Need help selecting a new knife

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Joined Jan 15, 2017
Been lurking for a few weeks now, and I have already learnt more than I ever thought there was to learn about knives. However, because there is so much information, I feel a bit overwhelmed.

First, maybe a bit of background. I've been cutting using cheap german knives I shared with roommates for the past few years. However, I've recently moved in with my GF, and I can now buy better knives and be sure they are maintained well. So, I'm finally in the market for a good knife.

The knife is to be used in the home kitchen to cut vegetables, raw and cooked meats. We use an edge grain cutting board, which I believe is made from oak. So far I've only used german knives with (very) german profiles, but I'd very much like to try something new, so I would like to buy into a french profile. I use a pinch grip, but I do not have professional-grade knife skills.

I bought an edge pro apex with the 220, 400 and 600 stones for maintenance and sharpening. I'd be willing to buy additional stones for the apex if that is necessary. This will also be the first Japanese knife I'll be sharpening/maintaining.

Even though I love my cast iron and carbon steel pans to death, I don't feel I am ready to go for a carbon steel knife just yet, so some form of stainless steel would have my preference. However, I have an open mind. I think the step from blunt and heavy to sharp and light is big enough, so I'd like a western handle.

I am able to stretch the budget to $150, but value for money is important (I live in the Netherlands).

Any suggestions? Thanks!
 
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Very nice. How would this knife relate to the other often mentioned knives such as the tojiro and the fujiwara? And, the 440 from the same brand comes up often, what are your thoughts on that?
 
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Joined Aug 6, 2015
Very nice. How would this knife relate to the other often mentioned knives such as the tojiro and the fujiwara? And, the 440 from the same brand comes up often, what are your thoughts on that?
Similar I guess. I own a Misono Swedish (270mm) and a Tojiro DP (210mm). I thought I remembered the Tojiro being a bit curvier than I liked towards the end of the knife, but just looked at mine again and it's good. Can't remember if I've slowly changed that over time and sharpening though. Tojiro has a little more of a dropped tip look to it, and for same length knives, I might expect it to run a little thicker behind the edge. Both profiles work well at least for my cutting motion. 

I don't think you can go wrong with this level of choices for western handled Japanese knives, within which Suisin Western Inox and (probably Kanetsugu Pro-M) should also be included. Profiles of such knives that I've seen in person have looked good to me

Don't know much about the 440 line besides the obvious - it's using a high carbon content steel and is taken to slightly higher hardness

The knives in this range that run more asymmetric may make your edge pro apex sharpening more of a hassle - Misono, maybe also Fujiwara and Suisin (can others comment on this part)? In that respect, I encourage giving freehanding a try to better understand sharpening such knives
 
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Joined Jan 15, 2017
 
Similar I guess. I own a Misono Swedish (270mm) and a Tojiro DP (210mm). I thought I remembered the Tojiro being a bit curvier than I liked towards the end of the knife, but just looked at mine again and it's good. Can't remember if I've slowly changed that over time and sharpening though. Tojiro has a little more of a dropped tip look to it, and for same length knives, I might expect it to run a little thicker behind the edge. Both profiles work well at least for my cutting motion. 

I don't think you can go wrong with this level of choices for western handled Japanese knives, within which Suisin Western Inox and (probably Kanetsugu Pro-M) should also be included. Profiles of such knives that I've seen in person have looked good to me

Don't know much about the 440 line besides the obvious - it's using a high carbon content steel and is taken to slightly higher hardness

The knives in this range that run more asymmetric may make your edge pro apex sharpening more of a hassle - Misono, maybe also Fujiwara and Suisin (can others comment on this part)? In that respect, I encourage giving freehanding a try to better understand sharpening such knives
Thanks, that's very helpful. Would you say the increased price of the 240mm Misono is worth it compared to, say, the Fujiwara? The 210mm versions are not too dissimilar when it comes to price, but there is a significant increase for the 240mm, it seems.

The Suisin was on my list, until I saw a better picture of the handle in the other thread. Yuck. I am not buying looks, I know, but I won't have such an ugly thing in my kitchen.

And thanks for the advice on hand sharpening. I think it's good advice. If I can't get the results I want using the Apex I'll look into hand sharpening. However, I don't think I'll be able to do much better by hand ;)
 
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Thanks, that's very helpful. Would you say the increased price of the 240mm Misono is worth it compared to, say, the Fujiwara? The 210mm versions are not too dissimilar when it comes to price, but there is a significant increase for the 240mm, it seems.
@Benuser  can you comment on differences between the Misono and Fujiwara?

My thought is that with freehanding, you're more likely to be aware of what is going on with the bevels and how that relates to the grind of the knife. If you experience steering over time, then you can know to try something different- change up the angles, convex one of the bevels, relieve shoulders, thin a bit, etc. As it is, with something like the Misono or Fujiwara, you should be using a higher angle on the left than the right, which is a trivial adjustment for freehanding but causes inconvenience on a jig
 
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The Misono steel is very finely grained, the Fujiwara is a bit coarser, providing some bite. I just got a new Fujiwara and am quite impressed by the level of Fit&Finish at this price point. F&F with the Misono is unsurpassed though.
Both steels are very reactive and forcing a patina is a necessity. Older reports about sulphur smell don't apply any longer.
The Misono comes with an overly convexed edge, quite weak due to the factory buffering. Recent Fujiwaras come with quite a usable factory edge. Both are equally strongly right-biased.
Wait, are we talking about the stainless steel versions of the knives? It was my understanding that SS is not supposed to require a patina, or am I missing something?
 
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Sorry Bernard, I should have clarified! I will say one thing about the carbon Misono though...after using soft iron clad carbon knives that seem to rust when you so much as look at them, the Misono Swedish is positively easy to take care of - it's building a patina comfortably without too much effect on tomatoes and onions and the like in the meantime. I still haven't forced a patina on any of my knives with coffee or mustard or hot vinegar etc.

Also, are the Misono Moly and Fujiwara FKM similarly soft?
 
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JCK has the Misono Moly listed at ~57 HRC and the Fujiwara FKM at ~57-58 HRC. Another case of optimistic numbers? I would have assumed they were of similar softness
 
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I know some people equate hardness to quality, but there is some sweet spot for beginners and I think it is on the lower on HRC scale.  In other words, it doesn't matter how long it holds an edge if they chip it..
 
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I know some people equate hardness to quality, but there is some sweet spot for beginners and I think it is on the lower on HRC scale.  In other words, it doesn't matter how long it holds an edge if they chip it..

I understand there is always a tradeoff. Coming from soft German knives, I'd really like to experience the harder Japanese knives, I think. The Fujiwara isn't particularly chippy, is it?

For now I'm gravitating towards the Fujiwara for its price and because its profile looks very versatile. The Misono looks really awesome, but the jump in price from 210mm to 240mm is a downer for me - even though I could just get the 210mm which fits in my knife rack, of course. Are there other choices I should not forget to look at, or would you say this is a solid choice I can't go wrong with?

Thanks so much for the help so far, even though I haven't bought a knife yet it has already been very helpful!
 
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I'd be surprised if the Fujiwara was chippy for you. Excluding maybe the initial factory edge. 

I think your priority of 240mm over 210mm is a good one to have
 
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Thanks guys, very helpful. I think it's remarkable that the same recommendations that were given in age-old threads still seem to be valid. 
 
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