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 Post subject: New Post for Knife Suggestion
PostPosted: Sat Jun 07, 2014 10:27 pm 

Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2014 5:42 am
Posts: 4
Hi, this is my first time on-line and I am looking to buy a "Chef's Knife" or "Gyuto" somewhere in the $200 range. I have had a 10" Henckles Chef Knife for about 20 years now. I bought it after graduating from culinary school and have "slogged" on with using it despite the fact that it gets dull very quickly. :cry: I bought a Chef''sChoice 1520 electric sharpener from Williams Sonoma, which has done a decent job sharpening it so that it is usable at least. In culinary school, I did use a sharpening stone system; some American brand which had 3 stones and you flipped them around to the desired stone; it used oil--can't remember the brand, but our knives were so bad that they didn't hold an edge at all...I do feel confident that I can use a sharpening stone with some practice :!:

At any rate, the Moritaka 240mm Gyuto Supreme caught my eye because the description made it sound like it is a good solid knife made from steel that is not so hard that it is difficult to sharpen.
I also need suggestions for a sharpening stone and I have heard many people raving on various sites about "leather" strops, so am looking at the $60 Richmond strop kit for maintaining the edge.

I am right handed, no preference for handle style, slightly prefer stainless to carbon, but just want the best knife possible--i don't want to have to upgrade. (I think everyone initially wants the sexiest, best looking Damascus Steel knife there is because they are gorgeous, but I understand that they are not necessarily the best choice of knife from what I have read... :?:)

Also, should I look at a 240mm or 270mm knife if I am used to a 10" Chef's knife? Also, I am only 5'4' tall so maybe a knife that doesn't have a super-deep belly (?) would work better for me so I don't have to reach up as high to use it. I have excellent knife skills, but am not a professional chef--this knife would be for home use. No sure all the lingo is correct, but hopefully I have provided enough info.

BTW, loved the photos of member's knives who "cured?" their knife blades with banana paste and dijon mustard :!:
Thanks, Joyce


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 Post subject: Re: New Post for Knife Suggestion
PostPosted: Sun Jun 08, 2014 6:09 am 

Joined: Wed May 16, 2012 1:49 am
Posts: 290
Location: Amstelveen, The Netherlands
If you're used to a 10" German knife a medium-weight Japanese 270mm with a Western handle is probably most appropriate. The gyuto will have its balance slightly forwards, while the Germans are often strongly handle heavy. The J-knives will feel much lighter. Besides that, they are largely inspired by the flat French profile and lack the Teutonic fat belly and high tip.
A 240mm will feel much too short.
A long flat knife will be lifted less than a shorter one. That's interesting when you're not particulary tall and have short arms. I'm 5'3 myself and my preferred chef's knives are a 270mm Hiromoto AS and a flat vintage 10" carbon Sheffield.


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 Post subject: Re: New Post for Knife Suggestion
PostPosted: Sun Jun 08, 2014 7:28 am 
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JOYCE <> First, NO, everyone does not want suminagashi! Personally, I'm averse to the finish... all things being equal.

I can't say I agree with BENUSER, in that, a 240 will feel much too short. 240's & 270's come in different lengths, but typically a 240 is approximately 9.5" & a 270 is 10.5". Those half inches make a difference, but much too short... I can't agree with on the 240 side. You are presumably a smaller person at 5'4", and in a residential environment, you may enjoy the nimble nature a 240 affords you. In the same breath, you may enjoy the reach & ability of the extra half inch... only you know the answers to these questions, and it would be foolish for me to suppose either way. All I can & will do is try to expand your practical knowledge regarding some options.

Your $200 budget - assuming there is some leeway, your preference towards stain-resistant steel, your 20 year yo-handled history, and the energy in which I glean from your words... the Kikuichi TKC <--link illuminates this space I exist with you.

Image

This is a "semi-stainless" steel that presents exceptional potential for edge taking & retention. A versatile profile with the functional ability to bridge push, pull, chop, glide, & rock cutting styles with a grind that is not too thin in the shoulders nor too robust behind the edge. It is baked to Hrc61/62 which is a wonderfully versatile range for the home in which presents a great range of edge retention & potential. She has fantastic fit & finish. It can be an end-all-be-all in many scenarios; seemingly yours with confidence. With these stated benefits, you must be aware this is hard steel that requires a respect that is worlds apart from the paradigm in which you engage your soft German steel. Your knife skill fundamentals will be tested.

It is undeniably & with my absolute confidence worth it's premium expenditure in regards to your stated budget & also, the wait on its restocking.

Furthermore, you do not state a stone budget, but CKTG has assembled some exceptional sets at varying price points. The 5 piece <--link is absolutely capable of creating an edge from an abused damaged state or on a knife just requiring a touch-up that can outperform 95% of any Japanese OOTB edge & 100% of soft steel OOTB edges.

~ please excuse spelling & brevity as I am working via cell phone connectivity ~



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 Post subject: Re: New Post for Knife Suggestion
PostPosted: Sun Jun 08, 2014 10:17 am 
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Joyce, to add a few thoughts to what's been said thus far. Mark has estimated that the Kikuichi TKC's will not arrive until September, just so you know. And yes, on this type of purchase, if this is the knife for you, it IS worth the wait :-).

Pay attention to Melampus' comments about new paradigms and knife skills. You can get away with things on a softer steel Euro Chef knife that will quickly damage the harder, thinner edges of these Japanese Gyutos.

240 Gyutos can vary quite a bit in edge length, from the low 230's to about 240, to the high 240's on some models.

Since you mentioned the Moritaka Gyuto, if a Wa handled option is a possibility you might consider the Anryu Hammered 240 Gyuto: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/kaanasgy24.html. Melampus has written quite a bit about this knife. I have one here for a video review and it's just a great, great knife. It's gorgeous, with performance that matches its looks. The Anryu is a middleweight knife that will have a more blade forward balance point than what you're currently using, due to the lighter Wa handle. It's handle is one of the nicer factory Wa's on the site IMO. This knife has a reactive carbon steel core, but it's also clad in stainless so only the steel exposed at the edge is reactive. I really like the Moritaka knives (I have two), but for $20 more, the Anyru is really another step up in performance, looks, and F&F. These tend to run longer at the edge, in the mid 240's and up, so this gets you closer to the 10" mark. IMO this knife will probably not feel small to you - it's got enough heft to feel like you're really holding a KNIFE versus some of the lightweight laser type knives. This is IMO a one and done knife if it fits your requirements. You could use it for the next 20 years and not want for more.

On sharpening, that Richmond strop set is an excellent choice: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/haamstkit.html. Combine that with a good water stone set as Melampus has suggested and you'll be set for sharpening and maintenance for all your knives. One additional item to consider is a 140 grit diamond plate to flatten your stones as they will dish with use. You NEED some way to flatten water stones. You can get low price, mid price, or high price plates. In a pinch, people do use 120-150 grit sandpaper on a flat, hard surface to flatten their stones, but this can get pretty messy. It's usually just something to do until you purchase a flattening plate.

You'll find that edge maintenance and sharpening are two important keys to enjoying these knives (and really all knives) to their fullest.


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 Post subject: Re: New Post for Knife Suggestion
PostPosted: Sun Jun 08, 2014 10:51 am 
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JOYCE <> This is the knife STEVEG is referencing.

IMO, the Katsushige Anryu<--link is classic yet refined, hefty yet nimble, gorgeous yet unpretentious; it is one of my favorite lines on the site. This knife is a middle-weight that has some heft of which in concert with an impeccable grind intensifies its cutting power allowing it to fall through food effortlessly. It is a fun knife to use. Along with that benefit, it [weight] can cause fatigue if you're machine gunning it for extended periods of time; in a residential environment this trait might be moot. When you have this knife in hand, it feels like you have A KNIFE in hand.

You have indicated a curiosity between 240 & 270. I can add that although there is no 270 Anryu available, the overall length of the 240 is commensurate with what you are familiar with in a 10" German. Overall, it is a large 240.

Image

The Kanehiro AS <-- link is nearly identical in weight although it can vary, sometimes wildly, but the Kanehiro just feels lighter... it is the more nimble of the two. Additionally, its AS core is consistently the sharpest or next to sharpest knife in my kit exhibiting wonderful edge retention to boot. I'm not discounting the Anryu B#2, but the Kanehiro edges it out in this regard & might be a consideration outside of Anryu-san's offering.

I have the 210 & 240, and this picture of the former will offer you better views than the site pics.

Image

All said, the Kanehiro... and Moritaka, for that matter, are IMO too hard and w/o the most appropriate grinds for you.

~ please excuse spelling & brevity as I am working via cell phone connectivity ~



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 Post subject: Re: New Post for Knife Suggestion
PostPosted: Sun Jun 08, 2014 2:16 pm 

Joined: Thu May 29, 2014 8:38 pm
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For what it's worth, I'm not particularly short, but having used the TKC all weekend (own it in 210), and I would agree with Melampus, that this might be a tremendous choice in a knife for you. I've never held a blade that feels so natural in the hand. The weight, geometry, balance and F&F are superb. Out of the box it is very sharp if not a bit toothy. I've been running it lightly across a ceramic rod periodically throughout the weekend (roughly 4 meals of moderate to heavy prep) and the thing gets sharp as hell. As mentioned earlier, the steel is semi-stainless and I have noticed it does require a bit of extra attention to prevent staining. Like you, I've been using germans most of my life and found the switch to this blade to be utterly enlightening.


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 Post subject: Re: New Post for Knife Suggestion
PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 2:59 am 

Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2014 5:42 am
Posts: 4
Thanks everybody! So, am I correct that I should be considering the Kikuichi TKC and the Anryu? The latter is quite a gorgeous knife by the way :!: They both have about the same hardness 61/62 and 62 and I get the impression from you all that a harder knife would not be better in my case?

While I think about which knife to buy should I go ahead and buy the sharpening stones mentioned and practice using them on my old knives to get some practice? (It would be no loss if I happened to scratch up my old culinary school knives, which are in a toolbox in my basement, LOL!)

In buying a knife I am seeking independence from my electric kitchen gadgets, Cuisinart, etc. As part of the "slow food" movement I would love to be able to feel like I could accomplish the majority of my prep work with "just" a knife and not the arsenal of choppers. slicers, etc. that are causing my kitchen cabinets to burst at the seams :!: Hope that makes sense!

(sorry for any typos
Thanks again,

Joyce


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 Post subject: Re: New Post for Knife Suggestion
PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 3:49 am 

Joined: Sat Mar 01, 2014 7:15 am
Posts: 1044
Location: Raleigh, NC
Picking up the sharpening set first and practicing with older knives is a fantastic idea. In fact we suggest it pretty frequently, but most people want that first knife ASAP, which is understandable but a pity. To get the most out of a fine knife a sharpening plan is required.

A knife with hardness 60-62 can be optimal for most people with any desire to sharpen themselves. In the right steels it will allow for an excellent edge that holds up for a while and isn't a terror to sharpen. This is certainly the case in the knives mentioned so far.


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 Post subject: Re: New Post for Knife Suggestion
PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 4:21 am 
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JOYCE <> "So, am I correct that I should be considering the Kikuichi TKC and the Anryu?" I suggest you consider every knife available to you, and among them all, for you, I recommend the Kikuichi TKC in either 240 or 270. <--link

I do not suggest buying a knife because it's pretty. I greatly appreciate the Anryu for what it is. I recognize it's strengths & weaknesses. The Anryu is 20 grams heavier than the TKC, and as we are comparing Yo to Wa handled knives the balance is quite different, as well. Literally & figuratively, the Anryu is a whole lot more knife than the TKC. The Anryu has a considerably blade heavy balance as compared to the TKC in which will rest more mass in your hand allowing easier control. You're being a 5'4" woman is one reason in which caused me to lean away from recommending the Anryu. The Anryu requires considerably more "grip" to control. I'm not calling you weak; I'm weighing the facts.

Furthermore, I am not disagreeing with LEPUS claim about "optimal", w/this next statement, but there is a considerable difference between a steel @Hrc61 & @Hrc63. The realized "hardness" is greater between points as the points rise. I.e., let's say 60 to 61 is 5 clicks of hardness; 5 more clicks is not 62. An arbitrary estimate for illustrative purposes would be 6 clicks. Then 7 more clicks would bring you from 62 to 63, e.g. Point is, again, I believe the TKC to be a more appropriate selection for you.

~ please excuse spelling & brevity as I'm posting via cell phone connectivity ~



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 Post subject: Re: New Post for Knife Suggestion
PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 4:34 am 

Joined: Sat Mar 01, 2014 7:15 am
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Location: Raleigh, NC
Honestly, after thinking about it, I'm uncomfortable going on the record with that statement because it's somewhat misleading, though probably hold true. You need to consider many elements of a knife when you buy it; steel, grind, heat treatment, and so on. While a great deal of great cutlery will fall in a 60-62 HRC range, it's how the steels behave at that hardness, not the hardness itself, that makes them good choices. Not all steels are created the same and hardness is only a fraction of the equation.

That said, I think either a super hard PM steel or a very soft steel is unwise. A Kikuichi TKC would be an excellent choice if you want to keep the western handle.


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