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View Full Version : Help a newb buy a knife....



jamaster14
09-28-2012, 06:18 PM
So i cook a ton at home. I'm a minimalist in that i refuse to have anything in my kitchen that doesnt need to be there. if something else can do its job, i get rid of it... the flipside to that is that everything i have must be of high quality and function well....

I've had several knives the past 8 or so years sicne ive started cooking, but none have really been up to my expectations. I've had henckles pro S, twin, and twin cermax. all somewhat upsettting. i've had a few wusthoffs which also where not nearly up to the task. I just need something sharper, something i can rely on. So im hoping you guys could point me in the right direction....

What type of knife(s) do you think you want?
8" or 10" chef knife

Why is it being purchased? What, if anything, are you replacing?
currently using a 10" henckles twin cermax... its just not getting the job done for me.

What do you like and dislike about these qualities of your knives already?
Aesthetics- I do like the look of the cermax handle
Edge Quality/Retention-its decent, but far from what i hoped
Ease of Use-its light
Comfort-i like the balance and how it feels

What grip do you use?
no idea

What kind of cutting motion do you use?
slicing?

Where do you store them?
on a mounted wall magnet

Have you ever oiled a handle?
No

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

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

Have they ever been sharpened?
Yes

What is your budget?
i'd spend 600-1000 if it meant getting what i want and being blown away, but ideally more in the 300-500 range

What do you cook and how often?
I cook every day. its a passion. mostly mediterean cuisine

thansk for any help!!!

Zwiefel
09-28-2012, 06:23 PM
Welcome to the forum! For $500 there are a tremendous number of fantastic knives available. For $1000 you can get an extremely good custom-made knife (particularly if you focus on function and not bling...not that there's anything wrong with bling :clown: ).

I'll let the guys who know more than me make specific recommendations...you are definitely in the right place though!

:2cents:

jamaster14
09-28-2012, 06:42 PM
What do you cook and how often?

I breakdown/butcher whole ducks and chickens several times a week, as well as some smaller fish. i often find my knifes having trouble getting through the duck fat... very frustrating when i need to go to a sawing motion

James
09-28-2012, 06:45 PM
are you using a twin cermax mc66? zdo189 has incredible edge retention.

jamaster14
09-28-2012, 06:48 PM
are you using a twin cermax mc66? zdo189 has incredible edge retention.

yes, 10" twin cermax mc66

zdo189? sorry, im not farmiliar with this. (again, newb)

James
09-28-2012, 06:52 PM
oops, sorry about that typo. the steel used in the twin cermax is called zdp189, which is a highly alloyed powder metal steel. The steel maintains a very reasonable edge for quite a long time.

Here's a quote from zknives (the owner of the site is a member here and goes by the name gator)


ZDP-189 - Latest super duper PM steel. extremely high carbon and chromium content. C - 3% and Cr - 20%. Very high hardness, several makers harden it to 65 or even 67HRC. As you can guess very expensive too. Cowry-X and MC-66 are very similar, in that those two have the same C and CR content. Although, Henckel representative in Tokyo did confirm MC66 being ZDP-189. Exact element makeup unknown, whatever I have in the Knife Steel Chart is not confirmed by Hitachi. Unlike Cowry-X, ZDP-189 contains Molybdenum, Tungsten and Vanadium. Overall, very good edge holding and toughness. Hard to sharpen compared to other steels, nothing impossible, really. Ref - ZDP-189 Steel Composition.

Have you been sharpening the knife with a whetstone or oilstone?

Zwiefel
09-28-2012, 06:52 PM
A type of steel...some more info here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_blade_materials

jamaster14
09-28-2012, 06:59 PM
oops, sorry about that typo. the steel used in the twin cermax is called zdp189, which is a highly alloyed powder metal steel. The steel maintains a very reasonable edge for quite a long time.

im more disatisfied with the knifes edge/sharpness then I am its durability and retention... sorry if that was unclear as that category was grouped in the questionaire.


Have you been sharpening the knife with a whetstone or oilstone?

i use a shun honing rod. not sure what it is made of. i've also taken it to be sharpened at place outside boston on a reccomendation of a chef friend of mine(http://www.yelp.com/biz/stoddards-cutlery-newton)

theorange
09-28-2012, 08:54 PM
Hiya jamaster. I'm also a home user, and I recently picked up a Kochi (http://www.japaneseknifeimports.com/kitchen-knives/kochi.html), which I love. If sharpness is your primary concern, you should check out Jon's youtube video on this line (and all the others), and see what you think. For the budget you're looking at though... Are there any custom makers that appeal to you in particular? Do you like western handles, or Wa handles, and is non-stainless even an option?

James
09-28-2012, 10:21 PM
my suggestion is get a whetstone (something in the 1k range and something in the 4-6k range) and start learning to sharpen. the edge out of the box for most knives is not particularly good. factory edges don't say much about a knive's capabilities. I have a twin cermax as well and the initial edge was pretty lame, but after some work, it performs very well.

JasonD
09-29-2012, 03:05 AM
If you're looking to drop that kind of cash on a replacement knife, I would say it's easily worth the cash to send your knife out to Dave at www.japaneseknifesharpening.com or Jon at www.japaneseknifeimports.com to sharpen it. You've got some very good steel on your hands, with awesome edge retention. Sounds like you just need to get it tuned up.

Also a strop would be an excellent investment to maintaining your knife's edge between sharpenings. On that note, any knife will need to be sharpened eventually, so you either need to decide that you do it rarely enough to just send your knife out for it, or you should learn how to do it well yourself.

chinacats
09-29-2012, 03:12 AM
What I seem to hate about Henckels has more to do with geometry and profile...too thick and round for me.

I would suggest looking at something from Jon, maybe a Kochi or Gengetsu. They will be much thinner behind the edge, have a better profile (though I am more familiar with some other Henckels so yours may not suck), have a nicer balance point (more blade forward), and cut like a beast. Good steel that can be sharpened to extremes!

I agree that no matter what you do that the important thing will be to learn to sharpen for yourself if you want to get the true pleasure of using a sharp blade...or at least send it to a pro here to have it done for you.

...just another opinion...

Cheers!

Knifefan
09-29-2012, 07:24 AM
What I seem to hate about Henckels has more to do with geometry and profile...too thick and round for me.

I would suggest looking at something from Jon, maybe a Kochi or Gengetsu. They will be much thinner behind the edge, have a better profile (though I am more familiar with some other Henckels so yours may not suck), have a nicer balance point (more blade forward), and cut like a beast. Good steel that can be sharpened to extremes!

I agree that no matter what you do that the important thing will be to learn to sharpen for yourself if you want to get the true pleasure of using a sharp blade...or at least send it to a pro here to have it done for you.

...just another opinion...

Cheers!


The Cermax is not your usual Henckels. It's made in Japan and much closer to a Japanese knife in terms of profile and geometry than it is German.

The problem here is that the Cermax is too hard to be sharpened by a Shun honing rod. You need to put this baby on a whetstone. Properly sharpened, initial sharpness and edge retention should not be an issue. As long as your only sharpening tool is a honing rod, you will never be able to get to that level of sharpness that the people in the forums talk about, no matter what knife you buy.

I'd go with the advice to either get your knife sharpened by a real Pro like Dave or learn how to sharpen. If you still don't like the Cermax after it has been sharpened properly, then it just may not be for you. But at this point I'd not buy a new knife yet.

chinacats
09-29-2012, 11:46 AM
The Cermax is not your usual Henckels. It's made in Japan and much closer to a Japanese knife in terms of profile and geometry than it is German.


Thanks Knifefan for clearing that up, I was picturing the Henckels I grew up using :newhere: lol, probably shouldn't post at 3am...

jai
10-17-2012, 11:25 AM
In my opinion i wouldent be dropping that sort of cash on a knife until you learn to sharpen decently. i would recomend buyi

ng a nice set off stones, a stone holder. and if you want a screaming sharp edge grab a stropping station. after you get this i would practise sharpening on your older knives until you can comfortably make your edge razor sharp. then i would look into a nice gyuto or something, and just so you know your shun rod wont sharpen your knife once its blunt its blun and your going to have to sharpen it properly. im not sure about how much work your knives get put through as i work as a chef and use my knives hours on end every day they require attention and maintence to keep razor sharp .

jamaster14
10-24-2012, 05:14 PM
Thanks guys, seems like the right avenue is to get my Cermax shapened and go from there... I will be sending it out to dave upon your guys reccomendation. One question though, where does my 10" twin cermax fit on the list:

http://www.japaneseknifesharpening.com/mailorderform.html

Benuser
10-24-2012, 05:31 PM
The knife is being advertised in Europe as 240mm, so I'm not so sure about these 10". Maybe the difference between edge length and blade length. First category.

KeiOkay
11-10-2012, 02:26 PM
One question though, where does my 10" twin cermax fit on the list:

Dave seems pretty good about this:


If paying by Paypal simply send the tools to us including the (filled out) order form and we will send you an invoice once the work is complete.

Similarly, if you're paying with Paypal and are uncertain as how to fill out the order forms, simply send the tools to us and we will fill it out for you. Then we will send you an invoice for the appropriate payment amount when the job is complete.

But according to the page describing the sharpening levels (http://japaneseknifesharpening.com/levels.html), you're looking at level 1 for $40 plus shipping

I would like to hear some stories after you get it back (if you don't mind). I'm considering sending Dave my practically identical Miyabi 7000mc