I've looked at most of the posts on the top page regarding knives, and I must admit - I 'm a bit dizzy as none of the discussions are suited to me. Here's my situation , I'm a 31 year old US Marine who just so happens to love to cook. I don't cook professionally, though I might after my time's up ( I enjoy it that much, cooking is almost theraputic to me.) My current set of knives were a wedding gift, a set of calphalon katanas. Good out of the box, but between poor technique , learning, and poor sharpening skills they will become my 'beater' knifes, and also used to practice sharpening (anyone know whether they're a 20 degree or 15 degree angle ?) They'll also become the goto knives for my wife as her technique isn't quite there for higher quality knives. (She's making faces as if I just 'threw her under the bus' as I type this. You know, the face that roadkill makes when it get hits by a car) Now, I've looked at the Tojiros, the Shuns, the Hattoros, the Globals, the MACs, and the Fujis (and a bunch of others) and I'm not sure what would not only give me good satisfaction now, but also in the future. Between this purchase and my new cookware (all clad copper core) I'm willing to drop about 1200 for the two combined. I'm guessing about 3-400 for the purchase of the knives and the stones, as I don't have either right now. Here's what I think I need (chef's please correct me, this is based off what I grab when I go to my block) - 7 inch santoku or chef knife (I tend to pull the santoku more often, I guess I prefer the control) - 3-4 inch paring knife - utility knife (maybe a nakiri?) - boning/filet knife I also want to get a decent quality sharpening stone set (I'm thinking a 1k/5k combo stone , norton makes a good product it seems, but my wife would prefer a waterstone as it's less messy) so that must be in the consideration. as well. Also, I guess it's important to mention that both my wife and I are left handed, as most japanese style blades are D shaped, and either unavailable or 50% more expensive to purchase in left handed varieties. Here's some examples of sets I'm considering as functionally correct (I've picked up Globals at WS before, and I'm okay with the handles, I know that's a point of concern.) http://www.chefknivestogo.com/gl5pcprset.html http://www.chefknivestogo.com/new3pchogrsa.html http://www.chefknivestogo.com/tojiro3pcset.html http://www.chefknivestogo.com/mac2pcasianset.html As for stones - http://www.cutleryandmore.com/norton-water-stones/1000-4000-grit-combination-whetstone-p14155 http://www.cutleryandmore.com/norto...ombination-oilstone-sharpening-station-p13506 So, I've given you a lot to guage your answers off of - to sum up I'm an adult who's spent a LOT of time around knives (including sharpening/honing) I'm left handed I'm looking for a knife that I will grow into, and I'm willing to put forth the work to make it better I have a budget of up to 400 total So what would YOU buy, and why ?