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Multiple questions about knives and sharpening

Wed Sep 26, 2012 8:57 am


I want to place an order but have some questions. I have an old set of Chicago Cutlery but for the last few years have been using Cutco serrated knives which are kind of OK for "ripping" vegetables but are tough to use on uncooked meat at this point.

1) I almost bought a set of Spanish "forged" German knives at Costco but got to doing some research and finally landed on your site. I can't spend a fortune so I am thinking the Tojiro DP Gift set A to get me started - sound good?

2) I'd like an inexpensive bread knife and was thinking either the Forschner 8" 40549 or 9" offset 40550.

2) As far as sharpening, I have some experience with sharpening planes, and have a Veritas II guide, a 4 sided diamond hone (200, 300, 400, 600), and a double sided water stone (1000/6000). I also have plate glass and sandpaper. I use the diamond hone to flatten the water stones. I would love to get an edge pro or wicked edge guide product for knives but I can't spend $300 to $600 on sharpening tools right now. I watched your videos but am still unsure how to get the angle right with hand sharpening. Any suggestions here?

3) I have a grooved steel from my Chicago cutlery set. Would I need a different steel, and if so, which economy model would be good to get started with?

4) Can I get by with stropping with a cork?

5) I am thinking a magnetic rack would be best - does the Henkels rack work OK?



Re: Multiple questions about knives and sharpening

Thu Sep 27, 2012 7:41 am

Hi David,

1. Yes the Tojiro set you mention is a big improvement over the knives you have. They're excellent knives for the money.

2. The Forschner 10" Bread knife is good. The Tojiro ITK Bread knife is our best selling knife on the site and is what I use. You might want to take a look at that one too.

3. You can use your same rod. I like the idahone ceramic rods better but your rod should work. Just use it lightly.

4. If you strop your knife it's best to use leather or felt or balsa with compounds. You can use cork to deburr your knife when you sharpen it.

5. Yes all the magnetic racks work fine. There's not a lot of difference between the henckels and the wusthof.

Kind Regards
Mark Richmond

Re: Multiple questions about knives and sharpening

Thu Sep 27, 2012 2:32 pm

My turn!
1. If they are for you, just buy one knife at a time. You will not believe how much one good knife can do. My favorite budget starters are the Richmond Artifex, and Suisin Inox Western. I really think the Suisin is worth the extra money over Tojiro DP, if you really want a Japanese knife and an integral bolster.

2. Tojiro ITK Bread Knife is one of the best value knives in the world, honestly. Any good knife will cut any bread without too much trouble, but the ITK Bread knife will make less crumbs and not smash the bread at all, even for sandwiches. It's a great design.

2. You have all you need to sharpen your knives. No need to worry. I think stropping is a big part of hand sharpening, but that can come later.

3. I'd get the Idahone rod. It will scuff up the edge and keep your knife cutting longer than a steel rod. It'll work some magic on your Chicago Cutlery, too. The cheapest way to improve your knife situation if you have a cheap set is not to replace them, but just buy a good ceramic rod.

4. I like to strop on leather, because it has some give to it, but it isn't soft. Also, if you load the strop with compound, the difference is night and day.

5. Mag racks are a great idea, but I'd go the extra dollar for a wood-faced rack(use the money you saved by not buying 12 knives at once). It won't scuff or damage your knives, and it looks way less industrial.

Re: Multiple questions about knives and sharpening

Sat Sep 29, 2012 10:59 am

It's nice to get more input, Eamon. So why the Artifex or Inox over the Tojiro DP?

Re: Multiple questions about knives and sharpening

Sat Sep 29, 2012 3:16 pm

Vs Artifex: The steel is better, the fit and finish is better, and they are made stateside.
Vs Suisin: The steel is better, the handle is more attractive/comfortable, and the grind is phenomenal for the price.

Re: Multiple questions about knives and sharpening

Sat Sep 29, 2012 6:03 pm

Eamon, Thanks. Artifex, Suisin, or Tanaka?

Re: Multiple questions about knives and sharpening

Tue Oct 02, 2012 10:33 am


They are all great. You are choosing between American-made, modern Japanese, and Handmade in Japan.

Re: Multiple questions about knives and sharpening

Wed Oct 03, 2012 8:27 pm

So, this was way tougher than I had anticipated, at least as far as knife choices. 1) I found an end grain cutting board that will fit my pull out board slot. 2) I ordered the Idahone ceramic rod and cleaner, and will use my existing water stones for now. 3) I ordered the Beechwood knife rack.

As to knives, I almost went with the Tanaka, but what ultimately turned me away was comments on the handle - I want the knife to feel comfortable and don't want to have to rehandle it to make it so. Also, I am not the primary chef, so having a knife that rusts could be an issue - I don't want to be nagging my wife about taking care of a knife.

The Tojiro ITK bread knife seemed like a no brainer - I bake bread, sourdough with wild yeast and some pretty tough crusts at times, and I need a good bread knife.

For the gyuto, I decided on the Suisin, for comfort reasons. I figure the gytuo is the most used knife - so a little extra comfort is worth a few extra dollars.

Finally, the Richmond Artifex paring knife just became available and at the price, makes a nice way to round out this set.

Maybe I'll go for more handmade in a petty sometime down the road. Thanks to all for their advice.

Re: Multiple questions about knives and sharpening

Thu Oct 04, 2012 11:18 am

Wow, that is a great set of purchases! Everything you need.

And FWIW, a lot of Japanese handmade knives, including the higher end ones, aren't so comfy. It's just not a focus in Japan like it is elsewhere, so sometimes a J-Knife needs a tune up to get it to American standards of comfort and whatnot.

Re: Multiple questions about knives and sharpening

Sat Oct 06, 2012 1:47 am

Great. Its helpful for me.
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