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  1. #1

    Question Hello, just a few questions

    Hello, my name is Lee.

    I'm new here and don't know much about knives, except that it's not really fun when you don't have a good and sharp one when you need to cut something.

    Yeah, I have had a dull knife for a while now, and even after I sharpen it, it still has difficulty cutting things like potatoes, carrots and celery, the things I wanted to make for dinner, a nice stew.

    I've been obsessed with finding a good knife over the past couple of days and have done as much research as I could take, reading for maybe 10+ hours in trying to find the "best", "perfect" knife for my purposes, which is basically chopping vegetables and meat(the usual fare, chicken, beef and pork), usually without bones.

    First off, I should point out that I'm not a professional chef, or sous chef for that matter, but I do like to cook at home, and take pride in what I am able to do when preparing meals for myself and my family.

    Having a limited budget I was looking for a basic all-purpose knife that I could use for just about everything in basic food prep. I don't really make anything fancy, the most intricate thing I do is probably fine dicing an onion, if you can call that intricate, but I'm shocked by how many people don't know how.

    I've owned a pairing knife for years, but have never actually used one for any "intricate" and detailed knife work, not even peeling/skinning an apple. I actually like the skin, have heard it contains 90% of the nutrients.

    Well, to make a long story I'll say that I was seriously considering a ceramic knife, but after reading many critical reviews have come to think it's probably not the best choice. I actually bought a Yoshiblade just to see how great a ceramic knife would be, and I like it, it is very sharp, but honestly I feel the blade's too short to be really useful, and of course there are restrictions on what a ceramic blade should cut.

    Being part Japanese, I'm now considering a Japanese style knife, as I've read how they are some of the finest in the world.

    I was thinking about getting a Japanese SAKAI Kama-Usuba Vegetable Knife 180mm Akebono.

    Sold online by bluewayjapan for what I consider a reasonable price, just under $70.

    Here's a description of the knife and its features:

    This Usuba is designed for dicing and mincing vegetable, or for rolling action paring when thin raw radish comes with Sashimi. This head round-shaped blade is called Osaka type and used in West Japan. This single-beveled edge can cut vegetable to hair thickness and make extremely clean cutting plane. This affordable priced quality knife is recommended for home or hobby chef.
    The blade is beautifully finished by KASUMI technique. The blade with this construction of hard steel for cutting edge and of soft iron for body provides easiness to re-sharpen, sharpness, tenacity and durability.

    • Brand---Sakai Yoshiharu
    • Edge---Japanese Carbon Steel
    • Blade---Single-beveled edge for a right-handed person
    Hand crafted
    • Handle---Hou Wood(Magnolia) with hand painted Akebono Nuri(Japanese lacquer ware)
    • Blade Length---180mm(7.1") from tip to handle
    • Total Length---315(12.4")
    • Weight---200gr(7.1oz)

    What is the quality of this knife? Do you think this would be a good all purpose knife to meet my needs?

    They also sell a much more expensive knife made with Japanese Blue steel no. 2, but this is geared mainly towards professional chefs, and I suspect the 200 dollar price difference wouldn't be worth my extra expenditure, no?

    I'm also considering a Nakiri, vegetable knife with a square edge, would this shape/design necessarily be stronger, more durable?

    Would a double bevel knife be better suited for my amateur skills and cooking purposes? I've read that this is usually the case for home cooks.

    Sometimes I do like to very finely "shave" some vegetables though, like onion and cucumber, or even carrot and bell peppers.

    Is there something else altogether that you would recommend first, like a good western style chef's knife? I should say that I don't want something too long, it starts to feel clumsy and unwieldy, and I don't eat a lot of watermelon which would require a very long blade.

    I've never owned or used a Wusthof or Henckel's knife, but I've been considering them... it's just that when compared to good Japanese knives, they may have met their match or master so to speak.

    I was looking at the Wusthof Classic East meets West knife set with a 7" Nakiri and 6" hollow edge cooks knife, for $99.95. Would this be a good choice?

    I am willing to get a knife by any maker and just want what would best fulfill my needs. My budget is pretty limited though, I would say about a hundred bucks tops.

    Lastly, about Carbon steel knives, I've read their primary downside is that they require a little extra care to insure they don't rust or discolor.

    If anyone is familiar with Klasse auto care products, the All in One and High Gloss sealant, would you know if it would be okay, food safe to coat/seal the knife steel from air, water, food acids, etc. to make sure it doesn't become degraded by rust or discoloration?

    I'm assuming an ultra thin, fraction of a millimeter/micrometer film/coat should protect the blade surface and not significantly affect the cutting ability of the knife.

    Well, I don't know what else to say, I've probably already said too much, so I'll just ask for your help if you've read this far, it would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,

  2. #2
    daveb's Avatar
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    Welcome Lee.

    At the top of this subforum a "new knife questionnaire" will, when filled out, help smarter members than I answer your questions and provide recommendations based on your answers.

    Off the top of my head would note that usaba is a fairly specialized knife, requiring some skill to use well. And I would be skeptical of any cheap single bevel knife. If you want a good first knife suggest consider a gyuto (chef) or since you like the usaba/nakiri, a santoku may serve you well. EIther way sharpening the knife and keeping it sharp should be considered or you will soon have a nicer, dull knife.
    Dave
    Older and wider.

  3. #3
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    Agree that the usuba is one of the most specialized of J-knives. A gyuto or santoku would serve you better. Oh, and welcome!

  4. #4
    Hey there Lee!

    As a home cook myself...who only recently has had the experience of what a good, high quality kitchen knife can do for you in the kitchen...I've got a few comments that may help you out.

    First...good steel is worth its weight in gold for the home cook as well, but only if the heat treat is right. I have no experience with the eBay knives, so I'll refrain from commenting on that, but I can tell you that the difference between a typical mass market, soft steel stainless and a high quality properly hardened carbon is night and day. I WANT to cook more things...because I enjoy the effortless way a quality knife preps food. I have to stop myself from buying things like squash (which I rarely if ever eat lol), just because of how cleanly the quality knife cuts it! I've made more pico de gallo and fried potatoes in the last month testing edge geometry than I ever have in my life, lol. I always enjoyed cooking, but having a high quality knife has turned it into something one step above.

    Another comment on carbon...is that they're pretty much going to discolor. I rinse my carbon knives in hot water after use (hot water helps it dry faster), and wipe them with a soft dry towel. Part of the fun of owning a carbon knife is watching the patina (search it on this forum) develop. Some of the discoloration can be quite beautiful. Not only that, but it helps protect the blade from rust.

    Anyhow, I'd do as Dave suggests and fill out the new knife sheet. I would also suggest sticking with a knife profile that you have some experience with when you pick up your first quality knife. These things are screaming sharp for the most part (far sharper than you're probably used to), and using an unfamiliar razor sharp blade can lead to accidents. Additionally (as Dave also suggested) I'd invest in some synthetic stones or high grit DMT plates, and learn to sharpen properly. Jon Brioda on this forum has some great, in depth youtube videos on the subject that really can help you out.

    Good luck in your search! And welcome to what may end up being your newest obsession .
    I try to be the man I am..in times of broken lives. Shattered dreams and plans..standing up to fight. Pressures and demands..staring at the knife. Holding in your hands..

  5. #5

    Re: Hello and questions...

    Thanks for the info, I will definitely check out that new knife sheet and see what it says.

    I do actually have a japanese whetstone to sharpen my knives(not sure how good or what kind it is, but I got it for 3 bucks at a local japanese store, Marukai, in Hawaii if anyone is familiar). I actually just sharpened my knives a while ago after washing a sink full of dishes, not including dirty knives, I never leave my knives in the sink for both safety and maintenance reasons. I was really surprised by how sharp the blades were after sharpening them, I actually cut myself( very superficially, no blood) running my finger along the blade edge to test the sharpness. Before it was so dull I could almost feel it, even after sharpening. I guess I wasn't using the stone correctly and sharpening the blade at the correct angle previously.

    Most of my knives I believe are single bevel blades with a very narrow angle and I had to run them across the stone at nearly 180 degrees on both sides. The knives were actually a gift, some fairly inexpensive set, basic essentials or something, someone got for my girlfriend at a party a couple of years ago. At first they were pretty sharp, but after use they dulled and I guess I wasn't sharpening them properly until just earlier today. I was very pleasantly surprised at how easily I was able to cut through an orange, peel and segment it, as well as an apple.

    Anyway, I should let you guys know that the set includes among others, a chef knife, pretty long maybe about 9" I'd guess, 2 santoku knives, a 5.5" or so larger one and a maybe 4" mini one and a steak knife. The all have very thin blades with a single bevel I believe, otherwise 2 very, very narrow angles.If the flat edge is supposed to be on the left side of the blade for right handed people, it was made wrong, or maybe that's the way it's supposed to be and i'm wrong, very possible, it's just that I'd guess that the flat side should be the left-inside part of the blade if it is designed to allow for very fine slicing.

    I'm writing all this to say that while I understand the santoku is supposed to be a general all-purpose knife, I don't really like it for some reason, I don't know why really, but suspect it may be the shape.


    I just wanted to give you guys a little more information. I'll be sure to fill out that new knife page, I'm interested to see what it says.

    Anyway, I do appreciate the responses and thank you kindly for them.


    Aloha



    Quote Originally Posted by CrisAnderson27 View Post
    Hey there Lee!

    As a home cook myself...who only recently has had the experience of what a good, high quality kitchen knife can do for you in the kitchen...I've got a few comments that may help you out.

    First...good steel is worth its weight in gold for the home cook as well, but only if the heat treat is right. I have no experience with the eBay knives, so I'll refrain from commenting on that, but I can tell you that the difference between a typical mass market, soft steel stainless and a high quality properly hardened carbon is night and day. I WANT to cook more things...because I enjoy the effortless way a quality knife preps food. I have to stop myself from buying things like squash (which I rarely if ever eat lol), just because of how cleanly the quality knife cuts it! I've made more pico de gallo and fried potatoes in the last month testing edge geometry than I ever have in my life, lol. I always enjoyed cooking, but having a high quality knife has turned it into something one step above.

    Another comment on carbon...is that they're pretty much going to discolor. I rinse my carbon knives in hot water after use (hot water helps it dry faster), and wipe them with a soft dry towel. Part of the fun of owning a carbon knife is watching the patina (search it on this forum) develop. Some of the discoloration can be quite beautiful. Not only that, but it helps protect the blade from rust.

    Anyhow, I'd do as Dave suggests and fill out the new knife sheet. I would also suggest sticking with a knife profile that you have some experience with when you pick up your first quality knife. These things are screaming sharp for the most part (far sharper than you're probably used to), and using an unfamiliar razor sharp blade can lead to accidents. Additionally (as Dave also suggested) I'd invest in some synthetic stones or high grit DMT plates, and learn to sharpen properly. Jon Brioda on this forum has some great, in depth youtube videos on the subject that really can help you out.

    Good luck in your search! And welcome to what may end up being your newest obsession .

  6. #6
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    From what you have described I think Santoku 165mm type knife will suite your needs perfectlly. I would focus on double bevel knives only, as I would guess this is something you have been using before.

    As for the exact knive maker, your budget will dictate the options.

  7. #7

    Re: hello, questions...

    Hi Dave, thank you for your reply.

    You said...

    "At the top of this subforum a "new knife questionnaire" will, when filled out, help smarter members than I answer your questions and provide recommendations based on your answers."

    Are you referring to the, "Sticky: The "Which Knife Should I Buy?" Questionnaire - v2" ?

    If so, how do I "fill out" my answers to the questions to get recommendations from the "smarter" members, including yourself?

    If this is not the right questionnaire, could you tell me which one, where it is? sorry.

    I don't know if you saw my other posted response, but I said for some reason, I don't really know why, but I don't seem to like my santoku knife. And I guess when I think about, I don't really like the gyuto/chefs knife either, I don't know why for sure, maybe it's the pointy end.

    Maybe I should go with Nakiri, it's just that I read and can see how the pointy end of a kama usuba could be useful for making certain cuts that would be difficult with a straight edge.

    I guess in this instance the pointy end is good. I hope I'm not confusing you.

    I agree with you regarding "cheap" single bevel knives, especially given the experience I've had with some, not too good(maybe that's why I don't like the Santoku, who knows?) but unfortunately it's hard to complain when it was given for free as a gift. And unfortunately my budget is pretty limited as well.

    And I'll definitely remember what you said about sharpening, I wouldn't want to have just a nicer, shiny, dull knife. A knife is supposed to be a tool first after all, not simply a showpiece.

    Anyway, thanks Dave.


    Aloha




    Off the top of my head would note that usaba is a fairly specialized knife, requiring some skill to use well. And I would be skeptical of any cheap single bevel knife. If you want a good first knife suggest consider a gyuto (chef) or since you like the usaba/nakiri, a santoku may serve you well. EIther way sharpening the knife and keeping it sharp should be considered or you will soon have a nicer, dull knife.

  8. #8
    daveb's Avatar
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    C,

    "Which Knife Should I Buy?" Questionnaire - v2" ? That would be the one. Copy and paste to fill out. Suggest keep it simple to start. I usually suggest and have gifted knives from Suisin Western Inox (stainless). Not liking "pointy" things is going to limit your options a bit...
    Dave
    Older and wider.

  9. #9

    "Which knife should I buy?" Questionnaire - v2

    Hi Dave,

    I did find the page for "Which Knife Should I Buy? Questionnaire - v2" I copied and pasted that title and used the search function.

    But I don't see any fields to input information if that's possible.

    There are many good questions for which I do have pretty straightforward answers I think.

    I live in USA, am right handed, looking for a knife most critically to cut vegetables, do use a bamboo and synthetic cutting boards and also sharpen my own knives using japanese stone on occasion.

    I also have some idea of what knife style and length I'm looking for as well as budget.

    I think I'm leaning toward carbon steel, as they're supposed to be harder, but I do have a quick question regarding steels.

    If carbon steel just means higher percentages of Carbon in the blade composition, would not a High Carbon stainless steel blade share the benefits of a Carbon steel blade while having additional benefits of edge retention, corrosion resistance, etc. that is afforded by the addition of other elements such as Chromium, Molybdenum, Tungsten, Vanadium, etc?

    Are pure Carbon steel blades really that much harder and sharper than stainless? I think the Rockwell scale grades are fairly close, but I also suppose just a couple of points can be a huge and significant difference. I would also note that ceramic knives are supposedly much harder than even the hardest carbon steel, but I have read many people say that even the Kyocera Revolution series black blade is not that sharp.

    I guess I'd also want a medium weight knife with some heft and not too thin a blade, to cut through hard vegetables, potatoes, onions, carrots, etc.

    As for handle type, anything that's comfortable would suit me. I believe I have both western and japanese style handles on my current knives and don't seem to have a particular preference.

    Lastly aesthetics do concern me. While I don't entertain or cook for show, if I'm going to spend a lot of money on a good knife, I want something that would look impressive to someone if I were to share my new found interest with them.

    And speaking to that, I checked out the Suisin Western Inox you suggested and while they look okay, I have to admit that they do look a bit plain and lack a certain flair that might catch someone's eye. Again, not that that's the most important thing, but it's a plus. And of course it's hard to tell a knives cutting ability by seeing a picture on the internet, and I believe one has to be careful when regarding user reviews.

    I guess that's why I'm here in this forum, to hopefully get some better informed users who would be me credible in their assertions as compared to lay people writing a review on Amazon.


    Also, one last thing.

    I don't know if you are a moderator or anything like that. But I actually thought that I had posted something earlier(not the one directed specifically towards you concerning the New knife buying questionnaire), and wonder why it has not shown up. In it I did mention some of the different knives that I have, that I actually sharpened them well earlier today and was pleasantly surprised by how well they cut through fruits(apples and oranges) as well as my inexplicable dislike of my Santoku knives, which I realize is recommended to me based upon my stated purposes.


    Anyway, thanks again Dave.

    You have a good day.


    Aloha



    "Which Knife Should I Buy?" Questionnaire - v2" ? That would be the one. Copy and paste to fill out. Suggest keep it simple to start. I usually suggest and have gifted knives from Suisin Western Inox (stainless). Not liking "pointy" things is going to limit your options a bit...[/QUOTE]

  10. #10
    Just copy and paste...and fill in the answers once its pasted in.

    LOCATION
    What country are you in?

    KNIFE TYPE
    What type of knife are you interested in (e.g., chef’s knife, slicer, boning knife, utility knife, bread knife, paring knife, cleaver)?

    Are you right or left handed?

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

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

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

    What is your absolute maximum budget for your knife?



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

    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.)

    What knife, if any, are you replacing?

    Do you have a particular grip that you primarily use? (Please click on this LINK for the common types of grips.)

    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.)

    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.)

    Better aesthetics (e.g., a certain type of finish; layered/Damascus or other pattern of steel; different handle color/pattern/shape/wood; better scratch resistance; better stain resistance)?

    Comfort (e.g., lighter/heavier knife; better handle material; better handle shape; rounded spine/choil of the knife; improved balance)?

    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)?

    Edge Retention (i.e., length of time you want the edge to last without sharpening)?



    KNIFE MAINTENANCE
    Do you use a bamboo, wood, rubber, or synthetic cutting board? (Yes or no.)

    Do you sharpen your own knives? (Yes or no.)

    If not, are you interested in learning how to sharpen your knives? (Yes or no.)

    Are you interested in purchasing sharpening products for your knives? (Yes or no.)



    SPECIAL REQUESTS/COMMENTS
    I try to be the man I am..in times of broken lives. Shattered dreams and plans..standing up to fight. Pressures and demands..staring at the knife. Holding in your hands..

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