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Needing some guidance with my first purchase

Wed Sep 26, 2012 12:19 pm

Let me first start out by saying I am a novice and have no desire to be a professional cook. I cook at home regularly and also have recently started working for a catering company doing prep and light cooking.

I've always had a fascination and an appreciation for a quality knife with a sharp edge but I've never owned a knife that had any of those qualities. Currently I'm using a Black Diamond chefs knife I purchased from Sysco foods years ago and a Dexter Russle santoku i got from smart and final(basically fancy shaped butter knives). Recently, with doing loads of prep work, I have started to get so frustrated with dull knives. I started researching on knife sharpening techniques and while doing that I stumbled on seeing the Japanese style knife. Instantly I FELL IN LOVE! Of course the first that I saw was the Shun Classic Line. The Damascus pattern on the blade is so attractive. I was ready to just get the 3 piece kit. But I decided to do more research watching countless videos and falling more in love with the idea of owning some great Japanese Knives and learning to sharpen and care for them.

So this is where I'm at. I've fallen in love with Japanese knives. Ive never even used one but I am determined to use them and learn proper technique for care and maintenance.
Im interested in the Following:
- 210mm Gyuto (really interested in a fully carbon for the challenge but still unsure cause im hearing about rust and the reaction to certain foods)
- Pairing knife
- Wet stones(probably a double sided 1000/5000 to keep cost down?? I dont know)
- A Steel
-De-burring block
- possibly a boning knife in the future

Questions and Concerns:

-carbon steel rusting and reacting to foods. Does a forced patina eliminate the reaction to foods?
- What is the likelihood of the blade chipping or cracking provided i use proper storage and usage technique? Lots of people have complained about Shuns Chipping... Are they just used to a heavy Euro style blade and being to rough?

I Really Want to get into this. But I want to start out right and start out smart. Cost is most definitely an issue for I am a starving college student. But i have about 300 to spend. And Ive decided that CKTG is the place to start. I appreciate Anyone who spent the the time reading this and appreciate even more the ones who will reply


Re: Needing some guidance with my first purchase

Wed Sep 26, 2012 4:20 pm

This is what Im thinking about so far:
-Tojiro DP 210mm Wa-Gyuto http://www.chefknivestogo.com/todp21wa.html
-Tojiro DP Paring Knife 90mm http://www.chefknivestogo.com/todppakn90.html
-5 Pc Sharpening Set http://www.chefknivestogo.com/3pcstoneset.html
-Tojiro Sharpening Steel http://www.chefknivestogo.com/tojirosteel.html

Re: Needing some guidance with my first purchase

Thu Sep 27, 2012 3:01 pm

Tojiro's DP series is made is Japan, but that's about it. It's doesn't have Japanese geometry, and neither do Shuns.

You should get this:
One of these(provided it fits): http://www.chefknivestogo.com/unsa21gy.html

I think you will love those. The Tanaka is handmade(for real!). Don't sweat the carbon steel. Just wipe it dry after you use it--it will keep you from leaving a mess around anyways. If it gets rust or cruddy or whatever, just clean it with some barkeeper's friend(you can get it at the grocery store).

Re: Needing some guidance with my first purchase

Thu Sep 27, 2012 3:20 pm

i was looking at the tanaka but figured it might be out of my price range since i have to get the stones as well.. i might just wait on the paring knife. is that the only stone i will need? what is your opinion on the 3 stone starter set?

Re: Needing some guidance with my first purchase

Thu Sep 27, 2012 3:31 pm

A home cook will very very very rarely ever need the 500 grit stone. You'll only use it to fix chips and broken tips, if that ever happens, and the cost an extra stone is not much less than getting someone capable to do it for you. There's just not a lot of reason for a home cook to have a stone below 1k, unless sharpening is your hobby.

And the 5k cuts fast enough that I don't need to do anything else below it on knives at the house--the trick is to take it to the stone as soon as the rod isn't bringing it back to a fun level of sharp--if you wait until the edge is gone and needs to be cut in again, you'll need the 1k. I use my knives, they get honed about once a week, and taken to the stones every month or so. I also have a JNat that I use for fun, but the Idahone rod does a great job keeping up with carbon steels.

Also, a good end grain cutting board will help. After all, it is the only thing the knives will be subjected to with every single cut.

Re: Needing some guidance with my first purchase

Fri Sep 28, 2012 10:49 pm

Do the shirogami gyutos have a japanese profile?

Re: Needing some guidance with my first purchase

Sat Sep 29, 2012 3:08 pm

No se. But I would not think so.

And I'm referring not to the profile, but the geometry behind the edge. The grind. Most Japanese knives(unless targeted at a western crowd) are biased so that the left side is steeper than the right side, making the bevel appear wider on the right side. If you are right handed, it makes the knife separate the food better, which makes the cuts feel more effortless. It also puts the edge just a few mm closer to your left hand, and you will have a bit easier time controlling the thinness of the slice.

Asymmetrical edges are kind of a hallmark of Japanese knives, and really give them their flavor, IMO. If you are a Japanophile, you will want a properly asymmetrical edge. The lowest price point knife worth buying with real Japanese style geometry is the Suisin Inox Western line. Excellent grinds. But they are not handmade, and the Tanaka is just a bit more for a Wa handle and that vibe of being made by a man with a hammer and a wheel who learned from another man with a hammer and a wheel.

Re: Needing some guidance with my first purchase

Sat Sep 29, 2012 3:14 pm

BTW, by Shirogami, I am assuming you mean the Tojiro Shirogami series. Shirogami is White Steel, which is a fairly low-alloy variety of carbon steel from Japan. There are a bajillion Shirogami knives out there, made by many brands/people. The Tanaka I suggested is Blue Steel(Aogami) and will hold and edge a tad bit longer and be a tad bit harder to sharpen(but barely noticeable at all at home). It's also Pattern-welded steel(Damascus).
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