Hello everyone. I am new to the forum and looking for some advice on my upcoming knife purchase. Besides the below information, some details: I love long slender Japanese knives, the look, the feel, and I am a sucker for Damascus steel. This is not to say I would be unhappy with a western style knife, but all other things equal, I would rather be pulling a katana out of my knife block than a longsword. A chef friend of mine recommended Vanadium for the blade. It was in passing though so he did not specify why. Opinions? I don't know if my stone is good enough for the calibre of knife I want to get. Picked it up at the local store for $20 so I wouldn't be cutting with complete scheiBe. It is a Norton "India Oil Stone". It has no grit numbers, but says IB8 (I don't know what that means, if anything). LOCATION US KNIFE TYPE Chef's knife or similar Japanese style like Gyuto or Deba Are you right or left handed? Right Are you interested in a Western handle or Japanese handle? Slight preference to Japanese, but either would work fine What length of knife are you interested in ? 200 to 240 Do you require a stainless knife? No What is your absolute maximum budget for your knife? $250 KNIFE USE Do you primarily intend to use this knife at home or a professional environment? Home What are the main tasks you primarily intend to use the knife for? This is going to be my main knife. I will use it for everything except bread and cheese. What knife, if any, are you replacing? My ex-girlfriend got the midrange Henkel in the breakup Do you have a particular grip that you primarily use? Exclusively pinch grip What cutting motions do you primarily use? Push cut, rock, and slice. What improvements do you want from your current knife? Better aesthetics? Would be cool, but not a requirement. Comfort? Second to quality of blade. Ease of Use? I don't mind working on a knife to keep it like new, but I don't want to need to baby it or do anything esoteric or unusual to maintain it. This will be used in every meal I cook until I replace it. (10 years?) Edge Retention? About a month between sharpenings. KNIFE MAINTENANCE Do you use a bamboo, wood, rubber, or synthetic cutting board? Wood and synthetic Do you sharpen your own knives? Yes, but I am not overly practiced or learned on the subject. If not, are you interested in learning how to sharpen your knives? Yes. Are you interested in purchasing sharpening products for your knives? If that is what it takes to keep it nice and sharp. I already have a stone, but I don't know if it is good enough for the kind of knife I am going to buy.