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Recommendations for a "starters kit"

Sun Jan 27, 2013 8:37 pm

Hi and greetings from Norway!

I never knew I thought knives and sharpening were so interesting until I found this site. I more or less stumbled upon it after cruising on YouTube :)
For the longest time I've used just cheap-ish, regular, no-name chef knifes in my kitchen, and a sharpener steel of unknown origins. I've spent the better part of today researching this forum, watching Marks tutorials and others reviews. And, I've ended up being rather confused as well since there is such an enormous amount of information and knifes and accessories.

In any case, this struck me as so interesting that I would like to try and take it up as a hobby. Besides, I hate a dull knife just as much as anyone when making food - which is pretty often.

After watching numerous videos, I found Knife Fanatics video review of the Komosuke Extra Tall HD 240mm, and it is pretty hard not to want that knife after watching him have such a good time with it :) So, based on that, and the video tutorials I could find I started adding stuff into the basket and came up with:
- Komosuke Extra Tall HD 240mm Gyuto
- MAC Black Ceramic Honing Rod 10.5"
- Shapton GlassStone 1000 Grit

I am also considering adding the DMT Extra Extra Coarse, but I guess it can wait a few months unless you would recommend having it handy immediately.
Should I get other sharpening stones in addition to the Shapton 1000? Is it even the right stone for that particular type of knife?

Also, I am not 100% sure that the Komosuke is the "perfect" knife, but if you consider these criterias:
- I want a great, even awsome tool that I can use for all cutting tasks - except bones of course.
- I am right handed
- It should definitely be a Japanese knife. Although I have nothing to back it up, I would think that the best knifes in the world are made in Japan.
- I don't have experience with the Japanese style handle, but that is no excuse - I will learn.
- Budget: Let's say up to $500. I realize that the Komosuke I mentioned is much less, but I am keeping my options open.

So, as you can probably gather from this post I am quite overwhelmed with the available options. But, I'd like to have as complete a starters kit as possible since we're shipping this across the Atlantic in the first place.

Thanks in advance for your input.

Geir B.

Re: Recommendations for a "starters kit"

Mon Jan 28, 2013 12:15 am

I found great success with Tojiro DP series Gyuto 240 mm. Its cheaper, but its quite fine an addition to a collection of beginner Japanese knives. I have invested more into stones. I love them all. Use a Shapton Glass 2k mostly and touch up on a snow white. There are more stones I play with and I have a basic strop set, but I use those stones the most. If I could I would try out the whole selection of knives on this site, I would.

based on my reading and somewhat by my experience, skip the rod and get a fine grit stone, maybe a 6000. You can strop on some common, and cheaper material to get an ultra fine edge.

Re: Recommendations for a "starters kit"

Mon Jan 28, 2013 5:38 am

The konosuke is a nice knife, most knives with wa handles are nice. You probably want to get some good stones for it.

I use a cheap 1000/6000 grit combo stone that cuts my current knives well enough, but wears down fast. I do have a strop (don't always use it), but i eventually plan on getting a nice, natural finishing stone. I've tried rod style hones before, but didn't like it. When i was learning to sharpen, i went straight to youtube for traditional methods and they seemed to focus on stones. Especially with a nice knife like the HD, someone who isn't using even, consistent movements could mess up and mar the side of the blade, wear the edge unevenly, etc. It's good to practice and get successful with a cheap knife first.

A few other things you'd probably want would be a lapping plate for flattening the stone once it does start to wear (i currently use sandpaper), a holder with rubber feet to keep the stone from moving when sharpening and a few other small things. With a knife this sweet, i'd probably even try to find a proper saya for it as well, to keep other, lesser knives away... :twisted: That's all i can think for now...hope that helps! :D

ps - looks like Mark has a decent deal available for both the stone holder and the lapping plate!


Re: Recommendations for a "starters kit"

Mon Jan 28, 2013 2:33 pm

You certainly wouldn't be going wrong with those three items.

If you need to flatten the stone prior to getting a diamond plate, wet/dry sandpaper and a piece of glass from a cheap Wal-Mart frame will work just fine.

Now, on to your questions:

You won't "need" any other stones at first unless you chip the edge. The knife you're looking at getting has great geometry, so no thinning will be needed for some time. However, having a 6,000 grit range stone will be nice. Eventually, you'll want something coarser (500 grit or so) and if the bug catches you something in the 10,000 grit range. :)

Shapton Glass are good stones, I prefer others, but that doesn't make me right and you wrong. If the Glass Stones strike your fancy, give them a shot. If you use them and don't like them, you can sell them for a small lose.

The Glass Stones will certainly work with that knife.

The Konosuke fits all your criteria nicely.

The Japanese are great knife makers....but there are some in the US that I'd put at least as equal.

Re: Recommendations for a "starters kit"

Mon Jan 28, 2013 5:09 pm

I like what you've chosen to start out with. The only difference I'd make is to get the Idahone http://www.chefknivestogo.com/idahone.html at half the price of the of the Mac Black. They are both good ceramic hones.
The Shapton GS 1k is a great stone to start with and you can always build around it once you feel what you are missing or need. You may decide to try anther line after a little experience.

Re: Recommendations for a "starters kit"

Mon Jan 28, 2013 7:13 pm

Thanks to everyone for replying, I had written a reply to each individually just 3 minutes ago, but I lost everything I wrote because I for some reason was logged out while typing :evil: Guess I've learned to copy the text before submitting next time...

Great tips from everyone who's replied, and I am glad it seems you mostly agree that what I've found is good stuff. The Tojiro DP knives was very affordable, but unfortunately they are not shipped outside the US from CKTG. I also think that I will end up purchasing a 6K Shepton in addition to the 1K, this seems to be the general consensus among the replies as well.

I agree to what's been said about possibly messing up the knife if left to a inexperienced person like myself, so I was hoping I could use these fine stones and practice with the much cheaper kitchen knifes I already have. They are all industrial type, cheap knifes, but that is probably perfect for training - don't you think? At least to start learning how to hold the knife and keep the angle etc.
Thinking about leaving out the rod for now, mostly since I already have one from Sveico. I don't know the specs other than it being made from Chrom Vanadium. I suppose this will work for the time being.

Do you know of any tables that list the various grit values and their usages? I am trying to understand the differences between them, but I am afraid the grit ranges is not meaningful to me since I have never considered these things before.
I am sure you are right about other knife makers, would you mind naming a couple? Also, what stones do you prefer yourself?

Thanks again! :)

Geir B

Re: Recommendations for a "starters kit"

Mon Jan 28, 2013 7:52 pm

The Sveico being a grooved steel I would warn against using it, it may do more damage than helping. If you are going to steel a knife I would use only a smooth steel or a ceramic rod. You can substitute stropping on the 6k for touch ups rather than steeling also.

Re: Recommendations for a "starters kit"

Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:00 pm

I don't recall a table like you're looking for.

Here's a general idea though:

Anything 500 and under is meant for serious metal removal. You use this to thin a knife, fix chips, broken tips, etc. This will also set your initial bevel.

Something in the 1,000 grit range is meant, more or less, for final bevel setting. You're still removing a fair amount of metal at this stage. This defines your edge shape. Past this grit, you don't want to be changing the bevel angle as the stones get finer and remove metal less fast.

2,000 grit you're refining the edge...very little metal removal.

4,000 and up are for polishing your edge.....how high you want to go depends on your insanity level.

Re: Recommendations for a "starters kit"

Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:04 pm

Oops, hit "Submit" instead of "Full Editor"

I am sure you are right about other knife makers, would you mind naming a couple?

Devin Thomas
Butch Harner
Bill Burke
Pierre Rodrigue (he's Canadian)

There are others I'd add, but I've never personally seen their work.

Also, what stones do you prefer yourself?

My line up is:

500 Beston
1200 Bester
Suehiro Rika
10,000 Naniwa SuperStone

Re: Recommendations for a "starters kit"

Mon Jan 28, 2013 9:41 pm

Thanks for all the responses, it gave me a lot to think about and it will also be used for future reference :) I didn't deviate much from what I initially had picked, and I've now just clicked the "Order!" button from CKTG and will be eagerly awaiting the Konosuke HD 240mm Extra Tall as well as a 1K and 6K Shapton stone and some other stuff that could come in handy. Can't wait!
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