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Kitchen knife recommendation for a knife novice

Mon Feb 25, 2013 11:05 am

Hi there
Thanks in advance for your help!

I am a bit of a knife novice compared to most on this forum & would like some help please with a recommendation for a chefs knife, probably 8" or bigger.

I currently have a Shun Kaji 6" chefs knife which I really like, but I'm thinking it's a bit short & I need a larger knife?

I'm right handed, mostly do rocking chopping, have pretty well no clue about how to properly sharpen/hone my knives, so I mostly send them away to the Shun recommended sharpener to get them properly done (scared of wrecking them). I love the Shun 6" I have - it feels great to cut with, especially onions & tomatoes, but I feel like I can't cut a lot of food at a time with the rocking motion & maybe a larger knife would help. I always hand wash carefully & dry immediately & store carefully on a wooden magnetic knife rack, so I think I'm pretty good about trying to look after them well. I try to hone them with a steel when they feel like they need it, but am a bit concerned about my skill level (or lack of) in this area.

I have 3 very young kids, so cook from scratch a lot, but am very time poor in terms of being able to go to classes to learn how to sharpen properly or anything like that.

So I guess I want a really good product that holds an edge well, cuts well. I think I like the feel of Japanese knives. Probably $200 would be my ceiling. I seem to see a few celebrity chefs using Misono knives on TV, so not sure whether that is really a good recommendation or just a bit of hype?

I also have a global bread knife that I really like & a Wusthoff classic parer that I know is pretty basic, but it seems to do the job well enough. I also have an old set of Mundials that were my first 'adult' knife purchase when I set up home. Don't like them too much - heavy & just don't seem to cut as nicely as my newer stuff.

Any help or recommendations would very much be appreciated.

I've tried to have a look in this forum, but there's a lot of material to go through & I think it probably takes a while to work out where to find what you're looking for.


Re: Kitchen knife recommendation for a knife novice

Mon Feb 25, 2013 11:20 am

back again - kid attack....

I went to Williams-Sonoma for a knife education class - didn't learn much - felt like they were just trying to sell me stuff. They said I needed to get a shun steel for my shun knife - the old mundial one i was using was the wrong hardness & would do my knife damage. Advice on that too?

I ended up at that class because I returned my Shun U2 ultimate 6" scalloped edged utility knife that I really liked, but it had developed some really bad visible chipping along the blade. I thought I had looked after it pretty well, & didn't know why that had occurred. The staff there were able to shed no particular light on that for me....

Re: Kitchen knife recommendation for a knife novice

Mon Feb 25, 2013 11:22 am

a 240mm (9.4 inch) knife would be best. the rest of the knives you have are pretty good for what you'll need. i guess the only thing that you need would be probably a 150mm petty and a sharpening stone (probably a combo stone) for maintaining your knives and keeping them sharp, that is if you're willing to learn to sharpen.

what may i ask do u use as a chopping board? stone? wood? glass?

will anyone else be cooking with you? are you or anyone else there left or right handed?

and where or how do you store your knives? drawer? knife roll? magnetic rack? wood block?

these will help us answer your inquiries better.

i'll let the others do the specific recommendation =D

Re: Kitchen knife recommendation for a knife novice

Mon Feb 25, 2013 11:27 am

Welcome to the forum Carleen!

Misono's are good knives, but you're paying for some marketing with a knife like that. Nothing wrong with that at all, but I do think there are some better value's out there.

So you have a 6" knife now and want bigger and want a Japanese style knife. You're probably looking at either a 210mm or 240mm gyuto then. Most here, we're all nuts, would recommend a 240mm over the 210mm. 240mm is right at 9.4" and 210mm is right at 8.2".

You didn't mention a carbon/stainless preference, so I'll assume you want stainless.

You didn't mention Japanese traditional handle versus western style handle, so I'll give a recommendation for both:

Western handled 210mm stainless gyuto:


Wa handled 210mm stainless gyuto:


If you want to go out on a limb, try this:


It's stainless clad, carbon core so maintenance is fairly easy. It's hand made and rustic looking....and a great knife to boot.

Re: Kitchen knife recommendation for a knife novice

Mon Feb 25, 2013 11:55 am

Hi Franzb

Thanks for your superfast response!

I use wood end grain cutting boards generally for most tasks, although i do use those epicurean brand manufactured wood/resin boards for meat, as i always figure it's a bit safer as you can put them in the dishwasher, and apparently they don't ruin your knives. I don't use glass, stone or plastic boards as apparently they're a bad option for knife damage.

I'm right handed, as is my husband who cooks a fair bit too. We have a 5yo who's left handed, but it's going to be a while before he's using a sharp knife, so I'm not too worried about buying something he can use right now. I do like the japanese handle shape the best though.

I store the knives on a magnetic rack but it's a wooden rack that has magnets embedded in it, so I'm figuring it should be pretty easy on the knives.

I'll take your advice on the petty (had to look up what that was I'm afraid!) & I think I will look into getting a stone & learning how to sharpen.

thanks again,

Re: Kitchen knife recommendation for a knife novice

Mon Feb 25, 2013 12:09 pm

Hi Adam,
Thanks for your superfast response! This forum is great! I'm loving it already!

I really appreciate your recommendations. I'm leaning towards your Fujiwara & Goko recommendations - the Fujiwara sounds great from the reviews & for the low price it seems like it's hardly a risk to try it out. The Goko also sounds like a great way to get a really affordable high end knife & it sounds like it's fantastic quality.

My preference is a japanese traditional handle, but I'm not hard & fast on it. I have a 5yo lefty in my family, so although it's a long way away, it's probably smart to get a handle that will work for everyone in the long run. But having said that, it's sufficiently far away I'm happy with a knife that works for our right handers right now. So either option really is fine.

I'm love some advice on a 240mm knife too.

I don't really know enough to have a steel preference, just more want performance & longevity.

I'm thinking maybe I should learn to sharpen if I have a few fairly good knives that need looking after. My concern would be, is it likely that you can do harm & actually wreck my knives while I'm learning how to do it properly? I'm not a total klutz & quite capable. I suppose it's just that I know when I'm well informed or capable, and when I'm not. If it's a reasonable prospect, can you recommend some sharpening equipment as good starting point?


Re: Kitchen knife recommendation for a knife novice

Mon Feb 25, 2013 12:36 pm

If you enjoy your Shun Kaji, you may want to look into getting your hands on an 8" Shun. Either a Classic or a Premier. I have a Premier, and despite the overall negative attitudes toward Shun on this and other forums, it is my favorite knife in my bag. I use it for 90% of what I do at work - ie. anything outside paring, boning, etc. It's stainless so you don't have to stress about keeping it absolutely dry all the time. The VG-10 has good, but not superb edge retention. I've seen a fair amount of people complain about the steel being chippy, but that has not been my experience. What I like about the knife is that it is lighter than a French knife, but heavier than your typical gyuto. The blade doesn't have any flex and doesn't vibrate when you chop with it. The grind and finish are the best I have used so far, quite literally no friction or resistance when doing your horizontal and vertical cuts for dicing an onion. I also like that it has some belly and is still comfortable to use when rocking is necessary. I will say the cladding on the outside is somewhat soft and scratches easily, but it's really only noticeable when you hold the knife in a certain light.

The price on it has gone up some recently, but it is still well under your price ceiling.

Victorinox are good cheapy blades if you have some gaps you want to fill on a budget.

I just ordered a Miyabi 7000 MC (sadly not available here). Should be here in a few days. Looking forward to comparing it to my Shun.

Long story short: There's really no cheap way of finding the knife that's right for you. Try to get your hands on as many knives as you can(in a brick and mortar store) and learn your personal likes and dislikes. Youtube blades you are interested in (many of which are available right here on CKTG). Do research, but in the end you won't know if you like it or not until you use it.

Re: Kitchen knife recommendation for a knife novice

Mon Feb 25, 2013 12:47 pm

Hi Carleen,

I had a few Shun knives myself. I like them, but I also find they're a little hard to cut with rocking motion if there is more food to cut at once. Profile of Shun's chef knives has more belly, i. e. more rounded. This give less clearance when you cut with a rocking motion.

You might want to choose a knife with flatter belly for profile.

Re: Kitchen knife recommendation for a knife novice

Mon Feb 25, 2013 1:55 pm

Hi Carleen, Welcome to our little part of the world,

A 1k/6k combo stone is a cheap easy way to get started sharpening. http://www.chefknivestogo.com/imtwosi1kst.html
May be you can get your husband interested in it too.
As long as you take your time and pay attention it is highly unlikely you will do irreparable damage to your knife.
Mark has some good basic knife sharpening videos on his website.

Re: Kitchen knife recommendation for a knife novice

Mon Feb 25, 2013 2:22 pm

Hi Carleen

The first thing I thought of when reading your post was a 210 Gyuto with a good amount of belly, for rocking and slicing.
It seems apparent that alot of the Japanese makers have tended to flatten out the belly more towards push cutting, but may not be the most comfortable if you're used to doing alot of rocking/slicing.

As well, a quality stainless blade came to mind, that holds an edge for a good while. Seeing as you don't sharpen that much(yet:)...and it sounds like a busy household. (not alot of time for watching over carbon). It might be good to get yourself a 1k/6k waterstone, and try your hand at it. Once you have it down...it only takes a few minutes and you'll be back in action, + there's plenty of folks in the sharpening section to help with any questions.

My suggestions would be:

http://www.chefknivestogo.com/masamoto- ... 210mm.html (more belly at the tip)
http://www.chefknivestogo.com/cuar21gybyti.html (more belly at the tip)

Hope that helps a bit!
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