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Re: Looking for top quality set of knives

Sun Jul 28, 2013 7:34 pm

The Fujiyama is a beautiful knife, no doubt. Would you lean this way over the HD?

I'm leaning towards waiting on the slicer for now, and maybe revisiting this as I find more of a need for it.

I will probably lean toward the toiro for the bread knife, I agree with you about the handle though, so I'll put some though to that. We end up cutting a lot of bread though!

As far as the petty and the parer, I will be honest with you, I frequently just use my chef's knife. However, I know with non-stainless, I will probably want to incorporate these for the acidic pieces, do you have a recommendation for lengths?

The boos is edge grain.

I'm looking forward to getting back out to D.C. I was there in 2010, and will now be going there to attend law school. At this point I'm still working on getting this move done from Chicago though! Feel free to be in touch if you can recommend a good bar or two also!

Re: Looking for top quality set of knives

Sun Jul 28, 2013 7:53 pm

I would go with the HD and do a custom handle to dress it up if want the bling of the Fujiyama.

Re: Looking for top quality set of knives

Sun Jul 28, 2013 7:55 pm

We have dogs, as well as no place to put a magnetic bar. I keep my knives in a drawer. No, not tossed in...

I've got the longer knives and the deba in their own sayas. Tim Johnson can make custom sayas for just about anything, and they probably fit better than most of the "factory" ones.

The shorter ones I use an in-drawer knife holder from Target. It's pretty narrow and can hold four paring/petty knives, and four more larger ones. I found the Sur La Table/Wusthof-style ones didn't work well for Japanese knives. Between being too narrow and just the wrong shape, I couldn't easily get the knives out, nor did they really sit well in the slots.

The Fujiyama is different than the HD/White #2 line -- they are a tiny bit thicker (less flex), and a tiny bit heavier in weight, and cut perhaps a hair better if your sharpening skills are top notch. The HD/White#2 line is considered a "laser" because it is so thin. Along with that comes a little lighter weight and a bit more flexible blade. I've got a beast of a 300 mm Aritsugu that has its place at 335 g -- more than twice what my Konosuke HD weighs and stiff as a board by comparison. Is one "better" than the other? Well, it depends on what you are doing and how you are doing it. If you're a professional cook preparing scores of the same thing, you bet you pick the tool that is best for the task at hand, for each task. At home, geeze, hard to say. Would I be bummed if I only owned one or the other? Nope -- both are world-class knives, right on that cusp where you start getting into mainly more hype and appearance since you can't really improve performance any more. (To be clear, I don't consider the Fujiyama series "hype" and "appearance" over the HD/White#2.)

Re: Looking for top quality set of knives

Mon Jul 29, 2013 1:25 am

SAM <> I would lean towards the HD due to steel as opposed to aesthetics. [Side note: Personally, I take issue with "pretty" knives. I will not deny a performer if it's pretty, but to be quite frank, I hate when a pretty knife performs... I still accept it though. For me, the more plain-Jane the aesthetic the better.} Hitachi White #1, #2, and Blue #2 have amazing potential, but I don't think they are better suited to you than KonoHD steel. You're not an expert sharpener - you are not even a sharpener, and ultimate edge potential between these steels is not so far that the benefits of semi-stainless are outweighed. IF you went Fujiyama, I would only suggest the Blue #2. This steel is currently out of stock in the Gyuto. Although if you chose it, it's worth waiting for. The flatter funayuki & kiritsukes are available in some of the steels, but I think you & most users, for that matter, that are not caught up in the hype of the funayuki will find the age-old gyuto profile much more user friendly and therefore effective. That said... there are those of whom love less belly - myself included & off the top of my head Jeff in this thread, but said profiles allows less margin for error at the tip and are therefore, in the broad sense, less versatile.

The slicer: I threw that in there because it can be a very useful tool. On the other hand, with a laser gyuto - especially if you went for the larger 270mm - this reco could be considered moot as a Kono HD gyuto is an extremely competent slicer. I was just playing with ideas for this set. If you went there, a low price point Artifex will perform admirably... http://www.chefknivestogo.com/riar27su.html $90

The bread knife: I think you misinterpreted the handle reco. Point raised was that the Victorinox has 2 handle options... fibrox or rosewood. The Tojiro comes in only one style. FYI: The Tojiro's claim to fame is its unique serration pattern.

Petty & parer: Nothing you have added has changed my opinion. Parer in the 80-95mm range, and my petty reco is a taller 150mm.

I have a Boos' board & they are staples; nothing wrong with what you have. If you want another board, we have a member here, John Loftis of Lonestar, that is a custom furniture maker making boards. He currently has a cool project on the fire that you may be able to get in on if you resonate with Magnus' design... http://www.chefknivestogoforum.com/post23027.html#p23027 BoardSmith boards are the other staple. Stay away from bamboo as they most oft from China of whom utilize cheap adhesives which are quite abusive to fine edges.

DC Bar/restaurant: From working all over the country & beyond, I have a pretty big network, and I have heard pretty good things through the grapevine about LINCOLN @1110 Vermont Ave. NW, Washington, DC (202)386-9200. If you need, I can make a call and get you a full local scoop.

Storing knives: I suggested buying the appropriate sayas whenever available. Custom sayas for the few stranglers can be had for a sum, and/or you can - for cheap - get the plastic Lamson knifesafes or the Forschner magnetics. http://www.chefknivestogo.com/fovimasa.html http://www.chefknivestogo.com/knifesafeset.html

Re: Looking for top quality set of knives

Mon Jul 29, 2013 7:49 am

I concur that the gyuto is what you should focus on as it will likely be in your hand 90% of the time. While I do like the funayuki-style (or Sabatier-like) profile there are trade-offs in how it "feels" on the board. Even though I like a flatter belly, I find the kiritsuke-style profile to be too flat and can't imagine its tip being anywhere near as versatile as the more standard profiles.

Another thing to think about in your gyuto and petty is how "tall" the knife is. There is quite a range. Something like the Konosuke gyuto is going to run 48-50 mm. A Takeda I think runs somewhere around 60 mm. Some love the extra height for the kind of work they do and the way they can do it with a taller knife. I definitely can see the extra height on a petty being useful. The ones I have are pretty skinny. I'm considering one of the Kanehiro petty knives Melampus likes because it has more height than the ones I have.

Slicers in the home are an interesting beast. We typically aren't carving roasts, turkeys, or hams for hours on end. I'll even admit that we use an electric knife when the turkey comes out. It's fun, like a mini-chainsaw! So, the way I think, a slicer should either be a modestly priced option; use your gyuto, buy an inexpensive or moderately priced sujihiki, or an option with more utility than just slicing. Maybe I'm trying to find an excuse to buy another Konosuke, but something like a 300 mm sujihiki will be around 40 mm tall, enough to be able to use it on the board. Then again, its nearly a $400 knife...

I do find a 210 mm slicer too short for much more than sushi prep. A 270 or 300 mm one, even at home, I think is a better bet.

Melampus also politely pointed out that it is White #2 and HD that are used by the same team and in the same basic pattern for Konosuke, not White #1 as I mis-typed. I have both and find the HD functionally as sharp (and easy to sharpen) with my skills as the White #2, but a lot easier to care for. You'll find some of the professional cooks here preferring the HD for the same reasons. That said, if I were to go for a Fujiyama gyuto, I'd also go with the Blue #2 as well, even with fledgeling sharpening skills. (As far as I know, the Fujiyama knives are not available in the HD steel.) It's a knife you're going to have for years. Caring for carbon-steel knives is more of a habit than anything, and not an onerous one at that.

I definitely like a wood board over poly, especially with big, sharp, Japanese knifes as they have a good feel and tend to trap the edge less. A poly board can grab the edge and, if you apply any twist to the knife, potentially chip the edge. The Boos edge-grain boards are fine. I'm lusting after one of the Lone Star Artisan end-grain boards.

Re: Looking for top quality set of knives

Mon Jul 29, 2013 10:04 am

So, it sounds like the Konosuke HD is a solid choice for you. And I don't think anyone would fault you for going with one of the Fujiyamas, if you wanted something just a bit thicker (and particularly if you have more than a passing interest in learning to sharpen). A lot of folks seem to really love the Konosukes in general, and the HDs in particular. The HD is thin and considered a laser, if that interests you. About the only thing bad I hear about Konosukes are that the price has risen a good bit in the past few years, but they're still considered good performers.

Seems like you've decided on Tojiro bread.

I agree that the Richmond Artifex Suji, if you decide you do indeed want a slicer, could work well, especially if only used occasionally. I have an Artifex 150 petty that I like for general tasks. If you're looking for a parer, you could also consider the Artifex. I did handle one of those briefly, and thought the handle was a little small--significantly smaller than the handle on the 150 petty.

Speaking of petty knives, in this thread and some other recent ones, people have been suggesting taller knives that would function more as a mini gyuto and be more versatile. The Masakage Shimo looks like it's 34mm--http://www.chefknivestogo.com/mashpe15.html This thread has me seriously considering it.

I assume you're going with the sharpening kit suggested, or at least a couple stones to get you started.

Your Boos edge grain is probably fine. Not sure what size it is, but I do enjoy having a fairly big board (15x20). It gives a good amount of comfortable working room. I have a Boos end grain maple board. I got it on a good sale price, and it's big and solid in good ways, but gentle on edges. There are times I think I'd rather have a bit of a richer look, but can't really justify an upgrade based purely on aesthetics. Of course you could upgrade to end grain and get something that looks really nice (maybe even a combination of a couple different nice woods) . . .

The board design that Melampus linked to looks pretty cool, but it's not cheap. There are other (less expensive) options if you are seriously interested in upgrading your board, but not sure whether that's part of your current plan.
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