All right folks, it is my birthday and my wife knows I have become obsessed with quality knives and sharpening. I pretty much have all the stones and stropping stuff I need as well as a broad range of chef knives.
I also have a Calphalon set of "Japanese" knives from their Katana series that are not bad but not really where I want to go from here. I purchased a Fujiwara Kanefuse High Carbon 240 Gyuto that is ok, but I really cannot justify (at this time) to get a similar sized/role knife (with my ~$100 birthday budget). I really like the look of the WA style knives, but need some direction on next knife within my budget.
I am a home chef with pretty good knife skills and the ability to free hand sharpen pretty well. I also like the carbon knives and the patina they create but friends are not too impressed and while the conversation is interesting to me, most of them don't care or understand the science of a nice patina.
So, knowing that I am looking for a second knife and that I have around a $100 budget (I can go over some) and knowing that I have functional knives for most of what I may need (except a cleaver, but I am not sure how much I would use one . . . commentary appreciated), what is the next step?
Get creative and let me know what you think about where to go from here . . .
Well, you said you have all the knives you NEED, so you are just looking for a knife that is different and fun. Well, fun under $100 is easy: 1. CCK1303 -- Cheap intro to Chinese Cleavers. Whole different ball game. 2. Tojiro ITK Bread Knife -- Best value machine-produced knife out there. All knives cut bread--this one makes almost no crumbs. 3. Stones! Learn to sharpen. Get a Suehiro Rika 5k and have at it. 4. A strop to touch up your blades, keep them in absurd shape to scare your friends. 5. A paring knife to go with your new Gyuto for small tasks. I don't have a lot of suggestions. I use a paring knife a lot, and hate them all.
You stated, "I pretty much have all the stones and stropping stuff I need..." so I reckon the stone/strop recommendation was/is moot. You do seem interested in a cleaver so Eamon's suggestion on that is applicable.
I have to guess you're realizing the limitations of the soft thick VG-1 Katanas after using the carbon Fujiwara, and you're probably going to continue to replace your existing Katana stock with superior cutlery so why not start now? Although I agree with the Moritaka 130 petty, I think the Konosuke 120 petty is another awesome option, as well. http://www.chefknivestogo.com/ko120wh2pe.html I think they give you a large pairing & small utility in one, and although I do not own both petties, I do own knives from both makers, and I would imagine the Konosuke is thinner & lighter than the Moritaka... if that matters to you.
Great suggestions folks!! The videos for the bread knife are pretty cool (especially if you don't like crust on your bread ). Mark, I think mamma will allow for a $25 splurge, so the Supreme Series is a consideration . . .
I really have all the sharpening stuff I need from a SG 320 to a final stone being a Kitayama 8000 Grit Water Stone before the hand american balsa/horse butt strop kit.
I am thinking that the bread knife can be a purchase later (for no reason) and that my birthday will offset my wife's lack of understanding about this knife thing and offer a better opportunity for a little higher expenditure.
So lets say that the Moritaka Supreme 130mm petty is the front runner and $125 is the top of the budget, but let's give a little more time for some additional opinion . . .
Eamon's recommendations #1 and #2 would have been on my list to you as well if I had expanded on my recommendations. They're both big sellers on our site and fit your budget and would broaden your selection of knives in a good way.
OK, so now you really have me spun up . . . I don't have a cleaver and while I don't have a cool petty, I do have knives that I can get by with in that category. So a 1303 with a cool handle (like the ones on the site, but in stock) . . . Tell me about the benefits of a cleaver over a chef knife for prep . . . who loves their cleaver and why do they us it instead of another selection.