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 Post subject: Another Newbie Recommendation
PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2014 3:48 pm 

Joined: Tue Apr 22, 2014 8:01 am
Posts: 2
First, thanks for everyone. This will be a bit lengthy, so thanks for the help.

I have been scouring the forum all day and there are too many recommendations, most of it being for people in slightly different situations. I will try to be thorough.

First, some background. This knife is for a buddy who has been big into his cooking/gardening/bread making/pickling/etc for a couple years now.

I am not sure about all the cooking he does, but I know he often boils whole chickens, so he might be doing some slightly heavier cutting (or should I tell him this would be a vegetable knife only? I read that bones dent edges easily). Because he is meticulous enough to do all the aforementioned activities, I'm sure he will not only be able to maintain the blade, he will be quite fond of doing so. However, at this point in time, he knows nothing about sharpening a knife. I am not sure how this affects the knife selection. I guess more of a starter knife would be his thing.

I am not opposed to buying a whetstone along with a knife, or would a ceramic suffice? I may not understand this aspect completely.

He is a fairly large fellow. 6'2" or so, but his wife is about 5'0". He does most of the cooking but she does cook a couple times a week.

1. Are you right handed? Yes
2. What type of knife are you interested in (gyuto, nakiri etc..)gyuto
3. What size knife are you looking for? 210mm maybe?
4. Do you prefer carbon or stainless steel? I would like to get him a carbon one (it is my understanding that carbon maintain edges longer).
5. Do you prefer a western handle or a Japanese handle? No idea
6. How much did you want to spend? $150-$200, but I wouldn't mind bumping that up a bit for something well worth it (or a slightly cheaper knife and a whetstone. Or maybe even a bread knife.)
7. Do you know how to sharpen? Not in the slightest, but I am sure he is willing to learn

I understand that purchasing a high maintenance knife would be burdensome, but I really do think he would appreciate it.

One thing, though, is he is quite paranoid about what he puts into his body. The oxidation that occurs with a cobalt knife and acidic food has me concerned. I've read it initially turns onions black. Is that even safe to eat? Or should he slice several bags of onions before the patina is created? How long does it take to create the patina? I've also read that if you constantly wipe the knife, and use the tsubaki oil, then the patina will not form. Doesn't that mean that it will always discolor your onions and create that metallic odor?

Finally, as previously mentioned, he bakes his own bread. I think he does it once or twice a week, so a bread knife would probably be appreciated, too. But I know even less about bread knives than I do gyutos.

Thanks again. I'm sure I'll think of more questions in a bit.


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 Post subject: Re: Another Newbie Recommendation
PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2014 4:09 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 27, 2013 2:10 pm
Posts: 181
But a bread knife is much easier to choose.

The Tojiro 270mm ITK Bread Knife is on sale for $60. An excellent bread knife.

At that price, you could still pick up a gyuto and stay in budget.


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 Post subject: Re: Another Newbie Recommendation
PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2014 6:10 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2013 6:00 pm
Posts: 1999
I would look at getting them a stainless knife to start. The standard top 3 recommendations for very good, entry level 210 stainless steel Western handled Gyutos are:

Fujiwara FKM-09 210 Gyuto: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/fufkmgy21.html

Tojiro DP F-808 210 Gyuto: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/tojiro-dp-f-8081.html

Richmond Artifex AEB-L 210 Gyuto: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/riar21.html

My personal favorite is the Tojiro, but all three offer a lot of performance for the $$. I just put a comparison video topic in the Videos forum with a Fujiwara/Tojiro comparison.

We have the Tojiro DP 210 and my wife, who is 5' 3" w/small hands has never once said anything about the handle being too large. It has become her main knife for most tasks. The Fujiwara will have a slightly smaller handle and is a little lighter overall. The Richmond has the best steel, but it a little thicker at the edge than the other two.

Get one of the above knives and the following 2 items for maintenance and sharpening:

Idahone Fine Ceramic Honing Rod: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/id12cerodwna.html

Shapton Pro 1.5K water stone: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/shaptonpro1.html.

The Shapton Pro case turns into it's own stone holder for countertop use. The Idahone rod equal to about a 3K Japanese grit scale equivalent.


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 Post subject: Re: Another Newbie Recommendation
PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2014 6:51 pm 

Joined: Wed Mar 05, 2014 2:28 am
Posts: 195
Its not exactly true that carbon steel keeps an edge longer, its just that it is easier to get a sharper edge. Retention of certain carbons and stainless steel is comparable and mostly dependant upon which specific steel, how its used and how it's sharpened. As for the patina, you can use mustard on the blade and let it stand for 20 minutes to force a patina, mark has a video on the process in the sharpening tutorial section of the site. Since it sounds like this person enjoys taking care of his things, id check out the naniwa green brick 2k stone to go along with any of the knives mentioned and I can personally vouch for the richmond line. Good luck and hope this helps.


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 Post subject: Re: Another Newbie Recommendation
PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2014 6:53 pm 

Joined: Wed Mar 05, 2014 2:28 am
Posts: 195
If edge retention is a primary concern, it doesn't get better than the kohetsu hap40.


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 Post subject: Re: Another Newbie Recommendation
PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2014 7:18 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2013 6:00 pm
Posts: 1999
Yes, if you want to bump up a few notches, the Kohetsu HAP40 210 Gyuto and the Takamura R-2 210 Gyuto should be on your list as well. The Takamura has a really sharp OOTB edge. I happen to compare these two on a recent video: knife-comparison-videos-t6267.html.


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 Post subject: Re: Another Newbie Recommendation
PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2014 7:30 pm 

Joined: Sat Mar 01, 2014 7:15 am
Posts: 696
Location: Raleigh, NC
I like all of the above for this. The Tojiro ITK bread knife, in particular, is top notch at any level. The only other knife I would throw in is the Kohetsu Blue #2 if you really want to go with carbon steel.


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 Post subject: Re: Another Newbie Recommendation
PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2014 9:44 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2013 6:00 pm
Posts: 1999
The Kohetsu Blue #2 is a great knife as well - not a fancy handle w/metal bolster, if that makes a difference. If his home made bread does not have hard, thick crusts, a good sharp Gyuto slices bread very well. If his crusts are really hard, the word is something like the Artifex bread knife does better with it's more pointed serrations than the Tojiro ITK.


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 Post subject: Re: Another Newbie Recommendation
PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2014 1:29 am 

Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 6:20 am
Posts: 1310
A few thoughts:

1) You can do "heavier" work with many J-knives, but technique becomes important. For example, in piecing out a chicken, you have to be familiar enough to cut between the joints and not hit bone. If this is his first j-knife, use his western knives as beaters until he feels confident to tackle tougher tasks

2) The discoloration of food can be bad with carbon knives. Some alloys are awful about it, others not so much. There can be an odor and a metallic taste, but I do not know it to be dangerous to consume. There are elements used in some steel alloys that are probably not really nice to consume in any large amounts, but steel alloys are fairly stable compounds, and only comprise minority proportions of elements other than iron. A stainless steel will be less likely to react, but stainless steels have more alloying elements involved that are no more desirable than those in carbon, so pick you poison...so to speak :).

3) A forced patina is very easy to put on. Smear mustard or banana or anything acidic on the blade, let sit for ~10-20 minutes, wipe, wash, and your done. Most carbons will take a patina quickly and pretty much stop reacting for all practical purposes.

4) Carbon will not have an edge holding advantage over stainless steels. Carbon steels may take more keen edges, but in some cases may loose those keen edges just as quickly. There are a number of quality stainless and carbon steels that preform outstandingly.

5) Based on your description two knives sprung to mind:
a. Kohetsu AS: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/rikoaosu21gy.html. This knife has an outstanding carbon steel core wrapped in stainless steel. The edge is exposed carbon steel and will discolor, but the majority of the blade is stainless and will not react with normal use. The particular steel used in the core of this knife is not known for aggressively reacting with food so even without a forced patina, I doubt you would see food discoloration. The only warning here, this knife is a very thin knife. It will be fairly delicate, but in exchange it cuts like a laser.
b. Goko Wt#1: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/gokogyuto210mm.html. This knife has a rustic finish with a lot of character, but it too is stainless clad. The core steel in this one is also not an aggressive reacting steel and is a very good performer. This knife is also a bit taller for additional knuckle clearance for someone with larger hands.

6) Definitely consider getting a sharpening stone. High quality cutlery is like a high performance automobile, they go like the wind, but they need TLC to shine indefinitely.

7) The Tojiro ITK bread knife is probably one of the best values on the site for bread knives. If you friend makes very hard crusty breads, the Richmond Artifex bread knife gets better reviews for that kind of product.


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 Post subject: Re: Another Newbie Recommendation
PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2014 2:49 am 

Joined: Mon May 06, 2013 2:34 pm
Posts: 45
I have a Tojiro ITK, and a Takamura R2. The Tojiro is really great, but, it's just a bread knife and I'd say if you have a strict budget, get a really nice gyuto. It's just used for so many more tasks and I find it a real pleasure to prep a bunch of stuff with ease. That said, I make bread as well and a nice bread knife is pretty nice. And this might be heresy, but I had an orange $9 KAI before my ITK and it was razor sharp for a good long while. Once that wore out I sprang for the ITK and it was worth it.

The Takamura is extremely sharp and has a high degree of finish - the rosewood is really quite nice. It seems to stand up to all my cutting tasks, and my experience with it is that edge retention is really quite good, probably better than a just average carbon steel I'd say. And although I wouldn't hack a drumstick in half (don't think any of the knives mentioned would stand up to this), I think the Takamura would be just fine cutting through joints etc. Carbon vs. stainless is tricky, I think you just have to have the right personality for it.. I'm always picking at my wife for not wiping down a carbon knife after using it and I'm sure that gets annoying. I'll also say that if I hadn't gotten the Takamura when I did, I'd have probably sprung for the Kohetsu HAP40. It's clad in stainless and the edge semi-stainless so you won't have reactivity issues and the edge will take a cool patina eventually too (I think).


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