Which 8" chef Knife Should I Buy? Questionnaire - v2

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Ceriano

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LOCATION
What country are you in?

US - Richmond VA

KNIFE TYPE
What type of knife are you interested in (e.g., chefs knife, slicer, boning knife, utility knife, bread knife, paring knife, cleaver)?
Chef Knife

Are you right or left handed?
Right Handed

Are you interested in a Western handle (e.g., classic Wusthof handle) or Japanese handle?
Open to both but Japanese is prefered

What length of knife (blade) are you interested in (in inches or millimeters)?
8"

Do you require a stainless knife? (Yes or no)
Yes. Stainless is preferred

What is your absolute maximum budget for your knife?
$100 ($150 if there is a noticeable upgrade)


KNIFE USE
Do you primarily intend to use this knife at home or a professional environment?
Home use

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.)
Slicing, chopping and mincing vegetable only. I have other knives to use for meat

What knife, if any, are you replacing?
$7 victorinox pairing knife! Unfortunately that's the sharpest knife I currently have in the kitchen and use it pretty much for all tasks. I have several higher end hunting knives but nothing to use in the kitchen except boning and filet knives. I use a cheap vixtorinox boning knife for quartering game but I'm not crazy about their chef kinfe. I tried one at a friends place and it was rather dull.

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

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.)
The slice

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.)
N/A

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)?
N/A

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

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)?
sharp out of the box

Edge Retention (i.e., length of time you want the edge to last without sharpening)?
This is important since I'm not planning to sharpen it myself


KNIFE MAINTENANCE
Do you use a bamboo, wood, rubber, or synthetic cutting board? (Yes or no.)
Bamboo and synthetic but I'm looking to upgrade.

Do you sharpen your own knives? (Yes or no.)
No I have tried, it's not for me.

If not, are you interested in learning how to sharpen your knives? (Yes or no.)
No I have spend probably close to $200 on water stones and different sharpers.

Are you interested in purchasing sharpening products for your knives? (Yes or no.)
No sold them all on eBay :)


SPECIAL REQUESTS/COMMENTS
How does the Shun free sharpening service work? How much do they charge for shipping?
How much sharpening service cost in general? I know someone that does it for $15 locally but I wouldn't trust him on higher end knives.

Here are few options based my research so far:

Fujiware FKM-09 Gyuto 210MM $75
Miyabi Evolution Chef 8" (34021-203) $99
Shun Classic 8" Chef $99
Kaiwara Blue #Kurouchi Gyuto 210mm $135
Takamura Chromax Gyuto 210mm $140
 

daveb

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Welcome to the forum.
 

tostadas

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At under 100, the fujiwara will get you a lot of bang for your buck. AUS-8 steel at around 58 HRC will be harder than your typical Victorinox and can be honed on steel between sharpenings. Chromax in theory should be able to get sharper since it's a semi-stainless, but I have not personally used one.

Generally, when you buy Shun/Miyabi some of that money goes into the looks and advertising department rather than performance. They look great and feel nice for when you have guests over, but if you are looking for best bang per buck, I'd recommend looking elsewhere.

Other options you may consider:
Jon at JapaneseKnifeImports is really helpful if you email him. The Gesshin Stainless (JKI house brand) is also AUS-8 and typically runs in the low $100 range for a 210mm. They were in stock a few weeks ago, but I think they're currently out.

Takamura R2 ($180) is a very thin super sharp stainless knife that holds its edge well. I had one and loved it. Highly recommend as well. Last I checked, they are OOS at most US retailers but I think maybe available at cleancut. They are in Europe, so send them an email for actual price.

Mac knife is well respected and has good quality control.

Misono makes the 440 and UX10 which are good value for the price, and can take a beating.

edit: the Kaiwara Blue Kurouchi knife you listed is not stainless.
 

Blerghle

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If you don't mind used you will sometimes see excellent knives in BST for ~$100. There's a Yoshimitsu 210mm bunka that's probably a solid step above what you could get for that price new.. But one way or another you're gonna need a method of sharpening, and that's going to affect what kind of knife you're getting. I take it that's the appeal of Shun. What's your plan if it's not covered by the manufacturer?
 

Ceriano

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If you don't mind used you will sometimes see excellent knives in BST for ~$100. There's a Yoshimitsu 210mm bunka that's probably a solid step above what you could get for that price new.. But one way or another you're gonna need a method of sharpening, and that's going to affect what kind of knife you're getting. I take it that's the appeal of Shun. What's your plan if it's not covered by the manufacturer?
can these be sharpened on a Tormek? That’s what my local guy uses and sometimes he finishes them up on a strop.
Shun service would be more appealing if I could drop them off at the local bed and bath and have them ship it for free.
 

Ceriano

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At under 100, the fujiwara will get you a lot of bang for your buck. AUS-8 steel at around 58 HRC will be harder than your typical Victorinox and can be honed on steel between sharpenings. Chromax in theory should be able to get sharper since it's a semi-stainless, but I have not personally used one.

Generally, when you buy Shun/Miyabi some of that money goes into the looks and advertising department rather than performance. They look great and feel nice for when you have guests over, but if you are looking for best bang per buck, I'd recommend looking elsewhere.

Other options you may consider:
Jon at JapaneseKnifeImports is really helpful if you email him. The Gesshin Stainless (JKI house brand) is also AUS-8 and typically runs in the low $100 range for a 210mm. They were in stock a few weeks ago, but I think they're currently out.

Takamura R2 ($180) is a very thin super sharp stainless knife that holds its edge well. I had one and loved it. Highly recommend as well. Last I checked, they are OOS at most US retailers but I think maybe available at cleancut. They are in Europe, so send them an email for actual price.

Mac knife is well respected and has good quality control.

Misono makes the 440 and UX10 which are good value for the price, and can take a beating.

edit: the Kaiwara Blue Kurouchi knife you listed is not stainless.

I can't find the R2 model in stock here in the US. Kurosaki has a nice looking R2 for $255.
 

Blerghle

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can these be sharpened on a Tormek? That’s what my local guy uses and sometimes he finishes them up on a strop.
Shun service would be more appealing if I could drop them off at the local bed and bath and have them ship it for free.
I'm sure other people here will know more about this, but I would not feel comfortable having a 60+ HRC knife getting sharpened on something like that. I would go for a softer steel, something like a Sabatier. They have a good profile, are not prone to chipping, and you can get by pretty well with an aggressive hone (those oval diamond hones and such are meant for this kind of steel). The thinner, harder steels that are so beloved here are meant to be sharpened with gentler tools. If you've tried out hand sharpening and know that you are not going to pursue that again, I don't think it makes sense to go that direction.
 

ExistentialHero

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I use a cheap vixtorinox boning knife for quartering game but I'm not crazy about their chef kinfe. I tried one at a friends place and it was rather dull.
The Vnox chef's is a pretty solid knife, but every knife requires maintenance to stay sharp. A Victorinox Forschner that's freshly sharpened by a skilled hand will out-cut a badly dull TF any day of the week. If you're not going to sharpen this knife yourself, a softer European-style steel like the Victorinox or a good Sabatier will hold up longer (and, with honing, *much* longer) than a harder Japanese-style steel.
 

Ceriano

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I'm sure other people here will know more about this, but I would not feel comfortable having a 60+ HRC knife getting sharpened on something like that. I would go for a softer steel, something like a Sabatier. They have a good profile, are not prone to chipping, and you can get by pretty well with an aggressive hone (those oval diamond hones and such are meant for this kind of steel). The thinner, harder steels that are so beloved here are meant to be sharpened with gentler tools. If you've tried out hand sharpening and know that you are not going to pursue that again, I don't think it makes sense to go that direction.
then my best option is to ship it to a reputable sharpening service center. I don’t know anyone locally that uses water stones.
 

tostadas

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I can't find the R2 model in stock here in the US. Kurosaki has a nice looking R2 for $255.
Knifewear in canada has it for $225. I bought a knife from them last month and they ship very quickly with DHL. No issue with customs.
 

Ceriano

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Knifewear in canada has it for $225. I bought a knife from them last month and they ship very quickly with DHL. No issue with customs.
I’m ok with carbon steel too. I’ve never had any issues with rust or pitting with my carbon steel hunting knives. Just some patina which I actually really like.
that being said I have very hard time sharpening the D2 steel. They may be easier than other types of steel to sharpen but not easy enough for me.
 

tostadas

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I’m ok with carbon steel too. I’ve never had any issues with rust or pitting with my carbon steel hunting knives. Just some patina which I actually really like.
that being said I have very hard time sharpening the D2 steel. They may be easier than other types of steel to sharpen but not easy enough for me.

Maxim at JNS carries all good stuff:

If carbon is an option, consider these:
 

Ceriano

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Maxim at JNS carries all good stuff:

If carbon is an option, consider these:
what’s your thoughts on the Tanaka and Kohetsu? Is Wakui a better buy?
 
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tostadas

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what’s your thoughts in the Tanaka and Kohetsu? Is Wakui a better buy?
I would personally buy one of the knives currently on BST right now. The Yoshimitsu 210 or Wakui 210

Otherwise, you can search the forum for reviews of the other knives to see what you might like. They have different grinds and profiles. There are lots of writeups already
 

Blerghle

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Any of these recs will be great. All of them will cost you more than getting something like a Sabatier and abrasive honing rod with the local guy sharpening it once in a long while. Just worth keeping in mind - shipping for sharpening plus buying a more expensive knife is something anyone here would stand by for best performance. Just make sure we're not talking you into overspending if you genuinely don't want to.
 

Ceriano

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Any of these recs will be great. All of them will cost you more than getting something like a Sabatier and abrasive honing rod with the local guy sharpening it once in a long while. Just worth keeping in mind - shipping for sharpening plus buying a more expensive knife is something anyone here would stand by for best performance. Just make sure we're not talking you into overspending if you genuinely don't want to.
not at all, I wouldn’t join the forum otherwise :)
I joined cellartracker a few months ago, before that I’d feel guilty drinking $30-$40 bottles of wine now I drinking $70-$80 bottles and don’t feel a bit guilty. It’s part of the hobby.
im hoping this post doesn’t turn into an expensive hobby tho.
 

PappaG

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I don't think Bed Bath manages the Shun sharpening program, but I'm happy to be corrected.
That program takes weeks whereby your know will be out for sharpening for god knows how long. I would not recommend that.
Heck I would consider asking if any forum members live near you that might be willing to sharpen your knives once in a while instead of going with a Shun..
 

Nemo

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not at all, I wouldn’t join the forum otherwise :)
I joined cellartracker a few months ago, before that I’d feel guilty drinking $30-$40 bottles of wine now I drinking $70-$80 bottles and don’t feel a bit guilty. It’s part of the hobby.
im hoping this post doesn’t turn into an expensive hobby tho.
Might I tactfully suggest that sharpening is commonly a part of the kitchen knife hobby? Usually a quite important part, as a $1k knife which is dull is more useless than a 50 buck Victorinox which is half sharp.

Learning to sharpen yourself and buying some stones won't take to long to get cheaper than getting your knives professionally sharpened. Even the postage for a "free" sharpening service. Not to mention the time involved in getting the knife to the sharpener and the time that you will be without the knife. A bonus is that your knives will always be sharp.

Many professional sharpeners use power tools which remove a lot of metal quickly which could significantly reduce the life of your knife. Overheating the steel and ruining the temper is also a risk. Many don't thin the knife, resulting in an incremental loss of performance.

The upshot is that you want someone who knows what they are doing to sharpen your good knives. Many good knife shops will offer this service (JKI, who are a forum vendor, comes to mind). In your neck of the woods, there is Dave Martell (in southern Pennsylvania IIRC) who puts a scary sharp edge on knives.

Or learn to do it yourself. It teaches you a lot about grinds and why a knife performs well.
 

Ceriano

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Might I tactfully suggest that sharpening is commonly a part of the kitchen knife hobby? Usually a quite important part, as a $1k knife which is dull is more useless than a 50 buck Victorinox which is half sharp.

Learning to sharpen yourself and buying some stones won't take to long to get cheaper than getting your knives professionally sharpened. Even the postage for a "free" sharpening service. Not to mention the time involved in getting the knife to the sharpener and the time that you will be without the knife. A bonus is that your knives will always be sharp.

Many professional sharpeners use power tools which remove a lot of metal quickly which could significantly reduce the life of your knife. Overheating the steel and ruining the temper is also a risk. Many don't thin the knife, resulting in an incremental loss of performance.

The upshot is that you want someone who knows what they are doing to sharpen your good knives. Many good knife shops will offer this service (JKI, who are a forum vendor, comes to mind). In your neck of the woods, there is Dave Martell (in southern Pennsylvania IIRC) who puts a scary sharp edge on knives.

Or learn to do it yourself. It teaches you a lot about grinds and why a knife performs well.
Can I use a handheld sharpener or a strop (or even a very fine grit wet stone) to maintain the edge between professional sharpening?
 

Nemo

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Can I use a handheld sharpener or a strop (or even a very fine grit wet stone) to maintain the edge between professional sharpening?
Yes... but if you can maintain am angle on a strop or a fine stone... just learn to sharpen.

When I sharpen a good knife, I "touch up" the edge on a fine stone. I only go to a medium stone when I can't create a burr within around 10 strokes. Then it's the same technique as with a fine stone.

Why do you need a professional sharpener, again?
 

Ceriano

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Yes... but if you can maintain am angle on a strop or a fine stone... just learn to sharpen.

When I sharpen a good knife, I "touch up" the edge on a fine stone. I only go to a medium stone when I can't create a burr within around 10 strokes. Then it's the same technique as with a fine stone.

Why do you need a professional sharpener, again?
I have never had any luck sharpening my own knives in the past. I can get them sharp but not razor sharp. that's one reason why I use 2 victorinox boning knives for quartering deer.
 

Nemo

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I have never had any luck sharpening my own knives in the past. I can get them sharp but not razor sharp. that's one reason why I use 2 victorinox boning knives for quartering deer.
I struggle to get Vics razor sharp. Blod*y steel won't take a fine polish. A fine-grained carbon or semistainless- no worries. Even a s finer grained stainless like Aus8 gets much closer to razor sharp.

If you want to have another go at learning to sharpen (you do), check out the JKI sharpening series on YT and the knifeplanet.net sharpening school.

Then come back with Qns (in a new thread in "Sharpening Station").
 

Ceriano

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I struggle to get Vics razor sharp. Blod*y steel won't take a fine polish. A fine-grained carbon or semistainless- no worries. Even a s finer grained stainless like Aus8 gets much closer to razor sharp.

If you want to have another go at learning to sharpen (you do), check out the JKI sharpening series on YT and the knifeplanet.net sharpening school.

Then come back with Qns (in a new thread in "Sharpening Station").
How much should I expect to spend on the stones? are the 2-sided stones any good for a beginner? I think the finest grit I got right now is 2000 but it's a no name brand stone.
 

Nemo

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How much should I expect to spend on the stones? are the 2-sided stones any good for a beginner? I think the finest grit I got right now is 2000 but it's a no name brand stone.
This is perhaps a question for a "which stone should I buy?" Thread.

In short, 2 sided stones from reputable manufacturers will do the job. Over time, you will likely use one side more than the other, so the overall life will be shorter. But this may take years.

Different stones have different characteristics (feedback, cutting speed, effectiveness on highly alloyed steels, need for soaking, risk of cracking) and these can be explored in a "which stone thread". The TLDR is that you will adapt to any decent stone and your (developing) skill is much more important to the end result than the stone itself.

It's not difficult to grasp the basics of sharpening and you will be creating edges sharper than you have ever used in fairly short order. And feeling pretty happy with yourself about it. You will gradually begin to realise that sharpening is a skil with more and more complexities the deeper you dive into it. There are greater and greater levels of sharpness that you can explore as your skill and knowledge increases. It's deliciously humbling and perpetually exciting. It reminds me of the saying in Pro Cycling, "it doesn't hurt any less, you are just going faster". With sharpening, it doesn't ger any simpler, you are just getting sharper.

But to reiterate, even at basic skill levels, you will produce edges sharper than any you are used to. Especially with simple carbon steels.
 
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Benuser

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Sharpening is no rocket science. The basics are pretty simple. Until the twenties, every man sharpened his own razor. Until recently, most farmers sharpened their own scythe. Sure, with more practice you become much better at it, but even the first attempts should lead to very acceptable results — far better than most factory edges.
 
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