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~$100 to spend on chefs knife

So for the past few years, I've been using a really awful $20 chefs knife from target, and its definitely time to upgrade. I'm looking for a fairly decent all purpose chefs knife that will last me a while. Any suggestions?

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  1. If you can go a little bit over $100, at around $115 I think the Messermeister Elite 8" chef's knife is a really good value. Amazon sells it as a set with the paring knife for $139.

    At a lower price point, maybe Global. They're cool because they're one piece of stainless steel, they're cheaper than comparable knives, and they hold their edge pretty well. The downside is that the handles are so specific, that if they don't suit your hand, they start to hurt when you do serious chopping. You can usually find the 8" chef's and the excellent pairing knife as a package deal for around $99.

    At an even lower price point, I like Forschner Victorinox and they fit my hand better than the Globals. They always get a best buy rating from America's Test Kitchen, and right now, lots of people are having a sale on the 8" chef's for $40.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ninrn

      I second the motion on the Forschner Victorinox. America's Test Kitchen is like the Consumer Reports of kitchen gadgets, and if it pasts their test, it's good quality at a good price.

      It also happens that we are living in the Golden Age of Chef's Knives, and so the prices are coming down while quality is going up. You can still spend a fortune on a good knife, but you can do very, very well in the $50 - $80 category.

      1. re: ninrn

        I love my Global because it fits my hand! I took a knife class where I got to try 10 different ones and the Global was awesome. But, I have small hands so that's why I like the smaller handle of the Global.

        To the OP, all I can say is, definitely try out the knife before you buy it. At least hold it, pretend to cut things, etc. I know if I hadn't had the opportunity to do that, I would have never even known what a Global was, and would have bought a big heavy Wusthof (and would have been unhappy!).

      2. For Western German knife, then go for Messermeister or Wusthof.

        http://www.cutleryandmore.com/wusthof...

        http://www.cutleryandmore.com/wusthof...

        http://www.cutleryandmore.com/messerm...

        For Japanese influenced knife, then go for a Tojiro DP. Excellent performance and reasonable price:

        http://www.cutleryandmore.com/tojiro-...

        <I'm looking for a fairly decent all purpose chefs knife that will last me a while.>

        Any of these knives will last you a long while.

        8 Replies
        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

          Those are all good reccomendations, but there are so many others of similar quality. The Wusthof classic (not the ikon) is always about $20 less expensive than the one Chem has listed. Other brands of German blades are F. Dick, Zwilling J.A. Henckles (Pro S or Four Star), LamsonSharp (uses German steel but made in the USA), Victronox has forged blade Chefs kinves for under $100. These are all good choices in your price range and all are available via the link Chem provided for cutleryandmore, click on cutlery then chefs knives then 8" chefs knives and there is a huge selection.

          Wasserstrom is running a 10% off today on all cutlery: http://www.wasserstrom.com/restaurant...
          This will pull that $130 dollar knife a little closer to your $100 budget.

          1. re: mikie

            I've had good luck with F Dick in the past as a good value in a German made forged knife. You can pick up an 8" chefs for around $75.00

            http://www.chefknivestogo.com/cookskn...

            1. re: mike0989

              I love my F. Dick chef's knife as well - I use it much more frequently than my Wusthoff Santoku. Picked it up years ago at a restaurant supply company for about $70. As noted above, I think it really comes down to how it feels for different routine tasks, and I just like the "German" style knives better. It also allows me to accurately state that I have a 9" Dick (couldn't resist).

              1. re: nsenada

                I was once told that F.Dick was the knife many culinary schools recommend for their students.

              2. re: mike0989

                One thing to note re: the F Dick knife (and most, if not all forged blades) is that the bolster prevents the back edge from being useful for cutting (since it's forged from one piece of metal, the blade gradually becomes a blunt piece of metal as it becomes part of the bolster).

                I mention this because I find it faster and more efficient to do tasks like slicing garlic with the very back edge of my stamped Chef's knife (I do have a forged one as well) and I cannot do that nearly as easily with a forged blade-- I have to pay attention to not accidentally using the part of the blade that would just crush the garlic rather than slice it, which means I have to slow down and become less efficient.

                Mr Taster

                1. re: Mr Taster

                  They do sell half-bolster forged knives as well.

                  1. re: Mr Taster

                    Or, as an alternative to Scrofula's suggestion, you could do something like this to your existing knife:

                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8945...

                    1. re: Eiron

                      How interesting. Thanks for that link, Eiron. I'm going to ask Ross Cutlery in downtown Los Angeles to remove the bolster on my 8" Calphalon chef's knife.

                      Mr Taster

            2. This might be worth the look for a few more dollars:

              http://www.chefknivestogo.com/kast24w...

              1. vonshu,

                In mentioning the cost of your terrible Target knife, you're conflating cost with effectiveness, and one is not necessarily directly correlated with the other.

                Stamped blades are cheaper to produce than forged knives, but again-- there is not necessarily a direct correlation between the style of the blade manufacture and its practical effectiveness in carrying out your daily tasks.

                Ultimately, the things that matter most in a chef's knife are versatility (it should be the most useful knife in your kitchen) and results in actual use-- not how beautiful the knife is. The blade should be comfortably curved so that you can easily rock it back and forth to mince herbs, for example, with both hands on the knife. It should be long enough (8") to slice most things comfortably, as well as doing other tasks like smashing, mincing and scraping up cloves of garlic. The blade should also be wide and long enough to use for scraping up diced ingredients (like diced onions) from the cutting board, like a makeshift spatula, so you can easily transfer to the pan. The handle should be textured and have a comfortable grip-- imagine the handle covered with slippery chicken juice. A pretty, forged knife with a smooth handle very well might slip out of your hand. Also, the handle should be comfortable enough to adapt to multiple holding styles-- thumb and forefinger on the heel of the blade, two-handed rocking-chop, etc. You also want a knife that will hold its edge, which means you want to look at blades made from harder steel alloys like x50CrMoV15.

                As with most kitchen gear testing, I defer to the scientifically-minded folks at Cooks Illustrated to analyze the data. Their top result has been, for the last 20 years, the incredibly well designed (and relatively inexpensive) Victorinox 8" Swiss Army Fibrox Chef’s Knife. Great balance, textured & comfortable grip in many positions, hard edge, proper blade length and width, and most importantly the knife's features don't make your kitchen tasks more complicated, which even many expensive knives end up doing.

                http://www.amazon.com/Victorinox-Swis...

                Mr Taster

                11 Replies
                1. re: Mr Taster

                  I think knife-buying is one of the hardest things to do for the home cook. I have a rag-tag bunch of guys in my block that include two Cutco's that I inherited somehow but love both (one 5" serrated utility, one 5" spreader that is weirdly one of my favs), a couple Wusthof Classic and Classic Ikon parings and a Classic Ikon Santoku. I LOVE the feel of the Classic Ikons but I have held back on taking the plunge for the chef's specifically on the basis of ATK's rating of the Victorinox. I'll be buying that soon (maybe tonight...LOL).

                  Just this week I ordered this set for my son-in-law for Christmas: http://www.victorinox.com/us/product/...

                  At Macy's, it was on sale for $199 and I had a 25% coupon so this seemed like an okay somewhat maybe fantastic buy for $150. The problem is I could not figure out, whether through the Victorinox site or through Macy's, whether they are forged or stamped or whether they are the same quality as the Victorinox rated by ATK. I'll be contacting Victorinox just to satisfy my own curiosity. I know my son-in-law will be thrilled just to have some knives that have an edge, and he's not one to take care of things so I know they'll be abused and tossed in the dishwasher so we'll see how they hold up.

                  1. re: Harts52

                    <At Macy's, it was on sale for $199 and I had a 25% coupon>

                    Thank gods. When I saw the price in your link, I was like "Oh crap. I hope he didn't buy it at this price point"

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      Really? I hate it when I'm reminded that I'm not a very savvy shopper. I would have gone ahead with the $199 if I hadn't been trying to keep to a $150 budget. The set retails at $400+ on the Vic site, so I thought $199 was a nice deal and the $150 sealed it. I'm not keen on a block set for myself and frankly, would rather have someone by me underwear than buy me a knife, but, like I said, I know how these will be treated and in the short term, he's looking for something with a sharper edge that what he's been using. I think plasticware has a sharper edge to tell you the truth. It's very frustrating to work in his kitchen.

                      1. re: Harts52

                        :) $199 or $150 is good reasonable. I was just saying that the retailed price is too high.

                        I didn't criticize you for the knife block set. A typical VIctorinox knife is about $30-35, so as long as there are 4-5 useful knives in that set, then it is a good bargain.

                        <I think plasticware has a sharper edge to tell you the truth.>

                        This get me thinking. Do you know why his knives are dull? I wonder if a ceramic knife will help/hurt him. A ceramic knife can hold an edge much longer than a steel knife, but it is more fragile. So if your son-in-law is the kind of person who tosses knives across the kitchen, then a ceramic knife will be worse.

                    2. re: Harts52

                      As you may know, Cooks has a very specific viewpoint on kitchen gear-- basically, spend the least amount of money for the highest possible quality.

                      So if, for example, their testing finds two saucepans equally as effective, but one is $30 and the other is $150, they will rank the $30 higher. If the $150 is a better performer (or at least better enough to justify the 500% increase in price), they will rank the $150 pan higher and rank the $30 pan as a "Best Buy".

                      With regard to knives, they really do not recommend knife block sets because even high quality block sets come with "filler" knives that are of limited usefulness (a 6" chef's knife, for example, an 8" bread knife has trouble cutting through larger loaves versus a 10". Same with the 8" vs. 6" chef's knife).

                      And if your goal is to only have the most versatile, most effective, knives in your kitchen for the lowest possible price that you can obtain this level of quality, then the only way to do it is to buy these knives ala carte.

                      The knives they recommend in their ala carte set are:

                      - Victorinox Fibrox 8-inch Chef's Knife
                      - Wüsthof Classic 10-inch Bread Knife
                      (or the "Best Buy" Victorinox 10 1/4-Inch Curved Blade - Bread Knife, Black Fibrox Handle)
                      - Wüsthof Classic 3 1/2-inch Paring Knife
                      (or the "Best Buy" Victorinox Fibrox Paring Knife, 3 1/4-inch)
                      - Victorinox Fibrox Granton Edge Slicing/Carving Knife
                      - Victorinox Fibrox 6-inch Straight Boning Knife: Flexible
                      - Shun Classic Kitchen Shears

                      And to wrap them all up in a mesh-filled knife "block" that won't dull the edges of your knives (like wood blocks do):

                      - Bodum Bistro Universal Knife Block

                      My work here is done :)

                      Mr Taster

                    3. re: Mr Taster

                      Hi Mr. Taster,

                      While your comments are for the most part reasonable, there are a few things that should be noted.

                      Stamped blades may be cheaper or more expensive than forged knives. Powdered steels (e.g. CPM-S30V, Böhler M390, CTS-XHP, etc.) are stamped into blades from billets--forging would remove the advantages that the powder metallurgy process provides. The enormous increase in wear resistance that these steels have over forged steels makes them much more expensive to manufacture than forged knives. There are exceptions in both cases: there are very cheap stamped knives, and there are very expensive forged knives (i.e. honyaki).

                      The hardness of steel is dependent on the heat treatment that the steel undergoes during the manufacturing process. A particular steel (e.g. VG-10) could be taken to a variety of hardness values which are are typically measured in HRC (Rockwell "C" scale). HRC values are logarithmic, therefore even small increases in values correlate to a large increase in hardness. A type of steel doesn't have inherent "hardness" but rather it has a range of values that it, theoretically, can have optimal performance. To provide perspective, in today's world HRC values of 55-56 (which are what Victornox Fibrox knives are hardened to) are not actually very hard at all. I have pocket knives that are at 60+ HRC. Shun typically takes their VG-10 to 60-61 HRC, and more boutique knife manufacturers use different steels (e.g. Aogami Super Blue, ZDP-189) that can hit 64-65+ HRC which would be almost twice as hard as an HRC value of 55-56.

                      One more point is that X50CrMoV15 is more of a budget steel. Here is a comparison of some commonly used budget steels, and you can see that the alloy and carbon content puts it theoretically towards the lower end of edge retention, toughness, and hardness:

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

                      1. re: Cynic2701

                        Cynic2701

                        Thanks for your contribution clarifying the details of my post. Clearly there's a lot more to knife design than the relatively simple paradigm I've been working with, and I appreciate your depth of knowledge.

                        This thread is really making me question how much better in actual performance an expensive, high quality, multi-use chef's knife could be. I've been happily using the 8" Victorinox for so long, I've never really considered another. If I were to trade up, I certainly wouldn't want to lose the versatile, textured grip or the perfect blade curve.

                        In what specific ways would a higher end knife improve upon the beautiful and efficient design and performance of the Victorinox?

                        Mr Taster

                        1. re: Mr Taster

                          The single most objective difference some (not all) more expensive knives can offer is that they cut more easily and with less resistance. You would think this is strictly a function of sharpness, but it has just as much to do with how quickly a knife thickens from its edge moving up the blade. In fact, the biggest advantage of lowering the edge angles on a knife isn't that you make the edge sharper - a German knife or a forschner can be sharpened at its factory edge angles to shave quite well. Rather, lowering the edge angles makes the edge thinner, which makes the knife cut with less resistance. Many of the more expensive knives are made of steel that holds its form better through use at low edge angles, on top of being ground thinner above the edge in the first place.

                          Some of the other advantages depend heavily on how you sharpen. If you know a good pro sharpener, or you sharpen by hand or use an edge pro system, you'll find that a lot of the more expensive knives are capable of holding onto a more refined edge longer - that is, they reward extra effort in sharpening if you're inclined to put in or pay for that effort. If you use a chefs choice style electric sharpener, you might find fewer benefits. If you use a carbide style sharpener like the accusharp, you're actually better off avoiding a lot of expensive knives because they're made too hard for a carbide sharpener to work properly. Similarly, many expensive knives dull more slowly than a forschner. But if you use a chefs choice or accusharp, then sharpening is typically so quick and easy that you're probably not so worried about edge retention anyway. (As a side note, cooks illustrated never got it right when testing for edge retention and evaluating it accurately, but that's another matter.)

                          Beyond that... Some but not all expensive knives are designed to keep food from sticking to it, and do so in a way that puts all those silly divot-faced santokus you see to shame. Many are very aesthetically pleasing. Some have fully rounded spines or choils that feel much more comfortable during extended prep sessions. Some are shaped with as much curve or belly as your forschner, but you might find that some straighter blades are still capable of rock chopping well, while being much better at very fast straight up and down chopping.

                          Don't get me wrong - a forschner is a good knife, especially for the price. And there are disadvantages to some of the more expensive blades, besides just the price tag. But a lot of the time, if you come to use a finely crafted and well sharpened knife for a while, some of the qualities of your old favorite that you thought were indispensable turn out to be only what you were used to.

                          1. re: cowboyardee

                            Just as Cynic said, cowboyardee's post is right on the spot. How much a good knife worth has a lot to do with the user in question. What is the knife sharpening skill of the user? What is the overall knife skill of the user?

                            Good can be a subjective word here.

                            I can easily tell the difference between a typical Aogami knife to a typical VG-10 (Shun/Tojiro DP) knife to a typical Dexter Russell knife. However, I won't able to appreciate their differences if I were using a Chef's Choice electric knife sharpener. I also won't able to notice their differences had I not I had some basic-to-advance knife skill.

                            Here is two extreme cases.

                            If I have minimal knife skill (say I like twist my knife on the cutting board or use my knife on a glass cutting board), I use an electric knife sharpener and I like to toss my knife in the sink, then a Dexter-Russell/Victornix knife is a better knife than a Konosuke HD2 knife. Nothing to do with the price tag, but a Victorinox can handle physical abuse and rust/stain better than the Konosuke HD2.

                            If I have good knife skill, I use waterstone for knife sharpening, and I wipe my knife dry using a towel during cooking, then a Konosuke HD2 knife is a better knife than a Victorinox. The Konosuke HD2 can hold an edge longer against a typical cutting board, and can hold a sharper edge, and has a nice knife profile, so that I can better control.

                          2. re: Mr Taster

                            cowboyardee pretty much hit all the points that there are to talk about. Great post!

                        2. re: Mr Taster

                          "Ultimately, the things that matter most in a chef's knife are versatility (it should be the most useful knife in your kitchen) and results in actual use-- not how beautiful the knife is."

                          Humans are funny animals...

                          "Ultimately," perhaps, but the appearance of any tool can both directly & indirectly influence the user. I know this from a couple of decades of designing hand tools for both manufacturing & lab testing environments. I can definitely say that "beauty" has a very real affect on the user of the tool.

                          Now, that doesn't mean that function should take a back seat to appearance - quite the opposite! Form should definitely follow after function. But, once the function is there, non-functional embellishments (like Damascus cladding on a chef's knife) can certainly influence whether or not the user even WANTS to use the tool.

                          There are also the tactile cues we get from our tools. For example, I wouldn't buy a Victorinox Fibrox knife simply because I prefer holding a wood handle. For me, the Forschner/Victorinox Rosewood knives are far preferrable to the Fibrox versions of the same knives!

                          As long as appearances aren't the primary purchasing criteria, there's nothing wrong with wanting a beautiful knife.

                          But that's just my opinion. :-)

                        3. Head down to any of the following:

                          Home Goods
                          Marshall's
                          Ross
                          TJ Maxx
                          Tuesday Morning

                          Dig -- I mean really dig -- through their cookware department. Chances are you'll find something worthy -- they regularly have a few Henckels, Wusthof, Calphalon, Sabatier, or any of several other major brands hanging around (literally -- they're usually on a hook around ladles and spatulas and such)

                          You may have to haunt these stores for a few weeks, but eventually they'll turn up.

                          A lot of times it's screwball stuff like bird-beak parers and tomato slicers (both of which I own because I picked them out of the clearance pile) -- but you can also get 6" or 8" chef's knives, carving knives, and a variety of parers for a song.

                          Mine are mismatched (various quality levels) -- but I now own an entire block full of nuthin' but Wusthof -- my preferred brand because of how they fit my hand.

                          (Knives are kind of like shoes -- go with what fits in your hand and feels like it belongs there -- not whatever whizbang brand someone else loves)

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: sunshine842

                            Good points! (As long as the OP is willing keep looking if there's nothing worthwhile at first!)

                            It's been a few years, but I found a Henckels Four Star 8" chef's knife for only $30. Hard to beat that kind of a deal!

                          2. My quick reply is that there is very little or no value added over a Forshner/Victorinox until you are up past $100. In other words, I would buy a 10" Victorinox, and happily use it, knowing that it is every bit the knife of a Shun, Henckels, or a Wusthof, until I could spend $150--$300 on a knife that has the specific characteristics that I want in a truly high performance knife. I don't know of any $100 knives that will be that much better than the Victorinox to merit the extra spending.

                            Second, how are your sharpening skills? If you can't sharpen a knife, you may find that you dislike a $300 knife after a year just as much as you dislike your Target knife.

                            11 Replies
                            1. re: jljohn

                              While I'm not the biggest fan of Shun/Henckels/Wusthof, I'd easily say that they have the potential to be superior to a Victorinox in the sub-$100 category.

                              Shun's go on sale frequently enough to be acquired at sub-$100 prices and Tojiro's DP line is - in my opinion and those of others - actually superior in some ways to Shun and are in the $60-$85 range.

                              Spending $40 on a Victorinox will certainly be step up for most people. Objectively though, there are very good knives to be had for only a little bit more money. Tojiro's white steel line is rather inexpensive for the price, and there are numerous other makers that produce sub-$100 knives of very good performance.

                              In the end you do get what you pay for. In my opinion the best "bang for your buck" price point may actually be in the $125 - $175 range. Do you need a $150 to make food in the kitchen? No, you don't. Will a $150 knife be noticeably better than a $50 knife? Yes, it will be. Will a $300 knife be noticeably better than a $150 knife? Maybe.

                              1. re: Cynic2701

                                "Will a $150 knife be noticeably better than a $50 knife? Yes, it will be. Will a $300 knife be noticeably better than a $150 knife? Maybe."

                                Like everything else, it depends on your criteria. I can think of several $150 knives I'd like much less than several $50 knives. And my $200 knife is far superior to my $100 knife. But then, I probably have different criteria than you do. :-)

                                1. re: Eiron

                                  Sure thing, the Ken Onion Shuns are an abomination that I still can't believe people actually buy...

                                  1. re: Cynic2701

                                    I don't like Ken Onion Shun design, but I know a couple of people here like it. I don't get it, but everyone's taste is different I guess.

                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                      You are right. Just because I don't like them doesn't mean another person couldn't.

                                    2. re: Cynic2701

                                      Holy Jeebus.

                                      https://www.google.com/search?q=ken+o...

                                      They hurt my hand just by looking at them.

                                      Mr Taster

                                  2. re: Cynic2701

                                    <Shun's go on sale frequently enough to be acquired at sub-$100 prices and Tojiro's DP line is - in my opinion and those of others - actually superior in some ways to Shun and are in the $60-$85 range.>

                                    Agree. Victorinox knives are great, but knives like Tojiro/Shun are better.

                                    1. re: Cynic2701

                                      "In my opinion the best "bang for your buck" price point may actually be in the $125 - $175 range. Do you need a $150 to make food in the kitchen? No, you don't. Will a $150 knife be noticeably better than a $50 knife? Yes, it will be."

                                      This is really what I was driving at. I've owned the Henckels S, the Shun Classic, and the Victorinox, and I have a preference for the Victorinox. There may be some performance metrics in which the Henckels and the Shun were "better," but, if they were, those were not important metrics to me.

                                      I have not use the Tojiro DP, but, from what I hear they are very good knives. The flip side is that they so often seem to be intermediate knives for people--e.g. "that was my first good knife, then I got a Takeda," or "it's a great introduction to Japanese knives, etc." Do you see it as a great knife to buy and keep using indefinitely, or is it more of a gateway knife?

                                      1. re: jljohn

                                        <The flip side is that they so often seem to be intermediate knives for people->

                                        They end up to be great intermediate knives because they showed a great improvement to the previous knives and because they are relatively inexpensive. This is what happens in real life. People were using a Victorinox knife, and then they got a Tojiro DP knife, and said "Holy mother. This is so much better". This then led to the belief the next expensive Japanese knife will be better.

                                        Had the Tojiro DP be marginally better than Dexter or Victorinox, then no one will drop another $300-400 for a Takeda knife.

                                        < Do you see it as a great knife to buy and keep using indefinitely, or is it more of a gateway knife?>

                                        Same can be said for Victorinox or Dexter or any other knives. The fact is that a Tojiro DP is a good knife and a better knife than a Victorinox (in my opinion). One can be perfectly happy using one -- instead of a gateaway knife. It is a gateway mostly because how inexpensive it is as well. Most people who did not want to get a $100+ Shun Classic or a $100+ Miyabi end up getting a Tojiro DP.

                                        1. re: jljohn

                                          It depends on the individual's interest in acquiring more high dollar kitchen knives. One could go their entire life and be satisfied with a Tojiro.

                                          Takeda/Konosuke/Gesshin/Masakage/etc. are going to cost $250+ for a knife that will have noticeable improvements in cutting performance over a Tojiro. The grinds are better, the steel is more specialized, the blade is harder, and a variety of profiles will be offered. Aesthetics can go either way.

                                          Tojiro's are big enough of a performance increase over the typical German knife (i.e. Wusthof or Henckels) that they get people curious about how much better it could possibly get. This is one of the reasons that the Miyabi line even exists in the first place, and also why Shun does so well. They offer such a noticeable increase in performance that people start paying attention. Then you start hearing phrases like "I liked my Tojiro, but I love my Konosuke" or "I thought Shun was good until I got a Takeda" and so on, and you will get curious.

                                          In a sense, you are right. They can be gateway knives to the deeper end of Japanese knives.

                                        2. re: Cynic2701

                                          I know Tojiro has gone up in price but I have several under 60 dollars which are fantastic knives.

                                      2. If you want a stamped blade, you can get a utilitarian Dexter Russell Sani-Safe, Sofgrip or V-Lo for $20-30. If you want a basic forged blade, you can currently find a Mercer Genesis on Amazon for $30 or so (usually around $50). These are a big step up from anything you'll find at Target, despite costing only slightly more.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: Scrofula

                                          <If you want a basic forged blade, you can currently find a Mercer Genesis on Amazon for $30 or so (usually around $50).>

                                          Heard many great things about these Mercer Genesis knives.

                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                            I only used one briefly, at a cooking class. It was comfortable to hold and cut well, but I can't comment on how well it keeps an edge. I think I'll pick one up when it's time to replace my Dexter.

                                        2. Thanks for all the replies! I think i'm going to go with with the Tojiro DP 8.25 as well as the matching pairing knife. With that said, do I need both a honing rod and sharpening stone to keep it in shape or can I get by with only one or the other? Any suggestions of types/brands for those?

                                          Also, what are the main differences between Japanese style knives and European style knives?

                                          19 Replies
                                          1. re: vonshu

                                            <With that said, do I need both a honing rod and sharpening stone to keep it in shape or can I get by with only one or the other? Any suggestions of types/brands for those?>

                                            The short answer is: you only need a sharpening stone, not a honing rod

                                            I would get either
                                            (1) ~1000 grit (Japanese grit) waterstone

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

                                            http://www.amazon.com/King-Brand-Delu...

                                            The Bester 1000 and 1200 grit stones are highly respected, and they are very large.

                                            http://www.chefknivestogo.com/bester1...

                                            The Naniwa Super 1000 is more refined:

                                            http://www.chefknivestogo.com/superst...

                                            or

                                            (2) a 1000/6000 grit combination waterstone.

                                            Let me know your budget and I can probably look up something less expensive or more expensive -- depending how serious you want to get.

                                            You may also need a flattening stone in the future.

                                            If hand sharpening is not in your "list-to-do", then you can always hire someone to sharpen the knives for you instead of buying a sharpening stone.

                                            <Also, what are the main differences between Japanese style knives and European style knives?>

                                            We won't be talking about traditional Japanese knives here as it may complicate things here. We were really talking about Westernized-Japanese knives (made in Japan) and standard European knives. Western Japanese knives are typically made with harder and stronger steel, and the blade are usually thinner.

                                            You should decide if this is what you want before you get your Tojiro DP knife, which is a Westernized Japanese knife.

                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                              vonshu, what exactly are you trying to do here? Are you a home cook looking to prepare excellent meals for your friends and family, or are you a professional chef who needs to provide perfection on a plate at a high price? The reason I ask is because, well, going from a terrible knife to a $30 8" Victorinox is going to get you back about $35, and will perform so many leagues beyond what you're used to. If you're inexperienced with knives, I don't know that you'll necessarily appreciate an expensive, high quality knife... it's like a new amateur astronomer looking through the Hubble Telescope. It's going to be too much, to soon.

                                              Why not work with a high quality CHEAP knife for a few years, increase your knife skills, and work your way so that you can appreciate the difference? Again, if you are a professional chef and I've misunderstood here (though I can't imagine a professional chef using a $20 Target knife), please accept my apology.)

                                              And what exactly do you use your knife most commonly for? The Tojiro DP 8.25" that you refer to has a long and narrow blade-- great for filleting fish, but a little less practical for dicing, mincing, chopping because the lesser blade curve that can make mincing herbs, for example, a more cumbersome.

                                              And with regard to sharpening stones, do you know what you're getting yourself into?

                                              Learning to use a sharpening stone in the right way takes a lot of practice, and time. It's a skill worth learning,. certainly, but it's exacting. You have to hold the blade at the precise angle to get the edge right (although I believe they do now sell wedge angle spaces for sharpening newbies now) to sharpen the edge in just the right manner. It's a helluva lot more practical for the home cook to use a good diamond dust or tungsten carbide manual sharpener on a Victorinox then to start down the path of what a professional chef might be training for. Again, if you're not a chef but it's simply a project you want to tackle, more power to you. Godspeed. But if you're a home cook looking to up your game, save yourself a lot of time and headaches and get a steel and manual pull-across sharpener (like the accu-sharp). Avoid the cheaper ceramic dust sharpeners. If you one day become a super knife geek and can appreciate the extra precision and performance a manual whetstone will bring to your cooking, then by all means full steam ahead.

                                              > Western Japanese knives are typically made with harder and stronger steel, and the blade are usually thinner.

                                              Also the angle of the blade is narrower in the Japanese style knifes... 15 degrees vs. 20 for western style knives. The narrower angle means less drag. For what it's worth, the test kitchen's favorite Asian style knife is the Masamoto VG-10 Gyutou.

                                              But again, what are you using your chef's knife for? Have we even asked you that? I'd like to know what your typical weekly chef's knife usage is. That will more accurately dictate a an appropriate knife and price point.

                                              Mr Taster

                                              1. re: Mr Taster

                                                Currently, I'm just a home cook looking to improve my cooking experience/results. Though I have cooked professionally in the past and I have been cooking seriously for about 6 years. My ordinary usage for a chefs knife would consist mainly of chopping vegetables, cutting meat and pealing stuff. Not much filleting of fish, though I certainly won't exclude the possibility. I'm certainly no kitchen novice, and have used decent knives when I previously cooked at a restaurant, and I think I could appreciate a ~$100 knife. Also, partially because I'm looking for a somewhat substantial christmas gift to ask for. Also, aesthetics of the knife are important to me, and that Victorinox knife just looks plain ugly.

                                                I'm also willing to spend some money/time learning how to properly sharpen a knife, though I'm not necessarily opposed to going with the easy route for now.

                                                1. re: vonshu

                                                  Vonshu,

                                                  I agree with Mr. Taster in his general attitude. This has been bought up earlier. A good knife is only as good as the user.

                                                  Based on what you have said, it seems that you are very skillful -- certainly more so than average home cooks.

                                                  By the way, I completely forgot. If you want something intermediate to keep your knife sharp, but not too stressful, then a Sharpmaker is one solution. It is not as versatile or as quick as a sharpening stone, but it is very easy to learn. It is good for "maintaining" your knife. The only problem is that you may outgrow it.

                                                  http://www.amazon.com/Spyderco-Tri-An...

                                                  Ok, back to the knives again. Victorinox stamped knife is good. If you want slightly better looking, then we have the rosewood handle Victorinox:

                                                  http://www.amazon.com/Victorinox-8-In...

                                                  Above Victorinox, you are really looking at two paths: (1) the standard European Western knives such as Messermeister, Wusthof, and Henckels, or (2) the Westernized Japanese knives such as Tojiro DP, Shun Classic and Fujiwara knives.

                                                  Personally, I appreciate knives such as Tojiro DP. By the way, if aesthetics is important to you, you can also consider the more expensive version of Tojiro, such as Tojiro DP Damascus:

                                                  http://www.cutleryandmore.com/tojiro-...

                                                  and Senkou and Flash:

                                                  http://www.cutleryandmore.com/tojiro?...

                                                2. re: Mr Taster

                                                  "The reason I ask is because, well, going from a terrible knife to a $30 8" Victorinox is going to get you back about $35, and will perform so many leagues beyond what you're used to. If you're inexperienced with knives, I don't know that you'll necessarily appreciate an expensive, high quality knife... it's like a new amateur astronomer looking through the Hubble Telescope. It's going to be too much, to soon."

                                                  I respectfully disagree. I did it exactly the way you say not to, jumping from an uncomfortable, dull, 25 yr old made-in-China Farberware knife to a sleek J-knife:
                                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/687113

                                                  Was it the best way? Well, it was for me. ;-)
                                                  __________________________________

                                                  "Learning to use a sharpening stone in the right way takes a lot of practice, and time. It's a skill worth learning,. certainly, but it's exacting. You have to hold the blade at the precise angle to get the edge right (although I believe they do now sell wedge angle spaces for sharpening newbies now) to sharpen the edge in just the right manner."

                                                  I also made the jump from pull-thru sharpeners to waterstones at the same time. While it DOES take practice to get it right (what doesn't?), I learned that you really DON'T need to keep the angles all that precise in order to get a better-than-factory edge.

                                                  Obviously, my feeling is that if vonshu wants to jump into the middle of the pool rather than wade in from the shallow end, then that's what s/he should do.

                                                  1. re: Mr Taster

                                                    Hi Mr. Taster,

                                                    I find that flat profiles and thin blades make for easier chopping, mincing, and dicing. I specifically bought a gyuto with a flatter and more narrow profile precisely for this reason.

                                                    Here's a picture of my two most used kitchen knives:

                                                    http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac...

                                                    Both have very flat profiles that lend to mincing fine herbs very well. I've found that the rock-chop motion ends up being less efficient than a straight up and down push cutting motion.

                                                    The blades on both of these knives would likely be too hard for honing or pull through sharpeners to do much more than wreck the edge.

                                                    One thing to note is that angles like 20 degrees per side or 15 degrees per side are suggestions. People sharpen axes to 20 degrees per side (40 inclusive) and I personally take my knives to less than 10 degrees per side (20 inclusive). The difference in sharpness and cutting ability is immense.

                                                    1. re: Cynic2701

                                                      I can tell the top gyuto is the Konosuke HD2. What is the bottom Nakiri? Love that kuroushi finish. I know it is not a Takeda or a Moritaka. The characters seem to either say "Second Peak" or "Martial Peak"

                                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                        You know infinitely more kanji than I do then :)

                                                        It's a Murata Nakiri in Blue #1. It's actually not very expensive at all (I picked one up for $75) and I see it sells now for only a little bit more ~$90. I really like the rustic feel of it. Thinned out it performs quite well.

                                                        1. re: Cynic2701

                                                          Hmm, do you know why the western handle version costs so much more?

                                                          The wa handle knife is ~$90 as you said:

                                                          http://www.chefknivestogo.com/mu16na....

                                                          The western (yo) handle knife is $250:

                                                          http://www.chefknivestogo.com/buwena1...

                                                          I know the blade is bit thinner for the western handle nakiri, but still.... almost 3 times the price.

                                                          I looked closely at the Kanji. Indeed it is 武峰 (Martial Peak). Great looking knife.

                                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                            It'd be hard to say for sure without having a yo-handled version in front of me, but just from looking at pictures I've noted a few things:

                                                            1. The fit and finish on the wa-handled version is "rustic" and rough around the edges. You can tell that it was forged and it still bears concavities and convexities from being hammered into shape. I suppose it is possible that an overgrind (or overhammer) could exist which I wouldn't be able to fix, but so far it seems ok even after I thinned it out quite a bit. I will say that near the heel on mine it still needs more work as one side has noticeably more steel on it than the other--it wasn't ground as well as it could have been. Nothing a few hours on a stone couldn't fix though.

                                                            2. The yo-handled version looks much better finished and the interface with the handle bolster looks very clean.

                                                            3. People are psychologically more likely to go after the higher priced version simply because it is higher priced--and I forget what the name of this phenomenon when making purchases is.

                                                            Since the description of the steel is the same for both, I gambled (which could very well have turned out badly, since I did purchase it from CKTG) that they should have the same steel and heat treatment, just different levels of fit and finish. I'm more concerned with performance, and I can allow a reduction in fit and finish (which is usually something you can fix on your own with elbow grease and some sharpening stones) for a trade-off in price. Hopefully I made a good decision, but I guess I'll see in a few years, and it has performed as well as i could expect so far. At the very least I won't have thrown too much money away.

                                                            1. re: Cynic2701

                                                              < I suppose it is possible that an overgrind (or overhammer) could exist which I wouldn't be able to fix, but so far it seems ok even after I thinned it out quite a bit.>

                                                              It is a very good price for sure. I remember buying my Tanaka Kurouchi nakiri from CKTG. I remember spending quiet some time fixing a minor "overgrinding" issue. It was not really bad, but it still took me some time. I also thinned it at least near the edge. I thinned it by sharpening near 5o or so on both side (just for thinning), and then bring the real edge at ~10-12o each side.

                                                              "I am including two more “after sharpening” photos. In the first photo, you can see a very narrow bevel directly below the last Kanji “作” -- the one closer to the handle. That was the section which I had trouble putting a bevel. ..."

                                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7256...

                                                              In short, I only noticed the overgrinding issue as I was thinning out the knife. I noticed that my sharpening stones could not hit (touch) the entire edge at the same time. Some sections were overground.

                                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                Yes, the Murata I have has similar issues. I'm grinding the entire face of the bevel up to just below the kurouchi finish. There are some areas that are overground (or more likely hammered beneath the level that the rest of the bevel is at) but it doesn't appear to be a problematic overgrind (i.e. that it is impacted below the center-line of the blade) so far.

                                                                Thanks for the pics. I'll have to take some more of mine as I recently thinned it out a bit more as the result of a mistake during Thanksgiving. I was cooking at a friend's house and was cleaning my knife with their sponge, but didn't realize that it was impregnated with steel wool. Scratched the finish up pretty badly. Also cringe-worthy is that I did the same thing to my Konosuke, but I'm going to get some Micro Mesh to fix it.

                                                                I think that nakiri's have, right now anyways, some of the best prices and most competitive values of japanese knives. I'd suggest that the OP get one, but I think that he/she may be looking for a more general use knife than a nakiri.

                                                                They are awesome for vegetables though!

                                                                1. re: Cynic2701

                                                                  <(i.e. that it is impacted below the center-line of the blade) so far.>

                                                                  It is so funny because I know exactly what you are talking about. As long as the center-of-line not affected, an edge can be formed. I think a little of overgrinding or overhammering can bring in characteristics for a knife. :)

                                                  2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                    Chem, what is the difference between the King Deluxe stone you linked to above, and this one?
                                                    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001...

                                                    1. re: iyc_nyc

                                                      I really think they are the same grade. In fact, I was going to recommend yours because it is cheaper, but then I realized that it is a "S", so it is a smaller stone.

                                                      Nothing wrong with being smaller actually, and it is only slightly smaller

                                                      Yours is 207 mm X 66 mm X 34 mm, which is the same as
                                                      8.15 X 2.6 X 1.33 inches

                                                      The other one is slightly larger:

                                                      8.4 X 2.8 X 1.6 inches

                                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                        Great - thanks! May start a different thread later re: how to learn to sharpen. I decided I'd try to take it on, thanks to you and a few others on here. :-)

                                                  3. re: vonshu

                                                    I just got the Tojiro DP 8" chef's + paring combo. Just FYI, the finish on the chef's knife isn't great -- the tang is not flush with the scales and actually sticks out pretty sharply where your hand would go. I'm not sure how to sand the tang down without damaging the scales, and was going to see if I could exchange it (assuming they're not all like this).

                                                    Mine also doesn't seem very sharp out of the box - e.g., it can't easily slice through a piece of paper.

                                                    Chem and others might know better re: whether the Tojiro DPs are generally all like this, or if I got an outlier.

                                                    1. re: iyc_nyc

                                                      <the tang is not flush with the scales and actually sticks out pretty sharply where your hand would go>

                                                      Tojiro is not as furnished/polished as Shun and others. Its handle is not perfect, but it should not be nearly as bad as your description. You should ask for an exchange.

                                                      <Mine also doesn't seem very sharp out of the box - e.g., it can't easily slice through a piece of paper.>

                                                      My memory isn't very good. I do remember that its factory edge wasn't great and that I remember my edge became much better after I sharpened it. However, I thought it was still good enough to slice a paper, just not good enough to push cut a paper. It has been awhile, so I cannot be 100% sure about the details.

                                                      I don't know if you got yours from Chefknivestogo or Cutlery and More. Either way, let them know, and ask for an exchange. The tang part is definitely not normal. The edge ..... that may be normal.

                                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                        Good to know they're not all like this - thanks! Will try to exchange.

                                                  4. I just watched the ATK analysis of so-called "hybrid-style" knives.

                                                    Very interesting stuff-- essentially the east vs. west style of knife design reflects two different cutting philosophies.

                                                    While in the west we tend to rock the black to mince herbs, chives, etc., in Japan they tend to "pull" the blade straight across the veg as they feel the rocking motion bruises the herbs (this explains why eastern knives have a much straighter blade curve). Also, eastern knives have a narrower 15 degree angle (sharpened only on one side) vs. the western 20 degree angle sharpened on BOTH sides-- again, the razor-like eastern blade is meant to facilitate very clean, effortless slicing. If you want to slice tomatoes paper thin or chicken cutlets, you may want to consider these.

                                                    The so-called "hybrid" knife attempts to combine characteristics of both. It takes the curve of the western blade and applies it to the eastern blade (though at a less steep angle than a Victorinox). Additionally, the hybrid-style knife is sharpened to 15 degrees on BOTH sides of the blade.

                                                    Their top 3 knives, all "Highly Recommended", are, in ranked order of most to least "highly recommended":

                                                    Masamoto VG-10 Gyutou, 8.2"

                                                    “Feels fantastic when you pick it up: comfortable, light, ready.” “A dream” for cutting up chicken and dicing onion, with its “very slim, sharp tip” and an acutely tapered blade that made it feel especially light as well as slightly flexible. With a blade more curved than most of the Japanese knives, it assisted a rocking motion that effortlessly “pulverized parsley into dust.”

                                                    Misono UX-10 Chef's Knife, 8.2"

                                                    “Exceptional slicing, with no effort,” “excellent balance,” “the best-feeling knife in my hand,” raved some testers, though others disliked its squared-off collar. Rigid enough for squash, it sliced raw chicken skin without catching, but its straight blade was not conducive to rocking. As light as the Masamoto but less tapered, it has a stiffer, substantial feel that appealed to German-knife users.

                                                    Victorinox (formerly Victorinox Forschner) Fibrox 8" Chef's Knife

                                                    Our favorite inexpensive chef’s knife rivaled fancier, pricier knives yet again. Though “clearly not as amazing,” it had “no trouble going through anything,” with a “good curve” for rocking. While its profile is slim, the blade is stiff enough to cut squash easily. Rounded, textured plastic handle is “grippy, very comfortable.” “This knife even looks friendly.”

                                                    The knives that were simply "Recommended" were:
                                                    Togiharu Inox Gyutou, 8.2"
                                                    Mac Professional 8" Chef's Knife with Dimples
                                                    Global G-2, 8" Chef's Knife
                                                    Akifusa Gyutou, 8.2"

                                                    And the "Not Recommended" knives were:
                                                    Miyabi 7000 MC Series 8" Gyutou (by Zwilling J.A. Henckels)
                                                    Messermeister Meridan Elite 8" Stealth Chef's Knife

                                                    If you want more details on the knives that I didn't provide details on, let me know.

                                                    Mr Taster

                                                    14 Replies
                                                    1. re: Mr Taster

                                                      CK, I know you recommended a $100+ Miyabi above but the reason they didn't like this particular one was because:

                                                      “Beautiful, obviously well-made,” “sharp and fairly maneuverable” (and top-rated in edge retention), but we hated its long handle, finding hands “too far from the blade” and the knife “too heavy,” “the least balanced.” “It’s weird, like they took a Japanese handle and stuck it on a Western knife. If this is fusion, they got a little too much of both and not enough of either.”

                                                      Mr Taster

                                                      1. re: Mr Taster

                                                        The cooks illustrated knife tests have generally been interesting but also somewhat flawed.

                                                        Namely, they test the knives using only the factory edges, which leaves out many of the factors important to a Japanese knife such as how well it sharpens and how well it can or cannot support a customized low angle edge. Some knives ship with better edges than others, but especially when were talking about high end knives, thats little indication of which will perform better once sharpened up.

                                                        Their earlier tests did not account for edge retention at all, while their later tests measured edge retention only by slicing abrasive paper - a fine test of wear resistance but not a good test for overall edge retention (this would be like testing the durability of a car solely on the basis of how it fares in a demolition derby).

                                                        Probably worst of all though, their testers seemed to be only familiar with using more curved German style knives and evaluated Japanese blades without really knowing how to use them. There is admittedly a learning curve, but their tests and comments failed to convey the advantages some of the more angled and distinct Japanese profiles can offer to a user more experienced with the knife.

                                                        1. re: Mr Taster

                                                          Hi Taster,

                                                          First of all, I did not read an ATK article, but I read one from Cook Illustrated, and it reads very much like the one you have described. I agree some and disagree some in that article.

                                                          <they feel the rocking motion bruises the herbs (this explains why eastern knives have a much straighter blade curve)>

                                                          Maybe. Keep in mind that Japanese Gyuto is more closer to the French Chef's knife than the German Chef's knife. The angle is definitely different. The edge angle on a Japanese made knife is typically narrower/more acute than those of German or French.

                                                          The top is a German profile, the middle is a French Chef's knife, and the bottom is a Japanese gyuto:

                                                          http://www.knifeforums.com/forums/fbb...

                                                          As you can see, both the French and the Japanese knives are straighter.

                                                          <I know you recommended a $100+ Miyabi above but the reason they didn't like this particular one was because>

                                                          I don't disagree some of their reasons. However, one thing to be mindful is that the earlier Miyabi knife series are horrible. Really sucks. This is especially for series like the 5000S and 600 S series. They kind of combined the worst of both world (Japanese and German). Later, improvements were made. The new ones which you can find in Sur La Table and Williams Sonoma are much better.

                                                          If I remember correctly, the Cook's Illustrated wrote that review article before the launch of the newer Miyabi knives, and tested the worse Miyabi knives.

                                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                            >> Cook's Illustrated wrote that review article before the launch of the newer Miyabi knives, and tested the worse Miyabi knives.

                                                            The test was done in Nov 2009.

                                                            Mr Taster

                                                            1. re: Mr Taster

                                                              One thing I remembered-- in a recent chef's knife review (Sep 2013) CI discovered that their 20-year favorite Victorinox 8" actually has a 15 degree blade-- not the 20-22 degree blade that is standard for most western knives, so they now recommend sharpening it in an Asian blade sharpener.

                                                              They've been recommending this knife for 20 years, and just now discovered this. Maybe that's why they love it for slicing so much... it's an Asian knife in Swiss clothing. Fascinating, eh?

                                                              One more item to keep in mind, vonshu... if you've got big hands (like me) but go with a narrow Asian blade, you may have to worry about knuckle clearance on the handle. If the blade's not broad enough, you could wind up rapping your knuckles on the cutting board with each downward chop.

                                                              The shape of the handle on the Victorinox, ugly as it may be, is ergonomically variable-- not forcing the cook's hand into any one position. Rather, it allows the cook to comfortably hold the handle in many different ways (they say the ergonomics term for this allowance for variability is called "affordance"). So whether you're chopping, slicing or doing more detailed work with the tip, the handle is neutral enough to allow for customization in use. That's a big thing, in my book, for a knife that serves as your multitasking workhorse. I don't want anything too specialized in my chef's knife. (that's what I have boning, paring, serrated, carving and steak knives for.)

                                                              I'm learning a lot (both my from my reading and from other posters) so keep the good info coming. (I fear I may be on the path to knife geekdom...)

                                                              Mr Taster

                                                            2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                              Chem, for whatever its worth, the 7000mc series was reviewed pretty well among the few who tried it on the knife forums, IIRC. Most people said the blade and the fit and finish were excellent. Some people complained of a handle heavy balance point (which I agree is kind of annoying on a Japanese knife).

                                                              The guy at zknives. com gave it a very favorable review, and I tend to trust him better than CI/ATK - though he reviewed the 240 mm gyuto and its very possible that a heavy handle would be more problematic in a 210 mm gyuto that ATK tested.

                                                              Never handled that series myself though.

                                                              1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                <The guy at zknives. com gave it a very favorable review,>

                                                                Just read it earlier too. Yes, he did give good reviews for the 7000 MC knives -- including the Miyabi 7000 MC Santoku:

                                                                "Overall, as far as Santokus go Henckels Miyabi Santoku is perhaps one of the best Santokus I've ever used."

                                                                Overall, as far as Santokus go Henckels Miyabi Santoku is perhaps one of the best Santokus I've ever used.

                                                                Anyway, like you, I have no experience with this series. I am not even sure if people can get these knives in typical stores.

                                                                1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                  >> and I tend to trust [zknives.com] better than CI/ATK

                                                                  Sounds like we're talking about different intended audiences here. CI/ATK's reviews are intended specifically for the enthusiastic home cook (which is where my comfort zone is). That's why I go to them first. They're not evaluating sharpening stones, for example, because the vast majority of people who care about what they cook for their families want something cheap but well performing.

                                                                  zknives.com looks like a great place for the knife geek.... the stark design is going to intimidate anyone off who isn't really in it for the raw info.

                                                                  Funny how the look of zknives reminds me of the old Chowhound :) I always saw the stark design as an advantage, since it seemed to do a good job at keeping non-enthusiasts and so-called trend following "foodies" away :)

                                                                  Mr Taster

                                                                  1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                    <CI/ATK's reviews are intended specifically for the enthusiastic home cook>

                                                                    It isn't just about enthusiastic home cooks vs knife geeks. Sometime the reviewers have poor knowledge about the item or topic which they are reviewing. Case in point, CHOW has an inadequate review of the Shun Deba knife:

                                                                    http://www.chow.com/reviews/3-shun-cu...

                                                                    A deba knife is a fish butcher knife, but the knife was reviewed anything but a fish butcher knife. This is really no different than someone reviewing a bread knife's ability to debone a chicken and to peel an apple. I suppose you can say that an average home cook won't know what a Deba knife is for, and only a knife geek does. Therefore, this CHOWHOUND review is fine. However, from my perspective, it is a matter of lack of understanding. Consequently, improper tests were used to characterize a Deba knife like cutting carrots:

                                                                    " The bevel is nice for slicing, and the slices don’t stick to the blade. But the height of the blade means you have farther to lift before you can bring the blade down on the carrot again, making slicing a bit tiring."

                                                                    In the past, I have read several Cook's Illustrated reviews which I cannot agree. For example, Cook's Illustrated have repeatedly recommended a nonstick pan as the best tool for stir fry:

                                                                    'we prefer a 12-inch nonstick skillet for stir-frying. '

                                                                    'Though we did finally decide to award our "recommended with reservation" title to one wok, we’d still reach first for a 12-inch nonstick skillet when stir-frying.'

                                                                    I have nonstick pans, and I have carbon steel woks. Frankly, I have to conclude they don't know what stir fry is.

                                                                    As for the Westernized-Japanese knife article I read from Cook's Illustrated, I have reservation based on some of the writings and testings that they have done. It appeared to me that the reviews/testings lack certain knowledge.

                                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                      If I had a quarter for every time you and I were writing similar posts at the same time I could probably buy a new knife with it.

                                                                      Maybe not a Masamoto but definitely at least a forschner.

                                                                      1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                        <.. I could probably buy a new knife with it....but definitely at least a forschner>

                                                                        Is baby cowboy at age that you are concerning about buying him a Forschner? :)

                                                                        By the way, can you tell if he is right handed or left handed now? Will he be ask you for the Sakai Yusuke (left handed)?

                                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                          He's a righty. At two he's already 'sharpened' butter knives on my stones cause he's seen me do the same with my knives. The yusuke is ground to the wrong side for him, but the hiromoto or CCK might be more his style anyway - how much he likes something is generally correlated with how dangerous it looks.

                                                                          1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                            <how much he likes something is generally correlated with how dangerous it looks.>

                                                                            Ha ha ha. He will be a man real soon. :P

                                                                    2. re: Mr Taster

                                                                      >>Sounds like were talking about different intended audiences here. CI/ATK's reviews are intended specifically for the enthusiastic home cook>>

                                                                      Certainly. The issue with CI/ATK in this case is really just that they're reviewing products that people only buy if they're willing to fuss over em a bit more. But since CI sits firmly in the 'home cooks don't sharpen their knives' camp, they probably shouldn't bother to review products that are used mainly by people who sharpen. You wouldn't review a Porsche by talking about how well it handles at 20 mph in a school zone with snow tires, right?

                                                                      The irony is that many of their favorite picks have been good ones. The forschner is a good knife, asis the masamoto. But some of their 'not recommended's have been poorly justified and their methodology has generally been flawed given the products they're reviewing.

                                                              2. Thanks for the replies once again! I guess at this point I am stuck between the Victorinox 8" with rosewood handle for $50, the Tojiro DP 8 for $80 or the Tojiro DP Damascus 8 for $120. I guess first, what is the difference between the DP and DP Damascus other than a $40 price difference? I really like the aesthetics of the Damascus but if that's the only difference, I'm not gonna pay an extra $40. The other thing I'm worried about is switching to a Japanese style blade after using European style for so long. Though I like the ideals associated with Japanese style such less bruising and more precise cutting. Also I measured the length from top to bottom on the base of the current blade I'm using and it's about 4.4/4.5 cm, compared to the DP's 4.3 cm, so I don't think that will present much an issue from what I'm use to. There is also the issue of a less curved blade, but like I said, I am excited to potentially try out a new style. I guess I am only holding on the possibility of the Victorinox because I don't necessarily want to have to acquire and learn how to use professional knife sharpening equipment, though I am not opposed to the idea if I do acquire one of these better knives...

                                                                Is there anyone out there who switched from European style to Japanese style chefs knife for general kitchen usage that found a noticeable improvement in their experience/results?

                                                                4 Replies
                                                                1. re: vonshu

                                                                  The Tojiro DP 210 mm gyuto can be had for ~$65 with a little searching.

                                                                  The damascus won't add anything other than flash to the knife. Over time the pattern is going to wear away and won't look as nice--I'd actually recommend staying away from damascus clad knives as I think they don't look very good after they've been used for a few years.

                                                                  1. re: vonshu

                                                                    < I really like the aesthetics of the Damascus but if that's the only difference, I'm not gonna pay an extra $40. >

                                                                    It is just about the look. The two series use the same steel and the same handle. You will not see any performance difference between the regular Tojiro DP vs the Tojiro DP Damascus.

                                                                    <I guess I am only holding on the possibility of the Victorinox because I don't necessarily want to have to acquire and learn how to use professional knife sharpening equipment>

                                                                    Well, you should still need a knife sharpening strategy if you acquire a Victorinox. The only difference is that you can probably use a cheaper sharpening stone (like a $10-15 oilstone) for Victorinox knife. It really doesn't matter what knife you get. You will still need to find a way to sharpen it. In fact, you will likely need to sharpen your Victorinox knife more often than your Tojiro knife, but that is another story.

                                                                    <Is there anyone out there who switched from European style to Japanese style chefs knife for general kitchen usage that found a noticeable improvement in their experience/results?>

                                                                    I think most of us did, but I will let others speak for their own experience. Based on the people I have interacted, I would say 80% of the people who tried the Japanese harder steel knives like them better than the European softer steel knives. However, there is no telling that you belong to the 80% or the 20%.

                                                                    Do you have a friend who has a Japanese made knife which you can borrow the knife for a day or two? If not, have you considered a visit to Williams Sonoma or Sur La Table to test drive a Shun knife just to have a feel?

                                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                      Fake Damascus does little for me. It's all about performance

                                                                      1. re: scubadoo97

                                                                        Damascus pattern does very little to me either. However, I do like Kurouchi finish especially with a touch of hammering. :)

                                                                        http://www.kitchen-knife.jp/pro/nakki...

                                                                  2. Alright, think I'm gonna go with the Tojiro DP, perhaps with the matching pairing knife, and one of the recommended wetstones. Thanks all! Ill report back once I've gotten and tried it out

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: vonshu

                                                                      As far as whetstones, the King combination can be had for near the same price as the 1000 grit and is a little more versatile. Mine is a 1200 - 8000, but I think there is little practical difference between that and the 1000-6000.

                                                                      1. re: vonshu

                                                                        Hi vonshu, I'd love to know if you ended up buying the Tojiro knives and how they are working out for you. Thanks, ninrn

                                                                      2. I would get a Sabatier off of ebay. It will outlast you. And when you get it, you'll understand why I recommended it.

                                                                        Stays very sharp for a long time.
                                                                        Perfectly well balanced in the hand.
                                                                        Built to last forever.

                                                                        1. My 2 cents. Everyone and their brother has an opinion on this, and here is mine:
                                                                          1. My Dexter Chinese cleaver is fine for 90% of my cooking needs. I like that it can lop open the toughest squash or melon.
                                                                          2. I have and like my Dexter. Great edge and easy to clean
                                                                          3. Someday i will own a set of Bertis. Theya re that ridiculously beautiful
                                                                          4. I asked for a pre-WW1 Sabatier for Christmas (check out The finer Things). I also asked about a beautiful French knife (modern) fromt eh same site.
                                                                          5. I once asked a long, long time ago about knives ont his board (pre-2005, I think), and was told there is a small maker of great knives in Germany. I think the name given was "Potter." I think I saw them once on-line. Kind of cool for the "I have the only one you are ver gonna see" factor.
                                                                          6. I selected the two knives (#4), since I could no longer find the knife I REALLY wanted. Some guy was making these short, almost crude-looking Finnish knives. The blade itself looked much shorter and more rounded than anything else I have seen. It looked unfinished across the top. it was about $100. He also made a way less itneresting short, stubby garlic knife
                                                                          If it exists, i have no idea where anymore (watch Chem will have the amker on speed dial).
                                                                          Matt

                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                          1. re: Westy

                                                                            Try looking up 'roselli' knives. That's a Finnish maker that seems to have some designs that match your description. Not overly expensive either.

                                                                            www.ragweedforge.com/RoselliCatalog.html

                                                                            1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                              Yep. Those are the ones. Minus hands on experience, what is your take?

                                                                              1. re: Westy

                                                                                Which one specifically are you interested in?

                                                                                The short answer is a really couldn't say. They only make a couple actual chefs knives, and those are priced into a category where there are a lot of options that are known to be excellent. The steels used sound decent and appropriate, but I haven't tried them or read any trustworthy reviews. The description makes it sound like the grinds may be just a bit on the simple side, but that's just my tastes - as long as theyre reasonably thin behind their edge bevels, they should cut at least pretty well.

                                                                                There are worse risks to take, especially if you just really dig the design of one - that matters. But there are a lot of good knives available in the same price range if you don't feel like taking that risk.

                                                                                1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                  UHC chefs knife or Little cook.

                                                                                  What i like about great designs is to see how absolutely simple something can be.

                                                                          2. One year I decided I deserved great knives and purchased a bunch of Globe knives.

                                                                            Problem was with these knives is that they did not hold their shapeness for long, I was always sharpening them, and I hated every minute of this process. It seemed a bit excess the amount of shapening I had to do, about every time.

                                                                            So now they sit in my drawer looking pretty and unused. Would never buy an expensive knife again. Now I use the high end bread slicing knife for most everything as crazy as that sounds, the foofy knives burned me out.

                                                                            1. I don't have time to read all the posts but after a nearly 40 year career as a chef I can definitively say "the best knife is a sharp knife". Being able to easily keep your knives sharp is key. Besides the knife I would make sure to get a sharpener & a steel. The Victorinox knife that Cook's Illustrated recomends is fine and cheap but there are many good choices. I have a drawer full of German, Swiss, & Japanese knives but my recent go to knives has been these type of knives:
                                                                              http://www.amazon.com/Pure-Komachi-Se...

                                                                              They are dirt cheap, stay razor sharp for a good while and I have been able to sharpen on this device using the Asian angle slot:
                                                                              http://www.amazon.com/M4623-Diamond-S...

                                                                              My pet peeve with Japanese knives (I own Globals & another high end knife that’s too nice to use)are that their handles have never evolved functionally, I guess because they are tradition bound. They are very slippery when you get a little grease on them. Look @ the Vitorinox and Dexter knives with the molded handles. Much safer and ergonomically comfortable.

                                                                               
                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: zackly

                                                                                Unfortunately, sharpness isn't a good test of how well a knife would (or more accurately "could") perform. Edge geometry plays a large role in how well a knife performs. I can take an overly thick "tactical" knife with a 5 mm thick blade that is .06" behind the edge to hair whittling sharpness and a sub-micron refinement, but it will still never cut well.

                                                                                Even a dull knife - provided it has good edge geometry - can still cut. Box cutters are a good example of this: they aren't very sharp at all, in fact they are usually quite dull, but because they are so thin behind the edge they can still perform ok. Similarly, paper isn't particularly sharp, but you can still get cut by it due to how thin the paper is.

                                                                                Using a pull through sharpener will work ok for a while, but eventually the knife will need to be thinned behind the edge. This is where Japanese knives with their harder blade and more specialized steel truly shine over more westernized counterparts with softer blades and budget steel. The Victorinox using X50CrMoV15 (a budget stainless steel) hardened to 55-56 HRC is going to be significantly outclassed by another knife using a more specialized steel and hardened to 63+ HRC. Even at the same edge geometry as the Victorinox, this other knife will hold an edge longer--thin this other knife out, and they will be worlds apart.

                                                                                Handle ergonomics are very subjective, so I'm never really convinced that a specific style is better than another. In my personal experience, I've found that the Victorinox handle is uncomfortable in a pinch grip. They seem to work quite well for you, though, so that is perfectly fine.

                                                                              2. Look at the website Chefsknivestogo. Send an email to
                                                                                Mark Richmond, the guy who owns the place. He's agreat guy and will give you an honest answer. He ahs good prices and free shipping over $60. I'm a happy repeat customer.