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Multiple questions.

Wed Oct 03, 2012 2:33 pm

Hello Mark and Susan,

I've been all over your site today looking at knives, and I feel like I've got to get some advice. The site is awesome, but overstimulating for a newbie.

Here's the deal - my wife and I have been married 18 years and never bought a knife. We are using cheap knives given to us as wedding gifts, hand-me-downs, etc. They are junk and we're done with them. We use our knives heavily - probably much more than the typical cook at home folks - as we pretty much make everything from scratch. We prep a lot of veggies and cut a lot of meat. We slice a lot of cheese and, as we live in Florida, prep an inordinate amount of strawberries. We also do a lot of whole chicken, so de-boning is a consideration. I also juice a lot, so a lot of root vegetables are getting cut up daily (carrots, beets, sweet potatoes).

I REALLY like pretty much every knife I've seen on your site, but to be honest, my first foray into a "real" knife can't be me buying at $150 to $300 knife. I've done tons and tons of research and have decided that I definitely want a Japanese knife. I'm very impressed with the Tojiro DP line, and think the 210mm chef's knife is the bee's knees. It looks very solid and precise. However, I'm also drawn to the Tojiro Shirogami knives. I think their "traditional" look has a tremendous appeal.

FYI, and I know this is important, I have experience sharpening knives. I am a lifetime collector and heavy user of pocket knives. I'm prepared to do the necessary sharpening/maintenance. You'd think given my love for pocket knives I'd have developed a love for kitchen knives by now...

So, to get to the point, here are my questions for you:

Let's assume I'm going to buy just 3 or 4 knives, what would you recommend as far as size/types? I'm guessing a 7-8 inch chef type of knife, a 5-6 inch utility type of knife, and a 4 inch paring knife?
What is more useful all-around style of knife, western style chef's knife or Santoku?
What are your thoughts on the DP vs. the Shirogami? (By the way, I'm left handed, my wife is right-handed.) My only concerns about the Shirogami are the "handedness" and the fact that the handle appears to be a soft wood.
Do we need a heavier knife in the mix for cutting denser stuff?
Are there other knife brands you might recommend? I know the Forschner/Victorinix is a popular knife and quite possibly the most bang for the buck, but to be perfectly blunt, I don't like the way they look and I want something with more cache/mystique. Perhaps that is shallow to a fault, but so be it.

Thanks for your help with this. I'm looking forward to getting some new knives soon!

wes

Re: Multiple questions.

Wed Oct 03, 2012 2:42 pm

Hi Wes,

I would recommend you narrow your options and get 2 knives. Get a good chef knife and a paring knife and then use them and sharpen them for a while before getting more.

If you're looking for a good quality knife at a lower price I would recommend you get one of these three 8" chef knives or gyutos as they are also called:

Fujiwara http://www.chefknivestogo.com/fufkmgy21.html
Tojiro DP http://www.chefknivestogo.com/tojiro-dp-f-8081.html
Richmond Artifex http://www.chefknivestogo.com/riar21.html

Then get a different brand for a paring knife or petty as they are often called:
Mac http://www.chefknivestogo.com/macprpakn31.html
Tojiro http://www.chefknivestogo.com/todppakn90.html

It's way more fun to get different knives from different manufacturers. You will learn more about what you like.

Skip the santoku and utility knives in between. If I were to add a third knife it would be a bread knife like the Tojiro ITK.

Re: Multiple questions.

Fri Oct 05, 2012 1:32 pm

Let's assume I'm going to buy just 3 or 4 knives, what would you recommend as far as size/types? I'm guessing a 7-8 inch chef type of knife, a 5-6 inch utility type of knife, and a 4 inch paring knife?

3 = Chef's in the 8 to 10" range....paring....bread knife that can double as slicer

4 = Chef's in the 8 to 10" range...paring....bread knife that can double as slicer....other knife that fits your cooking style. Other knife could be a heavy cleaver, a 6" sandwich knife, a boning knife....etc.



What is more useful all-around style of knife, western style chef's knife or Santoku?

Chef's knife for sure......the point/tip is more useful than on a santoku.


What are your thoughts on the DP vs. the Shirogami? (By the way, I'm left handed, my wife is right-handed.) My only concerns about the Shirogami are the "handedness" and the fact that the handle appears to be a soft wood.

The Tojiro Shirogami has a right handed "D" handle and may be uncomfortable for a leftie. The wood shouldn't be so soft that it becomes an issue. Some seal it with a cutting board wax, mineral oil, or other some such to prevent it from soaking in anything.

I would suggest the DP....more user friendly since the wife is involved. If you like it, ask for the Shirogami for Xmas and claim it as yours alone. Tell her to keep her mitts off. :)


Do we need a heavier knife in the mix for cutting denser stuff?

Depends on what you're cooking. Most don't NEED a heavy knife. If you bust up chickens, smack frozen food, etc.....then yes. But you can get a cheap, heavy cleaver for this task as it's not likely to be done a lot.


Are there other knife brands you might recommend? I know the Forschner/Victorinix is a popular knife and quite possibly the most bang for the buck, but to be perfectly blunt, I don't like the way they look and I want something with more cache/mystique. Perhaps that is shallow to a fault, but so be it.

Enjoy what you cook with and you'll enjoy cooking more. When I pull out one of my knives from Devin Thomas or Butch Harner....it's on like Donkey Kong and tonight's meal prep is going to be fun. If you like to cook, having a knife that means something to you makes it more fun.

p.s. Looking at a set of knives and not having any of them look identical (i.e. all of them are different brands/makes) is the sign of a proud chef in my opinion.

Re: Multiple questions.

Tue Dec 04, 2012 9:36 pm

OK - time for an update:

I ended up buying the Tojiro DB chef's knife and absolutely love it, as does my wife. I also went for a choice that Mark didn't recommend for the paring knife... I bought the Messermeister 4 inch paring knife and am quite amazed. It feels, in a word, natural. It's very nimble and actually a pleasure to use.

My next purchase will be the Richmond Artifex 210mm gyuto based on Mark's recommendation and my intense interest in seeing if a knife that is so inexpensive will perform as well as advertised. I'll also be adding the Shirogami to the Christmas list. Thanks for the suggestions - so far I'm as happy as can be with my knives.

Re: Multiple questions.

Tue Dec 04, 2012 10:28 pm

Haha....glad you're happy!! :)
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