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Which knife for Christmas


Jaymes
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I've got a nephew, 26 years old, who lives alone in his apartment, cooks for himself and occasional guests, who has asked for "a good knife" for Christmas. This fellow has never had "a good knife," but suddenly suspects, after several years of using bad ones, that such things do exist, and I'd like to buy him one.

I need to select one good "starter knife" for him. And I need to keep the price under $100.

I'd prefer something that keeps a good edge, since he knows nothing about sharpening good knives, either, and I can't afford to start him off with $500 dollar's worth of knives, sharpeners and knowledge.

Any suggestions?

What would you buy a young bachelor for his "first good knife"?

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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I'm in pretty much the same situation he is in. I just started broadening my horizons and realizing that better knives were out there this semester. What I got as an upgrade to the Tools of the Trade brand that were in my house were some Henckel Internationals. They are the bargain line from Henckel and definitely a noticeable improvement over the crap I was using. For what you are willing to spend they are definitely priced right. In fact I did a quick Amazon search to double check and found this on sale. http://www.amazon.com/Henckels-Internation...29194416&sr=8-1

I've used real Henckels before and while it is definitely obvious that these are not real Henckels I found this very easy to maintain even with a bunch of roommates that don't get the concept of taking care of just a kitchen knife. I would totally recommend these as the intermediate set before moving up to really nice knives.

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Without hesitation I would recommend Togiharu Molybdenum. It's cheap at $56 and is a very good knife for the money and makes for a good starter knife. When it gets dull he can send it to one of several Japanese knife sharpening services linked below. These are pretty much the only three that I would suggest for getting his knife sharpened. They all know how to properly do the job and will do it by hand on sharpening stones. Very good services by all of them.

Knife sharpening by Dave Martell

Korin sharpening service

Epicurean Edge services

My Photography: Bob Worthington Photography

 

My music: Coronado Big Band
 

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If you decide on a chef's knife -- if I had one knife it should be a chef's or a Santoku -- it would be hard to go wrong with the MAC MTH-80 (just over $100), or the Global G2 (I've seen it as low as $75). I find all the Santoku choices bewildering, and the reviews seem scattershot, so maybe someone can jump in with a recommendation for that: I need one too. ;)

MAC MTH-80

Forgot to mention, the Global G2 has a stainless handle. Caveat: You still need to take good care of the blade, but unlike wood you don't have to worry about babying the handle. It's also cool-looking.

Right now on Ebay, you can pick up a GLOBAL 6 KNIFE SET including the G2 for $141.00 (no block). That's a bargain.

Global G2 (the one on top)

Good luck sorting through all the opinions you are going to get ... ;)

Edited by Batard (log)

"There's nothing like a pork belly to steady the nerves."

Fergus Henderson

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I agree the Togiharu Molybdenum Gyutou is a great value. I sent a 210mm gyuto to a friend. I had a chance to inspect the knife and it was beautiful. It is soft enough to resist chipping, hard enough to keep a good edge and thin enough to slice through food like butter. It was very sharp out of the box.

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Well, it's for Christmas. Giving a Dexter Russel is kind of like giving someone a bic razor. Useful, but ...

Forschners are serviceable knives, but the chef knives aren't especially good values, especially compared with many of their others.

In a case like this it really comes down to how willing this guy is to take care of the knives and to learn how to sharpen them. After a couple of months of use without any sharpening, no knife is nice. After a couple of months of flat out abuse, many great knives will be worse than many mediocre ones.

I don't have experience with the Togiharu knives, but from what I've heard they may be perfect. Same with Tojiro. If the person is likely to bang the knives around (and lets face it, most people are) a bomb-proof German knife like Messermeister might be a more practical choice. But only if you can find a really good deal ... prices on these have been going up.

Notes from the underbelly

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Messermeister generally makes a better knife, but it looks like Wusthoff is closing out their Cordon Blue line. An eight-inch chef's knife from that line, while not the pinnacle of the trade, would be a good choice for someone who, as paulraphael says, "bang(s) the knives around" -- and who might not have the access or the will to hunt down someone who can do sharpening justice to Japanese angles.

Dave Scantland
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dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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No need for hunting down someone who can do sharpening justice...I included links to send his knife out for sharpening in my first post. With these services there is no "need" to learn how to do your own sharpening either. If you buy Messermeister or Wusthoff it won't be necessary to send out for sharpening because it just won't help.

My Photography: Bob Worthington Photography

 

My music: Coronado Big Band
 

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If you buy Messermeister or Wusthoff it won't be necessary to send out for sharpening because it just won't help.

What does this mean? They can't be sharpened?

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I agree with Randi. The Forschner Victorinox Inox is excellent, inexpensive, and indestrucitble. The 8 or 10 in. should serve him well. It is also easy to sharpen and hone. It is not so glamorous as many other knives, but when it comes to function, it beats most of them flat. Later on when he gets into cooking and knives you can go for some of the fine Japanese blades when he is ready for the next level.

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Another elegant alternative is the French peasant cook knife replication from LeeValley Tools--Leevalley.com. It is found in the gardening section under Kithchen tools. About $25 plus shipping and is beautiful and functional. It is a high carbon steel blade with an epoxy impregnated wood handle for durability. I have given several of these as gifts and they have been well receive. They also are shipped in a nice gift box.

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I agree with the others who have suggested Togiharu-I have a 240 cm Togiharu Inox that is my most used knife (& I have a few), & also the hammered textured damascus knives (I have the santoku & a petty from another maker that looks identical to the Togiharu) are quite attractive, as well as wicked sharp right out of the box. I don't imagine that you could go wrong with any of their lines & they are on sale now at Korin through 12/31.

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Based on what I read here, I just picked up a Togiharu Molybdenum Santoku. Thanks for the the suggestion, I have now bought myself a small Christmas present.

"There's nothing like a pork belly to steady the nerves."

Fergus Henderson

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Based on what I read here, I just picked up a Togiharu Molybdenum Santoku. Thanks for the the suggestion, I have now bought myself a small Christmas present.

I know what you mean!! I'm really tempted myself.

But most of all, I want to thank everybody that offered their thoughts and opinions. I just knew I could count on you.

Now, armed with these suggestions, I'm going to figure out which one will be just right.

Thanks again!

:rolleyes:

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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I have been incredibly impressed by Wiltshire knives - they have the ability to take an edge and are reasonably well balanced - for about a 6th of the price of a Global or a Wusthof.

I agree that Wiltshire knives are not nearly as good as Global or a Wusthof, but I believe the quality and the style Wiltshire knives are made in (ie. they're not supermarket knives designed for people without knowledge of knife technique) qualify them as "good" knives.

So I'd suggest Wiltshire, and a cooks knife, a paring knife, a steel and either a block or a blade cover, and some instruction on how to use them!

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They sharpen up really nice and hold the edge well.

Aren't Shun knives notoriously difficult to sharpen correctly? I think they are honed to a 16-degree angle, which is hard unless you have a lot of experience and the right equipment. For me, a non-expert, it would be difficult to me this precisely.

Those really are beautiful knives though. I am exercising considerable self control right now not buying the Nakiri.

Do these knives also have a lifetime warranty, like the Shun classic, etc.? Can you use the 'special' Shun steel on them?

Edit: correcting my ham-handed spelling ...

Edited by Batard (log)

"There's nothing like a pork belly to steady the nerves."

Fergus Henderson

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They sharpen up really nice and hold the edge well.

Aren't Shun knives notoriously difficult to sharpen correctly? I think they are honed to a 16-degree angle, which is hard unless you have a lot of experience and the right equipment.

If you sharpen your own you are not tied into the factory angles. I like mine a bit sharper than factory so I reprofile to a shallower angle. The Shun Wasabi blades have shown, in my little amateur kitchen, to be able to support a keener edge than the one they shipped with out of the factory. I have seen this in almost all of the knives and cutlery I have sharpened.

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Aren't Shun knives notoriously difficult to sharpen correctly? Aren't Shun knives notoriously difficult to sharpen correctly? I think they are honed to a 16-degree angle, which is hard unless you have a lot of experience and the right equipment. For me, a no-expert, it would be difficult to be this precisely.

These knives are not difficult to sharpen. They use a softer steel than the classic line but even then, the classic line is standard VG10 stainless so it's not difficult at all. All the knives in the link that H20 provided are traditional single-beveled Japanese knives EXCEPT the Santoku and Nakiri...they are double beveled like any other western styled knife. Traditional knives are not difficult to sharpen per se but there is a different technique involved. The Wasabi line is definitely their budget line but people who own them seem to like them well enough.

edited to fix my bandaid-covered fingers typo's (sharpened 5 knives last night) :blink:

Edited by Octaveman (log)

My Photography: Bob Worthington Photography

 

My music: Coronado Big Band
 

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Aren't Shun knives notoriously difficult to sharpen correctly? Aren't Shun knives notoriously difficult to sharpen correctly? I think they are honed to a 16-degree angle, which is hard unless you have a lot of experience and the right equipment. For me, a no-expert, it would be difficult to be this precisely.

These knives are not difficult to sharpen. They use a softer steel than the classic line but even then, the classic line is standard VG10 stainless so it's not difficult at all. All the knives in the link that H20 provided are traditional single-beveled Japanese knives EXCEPT the Santoku and Nakiri...they are double beveled like any other western styled knife. Traditional knives are not difficult to sharpen per se but there is a different technique involved. The Wasabi line is definitely their budget line but people who own them seem to like them well enough.

edited to fix my bandaid-covered fingers typo's (sharpened 5 knives last night) :blink:

Oops, I sharpened my Wasabi Santoku as if it were a single bevelled knife :P. That would certainly explain a lot about why it never got as sharp as I would have liked...

Do you have a link saying the Santoku is double bevelled? I don't remember reading about that anywhere.

PS: I am a guy.

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I've never seen a santoku that wasn't double beveled. I have been known to be wrong...from time to time. I haven't seen this knife in person so I can't say with 100% certainty but Santoku is typically a double beveled knife. Look at pictures of the Deba, Yanagiba. There is a very distinct bevel that is quite wide. Now look at the pics of the Nakiri and Santoku. That same bevel is not present. These two are double beveled.

My Photography: Bob Worthington Photography

 

My music: Coronado Big Band
 

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