Reading this forum has been incredibly addicting, and I've been very tempted by a bunch of the knives that get recommended here, but...
I know myself. I am lazy. I am sometimes going to cook and leave the knife sitting out on the counter unwashed for hours. I am never going to sharpen a knife with anything other than the Chef's Choice 120 that I have. I'm not horrible to my knives -- they don't go in the dishwasher, I don't "sharpen" them on cheap little junk things -- but, as much as I might wish it were otherwise, they're never going to get tender, high-attention care from me, either.
Still and all, I like nice things, and I don't think that my Henckel's Four Star chef's knife is really the ultimate in knifeware. Given the reality of my lifestyle, is there a knife under $500 that's worth upgrading to, or are all the "good" knives carbon steel things that would be ruined by my care?
Here's the form letter:
What type of knife(s) do you think you want?
Chef's knife or gyuto
Why is it being purchased? What, if anything, are you replacing?
Because I like things that are great, and I'd hope that there's something better than the Henckel's Four Star out there.
What do you like and dislike about these qualities of your knives already?
Aesthetics- Just fine; I like plainish things.
Edge Quality/Retention- Less than optimal. And yes, I'm aware that this is at least somewhat on me and my sharpening.
Ease of Use- Perfectly fine.
Comfort- Very comfortable in the hand.
What grip do you use?
What kind of cutting motion do you use?
A lot of rocking, some push-cutting
Where do you store them?
Have you ever oiled a handle?
No, but I oil my cutting board.
What kind of cutting board(s) do you use?
Boos maple endgrain
For edge maintenance, do you use a strop, honing rod, pull through/other, or nothing?
Honing rod, but I forget to use it as often as I should
Have they ever been sharpened?
Yes, by the Chef's Choice machine
What is your budget?
What do you cook and how often?
I cook daily. Common things it'd cut are carrots, celery, onions, chicken/pork/beef, misc. other vegetables and occasional fruits