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Starting a new knife collection

Tue Jul 09, 2013 10:18 am

As the name of this thread may imply I recently got married and am planning to start building our home knife collection, however, my wife will not allow me to keep a Japanese knife in the house because she worries they are too sharp. Fortunately I think I've managed to trick my wife into getting Richmond Artifex knives because they are made in America and she doesn't realize they can be sharpened up equally as well since I'm the one who has been doing all of the research. Unfortunately, we have a limited budget these days so I need to build my knife collection slowly … and thanks to someone from Cheftalk whose name needs no mention, I have acquired a new respect for French carbon knives.

Below is my planned chronology of knife related purchases. I have budgeted no more than $240/per year for about the next 8 years so as to slowly build my collection as my knife skills gradually improve. Am not sure if we will both appreciate the benefits of carbon compared to the ease of care for stainless steel, but I think having a couple of the historical Nogents will make us learn to treat the French knives with the love and care they deserve. Hopefully they won't all disappear before I get around to purchasing the ones on my list below! Does this seem like a smart way to build my collection?

2013 - #1)Victorinox Fibrox 3.25" paring knife, #2)Richmond Artifex 9.4" chef knife, #3)Victorinox Rosewood 10.25" bread knife, #4)Idahone 12" fine ceramic honing steel and #5)Apex Edge Pro DVD

2014 - #1)Apex Edge Pro Kit 1, which includes the 220 & 400 grit stones, #2)800 grit Chosera stone, #3)3,000 grit Chosera stone and #4)20x jeweler's loupe

2015 - #1)Angle Cube, #2)Sabatier Nogent 6" slicer and#3)K-Sabatier 8" carving knife & bayonet fork

2016 - #1)Richmond Artifex 7.5" santoku, #2)Richmond Artifex 3.15" paring knife and #3)Edge Pro Spring, Deburring Felt Block & Lapping/flattening stone (if needed for the Edge Pro)

2017 - #1)8,000 grit Snow White stone, #2)Richmond Artifex 6.75" nakiri and #3)Richmond Artifex 10.5" bread knife

2018 - #1)K-Sabatier 10" slicer, #2)K-Sabatier 5" boning knife, #3)K-Sabatier 4" paring knife and #4)Edge Pro balsa strop w/chromium oxide paste

2019 - #1)Sabatier Nogent 8" fish fillet knife, #2)10,000 grit Chosera stone and #3)K-Sabatier 10" chef knife

2020 - #1)Wüsthof Ikon 3.5" paring knife and #2)Wüsthof Ikon 6" slicing knife

2021 - #1)Wüsthof Ikon 8" chef knife, #2)1,000 grit Chosera stone and #3)400 grit Chosera stone

Or if this chronological list too confusing, here are all the knives listed in a simpler way:

K-Sabatier 4" paring knife - 2018
K-Sabatier 5" boning knife - 2018
K-Sabatier 8" carving knife - 2015
K-Sabatier 10" chef knife - 2019
K-Sabatier 10" slicer - 2018
Richmond Artifex 3.15" paring knife - 2016
Richmond Artifex 6.75" nakiri - 2017
Richmond Artifex 7.5" santoku -2016
Richmond Artifex 9.4" chef knife - 2013
Richmond Artifex 10.5" bread knife - 2017
Sabatier Nogent 6" slicer - 2015
Sabatier Nogent 8" fish fillet knife - 2019
Wüsthof Ikon 3.5" paring knife - 2020
Wüsthof Ikon 6" slicing knife - 2020
Wüsthof Ikon 8" chef knife - 2021

Would love your feedback and any advice you have about sharpening up these knives using an Edge Pro. Do I really need to get a "flattener/lapping" stone for Edge Pro Choseras? Also, is a Richmond Artifex easy enough to sharpen for a newbie or should I learn on something else like a Carbon knife instead?

By the way, by the time our 10 year anniversary rolls around, I do plan to finally lay down the law and tell my wife it's time she allow me to get a Masamoto VG 240mm gyuto. :-)

Thanks in advance for your feedback!

Re: Starting a new knife collection

Tue Jul 09, 2013 10:20 am

I realize that your Richmond Ultimatum shares a similar profile to the KSabatier/Masamoto VG, but which one of your 240mm Artifex knives has the most similar geometry? Would prefer to have that same profile but with the amazing AEB-L steel I've head so much about.

Thanks in advance for your response and hope you keep up the great work.


Re: Starting a new knife collection

Tue Jul 09, 2013 10:56 am

The regular 240mm Artifex has the KS profile. The Wa Artifex by Fujiwara is also slender, not sure how true it is to the KS profile though.

Regular 240mm, KS profile: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/riar24gy.html

Wa 240mm: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/fufkm24wa.html

Sharper knives are safer :) Less force used it the cut, easier to control.

Re: Starting a new knife collection

Tue Jul 09, 2013 12:12 pm

Ken - Man, you really have that list planned out :-). Here is my take on your list of purchases - and it's only my opinion and how I would approach building your collection...

I see quite a bit of duplication in knives you plan to purchase. Unless you have very particular wants/needs, you don't need a Santoku and a Nakiri - they are too similar in purpose and function. Also if you are trying to economize, then getting a 6" slicer, 8" carver, 10" slicer doesn't make sense to me. I would try to get knives that will perform as wide a variety of tasks as possible first. Also, why not change 2013 a little and get the Richmond Artifex paring knife and skip the Victorinox and the other paring knives. Unless you want two knives of a specific type for both of you to use at once, I don't see the need for such duplication.

Another thought is that once you try the Artifex and Sabatiers, you will really be going two steps backwards with the Ikon knives. I would skip the Ikons altogether. The two lines I just mentioned are made of better steel, with better geometry.

In addition, again if you're trying to economize, I would get either the Edge Pro Apex system or free-hand sharpening stones, but not both. If you want to start less expensively, get a good 1K full size stone and learn on that with your cheap knives & your family's, your friend's etc. You can then add a finishing stone, coarser stone etc. later after you are skilled on the 1K.

My list for you would be:

2013: Artifex 240 AEB-L Gyuto, Artifex paring knife, Victorinox 10" bread standard handle (skip the rosewood - less expensive), DVD (skip this - plenty of good Internet videos), Nubatama Ume 1K Medium stone ($67) <= $240 total.

Notes: You can flatten the stone on wet/dry sandpaper on glass or granite to start. Buy the good paring knife once and be done. The 240 Gyuto can do almost any standard kitchen prep job outside of cutting bones/frozen food, etc. You can use the Ume 1K to touch up your knives by stropping on it as well. No need for the ceramic rod - plus you learn to sharpen right away (important).

Next, in order, I would get:
Sabatier 10" slicer * OR * Richmond Artifex 270 Sujihiki (can double as a fillet knife for many uses)
140 grit diamond plate & universal stone holder set * OR * strop set with univeral holder and diamond plate.
Higher grit finishing stone like the Suehiro Rika 5K or Nubatama Bamboo 5K.
150mm (6") stainless steel petty/utility knife.

Then, if you want a 2nd knife for general use, either a Santoku or another 210/240 Gyuto.
Then, if you see the need for a nicer bread knife, the Artifex or Tojiro ITK bread knife.

If you see the need for a coarse sharpening stone, you could get one of those as well.

Don't forget about storage considerations - knife block, drawer block, magnetic storage strip, etc.

Just my thoughts....

Re: Starting a new knife collection

Tue Jul 09, 2013 12:51 pm

SteveG wrote:.....No need for the ceramic rod....
Though I agree with most of what was said I do disagree with this part. A ceramic rod is very convenient for touching up knives between sharpenings. I bought a rod before my stones and it kept my knives in decent shape while learning to sharpen. I wouldn't be without my rod. But like everything else in sharpening, it's personal preference.

Re: Starting a new knife collection

Tue Jul 09, 2013 1:53 pm

Jeff - I like my Idahone ceramic very much. If you think he could get away with using the rod for however long it would take to buy a stone, etc. for hand sharpening, then agreed. Rod would be a good choice first, then stone 2nd. I was just thinking of getting him to learn sharpening right away. I guess it depends how long Ken will go before investing in a sharpening stone or two...

I don't have experience in using a rod exclusively long-term to maintain a knife and keep it sharp. I'd like to hear everyone's opinion (including you Jeff) on this.

EDIT - Jeff, how long did you maintain knives on the hone before hitting the stones?


Re: Starting a new knife collection

Tue Jul 09, 2013 2:29 pm

I wish my life was this well planned out. I don't even know what I'm having for dinner tonight.

Re: Starting a new knife collection

Tue Jul 09, 2013 3:34 pm

:lol: :lol: :lol:

Re: Starting a new knife collection

Tue Jul 09, 2013 4:50 pm

Wow! I'm with the rest and am impressed with your forethought.

I agree with SteveG and the others on several points; the duplication of styles, the styles you probably don't really need, sticking with either an Edge Pro or "bench" waterstones, and that the Wusthof are going to disappoint you.

For me, with a tight budget, I'd probably go with something like:
1) Richmond 240 mm gyuto, Victorinox 3.25" paring knife, Nubatama Ume 1k (speckled, medium), cheap flattening plate w/holder
2) 120-165 mm petty/funayuki, some good 2k-5k stone, good (Atoma or DMT) flattening plate, Victorinox "Fibrox" bread knife (or similar)
3) 270-300 mm slicer (sujihiki perhaps), or killer "laser" gyuto, or whatever you feel will get the most use in your kitchen

The Victorinox paring knife is dirt cheap, and does a great job. It's even better if you sharpen it yourself. I'd put a flattening plate ahead of the bread knife, especially as bread is the only thing I ever use the bread knife for -- my petty and gyuto knives do a great job on tomatoes and the like.

Only having the 1k Ume will be a challenge. I don't know the 2-5k stones too well, but if you can "sneak one in" that would be a benefit. I like stones over sharpening rods for finer edges and harder steels. That goes double when there is a chance that it might be applied to the knives in a less-than-careful way.

Hopefully, even by year two, you'll have buy-in on the Japanese-knife idea and can then have more choices. If not, I like that you can "hide" behind the Richmond label, even if they are, in some cases, made by Japanese blacksmiths.

I'd skip the santoku if it looks like the ones Giada and Rachel and all are pushing. They tend to be knives that try to do a lot of different things, none of them particularly well. On the other hand, some of them that CKTG have are great tools -- I just bought a Murata funayuki, and their santoku looks like it has a great profile as well.

The nakiri is an interesting knife, but I haven't found that it adapts well to the way I cook.

On the other hand, if you eat a lot of fish and catch them or buy them whole, I'm a strong proponent of a classic Japanese-style deba. It handles the task of breaking down fish quite elegantly. A 160 mm deba is probably big enough for fish up to a few pounds. A 185 mm deba can handle an 11# salmon without breaking a sweat, as well as being small enough to deal with 1.5# snapper-like fish.

Have fun and enjoy when you find out that your needs and desires change with time!

Re: Starting a new knife collection

Tue Jul 09, 2013 8:46 pm

Jeff - well put. I'll add that a really good bread knife is nice, but a very sharp gyuto does a really nice job cutting bread - both crusty baguettes and softer loaves. I'll sometimes reach for my 150mm petty to cut a baguette and if I have the knife sharp, it will make quick work of cutting nice slices with few crumbs and crust shrapnel.
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