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Thread: Knife Newbie Needs "Death Blade" - Advice?

  1. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by DTB57 View Post
    Good articles. Wow, I see that leonardchu is our very own echerub aka Len! Makes more sense why he has so many great knives posted on the WTB forum

    Sorry for the slight diversion. Please return to 4-Finger's questions.

    I didn't even put that together! I'm finding his blog very informative and thought maybe the OP would also enjoy it.

  2. #42

  3. #43
    Quote Originally Posted by mhlee View Post
    No. Feel and personal preference are subjective, but performance characteristics are not subjective; they're objective. If you compare two knives, they will not perform the same. You're making conclusions and generalizations about things you have no idea about because you have no point of reference.

    You didn't answer the Ease of Use question completely despite what you may have thought. Here's the question, with items to consider in parentheses:

    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)?

    If you answered whether each of these characteristics mattered, people could give you better recommendations because these objective characteristics are unique to each knife. If you don't know what any of the terms mean, you should do a little more reading because they're important characteristics.

    And if you don't care to take the time to read and learn, and want to keep babbling on and on, buy a Shun or a Global.

    heh!

    Friends...

  4. #44
    Quote Originally Posted by Slypig5000 View Post
    Since you seem so gung-ho about this here's my knife advice, and this is serious, I'm not trying to be a jerk about this. Don't buy a knife. Go to Home Depot, get a Norton double sided aluminum-oxide sharpening stone. Learn to sharpen what you have. Learn some proper cutting, and sharpening technique. Take care of that $38 Walmart knife like its all you can afford. The limitations of the knife should be apparent quickly. You won't destroy a good knife while learning to sharpen. Then go back through this thread, I think that you will understand what people are trying to tell you. I started out with a Chicago Cutlery knife like this.

    Also... brevity is the soul of whit.

    With my double-sided brick, i can get the cheap knife to pass the 'paper' test. (I run about 15 degrees on it.) I even test on paper towels off the roll: less than blade weight and slice. Should cut clean and without rips. Get rips? got a bad burr spot, try again. The finer side of the brick isn't fine enough for polish work (has to be under 800 grit), but it works for chisels, planers, and the kitchen. And, jokes aside, people really have hurt themselves on the thing when they approached it like it was just 'one of theirs.' Don't respect the edge because they've no cause to fear their own.

    That's one reason i feel ready to up the game and invest in a blade worth a set of real stones.

    I think the gap in communication is over proper cutting techniques. Cutting salad tonight and thinking about what i've read brought up a few highlights i'd never considered - gee, a couple more inches over the 8 would be handy. gee - this bugger is a wedgie-monster (that's what they mean!) and what a pain that is. always hated food sticking to the blade; a convex blade might be worth a few dollars more ... or at least a feature to explore.

  5. #45
    If you are cutting salad, what you are seeing isn't wedging. Maybe stiction.

  6. #46
    Quote Originally Posted by seattle_lee View Post
    If you are cutting salad, what you are seeing isn't wedging. Maybe stiction.
    Naaah ... i don't think so .... Stiction i know. The thing's like a magnet - often don't have to scoop up the pieces on the flat; they're all stuck to it already.

    With 'wedging' i mean that the thickness of the blade seems to generate counter-force when slicing down that pinches (acts horizontally against) the flat of the blade. Worst at the point before completion of the cut. Very similar in feel to when you're splitting logs and the wedge gets caught in the split. That's what i assumed was meant, but maybe the culinary version is dif?

  7. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4-Finger Chef View Post
    Naaah ... i don't think so .... Stiction i know. The thing's like a magnet - often don't have to scoop up the pieces on the flat; they're all stuck to it already.

    With 'wedging' i mean that the thickness of the blade seems to generate counter-force when slicing down that pinches (acts horizontally against) the flat of the blade. Worst at the point before completion of the cut. Very similar in feel to when you're splitting logs and the wedge gets caught in the split. That's what i assumed was meant, but maybe the culinary version is dif?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2M8wPdX2240
    Where they cut the cabbage (looks like) and the Masakage knife kinda gets stuck and the other two go through pretty well? That would be wedging, as per my knowledge of the word.

  8. #48
    Senior Member ThEoRy's Avatar
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    Grab a large carrot, use the heel of the knife and just push straight down through it. Does it slice cleanly all the way through or does it go most of the way then snap the rest off? If you're snapping carrots then you're wedging. If you're slicing cleanly with no pop, you're not.
    Starting this harvest I'm a starving startling artist/
    Lyrical arsonist it's arduous spitting this smartest arsenic/

  9. #49
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    Looking over the survey you filled out, it looks like your main concerns are a knife that will get sharper easier and hold it's edge longer than whatever you currently have. The fact is, every knife that is recommended here will do that for you. Keep in mind that the harder steel knives recommended here will micro-chip rather than fold; you won't be able to use a traditional kitchen steel on them. This also makes it a bad idea to rock the knife since the edge will dig into your cutting board and break off if you twist it in there. Since rocking is pretty much out of the question, the knives recommended here tend to have less belly than WalMart specials.

    Since your answers to the questionnaire pretty much only narrowed things down to price, let's talk tradeoffs to narrow down what you might actually prefer (rather than what you would be willing to live with):

    1) Carbon vs. Stainless - Generally, carbon will get the sharpest easiest (there are exceptions). PM steels (a class of stainless) will get very sharp, lose some of its sharpness quickly, but retain 90% sharpness for a very long time. Digging deeper it depends on the heat treatment, specific steel etc... More expensive steels with better heat treatment will do all-around better, but you will still need to settle on a tradeoffs of sharpness vs. edge retention vs. reactivity. Carbon can rust without special care and even stainless will rust if you abuse it.

    2) Thick vs. Thin - A thinner knife will wedge less. A thicker knife has more room to convex the face of the blade so it will have better food release. Wedging problems can range from getting completely stuck in hard-shelled squash to splitting carrots before the edge can reach the end of the cut (even a "laser" will wedge apart thick slices of giant carrots). Food release issues can range from slices getting taken for a ride to having to physically pry potato slices off the side. For obvious reasons, a thinner knife will be lighter and feel more nimble. It sounds like you have some wedging concerns so you won't want a thick "workhorse". If "stiction" is a concern at all then you probably won't want a laser either; something more in-between?

    3) Western vs. Wa handles - Western handles are what you are accustomed to. Not a lot of steel goes into the Wa handle, and an entry-level Wa handle knife will be made of a very light weight Ho wood, so it is considered to be more nimble. Wa handles also warn others in my house to keep their mitts off. Keep in mind that many Wa handled knives are measured from the tip to the machi, which means that you'd probably want a 240mm Wa if you are accustomed to a 210mm/8" Western.

    4) Profile - Honestly, what you are familiar with has more belly than anything that will be recommended here. You won't really know what you want with respect to belly and tip height without trying out different profiles, but you may have an idea if you would prefer something relatively tall vs. short? If you can get to Sur La Table, they should let you try out some Shun, Miyabi and Global knives to get a better idea of what type of handle, weight and profile like.

  10. #50
    CompE, that's a nice distillation of a range of factors to consider.

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