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Thread: Beginner looking for a chef's knife

  1. #1

    Beginner looking for a chef's knife

    I'm extremely new to this whole knifey thing and have been suffering through an old set of RACO for a while. I've got a cheap bread knife and am getting a couple of Victorinox paring knives because I'd prefer to spend my money on a decent chef's knife.

    I hesitated to post such a green question, but after going through the first four pages of the board didn't see anything that really matched my query so thought I'd ask!

    What type of knife(s) do you think you want? Chef's knife

    Why is it being purchased? What, if anything, are you replacing? Getting rid of the old cheap block set and miscellaneous cheapies, need something good as my main knife.

    What do you like and dislike about these qualities of your knives already?
    Aesthetics- Neither like nor dislike my current all-stainless (inc handles) knives. I'm partial to a good looking knife but it isn't the most important consideration.
    Edge Quality/Retention- Current ones are terrible and it's important to me that the new knife holds an edge
    Ease of Use- No idea really
    Comfort- Average, never really had a problem, except during big dinner party prep.

    What grip do you use? Hammer, willing to learn pinch

    What kind of cutting motion do you use? Rock and walking mostly.

    Where do you store them? Current site and spine-down in their knife block. I'll either get a case or a block that holds the knives on their side.

    Have you ever oiled a handle? No.

    What kind of cutting board(s) do you use? Wooden board for vege, plastic boards for meat/onions

    For edge maintenance, do you use a strop, honing rod, pull through/other, or nothing? I have an old steel rod that seems to get my RACOs reasonably sharp

    Have they ever been sharpened? No

    What is your budget? Around $200, no more than $250

    What do you cook and how often? Quite a variety, a lot of roasts.

    Special requests(Country of origin/type of wood/etc)? None

    I'm in Australia and likely to buy from a retailer here. I've used a Global set several times at my sister-in-law's place and found it a revelation, which is why I've started this hunt. I quite like the look of the Shun Classic, but looks aren't really of primary importance.

    Thanks for your help.

  2. #2
    Hold on to you hat kbrookes. You will certainly get a boatload of great suggestions from this well informed and experienced forum. My only advise to you is that before you buy anything spend some time with it at the store and get a good feel for it. Cut up as much stuff as you can. Is the weight right for you, the balance, the feel of the handle? Does the knive feel like an extension of your arm or an out of place appendage? Good luck and welcome.
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  3. #3
    Welcome!

    You will get plenty of good advice about the knife itself, but I would start off by suggesting that you will want to have a plan as to how to keep the knife sharp. A steel rod will hone but not sharpen the edge (may not be very useful on many J-knives). Anything you buy will dull before long and the only thing that will matter is how you get it sharp again...also many knives people buy here are sharpened before using as often the out of box edge is marginal at best. Finally, a location will help because you may be living near someone with sharp knives or maybe even a retailer with quite a few sharp knives.

    Cheers

  4. #4

    Welcome!


    I'm not sure what retailers are there in Australia, so I'll forego specific suggestions. But you should expect to get a new maintenance tool, the rod you have will likely do nothing to a higher performance knife. There are lots of options from ceramic rods to strops.

    Are you wanting a Japanese knife especially? With a Wa handle, like the one pictured?

    And it seems you are ok with Carbon steel, correct?

  5. #5
    Thanks for the replies guys - I don't know much about honing or about the relative hardness of the sharpening tool to the knife (it would seem clear that the sharpening tool needs to be harder?) or what steels are harder.

    But as I am first and foremost a coffee geek, I understand the need to get decent supplementary tools to ensure the experience is optimal.

    I'm also happy to take recommendations on starting out on my sharpening journey.

    The only decent knives I've tried so far are the Globals and I really liked those. My hammer grip probably means I fatigue faster than with other grips and better techniques, but I haven't used it long enough to know if it would be a problem on the Globals.

    I don't necessarily want a japanese knife, I haven't had a chance to use any yet, I just like the look.

  6. #6
    If you're looking for a really sharp knife, I might recommend going with a 70/30 bevel knife instead of a Damascus 50/50 unless you're left handed. Damascus knives look really nice though, I agree.

    I also recommend trying out a sharpening stone on your future knife. I guarantee that it will be sharper than using a honing steel.

    Good luck on your knife hunt!

  7. #7
    Senior Member Johnny.B.Good's Avatar
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    Welcome to the forum.

    Someone here posted a source for good knives in or around Melbourne recently (if memory serves); not sure where you're located...

  8. #8
    Senior Member Deckhand's Avatar
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    welcome!
    You would have a lot of Fun with one of these.
    http://www.kitchenknifeforums.com/sh...ght=Sakai+thin
    There are many threads here about Sakai gyutos you can read by using the search engine on the forum here. I checked they sell them on Australian eBay. You can message on eBay for increased HRC, stainless,etc.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Benuser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Korin_Mari View Post
    If you're looking for a really sharp knife, I might recommend going with a 70/30 bevel knife instead of a Damascus 50/50 unless you're left handed. Damascus knives look really nice though, I agree.

    I also recommend trying out a sharpening stone on your future knife. I guarantee that it will be sharper than using a honing steel.

    Good luck on your knife hunt!
    I really like Korin's no nonsense comment; my first thought was get a 240mm carbon gyuto by Fujiwara (with JCK some US$ 80) to learn sharpening an asymmetric edge. Get a 1000/3000 stone by Naniwa, a single sheet of P320 sandpaper and you will be fine

  10. #10
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    Where in Australia are you?

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