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vfamily

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Hi all.

Totally new here. My wife is the cook in the family, and as such is the main user of the knives. Right now we have a random array of garbage, and her favorite knife is a little knife that looks like a 5.5" Santoku style knife. She is very small (4'11") with very small hands.

I have wanted to get her a real knife for quite awhile, and while we were at the State Fair, saw a Cutco dealer. She tried them out, and really like them. So we bought a Santoku style knife, a cheese knife, and some shears. Total was just under $200.

I normally research everything well before I buy things, but these were for her, and she liked them. Well, I got home, and fired up Google, and read many bad things about Cutco, but some good things as well. But most say I overpaid for the knives. Well, we had a 15 day return policy, so we are returning them. I then learned all about Wusthof, Shun, MAC, Global, Victorinox Forschner, and Kyocera. I was really interested in the Victorinox Forschner because of the price, but I wanted her to try some out.

Most said Sur La Table had a good selection, so we just went there tonight. We looked at 8" chef's knives (too big), 7" Santoku (too big), and 5.5" Santokus (just right). We (She) tried the Global, Shun, Myabi, and Wusthofs. She also tried a Kyocera and a ... forgot the name, but it was a bright color and very cheap (like $10)...Rikon something. She loved loved loved the Myabi Kaizen knife. It wasn't totally outrageous at $120, but still was more than the $30 Forschner. I know she won't like that one compared to the Kaizen.

I have looked at Kaizen info, and it is sparse. Seems like a Sur La Table only model (which I'm leery off). The Sur La Table rep there said they couldn't sharpen it in house since it was ... I think an 11 degree edge.

A couple questions. My wife and I aren't the best at doing the dishes right away, and it might be difficult for us to remember to clean it right away (just being honest). Is it worth getting this good of a knife for us? Is this that good of a knife to begin with? Is it bad that only Sur La Table sells this? I see they have a knife class and after the class you get to keep a Shun 6" knife. Seems like a great deal (seeing as my wife wanted to take the class anyway). Has anyone taken this? Do you think they would let us switch out knives?

My friend says she has some Fiskar knives (which seem not to be sold stateside) and said she loves them because she has left food on them for 24 hours, and they are still sharp and rust free after 8 years. I was thinking ceramic might be the route for us, but unfortunately she liked the Miyabi, and said it was way sharper.

Sorry about the long post and so many questions.
 
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jm2hill

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There are some great stainless steel knives out there and you will be getting great recommendations soon.

Post a final price point for the knife and anything else you want and you'll get advice real quick.

Welcome!
 

tk59

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Sounds like your wife is into fancy as opposed to performance. If that is the case, the Miyabi should be a good buy. You cannot beat a Forschner for value but those knives don't hold their edge long. Ceramic is too brittle. You can also consider the Gekko line at Japanese Chefs Knife that have the faux-damascus look: http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/SPECIALS.html. I've used on of these and I found it was a very good performer for the price. If you don't want to sharpen your knives, they will get dull just like any others and we generally recommend whetstones, a professional sharpener with experience with Japanese knives (Japanese Knife Sharpening)/proprietor specializing in Japanese knives (Japanese Knife Imports).
 

vfamily

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Sounds like your wife is into fancy as opposed to performance. If that is the case, the Miyabi should be a good buy. You cannot beat a Forschner for value but those knives don't hold their edge long. Ceramic is too brittle. You can also consider the Gekko line at Japanese Chefs Knife that have the faux-damascus look: http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/SPECIALS.html. I've used on of these and I found it was a very good performer for the price. If you don't want to sharpen your knives, they will get dull just like any others and we generally recommend whetstones, a professional sharpener with experience with Japanese knives (Japanese Knife Sharpening)/proprietor specializing in Japanese knives (Japanese Knife Imports).
It's funny because I would never describe her that way, but man did she like the look of the Miyabi. But she also said it fit her like a glove, and though the other ones (5.5") were too high up. Not sure what she meant by that though. Normally she is more function over form, but this time I think both were in this knife. You say ceramic is too brittle. Is it true it will hold its edge for 7 years? Because if it breaks in 3 or 4, and is only $50, laying out another $50 for a replacement is still cheaper!
 

tk59

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It's funny because I would never describe her that way, but man did she like the look of the Miyabi. But she also said it fit her like a glove, and though the other ones (5.5") were too high up. Not sure what she meant by that though. Normally she is more function over form, but this time I think both were in this knife. You say ceramic is too brittle. Is it true it will hold its edge for 7 years? Because if it breaks in 3 or 4, and is only $50, laying out another $50 for a replacement is still cheaper!
Most people I know break their tips and have other chips in the edge within days. It all depends on how careful you are and it doesn't sound like you're very.
 

vfamily

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Most people I know break their tips and have other chips in the edge within days. It all depends on how careful you are and it doesn't sound like you're very.
Ahh, understood. I would say she is somewhat careful, but not super careful. I think we'll avoid ceramic. Thanks!
 

vfamily

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Sounds like your wife is into fancy as opposed to performance. If that is the case, the Miyabi should be a good buy. You cannot beat a Forschner for value but those knives don't hold their edge long. Ceramic is too brittle. You can also consider the Gekko line at Japanese Chefs Knife that have the faux-damascus look: http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/SPECIALS.html. I've used on of these and I found it was a very good performer for the price. If you don't want to sharpen your knives, they will get dull just like any others and we generally recommend whetstones, a professional sharpener with experience with Japanese knives (Japanese Knife Sharpening)/proprietor specializing in Japanese knives (Japanese Knife Imports).
Those Gekko JCK INAZUMA are gorgeous. But unfortunately I don't see the 5.5" knife.
 

tk59

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Nope. No 5.5" but these knives are so light, you really have plenty of control at the 8" size. It might just takea little getting used to. I also find a 6" petty very useful. If I had to, I could do just about anything with it.

Sorry, that was a 140 mm or about 5".
 

vfamily

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Nope. No 5.5" but these knives are so light, you really have plenty of control at the 8" size. It might just takea little getting used to. I also find a 6" petty very useful. If I had to, I could do just about anything with it.
Good to know. I think the knife class will help. Also, the one in our area isn't a Shun class, so no free knife. The $100 Shun class gets you a free knife. I think that is a killer deal if your area does it.
 

vfamily

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Nope. No 5.5" but these knives are so light, you really have plenty of control at the 8" size. It might just takea little getting used to. I also find a 6" petty very useful. If I had to, I could do just about anything with it.

Sorry, that was a 140 mm or about 5".
There is the 6" (or 150mm) Petty, which I am guessing is a Chef's knife? But she really likes the style of a Santoku
 

tk59

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A santoku is a chef's knife with a stubby tip. Pointy tips are useful and they experience less drag going through food stuff. If you want to explore some good lower priced options, go for Tojiro or Fujiwara.
 

oivind_dahle

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Buy nice or buy twice.

Go for a Murray Carter High Grade Funayuki
This one: http://www.cartercutlery.com/japane...ade-funayuki-ho-woodwater-buffalo-horn-handle
or
This one: http://www.cartercutlery.com/japane...e-funayuki-ho-woodwater-buffalo-horn-handle-0

And you could have it rehandled by Darkhoek or another closer to you:
http://www.knifeforums.com/forums/gallery/56867/1310900808-1.jpg
http://www.knifeforums.com/forums/gallery/56867/1310900825-2.jpg

If money is the important, go for a Torjo DP 180 Gyuto for 70 bucks or go for the 80 dollar Torjo DP 180 Damscus Gyuto that looks awesome ;)

But I recommend the Carter, awesome knife for females. I got one, and Im about to order one more from Carter (and I have ordered one from Marko in 150 and 2 x 180 from Marko as well)
 

tk59

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Agreed. If this is in your budget, it performs like no other. The problem would be the exposed carbon steel core which would rust to hell in no time if left wet. The tips are also somewhat delicate and the handles are burnt in so if that gets soaked a couple times, it will come off or you could have rusting issues inside the handle. The handle is also the cheapest handle around, and I don't just mean inexpensive. It works but that's it.
 

oivind_dahle

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The carter gets a nice patina. I had mine wet for several hours (yeah I was drunk) and no harm, but then again a nice patina had developed already. The patina forms quickly on a carter, and if you are careful you would have a nice patina within a week :)

I also think that if you have a nice knife you will be more careful with it, and you will wipe it clean after use. Just follow some simple rules:
No dishwasher
Wipe dry after use
Was with mild soap and water and wipe off.
Keep it stored safe

A nice rehandle will cost you like 100 bucks. You can also buy a carter on the buy/sell/trade marked. I did and got one for 150 bucks.

No cutting of bones and frozen food.
 

vfamily

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Hmm, the more I am reading these comments, the more I think maybe a "nice" knife isn't for us.
 

mhlee

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+1 to a Carter.

I purchased a 5.4 sun SFGZ White No. 1 Funayuki with a Riveted Handle for my girlfriend. She preferred a small Global santoku before I got this for her and wasn't particularly careful about wiping down knives after using them prior to this knife. This would be about the same size as the Miyabi.

However, she LOVES this knife. In fact, she really enjoys cutting now because this knife is a great cutting knife, light and easy to use. It's probably the best cutting knife that we have. She also now takes extremely good care of it, regularly wiping it down and washing it regularly. There's only minor discoloration at the tip because of the exposed carbon core, but it seems to hold up well even to acidic foods like lemons and limes. The handle doesn't look like much, but it's extremely practical and comfortable. She also really considers how something looks like, but she was fine with the handle.

We purchased it during Carter's last sale - it was roughly the same price as the Miyabi.
 

WildBoar

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When we went to SLT for Kramer's talk a couple months ago, my wife tried a bunch of demo knifes and really liked the Miyabi gyuto -- so she bought one. She uses is a lot, along with a 210 Hiromoto gyuto Dave Martell rehandled for us. The Miyabi is stainless steel, and really won out in her mind against the shorter ZH Kramer and against the Shuns. She telecommutes a couple days a week, and often does a quick lunch prep and leaves knifes laying around wet/ dirty. She knows not to do it with the Hiromoto (carbon steel edge), but she does not have to worry about the Miyabi.
 

vfamily

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When we went to SLT for Kramer's talk a couple months ago, my wife tried a bunch of demo knifes and really liked the Miyabi gyuto -- so she bought one. She uses is a lot, along with a 210 Hiromoto gyuto Dave Martell rehandled for us. The Miyabi is stainless steel, and really won out in her mind against the shorter ZH Kramer and against the Shuns. She telecommutes a couple days a week, and often does a quick lunch prep and leaves knifes laying around wet/ dirty. She knows not to do it with the Hiromoto (carbon steel edge), but she does not have to worry about the Miyabi.
Hmm, and the edge is as sharp as ever? Does she steel them a lot?
 

WildBoar

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She pretty much uses three knives for most of her prep. We've had this one ~2 months, and I have not needed to sharpen it. Still waiting on the JKS stropping kit, so it has not even been stropped, but it easily slid through tomatoes and onions the other night. No steels here -- they are not very friendly to knife edges!
 

vfamily

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She pretty much uses three knives for most of her prep. We've had this one ~2 months, and I have not needed to sharpen it. Still waiting on the JKS stropping kit, so it has not even been stropped, but it easily slid through tomatoes and onions the other night. No steels here -- they are not very friendly to knife edges!
Really? You shouldn't steel a knife?
 

jm2hill

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Really? You shouldn't steel a knife?
Sounds almost right. Honing (steeling) on Steel Rods that are generally to hard on Japanese knives and will chip them. This is because the japanese steel does not roll over as easy as some german steel, allowing it to take a sharper edge.

Steeling (honing) on A ceramic honing rod will work. however:

I'm sure lots of the members here use something called a strop kit. It lets you refine the edge on a piece of leather/wood/newspaper using abrasives.
 

WildBoar

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She got a Miyabi Fusion: http://uncategorized.sendori.com/search?q=surletable.com&s=S7uWfwB9C2ZkyAbG

Steels are pretty course, and can chip the edges of blades that have harder tempers. They may be okay on softer german stainless steel knifes (wusthoffs, etc.), but they can damage the harder steel used on these knives. If you must use a rod, usually a smooth borosilicate or ceramic rod is recommended, but the best is to strop on felt or leather loaded with diamond spray or chromium oxide powder.

There is loads of info/ threads out there about 'steels' and stropping.
 

WildBoar

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whoops -- jm2hill beat me to it! :)
 

bprescot

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Hi vf,

Sorry I'm replying so late here. The Miyabi's have a pretty solid reputation as good Shun competitors. There are a few here that even prefer them. If your questions is "Is there a better knife out there for the money", well yes. But you'll be making some trade-offs. The Miyabi's have some top-notch finishing. Everything fits just right, is nice and polished, and a lot of attention has been paid to small details. Additionally most find it looks great. Moreover you know your wife likes it. Now, if the questions is "Is there another knife that has all of this for cheaper?" ... probably not. We tend to value function over all else here. So, while we could point you to a better performing knife, you'd probably lose some of that other stuff. Someone here recommended a Tojiro Damascus for instance. Tojiro's cut great, have good steel and this one even has a similar cladding to the Kaizen. But you're not going to get the same level of finish on this knife. Whether that's worth $40 is up to you.

The question of how to keep it sharp, however, does remain. The factory edge on that Miyabi will last a LONG time in a home kitchen, but not forever. There are things you can do to help extend that life (like getting a ceramic rod for honing or rigid strop) but the edge WILL need to be sharpened at some point. This will be true of ANY knife, though, so I don't think it should deter your purchase of the or anything else. My vote would be to keep the wife happy. If she loves the Miyabi then great! It's a fine knife and will put in many years of service.
 

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Hi vfamily!

Based on everything you've said, I think I would echo bprescot's advice and say go with the Miyabi. It's going to be a good knife and you won't have to worry about the fit & finish as you might with cheaper blades nor will you have to be as vigilant about rust dangers as you would with a carbon. Plus, you've already been able to try it out and know that your wife likes it! Finally, Sur La Table has an ultra-lenient return policy, so if you buy the knife and it doesn't turn out to be what you hoped for, you can always take it back and try something else instead!
 

Eamon Burke

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No knife, no matter how cheap, will ever survive a dishwasher. It's not the knife, it's the dishwasher. So you gotta get in the practice of wiping a knife after you are done with it--kitchen towels exist for the same reason as toilet paper. It's cleaner and safer.

I do not recommend anything carbon-steel, because it sounds like you might leave some lemon butter on it at one time or another(that doesn't make you a bad person:wink:). I would suggest that if you are willing to change a few things to take care of the knife, you can go with a stainless like a Tojiro, which is a fairly thin knife for cheap. The finish on it isn't great, but I'm sure you can handle a little sandpaper if it's really bugging you.

Your other option, IMO, is to buy a Victorinox chef's knife and learn to sharpen it. Having a knife that is sharp is more important than having one that is well designed. The problem with these cheaper knives is that they don't let you be lazy--they don't stay sharp for very long at all. Steeling will help soft steel knives like the Victorinox, but they edge will need repair long before harder(read: slightly more brittle) steel like the Tojiro.

So:
Buy a good, stainless knife, and have it professionally maintained about twice a year.
or
Buy a cheap knife like a Victorinox(my favorite beaters), and learn to sharpen it yourself.



No knife will stay sharp forever. Its just not going to happen! But the difference between a Victorinox and a Carter is beyond night and day. They are barely the same tool.
 
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