look (even if the hammering is done by machine). maybe i just have the mindset of "hand hammered is the best" from my days as a drummer (hand hammered cymbals always produced the best sound).

As for the smaller knife, i'm thinking the Deba is too.... fat? not sure what the correct terminology is there but i'm probably looking for something more like the petty. I'm thinking something that has a smaller blade height for the smaller knife.


I would second the 240 gyuto and 210 petty/suji.

Consider these lines for your gyuto:

I know it's a western handle, but it's a sweet line IMO: http://www.japaneseknifeimports.com/kitchen-knives/suisin/suisin-inox-western.html
(thinner, nice cutting, in my limited experience)

http://www.japaneseknifeimports.com/kitchen-knives/gesshin-uraku.html
(thicker, but if I remember correctly, Jon described these as tougher. I liked mine for a pro kitchen, not sure I need the toughness at home)

For the 210 petty...

Gesshin Ginga, Konosuke, etc. all make pretty thin ones.
There's a Tojiro DP one. I haven't ever tried or seen one, but they're always recommended for noobies.
There's Sakai Yusuke from bluewayjapan on eBay. You could get a gyuto and 210 petty both from Sakai Yusuke if you want something really thin...

I think as far as sizes go, i like the 210mm size for the Gyuto. Sounds like i'm looking for about a 180mm petty or something similar for the smaller knife.

Thanks for all your help so far! if anyone else has specific knives to recommend, please let me know!

I do have one other question, it seems that Japanese is most recommended. what about non-Japanese brands (European brands)? i'm way more partial to Japanese anyway but am curious, are they not as good? don't mean to start any European vs. Japanese wars here, was just wondering.

chinacats
09-18-2012, 10:13 AM
I do have one other question, it seems that Japanese is most recommended. what about non-Japanese brands (European brands)? i'm way more partial to Japanese anyway but am curious, are they not as good? don't mean to start any European vs. Japanese wars here, was just wondering.

You could look at Sabatier (French) which seem to have the magic profile, many here (me included) enjoy them but the steel is not the same as the Japanese knives--meaning softer and more likely to roll so you treat with a steel on a daily basis as opposed to stropping. German knives can be bulky and have rather large belly's which some people like--think Shun for profile. The one alternative you may want to look at is American knives made in the Japanese style. There are quite a few makers on this board (http://www.kitchenknifeforums.com/forumdisplay.php/46-Vendors-Knifemakers) who make fantastic knives here in the states (and Will Catchside in England)...and of course there is Murray Carter (Oregon) who is not on the board but makes some of the best cutting blades available. :2cents:

Cheers!

bishop27
09-18-2012, 03:26 PM
Thanks again for everyone's advice so far. After browsing for way too long, I've found some knives that are the general lengths i am looking for and have an aesthetic that i find very attractive. I'd love to hear any opinions or alternatives that people might have out there. As what usually happens with these types of purchases, some are a little over my initial budget but i had a feeling that would happen anyway. I'd love to hear some feedback because some of these knives are out of stock and I'd love to hear if you have any alternatives.

Also, I haven't decided on the exact size but the Gyuto will most likely be a 210-240mm depending on the maker (apparently some measure the blade differently) and the Petty will likely be 150-180mm.

Gyuto
Kumagoro Hammer Finish Chef's Knife (http://www.epicedge.com/shopexd.asp?id=84320) - Love the hammer finish here. Seems like a good price too.
Gesshin Ginga 240mm Stainless Wa-Gyuto (http://www.japaneseknifeimports.com/gesshin-1/gesshin-ginga/gesshin-ginga-240mm-stainless-wa-gyuto.html) - Probably like the least looks-wise
Kochi 210mm Kurouchi Wa-Gyuto (http://www.japaneseknifeimports.com/kitchen-knives-by-type/gyuto/kochi-210mm-kurouchi-wa-gyuto.html#) - Really pretty knife. Love the finish and the dark handle (seems like i'm partial to darker handles rather than lighter). A bit on the pricey side though.

Petty
Gengetsu 150mm Stainless Clad White #2 Wa-Petty (http://www.japaneseknifeimports.com/kitchen-knives/gengetsu/gengetsu-150mm-stainless-clad-white-2-wa-petty.html#) - Again, beautiful knife, love the finish and the handle is really nice too. Don't think i can bring myself to pay that much for a 150mm petty.
Asai Aogami Super Damascus Slicing Knife (http://www.epicedge.com/shopexd.asp?id=89908) - love the hammered finish and the dark handle. Price is pretty good too.
Gesshin Ginga 180mm Stainless Wa-Petty (http://www.japaneseknifeimports.com/gesshin-1/gesshin-ginga/gesshin-ginga-180mm-stainless-wa-petty.html#) - Again, probably the one i like least looks-wise.

chinacats
09-18-2012, 04:08 PM
The only one that I can speak to from personal experience is the Kochi and it performs incredibly well. As to the handle I find the color irrelevant but that is personal I guess; as to how it performs there seems to be something special about the grip you get out of burnt chestnut even when your hand is covered in fat and should be in danger of slipping, the grip makes it easy to hold and use the knife. It is super thin behind the edge and sharpens up easily. Patina forms rather quickly and smells are almost non-existent except after a fresh sharpening session. I would feel really good about recommending this knife! I just sold my 240 and have plans of buying a 270 at some point in the near future.

Lefty
09-18-2012, 04:27 PM
I'm not going to make any recommendations (or maybe I will), but Jon (JKI) is leaving for Japan, tomorrow, so get your order in ASAP, if you're looking a Kochi or Gesshin.

Nah, no recommendations, after all. Talk to Jon and you're in good hands :)

Lefty
09-18-2012, 04:31 PM
This is Carter, welcome to pure performance: http://www.cartercutlery.com/japanese-knives/kitchen-cutlery/kuro-uchi-series/58-sun-kuro-uchi-narrow-funayuki

theorange
09-18-2012, 05:13 PM
FWIW, I got chinacats' 240mm Kochi as a move up in size from 8", and he is moving to 270mm. Rock-cutting with 8" on anything bigger than garlic feels a bit "dramatic" to me. Still, that doesn't stop me from using it every day.

ThEoRy
09-18-2012, 05:51 PM
Yeah get your order in with Jon at JKI BEFORE 3pm West Coast time or wait at least one month before he is back.

Johnny.B.Good
09-19-2012, 01:55 AM
Love the finish and the dark handle (seems like i'm partial to darker handles rather than lighter).

I'm with you on dark handles, but handles can always be changed. Epicurean Edge carries these (http://www.epicedge.com/shopexd.asp?id=84649)), and there are a number of talented craftsman on this forum capable of creating anything you can imagine. If you find something you really like from Jon (Japanese Knife Imports) with the exception of the handle, he might be able to order it for you with an ebony handle straight from the maker (more time and more money, but I've done it a number of times). Check out some of the pictures in the "knife and gear galleries (http://www.kitchenknifeforums.com/forumdisplay.php/72-Knife-amp-Gear-Galleries)" (if you haven't already) and you'll see some amazing handle work. Good luck with your choice!

bishop27
09-19-2012, 03:23 PM
The only one that I can speak to from personal experience is the Kochi and it performs incredibly well. As to the handle I find the color irrelevant but that is personal I guess; as to how it performs there seems to be something special about the grip you get out of burnt chestnut even when your hand is covered in fat and should be in danger of slipping, the grip makes it easy to hold and use the knife. It is super thin behind the edge and sharpens up easily. Patina forms rather quickly and smells are almost non-existent except after a fresh sharpening session. I would feel really good about recommending this knife! I just sold my 240 and have plans of buying a 270 at some point in the near future.

i think your absolutely right in saying that color is irrelevant in regards to functionality, which is what really matters in the end. it's much more just personal preference and how it looks on the wall of my kitchen. i admire these knives both as an expertly crafted utensil and as a a piece of art. Also, thanks so much for the quick review. This is one that remains high on my list.


I'm with you on dark handles, but handles can always be changed. Epicurean Edge carries these (http://www.epicedge.com/shopexd.asp?id=84649)), and there are a number of talented craftsman on this forum capable of creating anything you can imagine. If you find something you really like from Jon (Japanese Knife Imports) with the exception of the handle, he might be able to order it for you with an ebony handle straight from the maker (more time and more money, but I've done it a number of times). Check out some of the pictures in the "knife and gear galleries (http://www.kitchenknifeforums.com/forumdisplay.php/72-Knife-amp-Gear-Galleries)" (if you haven't already) and you'll see some amazing handle work. Good luck with your choice!

Thanks for the tip, I'll check it out!