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Thread: My first knife, no budget. Need suggestions!

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jul 2014

    My first knife, no budget. Need suggestions!

    Hi, I Filled out the questionnaire, hope to get some help. All of this is completely new to me. All I know is I love cooking and am interested in knife care/sharpening etc.

    England (London)

    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
    Are you right or left handed?
    Right handed
    Are you interested in a Western handle (e.g., classic Wusthof handle) or Japanese handle?
    Either (sorry!)
    What length of knife (blade) are you interested in (in inches or millimeters)?
    Roughly 8’’
    Do you require a stainless knife? (Yes or no)
    I don’t know
    What is your absolute maximum budget for your knife?
    Roughly £300 ($500) but I do not need to spend this much. If something cheaer suits my purposes then great.

    Do you primarily intend to use this knife at home or a professional environment?
    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.)
    Slice/chop vegetables, slice meat.
    What knife, if any, are you replacing?
    This is my first real knife. Have been using Robert Welch 8’’ Cooks Knife at my parents’ home but am now renting a place of my own.
    Do you have a particular grip that you primarily use? (Please click on this LINK for the common types of grips.)
    Finger point.
    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.)
    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.)
    Ease of use! Does not chip, easy to sharpen, edge retention. Having no experience with good knives I do not know whether I’d prefer a heavier or lighter knife.
    Aesthetically pleasing is a bonus.

    Do you use a bamboo, wood, rubber, or synthetic cutting board? (Yes or no.)
    Yes ( Is this fine?
    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.)

    This is my first knife of my own. I am 21 and have just graduated university. I am finally moving into a place of my home with a proper kitchen and as a birthday present I am receiving a knife, and it is my job to pick what I want. I have always cooked at my parents’ house using a set of Robert Welch knives, and have never used anything nicer than that in my life. I don’t really have a budget (nominally $500, though I can spend more or a lot less) but don’t want to go over the top and buy something I won’t appreciate, but I am looking to buy something that will hopefully last the rest of my life.
    I have no experience with knife care but am very happy (and eager) to learn.
    Sorry this is so vague…

    Thanks for any help!

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Sorry for the horrific formatting, I seem to be unable to edit this post past the first 15 minutes

    The obvious question I skipped out is: how do I get into j-knives in general? I've been going through all of the forum posts (starting on page 141!) and trying to find things that may be useful. Is there a beginner's guide or something of that nature anywhere? Beyond throwing money at a knife I obviously need to learn about care/sharpening etc.

    Any suggestions?

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    I'm a novice, who was just doing a lot of reading and experimenting on the subject lately, so please don't take this as an advice, just some thoughts.
    So, why have I decided to comment at all? Because I can talk to you as novice to novice.

    First, $500 will get you almost anything any pro cook might ever want from a knife. Check "for sale" sub. Handwork by world-renowned masters goes
    for this price. You don't think it's a good idea to learn sharpening on those, right? Besides, top $350 or so in the $500 price go to the qualities
    only pros would be able to really appreciate. And you are going to need at least $100 for the stones to start with sharpening.
    So, here's my bottom line: $100-150 for a stainless VG10 Shun or Tojiro.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Wales, UK
    Personally I would decide whether you want a wa- or western-handled knife. I would avoid soft-iron clad personally, and go stainless, semi-stainless or stainless-clad carbon.

    Since you are in the UK (like me), II would be taking a good look at this. Who you buy your knives from is almost as important as the knives themselves in my opinion, and Maxim is a vendor who is incredibly knowledgeable, and an excellent sharpener. His knives are, in short, bloody good.

    And don't buy a Tojiro or Shun. If you want cheap there are better options, like the JCK Kagayaki knives.

    You'll want to watch Jon Broida's and Dave Martell's sharpening videos. I would recommend you pick up a King 1000/6000 combination stone and perhaps a leather strop.

  5. #5
    daveb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Just outside Tampa
    +1 on the Itinomonn for the OP. (though I would suggest the 240) Very good, solid, no frills knife. Will take on anything. Maxim can get you started with stones as well.

    Apologies in advance for the below but someone did say Wales?
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Older and wider..

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Thank you very much for the responses. The $500 number was just what I would be willing to spend, not necessarily what I'm looking to spend . I completely take on board that such a knife would be wasted on me, and I can progress up.

    With regards to wa vs western style, I've only ever handled a western style handle. Aesthetically I think I may prefer the western handle... I've run into long discussions back and forth on different tpyes of handles and don't want to start any of that here (!), but are there any objective advantages to each?

    Is there a western-style alternative to the linked Ikonomonn? All I could find is this which however is a different price and has a different steel. What is V2 steel? Also, is there a suggested place for buying the King 1000/6000 stone for the UK?

    I'm sorry I have so many questions!

  7. #7
    Senior Member panda's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    south east florida
    if you just want a buy once and forget and not have to deal with it ever again, just go into a sur la table and pick out the one that you like best.

  8. #8
    Senior Member V1P's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Benign, since you cannot PM yet, pls email me at B_390_LU at

    Thank you.
    I see, I like, I cut!

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    V2 is a type of carbon steel from Takefu, which I believe is very similar to the very popular White #2 steel from Hitachi (look here).
    Just my 2 cents on the knife length, most of the people here will suggest 240mm but I'd say for a home cook 210 will be quite good enough unless you have already used 240mm or longer before and liked it.

    To help you to decide whether you want carbon or SS have a look at Jon's youtube video. If you think you can do it, you can consider buying a carbon or at least carbon core with SS cladding. But personally I wouldn't buy a good full carbon knife (i.e. more than $200) for my very first J-knife.

    EDIT: typo...

  10. #10
    Senior Member ThEoRy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Central Jersey
    For $500 you could get a really nice gyuto, a petty, parer and a bread knife or some stones.

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