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Left handed user wants a couple knives for 100-150

Sat Nov 16, 2013 9:41 am

Hi Mark and Susan, I was hoping for some recommendations based on the below:

1. I'm left handed. I've had to deal with using right-handed tools my whole life and don't necessarily consider this a drawback. Still I love the rounded Japanese style handles but the D shape as I understand it is tailored to the right handed individual. Will I truly suffer by it's design (generally I prefer a high grip, intimate with the blade)?
2. I want whatever I get to be sharp. I have plenty of knives I can use for the heavy duty tasks, so toughness really isn't an issue.
3. I want 2 knives, one for detail work and trimming meat, and one for vegetable work. I was imagining a nakiri and a petty, but that's based on my browsing.
4. I want my knives to remain sharp. Do I need a stone now, or, considering I've used dull knives for so long, do you think I get by for a few months under reasonable home use and then invest in a stone (can you recommend a cheap combination stone anyway).
5. I can't spend a lot of money or my wife might use the knives against me. I was hoping to stay between $100 and $150. It seems that tojiro shirogami is a good fit for that price range but see #1.

I know I'm not making it easy at that price point, but hopefully you can provide a little extra insight. Any advice or ideas would be welcome.

Love your site and look forward to being a customer,

All the best,


Re: Left handed user wants a couple knives for 100-150

Sat Nov 16, 2013 9:46 am

Hi Darin,

I would recommend you use your limited budget on one good all around Japanese knife. A santoku is a medium size general purpose knife that can be used to do all the same tasks as a nakiri but it has a pointed tip so you can do some smaller detailed cutting with it as well. At $150 you could by this Kohetsu and it will blow you away: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/koaosusa18.html .
The knife is thin, it uses exceptional carbon steel called Aogami super steel, it's stainless clad so it's easy to care for (only the edge will patina) and it comes shaving sharp out of the box and will hold it's edge longer than almost anything in this price range. It also has a nice octagonal handle so it will work great for your left handedness.

I'll also give you a money back guarantee if your wife uses it on you. :)

For sharpening I would recommend a combination stone just to get you started. Sharpening is easy to do and takes only a little practice to get descent results. Over time you will get screaming sharp edges as you learn to keep the knife at a nice, consistent angle as you sharpen. I did a bunch of video on how to sharpen and I recommend you watch some:

The combo stone I like the best is the Imanishi: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/imtwosi1kst.html

Re: Left handed user wants a couple knives for 100-150

Sat Nov 16, 2013 8:23 pm

"I would recommend you use your limited budget on one good all around Japanese knife."


I agree, one good knife is better than 2 lesser quality knives. My only point of disagreement with Mark is if I had to buy one knife I would look for either a 210mm gyuto or a 240mm gyuto. That being said, the Kohetsu listed above appears to have a gyuto like profile, just shorter.

One other question to consider is your tolerance for corrosion. Carbon steel will get sharper easier when sharpening, but you will have to keep it clean and dry frequently. Stainless is harder to make really sharp, but it is stain-less.

You might consider one of these: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/fufkm24wa.html (stainless), http://www.chefknivestogo.com/tanakagyuto2.html (I have almost bought the 240mm several times, but haven't yet; carbon, totally reactive), http://www.chefknivestogo.com/taku21wa.html (carbon), http://www.chefknivestogo.com/toitkshwa21.html (carbon), http://www.chefknivestogo.com/mugy21.html (carbon), http://www.chefknivestogo.com/koaosusa18.html (carbon on the edge, stainless on the remainder)

I would also recommend investing sooner rather than later in a stone. You mentioned that you have other knives you know to be dull. Buy the stone, practice on those, then when your new knife starts to dull your equipped and practiced. Some of the knives above are in the ~$100 range so Mark's recommendation for a combo stone would fit in your budget.

Lastly, I am not sure about handle shape on some of these. You might think about narrowing down you choices in terms of length, profile, and carbon vs stainless, then a recommendation would be easier to narrow down for a lefty.

Good luck,
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