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Apr 22, 2011 08:45 AM

Knife arsenal

I know there's been a bunch of specific posts about knives and knife use, but I'm really curious as to what knives you all have, love, and/or use regularly. (Photos encouraged, of course.) As for me:

At home:
-All Wusthof Classics (received as gifts):
-6" chef's knife
-8" bread knife
-3.5" paring
-7" santoku
-5" tomato knife
-210mm Fujiwara FKM Gyuto - new favorite
-7" Mercer Millenium Usuba (really fun knife for $13)
and many, many assorted paring knives featuring a couple ceramic (don't like) and some Kuhn-Rikon (like very much)

My kit from school is all Mercer Millenia - slicer, serrated slicer, boning knife, and paring - plus a10" Wusthof Classic chef's knife, and Kuhn-Rikon boning and paring knives. I'm seriously considering keeping the Wusthof at home and getting a Victorinox or Forschner to use exclusively at school... things disappear there more frequently than I'd like.

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  1. I will list the knives:

    Dexter-Russell Chinese medium blade Chef knife (aka Chinese cleaver)
    Chan Chi Kee (CCK) Chinese thin blade Chef knife
    Shun bread knife
    Tojiro DP gyuto
    Dexter-Russell boning knife
    Tanaka Kurouchi Aogami Nakiri
    Kuotming (spelling?) meat cleaver
    Henckels L paring knife
    Wusthof Ikon paring knife
    Dexter-Russell sheep foot paring knife
    Tojiro Shirogami Usuba (actually I don't use it ...)

    28 Replies
    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

      I love show and tell! :D

      Left to right

      Kasumi 6" S.S boning knife

      6" Moritaka Aogami carbon honesuki (boning)

      Kasumi 7" S.S santoku

      Moritaka 7.3" Aogomi carbon santoku

      Sabatier 9.5 Carver carbon steel

      Moritaka 9.5 Aogomi carbon gyuto

      + Henckels 3.5" S.S paring knife(not pictured)

      1. re: petek

        I always get confused if you are a Moritaka guy or a Watanabe guy. In other words, I get your knife preference confused with Dave's. This post clarifies much.

        1. re: petek

          Your pics always make me want to get a Moritaka.

          How is the grind on those things? Laser thin like the Takeda or not so much? Have you reground the edges at all? Any F&F issues? They look great from photos.

          1. re: cowboyardee

            Hey cowboy.I love me my Moritaka's. I've never had the pleasure of handling a Takeda so I can't compare it to my blades.They're not laser thin but not bone crushers either.The grind was not perfect but the F&F was,in my humble opinion. The sharpen up beautifully and the edge retention is excellent.

            I noticed you have a couple of Misosno moly hankotsu in your kit.What do you think of them? I'm considering the Swedish or the moly for a new butchering job that may be on the horizon.

            1. re: petek

              What was wrong with the grind if you don't mind my asking?

              I have no complaints whatsoever about the misono hankotsus. They're nice knives, look super cool, take a good edge, solid edge retention, maybe a bit beefier than you'd expect.

              Problem is I don't do a whole lot of boning - mostly just chicken, fish, and boning out the occasional pork shoulder. For all that, the honesuki is my weapon of choice. I just don't do enough large mammal butchering to be a whole lot of assistance on boning knives.

              1. re: cowboyardee

                The grind on the Gyuto's edge is not perfectly flat. When placed on a flat surface you can see a little light coming through(not sure if that makes sense).The heel of the blade seems to protrude just slightly.Dave Martell complained about this a few years ago on K.F. To me it's a pretty minor issue and it hasn't effected performance enough for me to consider a home re-grind(I don't think I have the skill to do it anyway)

                1. re: petek

                  Oh SH*T. Not the wavy edge thing, is it? Well, you won't know until you sharpen the knife. Having you verify this means even more than Dave Martell. Now, I really know this is true for Moritaka knives.

                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    No Chem not wavy,just not perfectly flat. I haven't noticed any "ribboning" when I'm slicing or doing a chiffonade so I'm not too concerned with the slight imperfection.Hopefully with enough sharpening the problem will just go away :D

          2. re: petek

            Hey Petek how do you like the Kasumi knives? I compared a Kasumi chef to a Mac Pro recently and liked the Kasumi's blade shape and handle feel better than the Mac (despite the fact that I have always been partial to Mac).

            Also in another post her you mentioned you are in Toronto. Do you mind saying where you buy your knives?

            I am looking to replace a heavy "full forged German steel made in China" chef with my first J-knife. Since I am a lefty I don't want anything that is radically one-handed. Thanks.

            1. re: BruceMcK

              "Since I am a lefty I don't want anything that is radically one-handed"

              Get a radically left-handed knife. It will make you feel special. :)

              1. re: BruceMcK

                You're a fellow lefty, huh - take a look at this thread.

                We got pretty deep into discussing asymmetrical knives for lefties.

                1. re: BruceMcK

                  Hey Bruce

                  I like my Kasumi's very much.They don't get any love on any of the knife forums(too pedestrian I guess). Because they have a softer steel than my Moritaka's,R.C 59-60,I don't mind abusing them at work.They have a nice heft to them,F&F is good and they take and keep a nice edge. Good all round work horse.

                  I got the Kasumi's at the healthy butcher. best prices in town for Kasumi's


                  The Moritaka's I purchased at "Knife" on Queen West. great little shop with a very nice selection of Japanese steel.


                  There's a new purveyor of J-knives in Toronto called tosho knife arts.right now they're online shopping only.Very nice high end steel(Takeda,Konosuke



                  Hope this helps.

                  happy hunting!

                  1. re: petek

                    Thanks Pete. Your comments are very helpful. Eugene at Knife sharpened some of my knives last year; he has a very interesting store. I had not heard of Tosho. Healthy Butcher is where I saw the Kasumis. Some recent threads here about chipping of hard knife blades started to give me second thoughts so I am glad you don't find them fragile. They don't get much love on the knife boards, but they also don't get criticized.

                    Now I am wondering about the quality difference from a Tojiro DP or a Fujiwara FKM on CKTG. Mac knives are higher priced in Canada vs. the USA. I am fortunate to live within walking distance of Healthy Butcher, Knife, Nikolaou, Tap Phong and a few others, so I prefer to buy local.

                    Chem and Cowboy thanks for the replies and the pointer to the other thread. I read that before but will give it another look. Lefty knives make it harder to share the love which is why I want something relatively symmetrical. I don't want to drag this thread too far off its original topic so I will leave it at that.

                    1. re: BruceMcK

                      You're welcome Bruce. Unfortunately everything is priced higher here than the U.S but I still prefer to buy local.CKTG probably has the best selection and prices anywhere,but when you figure in shipping,duty and unforeseen holdups at the border to me it's not worth it.
                      Oh well that's life.
                      Pauls finest out of Montreal might be worth checking out.


                      1. re: petek

                        Can someone explain to me why knives are more expensive in Canada than in USA? It certainly cannot be due to shipping fee since the two counties are right next to each other. Is it due to lack of competition? Or is it due to a higher custom duty?

                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                          Volume. More people live in California alone than all of Canada. It's especially annoying now that the C$ is worth more than the US$. Even with shipping, duty and taxes, it's still cheaper sometimes for us to shop crossborder in the U.S.

                          1. re: Kagemusha

                            Yeah, the US population is 10 times that of Canada in a smaller area. Higher prices usually get blamed on lower volume and the resultant higher distribution and inventory cost. It also results in less competition which also enables higher pricing. We also tend to have less selection. Imagine you want to set up an internet based knife store to service US and Canada. Other things being equal, would you set it up in the country with 90% of the population or 10% of the population. I don't think customs duties cause it, since Canada and the US have a harmonized tariff system with similar duty rates. Items like big box electronics, cameras and cars can be priced much higher here.

                            But on knives I have found Canadian prices to be competitive or even a touch lower if you shop carefully. Mac knives are an exception, priced higher here. I notice CKTG says they are not authorized to ship Mac knives to Canada. Here are a couple of examples (remember the C$ buys about 1.05US$ at this time):

                            Misono UX10 210 mm guyoto
                            Pauls Finest $229
                            CKTG $244

                            Wusthof Classic Ikon 10" Chef
                            Pauls Finest $158
                            CKTG $180

                            Mac Pro 8" Chef MTH-80
                   $175 (This seems to be the going rate in Cda)
                            CKTG $130

                            The above is not the result of an exhaustive search, but is representative of what I have seen.

                            1. re: BruceMcK

                              Thanks. I have seen selective knives being cheaper in Canada than in US, but most knives seem to be more expensive in Canada, but I should take a closer look.

                        2. re: petek

                          I also found this Canadian online store, but it has a generic web store look that does not inspire confidence. Anyone heard of it or bought there?

                          1. re: BruceMcK

                            Looks a bit shady. Very evasive about where and who they are, too. Other legit places to buy, so why chance it?

                      2. re: petek

                        If you are ever in Calgary be sure to check out Knifewear.


                        Awesome shop. Big selection of a full price range of Japanese knives with potatoes and tomatoes set out to try them out on. They hand sharpen knives too, through 6 stages of water stones.

                        1. re: mpad

                          Oh I know all about knifeware.That's one drool worthy shop,I must say.Beautiful knives indeed.Prices are pretty much in line with the rest of the Canadian retailers.

                          Here's another great looking shop I stumbled upon.This one's in Montreal.


                          1. re: petek

                            Wow, gorgeous photos on their site.

                            1. re: mpad

                              I know. I wish they had some descriptions and prices but I might be taking a trip to Montreal this summer, so I'll get to check it out first hand.

                  2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    hey chem...

                    ive been thinking about getting an usuba...
                    if u dont use it and want to send it to me ill take it off your hands...

                    1. re: srsone

                      You don't want my usuba. I F-ed it up, and that is why I don't use it. Otherwise, I would have totally use it. I keep tell myself that I need to go back and regrind, but I know it will take me hours to do. The knife taugh me much about knife sharpening, so it was a good investment from that angle.

                      Linya_Japan offers a Tojiro usuba, which is pretty authnetic usuba. White paper (shirogami) carbon steel, wa-wood handle, the back side of the blade is "Uraoshi-ed", which means it is slightly hollowed out which is what a real traditional usuba should be.



                    2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      Hey Chem -

                      I like my Dexter, but had a question: I think there are different grades and types of stel for the Dexter cleaver (and the Japanese vegetable knife). Which do you have?


                      1. re: Westy

                        Hi Matt,

                        Most of the Chinese stainless steel Chef's knife by Dexter-Russell should be made from 420 HC. There is a carbon steel line as well. It is possible the Connoisseur Chinese Chef's knife is made of X50CrMoV15 since the Connoisseur paring knives are made of X50CrMoV15, but that does not mean the Chinese Chef's knife has to be. Specifically, I have the item # 08040 (prod # S5198) knife:


                        It is Dexter's best selling Chinese Chef's knife.

                    3. -10.5 inch Chicago Cutlery 44S Chef's knife, circa 1980 - work horse, easy to maintain, easy to replace so I don't worry about it too much.
                      -270mm Takeda Aogami Super Steel Gyuto - amazing knife, just got into japanese non-stainless steel, and I'm not going back
                      -Tanaka Aogami Nakiri - great knife for the price, factory edge and finish was so-so, but for the price, it's a steal
                      -Kiwi Brand Nakiri- incredible knife. Cheap soft stainless steel, but the blade is so thin that it just glides through vegetables and a couple of passes over a steel is all I've ever done to it.
                      -3" paring knife from a garage sale, worth every single one of those 75 cents
                      I also have a couple of Cutco knives (gifts, I promise), a slicer, which works great as a bread knife, and a "vegetable knife" which is a large nakiri style knife. The vegetable knife is alright, but it is too heavy and thick for what it is supposed to be, it does however get used occasionally for a job I don't want to do with a nicer knife. I don't own a meat cleaver and the veggie knife works for that. That's what the warranty is for, right?

                      If I get more I will grab a CCK 1303, and then maybe some old american carbon steel knives.

                      14 Replies
                      1. re: motownbrowne

                        That Takeda Gyuto is a real beauty! I'm also considering a CCK 1303 and a Misono Swedish steel hankotsu for some heavy butchery work.

                        1. re: petek

                          The interesting thing is that the real CCK1303's street price is closer to $20. It is really a steal at that price. Mark (from Chefknivestogo) originally offered them at ~$28 I think. I guess they sell really well, and it just gradually went up to $32 and then $38 now.

                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                            When you say "street price" I imagine someone with a trenchcoat approaching me while I'm feeding a parking meter and looking shiftily from side to side before asking "hey man, you need a cleaver?" I just thought I would share that image with you all. Is there another online retailer that sells them cheaper, or is Chinatown the way to go?

                            1. re: motownbrowne

                              :) Yeah, totally, maybe some street slang too. Maybe with an attitude too "Yo, you looking for some CCK? I got some 1303 and some 1103. You want it big or you want it small. It is all up to you, man. I ain't here to judge...."

                              I don't think there is another online retailer which sells them cheaper. If you just so happen to visit a West Coast Chinatown, sure, but I won't just visit Chinatown to buy a knife. The time and gas is not worth it.

                            2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                              I still haven't made it out to the CCK store in the Pacific Mall here in Toronto.Do you think $38 is too much to pay for a 1303?

                              1. re: petek

                                "Do you think $38 is too much to pay for a 1303?"

                                I don't mean the knife is not worth $38. I really meant to say that "can you believe these knives are sometime sold at a much lower price point?" You can call the CCK store in Pacific Mall up ahead and see what their prices are. A CCK store is not necessary cheaper, just like the Lodge cast iron online stores are often more expensive than elsewhere. They don't want to compete with their retailers.

                                    1. re: Dave5440

                                      And that Chan Chi Kee (CCK) store is somewhere inside the mall. Kind of a small store, but it seems to have quiet a bit of merchandise:


                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                        All the shops at Pacific mall are small.Kind of maize like.Quite the adventure.Great food court with their own Beard Papa!

                                        1. re: petek

                                          "All the shops at Pacific mall are small."

                                          Really. I didn't know that. Somehow I thought only the CCK store is tiny small. Thanks for sharing. I have never been there.

                                1. re: petek

                                  Thanks, I agree, it is amazing. I must admit I sort of stumbled onto it. I spent the better part of a few days looking longingly at CKTG before I called Mark up with a few questions. He had a 240mm Takeda in the "seconds" section, but I was in the market for a 270, so I was looking pretty closely at the Moritakas. Then Mark happened to mention that he had two 270mm Takeda Gyutos that were also seconds because of the finish so I got it for about $200. Now it seems that the price has gone up on the Takedas, so I'm glad I got in when I did. By the way, I've read a little bit about quality control issues from Moritaka. Petek, have you seen anything that didn't live up to your expectations from them? I am interested in their knives because it looks like they take the AS up to 65 HRC, which sounds like fun to use.

                                  1. re: motownbrowne

                                    Hey Mowtown:
                                    $200.00 for a 270 Takeda!!! Wow. That's what I paid for my 240 Moritaka.. That same Takeda is about $300-$350 now.You were definitely in the right place at the right time.

                                    The only complaint(minor to me) is the slightly uneven grind on the edge.Otherwise the F&F are very good,especially for the price point. I'm sure if you brought this issue up with Mark at CKTG he might be able to figure something out for you.

                              2. Used almost every time I'm in the kitchen:
                                - Sakai Yusuke 240 mm white steel gyuto, custom ground for a lefty

                                Used frequently:
                                - Hiromoto 240 mm AS gyuto
                                - Tosagata 165 mm blue steel nakiri
                                - Tojiro DP honesuki (a beast at breaking down chicken)
                                - Dojo 90 mm AS steel paring knife

                                Used infrequently:
                                - Forschner 8 inch chefs knife, fibrox handle
                                - Tosagata small fruit knife in white steel (ground too thick)
                                - 2 Misono moly hankotsus (I use em as steak knives when I'm trying to impress)
                                - Kikuichi white steel yanagiba (mis-ground by its last owner, and right handed to boot)
                                - Henckels knock off bread knife (good for crumbling chocolate. Maybe bread sometimes too)
                                - Set of cheap serrated steak knives, maker unknown (for the wife, for steak when it's just me, for cutting cardboard or aluminum cans)
                                - 8 inch stainless Sabatier chefs knife, maker unknown (very narrow, uglied up by last owner, takes a decent edge though - I use it as a long utility knife... mostly for cutting mangoes)

                                Gathering dust:
                                - Most of a set of Henkcels knock offs, including 8 inch chefs knife, 8 inch slicer, 4 inch paring knife, 6 inch utility knife

                                Lent out (indefinitely?):
                                - Forschner paring knife
                                - Global 8 inch chefs knife
                                - Large carbon CCK Chinese cleaver 1103 (I want this one back eventually)

                                Utilitarian cutting in the kitchen:
                                - Hacksaw (for large bones)
                                - Cheap hatchet from walmart (also for bones, but sometimes you just want to make a mess at maximum speed)
                                - Scissors (not kitchen shears, just regular-ass-scissors... for cutting nori)

                                That's it, I think.

                                1. "I'm seriously considering keeping the Wusthof at home and getting a Victorinox or Forschner to use exclusively at school... things disappear there more frequently than I'd like."
                                  Wusthof classics are nice knives, but the problem with them is so many have sold that used ones have very little resale value - not that much more than the cost of a new Forschner. So the concern of whether or not to bring it in becomes less of a financial issue than one of how much you'd miss the knife if it grew legs.

                                  You also might plausibly find that you like the Forschner as much as the Wusthof, which puts you in yet another bind, though at least your classmates might be less likely to make off with a forschner.

                                  1. "210mm Fujiwara FKM Gyuto - new favorite"

                                    Favorite? When did that happen? I thought just a few weeks ago, you wrote that you were not impressed by the knife.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                      Hi Chem,

                                      I posted in the thread a few days later that now that I've had a chance to play around with the knife some more, I'm enjoying it much more - especially the thinness of the blade as opposed to the Wusthof. I'm also working towards playing to its strength (push cut/draw cut, as discussed). All in all I'm really liking the ways it is different.

                                      1. re: malkazanie

                                        That's all it takes to convert to these knives