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Thread: Time for some new tools

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Hampton Roads, VA

    Time for some new tools

    (NOTE: The obligatory n00b form is below, just a primer first..)

    Okay so I'm a newbie to this caliber of cutlery in the food world. Yes I've been in the business and know my way around a kitchen, and thankfully I now cook just for friends, family, and myself. But it is a passion of mine. I make do with what I got presently, but I have been scoping out a better Chef's knife for a looonng time now. And now, or soon thereafter, is the time for me to make a move on a new one.

    So, talking knives with a dear friend who works as the Executive Chef at a local country club, I was under the impression Shun was "the name" in knives. At least for a "non-professional" like myself. Kershaw has a good rep, but I only knew of them through their pocketknives, and those fruity-looking Kai knives I used to have sitting on my counter. (Which are great beat-around knives btw, sharpens well, and don't stain.. But that's nothing compared to what you guys use...)

    Then Global came up. I recognize them, see them in my peers' houses (the ones that shop at W-S and BB&B), like the feel, and heard that they're "all I'd need" for home use. And they're CrVn like my Snap-On stuff. But, somehow after reading on this site, I think that I'm missing something. Do you all have any brief insight on those two big names?

    Now, to the point. I cook a lot. Like almost all my meals from scratch. Paleo stuff, I'm sure some of you all know what I'm talking about. Like cutting and chopping POUNDS of vegetables. Slicing big roasts. Mincing herbs like no tomorrow. I need a workhorse knife that can withstand the USE, not ABUSE (my GF isn't gonna touch this thing, she has her pretty purple 8" Chef's from the KAI set..). I understand the care necessary to maintain these things, but what kind of options should I be looking at as far as materials? I heard VG-10 and "Damascus" look is out for a "beginner", but stainless somehow doesn't appeal to me much either.

    I'm gonna quit for now and let the form do some talking, hopefully spark a discussion that will rise some more questions..

    What type of knife(s) do you think you want?
    240mm Gyuto, been hearing Hiromoto AS, or Gesshin. Possibly Yoshihiro?
    Why is it being purchased? What, if anything, are you replacing?
    Just want something better, more effiecient. Elegant. Replacing Western-style Henkels and Wustofs
    What do you like and dislike about these qualities of your knives already?
    Aesthetics-Upscale look, classic Chef design
    Edge Quality/Retention-Quality not so bad if I sharpen them, retention not so great
    Ease of Use-Its a knive. If its sharp I feel it does its job. I don't chop for a living, no not too picky.
    Comfort-Western handle is fine, I didn't like the Shun classic D-handle tho. Never held a true wa. Also, I'm a southpaw. So, looking at double beveled ground edges for that reason. Not trying to spend crazy money for a backwards lefty-only product. I spent my whole life dealing with that.

    What grip do you use?
    What kind of cutting motion do you use?
    Push/pull, rock
    Where do you store them?
    Magnetic bar
    Have you ever oiled a handle?
    Sure. For wooden spoons and flippers and such.
    What kind of cutting board(s) do you use?
    Edge grain maple for now, looking at Cherry or maple end grain soon
    For edge maintenance, do you use a strop, honing rod, pull through/other, or nothing?
    DMT Diamond sharpeners, with the guide clamp, Henkels Diamond Steel
    Have they ever been sharpened?
    Sharpened monthly, steeled before use.
    What is your budget?
    ~150-200. More only if absolutely necessary. I'm not ashamed to not have the fanciest knife. BUT, I'm not afraid to spend money on quality products, hence why I'm on KKF researching these things.
    What do you cook and how often?
    Meat and veggies. Might cut up whole chicken too, Messermeister poultry shears work only okay at best.
    Special requests(Country of origin/type of wood/etc)?
    Japan, of course! Seems to be the way to go..

    Thanks for the help from all of you! So great to talk to people who share the interest, not just to sell you stuff in a store because they think you got unlimited money for expensive kitchen items..

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    you want an Akifusa

  3. #3

    Join Date
    May 2013
    San Diego, CA
    Konosuke knives are extremely nice for a non custom. They are on the inexpensive side and you can take your choice with them being stainless or carbon(depending on what you are comfortable with). I would recommend getting one of these.

  4. #4
    Senior Member chinacats's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    On the (frozen) water Maine

    Since you're a lefty, I'd want to hear specifically from a few other lefties as J-knives are all ground asymmetrically--some more than others. I would also recommend speaking w/ Jon at Japanese Knife Imports (a forum vendor); Jon is very helpful and not going to try to sell you something you don't want/need. He is very knowledgeable and a most trusted vendor here, unfortunately he's on the opposite coast so you won't be able to walk into his shop. If it's carbon that you want, I may suggest going with a laser which I think may act more neutral to a lefty though most I can think of are wa handled.

    once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right

  5. #5
    Senior Member WiscoNole's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Akifusa or Blazen

  6. #6
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Akifusa, Blazen or Gesshin Kagero.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Quote Originally Posted by WiscoNole View Post
    Akifusa or Blazen

  8. #8
    Senior Member ThEoRy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Central Jersey
    Ah jeez, not another lefty......

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Hampton Roads, VA
    Wow. I check back in a couple days just to see if ANYBODY had stumbled upon my post, and already I got a lot of great recommendations. You guys are awesome.

    So Akifusa or Gesshin Kagero might be exactly what I need, Blazen does too although a little pricey for my first. Maybe I'm acting timid but I don't want to be scared to sharpen this thing when it needs to.

    Chinacats, thank you I would like to hear from other lefties too.. I know the Ryusen knives are 50/50, but can't get too much info on the others without making some calls during the day. I'm curious though, would any of the asymmetrical bevels really matter that much for a lefty? I understand they would steer in the opposite direction when they cut, but would I even notice? Or would muscle memory cause me to compensate eventually?

    Also, I'm noticing the majority of the recommendations are for a PM (powdered) blade material. I'm familiar with M2 HSS for tool and die making (which is similar in composition to SG2), and that stuff is a bear to machine. So my guess is edge retention would be stellar, but sharpening would be tough. Is that safe to assume? What would be the reason for this movement to PM steel blades? I understand stainless clad is ideal in a kitchen, in case you set it down while preparing other items, but how much time do I have before a pure high carbon blade oxidizes? Are we talking seconds after I make a cut and set the knife down?

    Lastly, I'd like to throw out a preliminary selection, please let me know what you think:

    Akifusa (PM) $200
    Gesshin Kagero (PM) $230
    Ryusen Blazen (PM) $290
    Konosuke HH $240 (only one with wa handle, not sure if this is good or bad. Still on the fence..)
    Hiromoto AS (blue super) $165 (heard of fit and finish issues, not sure looks decent though..)
    Ryusen Tsuchime (VG-10) $220 (just threw this in there, looks badass. But I know very little about VG-10, except Shun loves to use it..)

    Oh, and just to play devil's advocate, would anybody like to dissuade me from buying a Global or Shun like all the other yuppies shopping at W-S?
    (I understand if no one comments on this, I just feel I'd get a kick out of the witty remarks from some of y'all..)
    Thanks again!

  10. #10
    daveb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Just outside Tampa
    Couple thoughts.

    The "D" handles on Shuns are too small for function and are usually shaped for righties. I'm correct handed and have used both left and right handled classic chefs and they both suck. If thats the only Japanese handle you've tried don't let it put you off them.

    The Gesshin Kagero - Jon at JKI could provide info on suitability for lefty. Think theres one for sale on BST now.

    The Gesshin Ginga is close if not at 50/50 and is frequently recommended for lefties. Again Jon for more info.

    The Hiro AS (mine anyway) is def biased for righties.

    I just finished a week with a Suisin Western Inox that would be a very good introduction to Japanese knives, esp for someone who liked the western handle. Doesn't hurt that its a good looking knife and at a good price point. Mari at Korin can provide more info.

    And too your last question, if you buy a Shun or Global, then you can't laugh at those that do...



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