Open market advice for a Chef's knife

Discussion in 'The Kitchen Knife' started by ModRQC, Nov 20, 2019.

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  1. Nov 20, 2019 #1

    ModRQC

    ModRQC

    ModRQC

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    LOCATION

    Canada


    KNIFE TYPE

    What type of knife are you interested in?

    Chef


    Are you right or left handed?

    Right


    Are you interested in a Western handle or Japanese handle?

    I think a J could fit but I’m more confident a W would – see SPECIAL COMMENTS


    What length of knife (blade) are you interested in (in inches or millimeters)?

    8”


    Do you require a stainless knife?

    Preferably – I’d rather it doesn’t react (much) with food but am keeping my mind open


    What is your absolute maximum budget for your knife?

    200$ CAD


    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?

    As I sometimes don’t see much difference between culinary terms the way they’re broadly used (please tell me where does “mincing” is different from “finely chopping”, for example) I’ll tell you what I do most with what cutting motion:

    - I push cut onions/shallots, celery, potatoes, leak;

    -I rock cut mostly carrots (mostly at the heel), peppers (no heel involved there, tip and belly only), and stacks of thin cuts of fat meats like pancetta/bacon (mid tip to heel with slight progressive exaggerated pressure, where the heel mostly ensures visual separation) or rolls of fresh herbs in chiffonade fashion (whole belly with exaggerated rocking motion, like slice-rocking). This isn't scientific, just how I feel I'm trying to maximize my Chef's profile usually.

    -I slice raw meat, mostly poultry, and a great deal of fresh tomatoes;

    -I cross-chop fresh herbs when rough does the job, and a lot of crushed garlic.

    Which leads to this other often used “motion” : I do smash/crush a fair share of garlic with a “flat n’ drag” (pardon the expression) of the blade… Wince all you want, that probably settles me up for nothing higher than 56-58 HRC I know. Most of what I do is clearly saying “WESTERN KNIVES” in
    headache inducing neon colors

    Other activities and produce come across obviously, but 95% of what I do is there; there are other knives for other jobs. Besides often using the flat of the blade on garlic and the occasional cross chopping, I’m truly not particularly rough in usage, limiting as much impact and grinding as possible against the cutting surface, and never cutting along/through bones with my chef knives. No frozen stuff.



    What knife, if any, are you replacing?

    Nothing worthy – see SPECIAL COMMENTS


    Do you have a particular grip that you primarily use?

    Pinch for most job; obviously more hammer-like when cross chopping and flat n’ dragging.


    What cutting motions do you primarily use?

    ...


    What improvements do you want from your current knife?

    Better aesthetics : see SPECIAL COMMENTS

    Comfort: see SPECIAL COMMENTS

    Ease of Use: want the best possible balance between what I do and ease of sharpening. Which implies: usable and preferably great OOTB; no need for thinning or re-profiling for as long as possible.

    Edge Retention: average will do the job. We’d all love unlimited edge retention (in fact I feel none of you guys actually would on a personal level, although I’m sure it’s one of the holy grail as a professional bladesmith), but this is real life. I’ll have to get it to the stones someday somehow... more than one someday.


    KNIFE MAINTENANCE

    Do you use a bamboo, wood, rubber, or synthetic cutting board?

    Right now, bamboo and soft wood edge grain. Soon enough, soft wood edge grain and end grain only. Still the old trusty bamboo board might linger for a while… probably not for use with my best knives anymore though, come to think of it.


    Do you sharpen your own knives?

    Not yet


    If not, are you interested in learning how to sharpen your knives?

    Absolutely


    Are you interested in purchasing sharpening products for your knives?

    Absolutely


    SPECIAL COMMENTS

    The then, now, and about to become:

    Past_Future.JPG

    So that you know where I come from as I'm hunting for a better Chef's knife...


    Aborted becoming

    aborted.jpg

    The Global stands as a great example of what I now know I DON'T WANT in a knife...


    The line-up I still use more or less regularly - barring the Global...

    IMG_3653.JPG

    The Global was in fact returned to the vendor, the credit used towards the purchase of an All-Clad frying pan.


    A few facts:

    Best knife used (sharpness): Victorinox Santoku (first from the top)

    Best knife used (comfort): Cuisinart Santoku (second from the top), closely followed by the Victorinox...

    Best Chef's knife used (profile): Cuisinart Chef (second from the right) - it's a bit too heavy, a bit too meaty, a bit too thick, a bit too much of everything, but for 30$ it fits my requirements to a much better extent than the Global could ever do. It's an almost perfect cheap Chef's knife... well that full bolster is killing me. But still...

    My problems with the Global: it's TOO LIGHT so there's no real feel of balance; the HANDLE feels WRONG and unsecure and wobbled in my hand; the PROFILE feels OFF, like I never used a knife before, like it was all alien to just do a goddamn everyday cut, like either knife or cutting board were not continuous edge/flat surface; the flat of the blade flexes like hell and feels awkward with the flat n' drag technique.

    What I really DON’T want : a so-called modern handle; a full bolster.

    Profile: is it me or the handle of the Global goes completely against the profile of the blade? The whole knife has somewhat of a boomerang shape. When I look at all the other knives I use, I feel that the handle follows the blade's profile, and in use can feel the proper angle to cut with a specific area of the blade just by the way the weight will shift across the fingers wrapped around the handle, and eventually rest somewhere between bolster and pinch grip when using the tip. The Global felt the other way around, and weightless and awful.

    I'm sorry that I don't have your knowledge and vocabulary to express what I see, and may look ridiculous here... still here it is put quite straightforwardly with pics, and applying both to my Chef's knives and Santokus more prominently... except the Global once again:

    Santokus:
    Santokus.jpg
    Chefs:
    Chefs.jpg

    Global's profile (Chef's):
    Global_Profile.jpg
    Cuisinart's profile (Chef's):
    Cuisinart_Profile.jpg

    So... well... a knife that puts a cross on itself is made not to be chosen... I've learn that for myself if it doesn't make sense to you or seems stupid.

    Help me choose better the next time around, please!
     
  2. Nov 20, 2019 #2

    Qapla'

    Qapla'

    Qapla'

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    Have you contacted any Canadian knife dealers eh?

    A Sakai Takayuki Western Blue is just barely above-budget at CAD 203.

    A Morihei Hisamoto INOX is definitely within budget at CAD 149, as is a Misono Swedish Carbon at CAD 165.

    I have not handled any of them, though, so I cannot state if they fit your profile requirements. I will now bow out and leave this to the forum's Canadians.
     
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  3. Nov 20, 2019 #3

    Michi

    Michi

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  4. Nov 20, 2019 #4

    ModRQC

    ModRQC

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    Oh I've been in contact with Canadian knife dealers a lot in the last week, what with returning the Global and everything... :p

    I kind of like Misono Swedish Carbon, came across it a couple of times. Now the Sakai is reeeeally nice, fits my preferences if a bit expensive. Sigh...

    Out of stock - good suggestion though will keep in mind.

    Knew you guys would find a way to throw J knives my way... violent people you are. ;)
     
  5. Nov 20, 2019 #5

    ModRQC

    ModRQC

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    Goddamn all good offers at reasonable prices are Sold Out at JNS... shame really since they offer 15% off...
     
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  6. Nov 20, 2019 #6

    jferreir

    jferreir

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    I like the Mac Pro MTH-80 as a solid intro knife. Good factory edge, versatile profile, easy to sharpen, and it can withstand moderate abuse. It will feel familiar, but levels above anything you've used previously -- and for less than $200 CAD. But if you like santokus, I'd recommend the Takamura R2; fully stainless PM steel, and it stays sharp FOR-EV-ER. Also, obligatory plug for Makoto Kurosaki -- his knives are amazing value for the materials/craftsmanship, but they are very, very thin (probably too thin for your liking).
     
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  7. Nov 20, 2019 #7

    inferno

    inferno

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  8. Nov 20, 2019 #8

    inferno

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    this is a good santoku. i have gotten a few people to but this and this is their most used knife. even though they much more expensive ones.
    takes a killer edge. can usually be found for around 100£$€
    https://www.macknife.com/collection...onal-series-6-1-2-santoku-with-dimples-msk-65

    you need to hand pick these though since the dimples can be very close to the edge on some.

    also finish is maybe 4-5/10 so invest in a few sandpapers.
     
  9. Nov 20, 2019 #9

    jferreir

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    FYI, knives shipped directly from Japan via EMS almost never incur taxes/duty. Anything shipped from the USA -- expect the opposite. Both Takamura and Mac knives are readily available in Canada, though. I'd strongly recommend the Mac MTH-80 -- it's listed for $190 CAD (before promo coupons), with free shipping from Windsor, ON. You might want to wait for Black Friday, just in case...

    Also, those KOH knives go on sale all the time; the deepest discounts are from Zwilling online, which I believe ships from Markham.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2019
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  10. Nov 20, 2019 #10

    ModRQC

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    Both Miyabi and Misono I can order directly from Canada. Kitchensmart is having a sale on Miyabi... or at least they did last week. I think a couple of other retailers followed suit. I can get the 5000MCD below the 200$ mark. Do you advise this series as much as the entry level? Nice to hear that Misono are good value, I was looking into them too.

    No Santoku needed, I like my Victorinox just fine. And also, no dimples. Even my next Santoku when I get there I will avoid the granton edge. That's what turned me off about the MTH-80.
     
  11. Nov 20, 2019 #11

    ModRQC

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  12. Nov 20, 2019 #12

    jferreir

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    Granton edge makes no functional difference, so it's purely an aesthetic preference. If that's a deal-breaker, I'd recommend Takamura VG10 gyuto -- provided the blade isn't too short/narrow for your liking. And I'm afraid you're mistaken about the Miyabi sale -- the 5000MCD is typically $300-500 (birch handle). That's a fine knife, but nowhere near your stated budget.

    For the Mac knife, check out Williams Food Equipment. Mac can be tricky to find in Canada, but a few restaurant supply stores also carry them (Nella, maybe?). Knife Toronto has an anniversary sale every April, and Sharp Knife Shop (Hamilton) is a new player with very competitive pricing. If you're near Montreal, you might want to check out Stay Sharp -- at least you can try a few knives in person to get a feel for what works best. Expensive, though.
     
  13. Nov 20, 2019 #13

    inferno

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    i think the koh line is the baseline models.

    the 5000mcd is very good value if you can get them under 200 (for a big one). it uses sg2/r2 steel in the masur birch handle ones. (before you even use this one a single time you should oil the handle imo, really impregnate it with tung oil or danish or linseed oil.)

    and the 5000mcd black is zdp-189 which you may not want. this is ultra hard and brittle steel in general. but very abrasion resistant. low toughness.

    the 4000fc is quite cheap, to dip your toes in... and its not really a japanese handle nor a western. its a hybrid i suppose. and the steel will be easy to sharpen, and take a killer edge easily which r2 and zpd kinda wont. at least not quickly.

    i also think the akifusa pm line is a quite good first japanese knife. its made out of SRS15 stainless powder high speed steel (hss), very thin and nimble without feeling flimsy. takes a killer edge too on good stones, and holds it quite long. this steel is comparable to r2/sg2, its very close in actual use regarding ease of sharpening, macro chip resistance, microchipping, and attainable max sharpness. almost identical.
    only downside with the akifusa is that its not really that flashy looking. but it looks a lot better in real life than in these pics here.
    https://www.cleancut.se/butik/knivs...32/akifusa-oriental-pm/skalkniv-1-2039-detail
    https://www.cleancut.eu/butik/knifebrands/akifusa_2_lines/akifusa-oriental-pm/skalkniv-1-2039-detail the international site

    this exact same knife is sold under other brand names. search the forums here. and its probably cheaper then. check locally in canada or the US.
     
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  14. Nov 20, 2019 #14

    inferno

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  15. Nov 20, 2019 #15

    ModRQC

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    Doh! Did I write MCD? That was FCD... :D

    I guess the FCD is paying more for a Damascus pattern. Yeah... quite a looker though!

    Gonna invest more time and focus in this thing tonight and may send a couple of links your way to get some more advice. Really nice of all of you to answer this thread thanks!
     
  16. Nov 21, 2019 #16

    CoteRotie

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    Like @inferno said www.japanesechefsknives.com does have some good choices. I have the deep impact gyuto. Western handle, stainless clad, and the aogami super core patinas quickly and becomes completely non-reactive and low maintenance. The 180mm is in your price range, but it's a little shorter than what you were looking for. Also if you really want to rock chop you might want to look elsewhere. It doesn't seem to chip, but I'm careful with all my high hardness knives.

    https://japanesechefsknife.com/prod...to-180mm-to-240mm-3-sizes?variant=29537642947
     
  17. Nov 21, 2019 #17

    ModRQC

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    You do fancy your steels mam! Always full of information. Love to read your posts. I'll be looking into the Akifusa as this kind of steel looks interesting from what I've read here and about.
     
  18. Nov 21, 2019 #18

    ModRQC

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    Interesting as I was just about to ask you all what hardness scale I should not go over and/or what kind of steels I should definitely avoid if I use the cutting motions expanded on in my original post/questionnaire?
     
  19. Nov 21, 2019 #19

    ModRQC

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    Would that be Haruyuki? The SRS models are way out budget around 300$ mark. Sadly so because I do like the knife. All powder hss I seem to find is often sold out, and always over budget.
     
  20. Nov 21, 2019 #20

    ModRQC

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    Ok...

    I must say that I hate you guys for making me look at those beautiful knives at JCK... :rolleyes:

    That doesn't help at all... not one bit. o_O:p
     
  21. Nov 22, 2019 #21

    CoteRotie

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    I don't have a definitive answer, if you're going to rock chop maybe stainless steel at <60HRC, (because lots of carbon steel knives are heat treated to higher hardness) but I have no data. An average European chef's knife would be pretty safe. @Larrin probably has a better answer, or at least better intuition than I do. Powder metallurgy steels can be sharp and tougher than conventional steels, so if you want to experiment.....
     
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  22. Nov 22, 2019 #22

    ModRQC

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    I’d like to...

    I thought just as much regarding HRC. Will make a reasonable final choice anyhow. ´Nuff dreaming.
     
  23. Nov 22, 2019 #23

    ModRQC

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    Is the Tojiro DP still a top recommendation towards j knives noobs?
     
  24. Nov 22, 2019 #24

    dafox

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    Can you share any other experience with this knife? I've been looking at getting one for a while. Thanks
     
  25. Nov 22, 2019 #25

    CoteRotie

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    Sure- It's more laser than workhorse, food release is the only con. It's lightweight but the balance is decent, it gets razor sharp easily, and keeps its edge a long time. Hit the strop occasionally and you rarely need to go to the stones. The stainless cladding is soft, but I haven't tried thinning it yet so I don't know how that will go. Once the AS core steel patinas it seems inert, you can almost treat it like stainless.

    It's so easy to use and low maintenance that I find myself often grabbing it instead of my Kagekiyo or Saji gyutos. For the money I think it's a great value.
     
  26. Nov 22, 2019 #26

    Qapla'

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    Looks like I'll be jumping back in this thread after all; it doesn't seem quite as Canuck-specific as I expected. The others definitely have come up with some very good ideas.

    A Kanehide TK (USD 115 for a 210mm, or USD 126 for a 240mm at CKTG) might also be a valid choice, but I don't know how much shipping is from USA to Canada.

    Don't forget to stop by the Sharpening Station subforum, where stones might be thrown your way. You will want a sharpening stone to keep your knives sharp.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2019
  27. Nov 22, 2019 #27

    jferreir

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    I would recommend you purchase from a Canadian vendor, or from somewhere that ships directly from Japan via EMS. If you purchase from a US vendor, 25%+ of your budget will be going toward fees (exchange rate, shipping, taxes, etc).
     
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  28. Nov 22, 2019 #28

    inferno

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    probably doesn't matter. pretty much everything real from japan will be good.

    i have no idea i just know its sold under other brand names too.

    ---------------------------------

    if i were you i would spend some time on the different knife sites and see what they have.
    first deciede carbon or stainless

    then filter by knife type
    then by length

    then pick one you like. i strongly suggest just getting one that you like the look of and learn how to use it. if it needs thinning you can do that with stones.
    why get one that looks good to you instead of maybe a more boring "better" one? well you gonna end up getting that one you really wanted anyway in the end so why pay twice.

    i wouldn't worry too much about the steel. they are all pretty good imo.
     
  29. Nov 22, 2019 #29

    inferno

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    and when you have all the fun knives you want. then you can get "sensible ones".

    i just got myself a hattori forums santoku with the brown wooden handle. almost bnib.

    why get a knife like this??

    well first and foremost its full hard monosteel so there is no damascus or cladding to scratch or ruin.
    its vg10 steel done well. supposedly this company does vg10 the best of all (HTed by ryusen supposedly) and everybody agrees. for once.
    fit and finish is the best i have ever seen in a western handled mono steel knife. far far above everything else. even stuff for a grand.
    it feels strong and beefy like the mac granton santoku.

    I also like to tinker with my knives, since the knives themselves are a hobby for me. so when it eventually gets scratched up/lose shine/starts rusting or whatever (yes stainless knife steels can and will rust/discolor if not cared for) i will refinish it with sandpaper/stones/fingerstones, i might actually do this tomorrow just for fun. maybe i want to have a mirror polish on there, or a kasumi mist, or whatever.

    And thats not so easy to do with blackened and hammer patterned knives and so on, and definitely not with damascus ones. so for me its a nice toy to play around with and no matter what, i can still return it to factory or better finish.

    these are not cheap though, but high quality. i also like the shiki black dragon damascus since its deep and you cant rub it off with a sponge no matter how hard you try. these are also top level finish and craftsmanship.
     
  30. Nov 22, 2019 #30

    HRC_64

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    The profile of the victorinox and other knives you list as "love it" would IMHO should considered "crap" CHEF knife profiles. Thats not to say they might not be to your tastes, but they are are santoku designs.

    The misono UX10 makes a great small-space/line knife and the profile is very well regarded.
    Check out 4:30 time stamp on this video for an overview of its well regarded profile



    Here is SANTOKU 170 Takamura for comparison (@4:40 time stamp)

     

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