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starting from square one in the knife department.

Wed May 01, 2013 8:13 pm

1. Are you right handed? yes
2. What type of knife are you interested in. santoku or gyuto
3. What size knife are you looking for? 160mm to 180mm santoku. 210mm or 240mm for gyuto
4. Do you prefer carbon or stainless steel? stainless. open to carbon just worried about rust.
5. Do you prefer a western handle or a Japanese handle? open
6. How much did you want to spend? $250max
7. Do you know how to sharpen. only with a steel

I recently sold all of my cutco knives my parents gave me when i moved on my own. Now all i have is a Butchers, Boning,Carving knife from Henkels that my parents were given when they got married 40 years ago. Ive taken good care of them but they wont serve. I am taking a real passion with cooking and would like to start building a nice set of knives. Having done a bunch of research, it looks like i should invest in a good cutting board and sharpening set as well as a good knife or two. That being said after a month of research i still have no idea what to get. I am 6'4" 270 pounds so handle size is not a problem.

Thank you for any advice.

Re: starting from square one in the knife department.

Wed May 01, 2013 8:46 pm

I'm new here myself, so I'll defer to the resident gurus on knives.

As for cutting boards, I generally prefer either a nice large thick wooden board, or a nice large thick thermoplastic board. Get the largest reversible board of either material that will fit upright on one end in your kitchen sink and laid out flat on your intended workspace, and the thicker the better (at least 1/2" for plastic, and 2-3x that for wood). Counterspace permitting, I wouldn't go smaller than 15x20". For extra stability, just place a lightly dampened bar towel underneath the board.

Although I prefer the look and feel of cutting on a nice big thick properly seasoned oil-treated wood, it's hard to beat the advantages of thermoplastic - they're easy to find in restaurant supply stores, fairly uniform in quality across brands, cheap to replace, can be recycled when worn out, dont need to be oiled, dont crack or swell, can be easily sanitized (and de-stained) with diluted bleach, don't absorb odors, etc. They're also fairly quiet to cut on and soft enough to be forgiving on your edges. They also come in a variety of colors, which makes segregating your boards in a professional kitchen (to minimize cross contamination or allergen issues) easy. I'll use my wood board when guests are over, but if it's just me I stick with thermoplastic.

Resist the urge to buy bamboo ... although beautiful and long lasting, they're unforgivingly hard and noisy to cut on. Buy one for serving cheese and/or crudite, but not for food fabrication.

Re: starting from square one in the knife department.

Wed May 01, 2013 9:10 pm

Addendum: if you buy a wood board, treat it with several coats of mineral oil immediately (let stand overnight then wash thoroughly with warm soapy water), and repeat once every few months or so. The oil fills the pores, improves stain resistance, and helps prevent shrinkage, splitting and warping, and will greatly extend the lifespan of the board. Mineral oil is also odorless, and wont go rancid.

Re: starting from square one in the knife department.

Thu May 02, 2013 7:16 am

If you're in no hurry, a good plan would involve buying an inexpensive knife like a Fujiwara Carbon, or Artifex and using it for a while. Then come back and let us know what you do and don't like about said knife. Get a five piece sharpening set:


And learn to sharpen this inexpensive knife well.

Then, when you step up to a higher end knife you'll appreciate what you're getting and know you know how to sharpen it and not screw it up.

If that plan doesn't sound good to you, there are many knives within your budget.

Most here will recommend the 240mm gyuto as their favored knife amongst those you listed.

A great knife within that budget, is the Goko....I really like these:


Not a laser, but still cuts very well. Carbon core, clad in stainless (gets you introduced to carbon, but with the stainless cladding is much less worrisome). Introduces you to wa handles. And it's a great knife to boot.

Re: starting from square one in the knife department.

Thu May 02, 2013 8:35 am

If your current budget is 250, I say invest in a few sharpening stones first. Practice sharpening on the knives you currently have, which will take a respectable edge. All knives will become dull, if you buy a new knife, it becomes dull, you are back to where you are starting from. I would highly NOT using a steel on the new knife. Learn to sharpen on waterstones first. I know the urge to buy your first Japanese knife is strong. I still fight this urge :). Shapton glass stones are good to learn on. I would get the 1000 and the 4000 and a flattening plate. Another good set of stones would be the latte 400, followed by the green brick. These should be great for the knives you already have, as well as what you might purchase. You could add the snow white stone after you start buying new knives.

Re: starting from square one in the knife department.

Thu May 02, 2013 10:00 am

Thank you for all the replies. I think what Adam said will be the best bet. It looksike my budget of 250 will be a little to low if I want to get a nice cutting board any recommendations? Also since I don't have a paring knife anymore would you recommend I get one or will the gyuto suffice? What is your opinion of the Mac supieror 2pc set with the santoku and pairing knife?

Re: starting from square one in the knife department.

Thu May 02, 2013 10:02 am

DREW <> Regarding the last stone recommendation; I would lean away from the Shapton Glass as a beginner as they are really hard fast cutting stones... that is their claim to fame. As a beginner, I would recommend softer stones that offer more feedback, and are more forgiving to the mistakes you will make while you're learning. The Shapton Glass will simply eat your knife when you sway, bobble and/or when your angles are off. A green brick, for instance, will just gouge... hurting the stone, not the knife.

It's all a preference thing and the Shapton glass stones are awesome in their own right, but I don't think they're most appropriate for a beginner. The 5 piece & 8 piece sets CKTG has created are truly fantastic, and will serve you very well for a very long time on a lot of different steel.


...are well respected.

MAC makes a good consistent product for your application, but I'd ante up for the Professional: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/mac2pcasianset.html

Re: starting from square one in the knife department.

Thu May 02, 2013 10:48 am

It looks like I won't be able to do all the upgrades then. Which one would you guys recommend I get first. The sharpening kit or a nice cutting board. I need a new knife since I don't have anything but meat knives.

Re: starting from square one in the knife department.

Thu May 02, 2013 10:59 am

If you need a budget cutting board check out "the wok shop". Wouldn't say they are the best, but for the price they are hard to beat.

Wood is the way to go imho despite the maintanence as its kinder to your knife.

Re: starting from square one in the knife department.

Thu May 02, 2013 11:21 am

Wow those wok shop cutting boards are like just a hunk of tree lol.
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