I need quick advice on two knives

Discussion in 'Cooking Knife Reviews' started by dand3n, Feb 26, 2012.

  1. dand3n

    dand3n

    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    I Just Like Food
    Hello,

    I hope you can help me choose two knives for my needs. English is not my first language, so i hope you'll forgive me if my post is a little bit unclear. :) I need to decide rather quickly, as i have to make the purchase in a couple of days. 

    In the past week i learned a lot about knives (from zero knowledge), but the more i learn, the harder is for me to make a decision. And i could say it's getting a bit confusing... I'm a food lover, but only recently i've decided to cook my own food at home and try to get better at it (as i found out, i happen to like it). 

    I don't eat meat (only eggs and dairy, but not much), so my dishes are mainly vegetarian. I'm looking for two good knives, that should last me a lifetime, for cutting vegetables and fruits. I've decided i need a pairing knife and a vegetable knife (nakiri?). After reading about the differences between western and eastern cutlery, i think japanese knives are better suited to me, as they are lighter and sharper (and could help [font=arial, sans-serif]my light carpal tunnel syndrome in my right wrist). As i've said, in the past days i did a little research, but it got a bit confusing, as i dug deeper: different metals used, different manufacturing processes, different [/font]sharpening and honing techniques for each type of knife, etc. I don't want to turn this into a knife hobby and i also don't want to spend a lot of money on a knife (no more than 100 usd on each), especially on sharpening tools, as i've seen most of them are more expensive than the knives themselves. 

    So, for my two knives, i have a couple of ones that i think are suitable for me: Tojiro DP Nakiri, MAC Nakiri, both for chopping vegetables (from small to large, including big fruits like pineapples). For paring knifes, i found this one: "Wusthof Classic 3.5" Micro-Serrated Paring Knife". I know it has a western, german, blade, but i like it because half of the blade is serrated, half is normal. The serrated blade could be helpful for pealing citrus fruits, like grapefruits; i don't know if a japanese smooth blade could work just as well on a grapefruit peel, without cutting too deep into the white under skin (supposedly it's very healthy, so i tend to keep it).

    I'm open to other suggestions as well. Unfortunately, i can't find the Tojiro DP on stock in US stores...There's also the problem of sharpening these knives and what tools to buy for them (i have no idea). The cheaper, the better, but not at the risk of ruining my knives with them. And still don't know if i should steel (hone?) those nakiri knives, or just sharpen them on a wetstone. Or if there is an easier way...And then there's that german Wusthof paring knife, which has a different blade, and i think i need different tools for it. Maybe i should also go with a japanese paring knife, not to complicate things further and keep tools needed at minimum? 
     
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2012
  2. chinacats

    chinacats

    Messages:
    75
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    At home cook
    DanD3n,

    I'll try to help move you in the right direction, but wouldn't try to point out certain knives as there aren't all that many that I've tried.  Off the top, if the budget is 200 then I would buy cheaper (less expensive, not lower quality) knives and invest in at least a good quality steel and stone.  As to the sharpening, it is less expensive in the long run to go ahead and learn to use stones...cheaper in the short run to have them sharpened for you.  Upside to learning now is that you can actually enjoy the knives you have much more because they will always be sharp--repeated often, but can't underestimate the value in this, let alone the safety. 

    Would suggest not getting the combo paring knife as that sounds like it might belong better in a backpack.  A sharp knife will cut anything you are talking about cutting with no problems.  If at some point you need a bread knife then that would be a different matter.  A sharp blade will make it easy to cut anything you eat...fruits and veggies that is.

    I would say:

    a nice cheap combo waterstone 1k/4-6k ($40-50) great to learn on...you don't need a fancy kit

    inexpensive carbon or metal steel (getting nice knives you will appreciate a nice steel)--Idahone is (~$25)

    That would leave you another $125 for which I would think you could find some nice entry level carbon or maybe stainless if you should choose. 

    Cheers,

    Chinacats
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2012
  3. pohaku

    pohaku

    Messages:
    273
    Likes Received:
    21
    Exp:
    Home Cook
    Nakiris are fine knives. I own the Mac Pro version.  That said, I would not want one as my main knife.  IMHO I think you would be better off buying a decent gyuto or chef's knife as your primary knife, rather than a nakiri.  Aside from their shape, nakiris are not large knives and are thus somewhat limited in application.  I would not want to use a nakiri to peel and core a pineapple.  The knife is a little delicate for that.  You can pick up a nakiri later if you decide you really do want one. 

    I also would suggest not spending a lot of money on a paring knife.  They tend to be used and abused, so I typically go with something decent but cheap. Then replace them when necessary. Forschner comes to mind.  Get the wooden handle model if you want it to look nicer.

    The Tojiro Shirogami knives are quite nice, especially for the price, but they are carbon and not stainless (I have several).  Nothing wrong with that, of course.  But they do require more care.  Just so you know.

    You will need to address sharpening issues.  The Idahone is a great ceramic steel (and ceramic is what you should use, especially with Japanese knives).  If you think you want to learn to freehand sharpen, a combo stone is a good place to start.  You don't need serrated as much as you need sharp.  Can't really sharpen serrated very well either.

    Try Chef's Knives to Go and Cutlery & More.  Great selection, great prices and even better service.
     
  4. dand3n

    dand3n

    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    I Just Like Food
    I thought Nakiris would be more useful for me because i work with vegetables 90% of time. For pineapples i could use an old WS utility knife i already have, if it's too much for a nakiri; and i don't eat pineapples all that often anyway. :)

    For sharpening and honing i think i'll get these:

    - Idahone Ceramic Honing Rod (Fine, 10") (27$)

    - King #1000/#6000 Grit Waterstone - Large (48$)*

    *isn't 6000 grit a bit too much for a stainless steel blade? And also, shouldn't i need an additional lower grit stone, like 300-400? Or if you have other suggestions for a combo grit stone, pls look here and tell me: http://www.epicedge.com/shopdisplayproducts.asp?id=176&cat=2.+Combination+Grit+Waterstones  (from this shop i'll also buy the knives, because they seem to have a lot of affordable nakiris to choose from)

    For a nakiri, i found some more in my price range, but i'm not sure what to choose, maybe you could help me:

    6 1/2 inch blades:

    -Kobayashi Kansui Dojo Vegetable Knife - Aogami Nakiri Hocho(78$) http://www.epicedge.com/shopexd.asp?id=324

    -Kobayashi Kansui Ink Pattern Vegetable Knife - Suminagashi Nakiri Hocho  (112$ - not sure if is it worth the price increase)  http://www.epicedge.com/shopexd.asp?id=334

    -MAC Vegetable Knife - Nakiri - (JU-65) (80$) http://www.epicedge.com/shopexd.asp?id=83640  -> i like the smooth design of the blade and handle, but i'm worried about the 2 point handle style

    6 3/4 inch blades (not sure if the longer blade is a plus or not):

    -Ohishi Hammer Finished Vegetable Knife - Nakiri - 6 3/4 in. (170mm) (114$, reduced from 238$; and it's a beautiful knife :)http://www.epicedge.com/shopexd.asp?id=89162

    -Kobayashi Seikon Dojo Kurouchi - Nakiri with Babinga Wood Handle (90$, not stainless steel, not sure about it) http://www.epicedge.com/shopexd.asp?id=83470

    So what would you choose from the above? They all use different blades (as in the materials and manufacturing processes used to make them) and i'm not that knowledgeable to differentiate between them. I just want something that should keep its edge as long as possible and has a good, long lasting, handle.

    ------

    As for paring knives, i saw some bird's beak style ones. Are they be more suited for round fruits? Also, what's a good blade length for a paring knife?
     
  5. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

    Messages:
    8,550
    Likes Received:
    202
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    A nakiri isn't "better" for vegetables so much as it's more or less useless for most other things. If you want a short knife with a square nose, flat profile, a "V" edge, and your prep technique is restricted to almost nothing but "push cutting" -- it's a good choice. Lots of people love them, and you might turn out to be one of them. Personally I hate them.

    Short knives don't do a better job of cutting "a few veggies" than longer blades, nor are they more convenient.

    If you're seeking advice, it's generally better to start with questions instead of conclusions. Tell us some more about your hand problems, what you're using now, and why you think it's a problem.

    In my experience, hand problems are usually most easily resolved with an improved grip and a sharp, light, comfortably handled knife with some -- but not too much -- rocker. A "better" grip for vegetable is almost always a soft pinch ("soft" meaning you don't hold the knife as tightly), which requires a sharp blade.

    BDL
     
  6. dand3n

    dand3n

    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    I Just Like Food
    I agree, but that's my way of asking questions. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/tongue.gif  I did a little research before posting here (because i knew nothing about this subject and didn't want to be lazy about it) and drew some conclusions, but they are open for debate, that's why i've made this thread, to see other opinions on my thoughts and make adjustments. I wanted a nakiri because all i do most of the time is chopping vegetables (large and small) with a pushing motion; i'm not used with the rocker motion. I also like them because i can scoop the vegs with it, directly into the wok, for example. 

    I have a bunch of cheap and old knives, from sets and such. All i used was a small paring knife and one utility knife. Never needed anything else, really. That's why i don't feel the need for a bigger chef knife. The only decent knife i have is that utility knife, that was a gift. I never knew what brand it was, until recently when i looked more carefully at the blade marking and i saw the WS logo (Wusthof, i think, it's the same logo). I couldn't find it online (on the blade it says WS, Solingen, 3238-PM/18 cm, WIS Cuisine). I like the handle on it, much better quality that all my other knives combined. But the blade gets dull easily and i need to sharpen it often (with some cheap rollers i have); i never steeled it because i didn't know that's what you're supposed to do (i thought the stick was for sharpening /img/vbsmilies/smilies/blushing.gif). 

    As i've said, it's an 18 cm long utility knife. For me, it's very uncomfortable to chop vegetables with it and i find the blade a bit longer than needed (16-17 cm would be ok, i guess). 

    About my wrist problem, i have RSI (repetitive strain injury) in my right wrist, because of my computer job. Years of bad office ergonomics took its toll, until i started to have pains and only recently i took measures. I don't need surgery, it's not that bad, but i have to be careful not stressing it more than necessary. Because of this, my logic said i need a light and very sharp knife, that should not put a strain on my wrist when i do the cutting; japanese knives seemed appropriate. 
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2012
  7. jimbo68

    jimbo68

    Messages:
    104
    Likes Received:
    11
    Exp:
    Home Chef
    I have a Tojiro DP nakiri, and use it often.  It is not an an all purpose knife in that it does not have a pointed end.  However, it works well for me for slicing anything including meats.  My most used knife is a 240 Gyuto.

    I thought enough of the quality of the Tojiro that when it cam time to purchase knives for my son, that is the brand that I chose.  The knives are clad VG10, a good it not the best steel, and the price point is at entry level.  Knives arrived extremely sharp and have remained so.
     
  8. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

    Messages:
    8,550
    Likes Received:
    202
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
     Posted by DanD3n  
    Let's start with this, because it's a good description of something you know well.  You're right that a "very sharp knife" will likely help you a great deal.  However, sharpness is more the result of how you maintain and sharpen rather than any inherent knife design. 

    Light and thin are also good criteria.  Thinness, fwiw, goes both to weight and sharpness.

    It's also true that Japanese manufacturers tend to use better alloys and make thinner knives than many other makers, but there's nothing magic about Japanese knife designs such as the nakiri or santoku.  They don't do things better or worse than equivalently well made chef's knives.

    All knives get dull eventually.  If sharpness is your primary criterion -- and it should be -- the answer is to get a good knife and learn to keep it sharp. 
    Probably a good idea to stay away from "German" profile chef's knives then.  Not necessarily a good argument for a nakiri.  Most skilled, western users use at least some "rocking" motion rather than a straight up and down (pushing) motion.  If you haven't grown up with a flat edged knife, are trained, or have trained yourself in Asian style cutting, I'd be surprised if you used a true push cut action. 

    Yes, wide (not thick) knives, or at least knives with wide sections make convenient scoops.  Most 10" chef's knives, even the very streamlined ones, function well in that respect.  So, do Chinese style cleavers, and their perfected chuka-bocho Japanese versions.  The best tool though, is an inexpensive board knife -- something a lot of cooks leave under their board so it's convenient. 

    Even so, the best practice for most people is to not carry food from board to the pan (or wok) with a knife, but to get everything prepped into its own little bowl, and work from the mise en place of a few bowls and into the pan. 
    The WS logo + WIS Cuisine doesn't equal Wusthof, and (alas) doesn't come from Solingen either unless there's a Solingen in China where those knives actually are made.  

    That you're using "rollers" to sharpen says a lot; and that you believe you should be sharpening with a steel says even more.  Okay, so you don't know much about sharpening -- but neither do most people, including plenty of professional chefs.  On the plus side of the ledger there isn't much you need to unlearn to become a competent sharpener.  Once you do learn, you'll be surprised at how dull the edges were you'd previously considered "sharp." 

    An 18cm knife is very short, and anything shorter is going to be... well... shorter still. 

    Your little utility knife will never be ideal for chopping vegetables because it's (a) too dull, and (b) isn't wide enough to allow you to keep your knuckles off the board unless you have an extremely soft grip AND "come over the top."  It's doable -- or at least I don't have much trouble doing it -- but it's a stupid and inefficient way of doing things. 

    All things considered, provided you have the room for it a good 24cm chef's knife would probably be more useful than a nakiri -- even a santoku would be a better choice as the backbone in your knife kit.  

    First things first, though.  We need to figure out how you're going to sharpen as that may impose some limitations on what kinds of knives you'll end up buying.

    Hope this helps,

    BDL
     
  9. dand3n

    dand3n

    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    I Just Like Food
    I know, that's why i had dull knives all the time. Only now, when i've decided to buy a pair of good knives and did a little research, i found out what i did wrong and learned a bit about the many techniques of sharpening. Not that i became an expert over night, far from it, but now i think i have a bigger picture when it comes to it.
    Yes, with this i had the most trouble. But i wasn't more comfortable with my big (8" or 9", not sure) chef knife either, because of length and weight. On the other hand, i didn't used a rocker motion, so maybe this was also part of the problem...
    I was prepared to buy a combo wet stone for the new knives and a fine ceramic rod. I've watched some youtube videos on how to sharp with a wet stone, doesn't seem too difficult, especially if i have an angle guide at first. It's the honing that i have trouble with; now that i think i know the proper technique, i've tried to exercise with my current steel and knives and doesn't work too well. Need more practice, as with everything else. But it's something i don't particularly enjoy very much (as opposed to sharpening on a stone, that i presume it's a more satisfying work)...

    Before nakiri, i thought of buying a santoku, because it still has a wider blade than most western chef knives and it's shorter (7", as opposed to 8-10" chef knives). But since i only cut vegetables, i imagined a specialized knife like a nakiri would be more suitable.. If i really need a knife for a different job, i still have that old utility knife around, ready to be abused. :) Anyway, not so sure know...
     
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2012
  10. dand3n

    dand3n

    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    I Just Like Food
    double post, sry.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2012
  11. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

    Messages:
    8,550
    Likes Received:
    202
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    An adequate sharpening kit will end up costing you somewhere between $80 and $350.  Some methods are easier to learn than others.  Some methods are less expensive.  By and large, you get what you pay for.  Your real issues are far more about sharp vs dull than they are about nakiri vs chef's.  How much are you willing to spend on a kit? How much effort are you willing to put in to learn? Be honest. There are ways of making it fast and easy; just remember, you can't take them sharper than "adequate."



    Up to a point -- which is right around $200 for a 10" chef's -- more expensive knives will out perform less expensive knives.  There are a few standouts in the cheaper "entry level" category, but in one way or another they don't deliver what more expensive "very good" knives do.  What's your budget for your first good knife?



    As a first good knife, you're really kidding yourself with buying a nakiri.  It's not that you can't make it work, it's just that a chef's knife will do everything a nakiri can at least as well, and do most things better.  But yes, you're going to want something light.  



    Yes, an 8" or 10" knife won't point as easily as a 6" knife until you've mastered some basic skills. 



    Bottom line:  Those skills and an appropriate chef's knife (or even a [gag] santoku) will make your prep easier, less painful and more fun in so many ways.  A good, light first chef's plus an adequate sharpening kit will cost you $150 minimum.  You can certainly spend more and get much more; but that's the price of admission to the bleachers.  And, you need to learn the skills anyway. 



    Still with me?  



    BDL 
     
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2012
  12. dand3n

    dand3n

    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    I Just Like Food
    As i've already said in one of my posts, preferably under 100$, but now i think i could stretch to 170-200$, only if i buy a cheaper paring knife (i need one of those, too!) and if it's really worth it. Better give me two options, for each price range, if you can. I'll make up my mind later on the budget.

    Under 100$ for the sharpening kit; you can see in post #4 what i was thinking buying (not that i've decided already, i was just asking if my choices are ok and if better options exists in that price range).

    If you would recommend me a japanese chef knife (Gyutou?), what would it be? Same for a 7" santoku, if i decide to get one...What i want is something with a metal that holds its edge a long time and it's light. About the handle style, i don't know what would suit me better, asian or western style, esp since i have a problematic right wrist. Never tried an asian handle before, so i don't know how it feels, but what i can say is i'm not that used to western handles either, so i could adapt to anything that eases the strain on my wrist.
     
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2012
  13. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

    Messages:
    8,550
    Likes Received:
    202
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    Unless you have a compelling reason to choose a short knife, I strongly recommend a 24cm over 21cm. 

    Paring Knife:

    Something inexpensive -- probably a Forschner.  You might find it worthwhile to invest a few extra dollars in something made to take the same 15* edge you'll most likely use for your chef's knife.  That primarily depends on how you choose to sharpen.

    Chef's Knives:

    In the $100 and under range:  Fujiwara FKM; Richmond Artifex; and Tojiro DP.

    In the near $200 range:  MAC Pro, Masamoto VG, and/or possibly one of several stainless "lasers."  Lasers will be the lightest, but also the most flexible.

    In any case, you're either going to have to make a commitment to yourself to invest in some serious sharpening kit and learn the necessary sharpening and knife skills.  Otherwise your best knife is probably a santoku cheap enough that you can replace it when it gets dull. 

    It's a waste of my time talking about sharpening options until you begin to see them as important as the knives and until I get some feedback from you regarding how much time and money you're willing to invest.  Sharpening with a "Sharp Maker," opens you to one world of adequately sharp knives, while freehanding on benchstones or using an Edge Pro makes picking a higher quality blade a worthwhile investment.  Sharpening gags like a Minosharp 3 or a Chef's Choice electric, kind of split the difference. It seems as though you still don't believe it; but a meaningful knife discussion really begins with sharpening.    

    Sorry if it sounds like nagging -- which I suppose it is -- but the issue defines your best practical knife choices like no other. 

    By way of perspective and investment -- if you choose one of the better sharpening methods you'll end up sharpening at a level which will net you edges much sharper than those that come from the factory.  Worth the money and effort?  Heck yes!  Those edges make prep significantly less onerous; and in your case, really good edges will also probably make it less painful.

    Let me add that in your case, we not only have to work commitment, learning curve, and budget into the picture; but choose something which won't stress your right hand.  As someone who's been sharpening freehand for several decades, I wonder whether it's appropriate for you. 

    Also... I know you said $100; but you said a lot of other things which were expressed as statements but were really questions.  I took the $100 figure to be more of the same.  Now we're talking not only about knives, but a meaningful sharpening sharpening kit as well; one which will probably be in excess of $100 by itself.  So, the separate budgets for knife and stones come into issue.

    BDL
     
  14. dand3n

    dand3n

    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    I Just Like Food
    I understand and i know that a razor sharp knife needs a good tool and sharpening skill to keep it that way. But...what's wrong with a ~50$ wet stone combo (like #1000/#6000)? If it's harder than with a kit, then i'm willing to learn, i have patience and i always have been a handyman. 
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2012
  15. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

    Messages:
    8,550
    Likes Received:
    202
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    Hmmm.  Hard to answer when you phrase it that way.  Single stones are better than combination stones, but combination stones are adequate.  Combis are a good start, but people who get serious about sharpening usually grow out of them and move on to separates -- both because better quality stones are available as separates and because separates maintain more easily and last longer. 

    The problem with bench stones in general is that they have a steep learning curve.  Unless you have some adequate practice knives (yours aren't), it takes something like a year before someone who only uses two knives has enough practice to become a competent sharpener.  There are also some non-obvious things with water stones, like flattening, which must be addressed. 

    In your case, there might well be ergonomic issues as well.  If you don't learn to sharpen left-handed, the action is likely to be pretty tough on your RSI.  And even then, the "two handed" method which works best might be painful.  If so, no go.  There's way too much repetition in the sharpening action and I don't want to encourage you to use a sharpening method which will do further damage.

    I bought my daughter a Minosharp3 because she's simply not interested in mastering stones.  It's not great, but it's certainly better than adequate.  You can think of one of the Chef's Choice "Asian" machines in the same "good but not great" category as the Minosharp3 if you like.  Each sells for around $80. 

    The Edge Pro Apex kits are excellent for people who want great results but haven't learned to sharpen yet -- because they can get the desired edge quality with a relatively flat learning curve.  Unfortunately, the EPs cost around the same as an equivalent set of stones -- $200+ -- which is very expensive compared to the budget methods.  While it won't take you long before your home edges are as good as those which come from the very best services and on new OOTB ("out of the box") knives, and there's considerably less physical stress, it's still a lot of money.  Worth it?  I can't answer for you, but incline towards "yes, if you can afford it."

    My daughter's kit consists of a MAC Pro 9.5" chef's, a MAC Pro 5" petty, a Forschner 10.5" bread knife, the already-mentioned Minosharp3, and a 12" Idahone fine ceramic "steel."  Don't consider it a recommendation so much as a jumping off place in our conversation, but something like that might work very well with you.  Considering your desires for a very light knife and your ergonomic challenges, we might also want to talk about the possibility of a "laser" wa-gyuto (very thin, very light, chef's knife with a Japanese handle). 

    BDL
     
  16. dand3n

    dand3n

    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    I Just Like Food
    I can't say for sure, but i don't think it should be a concern. I watched some youtube water stone sharpening tutorials (like this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SKeSRDMRpY0) and the motion is linear, whole arm movement, with very little wrist flexing. If i keep my wrist in a more or less locked, neutral position, it should be ok. Most of my RSI aches come from repetitive wrist flexing combined with a strong gripping or pushing force over a period of time; i imagine that strong force is not necessary for water stone sharpening, only a lighter touch repeated enough times, but i could be wrong.   

    Also, sharpening is not something i'll do every day, maybe not even once a week, especially if i have a knife that keeps its sharp edge for a long time. You need to remember i cook at home and not for hours on end, every day. 
    Isn't an angle lock (or rail, not sure how it's named) helpful at first? It's a small clip like thing that it's placed on the top of the blade and keeps the knife at 15* on the stone.
    Thanks, i'll take it in consideration as an alternative. How much it lasts at normal, home usage? Same question for the Edge Pro Apex. Unfortunately, 200+ usd is too much for the Apex kit. Maybe in the future, if i'm not satisfied with the cheaper alternatives (combo water stone or that Minosharp tool). 
    [font=tahoma, verdana, geneva, lucida, arial, helvetica, sans-serif]Oh, yes, please do tell more. :) I was just about to ask you, as i think they look very good ([/font]aesthetically)[font=tahoma, verdana, geneva, lucida, arial, helvetica, sans-serif]  and could more ergonomic for me (because they seem to be [/font]cylindrical or octagonal in shape [font=tahoma, verdana, geneva, lucida, arial, helvetica, sans-serif]and slightly large in diameter) and i imagine more griping styles are possible (just a supposition).[/font]
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2012
  17. chinacats

    chinacats

    Messages:
    75
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    At home cook
    Dan,

    Can't help with the Laser question and don't know anything about the Minosharp, but wanted to touch on a few other points...

    First, don't forget that a good steel (ceramic or steel) is used more often than a stone and should be included in any kit.  This is not a major cost, but definitely something you will need.  This and something to actually keep the stone you are using flat--don't have to purchase as you can make one, but this is another part of the 'kit' you will need as the stones will tend to dish...especially as you are learning.

    The learning curve for free handing is steep...not a problem if you have a few old knives you don't mind ruining...maybe overstating, but I too am fairly handy and have pretty good hand/eye coordination and I have messed up--then brought back many knives while learning to freehand...again if you don't mind messing up an edge it is no big deal, but wouldn't want to mess up a new $$$ laser.  My friends who do more of this than I do (with Japanese planes) say it is a matter of "7 years on the stone."  This is likely an overstatement...but not as much as you might believe.

    The 'angle lock' works by raising the spine off the stone...the problem is that it raises different knives different amounts (depending on the height of the blade)...I guess just being consistent is good, but don't think you have much control over the actual degree of bevel...again, consistency is truly more important than a specific angle.

    I don't have wrist issues, but will say that spending an hour or so on the stone is rough on everything--brain included. 

    One final point on the handles...if you are using a correct 'pinch grip' then the handle doesn't seem to matter much on the bigger knives...others may disagree, but I have such a variety of handles on big knives that it should be a problem which it is not...learning to hold a knife properly will likely be more valuable than any other skill except maybe sharpening.

    Good luck,

    Chinacats
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2012
  18. dand3n

    dand3n

    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    I Just Like Food
    Isn't the angle important when using the steel, too? Like 15*, to me seems very hard to keep when using a vertical motion on a stick. :\

    For the stones, maybe i could construct a home made system similar to the Apex, especially since i already have the tools needed from other small DIY projects i did in the past. Or maybe i'll just buy the Minosharp, but i don't know what level of sharpness can be achieved with it. For example, does it pass the paper slice test? :) The Apex kit could save me the troubles, but frankly, to me it seems overpriced. And it's above my current budget anyway.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2012
  19. chinacats

    chinacats

    Messages:
    75
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    At home cook
    Personally, I am probably not as accurate when steeling as I should be...even a little obtuse sometimes:>)  You certainly get better with practice fairly quickly.  Since you are not sharpening, just realigning the "micro-serrations," a few fairly well aligned swipes is all it takes to do the job.  With sharpening on stones, a few swipes off plane can be the equivalent of a rounded bevel--not convex, just dull. 

    As to the paper cut test...all my knives will slice copy paper even when 'dull'--not much of a test...phone book page is getting sharper...paper dulls blades:>)

    BDL has a 'descriptive tutorial' that covers the honing motion in good detail...I believe you can find it from the link under his name and reading "steeling away."

    Good Luck,

    Chinacats
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2012
    dand3n likes this.
  20. jimbo68

    jimbo68

    Messages:
    104
    Likes Received:
    11
    Exp:
    Home Chef
    Has anyone any experience with one of the angle cubes ?  (CKTG 35-222-6)  I have thought of purchasing the product.  Will it aid me in selecting and maintaining the correct angle?

    Also, how can I find out what the angles on my Kanetsunes is?  I understand they are slightly RH biased, but other than that, I don't have a clue.