Knife Request from a newbie
What type of knife(s) do you think you want?
Chef's knife / Japanese knife (chef's knife shaped)
Why is it being purchased? What, if anything, are you replacing?
Needs a new knife to replace my current knife. I'm using a Hamilton Beach that I got from Costco from a set of knives. It's nothing fancy and it's getting dull.
What do you like and dislike about these qualities of your knives already?
Well since there's nothing to like about my current knives I'll just write about what I would like in my future knife.
Aesthetics- looking for a knife with burl wood (or any sort), flame maple, or steel handle.
Edge Quality/Retention- preferably does not dull fast, since it will take me a while to learn how to sharpen knives properly
Ease of Use- easier is always better
Comfort- more comfortable is always better?
What grip do you use?
What kind of cutting motion do you use?
Mainly rocking, with walking throwing in for garlic and herbs now and then.
Where do you store them?
In my bedroom. I don't have any sheath or anything, so preferably the knife comes with a sheath.
Have you ever oiled a handle?
Nope, but I have oiled guitar fingerboards (I have 3 guitars and 2 basses)
What kind of cutting board(s) do you use?
I usually use laminate wood and I have tried synthetic boards but did not like them. Nonetheless, I am willing to change if necessary.
For edge maintenance, do you use a strop, honing rod, pull through/other, or nothing?
Have never maintained a knife, so I'm willing to learn.
Have they ever been sharpened?
Haven't sharpened a knife
What is your budget?
$200 - $300. The lower the better. I'm no professional chef, I just LOVE cooking, so just a good looking knife that does not get dull quickly will keep me satisfied.
What do you cook and how often?
Every weekend, and most week days. 1 - 2 meals each day.
Special requests(Country of origin/type of wood/etc)?
Like mentioned before, I'm no professional, so just a good looking knife that does not get dull quickly, and is not too expensive will keep me satisfied.
Every knife will dull. If you want to learn sharpening you will have to exercise; so the edge retention becomes less relevant. I would suggest a carbon steel knife because of the easy sharpening. Some suggestions: Very easy sharpening: Fujiwara FKH, some $75. Finer steel, great F&F,even easier sharpening, some $215: Misono Swedish Carbon. Both are very reactive. Patina building required. Easier maintenance: Hiromoto AS, exceptional carbon core steel with a stainless cladding. Will take the finest edge and hold it almost forever. About $150.
JCK carbonext and email the owner (Koki) to see if he can set you up with the appropriate saya. Spend the rest of your money on a decent medium grit and fine grit stone as well as a stone flattener. You will need to learn to sharpen.
In that price range, I'd recommend Akifusa or if you like more curvature, a Cermax/Miyabi. However, as Benuser mentioned, it will eventually get dull like any other knife. If you are really averse to sharpening, you might consider a nice bread knife instead.
What's the general consensus on damascus knives? Are they hard to sharpen/maintain?
Also, if I want to set the new budget at 150, 200 max, for a gyuto/santoku as well a sharpening material, what would you recommend?
What's the deal with damascus knives? Are they easy to sharpen/maintain?
Let's update my budget to 150-200 for a knife and sharpening/maintenance equipment.
And any specific recommendation for sharpening/maintenance equipment?
I recommend giving Jon at Japanese Knife Imports a call, he will steer you in the right direction.
Alright. Well I'm going to give you a potentially unpopular recommendation, and that's the one that gets you a beginning setup that I can wholeheartedly recommend and you'll likely enjoy for as CHEAP as possible. By no means are these the sexiest knives, but they are going to perform WAY better than your current and have the added bonus of coming in well under budget.
Option 1 (The cheapest/Most conservative): Forschner Fibrox and a King 1k/6K stone.
Pro: Good value knife you can use and abuse plus a stone to help you figure out how to sharpen and if sharpening is for you. The steel in the forschners and their general geometry are better than most at this price, though they are ugly as sin and not as good as some of the more expensive knives. But total investment of $75 max is always nice... If you decide that you love sharpening you can look to upgrade knives in the future, and you only paid a $35 premium. If you find out sharpening isn't for you, you can re-sell the stone and continue to use the knife and just replace as necessary, or get a crappy electric sharpener at some point. It will destroy your knife in the long run, but it's a $35 knife so who the hell cares?
Option 2 (A step up): King 1K/6K stone and "Used"
So for a step up and still cheap, try posting a Want To Buy thread. You're looking for a Tojiro, Yoshihiro, Kagayaki... something in that range. Goal is about $75 or below. Or ask to see if people have a Fujiwara FKM they'd let go. New these guys are around $85, so you could probably find an okay deal. As an added benefit, if it's being sold by a long-standing member, they have probably done the work to set initial bevels and sharpen. It will make it a bit easier to get the hang of sharpening when you can see what others have done. That's what i found at least. Again, if not your thing, you can sell off both at only a slight loss. DON'T use any of the above knives in a POS sharpener. Just sell them and go find that Forschner.
Option 3 (whole hog... sort of): King 1k/6K, CarboNext 240mm Gyuto (and maybe ask Koki to see if there's a saya that would work?)
No saya with this one, but it's a dang good knife. Semi stainless, so do take care or it will discolor. Great steel. Something like $130 (or it used to be) plus the stone, so maybe $170 all in?
ALL of these options are less that your $300 max and are viable. The deciding factor should be whether you really think this is something you want to get into. If you honestly don't see yourself sharpening but want to try it out anyway, 1 or 2. If you thing it can go either way, 2 or 3. If you KNOW you're in it for the long haul, 3 or another forum member's recommendation.
+1 on option one. Resist the urge to buy something fancy that you can't or wont sharpen. When it becomes dull its nothing more than a shiny pry bar with a nice handle