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Thread: First Good Knife Advice

  1. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Pensacola Tiger View Post
    Are you using a pinch grip?
    Yes, exclusively. I've only noticed the bolster distance thing annoying me when it's particularly overstated, beyond 1/4 inch or so. At that point getting a decent pinch on the blade seems to necessitate bringing my hand up to where the middle finger no longer has any real contact with the handle.

  2. #12

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    Sounds to me like you just want a knife with a tall bolster area, and a rounded choil, to accomodate a grip with longer fingers/larger hands--and you want a fuller feel.. The full bolster thing is really onerous. If you really want a knife with a full bolster, those carbon sabatiers are the best I've used, but the bolster area is really tiny on those.

    What's your budget. I know you've only used a ken onion and sharpened casually, but you seem like a quick study. Ever consider going for a custom?

  3. #13
    Senior Member Johnny.B.Good's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BurkeCutlery View Post
    What's your budget. I know you've only used a ken onion and sharpened casually, but you seem like a quick study.
    From his first post:

    Quote Originally Posted by SomeCoolGuy View Post
    I'm not overly concerned about price, but would generally like to keep it under $500 or so if that's a reasonable target. Still, I'd rather buy a good knife once and have it last me than twelve mediocre ones.

  4. #14
    The full bolster isn't necessarily a sticking point, it's just the conclusion I'd come to from handling a small variety of options. Most of the reason I had been looking for a forum full of knowledgeable people like this is that I had been completely unable to find a japanese edge knife with a full bolster, and all of the readily available options that I could easily put hands on to feel (eg, things at most kitchen supply stores, mostly meaning the Shuns) had a rough/unfinished/uncomfortable feel around the choil that I knew would drive me insane. For some reason I never thought of just rounding it off myself. Still, I rather assumed that most of the stuff in the stores was overpriced/overhyped and not all that good at the end of the day.

    As for budget, as was quoted, I'd like to keep it under $500 or so -- I feel relatively confident in buying a pretty decent knife, but I freely acknowledge that it may be the confidence of the uninformed. Given that, I'm not in the market for anything too much more expensive (unless it's really worth it) until I'm sure that I both know what I'm doing and that I could appreciate something of that quality without ruining it.


    From what people are saying, I'm thinking the decision comes down more than anything else to my sharpening skills. Unfortunately, having never tried on quality steel, I can't really gauge myself, though I have certainly given it a go on some poorer knives and had it turn out fine. If my experience is wanting, then the Fujiwara FKH mentioned seems like a good starting place -- it looks like it would work quite well for my needs for now, and give good practice to be confient in a high-end purchase later. If my experience is a reasonable amount to move into a better knife, then that's fine too.

    The Robert Herder 1922 looks like what I was searching for, but if it really is that impossible to find a full bolster blade then there's probably something to be said for getting used to working without one.

    As for a custom, yeah, I'd love to get one sooner or later, but it's going to depend heavily on price. I'm willing to spring for quality, but ultimately I'm still a rather poor just-out-of-college type. Add in that I'm not 100% sure I'm up to the task of maintaining it perfectly yet, and I'm not sure that's a good way to go just yet. Still, you're the experts.

  5. #15
    Senior Member Shinob1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SomeCoolGuy View Post
    The full bolster isn't necessarily a sticking point, it's just the conclusion I'd come to from handling a small variety of options. Most of the reason I had been looking for a forum full of knowledgeable people like this is that I had been completely unable to find a japanese edge knife with a full bolster, and all of the readily available options that I could easily put hands on to feel (eg, things at most kitchen supply stores, mostly meaning the Shuns) had a rough/unfinished/uncomfortable feel around the choil that I knew would drive me insane. For some reason I never thought of just rounding it off myself. Still, I rather assumed that most of the stuff in the stores was overpriced/overhyped and not all that good at the end of the day.

    As for budget, as was quoted, I'd like to keep it under $500 or so -- I feel relatively confident in buying a pretty decent knife, but I freely acknowledge that it may be the confidence of the uninformed. Given that, I'm not in the market for anything too much more expensive (unless it's really worth it) until I'm sure that I both know what I'm doing and that I could appreciate something of that quality without ruining it.


    From what people are saying, I'm thinking the decision comes down more than anything else to my sharpening skills. Unfortunately, having never tried on quality steel, I can't really gauge myself, though I have certainly given it a go on some poorer knives and had it turn out fine. If my experience is wanting, then the Fujiwara FKH mentioned seems like a good starting place -- it looks like it would work quite well for my needs for now, and give good practice to be confient in a high-end purchase later. If my experience is a reasonable amount to move into a better knife, then that's fine too.

    The Robert Herder 1922 looks like what I was searching for, but if it really is that impossible to find a full bolster blade then there's probably something to be said for getting used to working without one.

    As for a custom, yeah, I'd love to get one sooner or later, but it's going to depend heavily on price. I'm willing to spring for quality, but ultimately I'm still a rather poor just-out-of-college type. Add in that I'm not 100% sure I'm up to the task of maintaining it perfectly yet, and I'm not sure that's a good way to go just yet. Still, you're the experts.
    You could buy a Dave Martell knife with your budget or call Jon at JKI. His customer service is tops and he will recommend a good knife for you.

  6. #16
    Sounds like I have a phone call to make then.

    Thanks very much for the recommendations and insight, everyone!

  7. #17
    Senior Member Johnny.B.Good's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SomeCoolGuy View Post
    Sounds like I have a phone call to make then.
    I talked to Jon (the owner of Japanese Knife Imports) yesterday, and he told me that the store will be closed today (he's attending a knife show in Pasadena), so you may have to wait until Monday to speak with him. I can't recommend Jon highly enough. Absolutely first-class service and advice. I have purchased a number of things from him in the past, though yesterday I was calling about a knife for my mother. I had my eye on a $250 little gyuto, and after describing her likes/dislikes, skills, stature, etc., he talked me out of the pricey little gyuto and into an inexpensive $65 santoku! He will not steer you wrong, and I'm sure you will be pleased with whatever he recommends.

    Dave Martell (in case you didn't know) is the owner of this forum, professional sharpener, and custom knife maker. You can see pictures of some (maybe all) of his knives in his subforum here. Looks like you could order a 240mm gyuto from him for around $400.

  8. #18
    Senior Member Deckhand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny.B.Good View Post
    I talked to Jon (the owner of Japanese Knife Imports) yesterday, and he told me that the store will be closed today (he's attending a knife show in Pasadena), so you may have to wait until Monday to speak with him. I can't recommend Jon highly enough. Absolutely first-class service and advice. I have purchased a number of things from him in the past, though yesterday I was calling about a knife for my mother. I had my eye on a $250 little gyuto, and after describing her likes/dislikes, skills, stature, etc., he talked me out of the pricey little gyuto and into an inexpensive $65 santoku! He will not steer you wrong, and I'm sure you will be pleased with whatever he recommends.

    Dave Martell (in case you didn't know) is the owner of this forum, professional sharpener, and custom knife maker. You can see pictures of some (maybe all) of his knives in his subforum here. Looks like you could order a 240mm gyuto from him for around $400.
    +1 on Jon being a really nice and helpful guy.
    Dave Martell makes great looking knives as do many in the knife vendor section. Do yourself a favor and look at lots of photos in that section. You can get a feel of styles and looks and find a knife that suits you or even ask for a hybrid of different knifes from a maker. I.e. I like profile and length of x knife and the handle on y knife, etc. it's a custom knife. Also, without trying some knives out it is hard to know length you will like, wa vs western handle, etc. I thought I knew until I did a test drive. For me I found I prefer wa handle and 270mm to start, but you might end up liking 210mm and western. Good luck on your journey.

  9. #19
    Senior Member Benuser's Avatar
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    I'm not sure it's a great idea to go custom yet. Before you should develop your preferences and experience what kind of handle, profile, steel etc. you like. And probably you will have to adjust your technique as well. With a Fujiwara, Hiromoto or Robert Herder (if you insist on having a bolster) you're dealing with technically great knives which meet all reasonable needs. Once you've acquired some experience with different options you may formulate your wishes for a custom made.

  10. #20
    Senior Member The Edge's Avatar
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    If you get a chance to hold a wa octagon handle, it may help that feeling of your middle finger not touching anything with your pinch grip. My only other advice, besides calling Jon, is not to go all out at first on the knife, but get something a little more economical. You may be thinking, yeah, but I want this knife to last me a lifetime, but seriously, if you get a decent, cheap starter knife that some are recommending here, you'll be able to sell it for most of what it's worth when you figure out more of what you want.
    Taylor

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