Help me choose/critique my first "custom" knife set!
First time post on these forums. I've already done a bit of research because I was looking into buying a knife set for my new apartment, and stumbled purely by chance into this forum which quickly convinced me of the following: a. Don't buy a set, b. Buy Japanese, c. Carbon is god. I'm not comfortable enough with my experience to fully follow the carbon trend, so I'll be sticking with stainless for the moment. In any case, given the couple hours research I did browsing the archives of this forum, I've come to the following conclusion:
Hattori HD 240mm Gyuto
Fujiwara FKM Petty 150mm
MAC Superior Bread Knife
Shun Bamboo Block
Totally Bamboo Congo Cutting Board
Tojiro Kitchen Shears
The only thing that's truly left in the air is sharpening stone recommendations.
Experience: To be completely honest really not that much, I'm not a professional and I've never had training, I just have a passion for cooking. Before somebody says "You can get pretty good stuff for much cheaper", I'm the type of person who's perfectly willing to shell out a few more bucks if it's pretty, and the Hattori HD 240mm was a beauty.
Budget: I'm aiming for a total of around $500-600. With the exception of the sharpening stone(s), the above clocks in at about ~$470.
Senior Member/ Internet Hooligan
Welcome to the forums!
Carbon isn't a trend, it's the way knives have been made for centuries. Plastic handled ceramic Food Network santoku are the "trend."
Originally Posted by Jaarx
And remember: carbon steel knives do not require any more attention, care, love, or maintenance than any other tool you respect.
I don't haven any qualms about the knives but I'd get the Tojiro breadknife at CKTG and I'd consider a Kikuichi TKC (Performance) which is semi-stainless or a CarboNEXT (clone?) for the 240gyuto. I'd skip the shears. I have a really nice pair and I never use it (Actually, I never use a breadknife either.). I might get a nice 270 or 300 suji instead (depending on the block, this length may not fit). I find bamboo eats my edges up faster than plastic. I'd definitely go with an endgrain board of some material other than bamboo.
if your interested in doing some more reading check out the book "Edge in the Kitchen" truly will answer quite a few questions you have and its fun read as well.
All those knives are great knives and if your comfortable using a petty as a parer then you really have a great set of the "big three". I may skip the mac bread knife and go for the tojiro tho. Just preference for me as I would hardly use a bread knife and tojiro would be cheaper.
For me I would personally add a parer in the mix because I prefer it over a petty. don't have to go fancy or anything tojiro sells a parer for 30-40. which would take your total to 500.
Obviously the stones are a big part and can get expensive, but you can pick up a good starter set for 120-150ish so not gonna break the bank on those either.
if you aren't comfortable with sharpening (and I'm not at all ... but learning is half the process) there are sharpening systems like the "edge pro apex" "lansky" "spyderco" all well worth the check out.
welcome to the addiction.
most important part: listen to what the guys here have to say. They know their stuff.
That actually intrigues me quite a bit. Given my basic understanding of metallurgy (aka common sense), a non-stainless steel knife should in theory be more likely to rust. However, I am a generally careful kitchen keeper (i.e. I like keeping things clean and pretty), so given that I wash the knife immediately after using it, wiping it dry, and placing it back in a knife block, it will last as long as a stainless steel knife? What if, hypothetically, I don't use the knife for a long period of time? Also, I was under the impression that high-carbon steel is harder but therefore more brittle than stainless: fact or fiction?
Originally Posted by Vertigo
Why not get a sani-tuff board, and then upgrade later to a Boardsmith?
Bamboo has it's allure, and I"ve never used that brand, but the glue in bamboo boards is hard on knives...real hard. Also, the sound they make when chopping is unbearable.
I would second the end grain board as opposed to bamboo. The boardsmith seems to be the default, I definitely like my maple cutting board from him.
1. A non-stainless knife will rust faster. All steel will corrode/rust/oxidize.
Originally Posted by Jaarx
2. ANY care that a knife prefers does not require a preening kind of treatment for the tool. There are other reasons to not abuse knives. Knives left in sinks are dangerous. Knives left dirty are unsanitary. Knives left on a counter are destructive. If you wipe the food off of it in a reasonable amount of time, and rinse it, dry it with a towel, and pop it back on the knife rack, it'll never be an issue. A good patina helps, but if you live in a humid climate, and don't use a knife for a week or more, you'll want to oil it with mineral oil(or something like it).
3. Brittleness is not a carbon vs stainless issue. To be categorized as fully stainless, a knife needs to be 13% Chromium. Chromium carbides are big and crappy, and stainless knives were popularized in the 60s and 70s with soft steel with so much chromium you could put them in the dishwasher. That is not the case now. Fine example: vg10. Stainless? Yes. Brittle? Yes. In the range of knives you're discussing, the big difference between carbon and stainless, in my opinion, is patina--it's almost purely cosmetic, because there are great steels of both kinds, and even more varieties of each and in between with cool traits depending on who treats them and how.
1. True but that really shouldn't be a problem if you wipe it down after use and it will be even less when you develop a patina (which some find unsightly). The major issue is that it will discolor and impart a stink to certain raw veggies and fruits esp if you are slow and/or use a less pure steel. For this reason, I tend to prefer semi stainless.
Originally Posted by Jaarx
2. I haven't had any problems BUT you can smear some mineral oil on it and you're good indefinitely.
3. Some carbon steel knives are harder and more brittle but it sounds like you're not the type to have issues with brittleness (plus they aren't THAT brittle unless you go REALLY hard). I would make sure you stay in the 60 hrc range and you'll be fine.
+1 to the irritating bamboo board knocking...