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good starter knife?

Tue May 14, 2013 7:27 pm

I'm looking for a good all around starter kitchen knife, could you give me some recommendations? I'm looking at gyutos in the 210-240mm range. I read a lot about your artiflex and is interested in the M390 ones, are they great for starters?

Re: good starter knife?

Tue May 14, 2013 9:56 pm

To whom it may concern: We usually ask people with this question to fill out this questionnaire as it offers us some background that is pertinent to your question.

"To help you, we need a few questions answered so we can tailor a knife recommendation to your specific needs and requirements. When you ask about a knife please include as much as you can but at minimum answer these simple questions:

1. Are you right handed?
2. What type of knife are you interested in (gyuto, nakiri etc..)? Gyuto...
3. What size knife are you looking for? 210/240...
4. Do you prefer carbon or stainless steel?
5. Do you prefer a western handle or a Japanese handle?
6. How much did you want to spend?
7. Do you know how to sharpen? "



The Artifex is a great "starter kitchen knife." It is an inexpensive no nonsense/no frills kind of design that is very popular in professional kitchens due to such. It has a nice long flat spot to put a lot of edge to the board while still implementing some belly if you are a "rock chopper." The M390 is really advantageous to a starter as it has incredible edge retention... staying sharp for a long while. Downside is it is more difficult to sharpen. Said knife is really a fantastic bang for your buck, but w/o knowing more about you, it is imprudent to comment further.

Re: good starter knife?

Wed May 15, 2013 1:50 am

The Artifex are extremely good entry-level knives. I rate them roughly equal with the Fujiwara FKM, and Tojiro DP. Each of the three has a different set of strengths and weaknesses.

The Artifex is made of premium materials with very good ergonomics, an extremely simple aesthetic, and without the barest nod to cosmetics.

The Fujiwara is a pretty little knife; fairly well made; the blade is an inexpensive and somewhat outmoded alloy; it takes a good edge but doesn't hold it particularly well and will benefit from frequent steeling.

The Tojiro is a good VG-10 san-mai, especially considering it's price; it's the stiffest of the three knives; F&F and cosmetics are decent but not outstanding; some people -- especially women -- find the handle too large to be comfortable. It takes a very good edge, and holds it well, but is not particularly pleasant to sharpen. Steeling a DP can be problematic, but is doable if you do it right.

Bohler 390, as in the Artifex, takes a great edge, although it can be difficult to sharpen with some stones. It's real claim to fame is that holds a good edge for an very long time indeed. Whether or not you'd find the extra edge holding of 390 important is an open question. How to prioritize edge taking and holding properties will depend a great deal on how you sharpen.

The Artfiex 390 only comes in the 210mm length. Whether or not you'd do better with a 210mm or 240mm knife is similarly open.

BDL

Re: good starter knife?

Wed May 15, 2013 3:08 am

I have been playing with M390 Artifex for a little while. I have taken them from no edge to a fully sharp edge. It's a bear to grind the original bevel to them (I used my variable speed belt sander), but from there once the edge is established, Bester 500, Bester 1200, Rika 5K and then a J Nat finisher and strop works very well. I have 4 heading to CKTG this week that have been converted to Wa handles with stabilized Claro Walnut burl and Maple burl handles that have been thinned out behind the edge and fully sharpened.

Re: good starter knife?

Wed May 15, 2013 3:28 am

Hi everyone, I just joined after I got the email from Sue that she posted my question here.

A little background about myself, I'm a home cook that doesn't do much home cooking but can appreciate a good knife. I'm a Spyderco addict and naturally a steel junkie so I have experience with exotic steels like S90V all the way down to 8cr13mov. The steel junkie in me is really what pushes me to get the artiflex in M390 since I know that steel holds an edge for a long time and is easy to sharpen as compared to S90V and ZDP-189. Honestly, I can get by with the cheap knives I have but I think it's about time I get proper knives.

1. Are you right handed? I'm left handed, not sure why it would matter on a kitchen knife.
2. What type of knife are you interested in (gyuto, nakiri etc..)? Gyuto since it can be an all around knife.
3. What size knife are you looking for? 210/240. I feel that this is just the right size.
4. Do you prefer carbon or stainless steel? Stainless for ease of maintenance.
5. Do you prefer a western handle or a Japanese handle? I don't have a preference. I'm ashamed to say that all my kitchen knives are those cheapies with different handle styles.
6. How much did you want to spend? $100-$150
7. Do you know how to sharpen? I think I do, I have an edge pro and is proficient in using it. I also have experience with sharpening exotic steels and don't see it going to be a problem.

Re: good starter knife?

Wed May 15, 2013 4:58 am

RJ <> I am a fellow Spyderco-ite, as well. :twisted: I'm a simple man, and not a steel snob with my EDC. Hasn't changed in just under 20 years, and I don't think it ever will... Second Generation Endura. I have amassed about 8 of them in different edges & finishes, but that is my knife. Can't stand the new clips, or finger holes, or spine design.

Anyhow, your dexterity matters regarding asymmetrical bevels. For example, a Kata-ha style knife (single bevel, chisel grind) would be just beyond awkward for a wrong handed user. A knife w/symmetrical grinds & bevels is ambidextrous, but there are right-handed knives & left handed knives in the kitchen for sure. Additionally, and to a lesser extent, Eastern style handles, aka. Wa, come in different profiles that can be designed for left or right handed use (D-handles).

You feel which is "just the right size"... 210 or 240?

Regardless, at your price point, and with your steel knowledge... I think the in stock (for a moment) Artifex in M390 @$120 is your go-to.

Re: good starter knife?

Wed May 15, 2013 1:17 pm

Get the Artifex in either 210 or 240mm in AEB-L. Great knife for the price.

Re: good starter knife?

Wed May 15, 2013 1:41 pm

I've been reading a lot about the artifex and came across a review by someone who I know knows his steel and he was very disappointed with the artifex M390 saying that it wont hold an edge for long. Anyone else experience this? I'm hoping he just got a lemon and not a botched HT.

@Adam
Why do you recommend the AEB-L over the M390?

Re: good starter knife?

Wed May 15, 2013 2:47 pm

Because most people wouldn't be able to sharpen it well. That's one gleaming attribute of AEB-L, very easy to sharpen.

Re: good starter knife?

Wed May 15, 2013 3:10 pm

The AEB-L is much easier for the beginner to sharpen.

I think I found the review you are referencing. Does he really bring the knives to a 600 grit diamond edge and call it good for the testing?? Other reviews I have seen have the M390 kitchen knives holding their edges for 3 months or so IIRC.
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