Setting up a second "knife station" at home

Discussion in 'The Kitchen Knife' started by kdkrone, Aug 12, 2019.

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  1. Aug 12, 2019 #1

    kdkrone

    kdkrone

    kdkrone

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    I have posted the questionnaire in the next response but I thought I would give some background first.

    My wife and I are home cooks. For 15+ years, we have been using Shun Classic and TojiroDP knives. I have run the gamut in sharpening from stones to to Wicked Edge to Chefs Choice electric sharpening and now back to stones. Because we frequently cook with friends and family, we find ourselves short of knives or crossing behind people to go to the knife block. We have enough room for a second small block so I thought I would set one up. I have been doing lots of following of threads for years, and I thought that before I fell in love with the esthetics of some of the knives, I had best be practical, as I would like Audis or BMWs and not Ferrari’s. I am willing to accept some fussing with blade edges, but I don’t want a knife so demanding that it will begin rusting microseconds after using it and getting it wet, as some steels seem to do (at least according to some of the admonitions I have read in the forum). I suppose my wife and I are spoiled by the VG10 steel and its resistence to rusting. Some knives will be ruled out by price (I have no problem spending a few hundred dollars on each of the knives although I don’t see any reason to spend money foolishly) and some will be ruled out by esthetics or feel (unfortunately, we live on the California coast without a dedicated cutlery shop to be able to feel the balance of the knives, although before making a significant purchase, we would likely drive to LA or San Francisco, each 4 hours away).

    So to me, the type of steels to rule in and out is where to begin the process, as some will exclude themselves for varying reason. While my wife and I are careful with our tools, and our daughters in their 30's have been fairly well trained to respect them, occasional guests use the tools, most respectfully, but some who are not as well-trained. After the choice of steel, then perhaps the handle (although with our pinch grips, I am not sure how important that is), esthetics, balance--not necessarily in that order. Primarily I am looking for the best tool, not the prettiest. Our knives are used, not in a case, but there is joy when the tool and its esthetic to the eye and the hand are married.

    Judging by the chart from japanny.com (https://www.japanny.com/pages/japanese-knife-blade-steels) and reading through some of the characteristics of the steels as presented in this chart (admittedly, there is a prejudice in any of this type of chart), (stainless) VG10, silver 3, and (high carbon) blue #2 or Blue Super may be some of the steels to look for. Are there steels that I might consider?


    If you have made it this far, thanks for your endurance! I am grateful for any help in our quest!

    Cheers
    Ken
     
  2. Aug 12, 2019 #2

    kdkrone

    kdkrone

    kdkrone

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    LOCATION
    What country are you in?
    USA


    KNIFE TYPE
    What type of knife are you interested in (e.g., chef’s knife, slicer, boning knife, utility knife, bread knife, paring knife, cleaver)?

    Petty, nakuru, 210 mm gyuto, slicing knife, (I am preparing a second knife block in our home kitchen, possibly a boning knife other than a honesuki

    Are you right or left handed?

    We are both right-handed

    Are you interested in a Western handle (e.g., classic Wusthof handle) or Japanese handle?

    We presently have Western handle and Shun D handles. I like the appearance of the traditional Japanese knives, but I do not know how they feel in the hand. With my pinch grip, I suspect it is less important, but I am willing to experiment.

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

    Do you require a stainless knife? (Yes or no)

    No but I think I explained in the first part of the post.

    What is your absolute maximum budget for your knife?

    Probably $300/knife, but I suspect I can find both practicality and esthetics for a bit less.


    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 (e.g., slicing vegetables, chopping vegetables, mincing vegetables, slicing meats, cutting down poultry, breaking poultry bones, filleting fish, trimming meats, etc.)? (Please identify as many tasks as you would like.)

    Vegetable prep (slicing, chopping, mincing), some meat trimming (lamb racks, ribs), slicing meat prior to serving

    What knife, if any, are you replacing?

    Adding additional knives, although I am not all that pleased with my Shun slicing knife.

    Do you have a particular grip that you primarily use? (Please click on this LINK for the common types of grips.)

    pinch

    What cutting motions do you primarily use? (Please click on this LINK for types of cutting motions and identify the two or three most common cutting motions, in order of most used to least used.)

    chopping, rocking,

    What improvements do you want from your current knife? If you are not replacing a knife, please identify as many characteristics identified below in parentheses that you would like this knife to have.)

    For the slicer, less drag on the blade

    Better aesthetics (e.g., a certain type of finish; layered/Damascus or other pattern of steel; different handle color/pattern/shape/wood; better scratch resistance; better stain resistance)?

    I prefer simplicity, but the subtle Damascus pattern of the Shun classic is fine (their shiny, hammered more expensive knives are a turn-off). With regard to Japanese handles I prefer darker woo handles but I would sacrifice that for durability and feel in the hand (as well as not slippery). I do not have any stained blades as my blades are all VG10 presently. I mention at the beginning to the post what I would like in the qualities of the steel and what I am willing to sacrifice


    Comfort (e.g., lighter/heavier knife; better handle material; better handle shape; rounded spine/choil of the knife; improved balance)?

    Balance is important. Comfortable handle (although with a pinch grip I think it is less important), a comfortable cutout in the choil can be helpful for holding the knife. A sharp spine and/or choil can be ground/sanded to be more comfortable.

    Ease of Use (e.g., ability to use the knife right out of the box; smoother rock chopping, push cutting, or slicing motion; less wedging; better food release; less reactivity with food; easier to sharpen)?

    I would prefer not to have to fiddle with the edge more than necessary, but I will do so if I must. I like a sharp knife, but I don’t want a knife that needs frequent sharpening. I use a hone pretty much whenever I grab a knife for prepping food.

    Edge Retention (i.e., length of time you want the edge to last without sharpening)?

    I want durable edges that don’t need to be fiddled with and tweaked all the time, but if the blade needs attention, I am willing to give it attention. I don’t want a steel that will begin rusting the microsecond after one stops using it. That having been said our knives are segregated near the sink and washed (if me) shortly after prep is finished; if my wife or visiting chef friends, certainly by the end fo the meal.


    KNIFE MAINTENANCE
    Do you use a bamboo, wood, rubber, or synthetic cutting board? (Yes or no.)

    “yes"

    Do you sharpen your own knives? (Yes or no.)

    yes

    If not, are you interested in learning how to sharpen your knives? (Yes or no.)

    Are you interested in purchasing sharpening products for your knives? (Yes or no.)

    I have 1000 and 5000 grit synthetic stones



    SPECIAL REQUESTS/COMMENTS

    I thought I would go at this systematically and limit the knife choices first by the type of steel, then wood (for a Japanese traditional handle)
     
  3. Aug 12, 2019 #3

    parbaked

    parbaked

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    It's great to visit a store and handle the knives before you buy, especially since you seem the type to buy once and use for a good while.
    You can't go wrong visiting JKI in LA.
    You can peruse their website and even call ahead to narrow down your choices before your visit.
    Otherwise the choices can be a bit overwhelming.
    They make a very good "starter" gyuto that would be fine for guests.
    https://www.japaneseknifeimports.co...als/products/gesshin-stainless-210mm-wa-gyuto

    If you end up in SF, visit Bernal Cutlery. They sell a better Tojiro in R2, which would be an upgrade to your DP knives.
    http://bernal-cutlery.shoplightspeed.com/culinary-knives/tojiro-knives/tojiro-r-2-powder-metal/

    You might also consider getting nicer, new knives for your main block and moving your Shun/DPs to the secondary block.
    Those are good knives to share with guests...
     
  4. Aug 12, 2019 #4

    kdkrone

    kdkrone

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    "You might also consider getting nicer, new knives for your main block and moving your Shun/DPs to the secondary block.
    Those are good knives to share with guests...

    I can't disagree with your thinking! (It is actually in line with mine, if not overtly stated in my post).
     
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  5. Aug 13, 2019 #5

    HRC_64

    HRC_64

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    I was gonna +1 this thought...Invest in something for yourself. If you are worried about practicalities, you can de-tune the edge geometry on your existing shun/etc/VG-10 knives and they should hold up to basic usage OK. Victorinox is also available for $20-30 for absolute beater work, and makes a good travel knife of gift to your kid.
     
  6. Aug 13, 2019 #6

    Brian Weekley

    Brian Weekley

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    I faced the same problem. I am very fussy with my knives. I prefer reactive blades. Even my adult children forget to wipe a blade after using. Guest love to help in food prep and cooking and are even less attuned to knife care. I had one lady suggest that I should “buy some good Wustoff knives”! I solved the problem by buying this block set.

    upload_2019-8-12_17-17-20.jpeg
    A Zwilling MC 66 gyuto, santoku, petty and paring knife block set. Actually very nice knives completely devoid of character. Completely rust and patina proof, very attractive to the untrained eye and actually not that difficult to sharpen. When I have a dinner I put the knife block out and invite my children/guest to use them to their hearts content. Costs less than a single one of my san mai treasures.
     
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  7. Aug 13, 2019 #7

    drsmp

    drsmp

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    Kurosakis in R2/SG2 and VG10 are some of my favorites - flashy and functional. Knives and Stones prices are hard to beat and you can upgrade to ebony handles if you’d like. I also went from Shun/Miyabis last year. You’ll be happy with the new knives. A petty and a 210\240 are where I’d start.
     
  8. Aug 13, 2019 #8

    drsmp

    drsmp

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    4601F5FD-247E-4B30-A92A-B72AAC8AC0EC.jpeg
    The honesuki is an Anryu, all the others are Kurosakis. The handles are all upgrades.
     
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  9. Aug 13, 2019 #9

    Paraffin

    Paraffin

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    I strongly support the idea of separating your two knife blocks into one for the best knives including any carbon steel knives, and the other a "guest block" with all stainless steel knives. Once you start getting carbon knives, you'll need to keep them away from anyone who doesn't understand how to dry them, protect the edge from chipping, etc.

    That's what I do, although I keep our good knives in a large knife drawer under the island so they're not as visible to guests. I have a knife block with the guest knives, normally stashed in the utility room, that I set it out on the kitchen island when we have guests or family members who want to cook, or just help out. It's filled with old Wusthof stainless knives I used over the years before getting heavily into Japanese knives -- a useful set like parer, 6" utility, Santoku, slicer, and an old serrated bread knife. It's important to have enough useful knives in the guest block that they don't go looking for anything else.

    When guests arrive I explain that the knives in the drawer are expensive carbon knives that will rust if you look at them sideways (not completely true because some are high-end stainless), and I say they're very sharp. That's enough to scare them into using the guest block.

    If you keep two knife blocks out in plain view, another way to steer guests away from the good ones is to make sure all the knives in the guest block have Western-style handles, and all your good knives in the other block are Japanese octagonal handles. Non-knife-nerds aren't used to that, and they'll naturally go for the Western handles.
     
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  10. Aug 13, 2019 #10

    kayman67

    kayman67

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    I've been thinking about this and the requirements and you can find some nice stuff, even from mainstream manufacturers, that's not that expensive compared to the big boys and looks, feels and performs very well.
    The rocking santoku works. I always had a soft spot for Birchwood series. I even use the ZDP version, but that's too expensive and the steel is not for everyone to use and maintain.
    The rocking santoku would always be one knife I would want.
    The slicer I really like is from Takayuki, hammered blade, VG10. This is a type you can find from others as well. The hammered profile worked for me very well.
    For a bigger gyuto I would go for one of those HAP40 knives. I like mine, great steel, great edge retention, really sturdy. This will be a bit expensive, I know.
    And I wouldn't necessarily go for a nakiri, but a Chinese cleaver (thin one) and not very long. Not expensive, works great, usually good edge retention or very little maintenance needed.
    I would be very happy only with these and a few less expensive knives from Tojiro. I know them well, they work, good value. And one of my all time fav is a knife from Tojiro.

    Obviously there are a lot of others possible knives. Some I have, most I don't, but if I were to choose only a few, these would be my main options and be very happy with.
     
  11. Aug 15, 2019 #11

    kdkrone

    kdkrone

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    Thanks to all, but I would like to re-direct the conversation away from who will use the knives (my wife and I will) to helping to eliminate steels that may require a lot more fussing as opposed to the VG-10 knives that we use. I am not fearful of sharpening the knives, although my preference would be to have a blade that is easier to sharpen than difficult, but I don't want a steel that will rust if it is left on the counter for 10-15 minutes without being dried.

    Kayman67, in your second sentence above, you refer to the rocking santoku. Is that a specific santoku or just santokus with a profile that allows for rocking similar to a gyuto? Thanks for your detailed answer. We do like nakiris; we presently have a Tojiro DP which is pretty nice. I would not mind another with perhaps a thinner blade. The knife that we have that tends to wedge a bit is our 240 Shun Classic chef's knife, so at some point I will be looking for a thin bladed gyuto.

    Thanks all,
    Ken K
     
  12. Aug 16, 2019 #12

    kayman67

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    https://www.kitchenknifeforums.com/threads/trade-takeda-bunka.41671/

    I'll try putting some things into perspective. Because, in the end, stuff like this is quite personal. All we can do is share experiences.
    The knife above is really nice, very efficient, light, thin, super easy to keep sharp. I just used one. I like the format and everything it does. So why did I mentioned a Chinese cleaver? Because I was considering a bigger picture in form of a budget. This is what I do amongst other things. And money wise the Chinese cleaver is a better option.
    Now, the format itself might look strange, like many others. I've been there a few times.
    I know the Tojiro nakiri quite well. Had one for about 2 years. And others. At some point I moved to something else as it just worked better and I saw the tool idea here.
    Speaking of working better, I would consider these 2 as being quite interesting. They are both santoku types.
    First is from Glestain. This manufacturer has, as many consider, a great unique construction. It really really works and very well. The santoku is quite versatile. It will devour vegetables like nobody's business. There is a nakiri version, not to my taste.
    The second, being said you are looking for a thin nimble knife, is a Takamura R2. As nimble as they come. Beautiful geometry, great steel, easy to maintain super sharp. Unfortunately, as far as I am aware of, there is no nakiri in this particular line, that's not that expensive compared to most knives this well made.

    The "rocking santoku" is a type of knife I'm not sure Zwilling made for the first time, but they sure made it popular. Now there is one version of this knife in all Zwilling/Miyabi series. So, if you like the format, there are plenty of versions to choose from, some with very nice alloys. I would mainly go for the Birchwood version (SG2 steel), but you might like others (Koh, Kaizen or Artisan - based on esthetics, price, different series/alloys - cores are FC61 - it's Sandvik 13C27 similar to AEB-L actually highly praised on another topic here or SG2, both corrosion resistant and non reactive).
    I find it proficient at many tasks. A bit of a lot of things going on. I imagine people buy it since they decided to make so many. This is one strange knife. You might say it's just a chef. Not quite. I even tried a bigger "more" chef version, made by Suncraft (I'll upload a photo) and a smaller one. Both were not quite the same. A little too much or too little for what I needed from this. I use chefs up to 12". I don't have a bias. This is more of a right package deal, a bit right of everything. I don't like that many, let's say mainstream manufacturers knives, but I do like some and this is one of them. The one I use now it's not a light knife (based on weight) but it feels weightless in my hands. It works. Damn, looks like I'm the one making and selling it. I'm not. I would be happy with any I've mentioned. I could point out that with different knives as well. But that's the idea, different knives. This is not "the" knife. I don't think there is such a thing anyway.
    As a side note, over the years (I got the first one right after they made it) I saw many ladies loving this, but some chefs as well.
    SmartSelect_20190816-130225_Photos.jpg
     
  13. Aug 16, 2019 #13

    kayman67

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  14. Aug 16, 2019 #14

    inferno

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    really love how you have developed a whole strategy for this :)
     
  15. Aug 17, 2019 #15

    Ochazuke

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    So thinking about steel types, I’d you care about stain resistance even a little, then there’s a world of options beyond vg10 that would treat you well. R2, Inox, ginsanko, “special Swedish blend,” and others. I’d just go ahead and rule out any of the traditional carbons like shirogami or aogami (even though I love them). And if you don’t care about matching your set then you can pick and choose.

    The Takamura R2 petty is a pretty good recommendation. Snag a Yoshikane hammered nakiri in SKD. Follow up with a Gesshin Ginga stainless sujihiki. Finish your set with a Tanaka ginsan gyuto.
     
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  16. Aug 17, 2019 #16

    kdkrone

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    I am a few days behind.... kayman67, many thanks for your detailed response. We have a nakiri and two santokus, and we like them all. I use a 210 mm Shun santoku because I can use it to rock chop. Funny that you should mention the Chinese cleaver--I have one that sits in a drawer away from the knife block, so I don't think to use it much. I do like using it, though. I will have to work out where to store it so that it is not in hiding. Ochazuke, many thanks for the recommendations--I look forward to researching them.
     
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  17. Aug 18, 2019 #17

    kayman67

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    I tried with 2 magnets covered with very thin leather, on the side of the block and it worked quite well. But really depends on the block. Just something to consider maybe.
     

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