Knife recommendation for a beginner

Discussion in 'Kitchen Knife Knowledge' started by SirPupcakes, Mar 25, 2019.

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  1. Mar 25, 2019 #1

    SirPupcakes

    SirPupcakes

    SirPupcakes

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    Apologies in advance if this is the wrong place for this or if I’ve done some otherwise foolish. I don’t know a whole lot about knives but I’m interested in trying something with a bit more quality to it. I figure that it’s something I use every day, so may as well enjoy it



    LOCATION
    What country are you in? Canada.


    KNIFE TYPE
    What type of knife are you interested in (e.g., chef’s knife, slicer, boning knife, utility knife, bread knife, paring knife, cleaver)? Chef’s knife.

    Are you right or left handed? Right-handed.

    Are you interested in a Western handle (e.g., classic Wusthof handle) or Japanese handle? I’m partial to the Japanese knives I’ve seen but I’m open to anything.

    What length of knife (blade) are you interested in (in inches or millimeters)? Eight inches, but if anybody thinks this size is inappropriate based on other answers please fill me in.

    Do you require a stainless knife? I’m not sure, does stainless mean less maintenance? The most experience I’ve ever had with kitchen tool maintenance would probably be something like cast iron pans I guess, which is not exactly rocket science. I’m definitely open to putting in some extra work though.

    What is your absolute maximum budget for your knife? If I can get something for under $350 (Canadian) that would be ideal. I’d be open to stretching the budget a bit though if it’s worth it.


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

    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.) I’m vegan so really only any kind of vegetable preparation. Slicing, chopping, mincing, etc.

    What knife, if any, are you replacing? It may as well be a butter knife.

    Do you have a particular grip that you primarily use? (Please click on this LINK for the common types of grips.) 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.) Rocking, walking, chopping.

    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.)

    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)? I like the look of the layered / Damascus steel, and am partial wood grain in the handle, but this is less of a priority than usability.

    Comfort (e.g., lighter/heavier knife; better handle material; better handle shape; rounded spine/choil of the knife; improved balance)? I have small hands but need a knife large enough to keep all the vegetable chopping from becoming tiresome, so lightweight I think is important? I’d rank comfort as probably the most important factor for me, along with ease of use. I tend to also do a lot of meal prep so using the knife for long periods of time can be an issue.

    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)? Having vegetables pile up on the blade is irritating so I guess food release would be important. Wedging has never really bothered me but I do cut a lot of potatoes, so I guess take that for what it’s worth.

    Edge Retention (i.e., length of time you want the edge to last without sharpening)? I’m not sure what’s involved in sharpening but, as I said, I’m open to putting in some work. However, if it needs to be done by a professional, or sent away then it becomes a bit more of a nuisance.



    KNIFE MAINTENANCE
    Do you use a bamboo, wood, rubber, or synthetic cutting board? (Yes or no.) Primarily use an Acacia end grain board, and sometimes a polypropylene board.

    Do you sharpen your own knives? (Yes or no.) No, but I’m open to starting.

    If not, are you interested in learning how to sharpen your knives? (Yes or no.) Yes.

    Are you interested in purchasing sharpening products for your knives? (Yes or no.) Yes, recommendations here would be welcomed as well. These items wouldn’t need to be included in the knife budget.


    SPECIAL REQUESTS/COMMENTS

    My last knife cost probably something around the $15 so any advice on owning something nicer would be appreciated.

    Thanks for reading!
     
  2. Mar 25, 2019 #2

    Chef Doom

    Chef Doom

    Chef Doom

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    Suien VC 240 if you are willing to go with carbon. Western handle. Best bang for your buck from what I found. I have a 210 that I use for visiting friends and family but plan on getting a 240 one of these days.

    A Ginga is good either carbon or stainless if you want to go with either carbon or stainless with a wa handle. They are on the thinner side.
     
  3. Mar 25, 2019 #3

    Chef Doom

    Chef Doom

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    Whatever you first stone is should be between 800 and 2000 grit. Stick with one stone for at least 6 months until you get the hang of sharpening consistently. Next I would get a course stone followed by a 3rd finishing stone. Anything above 500 or 6000 is over kill unless you are using a single bevel for certain tasks like sushi our finely cut vegetables.
     
  4. Mar 25, 2019 #4

    Chef Doom

    Chef Doom

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    I guess I can't delete this post hahaha
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2019
  5. Mar 25, 2019 #5

    HRC_64

    HRC_64

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    Canadian $ budget is tough because you need shipping, customs, taxes and a sharpening stone...
    so what that leaves you to spend on the knife I have no Idea...

    A couple options for suppliers (if not local) are direct from Japan, either blueway or Japanese Chef Knives...
    Blueway carries the Ashi Ginga, which is a quality knife with a nice variety of options for handle, size, steel, etc
    and never really gets crazy expensive.

    The downsize of buying this way is shipping the stone, because the weight adds to the shipping cost.
    If its possible to get free shipping on a stone from Amazon prime or whatever, look into that.
     
  6. Mar 25, 2019 #6

    SirPupcakes

    SirPupcakes

    SirPupcakes

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    Thanks for the suggestions, these look great! No need to try and factor in too much regarding the budget, it's pretty flexible; I can always save up a little bit if need be so it's more of a guideline I guess.

    Will any type of sharpening stone do or should I be looking at specific brands? Does it need to be matched to the knife at all, or is there anything to consider other than grit?
     
  7. Mar 25, 2019 #7

    AT5760

    AT5760

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    I'm pretty new to Japanese knives and I was in a similar position to about 4 months ago. After asking for lots of recommendations, I bought a 240mm Tanaka Blue 2 Gyuto from K&S. The knife has been a pleasure to use and has me browsing on a daily basis looking for my next knife. I'm not sure how about shipping and exchange from Australia to Canada, but if it works for your budget, I would check it out.
     
  8. Apr 16, 2019 #8

    Chef Doom

    Chef Doom

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    I don't recommend specific brands on sharpening stones as I mostly tried the Gesshin brand. Whatever you get start with 800 to 2000 grit and stick with one stone for at least 6 months before even thinking about a new stone.
     
  9. Apr 17, 2019 #9

    Nemo

    Nemo

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    A knife with good food release will be thicker and therefore heavier (which you said you didn't want). I guess I'm wondering whether you want a full-on workhorse wight knife, a middleweight or a thinner knife? It's not like a good workhorse grind is so heavy that you can't lift it or anything like that. FWIW, I personally find a good workhorse grind plows through big piles of veggies faster than a laser.

    Good knives are generally measured in mm rather than inches. With a propper pinch grip, the knife does seem 30 to 60mm shorter than with a racquet grip. My first good gyuto was 210mm. Every one since has been 240 or 270. I gravitate towards 270 but you will probably get used to 240 pretty fast. 240mm is also a kind of default size, so you will likely find that it's easier to sell in the future.

    A good knife will have thin, hard (therefore brittle) steel at the edge. The edge won't cope well with lateral (sideways) forces and may chip if you walk chop. Rocking is usually not a problem as long as you don't rotate the knife while the edge is in contact with the board. The good news is that a good knife excells at other cutting techniques such as push slice/ guillotine and glide, which are more efficeint than rocking and walking when you have a knife that can do it easily. The other bit of good news is that they are not too hard to learn.

    Damascus (suminigashi in Japanese) looks pretty. It doesn't usually affect performance (some very textured damascus may affect drag or food release but this is not common and it's often not an improvement) and it is expensive. It's aslo a pain to refinish and re-etch after thinning. Damascus knives tend to not have much distal taper because this would affect the way that the damascus layers are revealed, changing the damascus pattern.

    Carbon steel is not that hard for a home user to care for, as lkkng as it is not expecially humid where you live. Let the knife patina. Rinse under water straight after acidic foods, wash and dry straight after prep. Carbon is cerainly easy to sharpen however a stinless clad carbon is worth considering, as is a semistainless blade (which will be almost as easy to sharpen but much less prone to corrosion).

    I'm happy to make some recommendations if you narrow down some of these points for us.
     
  10. Apr 17, 2019 #10

    Bert2368

    Bert2368

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    I would suggest a gyuto of 210 to 240mm length.

    You're newish to the concepts of good knives and their sharpening, so stainless steel, harder than a German knife but not insanely hard.

    Small hands. Wants a lighter knife.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B06WLNJD4Q/ref=cm_cr_arp_mb_bdcrb_top?ie=UTF8

    Why do I keep recomending this knife to EVERYONE new to J knives and on a tight budget?! Because I fit these categories myself and have personally handled it + watched a new user transition from a dull, heavy Western "crow bar" of a kitchen knife to this and seen how much it was liked.
     

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