Hello! This is my first post here and I hope someone here can help me out. I know very little about kitchen knives and I am shopping for a new knife for a specific purpose: opening coconuts. My g/f and I like to eat coconuts bought from the grocery store, but they have to be opened by cutting the top off and my current J.A. Henckels International hollow-edge santoku is totally inadequate. It takes me ages to get one open with that knife and every time it feels like the knife is going to break on me.
A couple weeks ago though I saw a pro opening a coconut with a knife that looked kind of like a cleaner. He chopped down on an angle into the top of the coconut with the near end of the blade, then rotated and repeated three or four times, and that was it! And I'm like "oh my god I need a knife like that." Except I don't know what kind of knife it was.
I am guessing that I probably need something hard, sharp, durable, and heavy (so that it has momentum). I don't mind spending a lot to get the right tool for the job, but I certainly don't want to spend a lot on the wrong tool for the job and then destroy it from misuse.
I read that Japanese knives are harder than European ones and I found that the Shun Elite series is made from an especially hard kind of steel and is discounted now due to being discontinued ... but then I found http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/products.html with tons of other makes with vastly different price ranges and now I have no idea what I need.
What type of knife(s) do you think you want?
Hard, sharp, durable, heavy. Japanese maybe?
Why is it being purchased? What, if anything, are you replacing?
To cut open coconuts. Replacing J.A. Henckels International 7" hollow-edge santoku.
What do you like and dislike about these qualities of your knives already?
Aesthetics-Bleh, they look very utilitarian.
Edge Quality/Retention-They've never seemed very sharp, even right after I sharpen them.
Ease of Use-Fine, except the paring knife can only be used near the edge of the board.
What grip do you use?
Not sure what this means ...
What kind of cutting motion do you use?
In regular cooking, mostly slicing and chopping. For the coconuts, my knife barely makes a dent so I usually end up pounding the coconut into the knife blade on the floor over and over ...
Where do you store them?
Have you ever oiled a handle?
What kind of cutting board(s) do you use?
Two wood, one thick plastic, four thin plastic.
For edge maintenance, do you use a strop, honing rod, pull through/other, or nothing?
Have they ever been sharpened?
Yes, I sharpen them myself whenever they start feeling dull.
What is your budget?
If I buy something ultra-expensive then I'll probably be scared to use it so ... probably no more than $350.
What do you cook and how often?
Mostly vegetarian food and the occasional fish. Cook at home usually about 4-5 times per week (between me + g/f).
Special requests(Country of origin/type of wood/etc)?