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Thread: Another newbie looking for some advice - First "Real" Knife

  1. #1

    Another newbie looking for some advice - First "Real" Knife

    Hello! I'm new to this forum, new to cooking, new to kitchen knives, but very far from new to knives in general. But seeing how this is a whole new world to me, I'd like to ask opinions of those much better versed in this type of cutlery than myself.

    I saw someone in another thread ask the OP if they would use this revised questionnaire instead of the old one so I figured it best to start off with this one for their sake; I hope it helps! Alright, let's get into it...

    LOCATION:
    What country are you in?
    The United States of America

    KNIFE TYPE:
    What type of knife are you interested in? E.g., Chef’s Knife (or Gyuto), Slicer (or Sujihiki), Boning Knife, Utility Knife (or Petty), Bread Knife, Paring Knife, Yanagiba, Deba, Usuba, Meat Cleaver, Vegetable Cleaver?
    All of the above... but currently just looking into Chef's Knife/Gyuto.

    Are you right or left handed?
    Right handed.

    Are you interested in a Western handle (e.g., classic Wusthof handle) or Japanese (wa) handle?
    I'd like to try both and see which one I prefer. That being said, the only experience I have is with Western handles.

    What length of knife are you interested in (in inches or millimeters)?
    Between 8-10" for a Germanic patterned knife, or 210-240mm for a Japanese pattern Gyuto.

    Do you require a stainless knife? (Yes or no.)
    No.

    What is your absolute maximum budget for your knife (i.e., “I’m not spending one more euro/pence/penny/peso/yen more than this”)?
    I *want* to stay around or below $100 for my first so I don't mess it up too bad from learning how to properly use and take care of it. But one of the models I'm really interested in is $161.

    KNIFE USE:
    Where do you primarily intend to use this knife?
    Kitchen cutting board at home and probably at big family events.

    At home or a professional environment? (Please feel free to specify what type of work environment, e.g., catering, restaurant, butchery, seafood.)
    At home only.

    How often? (Please feel free to specify how many hours a day, and days per week.)
    I figure around 2 hours a day, five days a week but being a home hobby it could be much more as well as much less.

    What are the main tasks you primarily intend to use the knife for (e.g., slicing vegetables, chopping vegetables, mincing vegetables, slicing meats, cutting down poultry, breaking poultry bones, filleting fish, trimming meats, etc.)? (Please identify as many tasks as you would like.)
    Slicing/chopping/mincing vegetables, slicing meats, trimming meats. Anything you would use a Chef's Knife/Gyuto for within reason. I'll buy other knives for other specific tasks as I grow into this and figure out what I need/want, but for now I just need a workhorse (or three...).

    What knife, if anything, are you replacing?
    A Spanish made J.A. Henckels knife set that my dad recently gave to me.

    Is your primary grip when you hold your knife a “pinch” grip (i.e., holding the knife in front of the handle with your thumb and index finger on opposite sides of the knife)? (Please click on this LINK for the common types of grips.) (Yes or no.)
    Yes.

    What cutting motions do you primarily use? (Please click on this LINK for types of cutting motions and identify the two or three most common cutting motions, in order of most used to least used, e.g., rock chop, rock mince, push cut, pull cut.)
    So far I'm not biased at all in any direction.

    What improvements do you want from your current knife? Please identify all improvements that you would like this knife to have. (If you are not replacing a knife, please identify as many characteristics identified below in parentheses that you would like this knife to have.)

    Better aesthetics (e.g., a rustic knife – e.g., hammered finish, or darkened (kurouchi) blade; satin finish; mirror finish; nicer steel pattern (e.g., layered/Damascus or other pattern of steel); different handle color/pattern/ shape/wood; better scratch resistance; better stain resistance)
    I don't care much about aesthetics for this one because I know there's a good chance it won't look to pretty when I've learned what I need to learn from it... I will admit I'm a sucker for nicely figured wood handles but I'm not asking for anything nice from the get-go with the budget I have. If I like the knife enough I'll end up re-handling it myself anyways.

    Comfort (e.g., lighter/heavier knife; better handle material (e.g., nicer type of wood or synthetic material); better handle shape (e.g., shorter or taller height, thicker or thinner, shorter or longer length); rounded spine/choil of the knife; improved balance (i.e., please identify how you like the knife to be balanced, whether toward the blade, in front of the handle, or toward the handle)Everybody likes to be comfortable but as a newbie I don't yet know what I like as far as that goes, nor where I like the balance point so these details seem to be mute points.

    Ease of Use (e.g., ability to use the knife right out of the box; smoother rock chopping, push cutting, or slicing motion; less wedging; better food release; less reactivity with food; easier to sharpen)Has to be fairly sharp out of the box but I'm not expecting a highly polished razor edge or anything. I'll admit I hate when potatoes get stuck on the knife... but i don't really want grantons for this one. I would like it to wedge less but I assume anything thinner than what I have will do that well enough. I don't care about reactivity with food because from what I have read, this only occurs with Carbon knives and only until a patina is formed. Which from prior experience I know shouldn't take very long at all.

    Edge Retention (i.e., length of time you want the edge to last without sharpening based on your expected use above)My dad's biggest complaint about the Henckels is that they don't take a great edge and get dull fairly quick. I hate it when that happens not because I dislike sharpening - that's just a normal part of knife care - but because I HATE having to stop what I'm doing to sharpen a knife. As stated above, I don't do too much cooking (yet) so hopefully it will be difficult to disappoint in this arena with any of the decent steels out there.


    KNIFE MAINTENANCE:
    Is it very important that your knife require only minimal daily maintenance? (i.e., only need to wash and dry after use, occasional sharpening) (Yes or no.)
    I hand wash all knives immediately after use but i would like it VERY much if I could get away with minimal sharpening. Like I said above, I don't mind sharpening at all, I just prefer not to HAVE to do it constantly.

    Do you use a bamboo, wood, rubber (e.g., Sani-Tuff) or synthetic cutting board (e.g., any type of plastic, Hi-Soft, etc.)? (Yes or no.)
    Currently my dad's board is a synthetic but I'll be getting my own end grain butcher board in due time.

    Do you sharpen your knives on your own using any type of whetstone? (Yes or no.)
    Currently I use DMT for my other blades, but from what I have read I will be getting a few Shapton stones along with my first real kitchen knife.

    If “yes,” are you looking to purchase more specific products for this knife? (Yes or no.)
    If “no,” will you have your knives professionally sharpened? (Yes or no.)
    If “no,” are you interested in learning how to sharpen your own knives? (Yes or no.)
    If “yes” to the question immediately above, what is the absolute maximum amount of money you would be willing to put toward sharpening products?

    None of these questions are useful to me due to deciding on Shapton sharpening stones.


    SPECIAL REQUESTS:
    Country of origin None.
    OtherNone.



    For what it is worth, the questionnaire was a tiny bit redundant but for a new user it was pretty close to perfect. The only reason I saw it as a tiny bit redundant in one or two sections is because I have done a lot of research on some of the details so I have a good idea of what I want/need but for someone who perhaps doesn't have the time to look into things then the questionnaire was perfect, and I believe this is the type of person it was aimed at. Good job to the guys that put it together!!!


    Now, I have done quite a bit of shopping around so I have a list of knives that I am considering and all have great feedback from users on this and other sites so hopefully you guys can point me in the right direction and get me started with my best foot forward!

    Originally I wanted a German knife due to family heritage and what not, but the more and more I looked it became obvious that most German knives just can't compare to equivalent Japanese counterparts. I'm a practical guy so it's obvious which way I should go... but for a first knife I had to throw in some of each so I narrowed down a couple of Western knives and a few Eastern knives. They are as follows:

    Western:
    - Wusthof Classic 8 or 10" Chef
    - Wusthof Grand Prix II 8 or 10" Chef
    - Henckels Twin 4 Star 8 or 10" Chef
    - Sabatier Carbon Series 9" French Pattern

    Eastern:
    - Hiromoto AS 240mm Gyuto
    - Tojiro DP 210mm Wa-Gyuto
    - Tojiro DP 240mm Gyuto
    - Fujiwara FKH Carbon 240mm Gyuto
    - JCK CarboNext 240mm Gyuto


    None of these are in any particular order but I have to admit the Hiromoto AS is such a freaking sexy knife that I'll consider it despite it being more expensive than the others IF it is worth it performance wise

    Looking forward to reading about what you guys and gals have to say on this topic! Sorry for any redundancies and I apologize for the length of my post.

    Respectfully,
    -Dylan

  2. #2
    Greetings Dylan!

    The Hiromoto would be a good knife to learn thinning on, but not sure that is what you are looking for initially. I've not owned one, but they seem to make people happy.

    Shaptons are good stones but out of curiosity, why did you choose them?

    I might add this one to your list of things to consider.

    Cheers!
    one man gathers what another man spills...

  3. #3
    Chinacats,

    I settled on Shaptons because of the reviews that I have read on them. It seems like a good way for a beginner to start off, but I am open to suggestions if there's something else you would recommend in the same price range?

    Also, I see a lot of good said about the Suisin brand. In your opinion, why should I consider it over the ones I have mentioned?

    Respectfully,
    -Dylan

  4. #4
    For the knife, I think it is just 'more bang for the buck,' the drawback is that it is not carbon. You can't really go wrong with Fujiwara either, but the steel may be a bit reactive if you've never used carbon; this could be a good thing as it would help to teach good habits and the price is nice. As to Tojiro, personally just not a fan though some people really love them. I've not tried a Carbonext, but think it must be a nice knife for the money as people that buy them seem happy. I would recommend that if you buy Japanese that you may want to only consider 240, again others may disagree, but the lighter blades really do feel shorter/more nimble to me.

    As to the stones, I happen to think that the best stones for the money are Gesshins though some would make a case for others. I do not think you need to buy more than one stone to start and Jon's 1k/6k for ~135 would be a hell of a stone for the money.

    Others will chime in with better input, but this may offer some things to look at in the meantime.

    Cheers!
    one man gathers what another man spills...

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Dylan View Post
    Hello! I'm new to this forum, new to cooking, new to kitchen knives, but very far from new to knives in general. But seeing how this is a whole new world to me, I'd like to ask opinions of those much better versed in this type of cutlery than myself.

    I saw someone in another thread ask the OP if they would use this revised questionnaire instead of the old one so I figured it best to start off with this one for their sake; I hope it helps! Alright, let's get into it...

    LOCATION:
    What country are you in?
    The United States of America

    KNIFE TYPE:
    What type of knife are you interested in? E.g., Chef’s Knife (or Gyuto), Slicer (or Sujihiki), Boning Knife, Utility Knife (or Petty), Bread Knife, Paring Knife, Yanagiba, Deba, Usuba, Meat Cleaver, Vegetable Cleaver?
    All of the above... but currently just looking into Chef's Knife/Gyuto.

    Are you right or left handed?
    Right handed.

    Are you interested in a Western handle (e.g., classic Wusthof handle) or Japanese (wa) handle?
    I'd like to try both and see which one I prefer. That being said, the only experience I have is with Western handles.

    What length of knife are you interested in (in inches or millimeters)?
    Between 8-10" for a Germanic patterned knife, or 210-240mm for a Japanese pattern Gyuto.

    Do you require a stainless knife? (Yes or no.)
    No.

    What is your absolute maximum budget for your knife (i.e., “I’m not spending one more euro/pence/penny/peso/yen more than this”)?
    I *want* to stay around or below $100 for my first so I don't mess it up too bad from learning how to properly use and take care of it. But one of the models I'm really interested in is $161.

    KNIFE USE:
    Where do you primarily intend to use this knife?
    Kitchen cutting board at home and probably at big family events.

    At home or a professional environment? (Please feel free to specify what type of work environment, e.g., catering, restaurant, butchery, seafood.)
    At home only.

    How often? (Please feel free to specify how many hours a day, and days per week.)
    I figure around 2 hours a day, five days a week but being a home hobby it could be much more as well as much less.

    What are the main tasks you primarily intend to use the knife for (e.g., slicing vegetables, chopping vegetables, mincing vegetables, slicing meats, cutting down poultry, breaking poultry bones, filleting fish, trimming meats, etc.)? (Please identify as many tasks as you would like.)
    Slicing/chopping/mincing vegetables, slicing meats, trimming meats. Anything you would use a Chef's Knife/Gyuto for within reason. I'll buy other knives for other specific tasks as I grow into this and figure out what I need/want, but for now I just need a workhorse (or three...).

    What knife, if anything, are you replacing?
    A Spanish made J.A. Henckels knife set that my dad recently gave to me.

    Is your primary grip when you hold your knife a “pinch” grip (i.e., holding the knife in front of the handle with your thumb and index finger on opposite sides of the knife)? (Please click on this LINK for the common types of grips.) (Yes or no.)
    Yes.

    What cutting motions do you primarily use? (Please click on this LINK for types of cutting motions and identify the two or three most common cutting motions, in order of most used to least used, e.g., rock chop, rock mince, push cut, pull cut.)
    So far I'm not biased at all in any direction.

    What improvements do you want from your current knife? Please identify all improvements that you would like this knife to have. (If you are not replacing a knife, please identify as many characteristics identified below in parentheses that you would like this knife to have.)

    Better aesthetics (e.g., a rustic knife – e.g., hammered finish, or darkened (kurouchi) blade; satin finish; mirror finish; nicer steel pattern (e.g., layered/Damascus or other pattern of steel); different handle color/pattern/ shape/wood; better scratch resistance; better stain resistance)
    I don't care much about aesthetics for this one because I know there's a good chance it won't look to pretty when I've learned what I need to learn from it... I will admit I'm a sucker for nicely figured wood handles but I'm not asking for anything nice from the get-go with the budget I have. If I like the knife enough I'll end up re-handling it myself anyways.

    Comfort (e.g., lighter/heavier knife; better handle material (e.g., nicer type of wood or synthetic material); better handle shape (e.g., shorter or taller height, thicker or thinner, shorter or longer length); rounded spine/choil of the knife; improved balance (i.e., please identify how you like the knife to be balanced, whether toward the blade, in front of the handle, or toward the handle)Everybody likes to be comfortable but as a newbie I don't yet know what I like as far as that goes, nor where I like the balance point so these details seem to be mute points.

    Ease of Use (e.g., ability to use the knife right out of the box; smoother rock chopping, push cutting, or slicing motion; less wedging; better food release; less reactivity with food; easier to sharpen)Has to be fairly sharp out of the box but I'm not expecting a highly polished razor edge or anything. I'll admit I hate when potatoes get stuck on the knife... but i don't really want grantons for this one. I would like it to wedge less but I assume anything thinner than what I have will do that well enough. I don't care about reactivity with food because from what I have read, this only occurs with Carbon knives and only until a patina is formed. Which from prior experience I know shouldn't take very long at all.

    Edge Retention (i.e., length of time you want the edge to last without sharpening based on your expected use above)My dad's biggest complaint about the Henckels is that they don't take a great edge and get dull fairly quick. I hate it when that happens not because I dislike sharpening - that's just a normal part of knife care - but because I HATE having to stop what I'm doing to sharpen a knife. As stated above, I don't do too much cooking (yet) so hopefully it will be difficult to disappoint in this arena with any of the decent steels out there.


    KNIFE MAINTENANCE:
    Is it very important that your knife require only minimal daily maintenance? (i.e., only need to wash and dry after use, occasional sharpening) (Yes or no.)
    I hand wash all knives immediately after use but i would like it VERY much if I could get away with minimal sharpening. Like I said above, I don't mind sharpening at all, I just prefer not to HAVE to do it constantly.

    Do you use a bamboo, wood, rubber (e.g., Sani-Tuff) or synthetic cutting board (e.g., any type of plastic, Hi-Soft, etc.)? (Yes or no.)
    Currently my dad's board is a synthetic but I'll be getting my own end grain butcher board in due time.

    Do you sharpen your knives on your own using any type of whetstone? (Yes or no.)
    Currently I use DMT for my other blades, but from what I have read I will be getting a few Shapton stones along with my first real kitchen knife.

    If “yes,” are you looking to purchase more specific products for this knife? (Yes or no.)
    If “no,” will you have your knives professionally sharpened? (Yes or no.)
    If “no,” are you interested in learning how to sharpen your own knives? (Yes or no.)
    If “yes” to the question immediately above, what is the absolute maximum amount of money you would be willing to put toward sharpening products?

    None of these questions are useful to me due to deciding on Shapton sharpening stones.


    SPECIAL REQUESTS:
    Country of origin None.
    OtherNone.



    For what it is worth, the questionnaire was a tiny bit redundant but for a new user it was pretty close to perfect. The only reason I saw it as a tiny bit redundant in one or two sections is because I have done a lot of research on some of the details so I have a good idea of what I want/need but for someone who perhaps doesn't have the time to look into things then the questionnaire was perfect, and I believe this is the type of person it was aimed at. Good job to the guys that put it together!!!


    Now, I have done quite a bit of shopping around so I have a list of knives that I am considering and all have great feedback from users on this and other sites so hopefully you guys can point me in the right direction and get me started with my best foot forward!

    Originally I wanted a German knife due to family heritage and what not, but the more and more I looked it became obvious that most German knives just can't compare to equivalent Japanese counterparts. I'm a practical guy so it's obvious which way I should go... but for a first knife I had to throw in some of each so I narrowed down a couple of Western knives and a few Eastern knives. They are as follows:

    Western:
    - Wusthof Classic 8 or 10" Chef
    - Wusthof Grand Prix II 8 or 10" Chef
    - Henckels Twin 4 Star 8 or 10" Chef
    - Sabatier Carbon Series 9" French Pattern

    Eastern:
    - Hiromoto AS 240mm Gyuto
    - Tojiro DP 210mm Wa-Gyuto
    - Tojiro DP 240mm Gyuto
    - Fujiwara FKH Carbon 240mm Gyuto
    - JCK CarboNext 240mm Gyuto


    None of these are in any particular order but I have to admit the Hiromoto AS is such a freaking sexy knife that I'll consider it despite it being more expensive than the others IF it is worth it performance wise

    Looking forward to reading about what you guys and gals have to say on this topic! Sorry for any redundancies and I apologize for the length of my post.

    Respectfully,
    -Dylan
    Thank you very much for taking time to go through the revised Questionnaire from start to finish and providing your feedback.

    Would you mind telling me what questions you thought were redundant? Thanks!

    As for a recommendation, since you seem to really not want to have to sharpen that often, I would recommend the CarboNext over the Suisin, just because the steel used in the CarboNext is likely to give you a longer lasting edge. I do, however, prefer the Suisin Western (that Chinacats recommended) overall over the CarboNext. It's a better cutter, feels better in the hand, wedges less, has similar food release (some food does stick to both). I would also choose a 240 over a 210. Either the Suisin or the CarboNext will likely still be lighter than your Henckels so you can go up to the 240 without feeling like they're heavy. (The 240 Suisin Western feels rather light in the hand.)

    I also would not choose a Hiromoto over the CarboNext or Suisin. I had a 240. It can get very sharp and has decent food release, but it tends to wedge and the edge can degrade rather quickly and the cladding scratches easily. In the hand, the Hiromoto didn't feel that different compared to a Wusthof or Henckels. It's rather heavy and dense.

    I would also not purchase any of the Wusthofs or the Henckels. They lose their edge quickly, and sharpening them is not fun based on my personal experience.
    Michael
    "Don't you know who he is?"

  6. #6
    Michael,

    I apologize, looking back at it 'redundant' was too strong a word.

    Under "Knife Use" I feel the first two questions are similar enough that you could eliminate the first question and still accomplish the same goal. For example, "Do you intend to use the knife primarily at home or in a professional environment?"

    I also feel like a "nicer type of wood" is more to do with aesthetics than it does with comfort but to be honest I don't know. I always figured all wood feels the same in the hand (), the only difference would be looks or maybe durability, but like I said - I could totally be incorrect on that.

    Just my humble thoughts of course, take them for what they're worth (which isn't much, by the way!)

    Overall I felt it was very helpful and well thought out!

    Also, thank you for your opinions on those three knives! Since I started looking at the Suisin I also stumbled across the Misono Swedish Steel series. How do the two compare? And another I found while I was looking around is the Richmond Laser AS which I find to be an incredibly attractive knife as well despite it doubling my budget...


    Chinacats,

    I'll take your reccomendations into consideration as well. Thank you very much!!

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
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    Melbourne
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    I really like the Hiro AS, more than my carbonext, but my Hiro is a 210 gyuto and my carbonext is a 270 suji. From all reports, I gather that the 210 Hiro which i think is substantially more svelte than the 240, because mine has cut like a dream, with only the regulation thinning whilst sharpening.

    I haven't used the Suisin at all, but have read the same reviews here and there and wouldn't hesitate to pick one up.

    Out of all the knives you've mentioned, I would pick up the Misono Swedish because its got a freakin' dragon on it.

    A dragon.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Dusty View Post
    I really like the Hiro AS, more than my carbonext, but my Hiro is a 210 gyuto and my carbonext is a 270 suji. From all reports, I gather that the 210 Hiro which i think is substantially more svelte than the 240, because mine has cut like a dream, with only the regulation thinning whilst sharpening.

    I haven't used the Suisin at all, but have read the same reviews here and there and wouldn't hesitate to pick one up.

    Out of all the knives you've mentioned, I would pick up the Misono Swedish because its got a freakin' dragon on it.

    A dragon.
    Hahaha yeah that dragon gives the knife a certain allure doesn't it?

    What are your thoughts on your Carbonext Suji?

  9. #9
    Senior Member rdpx's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    London
    Posts
    362
    Hi Dylan,

    I recently got a 210 CarboNext as my first Japanese knife and am very pleased with it. It is a pleasure to sharpen, and I am a beginner at sharpening.

    What you may well find (I certainly am) is that as a beginner sharpener, you will likely find that you are quite happy to go back and have another go every now and then, just to see if you can get the edge better. When you feel yourself improving it becomes a pleasure to do it.

    I too was considering the Hiro AS and was warned off it - mainly because of reading constantly about the need to thin it behind the edge. I figured that I probably had enough to learn with just basic sharpening. I look at the Hiro now and sometimes wish I had got one, because I do like that wavy edge where the steel changes, and I figure that I might also enjoy learning how to make the knife work. What mhlee says about the weight of the 240 though does put me off a bit. From what I have read here some people love them, some don't. I think if I had the decision to make over I might get a 240 instead of the 210 knife, but without having an opportunity to hold and feel the Hiro AS, I think I would probably stick with the CarboNext, but the AS still tempts me (especially when I see one that Dave Martell has worked his magic on, but I have to remind myself that mine would not look quite as nice).

    You might get some interesting advice from Jon Broida at JKIimports - I was asking him about Honesuki knives recently and he came up with three that were not on his website for one reason or another, and were very reasonably priced indeed.

    R

  10. #10
    Senior Member Benuser's Avatar
    Join Date
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    Amstelveen, The Netherlands
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    2,161
    The Hiromoto is a great performer - if you're a good sharpener, watching the geometry. If you're just looking at the very edge, as it is common amongst EdgePRO victims, you're just asking for serious problems.
    Sharpening is nothing more than moving an original geometry towards the spine. So, thinning behind the edge is just a part of it.
    I've never experienced serious wedging issues with a Hiromoto, Of course, if you want to put a symmetric edge on a fundamentally asymmetric blade, you shouldn't complain about undesired side effects.

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