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Thread: Humbly asking for some tips for equipment for "newbie" (but not a total amature)

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jul 2012

    Humbly asking for some tips for equipment for "newbie" (but not a total amature)

    Hello everybody.

    My name is Lucas, and I always wanted to learn to cook good. Not "Professional" good or "Chef" good, but "home" good, meaning I'd like to prepare some nice meal from time to time on my own. Anyways I always were busy, or had some other things to attend to or were interested in. I've finaly decided to find some time on regular basis and try and follow this thought of mine I had a long time ago.

    Anyways, I'm a person that tries to be pretty meticulous in every thing I do in my spare time with passion, and I always try to learn from the people with more expierience, and thank God for internet that helps with that.

    Ok, going to business. If something is expensive, I'm usually ok with that purchase, as long as I can afford it, and it's not something that is way out of my price range, AND as long as I can use it for a long, long time. I preffer to spend more once, than spend less, but then spend multiple amount of that in consecutive time frames.

    From what I've read, I figured that for my type of cooking, and for my level of cooking, this set should be more than enough for me for a long time:
    a) Chef's knife
    b) Paring knife
    c) a tool to use before each "session" of using the knife
    d) a tool to sharpen the knife from time to time
    e) Butcher's knife
    f) Bread's knife (if bought smart, if can also be used apparently to cutting something that needs a bit rough edge on the knife, like some very soft tomatoes, or some roasted meat in the oven to slice it)

    I can delay with Butcher's knife and Bread's knife I guess for some time, so I can buy those 2 later on.

    So the first 4 elements are neceseary for start (Correct me if I'm wrong). I've often heard that it's a lot better to buy 2, 3 quality knives, than to buy a set of 20 crappy knives. It makes a lot of sense.

    Anyways, for the chef's knife, I first thought of Wusthof, but then I started to read more, and the more I've read, the more I've became convinced the japanese knives are worthy to spend that extra buck, especialy since apparently the wusthof knives are not as good for their price range as they appear to be(not sure it's true though, so don't hold me to it).

    So to Chef's knife. This is the site to go to apperently:

    I like these 2:
    Hattori FH Gyuto 240mm
    Misono UX10 Gyuto 240mm

    However the 2nd one costs almost 100$ more, which I think is too much for me. Probably 9/10 people would already say I'm crazy enough to spend so much money on the knives when I'm not advanced user, and if I went for the second one, I would probably be considered crazy in 10 out of 10 cases :P

    Now the paring knife. Here I have to be honest did not spend as much time, so if some of you would have some nice suggestions for not as expensive, but quality paring knife, that would go with the quality of Chef's knife I would appriciate that much.

    Last but not least, the maintance equipment. Here I might stir some controversy :P, as I'm thinking of buying a rods for that. I'm thinking of doing that for start, not in the long term. I've read enough that stones are best sharpening tools, but again, if I can achieve a nice result with the Rod vs a better, but not overwhelmly better(that I would notice) result with the stone, I think I can live with the option a) for some time.

    Anyways, the first tool to use it before every use of the knife, is something that I also would appriciate some recomendation. I know it has to be a "honing" rod, and I also know it can't be too hard.

    As for the second set, for sharpening, I would like to ask you what you think of this set:
    a) Diamond steel for first strokes (DMT Diamond rod at 600 mesh)
    b) Ceramic (white ceramic rod) to finish off the sharpening

    Please remember I'm not as expierienced as you, so if I said something moronic in this post, do not feel offended


  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Not many people around here would tell you that Misono UX10 is any kind of value for money. The Hattori FH should be a nice option and is in my opinion a very beautiful knife.

    I would recommend a simple leather strop with some inexpensive green CrO powder/paste to load it. There's some nice ones available to buy or I'm sure there's some guys around here who can help point you in the right dirrection to make your own. I think it's just as fast/easy to use as a rod, especially in a home environment when you can keep it tucked away but close by in the kitchen. Nothing wrong with a nice smooth steel or ceramic honing rod if that's what you want to do, but I wouldn't recommend the diamond one.

    I'd also recommend a good combination waterstone since any way you look at it, you're going to have to sharpen your knives eventually. Bester 1200 / Suehiro Rika 5000 is a nice place to get going, or there is a King 1000/6000 combination stone.

    I assume by "butcher's knife" you mean a boning knife like this and not something like this. If you're talking about a boning knife, you might consider combining your Paring knife and Boning knife into a 120-150mm Petty. If that's something you're interested in, I've got a 120mm Hiromoto Ginsanko 3 (stainless) petty that doesn't get much use, if you're interested in buying something second-hand.

    For an easy-to-find paring knife suggestion, the Shun Classic and Suisin Western Inox wouldn't be bad places to start looking.

    Hope that gets you started.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Zwiefel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Little Rock, AR

    There are a ton of folks on here that will give you a lot of good advice on your knife choice...they know loads more than me about this subject. In general terms, I'd suggest getting an entry-level 8/9" Gyuto (lots of suggestions for that), and skipping any other knife purchases. Then spend 1-2 years learning to do EVERYthing in you kitchen with that knife (i.e. no garlic press, no food processor, no mandolin, etc.). You will build some good skills and learn what it takes to use that kind of knife....and I think you will discover that a paring knife isn't all that much more useful. After that you will be in a MUCH better place to evaluate what you want.

    This is the approach I took...except that I waited for 5-6 years...and I started with Henckel's instead of a good jKnife. I feel that time was invaluable for me. I also did a LOT of volume cooking...anything I could make 5 gallons at a time, I did...which enhanced my learning with that knife...that might not be practicable for you though.

    Please note: this is advice for a home cook...not someone on the line where things are very different.

    Now I'm going to put on my flamesuit b/c I'm sure that will be considered controversial advice
    Remember: You're a unique individual...just like everybody else.

  4. #4
    Senior Member chinacats's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    On the (frozen) water Maine
    Welcome Lucas!

    First thing I would suggest is that if you are going to go with Japanese knives that you may want to skip the honing rods period. A good medium stone will suffice...plenty of help here to teach you how to use it. Next thing I would suggest is going for something a little less expensive while you 'hone' your skills with the stone...maybe a Fujiwara FKM from the same site (cost is ~90 with shipping). This knife will be just fine as far as an introduction into the world of nicer knives and again will be a better knife to experiment with sharpening on stones. You could do a paring knife of the same and be in good shape for most kitchen tasks...practice your skills and if and when you feel like the knife is holding you back, then call Jon at JKI and move on up to the fun stuff.

    once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right

  5. #5
    Senior Member Benuser's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Amstelveen, The Netherlands
    You may very well use a rod
    to sharpen a symmetric
    European blade. You renew
    the very edge - and once a
    year or so you send it out
    for thinning.
    Most J-knives are lighter,
    thinner and asymmetric.
    The Misono you mentioned
    is strongly right-biased,
    with a large convex bevel at
    the right side and a very
    small one at left. If you
    sharpen just the very edge
    you change all the existing
    proportions, and soon
    steering and wedging will
    occur. Proper sharpening
    means abrading some
    material and restoring these
    proportions. A sharpening
    job may start very well at
    some .5" above the very
    edge, thinning somewhat
    and working down to the
    very edge maintaining its
    convexity by varying the
    angle. I'm not sure it's
    realistic to expect this to be
    done with a rod.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Honolulu, HI
    I would suggest looking into the gesshin ginga line at

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    And I would suggest not spending tons of money on the very first knife.

    Agree with chinacats, Fujiwara for 90 bucks is decent starter.

    Soyo, You are yet to discover what your knife-rences are. It might happen that when you get the Hattori for example, youll feel it to heavy or you would prefer japanese handle and so on.

    Plus fujiwara is so cheap that after few years, you dont even need to sell it, it can just stay as a backup knife.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Boulder, CO
    Those two gyutos look like nice ones. But are they the best for you? Hard to say. Maybe after you buy one of them, you'll get interested in carbon steels, or wa handles, or some other brand or profile of knife. Although it can be a very good idea, it doesn't always make sense to start at the "top."

    As an example: I like bikes and bicycling. The bike I would have considered "best" when I first got started is nothing like what I would consider "best" now. If I had bought that "best" bike right off, I'd have just lost money reselling when I learned more about what my true needs and preferences are. So, I agree with those who have said that you might start off with an inexpensive gyuto- Tojiro, Fujiwara, Artifex etc. They'll still probably be much better than anything you've ever used before!

    As far as sharpening... I used a ceramic rod system for years and years. Being dissatisfied with how sharp it got my knives was what lead me to learn more about better knives and sharpening in the first place. Rods really don't have much surface area in contact with the knife, so that makes them slow, and more prone to chipping harder steels. I've found waterstones to work a LOT better. Any of the "budget" knives mentioned will be a lot sharper when well-sharpened on a waterstone than the Hattori or Misono would be when sharpened on ceramic rods.

  9. #9
    My recommendation for the gyuto would ba a carbonext or an artiflex. Both of them have a very good steel. I guess ok ergonomic. as for the stone Rika and the bester como will serve you well for a long while. As for the bread knife the tojiro itk seem to have a good reviews.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Deckhand's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Costa Mesa California
    You sound like my thinking when I started. I have a misono ux10 210mm currently for sale on the local list.At least you are going 240mm it's a better length. My current Sakai yusuke 270mm Wa in stainless is my daily use knife. My "bread knife" is a tojiro itk and I use it all the time, bread,watermelon, pineapple,etc. A cheapie paring knife will work fine. I have two expensive ones and they get little use. Depending on where you live you need to try different lengths and western vs wa handles. After i did a test drive I decided I preferred wa handles.Starting sharpening a king 1000 and a magnum sharpie will do the trick. Japanese knife imports has good knives and stones and Jon is very helpful. If you need some help give him a call.

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