Hi, I've just joined this forum after doing some research on knives. I found some great posts and will be looking forward to hearing your recommendations. My cutting skills are still in their infancy to put it in a nice way. To get a feel for knives I bought different ones from a discount store. I ended up mainly with stellar knives. After some time I realised that I use mainly these knives: - chef knife - santoku - paring/utility knife - hook knife for peeling I suspect it would be good to start with either a chef knife or a santoku. Is it necessary/recommended to have both? So far, I prefer the santoku. But it’s probably because it's lighter and sharper. So in getting a new knife I would be looking for: - Either a gyuto or a Santoku depending on recommendations. - Handle: I'm still in the early stages of learning and very adaptable, is there a reason to go specifically for one style? I like the WA handle for esthetic reasons, but that is not a factor in choosing this knife - Carbon vs Stainless: I wipe my knives directly after use, but I do take a certain amount of time to do the cutting. What kind of maintenance does a carbon knife require, is it enough to wipe directly after use? - Sharpening: I use the Knife Wizard KE198 for that as of now, and I know it's not enough for a good blade. Reading the sharpening posts was quite daunting as it seems extremely technical, but I guess that to get decent skills is not a lofty goal. I just want to avoid damaging expensive knives. Do you need different stones for different knives or can I use the same stones to practice on my cheap knives? - Current uses: cutting vegetable, fish, poultry and meat. Also slicing chunks of ham I get from Italy and Spain (not the huge ones) - Budget: I have no problems splurging on a good knife, as I will be learning better technique through it and keeping it for quite some time. I guess I can get something really nice in the US$ 300 - 400 range just on the knife. Reading from the forums, this is what I understood: - Shun and Global knives are certainly a step up to what I'm using but not great value for money - Tojiro on the other hand are good value - the Konosuke gyuto is amazing So to finish with some questions: - Damascus pattern: is it there only for esthetic reasons? - Is there any point in getting a good hook paring knive, I only use it for peeling fruits. - I am based in the UK, but I have a friend coming to the US in October, and another friend going to Japan a bit later. Is Japan the best place to get my knives or is it cheaper in the US? Some products are cheaper in the US than in the country they're produced after all... Sorry for the long post, I tried to include all the relevant info I could think of. As I said I am still in the early learning stage and very adaptable.