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Bensbites

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I was looking at a knife rev posts elsewhere online and realizing, if I had to do it again, I would suggest a different route!

I upgraded my blades, then realized I wanted/needed to become a better sharpener. I learned how to sharpen/tweak fit and finish on a blade/rehandle knives after I started upgrading.

1) take whatever knife you have, and learn how to sharpen first. Once you can maintain a hair popping 1k, you will be ready to assess and maintain peak performance of high end knives as to not get diminishing returns on your investment.

2) Then upgrade.

Am I crazy?
 

Carl Kotte

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A little crazy but at the same time very sane. Agree with Ian though about the motivation part. Still, your 2 points may still be very good rules of thumb.
 

Matus

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Get a simple carbon knife that will later set as a beater or a travel knife. Something like a Munetoshi 165 petty, Zakuri 135 or 165 funayuki or similar. Especially the Zakuri is a great knife to learn on as it does require some effort to get the best out of it.
 

Scribbled

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Huh, this makes me think that maybe there’s a missed opportunity for the good knife sites (JKI etal) to sell dirt cheap Chinese ‘learning knives’.
 

Nikabrik

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Huh, this makes me think that maybe there’s a missed opportunity for the good knife sites (JKI etal) to sell dirt cheap Chinese ‘learning knives’.
Yeah, the "other" knife site has the stainless Tsubazo gyuto for this very purpose. I do think a carbon steel knife would be more satisfying in the low end. I don't think even Chinese origin is necessary for economy - there are knives from Tosa that are quite cheap, and take a great edge.
 

bahamaroot

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I don't think you learn much about high end knives until you start using high end knives. Knowing how to put a good edge on a cheap knife doesn't teach you much about different geometries, profiles, steels etc. It takes experience actually trying different knives to learn all the nuances. I could sharpen before I started buying but you don't know J-knives until you start buying J-knives and it's a whole new world with a lot to learn.
 
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Chef Doom

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Sounds like terrible advice to me. Everyone needs to eat. Not everyone needs to sharpen.

You want to get a decent knife along with a simple 1k to 2k grit stone. Learning to sharpen on soft cheap steel or poorly heat treated harder steel doesn't really teach you much.

Swinging around a wooden stick will not make you a Jedi Master.
 

Chef Doom

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I don't think you learn much about high end knives until you start using high end knives. Knowing how to put a good edge on a cheap knife doesn't teach you much about different geometries, profiles, steels etc. It takes experience actually trying different knives to learn all the nuances. I could sharpen before I started buying but you don't know J-knives until you start buying J-knives and it's a whole new world with a lot to learn.
I am Bernie Sanders and I approve of this message.
 

Barmoley

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I upgraded my blades, then realized I wanted/needed to become a better sharpener. I learned how to sharpen/tweak fit and finish on a blade/rehandle knives after I started upgrading.

Am I crazy?
This is the crux of the problem you can't skip. You know how people when older say "If only I knew then what I know now, I would be unstoppable..." That is why you can't, it takes time and experience and no matter what more experienced people tell you you won't believe them until you get it yourself. When one starts with cheap knives there is always an excuse that it is the knife's fault because it is a crappy knife. You have to get an undesputable good knife to understand that it is not the knife but one's sharpening skill and cutting technique that is the problem. At least this is how it works for most people, there are some unique individuals that could follow your advice and be better for it.

And yes, if you have to ask you are crazy:D
 

Cbt

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1) take whatever knife you have, and learn how to sharpen first. Once you can maintain a hair popping 1k, you will be ready to assess and maintain peak performance of high end knives as to not get diminishing returns on your investment.
How would you define "a hair popping 1k" for us noobs?
 

Bensbites

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How would you define "a hair popping 1k" for us noobs?
I apologize if that was not clear. The conventional wisdom is that you can cleanly absorb easily shave arm hair off with a good edge off a 1K stone. Then you are ready to move up in grits.
 

DitmasPork

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I was looking at a knife rev posts elsewhere online and realizing, if I had to do it again, I would suggest a different route!

I upgraded my blades, then realized I wanted/needed to become a better sharpener. I learned how to sharpen/tweak fit and finish on a blade/rehandle knives after I started upgrading.

1) take whatever knife you have, and learn how to sharpen first. Once you can maintain a hair popping 1k, you will be ready to assess and maintain peak performance of high end knives as to not get diminishing returns on your investment.

2) Then upgrade.

Am I crazy?
Depends.

IMO, it's by no means essential to know how to sharpen before upgrading to better knives—more cost effective, but not essential. Some cooks I know hate sharpening and send knives out to one of the many talented professional sharpeners out there, who would happily take on the work—an extra expense for sure, but ending up with a better sharpening job than they can do themselves.

I sharpen my own knives, not an expert, but can do it well enough for my needs. Years ago I started buying some really fine J-knives before I knew how to sharpen—didn't let my lack of sharpening ability inhibit buying J-knives, life is too short.
 

vlasena

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I think it is much harder and on top of that a lot less fun to learn sharpening on a basic stainless steel. I can easily make Ginsanko or White 2 or Blue 2 sharp, but it takes me a lot more effort to do so on AUS8. Because it is harder I think the value in sharpening less and it is also harder to learn the skill. For all these reasons I think it make sense to invest in a quality knife first, then learn sharpening.

I am not chef and not professional sharpener by no means. So take my view with a grain of salt, but from my angle of view I can definitely see advantage of quality steel. And, I can not get a hair popping edge on 1k, i can not even on 3k, but anything above it gets screaming sharp for me.
 

DitmasPork

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I think it is much harder and on top of that a lot less fun to learn sharpening on a basic stainless steel. I can easily make Ginsanko or White 2 or Blue 2 sharp, but it takes me a lot more effort to do so on AUS8. Because it is harder I think the value in sharpening less and it is also harder to learn the skill. For all these reasons I think it make sense to invest in a quality knife first, then learn sharpening.

I am not chef and not professional sharpener by no means. So take my view with a grain of salt, but from my angle of view I can definitely see advantage of quality steel. And, I can not get a hair popping edge on 1k, i can not even on 3k, but anything above it gets screaming sharp for me.
Agree with you that it's easier to learn sharpening on carbon. My first J-knife was a Masamoto HC, good knife, easy to sharpen—bought my first stone shortly thereafter.
 

lowercasebill

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I was looking at a knife rev posts elsewhere online and realizing, if I had to do it again, I would suggest a different route!

I upgraded my blades, then realized I wanted/needed to become a better sharpener. I learned how to sharpen/tweak fit and finish on a blade/rehandle knives after I started upgrading.

1) take whatever knife you have, and learn how to sharpen first. Once you can maintain a hair popping 1k, you will be ready to assess and maintain peak performance of high end knives as to not get diminishing returns on your investment.

2) Then upgrade.

Am I crazy?
No you are not. I promised myself no good knives until you can sharpen. 3 tosagata from Japan woodworker, king 1k-6k , wet dry sandpaper on float glass for course.
Hap Stanley, lee valley tool and Dave's and master Sugai (Korin) C-Ds Then i took Dave's course. Then the mind numbing wallet lightening insanity began. Accumulating mirror polish supplies for winter use. Just bought a thick very old and big mitre saw to make a nakiri .......
Watch Jon's videos. You may borrow C-Ds
 

Cbt

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I apologize if that was not clear. The conventional wisdom is that you can cleanly absorb easily shave arm hair off with a good edge off a 1K stone. Then you are ready to move up in grits.
Thanks for clearing that up. I have another doubt: would that be without stropping, stropping on stone, with strop, plain or loaded? Sorry for all the questions!
 
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