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chef knife/ Gyuto strong enough to cut meats

Wed Aug 07, 2013 2:10 pm


I am new as far as to culinary instructional institutions, but have been cooking for 37 years ( I'm 42). my mother, although not formally trained, has remainded as an excellent cook who has taught me a lot.

My wife has awarded me the authorization to upgrade and create an Awesome home set. I currently have mix of Cutco, Caphalon Katana, and various Walmart bargain brands i have collected over the years. As you can see, I need to upgrade.

I wish to keep the price around $250 per knife (give or take a few dollars). But, if there is an excellent knife at a lesser price, I would also like to know about those knives.

I am looking for semi-stainless ( powder metals also included but try to stay away from clad)

1 chef knife/ Gyuto strong enough to cut meats and tough vegetables.
1- laser or semi laser chef/ Gyuto
1- slicer / sujihiki
1- utility
1- paring

From my research, I know that certain steels/ rods are used for honing these knives (separate from sharpening stones) i would like you recommendation on the proper ones so as not to damage my investment.

And finally, what stones will i need and the grit, to maintain the sharp edges. I was taught how to sharpen steel implements (from knives to tools) by my grandfather over 30 years ago. I am very familiar with dry and oil stones but haven't used water stones. I am willing to learn to use water stones in order to keep my investment sharp and well maintained.

Thanks Again for your help,


Re: chef knife/ Gyuto strong enough to cut meats

Wed Aug 07, 2013 3:27 pm

I cut meat and tough veggies all the time with a "laser". If you want a "laser" and another, heavier duty knife, I might suggest a western deba like such:


And then a proper laser.

The obvious choice for a semi-stainless laser is the HD2 series from Konosuke:

http://www.chefknivestogo.com/kohdwa24.html A little over your per knife budget, but pretty close.

You could continue down the list with the HD line from Konosuke.

Problem is, there aren't too many powdered steel and/or semi-stainless steel knives out there for that budget money.

The Ryusen Blazen line is a great line of knives that uses powdered steel. Maybe fill in some of the knives with that line.

The Shun Reserve line is SG2

The Tanaka Ironwood line is too, but much more money.

It's the end of a long day for me, either my brain isn't working, or I can't think of any other knives.

I'll come back and add if I think of anything.

Re: chef knife/ Gyuto strong enough to cut meats

Wed Aug 07, 2013 9:04 pm

It might be helpful for you to explain how you came to your decision for semi-stainless or PM (and why you don't want clad). There are various reasons, but the more info you can provide, the more folks can help you out.

You could, of course, keep one of your current knives around for the times when you might want a tougher knife. And maybe get just one gyuto, at least for now.

I don't see any reason to spend $250 on a paring knife (and if you do, that's fine--of course it's your money). But the gyuto (or gyutos) will be your workhorse, so you might want to devote more of your budget there, if you're so inclined. Or even going with the Tojiro Western Deba (which is thick and heavy--it's just under a pound) that Adam suggested, you'd have some extra money for a really sweet gyuto.

I also wonder if you might want to open up consideration to maybe one of the knives in stainless, which could be a benefit at times. On the other hand, some of the semi-stainless is pretty low maintenance and would be fine for cutting acidic foods, if that's a concern.

The Idahone ceramic is a nice hone, and you could start off with a 1K or 1200 and then maybe a 5K to pair with it. And, with your budget, maybe think about a strop as well.

Also, you didn't mention handle style, but if you're particularly drawn to western or wa, it would be helpful to help steer you in the right direction.

And get ready to make some fun choices!

Re: chef knife/ Gyuto strong enough to cut meats

Wed Aug 07, 2013 10:51 pm

Second on the Powder Metal/Clad thing. I understand clad knives have a "muted feel" on the board, but it doesn't bother the vast majority of people out there. Powder Metals encompass many other steels like the CPM series and there are a few European steels that are powdered. I though I had read that AEB-L/13C26 and 19C27 were powdered steels, but when I checked into it, I saw that they aren't. AEB-L does have a carbide size smaller than many Powdered Steels, though. Sorry for the misinformation!

Kono HD2 and Kikuichi TKC are the 2 main semi stainless steel series at CKTG. Artifex, Grand Chef, Sakai Takayuki Damascus (some of them), Suisin Inox use AEB-L or 19C27, which are Powdered Steels. G3 Silver Stainless is also a very nice stainless steel, not sure if it is powdered or not, but I have only seen it in clad blades.

Re: chef knife/ Gyuto strong enough to cut meats

Thu Aug 08, 2013 7:08 am

AEB-L is not a powdered steel.

G3/Ginsanko/Silver.....is not powdered either.

Re: chef knife/ Gyuto strong enough to cut meats

Fri Aug 09, 2013 5:13 pm

Your budget of ~$1250 for knives only is more than adequate. But some of your criteria are hard to understand.

Fill me in a little.
  • Why semi-stainless?
  • Not much choice in semi-stainless, you know.
  • Why PM?
  • What qualities does PM have which you think make them particularly attractive?
  • What is it you don't like about stainless?
  • Any chance you might consider a non-clad carbon?
  • Have you ever used a san-mai (aka cladded) knife?
  • What did you think?

Laser AND Robust Gyuto:
The issues with lasers isn't what they can or can't do so much as how their flexibility makes it hard to do some things without good knife skills or the luxury of taking your time -- or preferably both. Because flex leads to wracking, and wracking leads to binding: You probably won't want to use anything with as much flex as a laser for splitting melons, cutting thick-skinned squash, or skinning pineapple -- but some people do, me among them. It depends.

In some ways a laser is a little more delicate than a mid-weight knife -- but not by much. It's a fact of life that nearly all, modern, high performance knives need a heavy-duty backup of some sort at one time or another. With a laser you might go there a little faster than you would with something a bit heavier. Chances are you won't want to use any of your good gyuto for breaking the chines on prime rib roasts -- few people do, not even me.

The question is whether you want to tag team a laser with a more robust gyuto AND a heavy-duty backup, or just go with either two of the three.

I have all three, and it works very well for me. But I don't want to sell you on the concept -- I want to give it some thought.

Heavy Duty Knife
It's something of a minority view in this forum, but I recommend not wasting your money on a Western Deba. There are all sorts of alternatives which do the same things just as well -- better really -- for a lot less money. If there's any way in hell you can live with a carbon knife, you can get a knife which is strong enough to be used for digging holes in the garden and gets beaucoup sharp for under $20.

The idea of utility covers all sorts of ground. You want a "petty," which is an incredibly versatile knife and will take the place of your parer, your boning knife, and perform just about any food function.

But I have to say I want another knife for cutting all the things I don't want to use one of my good knives for like cutting pies and frosted cakes, leaving out on the cheese board; opening the occasional box; etc.

Paring Knife:
Go cheap. You need a small knife you can treat like crap.

Bread Knife:
Get one.

Sharpening is crucial. Your oil stones (whether you use them with oil or use them dry) are too slow for sharpening strong modern alloys; and you'll want at least some of your knives to be made of those.

You'll want either a quality set of water stones or a quality tool and jig system such as an Edge Pro. Since the skills for using oil stones are exactly the same as those required for water stones, you might as well go the bench stone route for its greater versatility.


Preliminary Recommendations:
  • Laser - Richmond Laser AEB-L, or Konosuke HD2 if you want the best in semistainless; or Konosuke HH if you want one of the best in stainless;
  • Robust gyuto - Richmond Ultimatum M390;
  • Heavy duty backup - Old Hickory 10" butcher's knife (carbon and not sold at CKtG);
  • Bread - Tojiro ITK
  • Utility - Richmond Artifex "Petty";
  • Other Utility - Forschner by Victorinox, wide fillet, Rosewood series (not sold at CKtG);
  • Paring - Forschner by Victorinox, Rosewood series (not sold at CKtG);
  • Sharpening, soup to nuts, including stones and accessories - CKtG 8 piece set; and
  • Rod hone - 12" Idahone Fine (aka 1200) Ceramic with wooden handle.
[Note: Some of the above knives are best sharpened on water stones, and some on oil stones.]

Food for thought,

Re: chef knife/ Gyuto strong enough to cut meats

Sat Aug 10, 2013 3:06 am

I don't know if there are going to be any more M390 Ultimatums. The normal steel one is in stock, maybe an AEB-L version in the future since Mark is getting more of that steel? Mark is still debating about using M390 or not I think based on posts I have read from him.

Re: chef knife/ Gyuto strong enough to cut meats

Sat Aug 10, 2013 8:26 pm

On the one hand, I've never used the "regular" stainless Ultimatum, but on the other feel that I know enough about 19C27 and Ultimata in general to go ahead and recommend it with fair confidence.

I thought of the M390 version mostly based on my experience with the 52100 Ultimatum and Rob's very enthusiastic review of the M390; and because M390 seemed particularly suitable for the OP's long experience sharpening tough alloys on oil stones, and what had in mind for a knife that was "suitable for meats." If it is to be no more, it's passing will be mourned.

A final word about the Ultimatum. It's a lot more like a Sab than it's like a Masamoto KS or Moritaka KS.

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