I have been enlightened by folks on this forum (and a few others). Now I’m here to ask you all for some advice. I have gotten some money that I’d like to use to buy some knives I’ve been wanting. I knew what I wanted, until I looked for a discount code for the company and came across these wonderfully informative forums. I’ve been thrilled with my knives for 13 years, but now I find out there’s something better; and maybe for the same price. I’m at the age and place in life that I want to buy the best for my needs and I want to buy things that are going to last. As I’ve replaced items and added items to my kitchen I’ve researched my purchases extensively. When I bought my knives, I was not as wise, and didn’t even think of researching. The young man sat in my kitchen telling me all about them and I said “Wait. I want to USE the knives.” I pulled out all kinds of fruits and veggies from my frig and was amazed at how easy it was to cut with these (expensive) knives. I had always used serrated knives because I’d never met a straight edge knife in anyone’s kitchen that could cut. I had a few 6” fine serrated knives, one serrated paring knife, a bread knife, and a serrated butcher knife that was really difficult to use. I’d been using knives like these for 16 years. It was all I knew. I replaced them all that day with those expensive knives the young man was selling. I don’t regret my purchase, though I now know I could’ve done better. I didn’t know that then. Now I’m debating whether to just stick to the brand I have and get the few other knives that I want or begin replacing them with something else. I like having my knives match, but I think I could get over that. That sounds silly just typing it out... if I know there’s something better for the same price, why wouldn’t I try it? So, here’s my situation: I cook for a family of seven. My three oldest are often helping in the kitchen. They are all adept at using our current knives. Since I also homeschool, we’re making three meals a day for everyone. We use our knives a lot. We eat a lot of fruits and veggies and make almost everything from scratch. We cut almost no raw meat. I read somewhere that the Japanese knives are better at veggies than German knives, so that’s what I was considering. I also read that the Japanese knives hold an edge longer. That’s a plus to me. I don’t have any incredible knife skills, but I’m cutting a lot of stuff every day. I’ve stuck with using 6” serrated knives because they’ve worked. I’ve read all the posts that say you should do almost everything with a chef’s knife, but I never used one except for melons and such. Even with my supposedly great, expensive chef’s knife, I can’t slice an onion very straight. I guess if I had a knife that worked, I might enjoy re-learning how to cut, rather than using a smaller knife for everything. After all my reading on the forums (for two days now), I’m thinking a lower priced Japanese knife might be what I want to try. MAC Pro, Tojiro, Fujiwara (only big knives?). I don’t know about Shun prices. Some folks have said they’re not worth the extra price. I know I need to hold the knives before I decide. I was just wondering if you think these brands might be a good fit for my needs or if there are any others. Do you all think it’s better to try a Japanese knife? As far as sharpening, my husband’s face lit up at the thought of learning a new skill (he’s a tinkering kind of handy man). Actually, I probably wouldn’t notice them getting dull for a while since it’s been 13 years and I’ve never sent my knives in for free sharpening (gasp). I have noticed a difference lately, though, so I’m going to send them in soon. If I were to buy just one knife, to see what I’ve been missing/whether I would like something better than the knives I have; would you recommend getting a larger (chef/gyuto) knife or a utility/petty knife, since that’s the size I’m used to working with? I think I might like the santoku style. Some other questions: Do you recommend NOT storing knives in a block? What about cutting on plastic mats? Those have been so handy because we can just put them in the dishwasher and don’t have to wash off a cutting board (what seems like) ten times a day. I would also like to get a decent cleaver for my husband. He smokes pork and would like to have a cleaver to chop it after it’s off the bone. Should I just try to find one at a local Chinese grocery, as some have suggested? It doesn’t need to be the best thing, but it’d be nice if it held up for years to come. And I just remembered... My husband uses a Rapala filet knife. If there’s something nicer/better out there, that would make a nice Father’s Day gift. Any ideas on that? I hope all this has made sense. I’m looking forward to your input. I have been amazed at the wealth of information I’ve found on these forums! It’s a world (of knives and metals) I never knew existed. My husband’s a mechanic and he knows the value of a quality tool. Thanks for any advice.