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Another "first real knife" type of question

Wed Sep 26, 2012 9:29 am

I'm a home cooking enthusiast, and not pro by any stretch. That said, I like cooking enough and do enough of it that I'd like to invest in 1 multi-purpose, decent knife. My specialty is tacos and salsa, so I cut a lot of tomatoes and onions. And sometimes I will cube cuts of meat before slow-cooking them. If I could make salsa faster, my world would be a happier place.

Stole these questions from another thread:

Are you right handed? Yes
Do you know how to sharpen? Not really, but I am willing to learn
Do you like to rock the knife or push cut primarily? Primarily push cut I think, but I'd like to learn rocking too. A large chefs knife has always felt too ungainly to me, so I have gravitated towards the Santokus because they were a little smaller
Do you want a stainless knife? Too ignorant to have an opinion
Do you want to get a western handled knife or Japanese handle? Never handled a Japanese handle so can't compare.
How much did you want to spend? $150

Thanks in advance.

Re: Another "first real knife" type of question

Wed Sep 26, 2012 9:38 am

do you see any knives on the site that tickle your fancy? many different knives could suit your needs well, so you can make t decision based on what you like

Re: Another "first real knife" type of question

Wed Sep 26, 2012 10:02 am

All of them? :)

Well I read on this site that the 210mm Gyuto is the most popular, most practical for wannabe chefs. So I was looking primarily at those. I mostly have used Santokus. I think I got my mom a MAC Gyuto and couldn't really say what it was that I didn't like about it right away. Bad edge? New shape? Bad knife skills? I liked it better the last time I went to visit, but she'd had it resharpened by MAC so that probably helped.

Obviously there are some amazing knives that are well out of my range. But these are intriguing:

Konosuke HH

Tanaka Damascus

Torijiro ITK

Richmond Artifex

The first two are a little higher than what I'd like to spend, especially because I'd also like to get a saya too, but they're on sale, so it might be an opportunity to get a little better knife? Maybe you could tell me your opinion?

Re: Another "first real knife" type of question

Wed Sep 26, 2012 10:18 am

Out of those, I'd get the Artifex with a sheath and finish sharpening. It'll perform just like the other pricier ones and save some cash. It's a real workhorse, and the steel and heat treatment is honestly one of the very best stainless options available.

The finish sharpening is just to make sure you have an edge that brings out the best in the steel, lasts a long time, and(should you want to) will be easy to learn to sharpen on.

Re: Another "first real knife" type of question

Wed Sep 26, 2012 7:04 pm

I have the 240mm Tanaka Sekiso gyuto and love it. It's all carbon, so it will Patina, but once I got a good Patina, it's stayed there quite nicely. Great all around knife!

The Artifex is also nice. Takes and holds a great edge. Some of the customized 210mm ones are already finish sharpened, too, but they are a bit more than the Tanaka.

Re: Another "first real knife" type of question

Thu Sep 27, 2012 7:16 am

Thanks everyone. What do "Stainless" and "all-carbon" mean in the knife world?

Re: Another "first real knife" type of question

Thu Sep 27, 2012 7:38 am

Stainless generally means that it won't react to food and will stay shiny and not discolor easily. Stainless can still discolor/stain or even rust, but it is pretty hard to get it to do so. Stainless is sometimes harder to sharpen than carbon and may not take as wicked of a cutting edge, but some stainless like AEB-L, are easy to sharpen and take a very nice edge.

Carbon means that the steel will react to what it is cutting. It will discolor until the exposed steel has reacted enough to stabilize and stop reacting/discoloring. If left wet long enough, or if food juices remain on the blade, or it's put away damp, Carbon can rust. Some people force a Patina on it to make it react and be done with with. I like to make a nice, rare roast and then stick the blade between the slices of the roast. Proteins tend to turn the blade a bluish purple and it has some gold coloring to it as well. Once I did this, it hasn't reacted much to anything, including onions, which can turn a blade dark grey/black quickly. When a carbon knife reacts to food, it can also transfer some coloring to the food. IE if you cut an onion, you may see the area around the cut have a brown ting to it. Carbon is generally easier to sharpen and will take a wickedly sharp edge, but may lose that sharpness quickly at first and then hold it, but not as long as stainless.

So carbon can stain/discolor and even rust if left if a bad condition, but is generally easier to sharpen and will take a finer edge in general. Carbon reacts to some foods and can discolor some foods. Stainless will stay shiny and require less care and not react/discolor foods, but may be slightly harder to sharpen (depending on the steel and heat treating) and may not take quite as nice of an edge (but they still take a very nice edge, just a tiny bit under the carbon edge), but may hold it slightly longer than carbon.

Re: Another "first real knife" type of question

Thu Sep 27, 2012 7:43 am

Looking at the tomatoes and salsa, you may want to go with a stainless knife. Look for one in AEB-L like the Artifex or a Sakai Takaykui Damascus with AEB-L core.


If you are cutting a lot of veggies, maybe consider a Nakiri? It will cut thru the veggies nicely and I've used mine a few times to slice up meats.


Re: Another "first real knife" type of question

Fri Sep 28, 2012 6:16 am

Thank you taz575 for the intel! So if it were between the Sakai Takaykui and the Richmond Artifex would you agree with BurkeCutlery's rec for the Richmond? The Sakai is "prettier" (and makes me feel more samurai! ;) ) but am I getting more knife for my dollar with the Richmond considering I can get the finish edge and the saya and still spend less?

Re: Another "first real knife" type of question

Fri Sep 28, 2012 9:01 am

Yeah, get one of the Artifex! Mark has the regular Artifex, m390 Artifex in 210mm. He also has some rehandled/customized Artifex. The 240mm ones were not finish sharpened, but most of the 210mm customized ones on the page have been fully sharpened. From what I remember, the Laminate Handle (Orange Cream and Camo) Artifex 210mm are finish sharpened and the 210mm Artifex with wood handles and 3 pins are finish sharpened. There is one 210mm with wood and 2 pins, I think that is an earlier one and may not be finish sharpened.

I am working on a big batch of M390 Artifex with Maple Burl handles currently, I hope to start shipping some out in the next week or two back to Mark!
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