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Novice Recommendation

Fri Nov 23, 2012 11:09 pm

I'm wanting to purchase a few better knives for my wife. We have a Wustoff 6" Cooks knife, and she likes it, but it is the only decent knife in our block. Just browsing here, and getting absolutely lost trying to make sense of the marketing speak, especially since every knife seems to have great reviews. Obviously amateurs in every sense of the word.

I have big hands, and like (sorry, don't know knife terms):
Blade all the way through the handle for balance
Traditional handle designs with nub at end.
Heavy enough I can feel knife in my hand

She does not like:
Overly heavy or bulky knives

Budget: $200 for 2-3 good knives.

Considering (open to change):
8" ish Chefs
6" ish Santoko
Nakari (never used, but hear good for veggies)
Small knife (paring?)

Having never used Japanese style knives, wondered if they would help with her issue of heavy knife issue?

Will consider anything, but so far have leaned toward:
Wustoff classic (since own 1)
Mac Pro or Mac Professional
Tojiro DP
Richmond Artiflex


Re: Novice Recommendation

Sat Nov 24, 2012 1:04 am

I recently started upgrading my knives, and like you, only had one decent heavy German knife to work with. I purchased the dojo 165mm nakiri, 90mm petty artifex, and artifex 210mm gyuto. I love all 3. I especially love the dojo. It wasn't sharp at all out of the box but with a little work on the stones it made short work of root vegetables. It sharpens up real easy. The artifex gyuto is night and day better over my heavy German. Sharper, less sticky, and a lot less fatigue due to weight. It carved up my turkey with ease. My advice as a novice, to a novice, is the two knives I mentioned above. Good value and a great introduction to quality knives. I'm happy with the 90mm petty but it hasn't seen much work yet. I'm sure any option you choose though will turn out great.

Re: Novice Recommendation

Sat Nov 24, 2012 5:44 am

i would get a gyuto, a bread knife and a petty. that should get you started. you'll be surprised with what you can get away with just these three knives.

fujiwara fkm, tojiro dp, or richmond artifex will do the trick.

tojiro itk bread knife

and a fujiwara fkm, artifex, suisin inox, or a tojiro dp petty


just picked up a used tojiro dp today. haven't had much time to play with it but i like it so far.

please don't forget to get a sharpening stone or two to keep em sharp as well.

Re: Novice Recommendation

Sat Nov 24, 2012 7:50 am

What is the difference between the Tojiro DP and Richmond Artiflex?

Thanks for great replies already made =]

Re: Novice Recommendation

Sat Nov 24, 2012 10:58 am

It sounds to me like you want a western handle and I assume stainless, (if not stainless you will have more options). I was a western handle guy, but since I have converted and love the Japaneese style handles (Wa).

Considering (open to change):
Chef Knife- Must Have, I like 240mm but if you are accustomed to the 8" knife then 210mm may be better (work space and personal preference)- Artifex $70-$90
Paring/Utility knife- Must Have, I love my 150m petty and use it about as much as my bigger gyuto.- Artifex $50
Leaves about $80 in the budget

After selecting these two you can go several directions as 99% of your kitchen knife needs will be met (needs not wants :-)). The bread knife is a good way to go (you could stay the Artifex route here, but the Tojiro 270mm ITK Bread Knife is what I have and it is excellent. I also have had a lot of fun with my CCK Small Cleaver $40 (learning to use it) which may be soemthing you want to try out too. Folks that learn to use cleavers swear by them and use little else.

MORE IMPORTANTLY: If you do not have any sharpening stones get the two knives and spend the rest of your money on the stones.

The Bestor 5pc set is a great starting point http://www.chefknivestogo.com/3pcstoneset.html $140.
If you are really strict on the budget then the King combo stone will at least get you some sharpening ability http://www.chefknivestogo.com/kingcombostone.html $45 (which still leaves room for the cleaver). The Bestor set is worth every penny more than the king option. Make sure to watch all Mark's videos and practice on one of your older knives.

Finally your last question about the difference between the knife lines. The primary difference is the steel used. The Tojiro uses VG-10 stainless and the Artifex is AEB-L. Teh Artifex should be able to take a better edge and keep it longer, they both are stainless, and the Artifex is $10 less expensive . . .

Re: Novice Recommendation

Sat Nov 24, 2012 11:04 am

for the most part, the artifex is made of one kind of steel. AEB-L, a steel that is said to be as easy to sharpen as carbon steel but is stainless. takes a keen edge and gets about as sharp as carbon steel. pretty much the perks of both worlds. (please correct me if i'm wrong).

the artifex is lighter because it has no bolster. which is in no way makes it a bad knife, just makes it cheaper production wise. more metal, more costs.

the tojiro is made of VG10 steel clad with a softer stainless steel, many people say VG10 is harder to sharpen but takes a great edge, but not as good as AEB-L. VG10 can be quite chippy, specially when used with chopping boards that aren't edge grain wood. tojiro has a bolster, great for balance and looks. the artifex is in no way badly balanced without the bolster, just is designed to be bolsterless. the DP from what i've read has a better grind.

just read a previous post about this


kinda getting lazy to compare. lol.

Re: Novice Recommendation

Sat Nov 24, 2012 11:13 pm

the chef knives suggested are actually sharp enough to cut through any kind of bread without need for teeth even through baguettes. that's what i did for the most part when i still didn't have a bread knife (i still consider myself lacking a bread knife since mine was some china made piece of #$%$).

you can even forego that for a bit and use what money you can save on getting sharpening stones. then you can just opt for a forschner bread knife if you really wanna get one, they're way cheaper and are decent performers.

one last but somewhat important, to keep your knife edges sharp for as long as possible, use end grain cutting boards as much as possible. or at least wooden ones. never bamboo, those are complete evil on any sort of knife edge, they will ruin your knives. they're only great for one thing, to serve meats or as places to put your hot pots on.

sani tuff boards are the next best thing afaik for you to use.

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