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One good knife, recommendations?


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p.s.  Forgot to add that the only German brand I'd recommend is the Messermeister Meridian Elite.  I've never used it but I've heard great things about it from known/respected users.  The lack of bolster at the heel allows for sharpening the entire edge.

These are very nice ... I bought one for my mom and one for my girlfriend. Very light, small handle that fits small hands well, but still comfortable in my bigger hands. I enjoy using them.

My favorite, though, is a Schaaf Goldhamster. It's German knife that's quite different ... Very heavy, but unlike other heavy knives I've used, it's perfectly balanced (because of the double bolster design that works like a counterweight) so it's fast and effortless to use ... the weight of the knife does all the work. I don't know anything about the metalurgy, but the Schaaf is my one chef's knife, and I used it for four and a half years before I had to put a new edge on it. Just light steeling a couple of times a week kept it like a razor. I'm sure the steel is softer than the Japanese knives, but this seems like a matter of choice, not absolutes. Some purists still prefer very soft french carbon steel because its ductility allows it to be steeled to razor sharpness hundreds of times without needing to be reground.

I'm considering getting a Japanese knife or two someday (because they're so cool) but not until I'm willing to invest in the more serious stones required to maintain the harder steel. And willing to invest the time ... monthly or weekly honing is a bigger deal than a few swipes at a steel a few times a week. til then, i'm resisting going back to Korin with a credit card in my pocket ;)

Notes from the underbelly

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I'm considering getting a Japanese knife or two someday (because they're so cool) but not until I'm willing to invest in the more serious stones required to maintain the harder steel. And willing to invest the time ... monthly or weekly honing is a bigger deal than a few swipes at a steel a few times a week. til then, i'm resisting going back to Korin with a credit card in my pocket ;)

Aw come on...it's not that big a deal. Just the other day, I put my 5k stone on the counter and honed up one of my chef knives. Literally, three swipes per side and I was done. Once the investment is made in good stones, they will last a very very long time. I've had my stones for over two years now and they show very little signs of wear.

I've seen that name, Goldhamster, before. It would be interesting to see them in person.

My Photography: Bob Worthington Photography

 

My music: Coronado Big Band
 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Octaveman, I actually decided to try some other type knifes before i ordered a real nice one and im glad i did. I've since come to love the chinese chef type, you know the cleaver looking models. The one i have is a very light none SS one, which is fantastic.

So now i wan't to find me a really nice version of this one, do you have any recommendations?

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I'm actually not sure what you're talking about.  Cleaver looking models?  You mean Nakiri?

Heh, just reading what i wrote before i don't blame you. Was in a hurry and my english is poor to begin with and lets just say stress doesn't make it better.

But yes, im talking about the Nakiri although i think there is something called Usuba aswell that looks similiar. I bought a carbon steel Nakiri in an asian market down here in Cape Town for the nice price of about 25 dollars. It is very light and i just adore it, it retired my Henkel 9'' within 5 min of use (the poor Henkel which costs like 7 of the Nakiri's down here now only gets used when it comes to chopping up chickens and the like). I like the chopping techinque it makes me use, not to mention how nice it is when it comes to moving stuff from the cutting board to where ever.

So now im dying to find a really nice version of this, one which will last me a long time.

If you have any suggestions i'd love to hear them.

Cheers.

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No problem. While I'm not an afficiando with the Nakiri (actually have my first one arriving tomorrow from Japan) I can most certainly recommend a few for you to look over. First question is how much did you want to spend? Obviously more will get you a wider variety of choices but I can't recommend something without knowing your budget. Oh, and I'm assuming stainless is your main criteria?

Edited by Octaveman (log)

My Photography: Bob Worthington Photography

 

My music: Coronado Big Band
 

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The one I'm getting is from Kikuichimonji. Not the same Kikuichi that has a store in New York (or NJ, can't remember). HERE'S a pic. Damascus clad with blue steel #2 core.

Oooh, this is going to be fun. :biggrin: I'll get back. Still looking for stainless? how about stainless clad with a carbon steel core?

Edited by Octaveman (log)

My Photography: Bob Worthington Photography

 

My music: Coronado Big Band
 

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Still looking for stainless?  how about stainless clad with a carbon steel core?

Tbh it doesn't really matter to me as long as it is a great knife. But i do want something that can handle water if it happens. I would just prefer a knife that can stand up to some water so it doesn't get ruined because i forget to wipe it after use once.

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Okay, the first link is to a online retailer that carries Murray Carter knives. His Nakiri is by far the best you can get. His knives are 100% hand made and have the best geometry. The high grade series is clad with stainless and usually have a white steel core. The exposed carbon steel portion is about 3-5mm from the edge so that will be the only place the patina will form. They currently don't have a Nakiri in stock but what they get from Murray changes frequently so check back often or give them a call inquiring about a nakiri. The ideal size is close to 6 sun or 180mm or 7 inches. You can also email him to find out if he has any high grade nakiri's in stock too (get ebony handle with buffalo horn ferrule). He just might. carter.cutlery@verizon.net

Murray Carter

Some other suggestions include....

Sakon Damascus

Kumagoro

Tojiro DP Damascus

Tojiro DP non damascus

All of these knives above are great performers and cannot go wrong with any of them. People who own them speak very highly of these over any others that have been tried and are their respective go-to knives every time.

I would highly suggest the Carter though. Mainly because it's hand made and perfect in every way. If you contact Murray and the wait for one of his knives is too long, then get the inexpensive Tojiro DP to tied you over until it's ready. It will be worth it.

My Photography: Bob Worthington Photography

 

My music: Coronado Big Band
 

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Hard to say really because reviews of knives are purely based on personal opinion and it's rare that one person will have tried all the others in addition to the Sakon. A guy I know and who's opinion I trust has one and loves it. The picture of the Sakon is kind of deceiving in that the nickel damascus finish has more of a chrome look that what you see in the picture. The alternating dark/light colored pattern is due to reflection and not actual finish of the blade. I saw the gyuto in this brand and it's not a finish I prefer but that's just me. I do have to add that the blade material is very tough and will hold up well to normal usage. I think it's a powdered steel of some kind.

Here are a few pics of a Carter that someone I know just bought. Elegent in it's simplicity and perfect in it's style #1 and #2. Can you tell I'm pushing you toward the Carter? You said you wanted something special...this is it.

But to answer your question directly do I think the $210 Nakiri is worth it's price compared to the others? Will the Sakon perform 4 times better than the Tojiro DP? My answer would be no, not to me. The higher price is due to the damascus and to some extent the core steel. Since I'm not thrilled about the knife's finish I wouldn't buy this knife. For the money, the DP is a great knife. More people own a Tojiro DP than do a Sakon. Some of those people own the DP Damascus and find it's a beautiful knife.

The Carter will probably cost around $200+ but to me, it's well worth the money given that it's hand-made by a westerner who studied in Japan for 8+ years and became a master bladesmith (cliff notes version). This guy knows how to make Japanese knives and frankly is one of the best. I would take a hand-made knife over a production knife anyday.

Edited by Octaveman (log)

My Photography: Bob Worthington Photography

 

My music: Coronado Big Band
 

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  • 8 months later...
I'm thinking it should be under $100. Even at that, it would be the single most expensive item in my kitchen that doesn't have a power cord.

Sorry if I'm asking too many questions. It get the impression it takes a lot for you to get tired of talking about knives. :)

No problem at all. It does take a lot but it does help if a little research was done already by the questioner. The gyuto SHOULD be the most expensive non-electrical item in your kitchen since other than the stove, it gets used the most. For a budget of <$100 you can consider a few options. All prices are for 240mm unless noted otherwise.

Kanetsugu Pro-M: Very good fit and finish, stainless, nicely rounded handles for comfort, good steel, very sharper than most out of the box. $85

Tojiro DP: Best bang for the buck in a stainless knife. Handles are more squared off which might present a comfort issue but can be solved with some sand paper. Fit and finish is hit and miss. You could get a perfect handle but you could also get one that has very minor flaws. These "flaws" may not even be noticable to you but just keep in mind this is an inexpensive knife that is made inexpensively but performs very well. You don't cut your food with your handle anyway. $60

Hiromoto HC: Carbon steel knife that is the best bang for the buck in a carbon knife. Good fit and finish, rounded handle for comfort, carbon steel performance (meaning it sharpens up great and stays sharper longer than stainless knives) I have this knife and think very highly of it. $50

Hiromoto AS: This one is beyond your budget but if you could possibly come up with the extra $30, it would be well worth it. This has a super blue carbon steel core and is clad or surrounded by stainless steel. I've had this knife...awesome. The AS is not the same as the G3. I have no experience with the G3 nor have I heard anyone who has. I can guarantee the AS is superior to any other knife listed in this post. $131

MAC Mighty: No personal experience but have heard good things about it. $115

Kiyotsuna: No personal experience with this but have heard it's a very good knife. $98

Kikuichi Elite: I've had this knife and it is a great carbon steel knife. Light and very well made. Kikuichi has a 700 year history of sword making and were the official supplier of swords to the Imperial Army. Thus bears the Emperor's emblem...the chrysanthemum. $90

This should keep you busy for a while. :wacko:

Cheers,

Bob

I never did get around to buying a knife last year, and it seems that JCK no longer is carrying Tojiro knives, which I was leaning towards. My wife has said I can have a knife for Valentine's Day ( :wub: ) and I'm once again looking for a bargain in a sub-$100 gyuto.

Any suggestions as a replacement for the Tojiro?

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I just ordered the 240mm Kanetsugu Pro-M from JCK.

Unfortunately, I noticed after processing payment that I hadn't updated my address in my PayPal account since I moved over three years ago (obviously, I don't use PayPal often). I immediately sent an email to the contact address on the JCK website; should I call also?

EDIT: already got a response from Koki at JCK; they'll ship to my new address, no problem.

Edited by phatj (log)
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I've been trying to find a place that still offered the Hiramoto HC knives since apparently they're discontinued...Hida Tool & Hardware has some Hiramoto knives --is the middle column there (they claim to be carbon steel and seem in line with the high value mentioned far upthread) the same as the HC series on japanesechefsknife.com ?

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I've been trying to find a place that still offered the Hiramoto HC knives since apparently they're discontinued...Hida Tool & Hardware has some Hiramoto knives --is the middle column there (they claim to be carbon steel and seem in line with the high value mentioned far upthread) the same as the HC series on japanesechefsknife.com ?

The Hiromoto carbon knives offered by Hida Tool are one and the same as the HC line offered by JCK. I've purchased knives from the HC line from both vendors. The folks at Hida Tool are very nice. I'm sure they'll be able to sort one out for you.

-Mike-

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Forgive my neophyte GLEE, but the UPS gods smiled upon me today and delivered me my very first "real" knife....a Shun 8-inch Chef's knife. I finally found an extremely good deal on one, the only concession being that it has the scalloped edges. No big deal.

I'm sure there are sharper knives out there in the world, but I don't think I want to own one until I make it at least six months without losing a digit with this thing. In all seriousness, I think my knife skills have improved exponentially in the past thirty minutes just from chopping garlic, parsley and onions. I've never minced anything using only the tap-tap-tap energy that it takes to click a mouse. I think the combination of the ease of use and the fearful respect that one must have with that sharp of an edge are what have improved my skills in such a short time.

To quote the cheesy old diamond commercial...."I love this knife...I love it, I love it, I love it....".

So, anybody need a 10 inch Henckels that is going into the mothballs? :biggrin:

Jerry

Kansas City, Mo.

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My eG Food Blog- 2011

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Looking way back at the original post, if I had to have just one good knife, it would be German.

I love my Japanese knives, and use them about 75% of the time now, but none is a do-it-all knife. My Hiromoto gyuto is fabulously sharp and holds its edge well, makes prep work fun, and guts with precision. But there's a lot I won't use it for. It's fragile. I don't use it to chop up chickens, chop blocks of chocolate, cut the heads and tails off of fish, or cut pineapples. My 8" Schaff Goldhamster does all of these things without blinking. And it does everything the gyuto can do, just not quite at the same level of performance. It's my desert island knife.

Luckily I haven't been forced to move to a desert island, so I can enjoy both ... the Japanese (which I use most of the time) and the German (which I used to use all the time, but now mostly grab for the rough stuff).

Notes from the underbelly

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There are various different styles of German knives just as their Japanese counterparts. German brands have chef knives, boning knives, petty's, parers, etc. So do Japanese brands. So whether you buy German or you buy Japanese, there is no one single all knowing all doing knife to do every single thing a cook would need to do.

If German brands are so good, why would anyone even need or want any Japanese knife? Why have one to use 75% of the time when German knives can do it all? If I knew nothing about knives and someone told me I could have a knife that was only 25% effective in the kitchen versus a different knife that was 75% effective and I only had to choose one, it would be (duh) the knife that gave me 75% effectiveness. And that's just following Paul's percentage of usage. It would be 90%/10% for me. Saying the German knife would be the #1 pick then follow that statement saying the Japanese knife is your most used knife is very odd to me.

I will never understand people when they say Japanese knives are too fragile. Anyone can talk/write until they are blue in the face and I will still say it's not the knife's fault. If you don't want it to chip, don't make the edge so thin when you sharpen it. If you want it to cut up a chicken, then make the edge slightly more obtuse when you sharpen it. No Japanese knife should be so "fragile" that you couldn't use it and abuse it. If a chip does occur, the knife is still 100% functional. Sometimes my knive's chip. I leave it there until the blade gets dull then remove it when I resharpen. It's not a big deal and it's not a fault of the knife.

Following Paul's format after reading the very first post, I would still say buy a Japanese Gyuto for every day prep and keep the old crap German knife for the heavy-duty beater jobs. Since the OP was asking for recs on a single good knife I take the intent was to not replace everything he/she owns but is/was looking to invest in a single, good, all-around knife.

Zee, glad you like the Shun.

Bob

Edited by Octaveman (log)

My Photography: Bob Worthington Photography

 

My music: Coronado Big Band
 

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I'm not talking about a crap German knife; I'm talking about a great one. It's one that I happily used for 100% of my chef knife-type prep work for about 6 years.

I love my Japanese chef knife as well; my point is that it doesn't actually replace the all-purpose workhorse. It's more specialized. If I had to have one chef's knife, it would therefore have to be the German one, as much as I like the Japanese one.

FWIW, with a couple of more specialized knives (bread and paring) my Japanese knives have completely replaced their predecessors.

Just my personal experience.

Notes from the underbelly

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