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 Post subject: Need recommendations for chef's knife for my son
PostPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2013 10:00 am 

Joined: Sun Dec 08, 2013 9:26 am
Posts: 1
My son enjoys cooking and is THE cook in his two-person family.
He hates to shop--even for something like this--so don't think he has gone to store like Sur le Table or WS to "try on knives" and see what handle style/weight fits him...
he also tends to equate name/$$ to quality/value which I think is not always the case--
because there can be knives not so well know that are great quality/value for reasonable price
He mentioned he wanted a chef's knife that would stay sharp--maybe a ceramic one--
but from what I have read a ceramic knife isn't always a guarantee for that...

He is about 5'11", about 170 lbs, and his hands are probably average sz vs large--since that probably matters.

I would like to stay under $100 or less if possible...

 Post subject: Re: Need recommendations for chef's knife for my son
PostPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2013 11:04 am 

Joined: Mon Nov 18, 2013 11:44 am
Posts: 627
My issue with ceramic knives is with how hard they are. Sure they can keep and edge and can even be sharpened, but they are also VERY brittle and seem to be very specialized because of this. Japanese knives and their harder steels can also be very hard and brittle, but personally my thought is that thin steel trumps thin ceramics as far as strength is concerned (even harder steels can be somewhat flexible) and I can't help but think the steel would be easier to sharpen.

Also while money is not the biggest indicator of quality, a better knife will be more expensive as I have found out on these forums (and also with personal purchases as well). So while you don't necessarily have to spend over $200 to get a good knife some of the most popular and better performers are probably going to run in the $150-$200-ish range. The reason for the price in these cases is usually because of the time and skill invested in making the knives. The more expensive ones will have distal tapers down the blades and thinner grinds plus better overall finishes which all lead to better cutting performance (and of course better looking knives!). The prices don't seem to concern the types and quality of steels as much though from what I have found. For example, you can find knives made of Hitachi White #1 steel at just about any price point you want, under $100 to a few hundred dollars. The same could be said about many other steels as well, both stainless and carbon.

Do you know if he likes carbon steels or if he prefers stainless?

I'm also guessing that he probably does not like to sharpen if he wants a knife that stays sharp and only cooks for two. Either that or his knives don't have very good steel or he doesn't maintain the edges between sharpenings. Just a guess here, I could be wrong. lol I cook for myself and my wife almost every night as well, and I rarely had to sharpen even my cheap knives. The harder Japanese steels should stay sharp a LOT longer for him. If he cooks three meals a day then that might be different, but still as a home cook the edges shouldn't have to be sharpened a whole lot.

With the first one I will play it safe and go with a stainless under $100 knife ;):

Richmond Artifex 210mm Gyuto:

It is a knife designed by Mark Richmond, the owner of CKtG, and made by Lamson and Goodnow. It is a steel designed for razors so it can get very sharp, it is factory produced so the price is very reasonable, and it is pretty hard (about 61 Rockwell) so it should be able to keep an edge.

The second one is a carbon steel core with stainless clad sides, but it is handmade and more expensive ($160 right now) but by all accounts is an excellent performer and overall great value:

Goko 210mm Gyuto:

This one is white #1 steel which is VERY easy to sharpen (literally very little effort needed to get a screaming sharp edge) and is hard enough it should stay pretty sharp. He will need to make sure to keep the knife dry when putting it up though to keep the edge from rusting. The sides are stainless so it will keep reactive surfaces to a minimum. This is the same knife I want for Christmas.

I would also have recommended the Kohetsu 210mm Gyuto which is the same price as the Goko, but it is out of stock. Same things apply to it that apply to the Goko though. Stainless clad carbon core, but arguably better steel in its own right (Blue Super), and also a very good performer.

A little note about the sizes. I recommended 210mm because it is about the same length as an 8" chef's knife. If your son likes 10" chef's knives you will want to look at the 240mm versions. As for the handles, someone else would be able to better clarify if these are suitable for medium sized hands. I use a pinch grip so I rarely pay much attention to handle sizes if at all. If your son uses a racket/hammer grip the handle would be much more important.

 Post subject: Re: Need recommendations for chef's knife for my son
PostPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2013 11:29 am 
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Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2013 12:00 pm
Posts: 4638
Love2read - I'm super happy with my Tojiro DP 210 Gyuto. Great performer for the money. If you think he has a big enough cutting board/work space for a larger knife, the DP 240 would be great as well. 210 is more nimble and lighter. He can always get something like a 10" Victorinox/Forschner for bigger stuff and rougher duty chores - they're nice performers for the money.

 Post subject: Re: Need recommendations for chef's knife for my son
PostPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2013 12:46 pm 

Joined: Mon Nov 18, 2013 11:44 am
Posts: 627
The Tojiro DP is also stainless as well and from what I understand the VG10 can hold an edge. Not to mention they are under $100 for the 210mm. There is even a set with a paring knife and the 210mm gyuto for $100 as well, so you could even get him two nice knives for your budget!

 Post subject: Re: Need recommendations for chef's knife for my son
PostPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2013 3:01 pm 

Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 12:20 am
Posts: 4209
For entry level Japanese cutlery the go-to recommendations are usually the Tojiro DP and the Fujiwara FKM. Both are fully stainless, have western styled handles, are under $100, and very good value for the money. I own both the Tojiro and the Fujiwara in the FKH carbon version. They are both are excellent knives and easily out perform the comparable Henckles or Wusthof for less money. The Tojiro is a bit heavier and thicker than the Fujiwara, its weight and thickness are very similar to the Henckle or Wusthof equivalent.

The Richmond Artifex would be a good addition to that list. The Artifex has much better steel, but it is more utilitarian in aesthetic and needs to be thinned on a sharpening stone to really shine. I own this knife as well and while I do not love the look of it, its performance is awesome. If you are interested, I understand Mark can thin the blade as part of a sharpening prior to shipping for an additional fee, but you would need to contact him to confirm that.

 Post subject: Re: Need recommendations for chef's knife for my son
PostPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2013 7:38 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 21, 2012 10:17 pm
Posts: 7740
Location: Derby City, Kentucky
A great introductory knife made of a great stainless steel.

If God wanted me to be a vegetarian he wouldn't have made animals taste so good.
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