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Thread: I hate asking, but I have too!

  1. #11
    Senior Member FryBoy's Avatar
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    Where do you live? There may be some stores we could recommend for browsing.

    First off, there are a lot of really good knives out there. The impassioned debates here are on the level of Ferrari vs. Maseratti, or Canon vs. Nikon, or Lafite vs. Latour. You don't need to go down that rabbit hole to get some super knives that will last for years -- and none last forever as sharpening wears them down to the point that they're no longer very serviceable. But most home cooks don't need to sharpen very often, so any you buy should be in good shape by the time your kids steal them from you or pry them from your cold, stiff hand.

    Second, you have a couple of very basic decisions to make: 1. Western (Yo) or Japanese (Wa) handles; and 2. Carbon or Stainless Steel. I like Western handles because that's what I've used for the last 40+ years, and I like stainless for the ease of care. Most of the guys here like the Wa handles, which they feel give them greater control, and they prefer carbon steel as it takes a sharper and generally longer-lasting edge (but it can rust and thus requires more maintenance than stainless). IMHO, good stainless (e.g., VG10) gets scary sharp and stays that way for months (I'm a home cook like you -- I do 99% of the cooking, and my wife likes pretty much what you say yours does).

    Third, I agree with the others about what you need -- which will probably differ from what you want. I'd recommend a Gyuto (Chef's), 240mm or 270mm, or both; a Sujihiki (slicer or carving knife), 270mm; a parer, 70 - 100mm; a couple of Petty knives, 120 and 150mm; maybe a Western Deba (for cutting up fish and so forth), a Honesuki (boning knife), maybe a Nakiri (veggie knife) or Santoku (sort of an all-purpose knife). A good Chinese Cleaver might be nice, and maybe a cheap heavy cleaver (e.g., Dexter-Russell) for bones.

    Fourth, the wood. If you're into wood working, you can make your own, but if not, look at the products from www.theboardsmith.com (or study them if you intend to make your own), and check out the Shun knife blocks from Amazon (but don't buy the knives).

    Fifth, sharpening. Stones are great, if you have the time and interest to develop the skills. Otherwise, look at the gadgets from www.edgeproinc.com (my choice).

    Good luck -- and kiss the $1000 budget farewell!
    Doug Collins
    Hermosa Beach, California

  2. #12
    Ok here's my official out of the gate suggestion for $1000. Keep in mind I a very practical person:
    $250 - decent home sized boardsmith board, whatever wood matches your decor and your wife likes.
    $100-120 - 2pc Tojiro set, pick a 210 gyuto or a 240 for an extra 10(I would but it's up to your wife if she is ok with big knives) I only said this over a Tojiro DP alone because you said you use a parer. I've yet to meet a paring knife I didn't hate. IF you don't want a parer, I'd get a Suisin Inox 240, which is about $125.
    $20 - Old Hickory QN-710, great carbon steel slicer, ready for a new handle
    $30 - Forschner Bread Knife, perfect design, the softer steel will make eventual resharpening with a round hone less tedious
    $50 - King 800/6000 combo stone, the only level of stone any home cook really needs. Sharpening is a part of cooking!
    $100 - JKS Strop kit, it's a really great no-brainer strop setup and IMO stropping is a necessary step in freehand sharpening
    $100 - Wood for your new handles and a rod of a pretty mosaic pin
    $10 - Gray Kunz Spoon. Ok it's not a knife, but you'll use it more than any one knife! They are brilliantly designed and if you make a lot of sauces you'll want it.

    $320 for your oncoming addiction. I wish I was kidding, but I'm not! You could also add the $120 for a main blade into this and see if Stephan Fowler can knock you up a chef's knife in W2 for $430. I don't know what his prices are on that kind of thing, but if he can, you can get in early and get a great knife from a talented guy cheaply(cause whatever he's charging today is less than it will be soon)! If you can't, I'd still set the $320 back and save to buy something from a custom maker once you really have a grasp on your knife and sharpening style.

  3. #13
    Thank for the reply Doug, I'm in San Diego. Everything you said sounds good except for that part about kissing the $1000.00 budget farewell! What would your suggested list cost?

    Wow nice list Johndoughy! Where would you go to buy this list? Also I'm not married to any of my knives, except I do like my clever, though. I have a few pieces of hardwood round the shop; Lacewood, Cocobolo, Purple Heart, Pau Amarello are any of these suitable for handles? What type of material is "a rod of a pretty mosaic pin"?

    Thanks guys, you are all being very helpful in describing my new addiction!!

  4. #14
    Senior Member FryBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghud View Post
    Thank for the reply Doug, I'm in San Diego. Everything you said sounds good except for that part about kissing the $1000.00 budget farewell! What would your suggested list cost?

    Wow nice list Johndoughy! Where would you go to buy this list? Also I'm not married to any of my knives, except I do like my clever, though. I have a few pieces of hardwood round the shop; Lacewood, Cocobolo, Purple Heart, Pau Amarello are any of these suitable for handles? What type of material is "a rod of a pretty mosaic pin"?

    Thanks guys, you are all being very helpful in describing my new addiction!!
    $1K will be a very fine start -- but you may very well fall down the rabbit hole to some degree, and pretty soon you'll think that having a 4th or 5th 240mm Gyuto made by some raving madman genius cutler is a perfectly sensible way to spend your money.
    Doug Collins
    Hermosa Beach, California

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by FryBoy View Post
    ... pretty soon you'll think that having a 4th or 5th 240mm Gyuto made by some raving madman genius cutler is a perfectly sensible way to spend your money.
    Are you trying to say it's not?

  6. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by ghud View Post
    I have a few pieces of hardwood round the shop; Lacewood, Cocobolo, Purple Heart, Pau Amarello are any of these suitable for handles? What type of material is "a rod of a pretty mosaic pin"?
    Yes, those are fine woods, methinks! I am a fan of all of them.

    This is a mosaic pin. It's a rod you use to keep the handle scales aligned, in conjunction with epoxy. It's mostly decorative, thanks to the strength of modern epoxy, but they certainly are pretty. You can make your own out of brass rods for model train sets if you are feeling crafty, or can't find a design you like.

    You can buy those things at a variety of places. Dave Martell of JKS, Jon Broida of JKI, the BoardSMITH & Stephan Fowler have subforums here. This Site Not Allowed Here.com is a great site, I love it for window shopping, and he does a lot of volume sales. Don't pull the trigger too soon, cause other people are going to give you different ideas, I'm just one voice in a nuthouse. I read forums for 3 months before buying, myself. Knowledge is worth way more than tools, but I'm sure you know that!

  7. #17
    Doug, I prefer the purple pill, a little red, a little blue! I've been down the rabbit hole before, sometimes its fun and usually expensive! Is that where the raving madman genius cutler lives, at the bottom of the rabbit hole? And what knife would he show me?

    Johndoughy can you please describe this, ($250 - decent home sized boardsmith board) and do I have to buy this or can I make it?

    Thanks again

  8. #18
    Johndoughy is there a preferred wood? And is there wood to avoid? I know from experience certain African hardwood when they splinter the burn you get is immediate

  9. #19
    Sorry Johndoughy I missed the link! I checked the boardsmith site, got it! I'll check with my guy at the hardwood store, check the epoxies approved for food usage. Putting something together like that is right up my alley. Oh I forgot I have a piece of 4/4 Curly maple with some birdseye.

  10. #20
    Das HandleMeister apicius9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghud View Post
    Johndoughy is there a preferred wood? And is there wood to avoid? I know from experience certain African hardwood when they splinter the burn you get is immediate
    As long as they are well seasoned and not too light, most woods should work. Cocobolo is a classic and should work well ( and I assume I don't have t tell you not to breath in the dust?). Desert ironwood is also very well liked because of its density and nice pattern/color. I'm not a friend of purple heart because it burns so easily and it's not my color, similar with the yellow canary wood. Lacewood has splintered on me before but I think there are different types. Living in Hawaii, of course I like koa... Many people prefer their wood stabilized, i.e. resin-injected under vacuum. Definitely makes them more stable and water-resistant, bit you also lose the natural feel. If you make it for yourself where you live and the wood is seasoned, I don't see a reason for stabilizing, just oil the handle occasionally to keep it from drying out.

    Stefan

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