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Thread: Knife recommendations and a few quick questions

  1. #1
    Senior Member Scrap's Avatar
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    Knife recommendations and a few quick questions

    I've found myself in need of a chef's knife, and after much research have come to the realization that I'm going to need a bit of help finding the right (Japanese of course) replacement. in proper questionnaire format:




    LOCATION

    USA, near the Charlotte, NC area


    KNIFE TYPE

    Gyuto

    Are you right or left handed?

    Right

    Are you interested in a Western handle (e.g., classic Wusthof handle) or Japanese handle?

    Japanese

    What length of knife (blade) are you interested in (in inches or millimeters)?

    I don't think anything too far above 8 in would be comfortable, though I'm open to try something.

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

    I would rather my knife be carbon, but again, I can give other suggestions a shot

    What is your absolute maximum budget for your knife?

    This is the troublesome bit. I can spend a max of about $100, but would prefer something in the $50-70 range.


    KNIFE USE
    Do you primarily intend to use this knife at home or a professional environment?

    Quite a bit of both

    What are the main tasks you primarily intend to use the knife for

    vegetable cutting mostly, but I need a solid multi-tasker.

    What knife, if any, are you replacing?

    A JWU standard issue mercer 8" chef knife, though my current multi-tasker is a cheap Chinese cleaver

    Do you have a particular grip that you primarily use?

    Pinch grip

    What cutting motions do you primarily use?

    Push cut and drawing mostly

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

    Mostly not being lost to the abyss and overall quality - I don't have the experience to know too many specific characteristics I like. It does need to be sturdy, but I definitely don't mind high maintenance if I'm getting a better knife.

    Better aesthetics ?

    I find things like damascus/hammering a bit...much. something simple and traditional with just a few engravings will suffice.

    Comfort?

    Not much to say here - I've held quite a few knives and been bothered by few.

    Ease of Use

    Easy sharpening would be nice since I'm still learning.

    Edge Retention ?

    I'd place this ahead of ease of sharpening


    KNIFE MAINTENANCE
    Do you use a bamboo, wood, rubber, or synthetic cutting board?

    Yes

    Do you sharpen your own knives?

    Yes

    If not, are you interested in learning how to sharpen your knives?

    Still yes

    Are you interested in purchasing sharpening products for your knives?

    No



    SPECIAL REQUESTS/COMMENTS


    so two quick questions so I don't just flood this whole forum with more question threads - I've seen decent looking knives with black blades - I believe I've heard this is just the blade not being polished for those who don't care, but I'd like to know If this is ever going to matter for anything but aesthetics. Also, how am I supposed to safely transport my knives including those more difficult to find guards for like my deba?

  2. #2
    There are a couple of different forms of black blades. There are Kurouchi finish which is just the remnants of it being forged, then there are some that are etched or something that make them a shiny black, but I have no experience with those and as far as I know they are way out of your price range.
    As far as transportation I would get a knife roll with some edge guards. Gyutos and other more common knives are easy to get guards for, but a deba you will need to get a saya for, I think they make universal deba sayas.

    Now to the subject of the knife. I used to think that 210mm (8.25) was the biggest knife I could reasonably use, but then I got a 240mm (9.4inch) and never went back. That length is amazing and so comfortable to use. Unless you are really tiny I would suggest 240mm, but 210 isn't bad either.

    There is a Yamashin 210mm gyuto in White #1 for around $90, but I have never seen or used one before.

    There is also a Tosa funayuki at Hida Tool that is 210mm for $42. My coworker has one that is a little smaller and is in love with it. The stock handle probably needs to be oiled or something before you let it get wet.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Scrap's Avatar
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    How are the tojiro white steel gyuto's? I'm seeing good things but haven't seen mention here - plus blueway has them for a fair price. any thoughts?

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    How are the tojiro white steel gyuto's? I'm seeing good things but haven't seen mention here - plus blueway has them for a fair price. any thoughts?
    they're incredibly reactive. so reactive that they're not very worth to play with. i think you should just look into tosa style knives like on hidatool and japan woodworker. i have a couple, couldn't be happier.

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    Fujiwara FKH is pretty popular in that price range. If you want to splurge, Tanaka blue #2 is a good choice.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Brad Gibson's Avatar
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    I have a tojiro kiritsuke gyuto and I love it. I removed the KU finish and polished the whole thing and its barely reactive. For 80 bucks I doubt you will find a white #2 flat profile 240mm gyuto that compares. I would buy it again, if I only had 80 bucks. I bought that as one of my first knives and was very happy. But it is just like marijuana, it is the gateway drug. Be prepared to get yourself addicted to Japanese knives if you buy a cheap one. It won't be nice enough for you and then you will have to find something that is nicer.

    I would recommend the tojiros, they are really easy to sharpen and I've seen a couple ootb.... Some have nicer handles than others. It's a dice roll when you buy a knife this cheap. I would recommend going to a store to buy one if at all possible so you can see the quality in person and make a choice off of the feel as well as the looks.
    "A recipe has no soul. You as the cook must bring soul to the recipe." -Thomas Keller

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    Senior Member Scrap's Avatar
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    I've heard a few rough stories about the KU finish - Does it cause any problems to be left on? and what problems exist wth bad handles? The Yamawaku looks nice but can anyone tell me anything about them? the store looks kinda iffy.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrap View Post
    I've heard a few rough stories about the KU finish - Does it cause any problems to be left on? and what problems exist wth bad handles? The Yamawaku looks nice but can anyone tell me anything about them? the store looks kinda iffy.
    KU finish is not a problem but also not all created equal. Seems each makers are all different. Eventually it will wear/scrub off, usually exposing fairly reactive cladding (iron).

    Tojiro white steel has poor fit/finish and often horrible grind issues--from experience.

    I would suggest one of: Fujiwara, Suisin, Misono or Carbonext for the budget you described. Of these I've only tried the budget line of Fujiwara (carbon) and it was a very nice knife for the money.
    one man gathers what another man spills...

  10. #10
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    i've heard of good things about the yamawaku but it's more of a project knife if you have the time from what i've read. nice and cheap though. i'm considering them to play around with.

    =D

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