Knives...lets get started.....

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Seems like this is a good place to start. At nearly 60 I've been cooking for roughly 44 years. As the story goes Pops died Mom went to work and I went into the kitchen at the tender age of 16. I've gotten quite a bit figured out since then. BTW, Mom was the largest caterer in Sacramento, Ca for around 25 years. At age 18 I was offered a full ride to New York Cullinary Institute, however I declined the offer. At that point I was engaged in experimentation and discovery of recipes for mom. Proofing recipes that looked interesting and coming up with a few of my own. So moving forward. I've ways enjoyed cooking and the tools used to do so. Knives of course are a focal point for the cook. I've read a fair bit here on this forum, enough to know Shun are generally frowned upon and not held in very high regard. I'm just coming off of a set of Shun Kramers which aside from the fact they were right handers, I'm a lefty, I liked quite a bit in terms of performance. After about a year into using them I realized I started to like them less and less because of the right handed D configuration. I've owned them for around 5 years now and I just bought the Kajis as replacement for the neutral grip. The Kramers go to my right handed girlfriend. It's an 11 piece set and I didn't pay much for them. 9 knives around $75 per knife plus the block and Steel. I am interested in contrasting the Shuns I just bought with knives that will essentially be recommendations of forum members. A chefs, paring, Santoku and and one other to be decided,so 4 knives. The knives selected with the exception of the chefs knife may be modified depending on recommendations. I also have a sharpening stone set up that I would like some input on. Pic below:


Essentially within reason I'd like to find out the possible. I'd like to have fun with this exercise. So let's avoid pitched battles, please.

I'll check back in later. Off to lunch I go!

Mike
 
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Hi

Thought I'd answer a few Questions that I know will come.

Residence....I live in Incline Village, NV, USA

Budget....Flexible

Largest blade size ......12+ inches I think.

Grip style.....Pinch....skill level probably average. No formal training.

Current sharpening....... some stone work if necessary, steel and ceramic most of the time.

Cutting boards.....3 wood (1 small round @ around 7", a 14" x 24" ash and walnut. These I made as a kid and an oval oak board. I'll probably need to buy a nice end cut wood board. None are end cut.) Quite a few synthetic boards both large and small.

Foods I cook.....I cook all kinds of foods. Casual to Elaborate...

Number of people I will cook for.....more than a hundred in a single event.


I already have a variety of stones for sharpening. You tell me if I require something else. I think it's a fairly complete kit. I have sharpened and maintained knives in the past perhaps not to the level described in the primer on the previous page. I do have practice knives and the time to learn this skill.

More questions just ask away...

Mike
 
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Do you know Jacob Burton of Truckee? You might want to chat with him for some realistic advise to balance against that which you may get here.
 
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Realism is relative.  For instance, PM steel knives are amazing, but to get the most out of them you have to know how to microbevel.

Now I've given up bashing Shun, even though they're overpriced and known for having too much belly, clunky grinds and decals that wear right off.  Oh Darn, little back-sliding there.  Their HT has improved though, but they still don't compare to others, especially a benchmark like Tanaka if you are talking SG2, or Takamura, Itou, etc, etc.  The large-batch processes Shun uses just can't compare to what these relatively small producers do.

Now take a look at Rick Theory for a moment:


He can not only do that, but do it that all day long, for quite a good number of days without touchup, with some of the knives he uses.

What do you want your knives to do for you?

Rick
 
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Rick, I want them to perform. Have the capability to take a superior edge and hold it. Effortlessly be put through their paces, i.e. Great ergonomics. For the Chefs knife I think I'd like more of a French shape, length lets talk about that a bit, pros and cons.. I've only had the German shape and it sounds to me like the French shape is a little more friendly and efficient. Let's make this knife number one. Then we can move on to the others.

Also is my sharpening kit complete or do I require something else. I plan on hand sharpening.

Thanks,
Mike
 
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Having knives with both German And French forms, I keep returning to German as the most efficient and comfortable. You really should try French; maybe it suits your needs.
 
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Lol! I guess Ima gonna find out for myself.

This is going to be interesting. Just looked a the Tanakas, very nice.

What length do you fellas recommend in a chefs knife, 8"-10"?
 
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Yes, 8 to 10. For me it depends on what is being cut and the size of the cutting board I'm using. With lighter knives I prefer 10; with heavier (like Henckels or Wushof) I like 8. For big stuff like watermelons or hams... Big knife. Just like preferred knife form... Experience determines what's best for each individual.
 
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Rick hate it when I say this, but I'm sure he'll indulge me once more. My two favorite knives is Shun Premier and an old Forgecraft. My only real regret with the Shun Premier is that I didn't get it in 10 inch. It is sharp and light enough so a longer blade would be quite comfy to work with. All of my others are good in their own right, but these 2 are my "go t" knives.
 
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Brian,
The Shun Kaji's are quite nice. Thinner blade than the Kramers I had. Very German for sure. They make it in a 10" I think. Pricey though. I got my Kaji's's at 60% off the the "sale" price, so for me they were cheap ($684 I think). 9 knives the block and steel or an 11 piece set.

The Shun Kaji 8" Chefs knife,




The Itou's are bad ass Rick!

Looks like I'm going to spend some money!
 
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Rick, I think the Tanaka's are more my speed. Very workman like. Just love the shape and the Damascus he does.
 
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Shun has upped their game and that is why I try to restrain the negative comments when they come up.  But like you say there are some real badass knives out there.  And Japanese knives definitely tend toward a French profile, or flatter even.  

As far as size, many including myself feel an 8" too small.  A 240 (about 9.5") is considered ideal for home prep and line work.  But if you're making mountains of stuff or breaking down big things like squash and swede of course 10"+ is the place to be.

Something to keep in mind, SG2/R2 is great steel, but also rather brittle, and knives like the Tanaka are very thin at the edge.  And whereas some people very experienced with these knives do use them for for splitting squash and the like, they have been known to chip out big on those tasks even in hands experienced with the breed.

My feeling here is get a 240 in the Tanaka Ironwood category, and something tougher in a bigger knife to go along with it.

Stones are another thing you could enjoy spending some money on, so tell us what you are using now.

Rick
 
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Okay Rick,
I heard ya loud and clear. So what if I told you I ordered a Tanaka R2 240mm Gyuto Ironwood tonight, just a beautiful knife...no one had them except an outfit in Australia... Not sure how long it will take to get here, but they are reputable, I hope. LOL! I can't wait! Would you take a look at my sharpening set up and let me know what I don't have? Oh and where should I order a nice cutting board from?
Mike

P.S. Rick, Look above, I have a picture of all my sharpening stones! I'm just a bit ahead of the curve! The blue one I think is a stone leveler let me know if you need another pic of it. The slotted round one I'm not so sure about. I bought it a while ago and dang I just plumb forgot what the hell its for.
 
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Winter Squash splitting sounds like Cleaver work to me. Well not to mention if someone doesn't like my food guess what I'm walking out with, uhhhh ya a plutowski![emoji]128526[/emoji]
 
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That's a knife for which my lust has not diminished for

Big congratulations, and do gush lots about it when you have played with it for a bit :)
 
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