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A Year Down the Rabbit Hole

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ModRQC

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It’s been over a year since I became a member here – and I should thank KKF for all the good times, the support, and the knowledge base I was amply provided with.

My circling of the rabbit hole started before I even knew there was one. I had had a lot of bad knives in my life – really, only bad knives. That’s all I knew. And I was doing a lot of cooking by then, preps had become my everyday solace, and I wanted better tools. That’s how I stumbled into a lot of “The 10 best knives of 2019”… and into KKF.

And it seemed, each time I was just about convinced to buy said Wusthof, said Zwilling, said Shun… stumbling on related posts from KFF as searching all over Google would turn me down. Until I came here first and foremost – lurking and feeding, using the Search function a lot – and decided it was getting pretty ridiculous. So, I became a member.

But even as a member, with fresh advice queried directly here, I started this journey with one very bad choice. Good thing is – I also made one that was quite okay for a starter.


November 2019

00_Nov2019_G2+VicS.JPG

Archive: Global G2 Chef 8” – tried it, mulled over my absolute desolation, washed it, repackaged it and sent it back to the vendor as unused. Funny to think that, back then, I thought spending a 100$ over this was such a luxury… Credit went towards an All-Clad SS 12” pan. Good purchase, this.
Current: Victorinox Rosewood Santoku 7” – even searching KKF couldn’t entirely kill Victorinox’s reputation – on the contrary it seems – and I wanted to replace those poor Santokus I had, too.

Consider this picture I took upon receiving both knives:
00_Past_Future.JPG

On the bottom one, see the wide bevel grind...

I was so sure they were gonna be the end of all ends to my needs of a better knife that this was supposed to show an evolution – which it does, but pretty derisively so. And you’ll get to see further iterations of such a picture, as the buying parasite grew to take control of me brains.

In the end, the little Victorinox Santoku would do good by me for a while though since the early BF deal I “scored” to replace the G2, through sheer imbecility from the online store, managed to be delayed until…


January 2020

This I consider the real beginning of the adventure for me. Not to downplay the Victo Santoku for how good it is, but it was some kind of second-thought purchase, as I thought the Global would be really good and steal the show...

These here were the first knives made in Japan I considered mine, and prized above all else – for a while.

01_Jan2020_Diplôme.JPG

Archive: Zwilling Diplôme Chef 8” – oh you heard me blab about it. A knife that made me very happy, and that went through a lot of experiments when I started buying better knives. They may often warp it, and their idea of a J-knife might still not be totally on par, but their FC-61 gave me a taste for better steels for sure! Gave away to KKF in December.
Archive: Zwilling Diplôme Santoku 7” – a consequence of the Victorinox as my first, and only, really nice knife back then, I had ordered this one too. Loved it for a while – how not to at this point of the journey – but nothing like the Chef, and never used nearly as much. Gave it to a friend somewhere last September, and good riddance this was, but he likes it. He should: I thinned the hell out of it and if it wasn’t for being all curve and too much weight backward, cutting performance is neat.

Ending with a trio of knives that would suffice to bring some excitement to prepping food, and were good enough to make me learn and realize things. Enough to make me yearn, also…

Said yearning went deeper and deeper as time passed by, to culminate just when a lot of free time was about to be handed to me on a treacherous silver plate…


April 2020 – COVID-19 lockdown

It really started for me in mid-March, when my store was closed for the lockdown. Just a week home and I couldn’t stop myself: ordered another knife and a couple of Shapton pros. That was me coming across Paul’s Finest, a vendor based in Québec. April would turn out to be a decisive month.

02_March_VicC10.jpg

Current: Victorinox Rosewood 10” Chef – firsthand 255/54 – arrived here by the end of March. Still keeping with my resolution to stay within a tight budget, and within a utilitarian frame of mind: I didn’t have any longer and bigger knife, and the Victo was so cheap. Along with it I also ordered a Fibrox 6” petty, and 3.25” Rosewood paring – not pictured here as I go with an essential progression: only knives over 150mm, or over 100$, that were serious purchases. That’s skipping quite a few.

Two days after receiving which, I – finally! – ordered my real first J-knife.

03_Misono_Archive.JPG

Archive: Misono Swedish Carbon 210mm –firsthand 220/44 – a typical choice indeed, but the one that really pushed me down the hole. I was doomed as soon as I laid my hand on it. Sold in May – not tall enough to my tastes, but a nice profile to use, a good cutter after some work, and a first experience with Carbon steel. That above all else ignited my trajectory.

From here, we should be good to avoid any more blab but the presentation of each next. While I still can add some details, by the end of April I had a full progression of Shapton Pro (320 – 1000 – 5000) at hand too, and had really started my sharpening journey – my first frank success being thinning and getting that here Misono sharp, with tremendous help from @Benuser whom I still cannot thank enough for all the assistance he provided me then and since.

I hope you’ll enjoy the progressive scenery.

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Archive: Moritaka Blue #2 240mm – firsthand 240/50 – I learned so much from it… so much that it looked more like a half-Suji half-Gyuto at about 235/45 in the end. Sold in December.

05_April_Takayuki.JPG

Archive: Takayuki VG-10 Kengata 190mm – firsthand 200/49, loosely for sale since forever without ever pushing it much because I kept using it. Thinned to a great effect, and superseded only recently by a more powerful K-Tip. VG-10 that’s really not that hard to sharpen here. Nice knife, really: in the “under 200$ CAD” range it can take a righteous stand with a bit of work. Sold (finally!) in December.

April 16th 2020:
05_April_Z.JPG


And it wasn't quite over yet...

06_April_Mazaki.JPG

Archive: Mazaki White #2 190mm Nakiri – firsthand 188/56 – loved it but did not reach for it when life went back a more normal – thus frantic – pace. Sold in May. First knife bought with Gage @ Sharp Knife Shop.
 
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ModRQC

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May 2020

07_May_Kurosaki.JPG

Archive: Kurosaki Fujin AS 210mm – firsthand 215/48 – nice cutter with nice F&F, but just didn’t take to it. Sold about 10 days after its arrival. First knife bought with Eugene @ Knife Toronto.

08_May_MiyabiShotoh.JPG

Current: Miyabi FC-61 Shotoh 140mm – from William’s Food Equipment. These guys really do their best to provide a good customer experience.


June 2020

09_June_MiyabiGyuto.JPG

Archive: Miyabi FC-61 200mm – firsthand 200/50 – I was trying to have a better Diplôme and more of that steel. This one was nicely balanced, taller and very cheap with a 15% off coupon + store Miyabi sale. However, first unit came warped, second unit came warped AND with a messed-up grind. Asked for a refund. Not a bad thing: this Miyabi line has a poor handle, slippery, smallish and uncomfortable. When balance is right in front of it à la Yo handle, it’s part of the grip too. I had a better connection in use with the handle heavy Diplôme because of that – very comfortable that one.

10_June_Matsubara.JPG

Current: Matsubara Blue #2 225mm

Vendor had a little mix up with this knife’s specs; @tchan001 here remarked that THIS was a weird kanji to be seen on a Blue #2 knife…

10_MatsubaraOops.JPG

Ooops – Matsubara Ginsan 225mm …and the mistake couldn’t have pleased me more: I wanted that Matsubara very much as it was the first time I had searched for a knife with very specific characteristics, and met it. However, I was wishing to get a steel I never had tried before too – but this guy here was advertised as Blue #2. Turned out it was a new steel in the end – and exactly one I hoped to try one day or another.



July 2020


11_MasahiroJCK.JPG

Archive: Masahiro VC 210mm – firsthand 208/46 – a really fine knife for a ridiculous price. Had ordered this direct from Japan through Amazon back in May. Sold in December. Arrived here on the very same day than…
Archive: JCK Deep Impact AS 210mm – firsthand 212/46 – acquired from BST in June from a member based in USA. Sold in November. Real fun to work with, and work on – but I had to clear that AS slot for an eventual Denka.


August 2020

12_Aug_MatsubaraBunka.jpg

Archive: Matsubara Blue #2 Bunka 180mm – firsthand 175/53 – came with a quite aggravating handle misfit. Used it, liked it some, but could see it would be something like the Nakiri I had sold: not one I’d reach for in everyday routine. Pretexted the handle misfit to send it back as unused. Real Blue #2 this time around.

13_Aug_Ittetsu.JPG

Archive: Ittetsu White #1 180mm – firsthand 188/46 – a somewhat roughly finished knife, reminiscent of Moritaka in this regard, but here grinded very well and thin behind the edge, superb performer. In the top best edges OOTB so far. Sold to a friend in December.

August 16th 2020:
13_August_Z.JPG
 

ModRQC

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September 2020

14_Sept_Takada.JPG

Current: Takada No Hamono Reika White #2 210mm – first knife bought with Olivier @ Stay Sharp.

15_Sept_TF.jpg

Archive: Fujiwara Maboroshi 210mm – firsthand 212/53 – an expensive project knife but also a great cutter with possibly the most pleasing ergonomics for balance and weight I ever found not only with a Yo, but at large, and adding a very nice feedback on top of that. Sold in November – it did convince me I should hunt down a nice Denka of the same size - Yo handle.

September 30th 2020:
15_Sept_Z.JPG



October 2020

16_Oct_Yoshikane.jpg

Archive: Yoshikane SKD-12 Santoku 180mm – firsthand 184/54 – very best edge OOTB so far, and one of the most potent geometry I ever tried for a knife. Stunning performer, ridiculously thin behind the edge. Sold in December. First knife bought with Douglas @ Ai & Om.

17_Nov_VicC8.JPG

Current: Victorinox 8” Chef – firsthand 208/52 – poor guy never had a chance and was thinned with the Pride 220 stone it came with, before I even took a decent pic, which obviously I didn’t anyhow…

18_Nov_Shihan.jpg

Current: Shi.Han 52100 210mm



November 2020

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Archive: S. Tanaka SG2 210mm – firsthand 210/47 – from BST, a real fun knife to use, natural with a nice geometry. Duplicate of steel with the following Sukenari purchase, so I was looking to sell this one. Was not convinced that I liked that kind of Damascus pattern initially, but grew rather fond of it in the end. Finally traded just by the end of the year.

December 2020

It sure is fitting that 2020 will have closed with what I got out of Black Friday one year after the set of Zwilling Diplôme that really started it all. First time buying with Adam @ Cook’s Edge.

20_Dec_Sukenari.jpg

Current: Sukenari SG2 Kiritsuke 240mm

21_Dec_Kawamura.jpg

Current: Kawamura/Y. Tanaka White #1 260mm

December 10th 2020:
21_Dec_Z Before Firesale.JPG


Then just before Christmas, a lot of knives went on BST, resulting with…
 

ModRQC

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December 28th – Final 2020 collection:
21_Final 2020.jpg


I did acquire a couple other knives before the year’s end though…

January 2021

A Dragon is making its way here from Rob @ Kitchen Virtue as I write this, but got delayed. A knife I wanted to try since I discovered it existed almost a year ago – here traded for the S. Tanaka through BST – but never felt inclined to splurge for, already got here in the meanwhile.

These two indeed should bring full closure to 2020, where the Dragon is effectively going full circle with my first true J-Knife, while the other one will finally allow me to see if I dig the iconic Konosuke knife.

22_Konosuke.jpg

Current: Konosuke HD2 210mm

EDIT: And finally....

IMG_8105.jpg

Current: Misono Swedish Carbon 240mm Gyuto

... and 9 months after the first Misono, and a lot of better knives, I must say... meh! But a project knife I knew this was!

2021 is a whole new year, and since I cannot spend my whole life buying knives as I don’t have that budget and it gets somewhat tiresome, I’m thinking… essential. Sure, I had to try a lot of them to get where I am, and I don’t regret anything. Know what I want, and what I still need to try, buy it and be ready to sell it as soon as I know it won’t stick. No more getting overly sentimental about it – they’re just tools in the end. So, there will be BSTs and trades, more of them since I don’t intend on keeping anything but the Victorinox and a basic rotation of J-Knives. An equilibrium exists, and I’m finally getting around to it.
 
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mmiinngg

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Seems to be a rabbit hole with a steep slope 👌thanks for sharing, feeling better now.
 

daveb

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Took you 10 months to get to Yoshikane? You must not have been paying attention. And it's now been discarded like yesterday's shorts. I know you're not paying attention....

:cool:

Good story.
 

ModRQC

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Took you 10 months to get to Yoshikane? You must not have been paying attention. And it's now been discarded like yesterday's shorts. I know you're not paying attention....

:cool:

Good story.
Took me 10 months to get to Sanjo at all man. The Maz was not knowing Sanjo and wanting to try a Nakiri. And what I’m discarding is what you basically called a woman’s knife when I had it. 😜

Believe me another Yoshi SKD will be coming my way sooooon enough.
 

tostadas

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Took me 10 months to get to Sanjo at all man. The Maz was not knowing Sanjo and wanting to try a Nakiri. And what I’m discarding is what you basically called a woman’s knife when I had it. 😜

Believe me another Yoshi SKD will be coming my way sooooon enough.
Hit me up in a month when you decide to sell your future yoshi SKD.
 

daveb

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But not another Santoku I hope..... :cool:

I may have to pick up an SKD Yoshi as well. Absolutely no reason to ever buy another knife but.
 

ModRQC

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Hit me up in a month when you decide to sell your future yoshi SKD.
Not that one - unless I want to buy then another Yoshi. But there will now always be one. There always should have been one Yoshi... the green Yoshi.

We were talking Yoshimune, right? 🤔🤪
 

ModRQC

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But not another Santoku I hope..... :cool:

I may have to pick up an SKD Yoshi as well. Absolutely no reason to ever buy another knife but.
This is what is worrying me... another knife but.

Back when you were calling my former Yoshi a midget, I was highly tempted to reply that one good reason to buy a Yoshi santoku is to have the amazing cutter, but not condemn all your other guytos for just the one! 😊
 

ModRQC

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Edited with Misono Dragon entry - and thus complete.
 

cotedupy

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Excellent post!

Interesting that you've kept the Victorinox... do you still use them? Or do the smarter ones see all the action? Even at very top end places they're basically ubiquitous in UK restaurants afaics. I know a lot of chefs who swear by them :)
 
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