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 Post subject: First Timer Recommendation
PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 1:18 am 

Joined: Thu May 01, 2014 1:02 am
Posts: 5
Hey folks... new here and been browsing the forums. Needless to say, there is a ton of info! I'll start with the questions:

1. Are you right handed? -Yup
2. What type of knife are you interested in (gyuto, nakiri etc..) -Gyuto
3. What size knife are you looking for? -210/240
4. Do you prefer carbon or stainless steel? -Resistant
5. Do you prefer a western handle or a Japanese handle? -Western
6. How much did you want to spend? -$100-$200
7. Do you know how to sharpen? -Nope, but not opposed to learning!

Alrighty, that said, I'm in the market for a new Chef's knife. I haven't been accustomed to anything high-end (my last one was a low-end Henckels). I'm a home cook and will be using this daily for fairly light work (veggies, meats, no boning or anything like that). Anything in the 100-200 range is fine by me, but I'm torn between either:

A) I'm a proponent of do it/buy it right the first time and just feel like going for something like the Kikuichi TKC and pick up sharpening tools later and practice on my junk knives first, but I'm not sure how far down the road I'll need that first sharpening.

or

B) Start off with something in the 100-150 range because it will likely fit my needs just fine and go ahead and look into picking up some sharpening tools at the same time. I just fear I'll regret not going for option A, even though it may not be right way to go for a newbie like myself.

Thoughts/Suggestions? Thanks all, I really appreciate any feedback!


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 Post subject: Re: First Timer Recommendation
PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 1:40 am 
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Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2012 4:17 am
Posts: 3924
C) Start out by buying a set of stones, practice on your crappy knives and after you get the basics down then buy a nice knife.

I vote C.



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 Post subject: Re: First Timer Recommendation
PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 3:40 am 

Joined: Thu Apr 03, 2014 12:52 am
Posts: 296
Option C) is good if you can wait OR
Option A) if you need the knife now...

TKC + Idahone ceramic rod will take you down the road ~six months or longer based on usage - enough time to save for stones.


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 Post subject: Re: First Timer Recommendation
PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 4:51 am 
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JUNKY <> I recommend stepping back from the dollar = value paradigm. I don't argue the premise, "you get what you pay for", BUT there are high value options here at lower price points presenting high quality.

For example, a Blue#2 carbon core Kohetsu <--link laminated in stainless-steel for stain resistance may only be $99, but the blade will perform head & shoulders over your Henkels. F&F on the handle may not be commensurate, but you don't cut with a handle. Throw in a strop with diamond plate <--link for the stones you will require and some 2µ emulsion <--link for said strop, and you will have a high performance package that will not only serve you well, but teach you muscle memory for your soon to come sharpening sessions.



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 Post subject: Re: First Timer Recommendation
PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 7:37 pm 

Joined: Thu May 01, 2014 1:02 am
Posts: 5
All,

Thanks for the suggestions thus far. Consensus seems to be to start with the stones and get some practice in on the crap knives. I've got no problems with that and would like to get sufficient at sharpening before potentially ruining a good knife! Unfortunately, I also have the immediate need for a chef's knife... my old one is completely done and I've already been missing it after a few days. I'll definitely wind up purchasing a new gyuto in the very near future and whatever sharpening tools I'll need to get started (still browsing the forums/videos here for that - lots of info to take in!).

Melampus - thanks for pointing out the Kohetsu... I hadn't came across that one yet and I'd agree that it looks like a good candidate. I was also looking at the Hiromoto Gyuto 210mm.

Any suggestions on stones for either of these? Thanks again.


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 Post subject: Re: First Timer Recommendation
PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2014 2:41 am 
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Junkyman, Melampus has given you some superb advice. That knife performs well above it's pay grade. It will respond extremely well to stropping, as Mel recommends for you. When you get sharpening stones (Suehiro Rika 5k is very highly recommended BTW), the Blue #2 will sharpen up so easily it will blow your mind. Sometimes cheap stainless knives can be pretty wear resistant on the stones and a pain to sharpen quickly, which can lead to frustration in some cases.


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 Post subject: Re: First Timer Recommendation
PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2014 2:09 pm 

Joined: Sun Jul 29, 2012 1:36 pm
Posts: 259
Location: NY, NY; New Haven, CT
I tried to learn sharpening with a cheap stone and old knives. I learned sharpening, but never from my old knives! Trying to sharpen my old Henckels without experience with better steel on a 1k/6k combo stone was a joke. Not only did I not have confidence sharpening, but the steel just gummed up my cheap stone and wouldn't hold a refined edge. It was only later, after learning to sharpen some decent steel (on the same stone), that I realized how easy sharpening can be.

Moral: If you try to sharpen old, cheap knives, make sure you sharpen them according to their limits: only 1-2k at the most, steep angles, and stropping or honing on lower grit products to refine the edge. If you try to measure your skills according to whether or not you can get a steep angle and polished edge on a cheap, soft steel as if it were a Japanese blade, you'll just ruin your confidence at the start! The old blades will give you good motor skill practice and help you learn how to control the blade on the stone—this is great. But once you have this, I would not be timid to try sharpening better steel, because it is easier to sharpen, it'll boost your confidence, and it will behave so differently from soft German steel that you'll eventually have to relearn how to deal with the edge (angle, polish, refinement) anyway.

One thing I've noticed in recent years is that new Ikea knives that are M-V stainless are quite decent steel. I don't know how cheap they come with this steel (I know they sell budget knives with cheaper steel), but I would highly recommend using a blade like this to learn sharpening, especially if you can get a smaller one for $20. I wish the Ikea blades had decent geometry, grinds, and profiles—they are a Swedish company, after all, and the steel they use appears remarkably close in composition to much more expensive M-V stainless brands (masamoto, Kanashinge, Minsono), although with undoubtedly inferior heat-treat, grinds, etc. Still, I've seen videos where people manage to give this steel a good edge, and it may be a great way to practice decent angles and polish before attacking your new "primary" knife!

I have a friend looking in the same price range at similar knives, but with an emphasis on carbon. The Blue #2 has come up in our discussions (but he wants a 240 if possible); he's also interested in a Horimoto. As a home cook, I would emphasize size and profile above all else: figure out what you want in terms of shape, handle/grip, and length first, and them try to decide on steel/brand second. You'll get better advice from others here, and you'll be more confident in making the transition to new cutting techniques. Ask yourself questions like this: How thin do you want the knife as a whole? The edge? How tall do you want the blade at the heel? How light do you want the knife? Do you want a blade-heavy balance like the Henckels, but with a Western handle? (This can be harder to achieve in a 210 versus a 240.) Do you want a knife you can mostly hone and sharpen infrequently, or one that will have a sharper, more delicate edge but takes more care? And, along those lines, what kind of cutting board do you use?

Answers to questions like these will get you more emphasis on the knife and less on new stones, I bet. :)



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Ownership experience: Konosuke, Masamoto, Tojiro, Wusthof, Henckels, etc.
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 Post subject: Re: First Timer Recommendation
PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2014 2:39 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2013 6:00 pm
Posts: 2235
Junky - I still like Mel's suggestion on the Kohetsu Blue #2. I think it has a great combination of geometry, edge profile, size, weight, and steel. The handle is so, so, but you'll forget about the handle once you start using it - it's that good of a performer when sharp. A shorter knife, in this case a 210 vs. 240 is a bit easier to sharpen when learning and IMO is long enough for most home environments, as least to start. Once you have this knife for a while and have stropped it, then sharpened it with a stone(s), you'll have a good basis on which to decide on a different/longer/better? knife. This knife is ground better, with a really good all around edge profile than many of the slightly less expensive Kurouchi carbon knives. It won't need any real work OOTB, except for a little stropping to crisp up the edge a bit. Once you put it to a good stone (like the Rika 5K, which would be ideal for a quick edge tune up on this knife BTW), it will really shine when combined with a strop setup like Mel recommended.

I think this is a ideal place to start for Junkyman. It's a great knife, that will respond superbly to stropping/sharpening, giving you sharpening confidence, and it's pretty low maintenance, given the stainless cladding. The blade F&F is very, very good.


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 Post subject: Re: First Timer Recommendation
PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2014 8:22 pm 

Joined: Thu May 01, 2014 1:02 am
Posts: 5
Thanks to everyone for the excellent advice. I put in my order for the Kohetsu Blue #2 so many of you suggested and went with the strop set/emulsion Mel suggested too. I'm also keeping an eye out for the Suehiro Rika 5k (thanks for that suggestion steveg) when it is available again as well as researching a set of stones up to the 1-2k range for practicing on those old knives (with my expectations held in check!) as salemj pointed out. Thanks again folks!


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 Post subject: Re: First Timer Recommendation
PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2014 3:02 am 
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Posts: 2235
Nice choices, Jman!


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