Jump to content


Welcome to the eG Forums!

These forums are a service of the Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to advancement of the culinary arts. Anyone can read the forums, however if you would like to participate in active discussions please join the Society.

Photo

Japanese Knives – What to Buy?

Asian

  • Please log in to reply
273 replies to this topic

#241 ahpadt

ahpadt
  • participating member
  • 73 posts

Posted 15 January 2014 - 01:08 PM

First get the whetstones or jigs and learn to sharpen your existing knives. They can achieve new life and sharpness. Then once you have that under your belt and still want a new knife you will be better able to maintain it.

It doesn't matter what knife it is except maybe serrated. They all need sharpening on a somewhat regular basis

 

Probably a good idea. Should I just get a 1000 grit? Are there any major differences from brand to brand? My local store sells MinoSharp and a few other brands.



#242 Dakki

Dakki
  • participating member
  • 1,047 posts

Posted 15 January 2014 - 01:27 PM

IMO a 1K/3K combi waterstone is probably the best starter. Much finer than that is pointless for stainless, and 3K to 8K is a natural step up for carbon steel (and about the finest you can usefully sharpen at in a kitchen knife) if you go that way, while a 300 or 400 grit is a natural step down from 1K and excellent grits for repairs.

 

There are differences between brands but they not really that significant starting out. A lot of it comes down to personal preference, which is informed by personal experience.


  • ahpadt likes this
This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

#243 dcarch

dcarch
  • participating member
  • 2,516 posts

Posted 15 January 2014 - 08:19 PM

But if you are cheap like me:

 

A D-2 steel blank for $20.00

 

With a few hand tools and a grinder, shaped it to look like a knife.

 

Sent it out to be hardened and cryo tempered for $20.00

 

Sharpened it on a belt sander and stones to razor sharp and glued some scales for the handle.

 

I got myself a 330mm yanagiba for $40.00.

 

As you know, D-2 makes a very nice knife and keeps a razor edge for a long time.

 

 

dcarch



#244 ahpadt

ahpadt
  • participating member
  • 73 posts

Posted 22 February 2014 - 12:08 PM

IMO a 1K/3K combi waterstone is probably the best starter. Much finer than that is pointless for stainless, and 3K to 8K is a natural step up for carbon steel (and about the finest you can usefully sharpen at in a kitchen knife) if you go that way, while a 300 or 400 grit is a natural step down from 1K and excellent grits for repairs.

 

There are differences between brands but they not really that significant starting out. A lot of it comes down to personal preference, which is informed by personal experience.

 

Unfortunately I havent had much luck in finding a 1k/3k combi stone. I've had a look around the web and my local kitchen supplier. The only thing I found on the web was a couple of noname stones. Also being an electronics enthusiast, I am very sceptical about 'brandless' items. Do you have a specfic combistone or brand to recommend that is somewhat easily available? I am located in the UK.



#245 irodguy

irodguy
  • participating member
  • 596 posts
  • Location:Plano, Texas

Posted 24 February 2014 - 08:38 PM

I own many Japanese knives.  I just purchased one recently on a recommendation from a friend.  http://www.amazon.co...0_26725410_item

 

I must say the Zhen is very well balanced with a very reasonable weight.   It a great Usaba at a really good price.


Never trust a skinny chef

#246 gfron1

gfron1
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 4,356 posts
  • Location:Silver City, NM

Posted 12 September 2014 - 11:26 AM

You know what I want?  The process of picking a knife is overwhelming, so I want a website, like travel sites, that you put in your preferred items, and they search the internet for the options and best pricing. The problem right now is if you don't know all of the manufacturers and terminology then you're out of luck, or some sites will say white #1 while others will say the Japanese term for the same steel.  I'm not going to do that site, but my descriptors would be:

 

Handle shape

Handle material

Style (with a diagram of what that style is)

Blade material (with a quick pop-up of characteristics of that material)

Length

Manufacturing process (handmade, stamped, etc)

 

What else am I missing?  The point is that someone could take a 10% commission if they could help make the connection happen.


Chef, Curious Kumquat, Silver City, NM


#247 Smithy

Smithy
  • host
  • 3,965 posts
  • Location:North Shore of Lake Superior

Posted 12 September 2014 - 12:20 PM

Weight of the finished product

Some measure of balance - I don't know whether or how that's quantified for knives, but it's an important aspect for the user

Warranty?

 

This is a good idea, gfron1.  There should be some enterprising genius hanging out here who could start up such a web site.


Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown


#248 gfron1

gfron1
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 4,356 posts
  • Location:Silver City, NM

Posted 12 September 2014 - 12:39 PM

Yeah that weight balance thing is probably not measurable unless the knife is in your hand.  I always though Globals were weighted well until I got my Fujiwara.  But most of us don't have access to a store with great knives.


Chef, Curious Kumquat, Silver City, NM


#249 jayt90

jayt90
  • participating member
  • 1,503 posts
  • Location:SW Ont

Posted 12 September 2014 - 01:54 PM

gfron, you could add to your list:

 

the playoff of brittleness vs strength or sharpness,

 

the strength of the blade-handle junction

 

the geometry of the edge, and the tapering of the design

 

ease of sharpening and maintaining the edge.

 

 

There are some some surprisingly inexpensive carbon steel blades from  CCK, Leigh Valley and from Japan that meet all my requirements (although the sharpest will show a few nicks after 10 years).

 

I suspect there are a lot of mid field players making large profits on knives that appear fashionable.

 

 

 


  • gfron1 likes this

#250 Hassouni

Hassouni
  • participating member
  • 2,135 posts
  • Location:DC Area/London/Beirut

Posted 12 September 2014 - 04:03 PM

You know what I want?  The process of picking a knife is overwhelming, so I want a website, like travel sites, that you put in your preferred items, and they search the internet for the options and best pricing. The problem right now is if you don't know all of the manufacturers and terminology then you're out of luck, or some sites will say white #1 while others will say the Japanese term for the same steel.  I'm not going to do that site, but my descriptors would be:

 

Handle shape

Handle material

Style (with a diagram of what that style is)

Blade material (with a quick pop-up of characteristics of that material)

Length

Manufacturing process (handmade, stamped, etc)

 

What else am I missing?  The point is that someone could take a 10% commission if they could help make the connection happen.

 

The chef knives to go forum has people that will make you very concrete recs if you can define what you want based on those parameters


  • gfron1 likes this

#251 Robenco15

Robenco15
  • participating member
  • 290 posts

Posted 22 September 2014 - 01:44 PM

The chef knives to go forum has people that will make you very concrete recs if you can define what you want based on those parameters

 

2nd that. They actually have a few questions they ask you to answer when posting a "help me find a knife" thread.


  • gfron1 likes this

#252 daveb

daveb
  • participating member
  • 22 posts

Posted 23 September 2014 - 11:18 AM

The chef knives to go forum has people that work for chef knives to go that will make you very concrete recs from products offered by chef knives to go if you can define what you want based on those parameters


Fixed that for you. CKTG has many good offerings but the forum is anything but unbiased.  There are other forums that are not retailer based that can offer recommendations based on user requirements.  Chef Talk and Cooking for Engineers come to mind as does this forum.   Kitchen Knife Forums is specific to kitchen knives and related "stuff".



#253 Robenco15

Robenco15
  • participating member
  • 290 posts

Posted 23 September 2014 - 12:21 PM

Fixed that for you. CKTG has many good offerings but the forum is anything but unbiased.  There are other forums that are not retailer based that can offer recommendations based on user requirements.  Chef Talk and Cooking for Engineers come to mind as does this forum.   Kitchen Knife Forums is specific to kitchen knives and related "stuff".

 

Either way the people know what they are talking about and not every person there works for Chefknivestogo. And it is obvious who those people are. I truly think that avoiding that website for the reasons you listed is a stupid reason. The amount of information that can be found on that website is fantastic. You can always use that forum to get answers and take your business elsewhere if you really are bothered by that.



#254 Hassouni

Hassouni
  • participating member
  • 2,135 posts
  • Location:DC Area/London/Beirut

Posted 23 September 2014 - 12:31 PM

Either way the people know what they are talking about and not every person there works for Chefknivestogo. And it is obvious who those people are. I truly think that avoiding that website for the reasons you listed is a stupid reason. The amount of information that can be found on that website is fantastic. You can always use that forum to get answers and take your business elsewhere if you really are bothered by that.

 

Seconded. Also, CKTG has surely the largest collection of quality, distinctive Japanese knives and hands down more information than any other site I've seen. And no, I don't work for them either and only bought a $20 knife from them a few years ago (though I am planning a larger purchase in the near future). I think they're also better for entry-level stuff than, say, Korin, who specializes in really high end, pro-level stuff (and for what it's worth, my main knife was bought at Korin, and I've spent far more money there than at CKTG!)



#255 gfron1

gfron1
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 4,356 posts
  • Location:Silver City, NM

Posted 23 September 2014 - 12:55 PM

I've been modestly not posting what I bought from CKtG. But damn is it a sexy knife.  I wanted one with specific requirements for my use in the restaurant, but also something special to celebrate my past year.  So here it is.  A Sukenari 210mm Honyaki with custom Russian Karelian Birch handle.  I get it tomorrow.

Attached Images

  • NewKnife.jpg

  • Smithy, Hassouni and Robenco15 like this

Chef, Curious Kumquat, Silver City, NM


#256 Hassouni

Hassouni
  • participating member
  • 2,135 posts
  • Location:DC Area/London/Beirut

Posted 23 September 2014 - 01:39 PM

Oh shiiiit those honyaki knives are about as close as one can get to a proper katana! Congrats!


  • gfron1 likes this

#257 Hassouni

Hassouni
  • participating member
  • 2,135 posts
  • Location:DC Area/London/Beirut

Posted 24 September 2014 - 06:06 PM

Dammit gfron, I saw this for sale on the CKTG forum second hand for $40 off the new price and had to pull the trigger (bottom one)

 

DSC03979_zpsa40317d6.jpg

 

Which is this, one of the more acclaimed Shirogami #1 knives on the site: http://www.chefknive...gyuto240mm.html


  • Smithy and gfron1 like this

#258 Hassouni

Hassouni
  • participating member
  • 2,135 posts
  • Location:DC Area/London/Beirut

Posted 24 September 2014 - 06:59 PM

(now I have to get some decent stones to maintain the edge that hand-made Shirogami deserves...)



#259 gfron1

gfron1
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 4,356 posts
  • Location:Silver City, NM

Posted 24 September 2014 - 07:08 PM

Hassouni - I really don't need any new temptations at this point.  I need to make money not spend it :)


Chef, Curious Kumquat, Silver City, NM


#260 Hassouni

Hassouni
  • participating member
  • 2,135 posts
  • Location:DC Area/London/Beirut

Posted 24 September 2014 - 07:14 PM

Don't worry, the Fujiwara Teruyasu Shirogami #1 is said to be even better than the Goko - the Goko apparently is close to it but the former has a special something. And furthermore, apparently nothing surpasses honyaki blades.

 

I was in the market for a Yamashin 240mm gyutou (also Shirogami AKA white paper #1) to learn better sharpening, but at $104, this Goko apparently represents several jumps up in performance for less than $50 more. Now all I have to do is get some stones!

 

...and maybe some strops.

 

....and a better, edge-grain cutting board...

 

.....and a saya for the knife....

 

.....and a bunch of towels to wipe off the reactive carbon blade....

 

 

agh hell, and the Death & Co book is coming out, AND Cocktail Kingdom is releasing a new line of mixing glasses...and....when will these purchases end! (sorry, doing more drinks-making than food-chopping lately)


Edited by Hassouni, 24 September 2014 - 07:23 PM.

  • Smithy and gfron1 like this

#261 rotuts

rotuts
  • participating member
  • 5,709 posts
  • Location:Boston MA

Posted 25 September 2014 - 10:02 AM

Not to be a bit of a Know-It-All  idiot

 

:raz:

 

but at some point, consider how your sharpen Your Fine Knives.  

 

the EdgePro takes all the guess work out it the equation, and you cannot get a better edge.  

 

if you use Free Stones, you might have the coordination and skill to get an edge as good,

 

but most of us cant.

 

I dont work for EP.  they changed my knife collection and made my Gobals  Sing.

 

still I got a jones for You Know What !

 

but your fine knives best friend is its mate, the cutting board.

 

there is a little dance going on there.

 

Ive made my own for a long time from NE figured hard wood.  mostlly birds eye maple.

 

loved it all

 

now Ive found these :

 

http://www.bedbathan...o cutting board

 

not so sexy.  but they might be your Fine Knives Best Friend.


  • rotuts likes this

#262 Hassouni

Hassouni
  • participating member
  • 2,135 posts
  • Location:DC Area/London/Beirut

Posted 25 September 2014 - 10:37 AM

Not to be a bit of a Know-It-All  idiot

 

:raz:

 

but at some point, consider how your sharpen Your Fine Knives.  

 

the EdgePro takes all the guess work out it the equation, and you cannot get a better edge.  

 

if you use Free Stones, you might have the coordination and skill to get an edge as good,

 

but most of us cant.

 

I dont work for EP.  they changed my knife collection and made my Gobals  Sing.

 

still I got a jones for You Know What !

 

but your fine knives best friend is its mate, the cutting board.

 

there is a little dance going on there.

 

Ive made my own for a long time from NE figured hard wood.  mostlly birds eye maple.

 

loved it all

 

now Ive found these :

 

http://www.bedbathan...o cutting board

 

not so sexy.  but they might be your Fine Knives Best Friend.

 

I have one of those Oxo ones. It's OK. Gets dinged up easily and probably isn't the greatest on the knife itself.

 

As for homemade boards from birdseye maple, want to make me one? :biggrin:



#263 gfron1

gfron1
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 4,356 posts
  • Location:Silver City, NM

Posted 25 September 2014 - 10:54 AM

I actually agree with you, but as I delve deeper into knives (like any kitchen skill) I like to know the basics and then once I understand the theory and practice, then I move to the easier solution.  I'll certainly be looking into an EdgePro in the future.  Thanks though.


Chef, Curious Kumquat, Silver City, NM


#264 rotuts

rotuts
  • participating member
  • 5,709 posts
  • Location:Boston MA

Posted 25 September 2014 - 10:59 AM

Ill give you my EP insight :

 

the blanks need to be kept flat.

 

best and easy way to do this is to buy an extra blank of each grit you use.

 

not so expensive.  they you mark on the metal back side w an Sharpie  1 and 2  for the other 3 and 4.

 

you use the second blank to 'massage' the two stone under the water to get rid of the metal shavings and 

 

keeps them flat.

 

two blanks of each grit will last you a life time,

\

and use more water rather then less

 

a joy to use and much more effective than Psycho-Therapy, or Analysis.

 

BTW  the EP is 'easier' only in the sense it takes the angle guess-work out of the equation.


Edited by rotuts, 25 September 2014 - 11:00 AM.

  • gfron1 likes this

#265 rotuts

rotuts
  • participating member
  • 5,709 posts
  • Location:Boston MA

Posted 25 September 2014 - 11:11 AM

my second thought :

 

and EP sooner is much better than an EP later.

 

one time costs are in the long run trivial

 

that Cable you have, that iPhone you have ?

 

over and over they damage your 'Holdings' month by month

 

forever.

 

evil they are.

 

not the EP



#266 gfron1

gfron1
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 4,356 posts
  • Location:Silver City, NM

Posted 25 September 2014 - 11:28 AM

Why do you say that?  I keep my knives in good shape, with daily honing and weekly wet stone sharpening, so my angles are fairly consistent.  Are you thinking that if angles are maintained one would be doing a lot of grinding when they switch over to an EP?


Chef, Curious Kumquat, Silver City, NM


#267 rotuts

rotuts
  • participating member
  • 5,709 posts
  • Location:Boston MA

Posted 25 September 2014 - 11:40 AM

No

 

you do not need honing of a superb knife if you thing about your cutting board.

 

honing is the result of a cutting board that is too hard and then bends that Fine Edge.

 

the honing then takes that curled edge and makes it smooth.

 

 a knife, fine or coarse IE you have very fine knives

 

reacts w the cutting board.

\

wood was the main stay for a long time.

 

you will not Grind Those Knives.

 

Just Dont Screw Up

 

:biggrin:

 

your knives are Too Delicious For That.


  • gfron1 likes this

#268 rotuts

rotuts
  • participating member
  • 5,709 posts
  • Location:Boston MA

Posted 26 September 2014 - 05:26 AM

Hassouni

 

like this one :

 

board1.jpg

 

or this one :

 

board2.jpg

 

the second one is an invention of mine;  they are narrow and long to fit over large double sinks:

 

you set it up, do your work, flick the remainders into the Disposal side sink, wipe and put away, standing on its end.

 

Ive made over a doz. of these as gifts for friends over time.  time well before there was an internet.

 

there are boards ive seen here far m,ore beautiful than these.  the top one I made for my mother, and now 

 

its mine and I still use it a lot.  the others, as you see  not so much.

 

the Oxo boards i mentioned are much much kinder on any knife you might have.


Edited by rotuts, 26 September 2014 - 05:28 AM.

  • Smithy likes this

#269 heidih

heidih
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 10,825 posts
  • Location:Los Angeles

Posted 01 October 2014 - 02:37 PM

Cleaning out the kitchen cupboards I stumbled on this "gift" from years ago. Never used. I googled M Carter and see the site but can't tell what my knife is and if it is worth keeping. Images all have horrid glare - sorry.

Attached Images

  • photo (74).JPG
  • photo 1 (12).JPG
  • photo 2 (9).JPG


#270 daveb

daveb
  • participating member
  • 22 posts

Posted 01 October 2014 - 03:19 PM

Nice gift!

 

It's a Carter.  Can't tell length but prob something close to: http://www.cartercut...nwood-133grams/

 

Your's was likely done before he started offering upgraded handles.

 

I've one like it and it's a great little cutter.


Edited by daveb, 01 October 2014 - 03:20 PM.






Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Asian