Introduction, Part II

Discussion in 'New Member Check-In' started by Paul6001, Nov 16, 2019.

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  1. Nov 16, 2019 #1

    Paul6001

    Paul6001

    Paul6001

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2019
    Messages:
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    Location:
    New York City
    Recently, the question of buying another knife for my small compilation brought me to the precipice. I'm facing a crisis. I have all the knives I need. But I want more Do I become a collector?

    A little background: My entry into the knife world was brought about by two things that coincidentally happened about the same time. First, I took a bad knee injury in a car accident in Mexico. (Fractured tibial plateau. Don't let this happen to you.) No weight bearing on my left leg for three months. I've got crutches, but it's essentially three months on my ass. Plenty of spare time to spend pointlessly on the internet.

    Second, a chunk of the handle broke off my trusty Wusthof classic chef's knife, a faithful companion for almost two decades. After a period of mourning, I was ready to replace it with the same thing. After all, this is the best knife in the world, right? Isn't it what all the pros use? But before I could click buy, I remembered something Anthony Bourdain once said about Global knives.

    Just on a whim, I did a little looking around for Global. The rest is history. And so Japanese knives became the latest material good in which my taste far exceeds my budget. First, I bought a used Shun gyuto off eBay for $80 to replace the Wusthof. So far so good. The damascus steel, something I'd never seen before, was gorgeous. So gorgeous, in fact, that soon a Shun santuko entered the picture. Both knives were terrific. (I assume their new owners are enjoying them now.)

    You see, the gyotu was dull and I had a very hard time sharpening it. (My first attempt to sharpen a knife. Obviously my fault, not the knife.) And while it's a perfectly fine knife, it clearly wasn't going to win me any points in the KKF world. (Although KKF members quickly told me how to patch up the gyuto that I had destroyed on the whetstones so I couod recover something on resale.) Plus the santuko seemed to be pointless, pretty much the same thing as the gyotu. I stepped back and reevaluated.

    By this point, Jon Broida was becoming something of a celebrity of sorts in my house. He faithfully and thoughtfully replied to all of my ridiculous emails. Korin and Yanagi are near me but they might as well have been on Mars for all the chance I had of getting to them. But with the internet supplying infinite information, I was ready to operate from home.

    I started with a gyotu, my most basic need. A 210mm Waiku to be exact. Orgasmic. Enthralling. My sharpening skills were improving and I was no longer just cutting regular paper but magazine paper specifically.

    I got a neat damascus paring knife—with a stainless handle, very cool—for $3 on eBay. I though about getting a petty but I always liked the Wusthof boning knife that I had used in that utility role. Same with the bread knife. Picked up a Tojiro nashiki from CKTG and a vintage deba from eBay with a great patina. (After a couple of weeks, I shined up the deba and began my hardest sharpening job to date.) A 1,000/6,000 sharpening stone and a leather strop.

    And that's it. That's all I need. That's all any home cook could possibly need. More. I could probably get by with just a gyotu. From here on out, it's hard—maybe impossible—to justify any purchase. A $1,200 Masamoto yanagi is not exactly a necessity. I've never cut a piece of sashimi in my life and I'd probably be too scared to use it, anyway. There's an infinite number of stones, but to be honest, I really don't feel the need to get a 3,000 to fit between my 1,000 and my 6,000. There's nothing that I have that falls short in terms of performance. I'm stuck.

    Should I learn to make my own knives? I should check with the neighbors downstairs but my Brooklyn brownstone isn't the ideal location. I've tried raising the subject with a few friends but they either patronize me or tell me that I'm crazy. I'm going to take a sharpening class at Korin but that's lasts only a couple of hours.

    I'm nearing the end of my period of solitary confinement and, once I'm released, I'll have a life again and my compulsion to do something knife-related might get lost in the traffic. For the moment, though, I'm jonesing. I'm jonesing something bad. I need a fix, man, I need to score.
     
  2. Nov 17, 2019 #2

    WildBoar

    WildBoar

    WildBoar

    Home cook, knife accumulator Founding Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
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    4,196
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    Sounds like you started off the same way a lot of us did. I like to think of it as "Phase 1". Or "Pre-school" :D
     
  3. Nov 17, 2019 #3

    Paul6001

    Paul6001

    Paul6001

    Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    Where did you end up, with the 3,000 stone?
     
  4. Nov 17, 2019 #4

    Benuser

    Benuser

    Benuser

    Supporting Member

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    Send the knife to Wüsthof. They have a reputation of extreme benevolence.
     
  5. Nov 17, 2019 #5

    Paul6001

    Paul6001

    Paul6001

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2019
    Messages:
    56
    Location:
    New York City
    I thought about it. And it does have a lifetime guarantee. But that knife has given more than anyone has a right to expect. Somehow I feel like I would be doing a disservice to its memory by making a claim.

    Update: In a very collector-ish way, I bought an old Sabatier with a very cool patina from eBay. An atonement for shining up the old deba of mine and a gesture to France, the real heart and genesis of my cooking avocation.
     

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