Help choosing kitchen knives
ok I currently am looking at Japanese kitchen knives, I have about 3 that iam seriously interested in purchasing I would like to spend 400 to 600 on at least 3 or 4 but prefer 4. This includes the chef knife 240mm, a santoku at least 180mm, paring knife and maybe the Deba a heavier duty knife I am looking at Hattori FH series? the Gekko Damascus, and the tojirito damascus series. Quality is important I want great sharpness and a blade that will hold and edge and last and not chip I lean toward the VG10 type quality any thoughts or Ideas would be greatly appreciated. Also any insight to other Japanese quality brands within my price point thanks ?????
Couple of quick considerations. The Gyuto (chef) knife and Santoku perform the same function and can be redundant. Suggest starting with one or other but not both. Deba is a special purpose knife for breaking down fish. It requires some skill to use well. It is not a heavy chef's knife. Suggest defer shopping for one until you have a better feel of steels you like, single bevel care, etc., etc. VG-10 has a reputation of being "chippy" and can be difficult to sharpen. It is not usually a first choice of stainless. You've not addressed sharpening at all, you should think about how these sharp knives are going to stay sharp.
There is a "first knife" questionaire at the top of this section that will help you define what you want and will help people provide guidance. Suggest you fill it out for the gyuto and petty. You can get into a couple nice knives and a basic sharpening setup for your budget. The kind folks here will help you spend all that you want and then some...
help choosing kitchen knives
Originally Posted by daveb
What country are you in?
What type of knife are you interested in (e.g., chef’s knife, slicer, boning knife, utility knife, bread knife, paring knife, cleaver)?
Chef, paring, 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)?
chef at least 240mm
Do you require a stainless knife? (Yes or no)
yes prefer to
What is your absolute maximum budget for your knife?
Do you primarily intend to use this knife at home or a professional environment?
home and professionally
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.)
Slicing dicing and cutting mincing vegetables, trimming meats, deboning meats and breaking poultry bones
What knife, if any, are you replacing?
paring, chef, bread
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.)
rocking and walking
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.)
(damascus japanese) (sharp) (hold edge) (lower maintnance ie.. no rusting) (no chipping) (durable) (rockwell 60 or above)
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)? layered damascus, stain resistant, black handle or wood
Comfort (e.g., lighter/heavier knife; better handle material; better handle shape; rounded spine/choil of the knife; improved balance)?
lighter, good handle, good 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)? use right out of box, good food release, easier to sharpen
Edge Retention (i.e., length of time you want the edge to last without sharpening)?
weeks or months?
Do you use a bamboo, wood, rubber, or synthetic cutting board? (Yes or no.)
Do you sharpen your own knives? (Yes or no.)
would like to learn
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.)
Figure some coin for a whetstone to learn sharpening on.Even a expensive knife will dull esp. in a Pro Kit.Breaking poultry bone need a specialty blade not your chef knife(deboning for joints,heaver cleaver for bones).A good petty knife can also debone chix.
Not a big fan of Damascus in working Kit.It does not make the knife cut better,but costs more.As Dave said a Gyuto & petty take care of most cutting duties.If you really want Damascus there are some good stainless ones out there.
VG 10 steel questions
I here that VG10 is hard good quality but has chipping issues? So is there a better still or comparable option to VG 10 that is hard easy to sharpen holds edge, and has stain blocks as well as rust blocks? That make good knives?
With any steel, all will depend on the Heat Treatment the knife manufacturer provides. In the case of VG-10 there are numerous makers that apply a poor HT, and just a few that deal properly with this steel. Amongst those the producers of the Hattori FH series and the JCK Kagayaki.
Alternatives to VG-10 would be the Japanese Ginsanko3 and different Swedish steels. Have a look at zknives.com
But a steel type doesn't mean anything if you don't know it has got a proper treatment. Some salesmen advertise with blades made of a potentially great steel, but if poorly treated it will only bring disappointment.
appreciate the info
Thanks for info, i have my eye on and i am leaning toward the hattori fh series for my first japanese set. So you are saying hattori fh deal with those procedures correctly?
Originally Posted by Benuser
The FH has indeed excellent properties and a lot of users found it hard to recognize the VG-10 as they knew it before.
Proper HT seems to depend greatly on the batch volume. Large quantities lead often to poor results.
excuse me eye is on the Hattori KD series not sure of the FH series dont see any called fh series
Originally Posted by Benuser
The cleaver is the easy one. CCK. Asian stores carry them and they are widely available on the web. And they are cheap. They offer models that will break bone, more versatile ones are called veg cleavers. You can beat the crap out of them and they look for more. You don't have to worry about scratching them while sharpening cause they come pre-scratched. They are not pretty. Find one that feels good and you're there.
The gyuto will be a more difficult choice because they're many good choices available. With your budget I suggest contacting Jon at JKI (he has a sub-forum here) and talking about the Gesshin Ginga. Stainless, avail w western handle, designed to be easy to sharpen. You can do a lot worse. Korin and Epicurean Edge, also supporting vendors here, both have a selection of western stainless. Many here have had good experience with JCK, I've not bought from them so have had neither good nor bad.
A better stainless than VG-10? IMHO any of them. It's meant to be abrasion resistant, which means it will hold a lousy edge a long time and it's a ***** to sharpen. At best it's frequently used because it is inexpensive and knives made from it can be retailed in the $100 - $200 range. Others will have different opinions of course.
Damascus stainless will be cost prohibitive if done well. And any damascus, Shun, et al, will scuff up while you're learning to sharpen. Suggest you not select a knife based on it. My first Japanese knife, a Shun petty, looks like it's been dragged by a truck, down a gravel road. A much later purchase, a Heijii Damascus petty, is a looker and a worker. And so far no scuff marks. But I would not have bought it if I worked as a pro.
Good luck in your search.