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Need the Knife Gods of Chowhound to opine! ISO one Chef's knife!

h
HadesHnds Nov 21, 2013 07:35 PM

Dear Chowhounders, and esp. the knife gurus (we all know who you are<G>), I need some help. Alas, a common thread, and one you've answered all too many times before, but times change...
I need a chef's knife, specifically an 8 inch, but maybe a 10 inch too. I know they're a personal choice.
Here's what I've been working with, and you have to swear you won't mock me-it was a wedding gift MANY years (and one ex-husband ago. Like the ex, I'm ready to upgrade.) A Chicago Cutlery set.
In its defense, it outlasted the marriage,a ton of moves, and the company really did make good and then some on the guarantee, sending me not one, but a full set of replacement knives when I sent a solo defective one back.
Fast forward 20 years to a better hubby and enough money to buy several quality knives. Now I work as a private chef and help out at large catered events as a prep chef. Most of my time is at home prepping solo, so speed isn't a big deal. I have a Miyabi SG2 bread knife I love(though the edge isn't as sharp as I'd like it to be-will learn how to sharpen it hopefully soon), a Shun 5" Santoku, a Global paring knife, and an Gustav Emil Ern "beak Knife"(I love it!). plus a bunch of weird knives including several awesome antique carbon steel blades.
I like how my C.Cutlery knife feels balance-wise, but the wood is coming off, it doesn't hold an edge, etc. Been looking at the new Bob Kramer SLT Damascus by Zwilling. Tried to find Cowboyardee's Yuku....??? whatever it was called, since he loved it, but obviously I have no clue how to search. Need something not so brittle(No, I'm not planning on hacking bones apart-that's the job of a cleaver-already dinged my Santoku and all I've cut are veggies-grr!). I'ma girl with medium sized hands.Knife gods-save me! sincerely, a long-time lurker

  1. Chemicalkinetics Nov 21, 2013 08:12 PM

    <Tried to find Cowboyardee's Yuku>

    Yuku is his dog. I don't think you can have her. :)

    Seriously, he loves many knives, but two of his most mentioned are: Hiromoto AS and Sakai Yusuke White Steel. Hiromoto AS is relatively inexpensive, and high quality. Sakai Yusuke is even more refined, but a bit more expensive -- still very reasonably priced in my opinion.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Japanese-Sakai-Yusuke-White-Steel-Wa-Gyuto-Knife-210mm-Octagon-Handle-/380773269456?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item58a7daffd0

    I think many of us can share our opinions. Do you have something to help us narrow down our suggestions? I think a few popular ones are:

    1) Do you have preference for stainless steel vs carbon steel? Do you care?

    2) Do you prefer western handle or Japanese wa wood handle? Or you don't care?

    3) Do you have preference for the Dasmascus pattern on the blade, or any preference at all? For example, I personally slightly prefer the kurouchi (black) finish:

    http://www.edgeobserver.com/wp-content/uploads/Watanabe_Gyuto_full.jpg

    4) Do you prefer a hard steel knife or a soft steel knife? I am guessing that you do like hard steel knives since you have mentioned many of them, like Miyabi SG2, Bob Kramer SLT, Shun....etc.

    5) Are you left handed or right handed?

    6) Finally, do you have an approximately price range you are looking at? $100? $200? $300?

    Thanks.

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7579...

    P.S.: The finer the knife you get, the more importantly it is to sharpener it on our own. :)

    1 Reply
    1. re: Chemicalkinetics
      c
      Cynic2701 Nov 22, 2013 06:57 AM

      This is a great list of questions to address.

      HadesHnds do you sharpen your own knives or send them out? Sharpening is a great skill to have as even the best knives will go dull as you use them.

    2. a
      autumm Nov 21, 2013 08:29 PM

      If I were you, I would pay a visit to a WilliamsSonoma or local equivalent for a test drive of knives. Especially at this time of year, they are more than willing to let you feel and practice cutting with a knife. Maybe not cut, but practice running it along a board so to speak. See what feels like it was meant to be in your hand. If you want an easy out about not buying there, say you are researching for your Christmas list. :)

      I received my beloved Shun 8 inch last year after such a mission. I also have my older 8 inch Cuisinart from TJ maxx (I think) that I use when precision isn't so important. The Shun is my detail speed knife. The other is for watermelons and pineapples and random butchery I'm scared to damage my toy with.

      1. tim irvine Nov 22, 2013 06:54 AM

        To play off a phrase in Ghostbusters, I am not a god. My chef knives...8" and 10"...are French carbon steel. I think the best current offerings are Thiers Issard, available at The Best Things. If you like the French shape and weight, they are fine knives and not too pricey. I try other knives when I can. I really loved the Miyabi Artisan. SLT let me play with one with a good supply of potatoes. It was gorgeous, very sharper, nimble, and had a dimpled surface that didn't stick much.

        66 Replies
        1. re: tim irvine
          h
          HadesHnds Nov 22, 2013 10:02 AM

          Dear Knife Gods, thank you to all of you both for your insights as well as your links-I'm going to check them all out including some of the recommended non-linked knives you've mentioned. Thanks also for injecting humor into the discussion-laughter is ALWAYS the best ingredient!You had asked some thoughtful questions to help me. Here are my answers:

          1) Do you have preference for stainless steel vs carbon steel? Do you care?

          I have both, and am open, but I think with the way my family sneaks in behind me and treats my knives (I have five kids-six if you count my husband), I might be better off with a stainless. They tend to leave dirty knives by the sink. Having said that, it's not like they're going to be matchsticking carrots or prepping a mountain of peppers like me, so I need to get something I can use.

          2) Do you prefer western handle or Japanese wa wood handle? Or you don't care?

          I don't really care so long as the knife feels great in my hand. My most comfortable knifes are my Global paring and my Artisan bread knife. My Shun is very graceful too. I've taken another poster's suggestion and visited MANY knife stores, including Williams and Sonoma and SLT, and test drove the knives. The Miyabi Artisan chef's knife fells so elegant and nimble in the hand, and I really like it, but I'm concerned about how well the blade will hold up, edge-wise, and it doesn't have a ton of knuckle clearance. It feels fab for smaller veggies, but I think I want something with a little more power behind it, hence the test drive of the Kramer Damascus and the Ikon.
          The Bob Kramer knives feel pretty good, but they have an irritating sharp edge right where I pinch grip. Perhaps I could gently file that off....

          3) Do you have preference for the Dasmascus pattern on the blade, or any preference at all? For example, I personally slightly prefer the kurouchi (black) finish:

          http://www.edgeobserver.com/wp-conten...

          I'll have to check out the kurouchi, but who wouldn't love a Damascus blade?They're gorgeous, and I can really appreciate all the work that goes into one. (I'm sure there are other non-Damascus blades that have just as much work, and I can appreciate those too.

          )

          4) Do you prefer a hard steel knife or a soft steel knife? I am guessing that you do like hard steel knives since you have mentioned many of them, like Miyabi SG2, Bob Kramer SLT, Shun....etc.

          I have some soft carbon steel blades as well (my favorite being my Godfather's antique horn-handled, figure 8 shaped carbon steel blade). My concern is certain peeps that live at my house leaving a wet/dirty blade laying around. Maybe I'll have to hide it/them...

          5) Are you left handed or right handed? I'm right-handed.

          6) Finally, do you have an approximately price range you are looking at? $100? $200? $300?

          Barring spending a couple grand on a knife (unless it rocked HARD, then I'd save up and not tell the hubby lol-he'd be thrilled so long as it produces a good meal). I'm pretty open.For me at this point, it's more about a good functioning tool/tools.

          One of you kindly mentioned the importance of learning to sharpen one's own knives. I currently send mine out (VERY rarely), and the last time I did, the guy over-ground my antique blade-grrr.
          My husband bought me a stone, but if I've read the many knife sharpening posts correctly, I need several. Thank God for YouTube-I'll have to sit there and watch all the tips they have on how to sharpen. BTW, how do you sharpen a bread knife, specifically mine?
          In short, I'm willing to learn to sharpen. REALLY appreciate all your comments!! Thank you!

          1. re: HadesHnds
            Chemicalkinetics Nov 22, 2013 10:12 AM

            HellHound,

            I am in the middle of work, so let me just inject one point. I will response the rest later.

            <My husband bought me a stone, but if I've read the many knife sharpening posts correctly, I need several.>

            You don't really need several. The most important stone for average cooks is a 1000 grit (Japanese standard) -- really somewhere between 800-1200 grit. It is the most important. Rough stones like 200-500 grit are mostly to fix a seriously damaged blade or to completely reprofile a knife. Very fine stones like >5000 grit stones are really for polishing the ultimate edge. I know many sushi chefs do not go there. They are definitely nice to have, but far from "must to have". In addition, you need a high quality knife to take advantage of these high grit stones anyway, so many people really do not need them.

            In short, if your husband got you a 1000 grit (Japanese grit) waterstone, then you are ready to go really.

            Just an example:

            http://www.amazon.com/Suehiro-D1069-D...

            Now, I actually have many stones, but I use my 1000 and 2000 grit stones the most.

            1. re: HadesHnds
              c
              Cynic2701 Nov 22, 2013 10:25 AM

              Hi HadesHnds,

              1. While I prefer carbon steel overall for a variety of reasons (aesthetics, attainable hardness, ease of sharpening) its downside is that it does require more care and attention to keep corrosion at bay. This may not be an issue for you, but working "on the line" it may not always be possible to keep as good of care of it as you should. It doesn't take a whole lot of extra care, though, just wipe it down and keep it dry. If others may use your knife and not take good care of it, it may make you cry tears of frustration at having to clean up the rust that results from being left in the sink, or having to have a knife re-handled from swelling and cracking.

              2. I personally prefer wa-style as it typically makes the knife more blade-heavy rather than handle-heavy; this makes the balance point more suitable for cutting and chopping, but may make it feel less "solid" than a western style handle.

              3. I am anti-damascus for the most part. Most "damascus" you see is faux-damascus that occurs from cladding the core steel with a softer outer steel. Often it is pattern welded, and it WILL wear down over time and look...well...not very good. True damascus is pretty rare and always quite expensive.

              4. I prefer knives with higher HRC values (NB: a single steel can be either hard or soft--it depends on the heat treatment) but they will require more care when cutting. High hardness knives can take a more acute angle (meaning they can sustain a higher theoretically attainable sharpness than a softer treated blade) but may chip out as the result of twisting or torquing motions when cutting. Using entirely too much force when rock chopping is frequently, in my experience, the culprit for people chipping blades that I sharpen for them. You can rock chop, but you will need to be more gentle; in any case, the knife should be much sharper than a softer knife so less force would be needed anyways.

              6. I'd suggest getting a gyuto in the $200-300 range and spending about $100-200 on sharpening stones.

              If you are ok with carbon steel I'd recommend this:

              http://www.japaneseknifeimports.com/kitchen-knives/zakuri/zakuri-270mm-aogami-super-kurouchi-gyuto.html

              The Konosuke HD2 line is a semi-stainless tool steel that has a very high corrosion resistance that I can personally attest to.

              http://www.chefknivestogo.com/kohdwa24.html

              If you wanted to spend a little more, here is one that I've been salivating over:

              http://www.chefknivestogo.com/makogy24.html

              For sharpening stones, you don't need to go too crazy unless you really really want to get into sharpening to sub-micron finishes.

              Here are two good places to start:

              http://www.chefknivestogo.com/shpro2pcset1.html
              http://www.chefknivestogo.com/ch125.html

              Later on you may want to expand in grit size in both directions (i.e. lower grit and higher grit) but this should hold you over for quite a while. Eventually you will need to thin the knife out (any knife, even $2,000 honyakis will need to be thinned out eventually) and a sub-1000 grit stone would help out a lot. You might get into cutting more protein, and then adding in a stone in the 6000, 8000, or 10000 grit range might be worth your time.

              1. re: Cynic2701
                cowboyardee Nov 22, 2013 11:32 AM

                "I am anti-damascus for the most part. Most "damascus" you see is faux-damascus that occurs from cladding the core steel with a softer outer steel. Often it is pattern welded, and it WILL wear down over time and look...well...not very good. True damascus is pretty rare and always quite expensive."
                ______
                A little clarification about 'damascus.' You are basically right - most 'damascus' knives are merely cladded knives. But you'll find that 'damascus' is basically an accepted term for a pattern welded knife if the entire knife is made of pattern welded steel.

                You will find few or no knives made from traditional wootz steel outside of a museum - the technique and composition was lost to the ages, only recently rediscovered, and not currently in widespread use.

                In any case - fully pattern welded knives, knives merely clad in pattern welded steel, or knives clad in steel that uses some other process to fake a similar look - 'damascus' is done just for aesthetic value at this point. Modern steel can match or exceed pattern welding or wootz damascus in performance (and damascus-clad knives, of course, take advantage of this). There is a kernel of truth in the often-repeated claim that it makes food stick less.. but only a kernel. Geometry of the blade matters much more. And it can be re-etched if the effect fades. Whether a damascus knife is a good buy mainly depends on how much you like the look of the blade.

                1. re: cowboyardee
                  c
                  Cynic2701 Nov 22, 2013 11:40 AM

                  If you are looking for a wootz steel blade there is a guy in Russian that is currently making very small batches of it. I last remember seeing a billet of it about three years back, and it appears that he does have some scholarly research backing him.

                  Most people were using it to make hunting knives, but I've never seen a kitchen knife in it.

                2. re: Cynic2701
                  h
                  HadesHnds Nov 23, 2013 11:21 AM

                  How about this one? Opinions again please<G>.http://www.chefknivestogo.com/kogi21g...

                  So I'm narrowing my search down thanks to all of your great input. I'm looking for a 210 mm, a bit taller blade (though the one above is not), with either a hybrid or Japanese handle.Ideally, clad or at least slightly stain resistant.
                  I love the choil on the knife you've been salivating over, Cyniclooks really good!

                  1. re: HadesHnds
                    c
                    Cynic2701 Nov 24, 2013 09:25 AM

                    Hi HadesHnds,

                    Masakage does make a 210 mm version:

                    http://www.chefknivestogo.com/makogy2...

                    1. re: Cynic2701
                      h
                      HadesHnds Nov 24, 2013 03:34 PM

                      Nice!! I think I added this to my short list too.

                3. re: HadesHnds
                  cowboyardee Nov 22, 2013 12:18 PM

                  I'll echo chem's reply - a single medium grit stone is the most important thing to have, and it's certainly enough to learn on. And learning to sharpen will do more for your kitchen knives than any knife purchase you could make.

                  Your answers have left a lot of options open in terms of knives. So a couple more questions to narrow it down:

                  -Do you rock-chop everything, and if so are you willing to learn new cutting techniques?

                  -What would interest you the most of these options?
                  A) a knife that cuts through just about anything with extreme ease - a lightsaber almost - but is delicate and a little fragile
                  B) an expensive one-of-a-kind beautiful hand-made knife from an independent artisan
                  C) a knife that can be brought into the harshest of professional kitchens and mow down a week's worth of prep without losing its hair-popping edge
                  D) a well made and well priced blade that does everything quite well, but might not have the character or distinction of the above blades?

                  1. re: cowboyardee
                    Chemicalkinetics Nov 22, 2013 01:00 PM

                    <C) a knife that can be brought into the harshest of professional kitchens and mow down a week's worth of prep without losing its hair-popping edge>

                    There is such a knife? :)

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                      cowboyardee Nov 22, 2013 01:45 PM

                      Not exactly, but an Arisugu A-type is gonna be a heck of a lot closer to that than my Yusuke.

                      1. re: cowboyardee
                        Chemicalkinetics Nov 22, 2013 01:46 PM

                        <Not exactly, but an Arisugu A-type>

                        Oh yes, now I remember the rumor. Since we are talking about Arisugu A, I heard that it does not come with an edge. The buyers must sharpen the knife on their own. True?

                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                          cowboyardee Nov 22, 2013 01:49 PM

                          True indeed. Though you might be able to special order one that's ready to go out of the box.

                          1. re: cowboyardee
                            h
                            HadesHnds Nov 22, 2013 03:51 PM

                            What about this one? Pros and cons please...

                            http://yhst-27988581933240.stores.yah...

                            1. re: HadesHnds
                              Chemicalkinetics Nov 22, 2013 04:20 PM

                              I don't know about this one, but I know it is a Honyaki knife, so it is pretty high end in this regard.

                              If you are into honyaki, then Mizuno Tanrenjo has just started to offer these Honyaki gyuto (Chef's knife) about two years ago:

                              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FFBQ6fwzm08

                              If you like Damascus, then Devin Thomas makes some really beautiful ones:

                              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AprLFy...

                              1. re: HadesHnds
                                j
                                JavaBean Nov 23, 2013 07:41 AM

                                I'm not familiar with that knife,but in general, white steel can get sharper, and hold a more acute edge, but has the lowest edge retention of the hitachi carbons. You trade edge acuteness / low angle stability for more edge retention by going from white to blue to super blue.

                                It sounds like you want a medium weight workhorse, SS w/ more edge retention than SG2, damascus bling.....hmmm...check out the yoshikane skd or sld line.

                                1. re: JavaBean
                                  Chemicalkinetics Nov 23, 2013 12:08 PM

                                  <SS w/ more edge retention than SG2>

                                  I thought SG2 has very good edge retention. I could be totally wrong about this. It is just some random notion I got.

                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                    j
                                    JavaBean Nov 23, 2013 03:17 PM

                                    From what I've read, SG-2 and SKD-11 are likely 4's on a scale of 1-5 w/ 5 == latest & greatest super steel. The difference being SG-2 has better refined edge abilities but lower edge retention.  Whereas, SKD-11 has greater edge retention, but lesser refined edge characteristics.  But, I maybe wrong.

                                    1. re: JavaBean
                                      Chemicalkinetics Nov 23, 2013 03:32 PM

                                      Thanks for the information. How will the traditional white paper steels (shirogami) and blue paper steels (aogami) rank on this 1-5 scale? 3 or 4?

                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                        cowboyardee Nov 23, 2013 04:02 PM

                                        Depends on tempering. Very hard honyaki blades reputedly have significantly better edge retention than softer blades made of the same steel. Either way though, they're not bad. Even white steel tempered relatively soft (60-62) can far outlast a lot of western blades, as I'm sure you know.

                                        1. re: cowboyardee
                                          j
                                          JavaBean Nov 25, 2013 09:46 AM

                                          True dat! The steels' tempering, ability of the maker get it right makes a world of difference. I haven't gotten my hands on a honyaki blade, but my W1 and B1 feel harder and have better edge retention than my W2 and B2.

                                        2. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                          j
                                          JavaBean Nov 23, 2013 07:09 PM

                                          I would say 3 or 4 is about right. An individual characteristics breakdown may be more telling, from low to high...
                                          Edge retention  : W2...W1.B2...B1
                                          Edge acuteness : B2...B1.W2...W1 ( Holy Crap sharp!)
                                          Sharpening effort : W2...B2.W1...B1

                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                            cowboyardee Nov 24, 2013 07:31 AM

                                            Depends on tempering. Very hard honyaki blades reputedly have significantly better edge retention than softer blades made of the same steel. Either way though, they're not bad. Even white steel tempered relatively soft (60-62) can far outshine a lot of western blades, as you know.

                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                              c
                                              Cynic2701 Nov 24, 2013 09:30 AM

                                              Unfortunately I don't recall SG-2 being all that wear resistant or even notable for edge retention--with the caveat that the knives being tested were pocket/hunting knives. Kershaw did a few knives in SG-2 and from what I remember people seemed somewhat disappointed in it.

                                              A guy did a bunch of testing on rope cutting here:

                                              http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/sho...

                                              You can see that Aogami Super Blue didn't rank all that high in the list.

                                              The current ultra-high edge retention steels are powdered tool steels like K390, K294, RX-7 with a few stainless powdered steels like CPM-S110V or CPM-S125V. CPM-Rex can hit very high hardnesses (67+) and sustain that edge, though I don't think that I've seen anyone take it to 20 degrees inclusive.

                                              1. re: Cynic2701
                                                Chemicalkinetics Nov 24, 2013 10:59 AM

                                                Thanks guys. So assuming that Aogami and Shirogami are pretty average or subpar in term of edge retention, then I assume the main attraction of using them for kitchen knvies are their abilities to form a refined sharp edge, right?

                                                In other words, is there any reason not to use CPM-S90V or CTS-20CP for cutlery knives?

                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                  c
                                                  Cynic2701 Nov 24, 2013 11:24 AM

                                                  Good question and one that I've been debating back and forth for a long time.

                                                  It really depends on the grit size you finish on, the type of stones (e.g. waterstones or diamonds), and the angles of the knife.

                                                  These ultra-high wear resistant steels typically have very high vanadium contents (i.e. 6+ percent) and high carbon (2+ percent) in comparison to most of the steels that we normally see in kitchen knives. Most "high carbon" steels are between 0.6% - 1.4% carbon and the majority have vanadium compositions of below 0.5%.

                                                  The alloy formulations of these ultra-high wear resistant steels favor the formation of vanadium carbides--extremely hard and wear resistant:

                                                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vanadium...

                                                  One of the issues with knives made with high vanadium contents is that they will be very hard to sharpen since vanadium carbides are going to be harder than just about everything one would sharpen with other than diamonds. At that point, using an aluminum oxide based waterstone, you wouldn't be abrading the carbides, just the steel matrix.

                                                  Another issue is carbide size. Vanadium carbides tend to be in the range of 4-6 microns in size, which means that sharpening to grit sizes meeting or exceeding this size can be problematic. There are a lot of hypothesis as to why (e.g. carbide tear out) but these type of steels tend to do best when sharpened to around 15 microns (~1000 JIS). This means that while the edge retention may be through the roof, the type of edge it is retaining is different than what some may be used to.

                                                  For very fine edge retention you actually want something with very small carbides. This is one of the reasons that steels like Aogami Super or White #1 remain useful in kitchen knives, because people are frequently after fine edge retention vs overall edge retention. I can put it another way: while CPM-S125V would retain an edge for an extremely long time, it wouldn't retain a superfine (hair whittling fresh of the stones) edge for nearly as long as White #1.

                                                  Furthermore, these steels frequently sacrifice toughness for hardness and wear resistance. This means that they may not, in fact, perform well at the comparatively low angles that kitchen knives should be ground to. An often noted downside is that they may chip out at the edge, since their toughness less than a low alloy steel like Aogami Super.

                                                  There are a few steels that I think should be interesting to kitchen knife nerds: CTS-XHP, ZDP-189, CPM-M4. CTS-XHP (which I have a few pocket knives in) could do quite well at 61-62 HRC while being very stain resistant and tough. ZDP-189 is already used by a few manufacturers (Konosuke has a ZDP-189 line) but I'm always hesitant to cough up the cash for one since the typical cost (when run at an appropriate hardness of 67+, unlike the MIyabi run a few years back) is around $1,000 per knife. I think that CPM-M4 would be almost an ideal steel for the kitchen, unfortunately the fact that it is an American made steel makes it unlikely that we would see any Japanese makers use it in a knife. I've seen a few kitchen knives made in it by custom makers, but I question their kitchen knife geometry knowledge--most of them make very thick hunting and "tactical" knives that are at the opposite end of the spectrum compared to kitchen knives, so I'm not sure that they would do a good job with the grind.

                                                  1. re: Cynic2701
                                                    Chemicalkinetics Nov 24, 2013 02:43 PM

                                                    Thanks for the informative response.

                                                    <the formation of vanadium carbides--extremely hard and wear resistant>

                                                    Agree.

                                                    <high vanadium contents is that they will be very hard to sharpen since vanadium carbides are going to be harder>

                                                    Agree, but that is to be expected. High wear resistance also means difficult to sharpen. Afterall, knife sharpening essentially is grinding/wearing the steel off in a controlled manner.

                                                    < This is one of the reasons that steels like Aogami Super or White #1 remain useful in kitchen knives, because people are frequently after fine edge retention vs overall edge retention.>

                                                    I was speculating that just as well, especially for sushi chefs who need a very fine edge. Unfortunately, many sushi chefs need to sharpen their knives everyday to keep it freshly sharpened for the next day. I was just thinking that if these ultra-high wear resistance tool steel knives will eliminate the need to be sharpened every day. Then, I thought, well, maybe the problem is the finesse of the edge.

                                                    <This means that they may not, in fact, perform well at the comparatively low angles that kitchen knives should be ground to.>

                                                    This, I did not think of.

                                                    < An often noted downside is that they may chip out at the edge>

                                                    Is this really true? I thought some of these CPM-S90V steels like used for military and survival knives. I would think that toughness is more important than anything for a solider knife.

                                                    <the fact that it is an American made steel makes it unlikely that we would see any Japanese makers use it in a knife>

                                                    I think it is not impossible. While Japanese sushi chefs can be very traditional, I think the average Japanese cooks and chefs are pretty open-minded. Unfortunately, average Japanese cooks and chefs are not going to cough up $500, let's along $1000 worth of a knife. Sushi chefs do that, but they are a special group.

                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                      c
                                                      Cynic2701 Nov 24, 2013 07:02 PM

                                                      There aren't very many hunting/"tactical" knives made out of CPM-S90V. Spyderco makes a fixed blade called the South Fork which is based on Phil Wilson's South Fork design, and there are a handful custom makers that use S90V.

                                                      It is possible that you may be thinking of CPM-S30V which is a comparatively lower alloyed stainless steel (4% vanadium vs 9%). There are quite a few manufacturers using S30V in production fixed blades.

                                                      1. re: Cynic2701
                                                        Chemicalkinetics Nov 24, 2013 07:17 PM

                                                        I read CPM-S90V Military (in the review) and assumed it is a tactical knife. :P

                                                        "Category 1

                                                        CPM-S90V (Military and Para 2) (60)
                                                        CTS-20CP (Para 2) (60)
                                                        M390 (Mule) (60.5)
                                                        CTS - 204P (Para 2)
                                                        .............."

                                                        But you are right. It is the South Fork:

                                                        http://www.spyderco.com/catalog/list....

                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                          c
                                                          Cynic2701 Nov 24, 2013 07:23 PM

                                                          Yup. Spyderco has done two sprint runs of S90V in their Military and Para 2 knives, along with CTS-20CP (which is Carpenter's version of Crucible's steel). I recently picked up one of the S90V sprints in blue G-10.

                                                          One thing to note is that the blades on the folding knives are 4 mm thick and are full flat ground, but not to a very acute edge. These knives are nowhere as thin as a kitchen knife--their edges are much thicker.

                                                    2. re: Cynic2701
                                                      h
                                                      HadesHnds Nov 24, 2013 03:01 PM

                                                      "Konosuke has a ZDP-189 line) but I'm always hesitant to cough up the cash for one since the typical cost (when run at an appropriate hardness of 67+, unlike the MIyabi run a few years back) is around $1,000 per knife."

                                                      I had looked also at that knife-I think it's out of stock right now. What is your opinion of thas knife in terms of edge retention, ease of sharpening etc, based on the specs?
                                                      The knife listed below is making my short list, unless you guys feel the edge will be difficult to sharpen or has some other horrible flaw (based on the above discussions- I'd really like some clarification on the type of steel used-my Google searches took me all over the place without me really understanding. But it was also super late<G>). I'm assuming I have to sacrifice sharpness for greater stain resistance?Trying to find the balance point here.

                                                      http://www.chefknivestogo.com/kogi21g...

                                                      1. re: HadesHnds
                                                        Chemicalkinetics Nov 24, 2013 03:29 PM

                                                        I saw your link earlier for the Konosuke Ginsan. I don't know what to think about it. I do know Konosuke HD2 knives have amazing edge and blade grind. What I mean by blade grind is that the blade is nice and thin, and it effortlessly slices in and out of the foods. I am very sure this is also the case for Konosuke White #2.

                                                        However, Konosuke Ginsan has this very noticeable second bevel?, which I am sure will change the blade geometry for better or for the worse. I don't know enough to say something about it. Hopefully, cowboy, JavaBean and Cynic have heard enough through the internet.

                                                        By the way, the blade grind geometry can be very important. When we cut foods, there are two things which contribute the feeling of "Sharpness". First, it is the real edge sharpness. A good sharp edge will nicely cut into the food. Second, it is the blade grind geometry. If the knife blade grind is too thick, then it will add a lot of resistance. Therefore, even the actual edge is sharp, the thicker blade will make you use more force to cut through the foods, and therefore they feel dull.

                                                        A great example is this Takeda nakiri. I bought it for like $30 or $40. It has a great great sharp edges. However, the blade is rather thick, so it feels duller than my CCK Chinese slicer, especially cutting large items

                                                        http://www.chefknivestogo.com/takuna1...

                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                          h
                                                          HadesHnds Nov 24, 2013 03:39 PM

                                                          Excellent point! On the Chefs Knives to Go website they had many videos, and several obliquely addressed what you just succinctly summarized. It's all starting to make sense now...That and about 10 hours of sleep to aid my addled brain!
                                                          One of the knives someone (you?the way the thread runs on this site I get lost!) looked great-think it was also a Konosuke-but it didn't have all the blade geometry listed.Guess I'll have to post to their forums to get that answer.

                                                          1. re: HadesHnds
                                                            c
                                                            Cynic2701 Nov 24, 2013 07:17 PM

                                                            Like ChemicalKinetics said, geometry is very important in kitchen knives.

                                                            I will caution that the ChefKnivesToGo (CKTG) forums are run by the people that sell knives through CKTG, and they have a "suspicious" amount of almost too good to be true reviews of their products. Caveat emptor.

                                                            1. re: Cynic2701
                                                              Chemicalkinetics Nov 24, 2013 07:24 PM

                                                              <I will caution that the ChefKnivesToGo (CKTG) forums are run by the people that sell knives through CKTG....

                                                              I was almost going to say that, and then... was like.... maybe I shouldn't.

                                                              I would definitely say that the Chefknivestogo forums have a tendency to list the goods without the bads. I also believe that certain knives get slightly biased reviews like the Richmond Knives:

                                                              http://www.chefknivestogo.com/richmon...

                                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                c
                                                                Cynic2701 Nov 24, 2013 07:27 PM

                                                                Very true. I'm glad that I'm not the only one that sees it.

                                                                The Richmond knives - from what I read - have a reputation for being very thick and not very well ground. They seem to use steels and specs to sell knives, but don't think as much about the grind as they should. There are several pictures floating around the internet showing just how thick of geometry the Richmond knives have.

                                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                  h
                                                                  HadesHnds Nov 24, 2013 10:10 PM

                                                                  DEAR Chem, You SHOULD say that! I noticed the same as I powered through the videos. I was trying to figure out why there were so many "Richmond" reviews. Having said that, at least I was able to see the knife/knives featured in action.

                                                                  1. re: HadesHnds
                                                                    j
                                                                    JavaBean Nov 25, 2013 09:21 AM

                                                                    Don't drink the kool-aid.  Most ( if not all) of those CKTG videos, product reviews, and responses from their website and forum are all from the same handful of people / "shills" who are getting paid to hype their products while pretending to be regular consumers.  Be extra careful with their exclusive products &richmond branded knives. There's been some reported issues w/ questionable HT, pictures of ubber thick blades with almost no tapering, and horrendous grinds. 

                                                                    I suggest reaching out to Jon @ japaneseknifeimports.  He's an ex chef, knife nerd with a wealth of hands experiences and knowledge about the pros and cons of different brands and individual  knives.  He doesn't oversell, and will point out which product best fit your needs...even if he doesn't carry it. 

                                                                    1. re: JavaBean
                                                                      Chemicalkinetics Nov 25, 2013 10:07 AM

                                                                      <all from the same handful of people / "shills" who are getting paid to hype their products>

                                                                      I heard of that, but I have not heard enough to be sure. What I will say is that these videos are naturally biased. It is the nature of the beasts. Maybe they are getting paid, maybe not. Even if they are not getting paid, most of these people know the owner and certainly will restraining from being overly negative. They are not going to put out a video and say "This Richmond knife sucks ass. I hate it"

                                                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                        j
                                                                        JavaBean Nov 25, 2013 01:17 PM

                                                                        I can't say for sure they're getting paid, but i strongly believe they're receiving some sort of benefit.   Perhaps  products and discounts, and / or sub contractor work.  LOL, yeah they ain't gonna call out a turd, but will put lipstick on a pig :)

                                                                        1. re: JavaBean
                                                                          Chemicalkinetics Nov 25, 2013 01:25 PM

                                                                          <but will put lipstick on a pig :)>

                                                                          You went overboard. This is an insult to pigs everywhere. :)

                                                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                            j
                                                                            JavaBean Nov 25, 2013 02:34 PM

                                                                            You're killing me, chem :). As soon as i'm finished cleaning the kitchen, it's sharpening time!!!! Why oh why did we buy these stupid stainless steel appliances...feaking finger prints everywhere.

                                                                      2. re: JavaBean
                                                                        h
                                                                        HadesHnds Nov 25, 2013 11:34 AM

                                                                        Excellent suggestion! I will absolutely do that. As I spent more time on the CKTG site, I did pick up the vibe that it was all about the pros of the knife but no cons. Still they do have some nice products.But then so do some other people. As a newer person to Japanese knives, I appreciate that each knife group has an explanatory heading that gives a brief overview.

                                                                        1. re: JavaBean
                                                                          h
                                                                          HadesHnds Nov 25, 2013 10:13 PM

                                                                          Dear Bean, After reading your recommendation, I hopped onto the above mentioned site, which had gorgeous and well-crafted knife. But two things: it...was...soooo....slooowww...toooo load...as in painful to browse. Not my connection-I checked my pings. Definitely the site, which made preshopping a nightmare, so I'll try e-mailing, as you also suggested.
                                                                          Second (and more sad for me!) about 90% of the 210mm gyuotos (and apparently there are spelling variations on this which can hamper or enable one's search)are sold out.
                                                                          Because the site was so slow and a tad confusing to search on (if there is a search bar, I couldn't find it) I wasn't able to find toomuch that I liked that was still in stock. The beautiful knife that Chem(?) sent a pic of is, though. Opinions on that knife if you have them please.
                                                                          I'm looking for a petty knife too, and those were also in short supply. Sighhh... I'll be hacking away for the holidays, but will take all your good advice and at least try to add "air" to my flat tire knives.

                                                                          1. re: HadesHnds
                                                                            j
                                                                            JavaBean Nov 26, 2013 08:52 AM

                                                                            Hades. I’m in headless chicken mode, but will try to come up with some options for you later. Alas, many of the better knives are made in limited quantities & tend to sell out quickly. However they maybe gearing up / receiving new stock for the xmas run.

                                                                            FYI, the blade length of wa (broomstick) handled knives includes the machi (part of the blade between the heel and handle)… yo (western) handle knives are measured from heel to tip. Therefor, the actually cutting length of 210mm WA is ~ 185mm / YO is 210mm. Some brands, make their YO handle model thicker or stouter than their WA handle model.

                                                                            Just to confirm your needs….
                                                                            A) Edge retention and sharpening difficulty go hand in hand. So, on a scale of 1-5 w/ 5 == most edge retention & hardest to sharpen, you’re looking for a blade steel in the 4 or 5 range…right?
                                                                            B) Weight class; On a scale of 1-5 w/ 1= featherweight, 2= light/laser, 3 = medium, 4= workhorse, 5 = a std german chef’s knife, you’re looking for a 4?

                                                                            1. re: JavaBean
                                                                              h
                                                                              HadesHnds Nov 26, 2013 09:58 AM

                                                                              Dear JavaBean, on the weight end, more a 3-4. Yes on the edge retention. Please add must be gorgeous and feels great to touch to the list.By the way, when the sites say "more difficult to sharpen (you guys too), just how difficult are we talking? More time, or hard as in super tricky a pro needs to do it? Here's a pretty nice knife I found on the site you recommended
                                                                              https://toshoknifearts.com/shop/knive....
                                                                              And of course, they're out of stock on that one too.

                                                                              The all metal knife Chem found was also amazingly gorgeous. Yes, I like a damascus finish.

                                                              2. re: HadesHnds
                                                                c
                                                                Cynic2701 Nov 24, 2013 07:15 PM

                                                                I'm not sure about that knife. On one hand it is made by Konosuke - who have a reputation for excellent grinds and fit and finish - so I'm sure that it is well built.

                                                                On the other hand I'm not sure I believe their marketing claims on how excellent the steel is. It appears to be similar to AUS-8 which is an ok steel, but not something I'd want to spend ~$500 on.

                                                                http://zknives.com/knives/steels/steelgraph.php?nm=GIN3%2CAUS8&ni=669%2C598%2C51%2C874,&hrn=1&gm=0

                                                                Gin 3 looks like a slightly cleaner version with small changes in some of the alloying elements, and with a bit more carbon. Just from looking at the alloying elements it should take a slightly harder heat treatment than AUS-8. Still, though, it wouldn't be anything to write home about. It seems to me that they fancied up the knife in order to make the price tag a little eaiser to swallow, without actually providing an objective increase in cutting ability.

                                                                In comparison, here is what ZDP-189 looks like compared to Gin 3 (or Silver 3):

                                                                http://zknives.com/knives/steels/stee...

                                                                ZDP-189 has about 3 times as much carbon (which until a few years ago, was almost unheard of in blade steels) which allows it to take a very hard heat treatment. This is why you will typically see ZDP-189 taken to HRC values of 65+. I have several pocket knives in ZDP-189 that perform very well. Admittedly, it will be less stain resistant, but it should still have plenty of stain resistance compared to a carbon or tool steel.

                                                                1. re: Cynic2701
                                                                  h
                                                                  HadesHnds Nov 24, 2013 10:22 PM

                                                                  So to recap what I think you're saying: wait for the ZDP to get back in stock.As a neophyte steel in-the -know person (read" thank the Knife Gods for all your informative posts"), all these different names for the metals can get super confusing to the purchaser.
                                                                  As I peruse my choices, one of the things that gives me pause across several brands is the connection between the blade and the handle. Admittedly, many of the blades are superbly constructed, but based on pics, it seems like they really dropped the ball on the way the handle interfaces with the blade. In many cases, to my artistic eye, the handle seems almost an afterthought, hence my draw to the above-mentioned knife -it seemed more seamless and well thought out, but I'm sure aware of blade over-hype. LOVING the detailed metal descriptions!!

                                                                  1. re: HadesHnds
                                                                    Chemicalkinetics Nov 24, 2013 10:48 PM

                                                                    <all these different names for the metals can get super confusing to the purchaser.>

                                                                    Confusing to me too, sometime.

                                                                    < wait for the ZDP to get back in stock.>

                                                                    Are you really going to spend >$1000? :)

                                                                    <but based on pics, it seems like they really dropped the ball on the way the handle interfaces with the blade.>

                                                                    Ah, I see. You are probably referring to the Japanese handle. You are correct. In general, the Japanese cutlery companies tend diversify on the blades and steels, while the German companies tend to focus a bit more on the handles.

                                                                    Case in point, if you look at majority of the Wusthof knives series, then you will noticed that they are all made of the same steel. The only difference is their handle design.

                                                                    http://www.wusthof.com/desktopdefault.aspx/tabid-74/317_view-99/categories-99/country-usa/wlang-2/

                                                                    Meanwhile, the Mizuno Tanrenjyo series offer different steels and treatments, but with very similar handle design:

                                                                    http://japanesechefsknife.com/MizunoTanrenjyo.html#MizunoTanrenjo

                                                                    Many people actually like the Japanese handle design for multiple reasons. Japanese knives tend to have thinner and more elegant blade, so a heavy western handle can often shift the center of gravity toward the handle, making the knives: handle heavy, instead of blade heavy. In addition, it is extremely easy to customize Japanese handle due to the simplistic design. Some people buy a knife and then re-handle it with a very fancy handle. Not me, but many people do:

                                                                    http://www.skeller.info/handles/gallery/index.php

                                                                    http://www.japaneseknifeimports.com/k...

                                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                      h
                                                                      HadesHnds Nov 24, 2013 11:10 PM

                                                                      Dear Chem,You SO know your knives-you were able to sum it all up there! I'll never get a knife-too busy checkin' out those bombe links you posted!!LOL
                                                                      For me, as a chef and an artist, the blade and handle should work in unison-they should be one, like a beautiful sword (in an ideal artistic world, of course. ) After all, the handle is what we're grabbing onto as we craft our meals. It's what pleases our hands and eyes (and saves them from fatigue!!) as we power through the million meals we make.
                                                                      Do I want to spend 1k for a knife? Well, ideally not-I DO have 5 kids. But I've had not-so-amazing knives for the better part of my now dwindling life, so I figured "Hey" check out everything, then go for what makes you happy-you have one life and most of it has been spent cooking and doing for others(plus I have been saving up for light years to buy some knives). Might as well go in style! That and I can REALLY appreciate the art in the blade. But the Knife Gds have hooked me up to some more reality priced options as well.
                                                                      I stumbled upon some of the links you posted regarding redoing the handles. Anybody else ever tried that? Guys, keep posting-I am learning GOBS!!

                                                                      1. re: HadesHnds
                                                                        Chemicalkinetics Nov 25, 2013 08:48 AM

                                                                        <But I've had not-so-amazing knives for the better part of my now dwindling life>

                                                                        :) I think it is ok to spend $1K to get a knife if you have the mean to do it. I am more concern because it will be the first expensive knife you get (or is it?). I feel that it may be a good idea to get a $100-200 knife for now, and then in a year or two, narrow down a $1000 knife.

                                                                        The thing is that there are many knife designs. Some are just purely bad, and we will definitely gear you away from those. However, many are just different -- they are all good.

                                                                        To give you one example, Konosuke HD and Konosuke White#2 are known to be thin blade (aka laser) knives, which can effortlessly cut through foods. On the other hand, Mizuno Tanrenjo Honyaki gyuto is thicker (still very thin compared to a Wusthof)

                                                                        http://japanesechefsknife.com/Mizuno-Honyaki2.JPG

                                                                        and this gives it some sturdiness feeling and a bit more weight for momentum. They are both good knives.

                                                                        Buying knives are just like buying anything. Part of it is about knowing products (the knives in this case), but part of it is about knowing yourself and your own preference. Should I get a labtop or a desktop? Should I get a relatively thin blade knife or an ultra thin blade laser knife?

                                                                        <For me, as a chef and an artist, the blade and handle should work in unison>

                                                                        The Japanese handles grew on me, so I now kind of like them. However, I can understand why they look so weird. Anyway, what do you think of this knife? Fancy pattern on the knife blade, and a steamlined handle

                                                                        http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/Ech...

                                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                          h
                                                                          HadesHnds Nov 25, 2013 11:19 AM

                                                                          Dear Chem, the knife you posted sure is a stunner! I'll have to pop over to that website to check it out.What an unusual design-reminds me of a prettier Global.
                                                                          I'm absolutely fine with Japanese handles, and prefer them to Western ones. What's buggin' me on some of them is the seemingly cheesy connectioning. Some reviewers have noted that they stuff epoxy into the gaps in a sloppy sort of way on some (not all) of the knives. I understand that some of this is done to prevent food particles from getting into the cracks (sanitation issue when in a pro environment).Having said that, there are a lot of well put together ones that I've looked at too.
                                                                          Good points-what do I want/need? Well, I'm looking for a knive ( probably knives, since I need more than one) that can handle thick rinded stuff like watermelons and hard winter squash, and can plow through carrots, onions and stuff. I'll probably also shop for a nice petty knife for poultry, some mets. I have paring knives up the wazoo, love my semi-expensive bread knife (I think I paid about $250 ish for it, but I don't remember) and am thinking about returning my 51/2 inch Shun Classic Santoku-it's chipping, and I've only used it on garlic and cucumbers, have hand-washed and immediately dried it, and have stored it in a block. I've only had it a month. Pity too, cause it's a nice little knife that's fun to use, and the size is a little hard to find.

                                                                          1. re: HadesHnds
                                                                            Chemicalkinetics Nov 25, 2013 12:09 PM

                                                                            <returning my 51/2 inch Shun Classic Santoku-it's chipping, .... Pity too, cause it's a nice little knife that's fun to use, and the size is a little hard to find.>

                                                                            For what it may worth, Shun Classic knives seem to have a bad initial chipping problem. Exactly like you said, many of the Shun knives easily chipped when they were first used. However, what many people also found is that once they regrind the knives to put a new edge and removing the chips, the knives are no longer prone to chipping. This can suggest a few things. Regardless, your chipping problem for your Shun Santoku may be a "one-time" thing.

                                                                            As for that knife, it is called the "Core-Less Special Damascus Series"

                                                                            The gyuto is about $400, and it is made with a mix of VG-2 and VG-10 steels.

                                                                            <that can handle thick rinded stuff like watermelons and hard winter squash, and can plow through carrots, onions and stuff.>

                                                                            Surprisingly, thin blade knives work very well for watermelons and squash. This is because they are thinner, so they can cut into them with minimal wedging. Whereas a thick knife will just get stuck in the middle. Again, none of the knives we are talking about here are that thick anyway.

                                                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                              h
                                                                              HadesHnds Nov 25, 2013 10:17 PM

                                                                              WhooHoo! I was hoping that was the case!! So should I switch out my little Shun for a new same(SLT has a great return/exchange olicy) or just suck it up and regrind it. I do like it.

                                                                              1. re: HadesHnds
                                                                                Chemicalkinetics Nov 25, 2013 10:31 PM

                                                                                I see. I suppose you have three options really. First, exchange it for a new Shun knife. Second, sharpen it yourself or someone you trust. Third, let's SLT sharpen it for you.

                                                                                If you are in the process of learning to sharpen and won't be resharpen in the next 3 months, then you might as well exchange for a new one -- if you can.

                                                                                By the way, the Shun chipping problem I mentioned is the "microchipping", which are very tiny chips, usually smaller than 1 mm in size.

                                                                                Here is a photo from a past CHOWHOUND post. You can see two microchips along the edge.

                                                                                http://www.chowstatic.com/uploads/9/7...

                                                                                This is not unheard of. If you see chips much larger than these, then it is definitely not normal, and you definitely need to exchange for a new knife.

                                                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                                  h
                                                                                  HadesHnds Nov 26, 2013 10:04 AM

                                                                                  My knife has some of these, but my chips are more like circle dings, as if someone had cut a wire with the knife. They are noticably bigger than the picture you linked. I've been ultra careful with the knife, so I think I'm going to exchange it. REALLY appreciate all the conversation, links and suggestions from everybody-I am thankful. Off I go to bake a million fruitcakes and pies. (Cuttting glaceed fruit with a crappy knife blows chunks!)

                                                                    2. re: HadesHnds
                                                                      c
                                                                      Cynic2701 Nov 25, 2013 08:08 AM

                                                                      Unfortunately I'm not sure how long of a wait it would be for the ZDP-189 Konosuke to come back in stock. It's possible it could be years - or even never - or maybe next month. No idea.

                                                                      It seems like most of the manufacturers make knives in batches, and sometimes at the request of knife sellers.

                                                                      Toshoknifearts has a 210 mm version (though not in stock either) that is at a more reasonable price than what CKTG offers:

                                                                      http://toshoknifearts.com/shop/knives...

                                                                  2. re: HadesHnds
                                                                    j
                                                                    JavaBean Nov 25, 2013 10:37 AM

                                                                    I'm not familiar with the konosuke ginsan, but few things stood out...
                                                                    A) It seems to be quite stout and 225 grams for a 200 mm blade is rather heavier for japanese chef's knife.
                                                                    B) That big secondary bevel / thick spine is akin to traditional single bevel knife with a double-edge. On the plus side, it makes thinning and sharpening easier, and will do well with meats, but will wedge on dense foods.
                                                                    C) Gin-3/ Ginsanko is kinda like an easier to sharpen version VG-10 without the chippyness and similiar edge retention.

                                                                2. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                  j
                                                                  JavaBean Nov 25, 2013 02:37 PM

                                                                  My fetish with White and Blue  has to with their balance / combination of attributes ==  high sharp level, low angle/thin edge stability,  easy to sharpen,  and don't chip - unless I do something stupid.

                                                                  I've played with a few super steel pocket knives, although they hold beefy, toothier edge for quite some, they couldn't do an acute angle, polished edge.  

                                                          2. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                            h
                                                            HadesHnds Nov 23, 2013 09:27 PM

                                                            My Artisan doesn't seem to have great edge retention, but perhaps I'm being unfair. I use it gobs to cut our crusty San Francisco sourdough, my fav,and I don't know how to even begin sharpening a bread knife without wearing down the teeth, even if I do it just on one side. It's one reason I steered away from its' companion chef's knife.So exactly how DOES one sharpen this type of knife.

                                                            1. re: HadesHnds
                                                              Chemicalkinetics Nov 23, 2013 09:38 PM

                                                              <So exactly how DOES one sharpen this type of knife.>

                                                              Yes, you asked that earlier. You can sharpening a serrated knife, but it is just a lot of work, and most people do not think it is worth the effort.

                                                              Here are some steps:

                                                              http://www.kitchenknifeforums.com/sho...

                                                              I would actually hire a professional to do it for you. You bought it from SLT, right? SLT offers knife sharpening service. I have no idea if it is any good, but....

                                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                h
                                                                HadesHnds Nov 23, 2013 09:54 PM

                                                                I'm concerned that if I take it to SLT, they'll just throw it on a grinder like the guy at our grocery store did to my old bread knife. Not that it was anything but a hunk of junk to begin with, but he delivered the coup de grace. I'll check out the link you kindly sent. Apparently, learning to sharpen is (rightly) inmy immediate future.

                                              2. re: cowboyardee
                                                h
                                                HadesHnds Nov 22, 2013 03:43 PM

                                                Dear C et al. Probably a combo of all the above, which I know is asking a lot LOL! As an artist myself, I like to support others who truly hand craft things. It's how I cook-with care, hand growing, drying and canning what I can, and making as much "from scratch" as possible (given my crazy town life<G>). Sometimes I do need to plow through a pile of stuff, but it's not in a Pro kitchen/restaurant situation. I cater, but it's more boutique style, and sometimes I prep for others, but there's usually a couple of us, so although the ehat is on, it's not an everyday thing.
                                                In terms of cutting technique, I both push cut and rock chop-depends on the item I'm cutting. I do use my blade to scoop up stuff from the cutting board-we moms are always in a hurry. I'd love it if stuff didn't stick to the blade as I cut, but it's not like I'm cutting with a Rolls Royce right now-more like a used Ford Gremlin.
                                                I can afford a semi-spendy blade IF it's worth it, but I'm more interested in the quality, the fit, and the love behind it. My knives are very personal-through them I create beautiful food to feed and comfort. Sharp is, of course a no-brainer.
                                                On another topic, that of whetstones, the one my husband purchased is an oil stone, not a water stone, so I will take all of your kind advice and search for a couple in the grit sizes you recommended. Meanwhile, because you-ahem-"whetted" my curiosity (bah-dum-bum), I'll check out wootz steel, just so I can be less blonde.
                                                And Chem, FINALLY! Somebody who figured out my handle name. AOL used to not let you have as many letters, and it's really led to some creative interpretations of my "name". Super interesting posts, and so informative. The hunt continues....

                                                1. re: HadesHnds
                                                  Chemicalkinetics Nov 22, 2013 04:12 PM

                                                  Dear Hades,

                                                  It seems like you are very much opened to many options, which is a good thing. You have mentioned that the Miyabi Artisan knife feels very nimble. I bought my friend's a Artisan Chef knife, and I thought it was kind of "heavy" to me. :) So I guess we all have different perspective.

                                                  I think most of the knives we have recommended will feel good to you, but to be absolutely sure, you have to try out these knives at stores like Sur La Table and Williams Sonoma. This will limit your selection somewhat. If you live in a big city, then you will likely have knife specialized store, like Korin in New York or Tosho in Toronto.

                                                  There are hundreds of good knives and it is difficult to make a good recommendation. However, if I don't make some kind of recommendations, then I am not narrowing down anything for you. So here I will make the jump.

                                                  1) For standard knives you can get from stores, I recommend to try Shun, Global and Miyabi -- not that you don't already know this.

                                                  2) For best value (good performance and low price), I recommend Tojiro DP 8" chef's knife ($80):

                                                  http://www.cutleryandmore.com/tojiro-dp/chefs-knife-p115448

                                                  3) For higher performance, a carbon steel cladded with stainless steel, I recommend Hiromoto AS ($135):

                                                  http://japanesechefsknife.com/TenmiJyurakuSeries.html#AogamiSuper

                                                  4) For customizable knife, I recommend Watanabe blade ($200 and above -- the more customization the more expensive).

                                                  http://www.watanabeblade.com/english/pro/gyuto.htm

                                                  You can work with him to customize your dimensions. I asked him to make a thinner nakiri knife than his standard size. Watanabe knives are probably the most affordable customizable knives -- and good quality. The steel is carbon steel and it is high quality carbon steel. The handle is passable. I have a few photos if you want to look at them:

                                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7946...

                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                    h
                                                    HadesHnds Nov 22, 2013 09:26 PM

                                                    Dear Chem, I had to chuckle about the reference to a "light and nimble" Miyabi. I'm sure that compared to the amazing light sabers you own, the Miyabi was a clunker. But remember-I was at SLT trying out a Bob Kramer-a man's knife if ever there was one, a giant hunk o' metal. By the time I had finished chopping (and you guys are right-their counter is extra high-ugg!) with all the German knives and dear Bob,the Miyabi felt like a feather.

                                                    And bad, BAD ChowHounders, sending me to lust after so many gorgeous and practical Japanese knives on so many different websites. Ah... where to spend my dinero!
                                                    Bummer too, because where I live SF Bay Area, I'm not sure I have too many Japanese knife stores around to test drive (if anybody knows of some, jump in here!).
                                                    I was recently on the East Coast (for a funeral) and could have stopped in at the NY store, but obviously, at that time, my mind wasn't on fun stuff, nor did I know that it existed.
                                                    Cynic, I checked out the knife you're eyeballing, and it's gorgeous, but I'm concerned it might be a tad too long for me. I could be wrong-maybe I just need to get used to something new. There's another one by the same vendor, same "family"-starts with a "b", different profile, a sort of santokuish thing that looked like it might do the trick. Opinions please on that one(search the same maker and type)
                                                    .
                                                    So to back up a tad search-wise, I probably need more than one knife(mine are literally falling apart except for the nicer ones mentioned in my initial post). I'm hoping the chef's knife/Gyoto/Santoku/whatever can chop big pumpkins, hard squash, watermelons, prickly choyote (Wear gloves. Curse. Power through. Apply Bandaids copiously),tough carrots and so forth.Hmm, maybe I need one of those wootz(?) steel swords I just found, or a chain saw...
                                                    Loving the suggestions Japanese-wise-I know one of the ones you've all sent me to will work. Knife lust-when will it end??!!

                                                    1. re: HadesHnds
                                                      Chemicalkinetics Nov 23, 2013 01:26 AM

                                                      <I'm sure that compared to the amazing light sabers you own, the Miyabi was a clunker>

                                                      Nah, I was thinking about that you have a Shun and a Global knife, and my limited experience told me that the Miyabi Artisan is heavier and a bit thick than those, but I could be wrong.

                                                      <Bummer too, because where I live SF Bay Area, I'm not sure I have too many Japanese knife stores around to test drive>

                                                      You are in SF area? I grew up there. This is one of the culturally diverse area, and needless to say there is a Japan town which I heard have tons of nice small kitchen related stores. Beside the Japan town option, I would say

                                                      Hida Tools (1333 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley)
                                                      http://www.hidatool.com/cutlery-and-kitchen/all-purpose-knives

                                                      Bernal Cutley (593 Guerrero Street, San Francisco
                                                      )http://bernalcutlery.com/shop/category/all-cutlery/japanese-knives

                                                      Town Cutler (1005 Bush Street, San Francisco) is another one.
                                                      http://towncutler.com/

                                                      Unfortunately, the famous Japan Woodworker has closed its Alameda's site.

                                                      If you are looking for more than one knife, then why don't you get the cheaper one first (~$75-150), and then look for the more expensive one. This way, you can find out what you like and don't like from the $75-150 knife, and do a better selection for the more expensive one.

                                                      Back to an earlier sharpening comment, in my opinion, an oil stone is fine for many knives, but a waterstone is better for medium-to-high end Japanese knives.

                                          2. Eiron Nov 23, 2013 09:13 PM

                                            While you were at SLT did you also give the Miyabi Birchwood line a try?

                                            6 Replies
                                            1. re: Eiron
                                              h
                                              HadesHnds Nov 23, 2013 09:24 PM

                                              No, didn't try that one, though I should. I do get a discount there, and they frequently have sales on the different knives. But now, after all the reading and watching and listening to all the discussions regarding steel types and hardnesses and all, I feel like I'd kinda be slumming it Chow Hound Knife Forum wise if I bought something there <G>.
                                              The Chef's Knives to go site has some super informative videos. I love that they go in depth to discuss the various pros and cons(if there are any!) of the knives they sell. I'm learning a ton.The store list that Cowboyardee (was it you? Hate how they do these threads-wish they were just in time order.) sent me to was also great-still reading all about different manufacturers. Gosh there are some awesome knives out there! Were the onesI linked total losers??

                                              1. re: HadesHnds
                                                Chemicalkinetics Nov 23, 2013 09:43 PM

                                                <I feel like I'd kinda be slumming it Chow Hound Knife Forum wise if I bought something there>

                                                No, you won't. I bought knives from SLT too. As mentioned, I bought my friend a Miyabi Artisan Chef's knife. Different people have different needs. I lean more toward Japanese knives, but I thought my friend could use something kind of Japanese, but with a bit more European influence -- like the Miyabi Artisan.

                                                I don't know if you missed my earlier reply, but I mentioned a couple small knife stores in SF area. You can always test-drive there.

                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                  h
                                                  HadesHnds Nov 23, 2013 09:51 PM

                                                  Dear Chem, actually, I spent the better part of the day trolling your links. Found a stunning one-of-a-kind $1600.00 knife. Now I need to find the $1600.00!!

                                                  1. re: HadesHnds
                                                    Chemicalkinetics Nov 23, 2013 10:27 PM

                                                    :) I am sure it must be a beauty.

                                                    Someone mentioned this, but I will reiterate this again: Proper knife sharpening is very important.

                                                    For many people, their knives are made with sufficiently good steel, but poorly sharpened. It is like a good car with deflated tires.

                                                    Many people here will tell you that a properly sharpened knife is sharper than when it was brand new out-of-the-box. Obviously learning to sharpen by hand is one good option. However, there are several people here bought the high-end gadgets, like the EdgePro Apex, something to think about.

                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                      h
                                                      HadesHnds Nov 23, 2013 10:37 PM

                                                      Yep, been thinkin' 'bout that gadget. I've found some great links on how to sharpen, and thankfully, I can practice on my poor old Chicago Cutlery knives-they've seen it all and then some.Sickly attached to the crappy things-sentiment.

                                                2. re: HadesHnds
                                                  Eiron Nov 23, 2013 10:01 PM

                                                  Alas, I haven't tried the Artisan line for a direct comparison to the Birchwood line, but a few years ago I did get a chance to compare it to both lines of Shun-Kramer knives. I ended up with a Kanetsune, but I wouldn't hesitate to replace it with a Birchwood if I had the chance.

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