Chef's Knife Recommendations For a Hobby Chef

2,530
493
Joined Apr 25, 2014
Yeah... my friend has sharpened his shun hundreds of times. If you do it yourself on waterstones it doesn't take off much metal each time.

Theres some fishy combination of
-they use a pull through sharpener that can't change the angle
-they used power tools
-too lazy to thin and refinish the knife
-they are lazy
-they're lying to you

Your instinct says you are being taken advantage of and you should trust that.
 
11
1
Joined Oct 11, 2017
Welp, I've got a fantastic new Moritaka gyuto on the way as a result of it, so I can't be too mad at them. I'm hoping to pick up learn to sharpen on my own at home, and plan to use the old Shuns to learn. I've been sifting through the forums for advice on getting started sharpening as well, so I may pick up a few stones and make a mess of those knives. :)
 
2,834
232
Joined Nov 15, 2012
Again, these are outright LIES, just forget about it, they obviously don´t want to give you any more sharpening service. I´ve already had words with the slimeball who runs the show there in their warranty department, they will not budge, and anyways you don´t need them to do any more damage to what´s left of your shuns.

The Moritaka is not a laser but is still just as thin at the edge, from the looks of it. It will have good food release. It´s a wide-bevel grind with big shoulders (hence the good food release), but it should still go through stuff like carrots well enough. Being all carbon it will be easy to sharpen, and to thin when the time comes, but of course you will need to rinse and wipe it promptly, not leave it sitting any length of time with onion, citrus or tamotoe juice, etc, on it.

You´re paying a for that custom handle, it´s a nice handle but performance-wise I´d recommend the stock handle 250 with the KS profile.

How much you want to spend on stones? You can do all right with a 400 grit pink brick and Iminishi 1k/6k combination stone, I believe that´s under $100 bucks at cktg.
 
360
90
Joined Jan 25, 2013
go online and find a sharpening service in your area. make an appointment and go see the person. bring your knives and tell your sad tale. if he or she is any good, they will quote a price somewhere around $1.50 an inch and finish sharpening by hand on a stone.
 
11
1
Joined Oct 11, 2017
I had thought to use my old Shun knives to sharpen myself, so the stone recommendations are awesome. Thanks! Any online resources that I can access for help on understanding angles and proper technique? Should I seek out a local sharpener and check for classes to do it in person? I figured it's the kind of thing that I'll have to learn by trial and error, hence using my old knives.

On another note, I stained the blade of my new gyuto literally right after it arrived. I used it to make a salad and washed it immediately after, but apparently I should have wiped it clean while cutting as well. LOL.
 
510
79
Joined May 29, 2013
Millionsknives is right about patina, and about rust. Patina is Fe3O4 (3 atoms of iron and 4 atoms of oxygen), and is black-grey-brownish in color. It's more stable on the surface of the blade than unoxidized iron/steel. Rust is Fe2O3 (2 atoms of iron and 3 atoms of oxygen), and is reddish-orange in color. It's also permeable to water.

Patina is good, Rust is bad. If rust shows up, IMMEDIATELY scrub it off.

For hand sharpening, there's a new set of "AngleGuides", each of which establishes a precise angle and slips onto the end of a sharpening stone and is held in place with a rubber band. Each set has 11 guides, one for every angle from 10 degrees through 20 degrees. Amazon sells the set for $10.95. chefknivestogo.com sells the set for $6.95. I'm trying to locally find a hardwood stick 3/4" x 3/4" x 16", so I can mount a set and use it as a feeler guide for hand sharpening. (hint: don't allow your wrist to move after setting the angle. Instead, move the arm without moving the wrist. That way, there will be no shifting of the angle of the blade).

GS
 
1
1
Joined Aug 24, 2017
I would recommend knifeplanet as a good resource that will cover all your basic needs for learning to sharpen. I spent a while watching tons of videos and tutorials. Some are good, others not so much... Jon Broida and Peter Nowlan are two legitimate pros at this that teamed up to make a free start to finish resource on the basics of sharpening. I'm sure there are other good learning resources but this one is both high quality and comprehensive.

https://www.knifeplanet.net/category/sharpening-school/

Your shun's would be great to learn on. They likely need to be thinned though, which is a step beyond just getting a good edge on it. To me that sounds like a fun project though :)

I would start with stones first but if you want a knife I absolutely love my tanaka 240 gyuto. I have the blue 2 (carbon steel that can rust). The ginsan is supposedly mostly the same, but in stainless.
http://www.knivesandstones.com/tanaka-blue-2-nashiji-gyuto-240mm-stainless-clad/
http://www.knivesandstones.com/tanaka-ginsan-nashiji-gyuto-240mm-with-ebony-handle/
 
7
0
Joined Oct 24, 2017
Perhaps I can piggyback on this request. My trusty 11-year-old MAC chef's knife recently suffered a large blade chip due to some unauthorized cutting of...a piece of wood. (Let's not get into it. I have suffered enough.) It looks like I'll have to lose almost a centimetre of blade to grind the chip out, so I'm going with a new knife and I'll fool around with grinding down the MTH-80 just to see what it's like for practice.

Not a chef - a home hobbyist who likes to cook. I've got a CCK veg cleaver, a Miyabi 6000 8" chef's knife (admitted overlap with the MAC but I found it for $85 at a store closeout and couldn't resist), a 240mm Sakai Takayuki japanese slicer, a 150mm Sakai Takayuki petty and a 80mm Global paring knife. The gyutos are used daily as expected and usually it was one for my wife, one for me.

Unfortunately we have a relatively small kitchen work space and chopping area, so I haven't been terribly interested in getting a larger chef's knife than the 210mm Miyabi - I never feel that I need a bigger knife. I was actually considering maybe going even smaller, say a 180mm Misono UX10 gyuto. (I've thought about their santoku for the wife but not confident it's as useful as a 7" chef's.) Or I could re-up with the MAC, which is/was a great knife, but to be honest it was a lot cheaper than $200CDN when I first bought it and I'm kind of struggling to pay the price increase for a knife I've already used for a decade, y'know?

Any thoughts or suggestions? Is a 7" chef's knife a good idea? Should I really just go larger? Any recommendations other than the Misono for under ~$250?
 
360
90
Joined Jan 25, 2013
Any thoughts or suggestions? Is a 7" chef's knife a good idea? Should I really just go larger? Any recommendations other than the Misono for under ~$250?
Knife size is one more area where bigger is not always better. I cook for 2 and do almost all cutting with a 4" utility/parer and a 7" cleaver. find a knife that fits well in your hand. I would not buy a knife I could not handle before buying. if you do buy on line, make sure there is a no penalty return policy. lots of places say you can return stuff, then you get a smaller check after being charged a 'restock fee' and processing fees.
 
510
79
Joined May 29, 2013
Ouch! shortcut, with 1 cm chipped out, you are also likely to need to thin the blade considerably. With the MAC MTH-80 being a kullenschliff-ground blade, with MAC's "Superior" steel, you will find a significant amount of work ahead of you, if you choose to re-grind. If I was facing that problem with that knife, I would probably think long and hard about whether I wanted to expend the energy. (and yes, I do have a MAC MTH 80, though I don't use it that much).

One observation I have seen about knife length is that various makers will vary the ratio of the height to length when they change the length. For example, take the old, pre-war carbon steel French Sabatier chef knives. The 20cm knives had a somewhat short height to length ratio (about 18%, if I remember), but the 25cm blades were considerably heftier at about 20% to 25%. The same can be true today. With a santoku at 180mm, you might want to consider if you want a taller blade. Of course, with the santoku, you also get a much flatter blade profile.

GS
 
510
79
Joined May 29, 2013
shortcut, last night I pulled my MAC MTH-80 out of storage and measured the distance from the stock edge to the lower tips of the kullens (the ground-out oval hollows). The lower tips of the kullens measured an average of about 6 mm (0.6 cm) from the edge.

If a chip of 1 cm in height broke off the edge of an MTH-80 and you had to grind off 1 cm, then that will put the new edge about 1/3rd of the way up the kullens. That knife simply would be worthless.

I suspect that whatever chip came off the edge was either significantly smaller than 1 cm high, or that you lost about 1 cm at the tip of your blade.

Can you more accurately describe the size and/or location of the chip? I do realize that looking at the knife will bring up an emotionally painful memory.

GS
 
7
0
Joined Oct 24, 2017
Hah - it's right in the middle of the blade. It may not be exactly 1cm "high" but it's probably close, and my rough guesstimate was also that the new edge would likely be up to what I'd call the grantons. I agree that the blade is likely to be ruined. I figured I'd just give it a shot to practice some sharpening techniques and hey, worst case scenario I have a light and deadly Japanese mini-sword in the shed for occasional rope/string cutting. :)

Getting back to your comments on blade height at 180mm - were you suggesting that the santoku blade isn't very tall? Or did you mean the gyuto?
 
11
1
Joined Oct 11, 2017
If it's worth anything, the Moritaka I just picked up is a lot more comfortable than I expected - I've never previously had a 240mm, and I was admittedly a bit intimidated by the longer blade. I've kind of fallen in love with it, especially with the heavier blade (I tend to prefer the blade-heavy balance). I can't say that I'll find the additional length any more useful over my previous 8" knives, but it's much more comfortable/less unwieldy than I anticipated.
 
510
79
Joined May 29, 2013
At a 180mm length, a santoku will be significantly taller than the same length gyuto. Gyuto's tend to maintain the nominally same proportion of height to length ratio, when the overall length increases or decreases.

Consider many, if not most santoku's being offered as maxing out in length at 180mm. The height of the santoku will not significantly vary until the spine of the knife approaches and dips down to the tip, with the edge being a very flat profile along the length of the blade.

One problem which can occur if you try to sharpen into the kullens is that the exposed pattern of the kullens at an edge can cause havoc with the surface of your sharpening stones. This will especially be true with MAC's "Superior" grade steel, which is harder than the "Original" grade steel. You are also going to need to very, VERY seriously thin the blade, which will likely seriously try your patience and cause others in earshot to wish they were not.

GS
 
7
0
Joined Oct 24, 2017
If it's worth anything, the Moritaka I just picked up is a lot more comfortable than I expected - I've never previously had a 240mm, and I was admittedly a bit intimidated by the longer blade. I've kind of fallen in love with it, especially with the heavier blade (I tend to prefer the blade-heavy balance). I can't say that I'll find the additional length any more useful over my previous 8" knives, but it's much more comfortable/less unwieldy than I anticipated.
I’ve heard great things about the Moritaka knives but have also heard that they tend to be less durable and require more TLC than steel. Not sure how’s accurate that is but mine tend to get shared around at parties a bit and well used, so I figured something like a Sakai Takayuki Grand Chef or even better, a Misono UX might be an equally good choice.
 
2,834
232
Joined Nov 15, 2012
I think you're mixed up Shortcut, Moritaka's are steel. You might enjoy a tall petty, such as a Shiro Kamo R2, but it's not exactly a party passaround knife if you know what I mean, The same goes for the nice little knives Scott sells on Etsy under Old Sailor.

A 210 Takamura Migaki does most of my daily prep (fine, thin slicing) along with a Geshin Kagero petty for the small stuff; a 10" Vic Rosewood with a thinned tip for the little serious chopping and dicing to be done; and assorted other knives I reserve for dedicated tasks, just because it pleases me to do so. They all perform very well, regardless of pedigree, because I keep them thin and sharp. It's all about what tickles ya, and knowing what can be done is a part of that.

For a passaround get something like a Kiwi. Nice cheap little knives for which you needn't fret of any damage. I'm the cook around here and the women, along with any guests, are allowed only the cheap steak knives, and they have their choice of serrated or flat. It seems to work just just fine.
 
7
0
Joined Oct 24, 2017
Yes to be correct I should have said high-carbon steel. But isn’t it a more dedicated tool - very thin edge combined with high hardness steel means more prone to chipping/cracking - so really have to be careful of using only for precision work, as you’ve suggested you do?

I prefer not to have to keep any hard and fast rules about using my knives - no lemons, don’t cut this vegetable, don’t use this technique, etc etc -
so my thought was that the Moritaka probably wasn’t going to be ideal for me. What do you think? Otherwise I’d love to try them out and they’re a bit cheaper than Mosono’s UX10 line. I also looked at Watanabe knives which were a bit more but had the same concerns.

I really enjoy my Sakai Takayuki grand cheff Japanese slicer (although it’s not a daily use knife) and have thought about getting their wu-handled gyuto version, but they only make it in a 240mm or larger version, and I’ve already got a couple Takayuki knives and would like to spread the love around a little. Hence why I thought Misono would be nice. Would anyone recommend another similar option instead?
 
Last edited:
Top Bottom