Another Knife Advice Thread..

Discussion in 'Cooking Knife Reviews' started by Rgome135, Oct 15, 2018.

  1. Rgome135

    Rgome135

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    I hate to create another thread asking which knife to get, but I've done a lot of research and there's just so much information I feel I have to ask my specific questions. I'll try to answer all the standard questions so it's easier to make a suggestion.

    I'm a home cook from Miami, Florida (US), making dinner on weekdays; breakfast, lunch, and dinner on weekends. I don't have to cut through bone. I cut a lot of vegetables, (including hard ones like butternut squash and sweet potato) and I like to cut up my chicken before cooking so it does so faster and more evenly. I don't peel anything, really, except the squash.

    I'm currently using a zwilling twin signature 8" and a 10" chef knife my stepdad made the handle for (he's a carpenter) but he got the blank off ebay. No idea what kind of quality it is.

    I'm looking for a workhorse chef knife, and think I want something larger than 8". Budget is $200. I feel I can care for high carbon the way it needs to be taken care of, but I'm open to stainless as well. I don't know whether I want a euro style chef knife or a Gyuto knife.

    As for sharpening: I've been sharpening my knives for about a year with an EdgePro Apex kit I was gifted, but I felt I was getting inconsistent results. With that system its hard me to to take away consistently across the whole length of the blade, and on both sides. From reading here I also feel like I was using too low a grit. Always going from 120 to 600 (four grits) before giving up because it takes me a half hour per blade. Also, I wasn't honing (I recently got the green elephant ceramic rod), and keeping the knives in the kitchen drawer with other cutlery which I feel was taking away from the life of my edge. They have their own drawer now.

    Today I took my knives to a professional sharpener, and before coming here that's what I thought I was going to continue to do. However, when I asked he told me he was using a 4 pad machine to sharpen and can only do symmetrical blades. I haven't used the knives yet but wasn't terribly impressed. I'd like to continue to take it to a professional because of the time investment it takes to sharpen myself, so if anyone in Miami has any recommendations I'm open ears.
     
  2. Tyler520

    Tyler520

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    personally i don't think a gyuto is worthwhile - too much like a french style chef's knife. either go with a french chef's kife, or a santoku; in my humble opinon, gyutos just ride the fence and don't offer much advantage one way or the other.

    here are reasons to choose a chef over a santoku:

    if you want lighter weight, easier maintenance (due to beveling on only 1 side) and see yourself using it for a lot of chopping, dicing and mincing, go with Sanoku;

    if you like something heavy in the hand and prefer a fine slicing motion, go french chef's knife
     
  3. millionsknives

    millionsknives

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    wut...

    Santokus are almost all double bevel.
     
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  4. rick alan

    rick alan

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    ....and, aside from single bevel knives being very limited in the tasks they excel at, the gyuto is in fact modeled after the French Sab, and typically has a better grind and far superior steel to the typical Sab, especially the stainless ones. And those Sab full bolsters are simply a great annoyance, and not much else.

    You shouldn't be starting at 120 grit just to touch up a knife, for finer steels typically 3k+ stones are used for touch up, 1K if it's time to set the bevel, and 400 and lower for thinning.

    Welcome to cheftalk Rgome, checking out the recent posts here should at least give you an idea of what you might be looking for, after all, exalted as some may be we really can't exactly read your mind, exactly.
     
  5. chrislehrer

    chrislehrer

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    Um.

    Santoku: double beveled knife developed in the 1920s-30s for the hip modern housewife who wants to think of herself as Western and stylish. Still the same, with obviously rather expanded housewife audience, in Japan. Taken up recently in the West by (a) people who think it's some kind of entry-point for traditional Japanese knife making, and (b) fans of Rachael Ray.

    Gyuoto: Japanese term referring to the French chef's knife. You don't get "advantage" by choosing a gyuto over a French chef's knife, because they're the same thing. You can choose a Japanese-made chef's knife, which is likely to be superior in various ways.
     
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  6. Rgome135

    Rgome135

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    Thanks for the replies guys! After continual research, reading a lot of responses from some of the people on this thread in other threads they've commented, I"m considering a two step plan.

    1) By a Tojiro DP 120mm and a King combi 800/4000 waterstone. I think the western handle and the stainless steel and the length will help me transition from my mostly western knives to the Japanese ones. I can also practice sharpening on the more difficult stainless instead of carbon so when I get to carbon I"m more proficient than I need.

    2) Eventually I'll upgrade to a 240mm (270??) high carbon. I was looking at a couple, Tanaka, Gessin, Ikazuchi. I haven't been able to decide between stainless clad or iron clad. I feel like the market is more limited for iron clad in the under $200 range. Recommendations are welcome!

    What do you guys think? Am I off base?
     
  7. Tyler520

    Tyler520

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    ALL traditional japanese knives are single bevel including the Santoku. only western copies use double bevel. the only major difference in a gyuto to a french chef's knife is weight due to thinner shorter and thinner blades, and a shallower belly curve - this can either be a hindrance or an benefit depending on the user's preference.
     
  8. chrislehrer

    chrislehrer

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    The santoku is not a "traditional" Japanese knife. It was invented precisely in order to have an all-purpose knife for meat-eating housewives in the 1920s-30s. It is based on Western models, adapted to Japanese home usage. Note, for instance, the alternative name for the knife, bunka-bocho. "Bunka" can mean "cultural," but in popular parlance of the 1920s-30s (late Taisho era), it meant "Western," more specifically "Western and modern." One could say with considerable accuracy that the knife was devised as a Western chef's knife, shortened and reshaped to reflect the usage of the much older nakiri, but with the chef's-knife's ability to handle meat (which the nakiri never did).
     
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  9. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    Tyler, you need to establish some credibility.

    You're making dismissive absolute statements as though you're a recognized authority on tbe topic. You're not recognized as such here.

    Give some authoritative citations for your claims.

    You should probably spend some time reading the posts of Chris Lehrer and millionskinves and so on to understand their knife experience rather than dismissing them.

    Your presentation so far is rude condescending and boorish. You've made statements at odds with decades of knife experience for most of the members of this forum.

    If you feel your view is accurate, you should be able to provide some independent corroborating evidence.
     
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  10. rick alan

    rick alan

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    Back on track, and resisting further temptation, the DP line and King stone are a fine start, but 120mm is a paring knife, ahahaha, did you mean a 210? Same numbers, different arrangement.

    There are lots of places to go from there, no need making those decisions at this point. But when in stock the Tanakas are a very good choice and hard to beat at <$200. A bit over $200 and you can take a step up with knives like the Wakui.
     
  11. Rgome135

    Rgome135

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    Thanks Rick, yes! A 210 of course. So from your recommendations I presume you prefer stainless clad over iron clad?

    Other corners of the internet claim iron clad is better because of the feedback you get during use and especially sharpening. I also prefer the look, but not enough to defer to buying one on that alone. But of course you lose the ease of maintenance of stainless clad.
     
  12. rick alan

    rick alan

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    Carbon clad, to some sensitive folk I hear, has a more damped feeling on the board, other than that I'd say it's main advantage on the stones is that it is much easier to thin than the abrasion resistant stainless. There are lots of carbon clad options found around the stainless ones, I wasn't intentionally touting either, that's a personal choice of trade offs.
     
  13. Rgome135

    Rgome135

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    Continuing on this line of thought then, can you tell me why the iron clad version of the tanaka blue 2 is so much less expensive than the stainless version? I feel like I'm missing something because the price difference is so large. Links to both below:

    https://www.chefknivestogo.com/takugy24.html

    https://www.chefknivestogo.com/tanakagyuto1.html

    I appreciate your effort a lot Rick. I see you posting on a lot of threads, always with useful information.
     
  14. millionsknives

    millionsknives

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    Neither of those is stainless. One is kurouchi and one is iron damascus pattern; both reactive. Damascus is more labor to make hence more $.
     
  15. Rgome135

    Rgome135

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    Oh, I didn't know Damascus was iron as well. Thank you so much! This is all starting to get more clear. I'm definitely down the rabbit hole with this one.
     
  16. Rgome135

    Rgome135

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    Million, what is your opinion on stainless clad vs iron?
     
  17. chrislehrer

    chrislehrer

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    Gotta say, if cladding has any negative effects on usage (the jury is still out on that), I can't see getting a reactive cladding. The one advantage of clad is that it's stainless. But maybe I'm missing something?
     
  18. Rgome135

    Rgome135

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  19. jbroida

    jbroida

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    sadly super wrong... santoku are double bevel knives. Not all japanese knives are single beveled, and what is and is not traditional is rather vague, as even yanagiba are not that old (and kiritsuke are even newer for example)
     
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  20. galley swiller

    galley swiller

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    Rgome135, let me chime in as an EdgePro user. I've read your problems with the EdgePro not giving consistent results and I think there are some things you can do.

    First, from your comments about the grits used, I'm assuming you are using the original EdgePro stones. They work well, but their listed grits are different from JIS (Japanese Industrial Standards) numbers used by most of the stones offered by after-market vendors. The original EdgePro stones are not "splash and go", but require soaking for at least 15 minutes (and preferably 20 minutes) in water prior to use.

    Where the EdgePro really shines is in the ability to provide a consistent edge along the entire length. However, to get that consistency, you need to add several things to the Apex stand.

    First, you need to stabilize the blade so that the knife edge is relatively flat along the edge of the platform and doesn't wiggle around much during sharpening. The easiest way to do that is to glue a small but very powerful magnet underneath the platform in the small area right behind the platform edge. That magnet's field will not be significantly affected by the platform material (which is plastic), but will grab the iron in the edge of the knife edge and will make it much easier for you to hold the knife steadily positioned as you sharpen (I think it feels like figuratively thick molasses). Not moving the edge around as you sharpen is critical towards effective sharpening.

    Chefknivestogo.com ("CKTG") offers these magnets for $3. Of course, unless you are going to be buying at least $60 in your order from CKTG, shipping will be $4.95.

    Second, you need a way to compensate for the varying thicknesses of your stones, when changing stones to polish the edge. That becomes especially true as the stones wear through use. The solution for that is a 5/16th inch drill stop collar (again available from CKTG for $3.95). On the CKTG order page for the drill stop collar are a pair of YouTube videos demonstrating how to use the drill stop collar trick.

    Third, you should get a spring to allow for quick changes between stones. Again, CKTG has a spring for $2.

    Once you've gotten those changes done, then consider how you are sharpening. You need to use your coarsest stone for basic sharpening, and then your finer stones for progressively polishing the edge, until you have reached the point where you are satisfied with the edge

    In basic sharpening, you are establishing your edge. Do this strictly on one side at a time. With your coarsest stone in place, start at the heel (the location on the edge furthest away from the tip of the knife) and LIGHTLY stroke on a sweeping stroke for a few inches along the blade (to roughly about the width of the platform) before returning the moving arm and stone for another sweep. Think of each stroke as a diagonal - not a sawing back and forth. Do this for a number of strokes. Test for completeness by lifting the blade off the platform and feeling if you have raised a bead along the edge. I test for a bead by running the edge of a fingernail or thumbnail along the flat of the blade at right angle to the edge, to and past the edge. If there's a bead, you will feel it. However, many knives have gotten so dull that it takes quite a few strokes before a bead can develop.

    Once you have a bead along the back part of the blade one the first side, continue section by section along the edge, getting a bead along the entire length of the knife's edge before flipping the blade over and raising a bead on the opposite side. Don't get discouraged by the length of time you spent in raising the first bead. Once you raised that first bead along the entire length of the edge, you've just done the bulk of the grunt work. Now, you can flip the blade over and raise a bead along the other side of the knife edge.

    Once a bead has been raised on both sides of the edge, you have sharpened the edge. Now, begins polishing the edge, which means that you are refining the edge - making it lineally smoother, rather than jagged and peaked. This makes the edge less sensitive to backwards pressure and reduces both cutting resistance and the risk of future chipping.

    For polishing, you will need a stone which is finer than the one you have been using for basic sharpening. That's where the drill stop collar allows you to adjust the height of the arm to compensate for the stone thickness. You will also find that polishing doesn't take much - a few sweeps and suddenly, you will feel the resistance of the stone will almost disappear. That's when it will be time to move to the next section or to the opposite side of the knife or to the next (higher) grit for further polishing.

    That's pretty much it in a nutshell.

    There are limits to an EdgePro. I prefer not using it for either major repairs or for thinning a blade - it's just waaay too slow for massive metal removal. For those heavy tasks, I will still use traditional full size stones.

    Galley Swiller