What were your first high performance knife choices?

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Feb 28, 2011
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What did you chose as your first knife upgrades and how did you get there?

I was lucky enough to have an experienced friend hold my hand on a trip to Korin.


Tojiro slicer, Masamoto VG10 Gyuto and Tojiro Honesuki and petty. I later added a Minsono parer.

This served me well for a year and a half when I started to upgrade.

What was your process like?
My first Japanese knife was a shun... I gave it to my dad.
If Shun counts, then it was a 10" chef's knife I bought for my wife (then girlfriend). She would not use it, as it was too long and too sharp :) My first real J-knife, purchased afer joining that Forum of Which We Do Not Speak, was a 210 Hiro AS gyuto -- a 'second' with uneven scales. It was okay, but a bit short for my tastes. I moved from there to a Shige nakiri, then ordered 3 knives from Piere. Just before they were finished, I scored a DT ITK 240 gyuto from the initial batch, followed by a DM turned/ rehandled 240 Hiro gyuto.
I don't consider Shuns, but they were the first for about 2 years. I wanted to get into sushi making at home so I found the forums, and got a tojiro dp. A watanabe order came soon after. It has been a sick money pit after that. Good thing there is buying and selling.
First one was a JCK Kagayaki VG-10 24cm gyuto. It's the knife I used as I learned to sharpen. It's in my knife drawer, scuffs and all, waiting for some TLC with Micro-Mesh.
I bought a Shun Steel 8" Chefs that was on clearance with a 15% professional discount that I tricked the manager at SLT into giving me, and a lamson knife guard to go with it. I noticed someone on food network was endorsing them heavily and figured he knew something, but I was afraid to use it for near a year because I thought I would ruin it. My common sense also told me that running a regular steel across it didn't seem like a good idea!

I quickly realized I didn't like the ridiculous curve on the blade and my curiosity ended me up on the forums where I got my first real J knife, a Hattori HD 270. I was afraid the HD was going to be too big, based on my experiences with heavy German knives, but now the size seems to be the current size preference amongst many (including me). My first sharpening rig was a spyderco sharpmaker... I think I've come a long way since >.<
Kagayaki VG-10 240 mm gyuto, MAC MTH-80 8" chef knife and 5" MAC petty. All three have since been given away as gifts, with the hopes of spreading the jknife fever. Less wallet friendly (but more fun) knives have taken their place.
Hmm lets see. First was a Shun Elite 8" Chef (so much belly it feels closer to a 6" usable) and a Global GS-5 (handy little knife I still reach for). Then added a Fujiwara 240 FKH Gyuto and a CCK 1303 to play around with some new shapes and carbon. All within about 3 months of each other. Once you get the itch its all downhill lol.
First 'upgrade' from standard Fibrox / EU style knives was to a Global G2 (which I still really rate) closely followed by a Global GF35. These were a revalation at the time and I ended up getting 5 more Globals before I realised I couldn't sharpen them..... :eek:

I can sharpen them really well now and they are done on the EP, the G2 is the 'bread knife's' knife which she really loves and the GF35 is relegated to being used as an awesome slicer for hog roasts etc.

First upgrade from the Globals was to a 270mm Hiro AS and the rest as they say is history, (and a bloody big hole in my bank account) ;)

my first "japanese" knife was a Mac Superior Santoku, which i got about 1 week after i first started cooking professionally. My first real japanese knife was a 240mm Masamoto HC Gytuo given to me by my chef in Japan.
mine i guess would have to be a global (does) that count, but really it was when i started using tojiro dp, these knives still hold a spot in my heart, i only have one of them left as i have sold/given away the others, but it is one of my most prized knives seeing that it has been with me in every restaurant i have worked in
wustof/henckel to global/shun to chroma/shun kramer to miyabi fusion to cck/tojiro to hiro/dt itk. now waiting on some "other" stuff.
Home cook so Wustof to Shun's first j-knife was a Takeda 240 gyuto (this past xmas gift to myself). I tend to dip my foot in the deep end when hit with an obsession. Now i'm in the market for a petty, honesuki and a slicer, recs welcome.
I jumped right in with a Takeda 210 gyuto. It is long enough for my purposes here at home. It was quite the revelation coming from a Forschner 8" chef! Although the Forschner dies a pretty good job, and I can get a pretty good edge on it, it just doesn't last and isn't as thin as the Takeda.
My first J-Knife was a Fujiwara FKH 210mm Gyuto. I still use that knife every day and is what I am learning to sharpen with.

Masamoto KS gyuto. I had bought a few j-knives before that (Hattori HD, Shuns), but the KS changed my perception of "high performance."
I did a little online searching for a local retailer and found nothing within 30 min drive. I called David at KnifeMerchant and asked if I could come by the warehouse and check some things out. I came away with a 240 Glestain, and Masahiro MVH santoku and 150 petty. I've since given the santoku away, the petty is my wife's favorite knife along with a Shun classic santoku that a friend gave me once they saw a Shun was missing from my collection. The Glestain is my sentimental fave and it is my travel gyuto: tough, great design and responds well to steeling. I now use mainly 270 Kon HD, 270 DTITK and a 240 A-type at home along with a stainless Kon 150 petty.
First knives I ever bought was a wushtof 10" heavy chef, boning and paring knife. Then after getting "lost" in my first pro kitchen, I bought another 10" wushtof. Then a friend from Bond St. In NYC (the restaurant not the street... Well technically it is on bond St.) turned me onto j knives. So I got my first 240 gyuto, a Mashahiro VG-10. Then 140mm petty or was it 160. Then I acquired a nenox 240 gyuto for a couple cases of beer and some free shifts at work. I sold it when I need some cash. Then the list goes on....
First Japanese knife was a Shun 8"chef's. Then Bob Kramer Shuns. Then Artisan, knife forums, Nenox, Suisin, and on and on.
my first was a watanabe.....can't go wrong with that!>.....ryan
my first was a watanabe.....can't go wrong with that!>.....ryan

Same here, Watanabe standard nakiri was the first. I think. I also got a Shun 150 utility/petty around that same time.

My first real Japanese upgrade (as opposed to a knife that was simply "made in Japan") was a Tojiro honesuki I bought used off of Ebay. What an eye opener! After that I figured I'd get aquainted with some more authentic stuff and got a set of Watanabe's basic knives. I still use the deba and ajikiri pretty regularly; the santoku, after much thinning, is now the 'go to' knife on the rack at home. The others were given away or lost over the years.
Sad to say I've not every forayed into good knives, I was a cook at a seafood grill for a couple years when I was in college.
I got so pissed at the crap knives they had in the line that I went and got the best knife I could find which unfortunately was nothing better than a Henkels 5star. I still have it, though I have ground off the full integral bolster and rounded the spine.

currently I use a 210mm french pattern of my own in 52100. I am working on a W2 replacement at the moment.
When I got my first apartment, I got a $60 set of Chicago Cutlery knives in a walnut block. I used that 8 inch chef's knife for ten years. Over that time I bought a bunch of different sharpening gadgets but could never get the knife sharp. Eventually i speculated, "maybe it's the knife," so I went to the internet to research whether to get a Henckels or Wusthof. The forums sent me in another direction. I started with a Tojiro DP and got hooked. That led me down the path of Shun, Hattori, Yoshikane, Nenohi, Watanabi, Moritaka, and Hiromoto. After I worked up to my Kramer I stopped trying to rationalize this hobby.

P.S. I still have that 8 inch Chicago Cutlery and I still can't get it sharp.
after many months of reading at KF i decided to go for a 240mm takeda kiritsuke shaped gyuto.

though that was actually my second japanese knife, the first one being a moritaka gyuto that had to be returned due to a funky overgrind (that Dave here helped me identify).

i eventually got a 210mm tojiro dp gyuto that was supposed to be my wife's knife and that hon kasumi set of deba, yanagi and usuba from epicurean edge (that i've yet to use).

so far these are my only japanese knives.

My first truly serious knife was a Henckels Cermax chef's knife. After using a Henckels' 4 star line for years, I got "lucky" when someone dropped it, point down, from about five feet onto an asphalt parking lot. The top three inches of the knife snapped right off. Having read about kitchen knives on a couple of forums and in Chad Ward's book, I knew I wanted something thinner and with better steel. The RC 66 of the Cermax impressed me, and while it wouldn't be my first choice today, I still own it and use it regularly. It's since fallen second in the rotation to its big brother, my 240mm Hiromoto AS rehandled by Dave.
My first quality knife was a 180 mm Akifusa Santoku. That has since led to a 150 mm Petty, 240mm Gyuto and 210 mm Damascas Gyuto by Akifusa. A 165 mm Nikari, 240 mm and 360 mm Sujihika by Moritaka san and a 165 mm Santoku Masakage Shizuku by Kato san.
My first perfomance knife was a Dp suji and a 240 misono sweedish steel gyuto. I still have the gyuto and i wish i never sold the suji. Every time i use my misono it impresses me. Iv have probley sold 7 or 8 gyutos since i bought it but its still my workhorse.