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Looking for a Chef knife and a cleaver

Sat May 26, 2012 10:18 pm

I'm a self-taught home cook (armed only with a small, mistreated set of Henckels Pro S) who likes toys as much as the next guy and would like to start using some better knives. Budget is not unlimited, but I'm old enough so that I'm not interested in taking several steps up. I've browsed your website and realized I could do so forever, so some recommendations would be appreciated.
1) a chef's knife. Probably 210mm is fine. I don't mind the heft of German knives at all, but would also like to try something different. So a western-style Japanese knife would probably be right.
2) I love to barbecue, and a cleaver would probably come in handy. I also foresee cooking a lot more vegetable dishes when our last son departs for college soon, and I'm not butchering meat and cutting bones. So is there a Chinese cleaver that could also be used for cooked meats? or should I be looking at a Chinese cleaver (or nakiri) and a cheap meat cleaver?
3)How do I go about learning to properly sharpen knives?
Any help would be appreciated. Thanks very much.
David

Re: Looking for a Chef knife and a cleaver

Sat May 26, 2012 10:19 pm

Here are a few questions I need answered before I can give you a good recommendation.

Are you right handed?
How much did you want to spend?
Did you want to stick with stainless or try a carbon steel knife?

Kind Regards

Mark Richmond

Re: Looking for a Chef knife and a cleaver

Sat May 26, 2012 10:20 pm

I am right handed.

$250 seems like too much for a knife to me, but I can sometimes be talked up if it makes a big difference.

I don't know enough to answer the last one definitively. I don't mind some extra care and maintenance for things I really value and are of good quality as long as I have the skill necessary. If something required a lot of sharpening, I'd have a lot of learning to do.

David

Re: Looking for a Chef knife and a cleaver

Sun May 27, 2012 6:17 am

Richmond Artifex 210mm gyuto and Misono No. 61 cleaver.

Re: Looking for a Chef knife and a cleaver

Sun May 27, 2012 3:29 pm

Ok David,

I would suggeste an easy to sharpen, stainless 210mm gyuto/chef knife. There are a bunch of choices that will fit your criteria. Here are a couple I like for you:

Masahiro MVH: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/machkn8.html
Good knife, good steel, good handle, good fit and finish. I like the profile and grind of this one too.

Masamoto VG:
http://www.chefknivestogo.com/masamoto- ... 210mm.html
This is a great knife. It's been around forever and it just performs really well. Easy to sharpen and takes a good edge.

Mac Pro: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/macprmichkn8.html
Another excellent introduction to Japanese knives with stainless and western handle.

Wicked made a good recommendation for the cleaver. The Sugimoto is a solid choice. It's versatile and fun and should handle most of your cleaver needs besides rough work. Some day when my Fanatic stainless is back in stock that would be a good choice for you as well. Here's the Sugimoto. I'll have them back in stock in about a week. http://www.chefknivestogo.com/sugimoto-cleaver.html

Re: Looking for a Chef knife and a cleaver

Sun May 27, 2012 4:36 pm

I have a Sugimoto cleaver and I love it. It is, however, white steel, and carbon steel is more maintainance than many home chefs want to deal with. That is why I suggested the Misono.

The Richmond Fanatic has the potential to be the best cleaver on the market, because it is made from AEB-L steel, which combines the best characteristics of carbon steel with the best characteristics of stainless steel. Unfortunately, the handle on the Fanatic is a Japanese Wa octoganal handle, which interferes with the use of the cleaver.

If you look at the handles of the Japanese cleavers, including the Misono and Sugimoto cleavers, you will notice that the Japanese have preserved the style of Chinese cleaver handles, and the top of the handles are flush with the top of the cleaver blades. The Wa handle on the Fanatic extends above the top of the cleaver blade, interfering with proper use of the cleaver, which is pinch gripped on the blade, and the handle is there mainly for balance and stability.

The Richmond Artifex, on the other hand, is available in AEB-L steel, and would be a great choice in a 210mm gyuto with a western handle.

With the exception of the Fanatic, which is a cleaver ruined by its handle design, the Richmond knives are remarkable, especially at the price.

Re: Looking for a Chef knife and a cleaver

Sun May 27, 2012 5:01 pm

Thanks Wicked for the suggestions.

I've been working on an improved handle for the Fanatic when they come in. I'll post some pictures when I get them. They'll be talller, not as long and they should be closer to flush with the top of the spine.

The Sugimoto CM4030 is actually stainless and I prefer it to the Misono but they're both good ones: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/sugimoto-cleaver.html

Re: Looking for a Chef knife and a cleaver

Sun May 27, 2012 5:12 pm

It's exciting to hear that Richmond knives is working on a new handle design for its cleaver, the Richmond Fanatic. I love my Richmond knives, which are "semi-custom" production knives at a fair price.

My mistake on the Sugimoto. I assumed they were all carbon steel. The Sugimoto cleavers are the best cleavers in the world, and you can't go wrong with one. My Sugimoto #7 is an extraordinary cleaver, and if you don't mind the maintainance of carbon steel, it is a "must have" for cleaver fans.

To find out more about the Sugimoto cleavers go to http://www.chefknivestogo.com/sucl.html
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