My first true knife

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Joined Mar 15, 2017
Hello all,

I know there is thread upon thread on this topic but I wanted to see what everyone's thoughts were after I have done a lot of reading.

So my background is that I am a home cook and do a lot of cooking for my family and others. I love cooking! I have always been passed down knives which were mediocre but now I think it is time to invest in a truly amazing knife. After lots of research and reading, I have decided that I will be getting my first JK.

I was exposed to these knives at a young age when I worked at my uncle's restaurants but I have not handled one since. My question now like many others is what knife to get. I know that I want a chef's knife and there are a few that catch my eye but since I live in PA there are no good knife stores in my area other than big retailers like William Sonoma and Sur La Table. Due to this I can not feel most of the knives I see online.

So my initial question is I am considering a Richmond sdk-11 gyuto 210mm, is this a good starter jk and is there even anything worth considering it against at the stores such as William Sonoma and Sur LA Table?

Thank you so much for the help,

RWatkins
 
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Joined Aug 6, 2015
 
So my initial question is I am considering a Richmond sdk-11 gyuto 210mm, is this a good starter jk and is there even anything worth considering it against at the stores such as William Sonoma and Sur LA Table?

Thank you so much for the help,

RWatkins
Hi RWatkins, welcome to Cheftalk.

Are you referring to the ones on closeout? I don't think you're going to enjoy the 'minor' issues of shrunken scales and gaps in bolster, to be frank. Do you have a specific budget range and other specifications you're aiming for? FWIW I've had more poor than good experiences with the Richmond house brand...prefer to shop elsewhere now where the vendors are more selective about what they stock.

How do you plan to be sharpening your purchase?
 
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Yes sadly I was referring to the one on close out. I thought it was a great deal but I wasn't sure. Thank you for saving me from having a not so good purchase.

I do not have a budget range but I do not want to go crazy as subtle differences in cutting and spirit of the blade will be lost on me.

As for what I am looking for, I actually went to the name brand stores today and tried a lot of knives and liked very light and agile knives specifically the two I liked were the Shun Hikari and the Miyabi Koh both felt in the category of what I was looking for compared to the others.

What do you think of those knives and what would be a much better knife like those?

Also I plan on sharpening the knife with a wet stone. I currently do not have one but will be getting one when I purchase the new knife.

Thank you for all your help.
 
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buy from amazon...much cheaper...you know how to sharpen anyway so out of box sharpness should not be your concern...Shun is sharpest out of box in my experience and they make great santoku blades for chopping purposes...fun to chop onions, mince garlic, careful slice carrots etc with them.

as for chefs knife, i dont prefer shun as they have thinner spine as compared to Global knives or JA henckels and a much more fragile tip which can chip.

dont spend more than $100 bucks on a knife.
 
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Joined Mar 15, 2017
 
buy from amazon...much cheaper...you know how to sharpen anyway so out of box sharpness should not be your concern...Shun is sharpest out of box in my experience and they make great santoku blades for chopping purposes...fun to chop onions, mince garlic, careful slice carrots etc with them.

as for chefs knife, i dont prefer shun as they have thinner spine as compared to Global knives or JA henckels and a much more fragile tip which can chip.

dont spend more than $100 bucks on a knife.
Well I thank you for your advice but that is not what I am looking for at this time. I am looking for a great knife that I will love and take care of for years. As specified in my post I am looking for a JK which is special. I would like to say I can spend as much on a knife as I would like and setting a $100 limit seems very restricting.

Here are the links to the two knives I mentioned and liked:

http://www.surlatable.com/product/PRO-3016847/Miyabi+Koh+Chefs+Knife?cat=cat460471_Miyabi+Koh

http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/shun-hikari-8-inch-chefs-knife/?isx=0.0.456

Thank you
 
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Joined Apr 25, 2014
You can chip any knife if you don't know what you're doing.  Don't let that stop you from buying nice things.

Having said that, you don't need to spend $300 for a good chefs knife. Nothing wrong with budget performers. Common price/performance winners we recommend a lot

$30 -wusthof pro

$45 range - victorinox   NOT a great deal anymore, spend a few $ for the tojiro  or drop down to wusthof pro

$55-60 - tojiro dp  -  performancewise this is as good as shun or miyabi

$100-150   togiharu, suisin western inox  (korin.com),  gesshin uraku, gonbei (japaneseknifeimports.com), tanaka g3   (knivesandstones.com)

$150-200 will buy you great knives that aren't so expensive you're afraid to use them.  Also there is a lot more variations here about steel type, cladding, handles, looks, etc

CKTG house knives are not on par with other knives in their price range IMO

IT IS ALL ABOUT SHARPENING
 
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Of the two you linked the Miyabi would be the best choice.  FC61 is very much like AEB-L a stainless made for razor blades.  At 61hrc it should take and hold a good edge.
 
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Joined Mar 15, 2017
 
You can chip any knife if you don't know what you're doing.  Don't let that stop you from buying nice things.

Having said that, you don't need to spend $300 for a good chefs knife. Nothing wrong with budget performers. Common price/performance winners we recommend a lot

$30 -wusthof pro

$45 range - victorinox   NOT a great deal anymore, spend a few $ for the tojiro  or drop down to wusthof pro

$55-60 - tojiro dp  -  performancewise this is as good as shun or miyabi

$100-150   togiharu, suisin western inox  (korin.com),  gesshin uraku, gonbei (japaneseknifeimports.com), tanaka g3   (knivesandstones.com)

$150-200 will buy you great knives that aren't so expensive you're afraid to use them.  Also there is a lot more variations here about steel type, cladding, handles, looks, etc

CKTG house knives are not on par with other knives in their price range IMO

IT IS ALL ABOUT SHARPENING
Thank you very much this is a lot of help! I will be doing research on the $100 and up categories. Are there any knives in the more expensive range that you would suggest for a light and nimble knife that acts like the the knives I referenced?
 
Of the two you linked the Miyabi would be the best choice.  FC61 is very much like AEB-L a stainless made for razor blades.  At 61hrc it should take and hold a good edge.
Thank you very much for the help! That is great advice. Other than that knife are there any others that would be better but act similar in handeling.

Thank you all for the help. Although a lot of the small cutting differences might be lost on my can anyone suggest any hand made knives? I am very much a fan of having handmade things, they both show craftsmanship, expertise in the form and also I like to support people that keep to their trades in this fully automated world.
 
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Joined Aug 6, 2015
It would help with recommendations if you could list your preferences/requirements like handle types, stainless or not, what you're going for overall in the knife, typical prep, etc.
 
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Joined Mar 15, 2017
 
It would help with recommendations if you could list your preferences/requirements like handle types, stainless or not, what you're going for overall in the knife, typical prep, etc.
I am looking for a very thin light knife, I like the Japanese handle it makes the knife feel more agile and light to me, I am a thinner fit guy and would like a knife that compliments me, the knife can be made of either stainless or carbon or anything else there could be, I am going to be using the knife as my overall main knife, I want something that I will fall in love with, something special, something that works amazingly and is crafted very well, I want to maintain it for years and treat it well, I will mostly be using the knife for vegetables and some meat but I am looking to start cutting a lot of raw fish in the near future.

I hope that helps. If you have any other questions, ask away. You guys are definitely the experts and thank you again for all the help.
 
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Joined Oct 10, 2016
 
You can chip any knife if you don't know what you're doing.  Don't let that stop you from buying nice things.

Having said that, you don't need to spend $300 for a good chefs knife. Nothing wrong with budget performers. Common price/performance winners we recommend a lot

$30 -wusthof pro

$45 range - victorinox   NOT a great deal anymore, spend a few $ for the tojiro  or drop down to wusthof pro

$55-60 - tojiro dp  -  performancewise this is as good as shun or miyabi

$100-150   togiharu, suisin western inox  (korin.com),  gesshin uraku, gonbei (japaneseknifeimports.com), tanaka g3   (knivesandstones.com)

$150-200 will buy you great knives that aren't so expensive you're afraid to use them.  Also there is a lot more variations here about steel type, cladding, handles, looks, etc

CKTG house knives are not on par with other knives in their price range IMO

IT IS ALL ABOUT SHARPENING
Tojiro DP seems really great and i almost ended up buying it but I use other knives by Shun's parent company Kai such as Kershaw pocket knives and their re-sharpening service is very good so i went with Shun..for me customer service is the most important thing as i am still mastering how to sharpen knives to hair shaving levels.
 
117
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Joined Oct 10, 2016
 
Well I thank you for your advice but that is not what I am looking for at this time. I am looking for a great knife that I will love and take care of for years. As specified in my post I am looking for a JK which is special. I would like to say I can spend as much on a knife as I would like and setting a $100 limit seems very restricting.

Here are the links to the two knives I mentioned and liked:

http://www.surlatable.com/product/PRO-3016847/Miyabi+Koh+Chefs+Knife?cat=cat460471_Miyabi+Koh

http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/shun-hikari-8-inch-chefs-knife/?isx=0.0.456

Thank you
I cannot personally comment on those knives as I havent used them but you can't go wrong with any Shun knives...i know a bit about their parent company Kai and they offer very good customer service in case your knife has any issues or you notice heat treatment issues..they do a free replacement of blade. this is very crucial as even high quality steel could have heat treatment issues resulting in brittle or soft end result.
 
I am looking for a very thin light knife, I like the Japanese handle it makes the knife feel more agile and light to me, I am a thinner fit guy and would like a knife that compliments me, the knife can be made of either stainless or carbon or anything else there could be, I am going to be using the knife as my overall main knife, I want something that I will fall in love with, something special, something that works amazingly and is crafted very well, I want to maintain it for years and treat it well, I will mostly be using the knife for vegetables and some meat but I am looking to start cutting a lot of raw fish in the near future.

I hope that helps. If you have any other questions, ask away. You guys are definitely the experts and thank you again for all the help.
i know what you mean about thinner fit guy...how the knife feels like an extension of your hand is very crucial and also its blade to handle weight balance.

When it comes to kitchen knives, you might wanna avoid high carbon steels as they catch rust very easily....look for VG10 steel as its good balance of hardness and anti-corrosion property....i would suggest browsing through bladeforums as they have very highly detailed metallurgy info on choice of steel.

if you are looking for very long term, look into Tojiro DP also...Tojiro is another great japanese brand although it was slightly above my budget for the design i liked.
 
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Take a look at Ikazuchi for a knife even lighter and thinner than the ones you looked at. I'd go 240mm for the balance personally, it's still that nimble.
 

Also Itinomonn Kasumi for a fantastic cutter, light-medium weight in the $150-225 range. You'll have to catch this one when it restocks though...sells pretty quickly.

These are both stainless clad carbon

Do you have a stones budget?
 
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Joined Mar 15, 2017
 
I cannot personally comment on those knives as I havent used them but you can't go wrong with any Shun knives...i know a bit about their parent company Kai and they offer very good customer service in case your knife has any issues or you notice heat treatment issues..they do a free replacement of blade. this is very crucial as even high quality steel could have heat treatment issues resulting in brittle or soft end result.

i know what you mean about thinner fit guy...how the knife feels like an extension of your hand is very crucial and also its blade to handle weight balance.

When it comes to kitchen knives, you might wanna avoid high carbon steels as they catch rust very easily....look for VG10 steel as its good balance of hardness and anti-corrosion property....i would suggest browsing through bladeforums as they have very highly detailed metallurgy info on choice of steel.

if you are looking for very long term, look into Tojiro DP also...Tojiro is another great japanese brand although it was slightly above my budget for the design i liked.
Thank you very much for the information. I will take this into consideration. I am all for customer service but I will mostly be sharpening myself. Although I appreciate the thoughts on high carbon steel I will take very good care of the knife so this will not be a large worry for me. As I stated earlier I am not just looking for a regular knife I am looking for something special something amazing, something I will have to care of.
 
Take a look at Ikazuchi for a knife even lighter and thinner than the ones you looked at. I'd go 240mm for the balance personally, it's still that nimble.
 

Also Itinomonn Kasumi for a fantastic cutter, light-medium weight in the $150-225 range. You'll have to catch this one when it restocks though...sells pretty quickly.

These are both stainless clad carbon

Do you have a stones budget?
Thank you for the advice both of those seem like amazing knives and currently, I do not. Do you have any suggestions on stones?
 
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Joined Apr 25, 2014
I 100% agree on learning to sharpen

1) once you know how to sharpen you can buy ANY knife

2) you dont' have to pay shipping to shun, even though the service is free

3) you don't have to wait to get your knife back

It's not as difficult as you think.  I can teach people to get a sharp edge in under an hour.  It's the rest of the stuff, thinning, polishing, etc that takes a lot of time.

This is a very good set of stones:  https://www.japaneseknifeimports.com/products/gesshin-stone-set

Is it necessary? NO.  You can get by with a 1000/6000 combo stone for $30.   The extra price gets you longer wider stones, faster cutting,  splash and go, etc.   Features that matter to someone who sharpens many knives, maybe not to you.

When you dodge questions like budget you are doing yourself a disservice as far as what recommendations you will get.  Implied in such a question is are you looking for budget performance,  good enough, absolute best price is no object, etc. 
 
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+1 to all of Millions's post. A benefit of starting up a new thread for personalized requirements is getting relevant recommendations, but that requires more specific input. There's a lot of knives and stones out there to list everything each time.

Some characteristics of different stones - speed of cutting, dish resistance (generally these two are trade-offs of each other), soaking vs splash and go, dimensions, feedback (aural, tactile)
And flattening solution. As synthetic Waterstones are made to be friable, they wear over time and need to be corrected to have a flat (or at least flatter) surface. These vary in quickness of use, longevity, etc. (Depending on your budget)

And getting halfway decent at freehand sharpening lets you keep your knives far sharper than what most the typical machines and sharpening services will get you, tweak your edges to get either more performance or more durability, maintain the geometry of your knife over time, and be fully in control of how much or little metal is removed each sharpening
 
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7
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Joined Mar 15, 2017
 
I 100% agree on learning to sharpen

1) once you know how to sharpen you can buy ANY knife

2) you dont' have to pay shipping to shun, even though the service is free

3) you don't have to wait to get your knife back

It's not as difficult as you think.  I can teach people to get a sharp edge in under an hour.  It's the rest of the stuff, thinning, polishing, etc that takes a lot of time.

This is a very good set of stones:  https://www.japaneseknifeimports.com/products/gesshin-stone-set

Is it necessary? NO.  You can get by with a 1000/6000 combo stone for $30.   The extra price gets you longer wider stones, faster cutting,  splash and go, etc.   Features that matter to someone who sharpens many knives, maybe not to you.

When you dodge questions like budget you are doing yourself a disservice as far as what recommendations you will get.  Implied in such a question is are you looking for budget performance,  good enough, absolute best price is no object, etc. 
+1 to all of Millions's post. A benefit of starting up a new thread for personalized requirements is getting relevant recommendations, but that requires more specific input. There's a lot of knives and stones out there to list everything each time.

Some characteristics of different stones - speed of cutting, dish resistance (generally these two are trade-offs of each other), soaking vs splash and go, dimensions, feedback (aural, tactile)
And flattening solution. As synthetic Waterstones are made to be friable, they wear over time and need to be corrected to have a flat (or at least flatter) surface. These vary in quickness of use, longevity, etc. (Depending on your budget)

And getting halfway decent at freehand sharpening lets you keep your knives far sharper than what most the typical machines and sharpening services will get you, tweak your edges to get either more performance or more durability, maintain the geometry of your knife over time, and be fully in control of how much or little metal is removed each sharpening
Thank you both for amazing recommendations. I know it is hard to recommend things when not much information is given but I am still learning what questions to ask and what price I should be looking to pay for what I am going to be using them for.

I definitely do want to learn how to sharpen myself and use wet stones, there is nothing like doing your own work and learning. When it comes to knives I think I will set the budget to $300 because it seems from the research I have done that after that price point I would no longer notice differences in quality and performance from my use (tell me if I am wrong). When it comes to stones as of right now I will need more help picking one or multiple depending on the knife I get. Stones are something I know far less about. I will not be sharpening lots of knives mostly learning some of the older knives I have and then using it consistently on the new knife I get.

Thank you again for everything and for putting up with my lack of knowledge.
 
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Joined Aug 6, 2015
Other stone set options, though you can always build whatever combination fits the needs

http://www.toolsfromjapan.com/store...ucts_id=2055:4375f568822d20fed1c38c4cf8fd67e3 opt for individual stones plus the half-cut 320 grit stone as you've mentioned learning on some older existing knives. These are all soaking stones

http://www.toolsfromjapan.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=852 diamond flattening plate

Would be about $150 shipped

You could probably also manage Sigma Power 400, 1000, and 6000 plus the iWood flattening plate for a little over $200 shipped. 

http://www.toolsfromjapan.com/store/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=335_404_403

Grab a sharpie, wine cork, and use a dense rubber pad or damp folded towel as a stone holder and to give you a little more height off the counter for your hands.

Angle app/angle cube/cut wedges of a few set angles to give you a rough benchmark on what some reasonable angles look and feel like.

Great knife sharpening playlist https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLEBF55079F53216AB
 
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Joined Aug 26, 2017
I literally just joined after reading this because I want to know the outcome. You sound exactly like me when I became obsessed with Japanese knives about a year ago. Did you say you pulled the trigger on the Shun Hikari? I got one for my mom for Mother's Day and ended up getting one for myself too...solely because of how beautiful they are. It's one of my go-tos now because of how it feels. Anyway, I figure if you have the budget, get yourself a beautiful knife. You'll find yourself wanting to learn more about how they're made, how to take care of them, etc. As far as sharpening; practice several times on a knife you don't care about if you're getting into wetstones. Buying a quality knife you can't maintain is like spending $2,500 on golf clubs when you can't break 100, ya know?
 
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Look at his profile and you can see he hasn't been around since his last post here. Some disappear and then suddenly pop back like a year later. I took a long time myself to choose knives after my first impulsive-buy mistakes. I'm pretty sure this guy will buy something sometime.

You pay a lot for the Shun name and glitz but the dual-core line are good knives, and the steel is a definite improvement over conventional VG-10. Welcome to Cheftalk AA, and don't ignore are other forums, great talk and information.
 
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