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jtlove

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I am a new member trying to move up from he German and French knives I have been using for the last 30 years. I was gifted a Western Handled Japanese Santuko that I sort of like but not as much as a Chef's Knife. I have been looking at Korin, Japanese Knife Imports, the Knife Merchant and Cutlery and More. I initially thought about a Zwilling Kramer but I have sort of moved on from that since I have read about fit and finish issues. It is easy to fall down a Rabbit Hole .

LOCATION
United States

KNIFE TYPE
What type of knife are you interested in (e.g., chefs knife, slicer, boning knife, utility knife, bread knife, paring knife, cleaver)?

Wa-Gyuto

Are you right or left handed?

Right handed.

Are you interested in a Western handle (e.g., classic Wusthof handle) or Japanese handle?

Been using Western handles all my life. I would like to try a Octagon or D handle

What length of knife (blade) are you interested in (in inches or millimeters)?

210 or 240 mm. I mainly use a 8 inch Chef knife now. I have a 10 inch Wusthof that I rarely use but I would like something in between.

Do you require a stainless knife? (Yes or no)

No. I am open to carbon or SS.

What is your absolute maximum budget for your knife?

Possibly $300 but I would like to try and keep it under $250 including shipping.

KNIFE USE
At home and at the fire station where I work.. Usually cook 4-5 nights a week.

What are the main tasks you primarily intend to use the knife for (e.g., slicing vegetables, chopping vegetables, mincing vegetables, slicing meats, cutting down poultry, breaking poultry bones, filleting fish, trimming meats, etc.)? (Please identify as many tasks as you would like.)

Slicing/chopping vegetables, breaking down poultry, trimming meat

What knife, if any, are you replacing?

German and French Chef knife

Do you have a particular grip that you primarily use? (Please click on this LINK for the common types of grips.)

Usually Pinch Grip

What cutting motions do you primarily use? (Please click on this LINK for types of cutting motions and identify the two or three most common cutting motions, in order of most used to least used.)

Historically I rock but I am trying to learn the push.

What improvements do you want from your current knife? If you are not replacing a knife, please identify as many characteristics identified below in parentheses that you would like this knife to have.)

Better appearance and lighter weight. Sharper and easier to slice vegetables


KNIFE MAINTENANCE
Do you use a bamboo, wood, rubber, or synthetic cutting board? (Yes or no.)

Wood and Bamboo

Do you sharpen your own knives? (Yes or no.)

Yes, I bought a inexpensive kit and I have been practicing for a few months.

Are you interested in purchasing sharpening products for your knives? (Yes or no.)

Yes, I would like to upgrade my kit in the future.
 

coxhaus

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I would rather have a lot of German knives than a couple of expensive knives. I have about 30 Henckels 4 $ 5 star and some Wusthof Classic knives. I have found over the years that I like doing these tasks with this knife better than these other knives. I have chef knives in 6-inch, 8-inch, 9-inch 11.5-inch. If I cut a big watermelon or big cabbage, I go for the 11.5-inch chef knife. The other chef knives seem too thin and not long enough. I feel like the too thin knives would break if I accidentally bent the knife to the side as it would snap. My big chef knife is thick enough that it does not feel that way but then again, I don't use if for little tasks as it is too thick. So, I like having a lot of kitchen knives. I am just a home cook with opinions. So, I don't know if you call this a rabbit hole or not.

I use a Work Sharp Ken Onion sharpener to sharpen all these knives as I don't want to spend the time to hand sharpen them.

I had to measure my chef knives so it is right now.
 
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Dull_Apex

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Are you open to using a different knife for breaking down poultry, and what do you currently use for the job?
 

Hz_zzzzzz

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If you are willing to learn push cut or pull cut, I’d recommend this Yoshikane (very flat; better for pull cut or push cut than rocking). Probably the best cutter I’ve tried under $300 (2019 Mazaki close second, but it’s not light). It currently has 10% BFCM discount so the white 2 will be under $280 and the SKD version will be $304.

Only thing to note is it probably won’t survive a bamboo board given how thin it is behind the edge. Any proper wood board or rubber board would be better.

White 2.

or SKD version
 

jtlove

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I would rather have a lot of German knives than a couple of expensive knives. I have about 30 Henckels 4 $ 5 star and some Wusthof Classic knives. I have found over the years that I like doing these tasks with this knife better than these other knives. I have chef knives in 6-inch, 8-inch, 9-inch 11.5-inch. If I cut a big watermelon or big cabbage, I go for the 11.5-inch chef knife. The other chef knives seem too thin and not long enough. I feel like the too thin knives would break if I accidentally bent the knife to the side as it would snap. My big chef knife is thick enough that it does not feel that way but then again, I don't use if for little tasks as it is too thick. So, I like having a lot of kitchen knives. I am just a home cook with opinions. So, I don't know if you call this a rabbit hole or not.

I use a Work Sharp Ken Onion sharpener to sharpen all these knives as I don't want to spend the time to hand sharpen them.

I had to measure my chef knives so it is right now.
Are you open to using a different knife for breaking down poultry, and what do you currently use for the job?
I have a Wusthof boning knife and a boning knife out of a Cangshan boning knife that came with a Costco BBQ set. Often I just use my 30 yo Wusthof Chef knife though.
 

jtlove

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I would rather have a lot of German knives than a couple of expensive knives. I have about 30 Henckels 4 $ 5 star and some Wusthof Classic knives. I have found over the years that I like doing these tasks with this knife better than these other knives. I have chef knives in 6-inch, 8-inch, 9-inch 11.5-inch. If I cut a big watermelon or big cabbage, I go for the 11.5-inch chef knife. The other chef knives seem too thin and not long enough. I feel like the too thin knives would break if I accidentally bent the knife to the side as it would snap. My big chef knife is thick enough that it does not feel that way but then again, I don't use if for little tasks as it is too thick. So, I like having a lot of kitchen knives. I am just a home cook with opinions. So, I don't know if you call this a rabbit hole or not.

I use a Work Sharp Ken Onion sharpener to sharpen all these knives as I don't want to spend the time to hand sharpen them.

I had to measure my chef knives so it is right now.
I do have about 30 different knives as well. They all work and I don't know any better, but I think I would like to try a Japanese Knife to see if I would like the weight and sharpness. I have been hand sharpening for a few months now. I find it pretty relaxing. Still trying to get the hang of it totally though.
 

coxhaus

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I do have about 30 different knives as well. They all work and I don't know any better, but I think I would like to try a Japanese Knife to see if I would like the weight and sharpness. I have been hand sharpening for a few months now. I find it pretty relaxing. Still trying to get the hang of it totally though.
I guess you are pretty good at sharpening, having 30 knives. How long does it take you to sharpen 30 knives? I switched to a Work Sharp many years ago because I had too many knives to sharpen.

I would like to know what you think about a Japanese knife after using Wusthof knives for a while. It seems strange to me but I grew up using German made knives. I bought a Wusthof sushi knife only because we eat a lot of sushi and I got tired of using my Wusthof salmon knife. The sushi knife works but feels strange. I only use it for sushi. I also have a couple of santo knives one Henckels 7-inch and one Wusthof 5-inch. They feel strange to me as I feel like I am dragging the tip. My wife likes the 5-inch so she uses it now instead of a paring knife which I like. I hate her using a paring knife too much.
 

jtlove

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I guess you are pretty good at sharpening, having 30 knives. How long does it take you to sharpen 30 knives? I switched to a Work Sharp many years ago because I had too many knives to sharpen.

I would like to know what you think about a Japanese knife after using Wusthof knives for a while. It seems strange to me but I grew up using German made knives. I bought a Wusthof sushi knife only because we eat a lot of sushi and I got tired of using my Wusthof salmon knife. The sushi knife works but feels strange. I only use it for sushi. I also have a couple of santo knives one Henckels 7-inch and one Wusthof 5-inch. They feel strange to me as I feel like I am dragging the tip. My wife likes the 5-inch so she uses it now instead of a paring knife which I like. I hate her using a paring knife too much.
Most of them rarely get used. Mainly the 8 inch Chef knife and a couple of paring knives and my big Brisket slicer. The ones that do get used, do need to be sharpened about once a month though.
 

coxhaus

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I get around to using most of my kitchen knives in a month or 2. Most are small jobs as I am a home cook.

I found a use for my 7-inch Henckels santo knife. I use it to cut cornbread and then use it as a pie server to serve the cornbread. It is nice and wide. I also play using it to cut the veggies from the garden some but I still prefer a slicing knife. My wife uses it once in while.
 
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rickbern

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I would rather have a lot of German knives . So, I don't know if you call this a rabbit hole or not.

I use a Work Sharp Ken Onion sharpener to sharpen all these knives as I don't want to spend the time to hand sharpen them.

I had to measure my chef knives so it is right now.
jt, Coxhaus is a pretty new member. Not many here would recommend a Ken onion worksharp for the level of knife you’re considering.

I’d actually advise you to rejigger your budget and consider a $150 knife and invest in two decent stones, a medium and a fine. Knives come and go, but sharpening skills are forever. Maybe a shapton pro 1000 and 5000? If you’re sharpening cheap stainless add a 320 to the mix

gesshin uraku and gesshin stainless are two decent knives to google. Also Mac professional.
 
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rickbern

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By the way, is this knife going to be left at a firehouse sometimes where others will be able to use it? If so, the Mac is a strong contender, it’s a bit more bulletproof.

oh, and being a new Yorker, living through 9-11, happy to help a fireman. I remember sobbing on a street corner when I saw a crew of firefighters from North Carolina cruising around my block.
 

tcmx3

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If you are willing to learn push cut or pull cut, I’d recommend this Yoshikane (very flat; better for pull cut or push cut than rocking). Probably the best cutter I’ve tried under $300 (2019 Mazaki close second, but it’s not light). It currently has 10% BFCM discount so the white 2 will be under $280 and the SKD version will be $304.

Only thing to note is it probably won’t survive a bamboo board given how thin it is behind the edge. Any proper wood board or rubber board would be better.

White 2.

or SKD version
OP I'll save you some time. This post is the advice you're going to get (and for good reason).

If those prices are a bit high, Wakui and Tanaka offer competitive knives for less money.

Yoshikane is a good knife, a very good knife, but a bit short/light for my personal taste. there are Mazakis out there but they're real tanks in comparison, but it's my favorite knife sub $300. IMO they are not good first Japanese knives necessarily though. So Im going to be boring and also say Yoshikane.

I'd strongly recommend a 240, especially from a maker in this region, as they tend to run a bit short, and also to retire your bamboo board.
 

rickbern

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Wakui is a good idea. Never used a Tanaka but they get recommended often.

I'm pretty sure I wouldn't want to rock with any of my Wakui's
 

jtlove

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jt, Coxhaus is a pretty new member. Not many here would recommend a Ken onion worksharp for the level of knife you’re considering.

I’d actually advise you to rejigger your budget and consider a $150 knife and invest in two decent stones, a medium and a fine. Knives come and go, but sharpening skills are forever. Maybe a shapton pro 1000 and 5000? If you’re sharpening cheap stainless add a 320 to the mix

gesshin uraku and gesshin stainless are two decent knives to google. Also Mac professional.
My cheap stones seem to work OK but I see your point on getting some better ones. If I were to invest in a couple of stones and lowered the price of the knife, what would you look at sub $200?
 

rickbern

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@jtlove
Actually someone above recommended wakui. I really like those. They’re carbon steel with stainless cladding. I have one of these and I like it a lot. Lots of knives in this category, they are more often than not pretty good performers.
 

rickbern

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JT, I don’t rock. I don’t know that wakui would love being rocked. I find that tapping is as effective for herbs, everything else I chop, draw or push. I’ve heard others recommend tanakas for this, but I have no experience with them

Edit-For a few extra bucks of budget I like either of these two more than my original recommendations. My preference is stainless clad carbon, but if I had wanted all stainless I would have bought a Tanaka. For $200, you can get a really good 210. If you want a 240, same brands, they just cost a little bit more. Stretch a tad if you can and get some decent starter stones.
 
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jtlove

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By the way, is this knife going to be left at a firehouse sometimes where others will be able to use it? If so, the Mac is a strong contender, it’s a bit more bulletproof.

oh, and being a new Yorker, living through 9-11, happy to help a fireman. I remember sobbing on a street corner when I saw a crew of firefighters from North Carolina cruising around my block.
I do have a knife roll that I bring for days that I cook but I would not be leaving them for others to use when I am not there. I do try to keep the knives we have at the station relatively sharp, but that is usually a losing prospect.
 
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