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 Post subject: How to spend $300 on knives?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2014 5:16 pm 
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Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2012 7:18 pm
Posts: 7656
Location: Madison Wisconsin
Discovered your site a couple of weeks ago and have been educating, or confusing, myself with all the different options available in kitchen knives. I am a modest home cook and am looking to upgrade the mess of knives that I have acquired over the years. I am looking to spend about $300 or so to start, and cannot figure out what to purchase for my first go. I would be replacing all my knives so I would think a larger bladed chief’s knife and a pairing knife (in western terms) would be necessary. If you could give me some guidance on what to look at i would appreciate the assistance.

I do use and collect pocket knives so I am familiar with knife care and basic sharpening. I presently use a Spyderco Sharpmaker, but want to do more hand sharpening so I am also interested in your selection of sharpening stones.

I was happy to see you are located in Madison, WI. I was born and raised outside of Madison and got my BS (chemistry, math, and physics) and PhD (chemistry) from the UW. Hope to return back to Madison when I am through working. It’s a beautiful city.

Thank you for the help and I understand if you are too busy to answer my questions. I look forward to supporting a Madison small business.

Best Regards,

Craig



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 Post subject: Re: How to spend $300 on knives?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2014 5:21 pm 
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Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2012 7:18 pm
Posts: 7656
Location: Madison Wisconsin
Hi Craig,

If you visit email me and I'll be happy to show you our little office. We're right down the street from the football stadium.

Answer a few more questions and we'll give you some suggestions. I'll guess for now so my customers can help without waiting for an answer.

1. Are you right handed? I'll assume yest.
2. What type of knife are you interested in? chef/gyuto and petty/paring
3. What size knife are you looking for? Guessing 240 gyuto
4. Do you prefer carbon or stainless steel? Guessing stainless
5. Do you prefer a western handle or a Japanese handle? Guessing you want to try a Japanese handle.
6. Budget $300
7. Knows how to sharpen



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 Post subject: Re: How to spend $300 on knives?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2014 6:43 pm 

Joined: Sat Jan 18, 2014 9:11 pm
Posts: 220
Location: San Diego
Well, a couple schools of thought - For most home cooks, 2 to 3 knives can do most of your kitchen work - chef/gyuto, paring/utility/petty and perhaps a bread knife. One route would be to focus on the knife you will use the most (gyuto for nearly all) and use your budget for that (using knives from your old set for specific purposes, such as paring/petty and bread knives). Another would be to try and get all 2 to 3 knives within your budget not using your old ones. If it were me and I had serviceable paring/bread knife (especially a paring knife that I could sharpen if needed to get better function), I'd go with option A and upgrade my paring/petty down the road as needed. To me, a bread knife is disposable, and decent knife can be had for under $20. If you like prettier handles, under $50. I just use it until it gets dull, toss it, and grab another. Effort to sharpen them is not worth it, IMHO

Another variable here is whether you have stones to sharpen on or not. If no, I would immediately factor in something around 1,000 grit (maybe a 1,200 Bester for $50), and then look at your budget. To me, the ability to sharpen (and even use that grit stone as a hone) is paramount, so much so I'd literally consider that before I set my actual knife-purchase-budget. Let's just assume you don't have one...so now you got $250.

Last, you can pour whatever $$$ you have after sifting through the above (and I am sure other variables/questions), or you can get a nice knife for under $100 in either stainless or carbon; use it; decide what you like and don't like; and make another purchase down the road that better fits your desires after experimenting.

OP - any thoughts on the above?

Something also worth considering - if you wanna ditch your old knives, you can get serviceable paring and bread knives for cheap. Like maybe $30 for both. Not Japanese knives - something like Forschner/Victornox for paring and Dexter Russel for knife. I mention this because I suspect that 80-90% of the time, it will be the gyuto in your hand, maybe more. So why not devote that much of your budget to your gyuto, and 10-20% to your paring and bread knife. I'm not saying this is THE WAY to do it, just an option worth considering. For instance, if you had a good sharpening stone already, or have a paring/bread knife you can use for the time being, $250 or so will get you a very, very, very nice gyuto.


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 Post subject: Re: How to spend $300 on knives?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2014 8:57 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 16, 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 3745
Location: USA... mostly.
CRAIG <> With very little information, here's $300 of gear for a newbie.

Gyuto / Parer...<--link
Bread...<--link
First stone...<--link
Second stone...<--link



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 Post subject: Re: How to spend $300 on knives?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2014 9:19 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 18, 2013 11:21 pm
Posts: 661
Location: Minneapolis, MN
+1 for what Mel said, that's a solid start up.


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 Post subject: Re: How to spend $300 on knives?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2014 11:04 pm 
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Joined: Sun Oct 21, 2012 1:34 pm
Posts: 339
Yep, Melampus has given you a solid starting lineup.
If you want 3 new knives and the means to keep them.
Paring knives, and bread knives of good quality can be purchased inexpensively, or maybe you already have ones at home
that will do for now.

So option 2 would be get the 2 stones, and spend up to $200 on a nice gyuto.
Here is one real nice Gyuto.
http://www.chefknivestogo.com/satadagy240.html
Under $200 AEB-L great stainless steel, easy to sharpen, and you still have $$ left to get the stones to keep it that way.


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 Post subject: Re: How to spend $300 on knives?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2014 11:17 pm 

Joined: Sat Jan 18, 2014 9:11 pm
Posts: 220
Location: San Diego
Philly <> do you own that sakai? I have always admired it...thinking of a wa gyuto damascus in SS with more refinement than, say, a Goko. I also like the weight and height of blade. Kind of leaning towards laser, but with a bit more heft?


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 Post subject: Re: How to spend $300 on knives?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2014 1:33 am 
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Joined: Fri Apr 12, 2013 12:07 am
Posts: 371
Here is my slightly different take... We don't know enough about you to really hone in correct suggestions so we are just throwing darts at the board right now ;) Maybe the OP can chime in?

Tojiro's are a nice introduction to Japanese knives and the set Mel linked is a good value. However, the paring knife in that set has a very flat profile almost a sheep foot flat. You may or may not like the flat profile, but I personally prefer a paring knife with a little more curve to the profile. I don't like most Shun knives, but their paring knife is an excellent knife. Since you are already used to caring for quality knives albeit pocket knives, I would go with a more high performance laser for the gyuto like the Kohetsu Blue. It has carbon steel clad in stainless. The only exposed carbon is on the cutting edge and will need to be cared for so it doesn't rust. It's a fairly thin knife so you will want to reserve tough tasks, like semi-frozen foods, for a beater knife(your current knives?). Unless you cut a lot of bread I would skip the bread knife for now and get a stone holder and flattening plate instead.

I linked to a low budget stone below, as Shun and Kohetsu chewed up most of your budget, it will get your knives sharp but it won't grow with you. If you can spend a little outside your budget I would personally go with the same knives, but a nice 3 stone set.

Paring - http://www.chefknivestogo.com/kepakn31.html
Gyuto - http://www.chefknivestogo.com/kohetsublue1.html
Stone Holder/plate - http://www.chefknivestogo.com/stsetwiunhob.html
Combo Stone - http://www.chefknivestogo.com/imtwosi1kst.html


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 Post subject: Re: How to spend $300 on knives?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2014 4:05 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 21, 2012 1:34 pm
Posts: 339
Socalboo wrote: "Philly <> do you own that sakai? I have always admired it...thinking of a wa gyuto damascus in SS with more refinement than, say, a Goko. I also like the weight and height of blade. Kind of leaning towards laser, but with a bit more heft?

No, but I do have the Richmond Laser in AEB-L. I love my Laser, but I have to admit if I was buying it again I would STRONGLY consider that Sakai.
I also have the GOKO,240MM in White Steel, nowhere near as refined in both fit and finish.
My Laser performed extremely well OOTB, I just gave it a strop on a 5K and some leather stropping.
The GOKO needed some work with 3 stones and leather strop, Now its a friggin beast!
Keep your eye on that Sakai, I think it's a real sleeper.


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 Post subject: Re: How to spend $300 on knives?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2014 5:15 pm 

Joined: Sat Jan 18, 2014 9:11 pm
Posts: 220
Location: San Diego
Thanks. Good info


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