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...
What country are you in?
The United States of America
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?
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.)
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.
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.)
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.
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.
Country of origin – None.
Other – None.
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:
- 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
- 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.