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Grant

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Stuck between rock and hard place.

Advice On Home Kitchen Knives
Looking to buy a new kitchen knife. Next step might be more knives. I've looked around this forum and other web sites. Before I registered here, I did not know a thing about kitchen knives. Now, I am upgraded to knowing almost nothing about kitchen knives.

Wife's criteria is a knife is a utensil. It must be easy to maintain, must do the job very well, must not look like a trophy knife or knife as a status symbol. She and her friends are competitive home chefs amongst themselves. The benificiaries are us husbands. Darn good cooks. Wife and I met while we were graduate students. Nothing more difficult than getting someone who was a subsistence graduate student for many years to part with $.

I gas BBQ on my DCS and have a Smoking Tex. 4 out of seven nights we will be eating vegitarian. Else when, ribs, chicken, fish.

I on the other hand want the knife (knives) to look good. Not "bling" but good. As the Qer and Smoker of the household, I need function too. I am willing to spend more than the wife, but the benefit of the additional cost must be justified.

To satisfy wife,
Wife willing to pay for function, not knife art. So, Damascus "bling" is likely out.
must be low effort to maintain. So, that would disqualify knives that rust or look bad when scratched easily.
easy to sharpen, holds an edge.

The good news is the decision does not need to be made before any deadline.
 

obtuse

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I think the number one knife to fit your needs would be a Fujiwara FKM. I'd look into getting a 240mm gyuto to start, then maybe add a petty and paring. The Fujiwara FKM is around $80 USD for the 240mm gyuto. I don't think you can find a better deal. Eventually you will want to add a few sharpening stones and learn to sharpen. sharpening is easy and fun, it just takes practice.
 

tk59

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Howdy. Make sure you give us an overall budget. Sounds like you want a long slicer with a nice handle, a general use chef's knife and a shorter paring/petty knife, all monosteel stainless or possibly semi-stainless for the wife, if she's doesn't leave them sitting wet too long.
 

memorael

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I would go with the carbonext series or any of the other JCK series of knives, they are a good deal and they fit your requirements I think.
 

tk59

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That's true but I have to say I really don't like the handle on the vg10 series. It feels too smooth, the fitting of the pinned bolster is not great, and the odd purple handle exudes cheapness, imo. For what it's worth, I've only had a loaner knife returned without positive feedback twice and both times, it was the 240 gyuto from this series.
 

Grant

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I'm back. Actually, I never left. I was learning and had nothing to say. I have been learning a lot. This forum is a great information resource; excellent example of the benefit that unregulated Internet can bring to learning "with a little help from my friends."

My budget. Wife and I have just retired; liberal arts college teachers. Several generations of students taught. Rewarding in every way, except financial. "Dream high, spend low, get by." Wife says her old garage sale knives of unknown make are fine. She loves to cook, and knows the meaning of budget. I would like her to finally have a good set of kitchen knives as a retirement "reward" and present.

I've learned here that three knives can be adequate. Avoid block sets. Lesser name mail order brands can be better and cost less. Bling cladding adds price to a knife and not necessarily added functionality.

The following is my list. Comments appreciated. Order soon to be placed.
Hiromoto AS: 150 petty -- 190 Santoku -- 240 Gyuto.

A serrated bread knife would be nice; perhaps later.

The Dave Martel group buy handle upgrades are beautiful and coveted, but not in budget. I like looking at the forum images nevertheless.

I will next research a cutting board, some stones, and learn how to sharpen.

Comments appreciated on what I have or have not learned so far, and my proposed knife list.
 

Dusty

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You won't go wrong with Hiro AS, but I think that anything that the santoku can do the gyuto will do as well if not better.

My wife has a 210 Hiro gyuto that I reach for as often as I reach for my larger gyutos. Love that knife.

If you're going to be bbqing a lot - a sujihiki for carving may be beneficial. Fujiwara mentioned above make a great budget suji in stainless or carbon.

I just had another look at your first post: the stainless that clads the Hiromoto's AS line is quite soft and can scratch easily, the green side of a scourer will mark it - just something to keep in mind.
 

Pensacola Tiger

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Good decision to not bother with a "set" but to get just what you need. Usually the three knives that are chosen/recommended are a 150 petty, a 210/240 gyuto and a 240/270 sujihiki, though. The functions of a 190 santoku and a 240 gyuto will overlap to a great degree so you may want to rethink that choice.

Since you have a budget, I'll suggest that you buy one knife now, rather than three. Take the time to learn what you like and dislike about that one knife and apply it to choosing your next knife. Use the funds you would have spent on the two knives you didn't get on the best cutting board you can afford (I highly recommend The BoardSMITH) and waterstones to keep all your knives sharp.

As to which knife, you need to bring your wife into the decision process. What is her most used knife of the "garage sale" collection? That's the one you should look to replace with a better knife. Chances are it will be a shorter blade, if your wife is like mine.

The Hiromoto AS line is a good choice, but I will agree with Dusty that the stainless cladding is very soft and will scratch easily. Look at Fujiwara FKM (stainless), Kikuichi Performance TKC (semi-stainless) and the Kanetsugu Pro-M (stainless) for good alternatives that aren't as prone to scratching.

Rick
 

Lefty

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I'd go with the Fujiwara FKM, 100%. Yes, the Hiromoto is stainless clad, but the core steel is carbon, which means it needs more thought to take care of properly than a stainless knife. The cladding will help in this regard, yet it leads to the problem of scratching, as many have stated.
Another thing to decide on is which length your wife prefers, as well as whether or not she would prefer a santoku over a gyuto. Oftentimes, a gyuto intimidates many female cooks (I'm generalizing, of course), so just make sure you get a knife SHE will like to use. You could get her a santoku, or a 210 gyuto (for home cooking, they can be nicer than a 240), and get yourself a 270 suji. One other thing to keep in mind is that Fujiwara FKM sujis seem to come with an extreme right hand bias, so perhaps a Carbonext, or something similar might be better.
 

ThEoRy

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You won't need a santoku if you have a gyuto. For a bread knife I would look at the tojiro itk 270mm.
I love this thing!!
[video=youtube;dvNs4zB6zXg]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvNs4zB6zXg[/video]
 

swarfrat

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... Wife says her old garage sale knives of unknown make are fine. ..... I would like her to finally have a good set of kitchen knives....
Be very careful with this. It might be interpreted as "you're wrong, I know what's good for you."

Rather than discussing the inadequacy of my wife's "old favorite," I slipped a JCK VG-10 petty (I like the funky purple handles and find the overall fit and finish quite nice) into the block next to it. Without any coaching, it became her go-to blade.



sr.
 

cnochef

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Grant:

I second the recommendation for the Kikuichi Performance TKC or CarboNext gyutos (chef knives), which are basically the same. In fact, if you purchase the 270mm length gyuto, you will probably be able to save money by not buying a sujihiki (slicer). I find these gyutos have an excellent and versatile shape as well as lower blade height, which allows them to perform sujihiki tasks. The size is only slightly larger than a 240mm and doesn't take much time to get used to, as long as you have the room for a big enough cutting board.

A 150mm petty (utility) knife is also necessary IMHO. It is useful for cutting sandwiches, small veg, slicing boneless proteins, cutting herbs, filleting small fish and even deboning a chicken (as long as you're careful with the blade).

With regards to cutting boards, the basic maple Carolina Slab 2x16x22 from Boardsmith is a great size and value at $150. If you're really on a strict budget at least consider a Sanituff board, which is made of rubber and is likewise easy on your knives.

Basic 3 for $10 Victorinox paring knives are all you need, if you feel you must have parers. No need to sharpen them, just throw 'em away and break out another one.

The Tojiro ITK bread knife is another good recommendation. However I, like many others on this forum, have found that a properly sharpened gyuto works even better to slice breads.

The money can really begin to stack up once you get into sharpening, but a good starting point is the Bester 1200 waterstone at $50 and watching the videos Dave the founder of this forum has on Youtube. Then practice, practice, practice! You will need a stone flattener like an Atoma later, but at the start you can make do with a coarse sandpaper rig. You will also want to add a more coarse stone like the Beston 500 for resetting bevels or repairing the edge and a finer stone like the Suehiro Rika 5000 for refining and polishing the edge (and a nagure stone for prepping this stone). Deburring is usually accomplished with a felt block, but you can make due with wine cork in the beginning. Stropping is usually done with felt and/or leather strops treated with diamond sprays. At the start, though, you can use newspaper.

Hope this info helps!
 

Grant

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Thank you all for your informative advice. I ordered considering your advice and moreover my wife's
  • preferences
  • Hiromoto Aogami Super Petty 120mm
  • Hiromoto Aogami Super Petty 150mm
  • Hiromoto Aogami Super Gyuto 210mm
  • Hiromoto Aogami Super Gyuto 240mm

She was initially resistant. Now she is enthusiastic. :biggrin: Wife now tells me that the new knives are to be treated with care; not to be thrown into a heap in the kitchen utensil drawer. :bat:

Perhaps there will be additional purchases, but not right away.
 

cnochef

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Thank you all for your informative advice. I ordered considering your advice and moreover my wife's
  • preferences
  • Hiromoto Aogami Super Petty 120mm
  • Hiromoto Aogami Super Petty 150mm
  • Hiromoto Aogami Super Gyuto 210mm
  • Hiromoto Aogami Super Gyuto 240mm

She was initially resistant. Now she is enthusiastic. :biggrin: Wife now tells me that the new knives are to be treated with care; not to be thrown into a heap in the kitchen utensil drawer. :bat:

Perhaps there will be additional purchases, but not right away.
Grant, IMHO I dont' know why you would want to order 2 each of such similar pettys and gyutos to start. I would have purchased one of each, probably the 150 petty and 240 gyuto, then put the rest of the money into a good cutting board and a sharpening stone.

In any case, best of luck on your new addiction, those are great knives for the price (any price, actually)! I think it was mentioned before, be careful with the Hiromoto AS knives as the cladding is very soft and scratches quite easily. I have a couple of them and it doesn't bother me because they're tools after all, but it might irritate you.
 

Grant

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Grant, IMHO I dont' know why you would want to order 2 each of such similar pettys and gyutos to start. ....
Because I am buying for two in the kitchen, and providing some differentiation. Most on this forum select for one - themself.

:)
 

Pensacola Tiger

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Because I am buying for two in the kitchen, and providing some differentiation. Most on this forum select for one - themself.

:)
What stones have you purchased to keep those new knives sharp?

Rick
 

Dusty

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I think you've made choices that seem to suit your family well and that is fantastic. As far as sharpening goes, try practicing for a while on a cheap beater before moving on to your hiromotos.

Congrats.
 

Johnny.B.Good

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Congratulations on your retirement Grant, and on your new knives. Be sure to let us know what you think of them once they arrive and you've had a chance to use them.
 

Grant

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I will practice on our much abused garage sale knives. Only after they have achieved "all they can be" by me will I consider putting blade to stone. I will keep you posted. And I will continue to poke around the forum for new information.
 

Pensacola Tiger

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Grant,

Keep those Hiromoto edges clean and dry or they will rust.

Expect them to patina, like this, in a short time:



Rick
 

Lefty

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He can only hope the patina looks that nice!
Great knives, Grant! Your wife (and you) will be pleased.
 

Grant

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He can only hope the patina looks that nice!
Great knives, Grant! Your wife (and you) will be pleased.
I have read on this forum that a patina can be forced with several hours of a vinegar based condiment including mustard.
I will additional reading on the topic before I try that.
 

Eamon Burke

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You really won't need to. Just cut stuff up! It' won't rust overnight on the wall or anything, just use it, rinse it hot, wipe it dry. It will patina itself, and you will find the cool patinas. Something made my Shig patina slightly green, and then sweet potatoes turned it PURPLE. It was awesome.

 

Pensacola Tiger

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I have read on this forum that a patina can be forced with several hours of a vinegar based condiment including mustard.
I will additional reading on the topic before I try that.
As Eamon said, there is no reason to force a patina on the edges of your Hiromotos. Ordinary use will create one in very little time.

Rick
 
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