Knife qualities that matter most to you

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Dhoff

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1. Does it keel
2. Geometry/grind
3. Profile
4. Price
5. Steel
6. Handle
7. aesthetics
 

Benuser

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Profile, food release / geometry, pleasant sharpening.
A high tip makes it unusable to me — I'm a short guy, and don't like raising my elbow above the shoulder. There has to be enough steel to play with. No laser please. I want to feel what happens on the stone. Not having to guess whether a burr is gone. And see it popping up somewhere else after half an hour.
The good feeling when sharpening is strongly related to the close feeling I want on the board.
 

branwell

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Of equal importance to me.

Balance
Ergonomics
Grind

I need the knife to "Feel" right so things like balance and ergonomics are huge.
Grind is also important because it's one of those hard to adjust things that really effects the cut. The rest of stuff I can work around. Profiles, steel types etc, easy to work around.
 

inferno

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for me it kinda works out like this:

does the blade look good?
is it made out a steel i'm willing to own?
do i trust the makers HT?

if all those are yes. then i'm willing to get it.

the rest of it i can easily fix myself to my liking. profile, grind, handle, finish etc.
 

DitmasPork

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Hmmm, really compelling OP question. Firstly, impossible for me to rank the most important elements of a knife, since I have a wide range of knives I like, and view each as having strengths and weaknesses. When I consider my humble collection as a whole—there are common threads that are revealed, defining my taste and preferences for kitchen knives.

Common threads:
• Go carbon or go home! All of my knives are carbon—not counting the decade old UX10 I never use. Excellent quality carbon steel is probably what gets my heart racing—be it 52100, b1, b2, w1, w2, whatever Birgersson uses, Bryan and Yanick's superb steel, spicy Swedish, etc.
• Authorship. From which maker or workshop adds considerable weight for my knife purchase decisions—style; reputation; fame, hype—the notable makers that have rocked my world are TF, Kato, Heiji, Raquin, etc.
• Aesthetics. Not difficult to tell I'm a kurouchi fan! Gorgeous honyaki hamons and shiny Sakai knives do nothing for me—I adore the rough, rustic look and feel of kurouchi; a finish that references the blacksmiths forge and craft.
• Rarity/uniqueness. Performance is key, since I buy knives to use—but I do value the specialness of having knives that aren't commonplace—be it a result of low production output (Jiro); or cost (denka, shig, kato); or custom.
• Size matters. The number I respond to most when sniffing out a gyuto is '225.' I've more 225 gyutos than any other length, it's my comfort zone, my safe zone, my 'must buy' dog whistle.

9BCF002C-03E2-4EA5-8CD9-2974E5EB017D.jpeg
 

stringer

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For gyutos only
In order of importance:


No recurve at the heel
No K-tips or pointy fragile tips
No sexy choil
Not too flat
Not a continuous radius
Not clad
At least 240x50mm
Western pakka handle with metal bolster
Under budget
 

Michi

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Awesome! It's even got a speed bump!
This is such a weird knife. Has anyone ever used one? I wonder whether all the fancy holes and the ridge actually make a difference. If so, for what kind of produce?
 

GorillaGrunt

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Blingy handle
Garish damascus, preferably with lots of black etch
OOTB sharpness
Internet hype for flippability
Steel with the lowest possible iron content and a name that sounds like it belongs to an air-to air missile
Made by the oldest maker with the longest lineage in the remotest area of Japan with the most references to tradition and infused with oodles of yin yang dragon power, the production process should sound like a Naruto episode from the final two seasons crossed over with GoT/LotR. In theory I’d accept a Norseman but all the Scandinavian smiths whose pictures I’ve seen are far too tall to pass as proper dwarves


but seriously folks:
Edge retention over one shift is important. Longer than that isn’t as important.
Grind and geometry are important but hard to quantify beyond broadly: the knives I like the most are either very versatile, suited to a diverse portfolio of tasks without switching, or very specific, particularly suited to a narrow portfolio of tasks or even a single one. The ones in between I don’t like as much.
Comfort is important; there are a lot of variables that go into that but some knives just feel better to cut for hours with.

Really I don’t know any of these things until I use one for a while. That’s why I try so many and look for new ones to try all the time. And the things I do with them change frequently - some are even perfect for one job but no good for the next job based not only on the food but on the space.
 

Delat

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It’s interesting to see the types of responses to this question.

I’m in sales and always make a mental map between “value” and “features”. We first determine “value” to the customer, then call out the features that deliver the value. “Value” is a personal judgement, basically the high-level “this is important to me” bucket.

Here’s what I see as a rough value/feature breakdown offhand. I can see the pros weight heavily towards “cuts well” and “maintenance”. Personally I’m heavily weighted towards “looks good” and “cuts well” with a bit of “maintenance” concern with carbon rusting. So I’m probably 40/40/20 split between those. So for me an plain or unattractive blade could be a fantastic steel and amazing cutter that the pros would love but I wouldn’t touch. That blade from a mass-producer would get zero interest from someone who cares about provenance, but if it was from a rare batch made by a mythical smith, then the “pride of ownership” group would sit up and take notice.

Value: Looks good
Features: Damascus, k-tip, finish (kuorochi, mirror, etc), patina (pro or con depending on perspective), handle, F&F, etc

Value: Cuts well / ease of use
Features: HRC, profile, geometry, length, weight, steel, handle, etc

Value: Maintenance
Features: carbon (either a pro or a con depending on perspective), stainless, steel type, sharpening, etc

Value: Value / TCO (total cost of ownership)
Features: cost, resale value, manufacturer rep, etc

Value: Pride of ownership
Features: manufacturer, rarity, popularity, etc
 

MowgFace

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It’s interesting to see the types of responses to this question.

I’m in sales and always make a mental map between “value” and “features”. We first determine “value” to the customer, then call out the features that deliver the value. “Value” is a personal judgement, basically the high-level “this is important to me” bucket.

Here’s what I see as a rough value/feature breakdown offhand. I can see the pros weight heavily towards “cuts well” and “maintenance”. Personally I’m heavily weighted towards “looks good” and “cuts well” with a bit of “maintenance” concern with carbon rusting. So I’m probably 40/40/20 split between those. So for me an plain or unattractive blade could be a fantastic steel and amazing cutter that the pros would love but I wouldn’t touch. That blade from a mass-producer would get zero interest from someone who cares about provenance, but if it was from a rare batch made by a mythical smith, then the “pride of ownership” group would sit up and take notice.

Value: Looks good
Features: Damascus, k-tip, finish (kuorochi, mirror, etc), patina (pro or con depending on perspective), handle, F&F, etc

Value: Cuts well / ease of use
Features: HRC, profile, geometry, length, weight, steel, handle, etc

Value: Maintenance
Features: carbon (either a pro or a con depending on perspective), stainless, steel type, sharpening, etc

Value: Value / TCO (total cost of ownership)
Features: cost, resale value, manufacturer rep, etc

Value: Pride of ownership
Features: manufacturer, rarity, popularity, etc
+1

Great post.
 

Barmoley

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Profile can be part of looks good as well as cuts well. Some profiles just look better to some people, could be because they think these profiles will cut well from experience or just looks. Some blade shapes just look better than other it seems.
 

Delat

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Profile can be part of looks good as well as cuts well. Some profiles just look better to some people, could be because they think these profiles will cut well from experience or just looks. Some blade shapes just look better than other it seems.
Totally agree. Since I weight heavily towards appearance and functionality (cuts well), for my 2nd j-knife I’ve been looking for something with a different appearance from the standard gyuto shape that I already have, and cuts differently. So I’m leaning towards a k-tip + laser since I currently own a mid-weight gyuto.

And I remember a comment someone made about who cares about a pretty knife if you never use it. That’s clearly someone who cares mostly about functionality, whereas I would love to have a gorgeous knife on display that I rarely actually use [insert Xerxes damascus drool emoticon].
 

DavidPF

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Awesome! It's even got a speed bump!
That ridge may be specifically for potatoes, in which case it could be called a spud beemp. And yes, you do have to say "beemp" in that weird tone you used just now. That's just how it is.
 

DavidPF

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If I list what's most important to me in a knife, my list is going to be based on my assumptions of "what every knife should always have anyway", and being my assumptions they're likely to be wrong.
But basically what I really hope for is for all the stuff in all the knowledgeable people's lists to be organized and put together just right, so that I don't notice any of it; I want it to be so that I just like it and it just works.
 

andrewsa

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for my 2nd j-knife I’ve been looking for something with a different appearance from the standard gyuto shape that I already have, and cuts differently. So I’m leaning towards a k-tip + laser since I currently own a mid-weight gyuto.
You should have a crack at this Itsuo Doi Gyuto if you want something different from the standard gyuto shape that might possibly cut different too.

itsuodoigyuto.jpg
 

GorillaGrunt

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Profile can be part of looks good as well as cuts well. Some profiles just look better to some people, could be because they think these profiles will cut well from experience or just looks. Some blade shapes just look better than other it seems.
that‘s definitely true; I can’t remember which knives they were but I’ve put two completely different spine shape knives up against each other to see that the edge profiles were identical. Not that they’d cut entirely the same because of cross sectional geometry over height, but still it was quite a surprise.
 

Delat

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You should have a crack at this Itsuo Doi Gyuto if you want something different from the standard gyuto shape that might possibly cut different too.

View attachment 117797
Is this one in your picture shorter than the 240mm you linked? The 240 has a very interesting profile - a long flat belly like a santoku but then an aggressively curved tip for rocking. That would be a nice profile for chopping/mincing fine stuff like herbs and scallion. Possibly a bit too heavy for me at 272g though (the 240mm). But on the plus side I’d feel like a pirate or bandit up to no good with that knife profile, which would be all kinds of fun.
 

panda

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If I list what's most important to me in a knife, my list is going to be based on my assumptions of "what every knife should always have anyway", and being my assumptions they're likely to be wrong.
But basically what I really hope for is for all the stuff in all the knowledgeable people's lists to be organized and put together just right, so that I don't notice any of it; I want it to be so that I just like it and it just works.
this just sounds like you don't know what you like
 

captaincaed

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You should have a crack at this Itsuo Doi Gyuto if you want something different from the standard gyuto shape that might possibly cut different too.

View attachment 117797
That's an example of a profile that can't be fixed. If the grind was chunky, I could fix that. But oh boy. Not for me, anyway. I'm sure someone loves it.
 

captaincaed

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If you like to cut with 5% of your edge, please use this knife.
The worst part is, I'm sure the maker makes sensible knives most of the time, but demand produces these shambling horrors that can barely limp across a cutting board to have a brief affair with a scallion, only to collapse into a heap of accordion-shaped failure.
 

stringer

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This is my partner's ideal profile. It's built for rock chopping with tiny hands.
 

andrewsa

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Is this one in your picture shorter than the 240mm you linked? The 240 has a very interesting profile - a long flat belly like a santoku but then an aggressively curved tip for rocking. That would be a nice profile for chopping/mincing fine stuff like herbs and scallion. Possibly a bit too heavy for me at 272g though (the 240mm). But on the plus side I’d feel like a pirate or bandit up to no good with that knife profile, which would be all kinds of fun.
I think the picture I shared is a 210mm.

There's one on knifewear.

Maybe try the 240mm Suji. At this rate you'll have both a weapon you can take to the seas and a kitchen knife.
 
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