There are two ways of thinking about which knife a person who is new Japanese style knifes, should pick up. The general consensus is to pick up a less expensive knife and learn how to sharpen and use it. While Japanese knifes are considerably sharper then their German counterparts, they are much more fragile. The steel on a Japanese knife, will likely chip, when it hits something hard. The softer steel on a German knife will roll.
Others feel that a newbie will be okay with a higher end knife, if it is a thin edged laser. All that has to be sharpened is the edge. No need to thin the knife or maintain a convex bevel.
The steel on Japanese knives can take edges, that are far beyond the capability of most German knives. Getting those edges, requires the ability to sharpen. It makes sense, that the cost of a knife, should be related to a person's knife skills, both sharpening and technique. The harder the steel in a Japanese knife, the more skill it takes to sharpen it, and experience to use it.
In your post, it was mentioned that you sharpen your knifes. If you are comfortable with sharpening, pick up any knife that you like. You can always repair whatever nicks or dings the knife will get. If you feel that your sharpening skills are more basic, then a less expensive knife might be a better choice.
Japanese Chef Knife is a great source, for people living in Europe. Koki, the owner, is known for fast and efficient shipping. One of my purchases, was delivered on Christmas day! He seems knowledgeable of the import laws of most countries and how to keep the fees to a minimum. Japanese Natural Stones, which has a forum, on this site, would be another good source for people in Europe.
Japanese Knife Imports, is run by Jon and Sara Broida. They are both active members on the forum. Sara made a post a few months ago, where she mentioned that it is a given that all Japanese knives, are sharp. Makers are looking for characteristics that will enhance the cutting experience. The desirability of those characteristics or features are largely a personal choice.
When people are making recommendations, they are sharing what they value. Some people determine sharpness, by how easily a knife falls through the food. Typically that means a thin edged or laser style knife. Others prefer a heavier knife, where the weight helps with the cut. People who work in restaurants, may value edge retention. Others might be willing to give up edge retention if the knife is easy to sharpen.
It's hard to know to what features will work, until you experience them. That is another reason to pick up less expensive knifes. After you figure out your preferences, you will be able to make a better choice, or at least have better idea of which higher end knife will meet your needs.
Yeah, I am always torn between those two options myself. On the one hand, a knife is a tool, no more. So, there will be scratches, whether on the blade, the handle, wherever... With a less expensive knife, I don't care about imperfections. With a high-end, expensive knife, I'll start crying, I guess! One only has to decide at what price level inexpensive ends and expensive begins. This will be different with all of us, I am afraid.
Originally Posted by jaybett
I would always consider Hiromoto AS, and simple/reliable knives such as Hattori KF. Monosteels are generally a little more forgiving, aren't they. So, maybe I'd opt for smth like a VG10 or white#2, or the Hiromoto AS clad knife with stainless clad and carbon AS cutting edge. I believe that those are still reasonably priced.
Hiromoto AS sujihiki is a great idea for the slicer. Great steel, good price, great introduction to carbon since it's laminated with stainless and if you want great looks you can send it to Dave and have him thin and etch it for you which also increases the performance as well. It's a solid option for sure and still under budget even with the upgrade.
Thanks for All your help. Given me a lot to think about and ideas.
Was just wandering about something. Lets say i Was an expereinced knife maker, and had a well equipt shop. How much would it cost me to buy the materials needed to make a knife exactly like the tanaka Gyuto damascus? Not that i Will try, just interested in how much the actual materials for such a knife is. also assuming i can forge the damascus Steel from scratch. Hope someone can help me with this question.