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Knife Request from a newbie

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agp

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What type of knife(s) do you think you want?
Chef's knife / Japanese knife (chef's knife shaped)

Why is it being purchased? What, if anything, are you replacing?
Needs a new knife to replace my current knife. I'm using a Hamilton Beach that I got from Costco from a set of knives. It's nothing fancy and it's getting dull.

What do you like and dislike about these qualities of your knives already?
Well since there's nothing to like about my current knives I'll just write about what I would like in my future knife.

Aesthetics- looking for a knife with burl wood (or any sort), flame maple, or steel handle.
Edge Quality/Retention- preferably does not dull fast, since it will take me a while to learn how to sharpen knives properly
Ease of Use- easier is always better
Comfort- more comfortable is always better?

What grip do you use?
Finger point

What kind of cutting motion do you use?
Mainly rocking, with walking throwing in for garlic and herbs now and then.

Where do you store them?
In my bedroom. I don't have any sheath or anything, so preferably the knife comes with a sheath.

Have you ever oiled a handle?
Nope, but I have oiled guitar fingerboards (I have 3 guitars and 2 basses)

What kind of cutting board(s) do you use?
I usually use laminate wood and I have tried synthetic boards but did not like them. Nonetheless, I am willing to change if necessary.

For edge maintenance, do you use a strop, honing rod, pull through/other, or nothing?
Have never maintained a knife, so I'm willing to learn.

Have they ever been sharpened?
Haven't sharpened a knife

What is your budget?
$200 - $300. The lower the better. I'm no professional chef, I just LOVE cooking, so just a good looking knife that does not get dull quickly will keep me satisfied.

What do you cook and how often?
Every weekend, and most week days. 1 - 2 meals each day.

Special requests(Country of origin/type of wood/etc)?
Like mentioned before, I'm no professional, so just a good looking knife that does not get dull quickly, and is not too expensive will keep me satisfied.
 

Benuser

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Every knife will dull. If you want to learn sharpening you will have to exercise; so the edge retention becomes less relevant. I would suggest a carbon steel knife because of the easy sharpening. Some suggestions: Very easy sharpening: Fujiwara FKH, some $75. Finer steel, great F&F,even easier sharpening, some $215: Misono Swedish Carbon. Both are very reactive. Patina building required. Easier maintenance: Hiromoto AS, exceptional carbon core steel with a stainless cladding. Will take the finest edge and hold it almost forever. About $150.
 

James

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JCK carbonext and email the owner (Koki) to see if he can set you up with the appropriate saya. Spend the rest of your money on a decent medium grit and fine grit stone as well as a stone flattener. You will need to learn to sharpen.
 

tk59

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In that price range, I'd recommend Akifusa or if you like more curvature, a Cermax/Miyabi. However, as Benuser mentioned, it will eventually get dull like any other knife. If you are really averse to sharpening, you might consider a nice bread knife instead.
 

skewed

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Where do you store them?
In my bedroom.
I am not going to judge. :eyebrow::lol2:

To really enjoy the full benefits of a nice knife you have to invest the money and time to keep it sharp. Sounds like you are open to doing this. Definitely get a couple stones and perhaps as Benuser recommended an inxpensive easy to sharpen carbon knife like a Fujiwara FKH. Once you feel comfortable with sharpening, then get a higher quality knife.

BTW- watch out, this can be addictive.

Have fun!
 

agp

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What's the general consensus on damascus knives? Are they hard to sharpen/maintain?
Also, if I want to set the new budget at 150, 200 max, for a gyuto/santoku as well a sharpening material, what would you recommend?
 

agp

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What's the deal with damascus knives? Are they easy to sharpen/maintain?

Let's update my budget to 150-200 for a knife and sharpening/maintenance equipment.

And any specific recommendation for sharpening/maintenance equipment?
 

Shinob1

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I recommend giving Jon at Japanese Knife Imports a call, he will steer you in the right direction.
 

bprescot

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Alright. Well I'm going to give you a potentially unpopular recommendation, and that's the one that gets you a beginning setup that I can wholeheartedly recommend and you'll likely enjoy for as CHEAP as possible. By no means are these the sexiest knives, but they are going to perform WAY better than your current and have the added bonus of coming in well under budget.

Option 1 (The cheapest/Most conservative): Forschner Fibrox and a King 1k/6K stone.
Pro: Good value knife you can use and abuse plus a stone to help you figure out how to sharpen and if sharpening is for you. The steel in the forschners and their general geometry are better than most at this price, though they are ugly as sin and not as good as some of the more expensive knives. But total investment of $75 max is always nice... If you decide that you love sharpening you can look to upgrade knives in the future, and you only paid a $35 premium. If you find out sharpening isn't for you, you can re-sell the stone and continue to use the knife and just replace as necessary, or get a crappy electric sharpener at some point. It will destroy your knife in the long run, but it's a $35 knife so who the hell cares?

Option 2 (A step up): King 1K/6K stone and "Used"
So for a step up and still cheap, try posting a Want To Buy thread. You're looking for a Tojiro, Yoshihiro, Kagayaki... something in that range. Goal is about $75 or below. Or ask to see if people have a Fujiwara FKM they'd let go. New these guys are around $85, so you could probably find an okay deal. As an added benefit, if it's being sold by a long-standing member, they have probably done the work to set initial bevels and sharpen. It will make it a bit easier to get the hang of sharpening when you can see what others have done. That's what i found at least. Again, if not your thing, you can sell off both at only a slight loss. DON'T use any of the above knives in a POS sharpener. Just sell them and go find that Forschner.

Option 3 (whole hog... sort of): King 1k/6K, CarboNext 240mm Gyuto (and maybe ask Koki to see if there's a saya that would work?)
No saya with this one, but it's a dang good knife. Semi stainless, so do take care or it will discolor. Great steel. Something like $130 (or it used to be) plus the stone, so maybe $170 all in?


ALL of these options are less that your $300 max and are viable. The deciding factor should be whether you really think this is something you want to get into. If you honestly don't see yourself sharpening but want to try it out anyway, 1 or 2. If you thing it can go either way, 2 or 3. If you KNOW you're in it for the long haul, 3 or another forum member's recommendation.
 

El Pescador

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+1 on option one. Resist the urge to buy something fancy that you can't or wont sharpen. When it becomes dull its nothing more than a shiny pry bar with a nice handle
 

Benuser

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Remember the Carbonext comes almost without an edge.
 

agp

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Should I get the 1K, 6K, or both?
 

bprescot

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Remember the Carbonext comes almost without an edge.
Ah. You know what, I had forgotten that.

OP, add CarboNext to used list. For Option 3 .... maybe a Tanaka Ginsanko off of ebay. Good knife, good initial edge, and easy to sharpen. Might have F+F issues, but I've had good luck with them. Sakai Yusuke or Yoshihiro are also options, though I think the Ginsanko steel hold an edge a bit longer.
 

oivind_dahle

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Its amazing what you get on the Buy/Sell/trade forum here.
Id go for that and ask for a carbonext. Ill bet you will get one sharpened and cheap
 

DanB

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I got the CarboNext 240mm gyuto and love it. But what ppl say is correct: it comes needing sharpening. And the other thing they're saying is also correct: you MUST learn to use stones. Otherwise, don't bother. It's not hard, you don't need to do it often, and you won't believe how it transforms your work. Probably if I had learned to sharpen before getting into new Japanese knives, I might have just stayed with my Forschner's. It's a damn good knife for the money, and when you take the edge down a bit, it gets wicked sharp and can be touched up easily on a ceramic rod. And it's $25, so you're never afraid of what you might do with it (it bested my Zwilling Kramer in dog rawhide cutting contest!).
 

Andrew H

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Remember the Carbonext comes almost without an edge.
Maybe mine was the odd one out here but my CN came with an OK edge. It wasn't push cutting tomatoes or anything but it wasn't as bad as people make it out to be.
 

tk59

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Maybe mine was the odd one out here but my CN came with an OK edge. It wasn't push cutting tomatoes or anything but it wasn't as bad as people make it out to be.
Nah. I've seen three of new ones and the edges were all useable although I immediately installed a nicer edge on them.
 

Andrew H

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Nah. I've seen three of new ones and the edges were all useable although I immediately installed a nicer edge on them.
Yup, it hit the stones almost right away but there was something to work with.
 

kalaeb

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Okay, I am going to be the only one going against the grain on this one and suggest something completely opposite.

I am not sure carbon, or even semi is the best choice here considering it is going from “never sharpened” Hamilton beach to a new j knife.

I think you should look at the Suisin Inox western handle. Great profile, reasonably thin and gives that little extra with the two tone handle, not burl, but hey, not pressed particle board either.

IMO, next to AEB-L, Suisins stainless takes one of the sharper edges and retains it for a good long time.

Fit and finish on this knife is above par, even above the CN and the OP will not be completely put out when he forgets to wipe it down after cutting limes.

It should suffice with both rock chopping and slicing.

It can be had here http://www.japaneseknifeimports.com/kitchen-knives-by-type/gyuto/suisin-inox-western-240mm-gyuto.html#for the lower end of your estimate.

I have owned two and enjoyed both.
 

Cadillac J

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- 240 Fujiwara FKM gyuto
- Bester 1200 stone

or if you want a fancier handle, get the Suisin inox western that kalaeb recommended...it has curvier profile if you continue to primarily rock-chop, but I would urge you to give push-cutting a try
 

agp

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Since I don't want to wait 30 days or spam 50 posts, I'll just buy a new CarboNext. I plan to purchase it from JapaneseChefsKnife. Should I get the JCK whet stone from there as well? (first one here: http://japanesechefsknife.com/WhetStonesForSale.html). Or is there another website that has these knives for cheaper?
 

Pachowder

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Its amazing what you get on the Buy/Sell/trade forum here.
Id go for that and ask for a carbonext. Ill bet you will get one sharpened and cheap
+100. I had my budget at 300 also but couldn't resist a carter with a sweet handle that made me add another 100 to it :)

But keep on the lookout here, save a few bucks and put the savings towards learning to sharpen
 

bprescot

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+100. I had my budget at 300 also but couldn't resist a carter with a sweet handle that made me add another 100 to it :)

But keep on the lookout here, save a few bucks and put the savings towards learning to sharpen
Yeah, I really think that's the way to go. The Fujiwara above is a great knife, but may as well see what you can get used. It should come with the advantage of being pre-sharpened. I vote Option 2!
 

agp

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Okay so I'll be picking up a Fujiwara FKM/FKH soon. Should I get a 1000 stone, 5000 stone, or one of those sharpening rods? What other accessories should I get?
 

skewed

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Okay so I'll be picking up a Fujiwara FKM/FKH soon. Should I get a 1000 stone, 5000 stone, or one of those sharpening rods? What other accessories should I get?
Bester 1200 is a great medium stone. A finer finishing stone would be good to get also (5k-8k). You will need something to flatten them with (every few times you use the stones). On the side of a cinder block works or I have heard of people using dry wall smoothing screens on a flat tile (like marble) or a diamond plate (a lot more expensive).

I like the couple of FKH's I have. They are pretty darn easy to sharpen, get reasonably sharp and hold it fairly well. They come with an asymmetric edge but you can easily change that.

Cheers and best of luck,
rj
 

agp

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Also, is there a KKF-approved tutorial on how to sharpen a knife?
 
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