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Feb 10, 2012 12:17 AM

Okay, I need a set of knife stuff. Budget: $850

I have spent way too much time researching kitchen knifes and watching videos of other people using knifes that are actually sharp. Now I want my own sharp toys. :p I'm going to need knifes that are going to be good for work. My budget is $650 before the suji and Deba, but that includes the knifes as well as the cutting board, sharpening method, and whatever else goes with knife maintenance. Including the other two knifes I don't want to spend more than $850. I'm not getting this all at once so the budget is fudge-able, but my conscious wouldn't like it. That said, here's what I'm thinking about getting:

The knife team:

240mm Hiromoto AS gyuto - I've never had a carbon knife before, but I've been practicing carbon knife maintenance with the one good(ish) knife I have at the moment (a 6inch wusthof santoku) and I'm willing take on the challenge for the sake of having a 20 total degree edge that lasts for days in a commercial kitchen with just maintenance.

150mm Hiromoto AS Petty - as far as I've researched, a 150mm petty does the work of a paring knife and more except for very detailed work, with a little badassery. Though I'd probably sooner tell the chef to go count grass than cut several hundred apple gooses a day, so hey.

300mm sujihiki - I haven't done much research, but being that I'd only use this knife for slicing and portioning (derp), I'm looking to get something that can take a 10 degree edge relatively well and obviously be more delicate with the knife. Get a white steel suji perhaps? I don't know what brand I should get though. I should point out that I'd prefer yo handles over wa handles.

~180mm Deba, aka "THE CAN OPENER" - I like and should eat more fish anyway, and having a tougher knife around isn't exactly a waste. Likely more for home use than work use. For my needs, I believe a yo deba would be better for me, but I don't know what brand to get. How good is a yo deba for breaking down fish?

The Stoner team:

I don't know much about stones beside the fact that I need them. :p That said, I know I want water stones that can be stored in water and are hard and/or wear slowly. That said, I want:

A 1000 grit, a 4000 grit, and a 6000 grit water stone

A balsa wood strop pad with .5 Micron Chromium Oxide Semi paste

Hard felt deburr block.

diamond sharpening stone just for flattening and,

Some cheap knife to practice on. Likely a kiwi knife.

Knife accessories:

A 12 x 18 hard maple reversible board - I'll likely get one from Boardsmith since the price seems to be good for what you get. I'll likely get another board later on (*cough*, but for now I just want to have one good one and avoid cross contamination through badassing it up.

Messermeister 5pc knife roll

Finally, does there exists an apron that has pockets for knifes? I'm drawn to the idea of always having my knifes on me, especially at work. That said, thank you for reading this and especially thanks to anyone who responds with their thoughts.

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  1. Knives are not "toys," they are tools, in my opinion.

    3 Replies
    1. re: GH1618

      That comment in it's context was not meant to be taken seriously.

      1. re: shezmu

        wow tough crowd right out of the gate, my you are jumping in with 2 feet and no net!! 850 is going to be hard to stay under for that haul. You might need to slow down and reseach each purchase more in depth.

        1. re: Dave5440

          "850 is going to be hard to stay under for that haul. You might need to slow down and research each purchase more in depth."

          Unless you break down and fillet a ton of whole fish at work(or home) I wouldn't bother with a deba right off the bat(saving yourself $200-$400) I would instead concentrate on a really good gyuto,petty or honesuki(boning) and some good stones.
          I love carbon steel knives,but I found them to be a bit of a hassle to keep clean and dry at work(a must for carbon steel) so I switched to a Konosuke HD semi clad 240 gyuto and I couldn't be happier.There are plenty of other clad, semi stainless or full SS option out there.

          A 300mm suji is great,but if you get yourself a nice 240mm or 270mm gyuto first it will do everything the suji will do + .
          A good cutting board is a great investment and boardsmith boards are some of the best around.
          As Dave suggested slow down,do a lot of research( KKF,KF) and figure out what you really need right away.I would also suggest talking to Jon at Japanese Knife Imports,he'll give you some great info on all things knife related.

          Have fun!

    2. Many people love Hiromoto AS knives. Great deal for AS core knives, and many professional cooks use them. However, like Petek said, it is still not as corrosive-resistance as stainless steel or semi-stainless steel knives. If you think you can maintain one, then go for it (them).

      As for stones, I am wonder if a 1000, 2000, 6000 or a 1000, 3000, 6000 is better than having a 4000 in between. It is a very minor point. Beside waterstones which can be stored in water. What do you think of waterstones which require no soak. The so called: splash and go stones. You still need water, but no soaking.

      1. I also agree with petek regarding the use of carbon knives in a working kitchen. My recommendation would be to go all CarboNext for your work knives:
        1) carbon benefits without the rust worries
        2) yo handles
        3) all of the gyuto/petty/suji lengths you're looking for

        I can't tell if you're planning to sharpen at work or at home? If at work, I wouldn't necessarily recommend water stones. From my experience using both Suehiro water stones & Spyderco ceramic stones, I'd suggest getting a pair of Spydercos (med & fine) to use at work. You can get both from Amazon right now for around $70.

        I also can't tell if you're planning to use the "nice" cutting board at work or not? Again, if at work, I'd probably go with an edge grain board just to keep things reasonable. Also, you won't care so much when someone does something on it they're not supposed to (& they will...).

        That keeps the price of everything well within your budget, & will give you exceptional tools to use while you decide what you want in your next purchase(s).

        2 Replies
        1. re: Eiron

          "2) yo handles"

          Holy crap. When did it get so popular to call it yo handle? I understand the "wa" handle because there is no good English word for a Japanese wa style handle.

          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

            Beats me...

            I'm just another sheep in the flock of life...


        2. A few things:

          For one, I own the hiromoto AS gyuto. It's a great knife. It's no longer my go-to gyuto (was for a few years though), but every time I pick it up, I quickly remember how much I enjoy using it. It's not the thinnest gyuto on the market by any means. It's also now pretty much 50/50 rather than the 70/30 grind I bought, if that matters. F&F and factory edge is passable, but not much beyond that for the price. Probably the easiest carbon steel knife to take into a pro kitchen that I know of. I've lent it out to a friend who is a line cook - he loved using it at work. Great edge retention, very easy to sharpen, very easy to maintain for a carbon steel blade, nice overall geometry (though again, it's far from a laser). Pretty decent choice, overall, even if it's not as fashionable as it was a few years ago.

          A yo (western) deba can in fact break down fish, but it's not quite as well suited to smaller fish as a smaller, thinner knife. Like I said to you in another thread, you should think of it almost as a short, super beefy gyuto - it's good for general heavy duty where you don't want to pick up another knife should you also need to make the odd precise cut. I don't really have a recommendation as to which yo deba to buy unfortunately. If you ask over at knifeforums/inthekitchen or kitchenknifeforums, I'm sure they'll have a lot of suggestions.

          As a sujihiki goes, I've only played with a few. One question - are you left-handed? Some of the suji's I've seen are actually quite asymmetrical, so being a lefty might dictate what you should consider. To contrast the hiromoto, I suggest you consider either a yusuke (white #2) or a konosuke suji. Either might be difficult (though not impossible) to find in a western handle. The fujiwara fkm is another fine choice. Any of the above will take an edge well at 10 deg/side.

          If you're interested, a board is one place where you can save a little money. Not trying to steer you away from a custom American maker like the Boardsmith, who admittedly does beautiful work; just pointing out that some of the cheaper hardwood end grain boards you can now find in stores like Target are functionally almost the same, while costing a fraction of the price.

          A strop is another good place you can save some money, if you like. Generally, you can make your own strop for just a few bucks in scrap material (may have to shell out for the compound - green chrome ox crayon only costs a few bucks for a stick). It may not look as pretty, but it will be 99.8% as functional as buying a strop and all the strop fixins. And it's not much harder than arts & crafts projects that you were doing in 3rd grade.

          For stones, it sounds like you want slow to wear, long-lasting, able to be kept in water - the bester stones are probably then your best bet for low and medium grit. For higher grits (4k, 6k), it's not so ideal to keep a stone stored in water. There are a few good stones available around 5k - the suehiro rika 5k, the naniwa SS 5k come to mind. I suggest you consider something like bester 700, bester 1k (or 1200) bester 2k, suehiro rika 5k. Or else the shapton glass stones sound like more or less what you're looking for. Very slow to dish and wear. They're 'splash & go' stones, which means that there's no reason to store em in water. Just wet the surface, and they're good to go. Available in many grits. Downside of both the shaptons and the besters is that they don't offer great 'feel' by most people's standards - both lines are on the hard side, and they can have a bit of a nails on chalkboard kind of feel to em.

          1. Thanks for all the responses. I admit that I'm likely being rather hasty on this. I blame the knife nuts at KF. See what ya'll done to me? :p Anywho, I'll definitely post on KF and KKF to get more opinions on this and research more.

            That said, I'm definitely not going to ignore the views of the people in the restaurant buz and knife nuts. I guess I don't need a deba, I'm just nervous about prepping and cooking fish likely due to lack of experience and that's likely clouding my judgment. Either way, deba goes and I'll use the other three knifes better.

            As for what I know I need to get, I know I need sharpening supplies more than anything else at the moment, so that stuff will be the first things I get. As for what I want, splash and go stones aren't a problem for me as a principle, I just don't mind soaking stones and splash and go sounds like a feature you'd pay extra for. If Splash and go is something that is just common with good and durable stones, then I'll get splash and go stones.

            As for the stropping stuff, "abrasive compound" does not sound like something I'd want to pinch pennies on from a safety standpoint. Abrasive compound paste in a squeeze bottle sounds a lot safer to me than chalk so I'll gladly spend the extra cash.

            For the board, I'm not closed to the idea of getting cheaper end grain boards, though I am worried about getting a cheap board that has lead in it or something. I'll definitely check out the cheaper boards though. By the way, the only things I plan to take to work are my knifes and maybe a utensil or two if the place is weird and doesn't have microplanes or something. Hopefully I'll find some product that allows me to have my knifes physically on me at ALL TIMES when not in use. Drama and pressure is one thing, but drama other someone taking my stuff and damaging it is something I do not want to have to go through.

            Speaking of the knifes, strangely enough, I'm more hesitant about using lasers than using carbon steel. Rust is avoidable and reactions are manageable, but the blade breaking in half from the inevitable drop? I can't say I'm comfortable with the idea of using a really thin knife. I'll look into the carbnext knifes and other semi-stainless and claded options. Also, I was not cursed enough to be a left-handed knife user, so that's not a concern. :p

            So in summary, I currently have access to a board, and I have a wusthof santuko, so right now I need to get the stones and strop stuff first, then the gyuto and petty, and then the board and then suji. The knife roll is under twenty, so I'll get that whenever I guess. Does this sound like a good plan?

            7 Replies
            1. re: shezmu

              I think you are on target with putting sharpening as a priority. As for stopping, good ole chromium oxide does a fine job and is relatively cheap and available. I don't care for the waxy sticks but powder or liquid is very easy to apply and covers very well

              I'm a fan of splash and go stones because, first it is what I have experience with and second I really don't want to always plan a sharpening session.

              When I find my current knife not performing to my expectations I can pull a couple of stones, sharpen, deburr and strop in less than 30 min and get back to prep work. Less time than it takes to properly soak a stone. I don't discount the benefit of feedback with other stones, just stating what works for me

              1. re: shezmu

                Hi Shezmu,

                As to the knives that you are considering, one super good gyuto is certainly a good start, as long as you like that style. Others here will do a much better job of advising you on the selection of a particular gyutos (I don't own one - I'm a santoku/nakiri guy). I have found Mark at chefknivestogo to be a helpful resource.

                If I am reading between the lines correctly (and sorry if this isn't the case - please clarify if I'm off), you don't currently have a sharpening system? I DO agree with you that this is a very good place for you to start. Regardless, you certainly wouldn't want to learn a new sharpening method on a very expensive new Japanese knife. Your Wusfhof santoku is a GREAT knife to learn on. I own the exact same knife, along with many others.

                Here are a few good resources:,

                There are quite a fair number of different systems out there for hand-sharpening. Stones are certainly a traditional path, followed by stropping on either lapping film or leather that has been treated with any of a number of abrasive pastes. Stones can be natural, synthetic or diamond. I own diamond stones by DMT. I'm not here to push that agenda. I like them but if I was just getting started brand new today AND I wanted to handsharpen, I would seriously consider the abrasive film approach. That being said, it is very easy for me to take a my little diamond stones with me and sharpen up knives for my parents and friends.

                As to stropping with pastes, chromium oxide is very popular, as are DMT or other companies' diamond pastes. I wouldn't be concerned about "squeeze bottle" vs. a chromium oxide green/black blocks, that are rubbed into the stropping leather. Diamond pastes do cost more but EITHER is a completely valid approach and shouldn't cause concern - especially if you are just getting started into what I would call "very high grit" honing/lapping.

                Once you are doing stropping, the effective grit level is like 8000 and higher, and can go as high as something insane like 80,000 or 100,000. IMO - Incredibly amazingly sharp is around 6000-8000. Sharp enough for "pure push cuts'. Sharp enough to shave with. Even very serious sharpening people usually stop at 30,000. I personally never go higher than my DMT 8000 grit.

                Another method that is perhaps worth your consideration, rather than stones and/or stropping w/ pastes - is to use a system based purely on 3M abrasive films. They also make very high quality sandpaper - the kinds used for industrial applications like autopaint. For a minimal expense, you can have a few sheets of different grits of these films (typically mounted on glass), and obtain results that are exceedingly good. This "system" of sharpening is often referred to as "scary sharp". If you have any concerns about what is possible with this method, this video is one of the best examples that I have seen:
       Here is another that might be of interest:,

                If I was starting from scratch I would probably get a scrap of glass cut, large enough for 3-4 pieces of film on each side (so that I wouldn't need to apply/remove films ever - it would just be a permanent sharpening platform).

                Or ... as I have said a few times, knowing what I know now - a low-cost option at $28 is this: It can readily be used freehand ... OR ... used with an aligner to make sure the angles are held for you. This stone has a 1200 side and an 8000 side. It's the same technology that I use. If you DO decide that a waterstone/whetstone is for you then a DMT stone is the perfect thing for flattening it - once it finally starts to cup on you.

                Anyway, I hope that I may have provided information that is helpful, rather than confusing or conflicting.


                1. re: shezmu

                  I guess I don't need a deba, I'm just nervous about prepping and cooking fish likely due to lack of experience.
                  Unless you are going through a lot of fish, like the amount you would if you charter fished for salmon or steelhead you really don't need one, if you are buying fish for a meal, a gyoto will do the job handily. But if you really want one,,,,they are so cool, get one down the road, but I don't understand the wa handle aversion

                  1. re: Dave5440


                    Let be honest here (not that I am implying you are not honest). Let's take away the fact that a deba is made of a hard steel. Is there way reason why you like your deba (for fish) more so than a gyyto or any other knives?

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      I think this is what you are asking, For sure the deba is far superior when cleaning fish no doubt about it, it's design is perfect for the task, is there other ways to do it? for sure there is pretty much anything with an edge can clean a fish, but when one is on a buget I wouldn't reccomend getting one untill you have all the other knives/stone you need. But when you do get one it ,,you will love just looking at it

                      1. re: Dave5440

                        Got it. I wasn't sure if you like Deba because of the steel or the shape. It seems you like the shape very much. Maybe I should get a deba.... unfortunately, I don't fish. :)

                    2. re: Dave5440

                      Scubadoo97 - Thanks for the response.

                      jkling17 - Man, please tell me you type fast or I'm going to feel guilty. :p Anywho, I almost should say that I don't have a sharpening system. My only option at the moment is the two phase V sharpener that came with the knife and the blunt side of a no name "never needs sharpening" chef's knife for truing. This keeps the knife not dull and that's about it. I'd rather not imagine how my experience with cutlery would have been without that free sharpener. ._.'

                      I think I got hit with terminal waterstone disease, but I'll look into the scary sharp method. thanks for the info.

                      Dave5440 - I don't have a Wa aversion so much as a Yo preference. Say what you want about wusthof knives and I'd likely agree with you, but the handle and bolster on the santoku knifes are darn near perfect. It feels comfortable in my hand, great to look at IMO, and you can just tell that the handle is going to outlast the knife. I've never held a japanese knife, but while Wa handles can satisfy the look aspect, I like the idea of yo handles more.

                      Also, thanks on the Deba advice. May still get one down the line because Eric robert is awesome and anything that can help me get to his level can't be too bad, though a deba is not something I need to worry about at the moment.