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Thread: First Knife (I bet you guys are tired of this question)

  1. #1

    Join Date
    May 2014

    First Knife (I bet you guys are tired of this question)

    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's Knife (Gyuto)

    Are you right or left handed?

    Are you interested in a Western handle (e.g., classic Wusthof handle) or Japanese handle?
    Not sure, aesthetically I prefer Japanese handles, but I've only ever used western handles.

    What length of knife (blade) are you interested in (in inches or millimeters)?
    240mm or 270mm, leaning towards 240.

    Do you require a stainless knife? (Yes or no)
    not sure that I require it, but maybe prefer it

    What is your absolute maximum budget for your knife?
    Ideally under $150, could stretch up to $200

    Do you primarily intend to use this knife at home or a professional environment?
    Both, but far more use 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 and finely dicing veggies, slicing boneless chicken and fish. slicing fruit as small as grapes to as large as pineapples.

    What knife, if any, are you replacing?
    house knives aka my first knife

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

    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.)
    almost entirely push cutting, the occasional rock and walk for herbs.

    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)?

    Since this is my first knife pretty much all of the above. The house knives are pathetic even after they get sharpened. Ultimately looking to improve sharpness and edge retention, but comfort is always a factor too. Aesthetics are secondary though always appreciated.

    Do you use a bamboo, wood, rubber, or synthetic cutting board? (Yes or no.)
    varies, rubber and synthetics at work, bamboo and maple at home.

    Do you sharpen your own knives? (Yes or no.)
    I am going to start.

    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.)
    yes, this is not included in my blade budget. Looking for advice on what to start with and how much I can expect to spend.

    My two biggest questions are western vs japanese handle and 240 vs 270. I realize these are mostly personal preference and I plan to go to a local knife shop to check these out in person, but it's always nice to hear from enthusiasts. After doing some preliminary research I am looking at the tojiro dp series and various richmond series. People seem to say that the tojiro's are a great steel for the price, but they don't have the japanese handle (which I'm not even 100% sold on yet besides aesthetics). Also, I am the type of person who prefers to buy high end once and buy it for life, so if you can make a good argument for buying a much nicer knife ($300+) I am willing to hear you out. I really like the aesthetics of the knives at this price level (damascus), but most people seem to recommend starting cheap to see what you like. After using big heavy western style knives for almost a year now, I have a pretty good idea of what I like (lighter, sharper, japanese aesthetics), but obviously I don't have any real experience with the alternatives.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Tanaka vg10 damascus gyuto seems like a decent fit; keep in mind that a lot of the japanese handles will need to be oiled/waxed once in a while

  3. #3
    daveb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Just outside Tampa
    To move up from "house kniives" on a budget you would be hard pressed to do better that one of Randy''s (HHH Knives) production gyutos. When last I looked he had a couple left at 200 and change. AEBL (stainless), wood handles, 240. I've more expensive knives on my block but it's one I often reach for and always let visitors use.

    Friends don't let friends buy Richmonds.
    Older and wider..

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Near Munich, Germany
    If you primarily use the pinch grip the handle isn't terribly important. I have the Tojiro DP 240mm and the CarboNext 270mm, both seem to be very well made knives as far as fit and finish and ergonomics are concerned.

    You say the house knives are pathetic even after having been sharpened, but you also say you are "going to start sharpening"...? does that mean that you don't sharpen them yourself but have them sharpened by someone else? If you don't have experience with sharpening I would suggest you go with a cheaper knife like the aforementioned and instead invest some time and money in sharpening stuff first. Maybe even use the house knives for practice, "professional" knife sharpening services are notorious for doing awful hack jobs ... unlikely you can do any worse if you watch a couple of videos first. at least you won't burn out the steel with waterstones, as the "professionals" with their belt grinders often do.

  5. #5
    Senior Member chinacats's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    On the (frozen) water Maine
    In that price range it would be harder to do much better than a Suisin Inox western style--240 will run ~130 (270 is ~170) from JKI. Good luck in your search!
    once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Since this is my first knife pretty much all of the above. The house knives are pathetic even after they get sharpened. Ultimately looking to improve sharpness and edge retention, but comfort is always a factor too. Aesthetics are secondary though always appreciated.

    Do you sharpen your own knives? (Yes or no.)
    I am going to start.

    If not, are you interested in learning how to sharpen your knives? (Yes or no.)
    Like what @mhpr262 said, learn and invest in sharpening skills first before going for a serious knife. Never EVER bring your knives to "pro" sharpeners, rather bring them to knife hobbyists/ maniacs.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Keith Sinclair's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2012
    People here are helpful, no problem with knife questions. You can start sharpening with just a medium stone & can deburr on newspaper. There are several sharpeners here that provide You-Tube video's & DVD's on learning freehand.

    As you use a knife at work esp. learning to sharpen is a must. As your blade gets trained to your sharpening style, touch ups are quick & easy.

    Jon at Japanese Knife Imports has a couple quality Wa- Handle knives in the Gesshin Uraku & the Gesshin Ginga. Both have wooden saya's , that fit in your knife bag.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Matus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    I would give Jon @ JKI a call - he has wide range of knives and can help you to find the knife that will suit your specific needs. A used Yoshikane in SKD steel would be also a great choice - that steel rocks (SKD is semi stainless steel and Yoshikane hardens it to HRC 63 - it takes amazing edge and is relative easy to sharpen and de-burr).

    Sharpening - if you are on budget, then I would get 2 stones - one around 1000 and the other 5000 - 6000 grit (Bester 1200, Suehiro Rika 5000, King 1000 and 6000 stones - these are all fine stones). If you can invest more, then on your side of the pond the Gesshin stones from Jon are probably the best you can get (I have 400, 2000 and 6000 and love them). Yes you could do with just one stone for the start (1000 - 2000 grit), but I personally think that these stones leave the edge a bit too toothy and the higher grit stone is worth it. I can imagine using the Gesshin 2000 as my only stone (it is one of the best stones I have ever got my hands on), but the 6000 gets the edge to another level.

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Although it's out of stock right now, the 240 Gesshin Uraku would be my choice. At $155, it's less than many knives, includes a saya, is a good performing knife and well finished.

    For a western handled knife, I would also recommend the Suisin Inox Western if you want to stay under $150.
    "Don't you know who he is?"

  10. #10
    Senior Member Dardeau's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    New Orleans, LA
    I just used a suisin inox western for the first time Saturday. It cut like a really inexpensive dream. It didn't feel as nice in hand as my Ginga, but it cut nearly as well.

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