Finally Upgrading My College Knife Set

Kitchen Knife Forums

Help Support Kitchen Knife Forums:

cookiesurgeon

Member
Joined
Aug 28, 2019
Messages
14
Reaction score
10
Location
NC
Unfortunately this will really only be sorted out by you trying out different stones and getting a feel for what you like. There really isn't a totally wrong answer. Buy the conbo stone you're looking at and something to flatten it. Develop a feel for it and move forward from there.
I understand; I'll do just that then.

OK, so I've decided to get a stainless knife for sure, but am on the fence between VG-10 and R-2 (SG-2)

I really like the Raiun above and this knife:

https://www.**************.com/kuvgfugy24.html

However, I keep reading that VG-10 knives don't keep a great edge and are more prone to chipping than R-2. Is that correct? I also read that VG-10 is hit or miss, but I figure that Kurosaki is a more known blacksmith that it wouldn't be so bad.

I won't mind an R-2, though I read that it's typically harder than a VG-10. but I can't seem to find one in my budget.

Finally, I've been looking into 240mm gyutos recently. I have the space in my kitchen, but I am worried that it's too unwieldy, as I've only ever used a 7" santoku and an 8" chef's knife. Thoughts?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!
 

MarkC

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 2, 2019
Messages
151
Reaction score
58
Per your initial note to this thread, you are in the early stages of learning about Japanese knives and sharpening and you are a home cook looking to learn. My honest suggestion is to not overspend on your first knife on this journey and just get started learning. My recommendation would be to buy from JKI one of his stainless knives. You will get a very good knife but not too much money and you can develop your skills for sharpening and using the knife and learn what you like so when you go to buy your next one, you will be better able to highlight what you like and don't.

Knives are just tools. Watch some videos of Jacques Pepin and you will see a guy that uses any knife available often just a small german one because they sponsor him and he is doing all kinds of crazy technique. You will get more out of your knife if you improve your skills. Take a class at a local cooking school or knife shop, volunteer at a non-profit soup kitchen or the like and develop technique. Learn to sharpen. Eventually you may want to invest in a special knife but for now building skills will take you farther than the knife steel or size.
 

flying hippo

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2019
Messages
50
Reaction score
31
Location
Indiana, USA
OK, so I've decided to get a stainless knife for sure, but am on the fence between VG-10 and R-2 (SG-2)

I really like the Raiun above and this knife:

https://www.**************.com/kuvgfugy24.html

However, I keep reading that VG-10 knives don't keep a great edge and are more prone to chipping than R-2. Is that correct? I also read that VG-10 is hit or miss, but I figure that Kurosaki is a more known blacksmith that it wouldn't be so bad.

I won't mind an R-2, though I read that it's typically harder than a VG-10. but I can't seem to find one in my budget.

Finally, I've been looking into 240mm gyutos recently. I have the space in my kitchen, but I am worried that it's too unwieldy, as I've only ever used a 7" santoku and an 8" chef's knife. Thoughts?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!
I don't have any experience with R2 or vg10 however I recently asked this forum about their opinions on VG10 and the Yu Kurosaki / VG10 combination was recommended a few times as one of the really good ones. I think you're link is referring to the VG10 Fujin 240mm. I think that's a great choice with a solid middle of the road profile and grind, the BIG caveat being that I haven't actually used the knife personally.

Length is very personal. Unfortunately you probably won't really know what size you like until you try one out. Japanese knives are a lighter and nimbler than a french style knife so usually its easier adjusting to a J knife with a longer blade. Most pro chefs prefer 240mm while some home chefs like 210mm. Personally, I really like 210mms but I've read that many home chefs go from liking 210s to 240mm when they become more experienced. It's possible your tastes may change. If it means anything 240mm is usually easier to resell if you decide you don't like it.
 

nonoyes

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 19, 2018
Messages
108
Reaction score
29
It's hard, but don't overthink it. Any of these knives from these vendors in this price range should be pleasant to use and to sharpen.

Vg 10 gets a bad rap as difficult to sharpen but EVERY SINGLE review of a vg10 knife provides an exception to this "rule".

I think R2 is chippier than vg10 but holds an edge longer, generally speaking. It pays to be careful, avoid bones etc., and watch your technique.
 

milkbaby

Well-Known Doofus
Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2016
Messages
2,170
Reaction score
584
Location
Sunny Florida
For a home cook, I do not think there is much advantage to be gained choosing R2/SG2 over VG10.

Also, some people are not comfortable with 210/240 mm or longer knives. It's a personal preference, no right or wrong. If your main cutting board is an 8" x 10" board, then even 210 mm can be too long for that smaller size board. There are plenty of people who use 150 to 180 mm length knives as their main knife, just maybe not many of them are forum members here at KKF.
 

Michi

Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 13, 2019
Messages
2,894
Reaction score
3,386
Location
Brisbane, Australia
For people new to professional knives and with a normal-sized workspace, 210 mm is a big knife, and 240 mm is a huge knife.

I recommend going to a knife shop and handling either size, even if they are knives you don't intend to buy. It'll at least give you an idea of the feel and actual size in your hand.
 

ian

Supporting Member
Joined
Dec 18, 2017
Messages
2,428
Reaction score
2,993
Location
Boston, MA
For people new to professional knives and with a normal-sized workspace, 210 mm is a big knife, and 240 mm is a huge knife.

I recommend going to a knife shop and handling either size, even if they are knives you don't intend to buy. It'll at least give you an idea of the feel and actual size in your hand.
True, although it can be misleading if you go handle the knife in a big open storeroom, and then come back to your small, cramped kitchen. Out of context, 240mm can seem smaller than it will feel in use.
 

SeattleBen

Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 21, 2018
Messages
376
Reaction score
201
Handling it on a board should provide some decent feedback.
 

DitmasPork

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2012
Messages
1,570
Reaction score
847
Location
BROOKLYN, NY
hi,

New to the forum and looking for recommendations for knives. I currently have a few knives (most of which were given as presents), but the workhorse of the kitchen right now is an older iteration of this. I got them as a Black Friday deal in college, and they've been with me for almost a decade now.

I want to upgrade my knives and I've done some research, but am not very knowledgeable about Japanese knives, and to be honest, the amount of manufacturers/styles is somewhat daunting to me. My in laws have older Wusthof knives that seem to be working for them, so I was researching along those lines (as they also gave me a couple Wusthof Classic knives). I've looked at Wusthof, Henckles and Shun. All of the knives I'm looking for are available in the Wusthof Ikon Classic line.

Knives I have
-Ginsu Chikara 12-piece set
-Cutco chef's knife and serrated utility (gift)
-Wusthof Classic 10" Super Slicer and 3-1/2" paring (gift)

LOCATION
-USA

KNIFE TYPE
-For sure: 8" Chef, paring, 7" santoku (or nakiri), bread knife
-Maybe: utility knife (plain and serrated), cleaver, steak knives (down the line)

Are you right or left handed?
-Right Handed

Are you interested in a Western handle (e.g., classic Wusthof handle) or Japanese handle?
-I've dealt with both, so convince me

What length of knife (blade) are you interested in (in inches or millimeters)?
-8" chef, 7" santoku/nikiri, 3-5" paring, 8-10" bread knife

Do you require a stainless knife? (Yes or no)
-Not necessary, but if it's an option, I'd rather have it

What is your absolute maximum budget for your knife?
-I was looking at Wusthof Ikon pricing, so around $150-200 for most knives, $60-100 for paring. Max per knife would be $300


KNIFE USE
Do you primarily intend to use this knife at home or a professional environment?

-I'm a home cook.

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/mincing vegetables, slicing/cutting/trimming meat. I don't foresee a lot of fish work or breaking down larger cuts of meat

What knife, if any, are you replacing?
-Knives I have
-Ginsu Chikara 12-piece set
-Cutco chef's knife and serrated utility (gift)
-Wusthof Classic 10" Super Slicer and 3-1/2" paring (gift)

Do you have a particular grip that you primarily use? (Please click on this LINK for the common types of grips.)
-The Ginsu knives have a wa handle, but the Wusthof knives have a western handle. As for grip, it's 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.)
-Push-cut/chop, rock, and slice

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.)
-I want nicer knives in general; I've been wary of harder steel knives because of chipping.

Better aesthetics (e.g., a certain type of finish; layered/Damascus or other pattern of steel; different handle color/pattern/shape/wood; better scratch resistance; better stain resistance)?
-If it looks better, I won't complain.

Comfort (e.g., lighter/heavier knife; better handle material; better handle shape; rounded spine/choil of the knife; improved balance)?
-This is something I feel like I have to experience for myself, but I'm keeping an open mind.

Ease of Use (e.g., ability to use the knife right out of the box; smoother rock chopping, push cutting, or slicing motion; less wedging; better food release; less reactivity with food; easier to sharpen)?
-I'm trying to stay away from full bolsters (which is why I was leaning towards the Classic Ikon). I want these knives to last a while.

Edge Retention (i.e., length of time you want the edge to last without sharpening)?
-I hone regularly, but it would be better to not have to sharpen that often.


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

-Wood and plastic; currently have an Acacia board, but also looking for recommendations on this front.

Do you sharpen your own knives? (Yes or no.)
-I have a manual sharpener, but I've never had nice enough knives to sharpen via stone or send in.

If not, are you interested in learning how to sharpen your knives? (Yes or no.)
-In the future, but not now.

Are you interested in purchasing sharpening products for your knives? (Yes or no.)
-In the future, but not now.


SPECIAL REQUESTS/COMMENTS

-This may not be possible, but if I'd prefer to get all my knives with the same aesthetic/style.



So you're looking for 8" chef, 7" santoku/nikiri, 3-5" paring, 8-10" bread knife. Max per knife would be $300, that's a total budget of $900.

I'd break it down to this:
$150 petty knife
$90 Mac Bread knife
$250 Nakiri
$400 Gyuto (or two $200 gyutos)
$10 a couple of beers at your local bar after blowing $900 on knives.

That's $900 well spent IMO.

Spend time cruising around some of the good vendor sites like JKI, Carbon Knife Co, JSN, K&S, CleanCut, Korin, etc. Chat with them for questions.
 

cookiesurgeon

Member
Joined
Aug 28, 2019
Messages
14
Reaction score
10
Location
NC
OK, quick update. Just bought a Gesshin Uraku Stainless 210mm gyuto (it came back in stock this morning) and will be buying a king combo stone.

I’ll keep this thread posted with first impressions and whatnot.

Still want to get the Kurosaki Fujin, but I may wait for the AS clad to come back in stock.
 

ian

Supporting Member
Joined
Dec 18, 2017
Messages
2,428
Reaction score
2,993
Location
Boston, MA
Sweet! I have one of those too. Hope you asked for it to be sharpened. Mine came with a completely nonexistent edge, worst I’ve ever seen OOTB. But it’s a great knife. Very happy with mine.
 

DitmasPork

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2012
Messages
1,570
Reaction score
847
Location
BROOKLYN, NY
OK, quick update. Just bought a Gesshin Uraku Stainless 210mm gyuto (it came back in stock this morning) and will be buying a king combo stone.

I’ll keep this thread posted with first impressions and whatnot.

Still want to get the Kurosaki Fujin, but I may wait for the AS clad to come back in stock.
Nice!!! Which King combo you getting, and why?
 

cookiesurgeon

Member
Joined
Aug 28, 2019
Messages
14
Reaction score
10
Location
NC
Sweet! I have one of those too. Hope you asked for it to be sharpened. Mine came with a completely nonexistent edge, worst I’ve ever seen OOTB. But it’s a great knife. Very happy with mine.
I did; I had called JKI to ask about the Uraku previously, as I wasn't quite sold on the AUS-8 for the Gesshin Stainless. Jon said that it would be about a month before he got it back in stock, so I was surprised to get a notification about it this morning, and I picked it up. He recommended that if I do get it to ask for an initial sharpening, so that's what I did!

Nice!!! Which King combo you getting, and why?
I just bought the King KDS 1000/6000 combo stone. Seems to be a middle of the road splash and go starter stone, and it was around ~$40, so if I don't like it (I've read it's prone to dishing), it won't be a huge investment on my end (compared to getting individual stones).
 

kayman67

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
Messages
821
Reaction score
468
Location
EU
AUS 8 is a nice alloy. Ok, could be, but I'm not worried with Gesshin. Everything I got was of good quality (albeit I don't have stainless). Requires a little bit more maintenance in general, but that's about it.

KDS is part soaking part not. You should soak only the 1k side and keep the 6k out of the water. And don't pressure the stone, just let it work. Since it's a softer stone, mistakes are easy to understand and this will allow you to learn proper form.
 

DitmasPork

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2012
Messages
1,570
Reaction score
847
Location
BROOKLYN, NY
I did; I had called JKI to ask about the Uraku previously, as I wasn't quite sold on the AUS-8 for the Gesshin Stainless. Jon said that it would be about a month before he got it back in stock, so I was surprised to get a notification about it this morning, and I picked it up. He recommended that if I do get it to ask for an initial sharpening, so that's what I did!



I just bought the King KDS 1000/6000 combo stone. Seems to be a middle of the road splash and go starter stone, and it was around ~$40, so if I don't like it (I've read it's prone to dishing), it won't be a huge investment on my end (compared to getting individual stones).
Good choice on the 1/6k. IMO for most kitchen work, just need one decent mid-grit stone, I don’t like edges too polished, need some teeth on it.
 

M1k3

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 28, 2018
Messages
2,703
Reaction score
2,299
AUS 8 is a nice alloy. Ok, could be, but I'm not worried with Gesshin. Everything I got was of good quality (albeit I don't have stainless). Requires a little bit more maintenance in general, but that's about it.

KDS is part soaking part not. You should soak only the 1k side and keep the 6k out of the water. And don't pressure the stone, just let it work. Since it's a softer stone, mistakes are easy to understand and this will allow you to learn proper form.
The 6k side can be soaked. It's just more....sticky....rubbery feeling when soaked.
 

Talim

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 9, 2013
Messages
399
Reaction score
6
Should have save the $40 and bought some gesshin stones.
 

kayman67

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
Messages
821
Reaction score
468
Location
EU
The 6k side can be soaked. It's just more....sticky....rubbery feeling when soaked.
The 6k is a resinoid based splash and go. It really doesn't like being soaked on the long run or for a very long time. Different things happen, but it matter little.
I ruined a few doing tests for this. The guys in Japan always said it shouldn't be soaked.
 

cookiesurgeon

Member
Joined
Aug 28, 2019
Messages
14
Reaction score
10
Location
NC
Sorry for the delay guys! I got my knife back a couple of weeks ago, but got busy at work so I couldn't take pics.

I got the Gesshin Uraku 210 Wa Gyuto and I had it initially sharpened by Jon.

I came to two conclusions after taking pictures/using it to cut through a bunch of mushrooms:

1) If I wanted to get a 240mm gyuto, I need to get a bigger cutting board
2) I'm not sure if I am expressing this correctly, but I was expecting it to go through mushrooms like butter; it felt a little sharper than knives I've used before, but not drastically different.

I like the balance and how light it is. It's feels great with a pinch grip, but I wouldn't call it leagues above what I've used before. I'll keep using it and will embark on learning how to sharpen in a week or two.

Also, I made board butter from coconut oil and beeswax; can that go on the handle/saya or do I have to use something different to treat the wood.

Thoughts?
 

ian

Supporting Member
Joined
Dec 18, 2017
Messages
2,428
Reaction score
2,993
Location
Boston, MA
2) I'm not sure if I am expressing this correctly, but I was expecting it to go through mushrooms like butter; it felt a little sharper than knives I've used before, but not drastically different.

Also, I made board butter from coconut oil and beeswax; can that go on the handle/saya or do I have to use something different to treat the wood.

Thoughts?
The Uraku's built like a tank, but still cuts really well. It won't cut as dreamily as some of the more princess-like J knives, but it's a good multitasker, and is basically impervious to damage. Also, mushrooms can be pretty grabby on any knife, depending on the shroom, since when you cut down though it with pressure, the mushroom deforms in a way that presses against the sides of the blade. Slicing with minimal pressure rather than pushing down can help with this. Keep using it and report back!

Coconut oil might go rancid at some point. I'm not really sure. I'd always use a mineral oil to be safe, both for the board and for the handle/saya. But yes, you can use board butter on those things too. I usually just do some mineral oil, rather infrequently. It's good not to make the handles too slick.
 

Ochazuke

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 3, 2018
Messages
271
Reaction score
190
Yeah... mushrooms aren’t always the best testers. Go through some tomatoes.

As a side note: I have almost always have buyers remorse until I get used to a knife. It usually takes me about a month of frequent use before I start to like a knife. The Uraku is a solid choice and I guarantee you that you’ll come to appreciate it in time.
 

Chef Doom

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2013
Messages
1,422
Reaction score
249
You can go to Japanese Chef Knives youtube channel to learn sharpening technique.

Then realize nobody does it better than old Japanese men in which you will start to look up videos of Japanese Knife Sharpeners.

Then get lazy and ship your knives to JKI for sharpening. Do not worry about the 2 year wait queue. You don't really need knives to cook anyways.
 

cookiesurgeon

Member
Joined
Aug 28, 2019
Messages
14
Reaction score
10
Location
NC
The Uraku's built like a tank, but still cuts really well. It won't cut as dreamily as some of the more princess-like J knives, but it's a good multitasker, and is basically impervious to damage. Also, mushrooms can be pretty grabby on any knife, depending on the shroom, since when you cut down though it with pressure, the mushroom deforms in a way that presses against the sides of the blade. Slicing with minimal pressure rather than pushing down can help with this. Keep using it and report back!

Coconut oil might go rancid at some point. I'm not really sure. I'd always use a mineral oil to be safe, both for the board and for the handle/saya. But yes, you can use board butter on those things too. I usually just do some mineral oil, rather infrequently. It's good not to make the handles too slick.
I try to be gentle when cutting mushrooms, I don't put too much pressure and try to get the knife to do the work. I'll keep trying with other items and will report back.

I don't love mineral oil, which is why I went with coconut oil. I've read that some coconut oil is pretty shelf stable, but I've only made the board butter, so we'll see.

Yeah... mushrooms aren’t always the best testers. Go through some tomatoes.

As a side note: I have almost always have buyers remorse until I get used to a knife. It usually takes me about a month of frequent use before I start to like a knife. The Uraku is a solid choice and I guarantee you that you’ll come to appreciate it in time.
Yeah... mushrooms aren’t always the best testers. Go through some tomatoes.

As a side note: I have almost always have buyers remorse until I get used to a knife. It usually takes me about a month of frequent use before I start to like a knife. The Uraku is a solid choice and I guarantee you that you’ll come to appreciate it in time.
I like the knife and will keep plugging along. I'll add in future impressions as I use it.

Does anyone have a recommendation for a larger walnut end grain board that won't break the bank? The board I have now is a 17x12x2.5 acacia board. I like the height of the board.
 
  • Like
Reactions: ian

lowercasebill

Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 8, 2011
Messages
703
Reaction score
930
Does anyone have a recommendation for a larger walnut end grain board that won't break the bank? The board I have now is a 17x12x2.5 acacia board. I like the height of the board.[/QUOTE]
Boardsmith i have 2 and bought 2 for my sons
My first was made by David the last 3 by Jon.
There is nothing better out there.
 
Top