First J Knife
Hi all, my name is Barak, I'm new here.
I'm looking for my next (or first) real J Knife, I've going through google quite a bit lately and I found this place as the most professorial to ask my questions.
I'll start with answers to the questions you asked -
Are you right or left handed?
Are you interested in a Western handle (e.g., classic Wusthof handle) or Japanese handle?
I never tried a Japanese handle and sadly we don't have a place we can try them around here so maybe stick with Western Handle?
My type of grip is mainly pinch if that helps cutting down the options (to 1, haha).
What length of knife (blade) are you interested in (in inches or millimeters)?
I'm used to 8" knifes but I'd like to learn a bit more on how does the length effects and maybe try 10".
Do you require a stainless knife? (Yes or no)
Is it good for something else beside dishwasher? if not then no, I wash my knifes by hand.
What is your absolute maximum budget for your knife?
$170 (if there's some money left I'll get a sharpener with it, if not I'll send it to sharpening and get one along the way).
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, Mincing, chopping vegetables and a bit of meat cutting.
What knife, if any, are you replacing?
Don't laugh but - 8" Zwilling chef knife and a 7" Arcos santoku (not even from the high-end).
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.)
Mainly Push and chop. A bit of rocking and slicing.
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.)
Longer edge retention, I'd prefer Damascus steel because of it's look but I want to understand how would it effect the knife first (from what I read it doesn't do anything except making the knife more expensive).
Do you use a bamboo, wood, rubber, or synthetic cutting board? (Yes or no.)
Do you sharpen your own knives? (Yes or no.)
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.)
I'm a home chef, I love cooking but I don't do it as a profession.
I'd like to buy a knife that will hold for more then 5 years.
I will have to order my knife from eBay without trying it first.
Before starting to get really into it I wanted a Shun or Global knife but from what I read they aren't as close to more then a few companies that sell their knife for half the price and double the quality.
Welcome to the forum Barak! Now let me see ...
You say that you prefer pinch grip - I find that Japanese (most often called 'wa') handle works better than western.
Damascus does look beautiful, but it makes the knife more expensive. At you price range I would suggest to go with 'non damascus' option. You will have much larger choice.
You should never put a knife that is supposed to be sharp in a dishwasher - you will damage or at least blunt the edge. You have to place with fine (and mostly Japanese) cutlery and taking care of the knife is part of the 'proces'
Stainless knives are easier to take care of. Carbon knives (and in particular the soft cladding steel, not the cutting edge) will patina over time and may rust of not taken care of properly. Interesting option could be knife with carbon core (cutting edge) and stainless cladding: for example the kasumi Itinomonn from JNS (http://www.japanesenaturalstones.com). Gives you the best of both worlds. There are also semi-stainless steels (for example SKD or SLD from Yoshikane). Carbon knives (in particular when new) sometimes stain onions or potatoes before the patina forms. It also demands on the knife (different knives behave differently)
If I may suggest - have a look at some videos from Jon from JKI (http://www.japaneseknifeimports.com): https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpg...zDHKaKYeuGYyOA he explains a lot about steels, how to choose a knife, care and maintenance, sharpening. It is great source of information.
I noticed that you use bamboo cutting board. These are not the best for the task (though WAY better than ceramic or glass - keep away from those) as there is lot of glue that dulls the blade faster than simple side grain board. Of course, the best boards are end grain boards, but those do not come cheaply.
Since you are looking for general chef's knife I would suggest you look at 210mm or 240mm gyuto knives. You could have a look at the offerings from JKI (ask Jon for advice - he is very knowledgeable), Itinomonn from Maksim @ JNS or quite a few others (Fujiwara FKM, Tojiro DP, Suisin INOX western). You are going to get many other options.
Another option could be to pick something here at BST - used knife could be a good start.
Sharpening: For the long term the best option is to get 2-3 stones and lear how to use them. If the budget is tight that something like King 1000 and 6000 stones (also available as 'combination stone') would be a good solution, but again - there are many others.
Should you decided to have your knife sharpened for you - make sure first that the person who sill do that actually knows how to do it (water stones are pretty much the only correct way) not to have your knife destroyed or re-ground instead of sharpened. Finding a knife enthusiast would be your best option, or of course have it shipped to somebody like Jon or Maksim, but that may be costly because of your location.
"Interesting option could be knife with carbon core (cutting edge) and stainless cladding: for example the kasumi Itinomonn from JNS (http://www.japanesenaturalstones.com)."
Not with a stated maximum budget of $170, I don't think.
First, thank you very much for the well explained feedback!
Originally Posted by Matus
I wish I could have tried the wa handle before buying but I might just go for one without.
Yea, I see what your saying about the damascus steel being expensive. Apart from the Tojiro DP Damascus which is still in my budget but it looks a bit less appealing then the Miyabi or Shun which pretty much caught my eye.
Haha, no worries, I never put my knives in the washer, I hand wash them, dry them, and put them back in the drawer (because I don't have a special place for them I'll put this knife in it's box).
What does carbon add to knives if I may ask?
I will put a new cutting board on my list of things I should buy.
How much should does stones cost (if I look them up on eBay I wouldn't want to get ripped off).
I will go over the links and knifes you sent me now.
Two more questions that popped into my head -
1 - How does a thinner blade effects the knife's behavior?
2 - Does longer edge retention effects the sharpening process of the knife?
No one would laugh at what knives you are replacing. Most of us started somewhere. Now if you were replacing say a Shigefusa with say a Henckles, that would be funny.
Carbon steels are GENERALLY easier to sharpen than their stainless steel counterparts, but are much more rust prone. As they patina with use, they gain a bit in the rust resistance department.
For thick/thin knives, you should primarily look at how thin the blade is behind the edge. A knife that is thinner behind the edge will wedge less and require less effort to use, but are more delicate. Wedging describes the splitting of food (note splitting and not cutting); think about getting the blade half way into a carrot, hearing the carrot cracking and looking at the uneven surface of the split.
For my knives, the ones with the best edge retention are marginally more difficult to sharpen. Thinning is a different story...
Thanks again guys.
I gotta hand it to yea, the more I read up the more it gets harder for me to choose or decide... It is like there is an endless amount of knifes with endless amount of things you need to notice.
The Tojiro, Fujiwara and Suisin (that were recommended here) I read so much about. Lot's of good reviews and a few bad. The things that troubles me the most is (again) that I can't put my finger on which one I should get.
From what I've read so far, thinner blades suits cutting vegetable more which is something I tend to do a lot more. So I guess thin knife is one characteristic my knife should have.
Because I'm a noob with sharpening though care for edge retention a great deal I assume I should take something in the middle, right?
Which of the three would you think would suit me the most? (I've seen that the Suisin is about double the price of the other two but it is still in the price range so I don't mind the price as much if it is much better).
Welcome Barakhav In your price range the Tojiro DP, Fujiwara & Suisin Inox are good choices. I lean slightly to the Suisin it has a thinner edge profile. Jon at JKI has the Gesshin Uraku 240mm. with a wooden saya at 155.00.
I have heard for overseas shipping Japanese Chef Knives is reasonable. They carry the Hiromoto AS. It is stainless clad, quality carbon steel core. Only the edge patinas it actually looks cool as the edge is like a hamon line.
If you get a nice Japanese Gyuto, the best way to sharpen it is on a whetstone. All you need to start is a medium stone 1000 being the most common grit. I am sure you can find a good medium stone where you are. As mentioned Jon at JKI has very good online sharpening video's to get you started.