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First knives what to get?
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  1. #1

    First knives what to get?

    So I'm looking for two knives one to practice with and one to mark the start of my apprenticeship and transfer over to when I'm a bit more experienced. I'm also looking for some stones to learn to sharpen with.
    Country: Australia
    Type: gyuto chef knives 8" I feel would be suitable since that's what I feel comfortable with.
    Right handed
    Handle: because I'm still so knew either is fine with me. I think what ever I pick will end up being my preference in the future though.
    Stainless steel: I don't really know why I would I am very clean and have to clean my blade every time I finish cutting one thing to prevent cross contamination incase of allegies at work.
    Budget: first knife wouldn't want to go over $100 for 2nd knife (good one) up to $300
    Stone up to $200 but I don't know much about them so all stone info would be helpful even out of budget ones.
    Knife use: pro kitchen, home and chef school.
    I'll be using it for just about everything you could think of but I plan on getting a kit for anything it can't do or has trouble doing.
    Cutting style and grips: these are things I will end up learning at school but at this current time I just cut things carefully and try to make them look as neat and nice as possible, I do use the pinch grip a little bit but because I use so many different knives my grips tend to very to adapted to the knife.
    I use kitchen knives at one of my jobs and borrow knives at the other one, these include (excuse the spelling and vagueness on some) Swiss classic victornox, furi chef knife (I hate this one because my knuckles always hit the chopping board or brush it when I'm using it), some 10" chef knife that feels far too heavy and I feel is too thick, global g2 (I don't mind these but the handle feels slightly odd when I'm using it which irritates me a little bit), lots of paring knives and bread knives etc but I don't think they are relevant if they are just ask and I'll try list them.
    I want something that is sharp looks nice (I like the look of layered damacaus or however it's spelt) edge retention would be a +, something that's comfortable for me (I have pretty big hands) something that's not too heavy I have to use it for hours on end.
    Sharpening I've covered already.
    Can't wait for feedback thanks!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Nmko's Avatar
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    Firstly, It sounds like you have decent knife handling skills from using what you have available. So in that sense i wouldnt waste money on another cheap SS knife that is only going to be on par with what else is at your school/work. Spend your $400 budget on 2-3 mid range workhorse's that will suffice throughout your apprenticeship and hopefully more... From what you have said - you are comfortable with 8" chef/gyuto, you will find a good parer/petty and a bread knife/slicer very useful. If your school / work can has decent enough parers/breadknife/slicers then get yourself just a mid range gyuto/chefs 8" and save that money for the next project/purchase...

    Handle preference is solely down to YOU. nothing else. If you find it comfortable and like how it looks then use that - don't judge it just by looks. WA handles in general are a lot lighter in weight.
    $300 can get you a BADASS knife with the specifications you want... Damascus is personal preference again, it has pretty much no beneficial factors for cutting.

    Secondly, In terms of stones buy yourself a decent combination stone until you feel confident, something around 300grit / 1000 grit and practice as much as you can before stepping into the realm of more expensive synthetics and japanese natural stones. Look for Jon from Japaneseknifeimports' sharpening videos on youtube - huge aid.


    Where in Aus are you? There might be somewhere nearby where you could handle a few nicer knives to help with your decision? Are there any brands / styles of knife that you are currently looking at?

  3. #3
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    I'm not sure what retailers/brands you have readily available in Australia so I'll make some recommendations based upon what won't cost you an arm and a leg for shipping. Japanese Chefs Knife (JCK) is a very well reputed seller of knives out of Japan. I'm sure most forum members are familiar with or have purchased from this seller at one point. Worldwide shipping for 7$ just can't be beat and you'll get the knife without much delay. They offer several brands of stainless knives. The Misono moly and 440 series come to mind immediately as good values.

    For stones you could check out Japanese natural stones which can be found in the vendor section of this forum. Maksim is renowned for his excellent customer service and I'm sure he would be happy to recommend some stones that would fit your budget and purpose. You could go with something like a 1k and 6k house brand stone (which are excellent stones) or similar. You'll also find knives there but I am less familiar with his offerings. Hope that helps.

    If you decide on a particular brand keep an eye on the BST here. You might be able to pick one up at a discount but again, that might only benefit you if it happened to be a local sale vs 7$ shipping from JCK.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Geo87's Avatar
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    There's not alot of great retailers in Australia, most places sell your stock standard stuff , victrinox, shun, global, mac etc

    The best quality and value for money IMO for Aussies is going through Koki at JCK.
    Also $300 is a lot! That's great... However you may not need to spend that much. A good quality entry level gyuto from JCK costs 100-150 this will be better than anything you could buy at king of knives or some place like that .

    If you want something better than entry level then 150 -250can get you a brilliant knife. I personally feel any more than that may be unessesary for your situation. Please note spending more money won't get you a sharper knife, learning to sharpen will and you've definitely come to the right place.

    Also about Damascus, some like it, yes it looks cool.. However I would say it has no practical use other than aesthetics, also if you scuff up the blade ( I know I did when learning! ) removing the scratches could be more difficult with Damascus. this is just my opinion and please disagree, but I feel non Damascus knives are more suited to a pro environment.
    They are just less flashy if you catch my drift.

  5. #5
    @Nmko if you could give me a link for a couple if the stones you are suggesting that would be amazing. I live in Bendigo and there is really very little here which makes it hard to try pick a handle type (I'm sure this is a dumb question but what are "WA handles"?) I was looking at shun classic, but that was merely because of the look after I did some reading I wasn't as enthusiastic about it, and I would have bought a miyabi fusion 600d 8" chef knife if the only site I could find with it didn't want me to pay (no word of a lie) $60 for shipping. I'm glad I didn't because after look at the knives on Japanese imports and JCK I did a 360 and now I just want "one of those ones!" (Points at all of them).

    @tripleq: I am really keen on the 1k/6k stone idea, I have been having trouble trying to find info on what the stones are actually made of though when I'm looking online so if you could suggest some brands of stone that are good that would be awesome thanks

    @geo87 I'm assuming you are also from Aust because of your uncanny insight into pro kitchens here and the lack of variety in store haha. So under that assumption how do you pick a knife online without being able to have a hold of it? That's one of my main concerns.
    I know what you mean by too flashy, I think it would be fine for work and home but for school I can totally see your point.
    I might steer clear from Damascus because of the sharpening side of things thanks!

  6. #6
    Senior Member Nmko's Avatar
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    Wa handles are japanese octagon,oval and D (also variations of those) shaped handles on knives. $60 shipping is pretty unreasonable for a knife - I'll admit. Stick with finding something that appeals to your prefernece from JCK, Koki (the owner )has a decent selection and there is lots there to interest you. If your hung up on a knife and want to know the specifications, you can email him and ask about handle sizes and measurements etc..

    Stones are made with combinations of Synthetic grit and natural stone. A 1k/6k stone will work well for touching up the edge but you will need something coarser grit like a 200-400 for resetting bevels and repair etc.. There are lots of reputable brands to look at, An excellent choice for you would likely be KING branded stones. they are cheap, effective and feel great - excellent starters and LOTS of Pro's use them. Personally i like Shapton stones for work, they are fast and feel great to me. Other brands would be Naniwa, Chosera, Bester, Beston...

    There are boutique chef knife stores in Australia... However their stock and variety is limited, but worth a look. Google will tell you more.

  7. #7
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    If you're dead set on getting a practice knife, just get a victorinox fibrox. It's a great knife for the price, easy to sharpen, and will stick around either at home or as a loaner to someone else in your kitchen. If you're not, I would suggest. A 240 may be comfortable to you and nice to have in a pro kitchen if you're used to heavy/clunky 210 size knives. If so, based one what you like, I would suggest you look at the Inazuma Gekko under the specials section of JCK. 210 is out of stock, but they have a 240 and for $139. Take a look at the gekko petty as well, as well as the Hiromoto G3, Fujiwara FKM, and whatever else tickles your fancy. I think if I had to start out an intro knife setup it would be a gyuto that's thin enough to slice with, a 150 petty (use it as a paring, boning, etc. knife), a beater/workhorse (western deba would be my choice) and whatever the house bread knife is.

    As for stones, I like the King 1k and the Arashiyama 6k a lot. They are both on the soft side and give good feedback and both are pretty easy to acquire from many sources. I don't like combo stones and don't think the slightly reduced cost is worth the trade off. I think it makes sense not to buy with the intent of replacing it eventually but that's just my opinion.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Geo87's Avatar
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    First knives what to get?

    Quote Originally Posted by yowie View Post

    how do you pick a knife online without being able to have a hold of it?
    With lots of research and patience... And advice from Forum members..Talking to people who own the knife you intend to buy... And sometimes trial and error. You can always sell it if you don't like it and learn what you didn't like about it to improve your next purchase. The b/s/t section is pretty amazing.

    Also reading the measurements etc...
    Thickness at spine, halfway down the face , and 1cm from edge tells you alot about how the knife will perform. Also height at the heel for knuckle clearance . And total weight is important, handle length and blade length also.

    I think don't stress too much... Buy one... Use it ... If you love it great! If not learn from it and upgrade! However beware, this is seriously addictive!!! And apprentice wages are terrible although alot better than the 5.50 they used to be.

    And yeah, I'm in brissie.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Geo87's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nmko View Post

    There are boutique chef knife stores in Australia... However their stock and variety is limited, but worth a look. Google will tell you more.
    Which ones are you referring to? If its the guy In Sydney he has some pretty high mark up on his knives & stones

  10. #10
    @pleue I took a look at those knives they look pretty nice however I'm very reluctant to go above 8" because my full time workplace has very skinny service benches and I know I'll just destroy the tip of the blade hitting the metal lip at the end of the bench also I'm thinking now the damacus might be something for a future knife when I'm a bit more experienced with sharpening. The pettys look amazing probably will get one when I get my tools of the trade allowance.

    @geo brissie! I'm jealous it's so nice up there. Yeah apprentice wages suck but I'm lucky my 2nd job pays 21.50 an hour cash in hand for me. It's a shame they didn't have the hours for me or I'd have been doing my apprenctiship there on that wage, point is hopefully I'll have a little extra money to through at knives .

    @nmko & geo where I live we have a grand total of two shops (not including big w, etc) house and cooks gallery, and the knives there are global a 3 piece shun classic set, scanpan, mandal and 2 other brands that I can't remember but looked at and thought they were pretty average. Unfortunately with all my work and a baby arriving next week I can't really travel to look at knives in Melbourne or else where

    @everyone I sent Jon from Japanese imports an email with these details and will probably wait for a reply from him before I rush into any choices thanks heaps for all the help
    I haven't had a chance to look at stones yet but I'm probably going to have a quick squizz at those KING ones tonight in bed Thanks heaps for all the advice greatly appreciated.

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