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Thread: Looking for new knives - need suggestions!

  1. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Notaskinnychef View Post
    Welcome to kff too :-)
    Thanks! I may just be starting out, but I'm getting the feeling that this could be a slippery slope for knives around here. I'm a big fan of quality products and know I'm probably going to want to expand once I start. Same has happened with other hobbies (woodworking, restoring old woodworking machines).

    Quote Originally Posted by franzb69 View Post
    only difference is that a wa handled knives are lighter, for lack of a bolster and a full tang. the balance is an inch or so above where the spine of the knife starts from the handle (usually, but it depends on the maker) instead of it being right at the bolster.

    most folks on here prefer wa handles because lighter knives give your hand less stress when cutting. and that makes for a lot less stress during hours and hours of cutting stuff.

    other people prefer western handles just coz it feels more solid, "more expensive" as there's more material put into the knife. but then that's all a matter of view.

    i'd wanna try out wa handles myself, but all i have that could even be considered wa handled knives are cheapo made in korea knives from ebay. lol. and from that experience i'd wanna try out real wa handled knives when money comes a little easier i'll get a couple.
    The wa handles certainly intrigue me and I'd love to try them. I don't tend to cut for hours on end, so that aspect may not be critical, but it sounds like a wa handle could still be a good choice. I've read a lot about the extra dexterity that people feel like they have with a wa handle. It's just hard to say that that's what I want without ever having had the opportunity to try one. Also, I suspect that my fiancee may lean a more toward a western handle as that is what she's used to as well. Perhaps I'll put a wa handled knife on my future wish list.

    Oh, and no D-handled knives, as my fiancee is left handed and doesn't like the feel of the d-handled variety (she has only had a chance to try the Shun d-handles).

    Quote Originally Posted by Notaskinnychef View Post
    I am still a little unsure why people buy bread knives, I just use my gyuto, slides through easy and basically no crumbs since it's so narrow and isn't serrated, granted not all bread knives are serrated but I've always gone back to my sharp chefs knife for any breads/loaves.

    I also agree with the dueling gyuto idea, more versatile.
    Well, with my current set of (low quality) knives, a bread knife is needed to slice through bread without just squashing it flat. Perhaps with a good gyuto I would feel differently. I could always buy the bread knife later if I find that I need/want it. I have a functional (again, low quality) bread knife that will work for now.

    But then again, ThEoRy posted that sweet video with the bread knife and now I "need" one.

    Another vote for two gyutos it sounds like. Given what you know about me know, do you have suggestions on specific knives that I can look into more?

    Thanks!
    Tyler

  2. #12
    I'm a lefty home cook, and my wife is a righty. I started getting into better knives about a year ago, so I haven't tried a ton of high-end knives, but on the other hand, I can tell you what worked for me at a budget similar to yours.

    First, to borrow from this fellow BDL, who posts frequently on another kitchen knife forum, the knife is only one part of the equation for fun and productive kitchen prep. The other parts of the puzzle are knife skills (looks like you've got a good path forward on that), the cutting surface (sounds like you're good there, too!), your sharpening tools, and how well you can use those sharpening tools. Each part depends on some minimal level of quality of the other.

    I'd suggest getting a decent-quality 240mm gyuto, a CCK 1303 carbon-steel slicer/cleaver, a 150mm Fujiwara FKM petty, a Bester 1200 waterstone, a Suehiro Rika 5000 waterstone, and a 12-inch 1200 grit Idahone honing rod.

    Here's my reasoning:

    1) You'll have two versatile mainstay kitchen knives in the gyuto and the cleaver, so you and your wife can prep at the same time. But, since the cleaver is inexpensive (they only run $40), you can spend the bulk of the money on a good gyuto and ways to keep it sharp. If you decide the cleaver isn't your thing, you haven't lost much. Also, the two of you can switch off between the gyuto and the cleaver and gain skills in the use of both. And finally, the cleaver is carbon steel, so it is very easy to sharpen. It's also a cheap way to find out if you like carbon steel. A lot of the very-fancy Japanese knives are carbon steel, but it would be a shame to splurge on one of those and find out that you don't stay on top of wiping it down, don't like a patina etc. As far as the gyuto goes, you'll probably get a lot of good suggestions from others on this forum more experienced than I!

    2) The Fujiwara petty is nice for cutting citrus and fruit, and doing detail work. It has decent fit and finish for the price, but petties live a hard life (not as much steel to sharpen), so it makes sense to economize on the petty for the time being. I think the same thing is true for the paring knife. I would say don't even bother with a paring knife unless you do a lot of in-hand work.

    3) The bread knife is a tough call. A sharp gyuto or cleaver actually works pretty well. I recently got the oft-recommended Tojiro ITK bread knife. I like it, but I don't love it. I think in part that is because I am a lefty. I find that it steers. It isn't that bad, but I think in retrospect, I would probably have just gone with the cheaper Forschner bread knife (around $30). It is symmetrical, AFAIK. Unless the bread knife you have is dreadfully dull, you may hold off on the bread knife for the moment.

    4) The waterstones are a key part of things. It isn't hard to learn freehand sharpening, and it is very rewarding. There are lots of great videos to help you learn here:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/JKnifeImports?feature=watch

    5) The Idahone isn't totally essential (you can strop on various media, or just use the stones), and it isn't the thing if your knives are extremely hard, but it is quite nice to have around in between sharpenings to true your knives up.

    All-in for the above, you're looking at a little under $400 if you go for a gyuto something like the Gesshin Uraku at $155, or mid-$400s if you go for any number of good gyutos around $200. You may well want pricier knives down the line, but the above knives and stones will still find a use if (or as) you expand your collection. And, you'll have a good idea what your preferences are, for instance, wa or yo handle, flat or more belly on the gyuto, carbon or stainless etc.

  3. #13
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    I think one should spend more money on the gyuto by buying a cheap Victorinox bread knife. I have one and a MAC and while the MAC is better (and often described as the best bread knife ever) it ain't 4X better.

    With gyutos though, I think the extra money I have spent over my much loved Victorinox fibrox 10" chef knive that I spent $20 for years ago was money well spent although again we are talking about a 4x-8X spread...

    Just my .02 as a home chef :- )

  4. #14

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    Wow, thanks for the in-depth reply, Colorado_cutter!

    I think I like the idea of having two gyutos of slightly different lengths so we can both be using them.

    I have a cleaver now that is one of the better knives in my current rack (in my opinion). I got it while traveling in China, so I have no clue as to the actual metal used or any of its other qualities. It is stainless with a western handle. And perhaps I'll start to consider it sub-standard once I start investing in nicer knives. And since the cleaver that you recommended is only about $40, I might still be able to buy that one with money left over from other knife purchases.

    I do like your thought on finding a slightly cheaper knife to find out if I like carbon steel. I would want to make sure that I take the time to wipe it down and treat it properly before investing in a nice one. I think the patina would look cool though. The same thought would apply for a wa handle.

    So my thought for now is to invest in two nice/decent gyutos, probably at 240mm and 210mm with western handles and stainless steel. I'd also get some sharpening stones and probably the honing rod. Then, as I feel the need/desire, I can start adding things like a cleaver, petty, paring, and bread knife.

    What gyutos would you all recommend? Without the other knives, I have a little more money to throw at them at the moment (going along with gic's comments).

    Thanks,
    Tyler

  5. #15
    I have a Forschner bread knife--which is a pretty good bread knife--but always reach for one of my gyuto's when it's time to cut a loaf. I like the idea of the Tojiro (especially seeing Theory's vid's), but think it would be just like the Forschner (unused). Oh, and if you're not careful, they (serrated edges) can mess up your cutting boards.
    one man gathers what another man spills...

  6. #16

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    Ok, an update. I had a chance to discuss all this with the missus and get her opinions since she will use the knives as much as I will.

    -We'd like to get two gyutos so we can both use them at the same time, either both 240mm or one at 240mm and one at 210mm.
    -We might also get a petty depending on the total cost of the gyutos, but the gyutos are our focus at the moment.
    -We'll get a bread knife later if we decide that we need it.
    -We'd like to stick with stainless steel for now. We might try carbon steel later.
    -We'd like to try a wa handled knife. We might buy one wa-handled gyuto and test it out a bit before buying the second gyuto.
    -We're ok with spending somewhere in the $250 range per gyuto. Slightly more if necessary, and less is always a plus.

    From what I've been reading, it seems like the Gesshin Ginga is very well regarded around here. What others should I be looking at? I know people have said to call Jon at JKI to get some recommendations (which I will do), but I know he also doesn't carry all brands.

    Thanks!
    Tyler

  7. #17
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    From what I've been reading, it seems like the Gesshin Ginga is very well regarded around here. What others should I be looking at? I know people have said to call Jon at JKI to get some recommendations (which I will do), but I know he also doesn't carry all brands.
    everyone here regards Jon highly. and he's very knowledgable about the other brands and can and will give you good advice. he's pretty much handled every knife in the market as he himself is a knife knut. and aside from the fact that he sharpens and sells knives for a living.

  8. #18
    Senior Member rdpx's Avatar
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    I haven't used the GG, but have seen nothing but good things about those knives on here. You are in a good position I think, because if you buy one of those and use it for a week or two, you can then come back on here and say what you like and don't like about it, which could lead to more sure advice about whatever second knife you get. You might want the second to be shorter, or longer, maybe. Or thinner or thicker or heavier or lighter.... [in the event you don't like it, you could probably sell it here for a good price anyway, and you will still get the more precise advice about the next one.]

    You may decide to just get a second GG, but you may well get the bug and decide you need to try out something different. Either way, you will have an excellent point of reference.

    Be sure to show photos of whatever you do end up getting!

  9. #19
    I can't wait to get mine!!

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