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ghud

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Hi All, I know I'm just another guy asking, but I really want to purchase a quality set of knives that will last me, well my kids, forever! I just missed out on a set of 13 VINTAGE SABATIER KNIVES on EBay. I really didn't know enough to value these knives, but my desire is to get a set. I'm willing to spend up to $1000.00 and looking for the minimum number of knives necessary. I love to cook and have been doing all kinds of Cuisines for years. I'm a custom woodworker and understand that quality tools come at a price, so thanks for listening to my plea for direction/help
 

Potato42

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Sabatier are fine knives but you have many options especially in your price range. A lot of people show up dead set on getting a set, and that's ok, but around here we're going to challenge you to ask yourself why. If you just want similar looking knives, that's ok. If you think having every kind of knife imaginable is going to make you a better cook, that wont happen. As far as a set goes most would recommend a chefs, paring, and bread knife as the standard kit. You can add a utility knife, a slicer and a boning knife to really round things out.

Having a family around that abuses the hell out of my knives, there are a few things I recommend you keep in mind when selecting a knife. First, make sure that you're willing to see your knives abused from time to time if other people are going to use them. Since you plan to pass these on to future generations, I don't see you keeping them under lock and key. Teach people how to properly handle and care for them, but expect the advice and knowledge to go unheeded on occasion. This doesn't mean you must select a stainless knife over carbon, but be prepared to to expand your idea of what you consider "patina" if you go carbon. I have literally discovered a carbon knife submerged in water at my house, and they know better! (Just about all my knives are carbon BTW, but it doesn't deter me) At my girlfriends house, her one and only decent knife, a shun petty, has been used as a tool to clear the sink...

Since you cannot control the actions of other who may use these knives, you might consider knives that aren't hardened quite to the level many of the Japanese knives we covet are. 64-65 HRC is a Ferrari level heat treat and can perform as such, but it also takes similar care and maintenance to keep it in tip top shape. I had a Watanabe gyuto floating around in the house for a while, and it ended up with chips in it after a short time. My family will never grasp the concept of "hard foods" and thus as long as such a knife was available to them to use, it would not get proper care. 60-61 HRC is still very hard steel, but in my experience holds up much better to abuse.

Finally, consider the long term use situation with these knives. How will they be sharpened? How will they get touched up? You might want to have an alternate knife or two so that when one gets dull, you can simply trade in the other. If you want to send them out for sharpening that's ok, but long term you save money doing it yourself. Touch ups can be with a strop or steel. A few years back ceramic rod "steels" were in, now it's leather and balsa strops.


You have to start somewhere, and given all the choices, I recommend getting just one knife before you buy a whole set and realize you wanted something slightly different. I still have the first couple j knives I bought and I like them, but they're not my favorite knives. If you can give us a little more info on your cooking habits and needs we'll try and find a good fit for you.
 

Pensacola Tiger

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First, welcome to the forum!

Don't feel like you missed out on anything special by not getting that set of Sabatier knives on eBay. There are better knives available. A budget of $1000 give you a lot of choices, but I won't make any specific recommendations at this time, and please don't listen to any that are given in a well-meaning attempt to answer your question. Frankly, you need a bit of education about kitchen knives, and I mean that in a good way, so you can make an informed decision, and not waste you money.

I'd suggest that you start by reading a book: An Edge in the Kitchen, by Chad Ward. This is, in my opinion, the best first step for someone new to kitchen knives. The book is subtitled "How to buy them, keep them razor sharp, and use them like a pro." It's the unofficial "bible" of kitchen knives.

I think that after you've read it, you'll realize you don't need a set of 13 knives; you need a general purpose chef's knife or gyuto, and a short parer or petty. Those two knives will let you do 90% of what you need in the kitchen. If you want to, add a slicer or sujihiki, and maybe an inexpensive serrated knife for bread.

So, read the book, and we'll be here to make suggestions after you have.

Rick
 

Eamon Burke

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Welcome! I suggest you stick around. There are quite a few woodworkers here, and they make fantastic boards and handles. For that price, you really can get a full set up - 2-3 knives, board, storage, stone, and strop/hone that will shine in a household setting.

My first suggestion is this: Buy one at a time! Figure out what knife you use the most, and let us know what it is, how you use it, and why you want to replace it. We'll fit you with a winner to be sure.
 

echerub

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There's fun to be had when buying a lot at once, or within a short time frame, but financially speaking it makes a *lot* more sense to buy 1 at a time and gradually find out what works for you and what fits your style + preferences.
 

oivind_dahle

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Since you are woodworker:

Wouldnt it be fun having done your own handles?
http://*****************.com/2011/05/pimp-my-knife-victorinox-refurbishment.html

If you really believe you will go down this road of knives, I can promise you that cooking will be more fun than ever.
The cheapest way to start is to go for a 240 Hiromoto AS and a couple of stones. Then you can see if this is something for you or not. You can even rehandle it your self.

If you just want a goodlooking knife, that you might send for sharpening I would go for a Devin Thomas 240 ITK


There are mainly 3 knives you will use as a homechef:

Parer
Petty
Guyto

You might use a breadknife from time to time :)
 

mano

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You'll get a lot of good input here.

As someone who was very recently in your position and who has learned a a lot since then, my advice is to contact JBroida http://www.japaneseknifeimports.com/

He'll guide you in the right direction by asking lots of questions and never tries to sell you anything. I bought only one inexpensive knife from him and he recommended not buying two other things I thought I needed. Jon's a former chef so he's tuned in to the realities of cooking.

IMHO work backwards. Look at what and how you cook and select the knives and stones that fill the need. For me it's a gyuto (chefs), honesuki (boning) and sujihiki (slicing). Plus two water stones. You may need a different set-up but it's unlikely you'll need more than 3-4 knives.
 

ghud

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Thank you Sean for your extensive response. I found it very enlightening, even though I do almost all the cooking I realize from time to time the family will do some "dumb" things. However I have been able to instill the following thought in all their heads, when it comes to my tools, " you break it you bought it ". And some of my tools are quite expensive! It just means at times more chores around the house, helping Mom out .

Rick, thanks for making me feel like I didn't miss out by not getting those Sabatier knives on EBay. They sold for $620 Four Star Elephant logo and if, as most of you have suggested, one at a time is the best course and mixing different makers is perfectly acceptable, so I'm glad I lost! I will order Wards book tonight and read it.

Yes, Eamon I do plan on getting board, storage, stone and a strop/hone. I renovate and restore Craftsman homes and find myself constantly making stuff I cannot find! I'm a hands-on guy and respect my tools and this is exactly how I would look at a set of quality knives. I plan to stick around this great forum!

Thanks Len for echoing what the others have said, I will go down the "one at a time road".

And finally, Oivind_Dahle I would find it very relaxing making my own handles. And I want you to know I own twenty or so chisels and sharpen them as standard operating procedure!

To all of you thanks for such a warm welcome is quite a special thing to have complete strangers give such thoughtful advise, it is sincerely heartfelt.

OK because you asked, I cook breakfast, lunch and dinner, I prepare meats and vegetables, my gal loves homemade soups. I build them from scratch. She loves fresh fruit and vegetables. I will buy larger cuts of meat, all kinds, butcher them then freeze. This includes whole chickens. I bake bread and cakes from time to time.

I just finished buying vintage revere ware, pre 1968, the heavy type, 2X copper bottom, all kinds of pots and pans about 65 pieces including the lids! And 1950's Flint utensils! I just took a look back and said these were the things I grew up with and they seem to stand the test of time. I would like to be able to say the same about the knives I will be purchasing.

So some may ask the following question,

What have use been using? Well a clever, one small pairing knife, an old bread slicer and a 14-inch carving knife. That's kind of it. So I want to step up get some great knives.

Thanks to all of you for you time. I look forward to your responses. Greg
 

Eamon Burke

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AW I had a revereware stockpot that I grew up with that my parents had from forever ago, and it got STOLEN after I absentmindedly left it on the porch during a short-notice move. Pissed me off for weeks.

What kind of motion do you like to use when cutting? Are you planning to learn to cut differently, or do you want a knife that suits your style?

Do you want to make things for them, like matching custom handles, your own magnetic strip/knife block? Cause if you do, you can buy great blades with fugly handles and save some cheddar.
 

ghud

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Well Eamon I guess I use all kinds of motions, rolling my Clever back tip down, sometimes the opposite. I'm ambidextrous, I write left handed, but can do most things with either hand. I learned at an early age to keep my fingertips turned under and allow the knife to ride off of my knuckles. I'm willing to learn how to properly use a knife, I just ordered Chad's book, it should be here in about a week.

Sorry to hear about your lost/stolen stock pot. A Made Under Process Patent Patent 2272609 Double Ring 1801 Copper Clad 8Qt can be had for around $35 plus $10 shipping off of ebay. These are the only type to buy, period. Revereware has been increasing in price over the last 2 years about 15%. I have 20Qt,16Qt,12Qt,10Qt,8Qt stock pots and have used them all, the 20Qt I used to brew beer!

I have a good friend who works at a hardwood store, I can get any type of wood I need, yes I planned to make a block and have some magnets kicking around. What type of blades are you talking about?

Hi Mano, Didn't mean to leave you out, just was typing away when you posted. Thanks for the link I'll check it out, I'm glad to see someone else has gone through this recently!
 

FryBoy

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Where do you live? There may be some stores we could recommend for browsing.

First off, there are a lot of really good knives out there. The impassioned debates here are on the level of Ferrari vs. Maseratti, or Canon vs. Nikon, or Lafite vs. Latour. You don't need to go down that rabbit hole to get some super knives that will last for years -- and none last forever as sharpening wears them down to the point that they're no longer very serviceable. But most home cooks don't need to sharpen very often, so any you buy should be in good shape by the time your kids steal them from you or pry them from your cold, stiff hand.

Second, you have a couple of very basic decisions to make: 1. Western (Yo) or Japanese (Wa) handles; and 2. Carbon or Stainless Steel. I like Western handles because that's what I've used for the last 40+ years, and I like stainless for the ease of care. Most of the guys here like the Wa handles, which they feel give them greater control, and they prefer carbon steel as it takes a sharper and generally longer-lasting edge (but it can rust and thus requires more maintenance than stainless). IMHO, good stainless (e.g., VG10) gets scary sharp and stays that way for months (I'm a home cook like you -- I do 99% of the cooking, and my wife likes pretty much what you say yours does).

Third, I agree with the others about what you need -- which will probably differ from what you want. I'd recommend a Gyuto (Chef's), 240mm or 270mm, or both; a Sujihiki (slicer or carving knife), 270mm; a parer, 70 - 100mm; a couple of Petty knives, 120 and 150mm; maybe a Western Deba (for cutting up fish and so forth), a Honesuki (boning knife), maybe a Nakiri (veggie knife) or Santoku (sort of an all-purpose knife). A good Chinese Cleaver might be nice, and maybe a cheap heavy cleaver (e.g., Dexter-Russell) for bones.

Fourth, the wood. If you're into wood working, you can make your own, but if not, look at the products from www.theboardsmith.com (or study them if you intend to make your own), and check out the Shun knife blocks from Amazon (but don't buy the knives).

Fifth, sharpening. Stones are great, if you have the time and interest to develop the skills. Otherwise, look at the gadgets from www.edgeproinc.com (my choice).

Good luck -- and kiss the $1000 budget farewell!
 

Eamon Burke

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Ok here's my official out of the gate suggestion for $1000. Keep in mind I a very practical person:
$250 - decent home sized boardsmith board, whatever wood matches your decor and your wife likes.
$100-120 - 2pc Tojiro set, pick a 210 gyuto or a 240 for an extra 10(I would but it's up to your wife if she is ok with big knives) I only said this over a Tojiro DP alone because you said you use a parer. I've yet to meet a paring knife I didn't hate. IF you don't want a parer, I'd get a Suisin Inox 240, which is about $125.
$20 - Old Hickory QN-710, great carbon steel slicer, ready for a new handle
$30 - Forschner Bread Knife, perfect design, the softer steel will make eventual resharpening with a round hone less tedious
$50 - King 800/6000 combo stone, the only level of stone any home cook really needs. Sharpening is a part of cooking!
$100 - JKS Strop kit, it's a really great no-brainer strop setup and IMO stropping is a necessary step in freehand sharpening
$100 - Wood for your new handles and a rod of a pretty mosaic pin
$10 - Gray Kunz Spoon. Ok it's not a knife, but you'll use it more than any one knife! They are brilliantly designed and if you make a lot of sauces you'll want it.

$320 for your oncoming addiction. I wish I was kidding, but I'm not! You could also add the $120 for a main blade into this and see if Stephan Fowler can knock you up a chef's knife in W2 for $430. I don't know what his prices are on that kind of thing, but if he can, you can get in early and get a great knife from a talented guy cheaply(cause whatever he's charging today is less than it will be soon)! If you can't, I'd still set the $320 back and save to buy something from a custom maker once you really have a grasp on your knife and sharpening style.
 

ghud

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Thank for the reply Doug, I'm in San Diego. Everything you said sounds good except for that part about kissing the $1000.00 budget farewell! What would your suggested list cost?

Wow nice list Johndoughy! Where would you go to buy this list? Also I'm not married to any of my knives, except I do like my clever, though. I have a few pieces of hardwood round the shop; Lacewood, Cocobolo, Purple Heart, Pau Amarello are any of these suitable for handles? What type of material is "a rod of a pretty mosaic pin"?

Thanks guys, you are all being very helpful in describing my new addiction!!
 

FryBoy

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Thank for the reply Doug, I'm in San Diego. Everything you said sounds good except for that part about kissing the $1000.00 budget farewell! What would your suggested list cost?

Wow nice list Johndoughy! Where would you go to buy this list? Also I'm not married to any of my knives, except I do like my clever, though. I have a few pieces of hardwood round the shop; Lacewood, Cocobolo, Purple Heart, Pau Amarello are any of these suitable for handles? What type of material is "a rod of a pretty mosaic pin"?

Thanks guys, you are all being very helpful in describing my new addiction!!
$1K will be a very fine start -- but you may very well fall down the rabbit hole to some degree, and pretty soon you'll think that having a 4th or 5th 240mm Gyuto made by some raving madman genius cutler is a perfectly sensible way to spend your money.
 

Pensacola Tiger

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... pretty soon you'll think that having a 4th or 5th 240mm Gyuto made by some raving madman genius cutler is a perfectly sensible way to spend your money.
Are you trying to say it's not?
 

Eamon Burke

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I have a few pieces of hardwood round the shop; Lacewood, Cocobolo, Purple Heart, Pau Amarello are any of these suitable for handles? What type of material is "a rod of a pretty mosaic pin"?
Yes, those are fine woods, methinks! I am a fan of all of them.

This is a mosaic pin. It's a rod you use to keep the handle scales aligned, in conjunction with epoxy. It's mostly decorative, thanks to the strength of modern epoxy, but they certainly are pretty. You can make your own out of brass rods for model train sets if you are feeling crafty, or can't find a design you like.

You can buy those things at a variety of places. Dave Martell of JKS, Jon Broida of JKI, the BoardSMITH & Stephan Fowler have subforums here. ************** is a great site, I love it for window shopping, and he does a lot of volume sales. Don't pull the trigger too soon, cause other people are going to give you different ideas, I'm just one voice in a nuthouse. I read forums for 3 months before buying, myself. Knowledge is worth way more than tools, but I'm sure you know that!
 

ghud

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Doug, I prefer the purple pill, a little red, a little blue! I've been down the rabbit hole before, sometimes its fun and usually expensive! Is that where the raving madman genius cutler lives, at the bottom of the rabbit hole? And what knife would he show me?

Johndoughy can you please describe this, ($250 - decent home sized boardsmith board) and do I have to buy this or can I make it?

Thanks again
 

ghud

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Johndoughy is there a preferred wood? And is there wood to avoid? I know from experience certain African hardwood when they splinter the burn you get is immediate
 

ghud

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Sorry Johndoughy I missed the link! I checked the boardsmith site, got it! I'll check with my guy at the hardwood store, check the epoxies approved for food usage. Putting something together like that is right up my alley. Oh I forgot I have a piece of 4/4 Curly maple with some birdseye.
 

apicius9

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Johndoughy is there a preferred wood? And is there wood to avoid? I know from experience certain African hardwood when they splinter the burn you get is immediate
As long as they are well seasoned and not too light, most woods should work. Cocobolo is a classic and should work well ( and I assume I don't have t tell you not to breath in the dust?). Desert ironwood is also very well liked because of its density and nice pattern/color. I'm not a friend of purple heart because it burns so easily and it's not my color, similar with the yellow canary wood. Lacewood has splintered on me before but I think there are different types. Living in Hawaii, of course I like koa... Many people prefer their wood stabilized, i.e. resin-injected under vacuum. Definitely makes them more stable and water-resistant, bit you also lose the natural feel. If you make it for yourself where you live and the wood is seasoned, I don't see a reason for stabilizing, just oil the handle occasionally to keep it from drying out.

Stefan
 

Potato42

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Sorry Johndoughy I missed the link! I checked the boardsmith site, got it! I'll check with my guy at the hardwood store, check the epoxies approved for food usage. Putting something together like that is right up my alley. Oh I forgot I have a piece of 4/4 Curly maple with some birdseye.
If you're talking about making your own cutting board, you'll want to be more discriminatory about your wood selection. Anything with edible sap or seeds is the rule David Smith TheBOARDSMITH goes by. He uses only Maple, Mahogany, walnut and cherry for his boards. Other species may be perfectly acceptable but those are a good start. I don't remember the exact glue he uses but I believe it's a titebond product.

For knife handles your imagination is the limit.
 

ghud

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Nice Titebond III, use it all the time, last time I bought a gallon!

Thanks for the reply Stefan, my guy carries some Koa, he can get it out of LA if need be, love that wood! I have a piece of 8/4 Cocobolo with very little sap wood I think I'll start there. have a Bench Dog router table with 3 1/2 HP PC hooked up to it. Just need to make a good template. Man but HW's eats up my bits!
 

ghud

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Hey Sean, I've seen a few cutting boards, are there any plans/designs you guys like? Size, thickness and features?
 

ghud

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OK Doug here's what I found per your suggestion. I'm not saying I'm going there, but I want some input from everyone on the following list. It comes in a $1100. Without a board or sharpening equipment!

Tojiro DP Chef Knife 240mm
Kikuichi Elite Carbon Sujihiki 270mm
Tojiro DP Paring Knife 90mm
Hiromoto Petty Knife 120mm
Moritaka Petty 150mm
Tojiro DP Western Deba 240mm
Fujiwara FKM Stainless Boning 145mm
Tojiro DP Nakiri 165mm
Maruyoshi HD-5 Santoku 7"
Sugimoto Cleaver #30
Dexter-Russell 8'' X 3¼'' Chinese Chef Knife

Well what do you guys think? Greg
 

mc2442

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A bit of overlap on some of the knives, like the santoku and the nakiri. And you are back to getting a lot at once. Earlier suggestions of getting 1-2 knives to find what you like or want. Chef's knife - gyuto and a parer will accomplish most tasks, although I like the boning knife as well.
 

mc2442

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And auto correct on an iPhone can lead to a lot of weirdness if you don't carefully go over what you typed... Some odd suggestions in that last post
 

JohnnyChance

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I don't think you need all of those right away. I use a gyuto/chefs knife 90% of the time, and would rather spend more of my budget on that one knife than on multiple knives. I would concentrate on starting with a 240mm gyuto, 270/300 suji, a parer, a bread knife, and a cleaver since you already know you like them, then fill in the gaps from there. An additional long petty or honesuki type knife is a good utility knife and can help butcher whole chickens.

I don't think you need all those pettys and parers. One should suffice for the time being. Depending on what you prefer, long or short, should help you pick the first one. If you are unsure, get the 120 and then for your next one you can go up or down from there.

I find a nakiri and a santoku and a slicing cleaver and a gyuto to be very redundant. With a good gyuto and a slicing cleaver (very thin cleavers, not like our thick western cleavers that are made for butchering meat), I never find myself reaching for any of the nakiris or santokus I have. They are good for people who do not like using bigger knives (wife, kids, mom, etc). If you do not have something already they can use, just get one or the other. If you already have something they can use, skip these for now.

The more time you spend here, the more you will learn and the more you will find out what you like and what you dont. So I wouldnt buy everything at once, buy a few key pieces, see how they work for you, and then go from there.
 

Potato42

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Hey Sean, I've seen a few cutting boards, are there any plans/designs you guys like? Size, thickness and features?
I'd bet 9/10 of the guys around here have a board from http://www.theboardsmith.com/ so, that's a pretty good place to start.

As for your knife list, I still recommend saving that cash and starting light. I started with 2 knives, a gyuto and a petty, and I wasn't hurting for cutting power after that. I expanded my collection for many reasons trying different makers, sizes, steels, finishes and knife types. You can do it all at once, but you'll likely end up figuring out your money would have been better spent on something else as your preferences in cutlery become more clear.

Keep an eye on the B/S/T forum too, there are a lot of killer deals there. Many one of a kind knives end up needing new homes after we realize our bank accounts present a more pressing reality than our knife drawers. Gyuto's and suji's are the highest in demand, so if you have interest in single bevel knives, or anything less common (cleavers, nakiri's, boning knives) you can probably snag one up for an even bigger discount.

Hiromoto AS or Fujiwara FKH are good entry level choices for carbon knives. I'm not well versed on stainless knives so I'll let someone else fill in there. I will mention that Glestain is a good stainless knife when you can get them on sale, and just about the only knife where the "grantons" actually work to keep food from sticking (though it still sticks).
 

tk59

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OK Doug here's what I found per your suggestion. I'm not saying I'm going there, but I want some input from everyone on the following list. It comes in a $1100. Without a board or sharpening equipment!

Tojiro DP Chef Knife 240mm
Kikuichi Elite Carbon Sujihiki 270mm
Tojiro DP Paring Knife 90mm
Hiromoto Petty Knife 120mm
Moritaka Petty 150mm
Tojiro DP Western Deba 240mm
Fujiwara FKM Stainless Boning 145mm
Tojiro DP Nakiri 165mm
Maruyoshi HD-5 Santoku 7"
Sugimoto Cleaver #30
Dexter-Russell 8'' X 3¼'' Chinese Chef Knife

Well what do you guys think? Greg
Seriously, you should get a nice 240 mm gyuto and a 150 petty. Get them in stainless or semi-stainless unless you don't eat any raw acidic foods or fresh fruit and go from there. If I were you I'd look at CarboNEXT, Kikuichi TKC, and Konosuke HD series. I've tried out a ton of knives and nothing significantly outperforms these for a home cook. At some point, you should get something in non-stainless like a slicer so that you can experience how easily they achieve awe-inspiring edges and that's it. After that, it's just the disease taking hold (unless you're heavily into sushi or something). BoardSMITH is awesome, btw.
 
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