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Help me pick a better knfie
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Thread: Help me pick a better knfie

  1. #1

    Help me pick a better knfie

    I've been using a CC set for several years now and am looking to get more performance. I'm too the point where I feel the knives I have are holding me back. I've been looking at MAC pretty hard...but I'm not set on them. I really like the western style handle, however, I've never held a japanese style knife. Any help is greatly appreciated! I've been looking at other japanese makers, though I'm not versed enough to know what is overpriced vs what is good bang for the buck...

    What type of knife(s) do you think you want?
    Gyuto to start and build off of it
    Why is it being purchased? What, if anything, are you replacing?
    General kitchen duty, it will be replacing a forged Chicago Cutlery 8" Chef's knife

    What do you like and dislike about these qualities of your knives already?
    Aesthetics-I like the way my current CC knife looks, although looks aren't that important to me. I prefer function over form.

    Edge Quality/Retention- Neither are great on this knife, although some of it is possibly the thickness causing wedging...

    Ease of Use-Besides the wedging, I don't know any better. The shape seems to work for me, but I know there is better steel out there.

    Comfort-I enjoy the grip, weight, and size of this knife, especially for heavier duty work. For vegetables though, it's too thick and slow.


    What grip do you use?
    Pinch grip

    What kind of cutting motion do you use?
    depends...push, pull, chop, depends on what I'm doing...mostly push

    Where do you store them?
    Knife block right now, but the new one will probably go in a saya somewhere or on a magnet(if that's advisable)

    Have you ever oiled a handle?
    No

    What kind of cutting board(s) do you use?
    Wood, end grain

    For edge maintenance, do you use a strop, honing rod, pull through/other, or nothing?
    honig rod or pull through, would be open to whatever

    Have they ever been sharpened?
    Yes by a local sharpener, but they don't hold the edge for very long, I don't know what angle he used...

    What is your budget?
    $150ish

    What do you cook and how often?
    Everything from Chinese to Italian to American favorites, probably average 3 times per week.

    Special requests(Country of origin/type of wood/etc)?
    I will keep the CC knife for breaking down chickens or other heavy duty work, so the new one isn't going to get beat up.

  2. #2
    Senior Member WiscoNole's Avatar
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    Does that $150 include a sharpening stone? It's pretty much a mandatory purchase.

  3. #3
    No, $150 for the knife alone. I will be purchasing the stone separately.

  4. #4
    Senior Member WiscoNole's Avatar
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    wa handle or western? stainless or carbon? 210mm or 240?

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by WiscoNole View Post
    wa handle or western? stainless or carbon? 210mm or 240?
    Prefer western, Stainless, Either length - I don't have a preference there.

  6. #6
    Senior Member rdpx's Avatar
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    I came here with very similar requirements/experience to you, and was pointed towards the CarboNext from JCK. I am very happy with it. A 210mm (8") will set you back $105 and you can throw in a #1000/#4000 whetstone for $65, which puts you a little over your budget I guess, but the steel on these knives is very good and according to much advice here they are a stone cold bargain.

    People here will tell you that they will not come sharp "out of the box" but I found mine was plenty sharp compared to what I had been used to. After I took the plunge and sharpened it myself though, I could see what they meant. It is now very very sharp indeed (and I am probably a long way from fulfilling its potential as I am not an experienced sharpener at all.)

    My only negative comment about it is that there is a fair amount of food "stiction" to the blade - esp. thin potato slices and other stuff you would expect to stick anyway really.

    You probably do need to learn how to sharpen really if you are going to get a japanese knife, but it is easy to get into it and the CarboNext has been very easy to learn on - very silky feel to the steel.

    You will be probably told that you need to spend $200 on stones, but in reality as a beginner, a combination like the one I mentioned above will suit your needs. In the future you may decide you want to upgrade to more expensive stones, but don't let it put you off now.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Chefdog's Avatar
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    I have nothing bad to say about Mac knives. I have two in my block at home, a nakiri and a boning knife, and they've been doing the job for years. The nakiri is actually a replacement a bought immediately after the first one disappeared one night at work a long time ago (I think it went into the dumpster). They sharpen easily, take a good edge, are chip resistant, and have a good level of finish. I think they're a good fit for people coming from Wustie, Henkles etc.

    The best analogy I can give is that they're like a Honda Accord: They do everything well, but nothing exceptionally, aren't the cheapest, but are still a good value that will last.

  8. #8
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    i just bought a cheap knife it was a tanaka 210mm bluesteel damascus clad gyuto was $155 dollers it just needs a tiny bit of work with a file and some sandpaper to round the spine and choil and a nice sharpen and it can perform well. i have more expensive knives and this knife still appeals to me.but really if you want to get any decent knife you should learn to sharpen it doesent matter how great the knife is if you dont know how to sharpen and maintain it you might aswell keep using cc knives. obviously profile, grind, weight, ergonomics, edge retention + more will be better with a better knife but it will soon get dull and be just as good as any other knife. if i was you i would spend the 150 on stones and a ceramaic rod or strop and practise freehand sharpening on your cc knives and when you feel youve grasped the basics move on to a nice japanese knife. each to there own thats just my two cents.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by jai View Post
    i just bought a cheap knife it was a tanaka 210mm bluesteel damascus clad gyuto was $155 dollers it just needs a tiny bit of work with a file and some sandpaper to round the spine and choil and a nice sharpen and it can perform well. i have more expensive knives and this knife still appeals to me.but really if you want to get any decent knife you should learn to sharpen it doesent matter how great the knife is if you dont know how to sharpen and maintain it you might aswell keep using cc knives. obviously profile, grind, weight, ergonomics, edge retention + more will be better with a better knife but it will soon get dull and be just as good as any other knife. if i was you i would spend the 150 on stones and a ceramaic rod or strop and practise freehand sharpening on your cc knives and when you feel youve grasped the basics move on to a nice japanese knife. each to there own thats just my two cents.
    Actually that's my basic plan...only I'm going to buy another knife along with the stones. That way, when I'm confident in my sharpening skillz I will already have my good knife on hand to sharpen(and it might need it by that time)

  10. #10
    Senior Member labor of love's Avatar
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    you can order the carbonext with"extrasharpness" so you can atleast start off with a sharp edge while you work on your sharpening skills. for under the $150 price i would take a look at the yoshihiro line at JKI. maybe a suisin inox western also.

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