Chef knife suggestion

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Joined Sep 24, 2018
I love my carbon steel Sabatier but the steel is soft and I need to touch it up like 3 times a week. Any suggestions on a similar profile knife that has harder steel or someone who reworks the Sabatier's?

I've tried the J-knives and I'm just not happy, with the latest being a Fujiwara fkm. The drop tip just doesn't work for me.
 
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Why not a stainless Sab? Mine don’t get quite as sharp as the carbon but keep an edge longer. And get plenty sharp enough for general kitchen needs.
 
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The Fujiwara is essentially a classic sab profile. Some of the modern sabs have a slightly tighter curve at the tip and higher point, but if you know how to use a sab this extra rocking height is not needed. Push-cuts and regular chopping are far more efficient than rock chopping, and harder steel of course holds up to better here. Many Japanese knives are very light and so easier to lift completely off the board. The ordinary sab steel is soft, but it touches up very quickly on a steel or fine stone. Sab Stainless is also rather soft, and a terrible steel that does not sharpen well at all, I see no advantage there.

I'd say learn to use your FKM, but what would be your budget for a new knife?
 
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https://www.sabatier-k.com/2763-200---8-generations---ebene-cuisine-25-cm---serie-200---g10.html

https://m.kookpunt.nl/robert-herder-1922-koksmes-23cm-carbon/nl/product/38285/?RedirFrom=Desktop

https://www.korin.com/HMI-SCGY-240

In general, I wouldn't advise French stainless, as it is terribly soft and hardly takes an edge. Softness is no problem with the carbons, but with the stainless ones, it will lead to edge instability due to chromium carbides breaking out of the overly soft matrix.
Haven't tried it yet myself, but this K-Sabatier is made of 60Rc finely grained Sandvik 14C28N. Reports from our German counterparts are very promising.

If you want to stick with carbon steel, the Herder 1922 has the old school profile common to the Sabs. Same basic carbon and easy sharpening, very thin behind the edge, but much harder, 60Rc.

The Misono Swedish Carbon has the Japanese geometry combined with a French profile and Sheffield spear point tip, if I may say so. Hardness only slightly lower than the Herder. If you go for Korin, ask for the free initial stone sharpening.
Please be aware of the typical Japanese asymmetry which makes its use problematic if you were a left-handed.
 
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Joined Sep 24, 2018
The Fujiwara is essentially a classic sab profile. Some of the modern sabs have a slightly tighter curve at the tip and higher point, but if you know how to use a sab this extra rocking height is not needed. Push-cuts and regular chopping are far more efficient than rock chopping, and harder steel of course holds up to better here. Many Japanese knives are very light and so easier to lift completely off the board. The ordinary sab steel is soft, but it touches up very quickly on a steel or fine stone. Sab Stainless is also rather soft, and a terrible steel that does not sharpen well at all, I see no advantage there.

I'd say learn to use your FKM, but what would be your budget for a new knife?

I'm not really set on a price if I get what I want. It's not that I can't use the FKM, Ive been a chef for 25+ years. If I had a name of someone, I would have a Sab cryo dipped and re scaled, if that would work.
 
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The rescaling would cost more than the knife is worth, only ion nitriding would help the hardness, also very costly. The stainless sab beuser pointed out is one option for sab. But if you tray any performance Japanese knife you will likely quickly lose interest in the sab.

Price steps would be $150, $250, $350. There are some nice knives around $150, little to gain over $350.

A custom maker could copy your knife's profile in something like 52100 steel for possibly around $500.
 
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You may consider the Fujiwara FKH as well. Unexpensive, decent steel and F&F these days. Profile rather Sab-like, higher tip than with most Japanese.
Can't compare with the FKM. Have sharpened a few of them years ago, haven't paid too much attention to the profile and haven't used them myself.
 
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The rescaling would cost more than the knife is worth, only ion nitriding would help the hardness, also very costly. The stainless sab beuser pointed out is one option for sab. But if you tray any performance Japanese knife you will likely quickly lose interest in the sab.

Price steps would be $150, $250, $350. There are some nice knives around $150, little to gain over $350.

A custom maker could copy your knife's profile in something like 52100 steel for possibly around $500.


I've tried a few Japanese knives but none have the feel of the Sab that I prefer. I ordered a Herder 1922 but the custom option is on the table. Any suggestions on a maker?
 
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http://www.prendergastknives.com/
Dan Prendergast makes knives in the best old school European tradition. Not the lightest ones, slightly forward balance, very pronounced distal taper. Have tried in a passaround, couldn't afford it so far.
But first learn to know and love the Herder. It's a fantastic tool.
 
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I just got the Herder 9". What a fantastic knife! Much more comfortable than the Japanese knives I've tried. If the edge holds as good as some say, this will be the perfect knife for me.
 
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Glad you like the Herder, I didn't see how you couldn't.

I get the feeling that all the other Japanese knives you tried were by Shun, which are in fact nothing at all like a Sab, or any other Japanese made knife. If you go for that custom knife you might consider a typical convex grind that you find on virtually all Japanese knives and customs by any maker. Better food release than the flat grind of Sabs and the Herder, but only if that is a change you'd welcome.
 
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Glad you like the Herder, I didn't see how you couldn't.

I get the feeling that all the other Japanese knives you tried were by Shun, which are in fact nothing at all like a Sab, or any other Japanese made knife. If you go for that custom knife you might consider a typical convex grind that you find on virtually all Japanese knives and customs by any maker. Better food release than the flat grind of Sabs and the Herder, but only if that is a change you'd welcome.


In my first post, the last Japanese knife I tried was a Fujiwara. With that said, with 25+ years as Chef/Owner, I've tried many different knives. I still go back to the Sabs until now. I can always regrind the Sabs to convex I guess.
 
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No, I don't think you want to try that, the only way to get flat-ground sides concave is to move the edge up closer to the spine. So enjoy your current knives as they are.
 
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