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 Post subject: First Jknife for sharpening challenged
PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2014 2:34 am 
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Joined: Thu Jul 10, 2014 12:50 am
Posts: 148
New user here. I've been lurking, going through the threads and searches for a while now. I've noticed that more info seems to be better, so this might be long but I hope there is more to help you guys recommend something:

This will be for home use but frequent user. I'm decently skilled scratch cook, but my knife skills are fledgling. I prefer to use just one or two knives for most everything- usually a 7-8" Santoku or Chef for most chop/roll/slice prep and a paring for trimming fat off meats. I've gone from an old hand-me-down Chicago Cutlery set to a cheap Calphalon Santoku to a Cutco set given to me as a gift and most recently a Wusthof 8" chef knife I bought but have never really liked. I prefer the flatter edge profile of the Santoku for rolling and chopping, but on mine the blade is thick and the steel can't hold an edge for a whole onion. The Wusthof is a bit better in regards to the edge retention but I'm not a fan of the higher tip profile. The Cutco set is in that stupid micro-serration edge and I don't even like how it cuts. I kept the Cutcos because I don't mind roommates using them and they stay sharp longer (although they have to be sharpened by the factory).

I started looking at the J knives for the thinner but harder blades with a flatter edge profile. I prefer my knives to do the work, so I prefer to have a very sharp edge. I usually pull a knife through the "fine" side of the Wusthof ceramic sharpener a couple times before cutting anything. My knife skills aren't that great, so I don't do any kind of speed chopping/rolling, but I still prefer a knife with an edge that glides through material easily without much additional force or exaggerated slicing required. I also have big hands so I prefer a knife with a slightly taller profile with a lower tip- similar to a Santoku but with a pointed tip.

I don't do all my prep at once, and usually chop/slice as I go and will often leave a knife on the board for 15-20 minutes between uses. Usually I will get my veg prep done, rinse the blade off, lay it down, and come back to it when I'm ready to slice cooked meats or the next veg in the case that cook times are varied. I would prefer true stainless or semi-stainless knife unless there is a really compelling reason to go with carbon. I have seen multiple threads of guys saying "go carbon, you won't regret it" but often without any concrete reason why. I know stainless can be hard to work (from my EDC knives I sharpen) but I would also think that transfers to it's ability to keep a sharp edge longer than a steel that sharpens easily/quickly. I'm sure I'm wrong.

I'm not good at sharpening. Like knives, through the years I've been through quite a few different systems and models. Starting with oil stones, then a Lansky system, then a Lansky diamond set, a Worksharp belt sharpener, and for the last year or so a set of Japanese waterstones (King 1200/8000 combo from Woodcraft). After a year of working with the waterstone, I remember why I went from oil stones to the Lansky system: I suck at freehand and it's frustrating and I'm sharpening less often because of it. Without getting into that more here, I'm likely going to ditch all of that and get an Edge pro system. Currently my Lansky followed by stropping on leather gets my EDC knives hair popping sharp, but it's too small for kitchen sized knives.

So, I guess I'm looking for a knife that I can't screw up the edge profile with an Edge Pro system, that is fairly resistant to rusting, has great retention of an acute edge, and has a lower tip angle.
Your questioneer:
1. Are you right handed? Cut with my Right
2. What type of knife are you interested in (gyuto, nakiri etc..) Gyuoto with a lower tip
3. What size knife are you looking for? Probably 210 this time, might get a 240 slicing type for my second knife
4. Do you prefer carbon or stainless steel? Probably Stainless/Semi-Stainless but Carbon if there is a compelling reason to
5. Do you prefer a western handle or a Japanese handle? Have only used western handles but could probably get used to a Japanese handle
6. How much did you want to spend? It depends on how well it fits my needs, but I was thinking $150-250.
7. Do you know how to sharpen? The concept is not foreign, the results are. Edge Pro in my future.

I've considered, the following, am I on the right track?:
Richmond Laser AEB-L 210mm Gyuto
Kohetsu HAP40 Gyuto 210mm
Kamo R2 Gyuto 210mm(What a great looking blade)
Takamura Migaki R-2 Gyuto 210mm

If I went carbon I was thinking something like:
Kohetsu Aogami Super Gyuto 210mm]
Richmond Laser Aogami Super 210mm Gyuto

I'm not in any real hurry so I could wait a little if the out of stock items might come back in.

Thanks in advance for taking your time to help me.

Chris



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 Post subject: Re: First Jknife for sharpening challenged
PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2014 3:05 am 
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Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2012 4:17 am
Posts: 4731
What all have you tried to sharpen on you King stone?
Most of the knives on your list have slightly shorter profiles but are all very good knives. Not sure if you would be satisfied with their hieght.
The Richmond Laser Aogami Super or Kamo R2 are both excellent knives and slightly taller than the rest. I think the Kamo would best fit your needs from your post. The Richmond Laser AS would be the next best choice and I don't think you would have trouble with the carbon core from your descriptions of your habits.



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 Post subject: Re: First Jknife for sharpening challenged
PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2014 4:42 am 

Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 6:20 am
Posts: 2296
Thanks for the detailed post, it really helps give direction for a rec.

A few thoughts:

1) There is no hard and fast rules, but carbon steels tend to sharpen easier and take a keener edge, in exchange they may or may not have better edge retention and of course you have to deal with reactivity. The bias you have read here toward carbon has to do with its sharpening and edge taking abilities and the fact that high quality carbon steels with quality heat treatments are not exceptionally reactive. For many users new to J-knives the differences between the steels are not really as relevant as you might think, if you are more comfortable with stainless, there are great steels to work with out there.

2) Japanese style handles are lighter than western style handles due to the rat tail tang instead of a full size tang. As a consequence, Japanese handles lighten a knife, compared to western handles, and move the balance point toward the tip. Most people who use a pinch grip find a Japanese handle an easy transition to make. If you wrap all five fingers around the handle, the difference between a Japanese handle and a western one is more of a wash.

3) It is a good idea to have an eye toward a sharpening solution. Most here recommend freehand sharpening, but if you feel uncomfortable with that, the Edge Pro is well thought of by many users. Unfortunately there is a myth that high quality cutlery comes with a great edge and never looses it. The reality is like a performance automobile, high quality cutlery requires maintenance to stay ahead of the other guys.

4) There are a few knives that pop to mind, but I will restrict myself to knives I have handled.

-The Sukenari Ginsan is a mid-weight, all stainless, Japanese handled knife in your price range. http://www.chefknivestogo.com/sugi21gy.html. There was a pass around with this knife in the 240mm length a while back, here is the thread where we posted reviews: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=5255&hilit=%20sukenari

-One of the three classic "first J-knives" commonly recommended is the Tojiro DP, http://www.chefknivestogo.com/tojiro-dp-f-8081.html. It is inexpensive, a good performer, and all stainless. It is thicker than the other knives I would recommend but will still outperform most any western knives. The VG10 steel in the Tojiro does have a reputation for being a bit harder to sharpen.

-Another of the "first J-knives" is the Fujiwara FKM, http://www.chefknivestogo.com/fufkmgy21.html. The FKM is stainless but is also available as the FKH in carbon steel. The Fujiwara is similar to the Tojiro but it is thinner and is a bit easier to sharpen. As a thinner knife it is a bigger departure from what you are familiar with.

-The Kohetsu in the 210mm length is an awesome buy, but is also very thin. Thin knives are less tolerant of errant technique. I might advise against this one. The others on your list I am less familiar with.


Hope the helps. Good luck. Have fun. :D


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 Post subject: Re: First Jknife for sharpening challenged
PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2014 1:35 pm 
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Posts: 2609
Chris - nice post! Thanks for all the info.

From your work habits, it sounds like a stainless clad carbon steel knife would work for you. If you wipe it down before you let it sit, you'll be fine. It's really not that big of a deal. You just have to develop a habit of doing this. With that in mind IMO you should add the Anryu Hammered Blue #2 210 Gyuto: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/anhagy21.html to your list. It's a great knife. Although it's more expensive the Kurosaki Megumi 210 is also a fantastic knife: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/kumegy21.html. It's almost a full stainless version of the Anryu. More info here: 210-gyutos-megumi-vs-anryu-hammered-vs-yuki-t6947.html.

From your list, I like the Kohetsu HAP40 210 Gyuto. You can see a direct comparison of this versus the Takamura R-2 210 on the Kohetsu product page. The Kohetsu is a more substantial blade with a larger handle, which might work better for you. HAP40 is going to be more wear resistant and harder to sharpen, but if you get the Edge Pro Apex Essentials Set with the Shapton Glass stones, you'll be all set. Those stones are one of the best for a steel like HAP40.

Another slightly OOTB option is the Gassan Blue #2 210 Gyuto: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/gaao2gy21.html. It's a tall blade with a pretty flat profile and a quasi Santoku shape to the blade. The Blue #2 core steel is awesome stuff and sharpens very easily. It's stainless clad and a very good performer. The handle is so, so, but it works just fine. The blade is the star on this one :-).


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 Post subject: Re: First Jknife for sharpening challenged
PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 10:15 pm 
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Posts: 148
Thanks for your replies. I wanted to wait a few days before replying to see if I got any more input.

As for what knives I've sharpened on the king stones, it's mostly the cheap Calphalon Santoku and the Wusthof chefs. My problem with the waterstones isn't how they perform, but my technique. I just can't seem to keep a constant angle, despite trying several different positions, grips, motions. That's another discussion for another area though.

I should mention that I've been using poly boards for the last few years; I didn't think it was important until I saw other threads discussing poly boards being hard on edges. I moved to poly after spending a few years behind the bar in a restaurant and having poly pushed on us because it is "cleaner" and "safer" since you can sanitize in the dishwasher. I'm coming around after a bit of research and realize with the right care a wood board is a better option for protecting blade edges and isn't any less safe if cleaned and sanitized properly with vinegar or non-toxic disinfectant.

I'm still reticent of getting carbon for a variety of reasons, including my past experiences with carbon field knives and rust. I've also been reading stories on the forum about carbon blades creating a sulfur smell and transferring oxidation or reaction to foods until the blades have a strong patina developed. Then what happens when you go to sharpen them and scratch off the patina? Same thing over with the smell and transfer again?

I also don't know if I want to go through the whole cleaning and storage prep every time I use a knife for 2 minutes to dice an onion for meat sauce and or slice a tomato for a BLT. Just yesterday I chopped up some grilled chicken and peppers and onions for a lunchtime burrito and realized I left my Wusthof wet on the counter for at least 20 minutes until I went back to clean up. I'm thinking it might be best for my first jknife to be stainless or semi-stainless and develop better habits before going with carbon. Sad, because that Anryu Hammered Gyuto recommended above was one of the first ones I looked at.

I know EDC knives are very different than kitchen knives, but I've got some experience with different steels used. I'm not sure if VG10 and Aus-8 are at the top of my list for knife steels, which is why I put together the list I did. I've never had a knife with AUS-8 hold a usable edge for that long, and my Spyderco VG10 was a little microchippy. My thoughts:

I might not be quick with a knife in the kitchen, but I don't abuse my blades. My current EDC has a S90V steel- somewhat brittle but very abrasion resistant- and has never chipped and holds a razor sharp edge 3-4x longer than any other knife I've used in AUS-8, 154CM or D2. It takes longer to sharpen, but needs it much less frequently. I think I would be inclined to lean towards something with better edge retention that might require a little more effort to sharpen.

I'm still very interested in the Hap40 and R2 knives. I'm considering the Kurosaki Megumi and will look into it more. I am also thinking about the Tojiro for a starter knife and jumping on a Kamo when they come in stock, or possibly go for carbon next time. If I do the latter, I will probably take the money saved from getting the Tojiro and get the upgraded Shapton Glass stones for the Edge Pro. Do the glass stones work well for a knife with lots of Vanadium carbides like S90V, or should I think about sticking with diamond stones for it? Maybe I should ask that in the Edge Pro forum.

-Chris



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 Post subject: Re: First Jknife for sharpening challenged
PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 10:50 pm 

Joined: Sun Apr 27, 2014 10:34 pm
Posts: 31
Location: Palm Beach County FL
I was in your situation a few months ago, lurking, learning, before buying. Budget will determine whether this works for you, but through the fine inputs from Mel, Leptus, and several other members, (pardon me for the names I left names out), and having zero prior experience with JKs or carbon steel, I settled on the Masakage Yuki Gyuto and Honesuki - and the Edge Pro Essentials kit. The Yukis come crazy stupid sharp OOTB, and the Edge Pro improved them. I practiced on Cutco and Wustoffs first, and years ago sharpened Gerber hunting knives with stones - I was familiar, but not / no longer competent.

The Yukis are (IMHO) phenomenal, the Edge Pro is aptly named, and the service from this company and the fine folks on this forum are nothing short of spectacular. OK, fawning praise over - don't be afraid to buy semi-stainless, and buy here.


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 Post subject: Re: First Jknife for sharpening challenged
PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 10:55 pm 

Joined: Sun Apr 27, 2014 10:34 pm
Posts: 31
Location: Palm Beach County FL
AND once again I managed to insert a "t" into Lepus' handle where it doesn't belong - sorry, again!


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 Post subject: Re: First Jknife for sharpening challenged
PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 12:42 am 

Joined: Sat Mar 01, 2014 7:15 am
Posts: 1437
Location: Raleigh, NC
If you want a carbon knife, buy one. They are much easier to keep clean than daily carry knives because you're under a pretty ideal set of conditions. A well made carbon knife won't rust for at least a few minutes. Plenty of knives could have lived through your 20 minute lack of wipe, and it's very easy to force a functional patina if you desire. Even if you did have some minor rust, it cleans up quickly. So long as you don't leave it overnight you'll generally be okay and good cleaning habits become very much ingrained when you work with such knives. Some high carbon blades will leave smells and tastes, but we would warn you in regards to any you were considering.

That said, if you want a stainless or semistainless steel knife, go for it. HAP40 in particular I think you will find to be similar to S90V. Keeps the edge for a very long time, tougher to get sharp. The Shapton stones are certainly up to cutting such hard steels. They'll serve you better than diamond plates on anything short of ceramics.

(Are you a Benchmade guy or a Spyderco guy? Or are you deeper still?)

@celt: No worries. I've been called much worse.


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 Post subject: Re: First Jknife for sharpening challenged
PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 1:37 am 

Joined: Wed Feb 20, 2013 2:22 am
Posts: 851
From my personal experience the Richmond AS Laser and the EP with Shapton stones are a perfect match. The slab sided blade sits perfectly on the EP. Dial in a 12 degree bevel and you're good. (I sharpen mine in two parts; heel end and tip end.) I have had no problems with rust, just a deep blue patina on the AS edge.

Protip: Go for the 240. Trust me on this.

CKtG forum - We make the expensive mistakes so you don't have to! :lol:

Cheers,

Rick


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 Post subject: Re: First Jknife for sharpening challenged
PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 9:38 am 
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Posts: 690
On average, Hitachi carbons will take a ridiculously sharper edge compared to well known stainless. That's one of the reasons I prefer carbon. Add to that, Japanese knives tend to be very thin; you basically get a high quality razor in the kitchen. Some of the stainless's such as AEB-L and the powdered offerings will take very sharp edges as well, but haven't tried them personally. When you get maintenance figured out, the worries go away and it becomes more fun and interesting(for me anyway). :) I don't mind the maintenance for the sharpness and craftsmanship, and it results in me taking good care of the knife anyway.

I really like waterstones. I couldn't imagine sharpening with anything else. I'm sure edge pro, etc..works awesome. I use two hands for sharpening, which helps stability.



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