Guidance for a knife block set.

Discussion in 'Cooking Knife Reviews' started by solteris, Feb 16, 2017.

  1. solteris

    solteris

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    So, my wife and I have a hodge-podge of a kitchen knife set. I have a few pieces from Daniel Watson of Angel Sword (perk of being a friend and occasional booth-grunt), but otherwise it's all bottom shelf Hampton Forge and "Forever Sharp".

    She knows that I covet a significant upgrade, and tasked me with research before purchase. The caveat, is that I have a price-cap of $200ish (I could probably argue for $250) due to a more pressing need of paying off student loans and buying a house first. 

    I've been stalking the forums here for a few weeks now, and have broadened my horizons on what I would covet for a "some-day" set beyond Miyabi and Shun and Wusthof. (BDL, I am on an email list for an Ultimatum when they get re-stocked, ty! )
     However, that doesn't help me for a "today" block that happens to match and not suck. 

    So there it is, my request is to help me find a give or take $200ish block set that isn't awful. Any extra education that comes with would be a bonus. <3 
     
  2. foody518

    foody518

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    Hi Solteris, welcome to CT

    Angel Swords - Texan? I have a knife from them (Balrog line) that actually looks pretty similar to yours except with a bead-blasted finish. Unfortunately it doesn't hold up well to repeated cutting board impact, have asked about the steel type and recall that it was something rather low % Carbon, so I suspect it's simply softer than what works well in kitchen knives. Planning on raising the angle on the edge bevels to see if it'll help any

    With such a budget I'd really suggest focusing on identifying the 1-2 types of knives y'all use the most and spending the money on those. Don't understand the appeal of matching sets in blocks personally, and use 1 knife for 90%+ of kitchen tasks. In the price range you might look into Victorinox Rosewood.

    I'd also suggest passing on the Ultimatum. It can be a chunky monster, or the relative variation on those knives was really high, or these trickling out last few stock are just not the good ones...

    How are you sharpening you current knives?
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2017
  3. rick alan

    rick alan

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    The FS knives are actually made of excellent steel, at least the one supermarket freeby I have, but the grinds are terrible and the steel hard to abrade.  Too bad, and as Foody indicated the Ultimatum is no better as a project knife.
     
  4. millionsknives

    millionsknives

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    Any knife set for $200 is terrible.  

    Then again any knife set sold with a block is terrible.
     
  5. millionsknives

    millionsknives

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    In your budget I would say...  get 

    This  

    and the bread



    and a universal block like this

     
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  6. foody518

    foody518

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    Rick, can't find good resolution pics - do the FS knives have small serrations at the edge? That's usually what I recall seeing from those 'never needs sharpening!' type of knives

    Unfortunately, a thick hardened monosteel stainless as a project knife is the worst kind...it doesn't abrade all that quickly and was *thick* behind the edge. I think also a small overgrind at the heel. Profile needed fixing to as it kind of 'clunked' into the flat spot - not a smooth transition. All things I do not wish someone who doesn't have lots of sharpening equipment, proficiency, time, and masochism...

    For storage, cardboard and packing tape sheaths are manageable solutions as well.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2017
  7. rick alan

    rick alan

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    Ahaha, FS doesn't have much of a selection, or anything else, except it is ironically very good stainless, taking and holding an edge impressively well, a waste of good metal and HT.  I only wish companies like Vic would use it.
     
  8. solteris

    solteris

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    Nope, Minnesota boy. Just a big renaissance festival junkie who spent a few too many years behind the booth selling sharp things. Yeah, the birchwood chef in my picture is of their "Balrog" line. Mooooooooostly holds it's edge between yearly visits to have the smith touch it up at the festival. Though I have to agree, the edge doesn't seem to appreciate a ton of rough-play on a cutting board. 
    As to what/how I sharpen - I grew up doing woodcarving with my dad, and at one point had an appreciable set of woodcarving knives, gouges, etc. and learned to sharpen on an oil-stone. So while I have experience with putting a mean edge on things, said experience is for very short/small blades for artistry, with a fair amount of handle. I assume the principle is generally the same, but I admit I am quite uncertain of my technique when trying to apply that to my kitchenwares. (going from a 1-1.25" detail blade to a 9.5" chef is quite daunting to keep things even.)
    I am determined to "get good" at using stones by hand to sharpen. There has always been something satisfying about creating with your own two hands. 

    That said, oilstones and waterstones are two different animals, no? My oilstone is quite fine, and takes for bloody ever to get any progress on these FS knives. I've never used a waterstone. From what I've been watching on youtube it's pretty straight-forward, similar concept? Add a few more drops of water as you go if the slurry of grit and material gets too thick? 
    If anyone has some really good videos to follow, I'm all ears. I'd rather learn well the first time, rather than have to un-learn and redo. After reading BDL's exposition on stones, as a noob, I decided to start with a Naniwa SS 1000 stone.  via @amazon

    Universal block is a great idea, and I see them all the time at Bed-bath and beyond (dangerous store if you like kitchen goodies and housewares). 

    As for the knives used the most, I certainly use my chefs the most, and my wife prefers the smaller paring size. Been looking at some K-sab and the like for myself. That Tojiro 2-set looks pretty good for a "getting my feet wet" . 
    She is convinced we don't need any more kitchen knives, because we have what we already have. Which quite frankly feels like arguing with a brick wall. 

    As a back-up to not getting past that gate, I would take suggestions for replacements to my crap $15 triple-set santoku. 

    *Edit - tried to get a decent shot of the edges of the FS knives. Only the bread knife/meat-fork has serrations. And you're damn right about them being a pain in the ass to re-shape or sharpen.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2017
  9. foody518

    foody518

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    Ah, would have been cool if you ended up being local to me :3

    Here's mine haha.

     
    Yeah... the angle they said they finish the edge on is too acute for repeated board impacts.

    If you're wanting to fix up your current knives, a coarse stone (320-500 grit) may be warranted. Have you already purchased the stone(s)? Saw that the amazon link is for the 10mm thickness superstone. For not too much more cost you can look at Suehiro Cerax 1k, Bester 1.2k which are both over 20mm thick. They are soakers though. There's also King Neo 800 (25mm thick, IME 1 minute rinse or soak, then splash water as needed http://www.toolsfromjapan.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=715 $45 including shipping but will take a couple of weeks) and Shapton Pro stones in this medium-ish 800-2000 grit range (I think these are splash and go?)

    Your wife may very well change her mind when using some quality nice and sharp stuff :) the 2 piece Tojiro set looks like a good start to that end

    Stainless knives only?

    This playlist is among the best you'll find for videos on knife sharpening and maintenance https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLEBF55079F53216AB
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2017
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  10. solteris

    solteris

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    @foody518  Nah, I don't mind a non-stainless blade. 
     
  11. foody518

    foody518

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    If you're curious about dat patina life, There's Fujiwara FKH, Suisin HC, Togiharu VC, and Misono Swedish for monosteel carbon, western handled knives :3
     
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  12. rick alan

    rick alan

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    Are you using an Arkansas for oilstone?  They are slow, and compared to a course waterstone they are glacially slow.  Also, the FS steel is very abrasion resistant, even for stainless.

    Masahiro is another inexpensive carbon option, wide variety of stainless and carbon on ebay:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-Masahir...818225?hash=item41be413331:g:X6YAAOSw1DtXDgA1

    Iminishi are also very good value for stones, especially their combos, cktg (unfortunately) seems to have the best prices right now:

    http://www.chefknivestogo.com/imanishistones.html
     
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  13. solteris

    solteris

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    My stone is a hand-me down from my dad. I'm not certain, but I think it's from our local woodcraft store. According to the googles,  what I have is https://www.woodcraft.com/products/...21f469702d06760016cd,5764196e69702d6593000317

    Which seems to suggest that this is a soft stone for doing big overhauls, but I gotta say, it's pretty damn slow. Still, exquisite for putting a wicked edge on things, though I would assume that I could get finer still. 

    Comparing this to the waterstone I ordered, is it safe to assume the waterstone will be more aggressive?
     
  14. solteris

    solteris

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    I seem to have slowly won over my wife on the need of proper knives. 
    She's down with the Tojiro set because price/value/stated quality. 
    And the leads on water stones are awesome. 
    My next question: Any general preferences for the anchor/mounting bases for the stones? Either one I can lock down on a counter or straddle the sink? There are so many on amazon and CKTG etc. 
     
  15. foody518

    foody518

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    There's setups like these http://www.cheftalk.com/t/91407/natural-stones#post_553838

    This is mine, plus a wine cork, small spritz bottle, and sharpie

     
    Though you can certainly just have this http://www.toolsfromjapan.com/store/index.php?main_page=shopping_cart unless you start buying freakishly wide stones. Most all the synthetic stones fit this just fine. ~$26 including shipping, it'll just take a couple of weeks.

    But really for being on a budget, I'd rather sink more money into stones and flattening devices than the holders. You can get away with just using a folded damp towel on a countertop. Stones that come mounted on bases will work fine and lessen the need for a separate holder. You can use that non-skid liner stuff or again, damp towel on a surface to mitigate skidding.

    Haven't used the Naniwa SS series, but did not get the impression they were among the fast cutters. Still, I can't say I've thought to describe any of my synthetic waterstones as 'pretty damn slow', FWIW.
     
  16. solteris

    solteris

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    Oooof. That shipping from JKI. 
     
  17. foody518

    foody518

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    Yeah, it's a lot of pieces, and tbh non-subsidized shipping rates can tend to look like this. You could always pick up a freakin nice 400 grit stone and then hit the free shipping limit ;)

    But again, would suggest putting holder money into a coarse stone and/or flattener (like maybe this thing http://www.toolsfromjapan.com/store...roduct_info&cPath=335_462_463&products_id=852) instead, if you plan to try and do any work to your existing knives.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2017
  18. rick alan

    rick alan

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    Yes waterstones cut much faster than Arks, and Arks don't work so well on the harder steels either.

    A lot of folks just use a wet towel to hold their stones, it works fine.  A couple blocks nailed to a 2x4 makes a sink bridge, you can find Utube videos of even Murry Carter using the 2x4 and towel setup.
     
  19. scott livesey

    scott livesey

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    if your oilstone seems slow, it needs to be flattened and cleaned.  the water stones recommended need a similar treatment, so don't fret.  go to eBay and buy a pound of silicon carbide in the 30 to 50 grit range.  use a piece of steel plate, make a slurry of carbide and oil, work you stone in a figure 8 until the entire surface has be ground.  rinse with mineral spirits then soap and water.  once you have done this, the stone will behave better.  use lots of oil when you sharpen and sorta rinse the stone with oil after a sharpening session.

    for videos try:





    good luck
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2017
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  20. solteris

    solteris

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    Thank you for all the pointers on sharpening gear/technique and some good direction on knives.
    Wife has been successfully wooed away from a "Target boxed block set" and has given me a bit of free reign, within the same price point.
    Presently eyeballing:

    http://www.chefknivestogo.com/fujiwara2.html
    http://www.chefknivestogo.com/fujiwaragyuto.html

    http://www.chefknivestogo.com/todpchkn27.html
    http://www.chefknivestogo.com/todpchkn24.html

    Still definitely leaning away from German style blade-shape, as I suck arse at trying to sharpen that steep of a curve, and after playing around with a friends, it just felt nicer.
    Open to more suggestions as always.

    Unrelated: Trying to convince my wife that a good wood cutting board is a good idea. Her argument is "We eat chicken and beef". I'm gonna go do my due diligence and check the forums for related existing threads for a good board, but as always, please point me in the right direction anyway.

    I deeply appreciate all the feedback.