Newbie to knives : interested in Japanese knives

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BDL, you should think about putting a Knife Buying FAQ together you don't have to keep repeating your wisdom in multiple posts.  I do try to read your other threads so you don't have to repeat yourself to me, but I have a hard time remembering which thread I read X or Y in so I can go back and remember what was said.

Thank you also ChrisLehrer.

Right now I'm more confused than ever.  Unfortunately, I have the type of shopping personality that has trouble choosing between several excellent options.  I can't help myself but to believe that there is one optimal choice, and I often struggle in cases like this where all the choices are so similarly superb.  It must be some kind of OCD, or maybe it comes with my profession as an engineer.  I know I'll probably be perfectly happy with any of these.  Similar to what you said before, they'll all be like driving a Ferrari compared by my current Chevy.  I was really trying to make a decision during Korin's knife sale since they have a really good price on the Masamoto VG right now, but I don't know if I'll be able to do that.  I apologize if this post sounds more like a trouble-making-a-decision rant than a post seeking real advice.

I did try out a couple of knives at a William Sonoma last night, but unfortunately they didn't carry any of the brands you've recommended except Kikuichi, which I think had a carbon steel blade (the sales staff wasn't any help at all about the types of steel in their knives).  The experience did open a whole series of follow-up questions, all of which I'm sure have been answered in other forum posts.

Getting more hands-on experience

One thing that I realized while trying out the knives at WS is how little experience I have with a Chef's knife.  Holding them in my hand, I felt the weight, the handle comfort, and blade flexibility, but I was at a loss when it came to simulating a cutting motion and telling whether or not the knife had a good profile.  It was very similar to when I was shopping for a guitar before I learned how to play; all I could really do was listen to the salesman play and let them tell me how it felt and whether or not it had a good sound.  Unfortunately, the salesman at WS didn't know how to play either, so you guys are my "guitar salesmen".

I don't think I'll be able to find a MAC or Masamoto in a local shop, and I don't have any chef friends that would have one.  I know feeling the knife is probably not all that important, but what are your thoughts on trying to talk to a chef in a local restaurant with these knives?

Knives I tried

I apologize for not remember the specific models I tried out, but I held a Global, Kikuichi, Masahiro, Shun, and several others (incl. Michel Blas)  that were too expensive and I have no business considering.  I'm really interested the feel of these compare to the Masamoto and the MAC.  The Masahiro 8" (I think it was the Masahiro and not the Kikuachi), was extremely light weight and the blade seemed pretty flexible; I really liked it.   I imagined that may be close to how BDL describes the Masamoto VG blade.  The clerk said it was single-bevel, but it looked more like 90/10, but close to single-bevel.  The 9 or 10" in the same line was noticeably heavier and not as flexible, but still pretty thin and light.  The Global looked and felt cool, but a little awkward.  I thought I preferred the looks of a Damascus blade, but several of the ones on display were just too much; now I'm sure I can do without.

How to the Masamoto VG and MAC compare feel-wise to these others?

When BDL mentions the Masamoto VG is thinner/more agile than western knives, is there any way to put that in perspective for a beginner like me?  Maybe, how much does the Masamoto VG blade tip deflect from center with mild pressure from the handle?

I'm really struggling with coming to terms with BDL's comparison of Masamoto VG and MAC from another post.  My shopping OCD just kicking in again:
The MAC Pro is the knife I recommend most often... It's stiffer than almost any other Japanese made knife... 

[MAC]'s got the best handle in the business..., with Masamoto [3rd].

MAC Pro has a very good blade profile (in terms of agility).

MAC Pro has excellent F&F (as Japanese knives go).

Masamoto is my personal favorite.  I just love the way Masamotos feel in the hand and on the board.  You pick one up and stop thinking about it one way or the other.  If you can cut, a Masamoto will absolutely not get in your way.  Their most outstanding characteristic is that they really don't have an oustanding characteristic, they just don't do anything wrong.
What is it that allows you to stop thinking about the Masamoto that you can't with the MAC?  Is it the agility (I assume this is come component of flexibility and thinness) or the weight?  I know the person you were advising in that post eventually went with the Masamoto due to "love at first chop."  That may be enough for me, especially considering that MAC sounds more like buying a bulky  tractor-trailer than a fine cutting instrument.  On the other hand, I do plan to eventually purchase a MAC bread knife, and the MAC Pro would give me a match-set.

Carbon vs Stainless

I had convinced myself to go stainless, but last night I started to have second thoughts again.  Part of why I had finally decided on stainless was a paragraph in the knife maintenance and sharpening faq mentioning that even if you don't see the effects on the carbon steel blade, it may still be affecting the edge.
The culprit is corrosion – the effect of acid and micro-rusting. Even on what appears to be a mirror-bright, razor sharp edge, microscopic particles of rust and corrosion will form, attacking the edge and reducing its performance. Unless carbon steel knives are rinsed and dried frequently, their edges will degrade rapidly in kitchen use. The stainless edge will easily outlast them.
Is this really a concern?

I know that carbon knifes need to be cleaned and dried soon after using them, but what is "soon"?  Is is a matter of seconds? 5m? 10m?

What is "soon" for citrus and onions?

Once a patina forms, does care get easier?

Is it possible to develop a "graceful" patina that's not unsightly, but will prevent the knife from developing an ugly one?

Wa vs Yo handles

I did get the opportunity to try out one Wa handle on a Shun (if I remember right).  It was an eccentric "D" shape, and it was surprisingly really comfortable using a pinch grip.  I'm not really "used" to a western handle, or any handle for that matter, so I might consider a Wa.  Of course that would add even more excellent choices to my tough decision.

The Wa handles don't look sealed.  How do they hold up to sweat and water?

Are octagonal and round handles just as comfortable?

Other knife advice I've solicited?

I did solicit some advice on another forum and several people there suggested a "Sakai-Yusuke Swedish stainless steel 240mm yo-gyutou."  I could only find them on Ebay.  
Compared to the Masamoto VG, it is thinner, has better geometry and has a more pronounced distal taper, ie thinner, skinnier tip. It also has more of a classic French profile where it narrows or tapers towards the tip, Masamotos maintain a wider, flatter profile along the entire length of the blade ending with a snubbier, blunter tip (commonly described as a 'sheep's foot')
Do you know how this compares to MAC and Masamoto VG?

Also recommended were:

240 mm Ashi from JKI or TKC from CKTG

Ichimonji TKC rebranded as Kikuichi from CKTG

MCUSTA ZANMAI  - more expensive, Damascus

I suppose another option is to buy a cheaper knife/guitar, learn how to use/play it and sharpen/tune it, and then step up from there.  I assume you'd recommend the Forschner Fibrox or Rosewood in that case.

Thanks again for all your help.  I really respect your opinions.
 
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Okay, let's make this simple. Too simple, perhaps, but accurate in its way.

If you want carbon steel, and you weren't bothered by a wa handle, the Masamoto KS wa gyuto is about as good as it gets, in every way. It's expensive, but you will never regret it. They run long, so if you're not all that used to a big knife a 240mm will be perfect -- and probably close to 250mm. I bought a 270, which is 282mm long and have never looked back. But it will cost you a pretty penny.

If you want stainless, the Masamoto and the MAC are both stunningly good. The advantage of Masamoto is some very faint, subtle things in the shape, flexibility, and so on, all of which add up to some superiority that you will probably never notice. The advantage of the MAC is that it has excellent fit and finish, some of the best handles in the business, and reasonably priced.

If you're really having this much trouble deciding, my suggestion is to buy whichever is cheaper and don't sweat it. This is that rarest of choices, in which either one will be the right answer.

A passing note: none of these knives is single-beveled, properly speaking. Even if you sharpen them as asymmetrically as possible, ratio 100/0, it's still double-beveled. A single-beveled knife is a very different animal. Look at pictures of a yanagiba, deba, or usuba, and you'll see that the knife is set up completely differently --- these are single-beveled knives.
 
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Oh. Then there's the whole "buy a beater and learn to sharpen on it" thing. I did this, and don't recommend it. If you do it, you have to pick your beater very, very carefully. It won't be dirt cheap, either. You need a knife that is as similar as possible to the characteristics of your "real" knife in order for it to work.

In the end, I basically learned to sharpen principally on a Kyoto Aritsugu petty and my Masamoto KS270 wa-gyuto. When I came home from a year in Japan, and had to wait for my knives and other stuff to arrive, I sharpened my old Wusthof, and found that it was wildly not the same thing, because the steel ground completely differently. When I got my Japanese knives eventually, it was like coming home again: suddenly everything just ground and polished the way I thought it ought to.

Don't be fooled by notions that you'll ruin your knife by sharpening it. If you have a good stone, not too coarse, and you go slow and don't use a lot of pressure (let the stone do the work), you won't ruin the knife. You may not like your edges, in which case you do it again, but this is not rocket science and will not blow up or kill you if you're a little wobbly here and there. Don't agonize about it.

And you know what? Let's suppose you go the whole hog, you buy a $350 Masamoto, and after five years or something you decide you really have screwed it up. Okay, buy another one. What did it cost you, $70 a year? Eh, you spend more than that filling your gas tank twice. This is not a priceless art object. Don't fetishize it. Use it, sharpen it, take care of it, and you'll get a lot of pleasure and cutting education out of it. If you really do screw it up royally one day, buy a new one and see what you can do by wildly re-grinding the old one into a different shape, or whatever suits you.
 
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Since this has evolved into a general thread on knives and sharpening I hope this is still on topic:  I decided to take the plunge and buy some water stones in the coming week.  All my knives are carbon and I'm committed to being proficient with using stones.  I like the EP a lot but I just have this irrational notion that learning how to use stones to keep your knife in condition is an essential skill.  I'm not sure if it matters much what type of steel you're using on your stones but since everyone has good things to say about the Naniwa SS I'm thinking about just getting a set of SS straight up to keep it simple.  I love the chosera that I've used on my EP but a set of those is about 30% out of my budget.

I was thinking of going with the SS 400, 1k, 3k and 10k

My question is twofold:

For the SS, does anyone think 3k to 10k is too large a jump?  I've seen some people who only make jumps of 2-3x and others who make these huge jumps (5x or more).  So I'm not sure if they're trying to accomplish the same thing or are achieving similar results.  Not knowing how abrasive the 3k is, I'm wondering if I should add a 5k.  Adding the 5k might make sense for touching up existing knives with an decent edge anyway.

The second question is whether this is the most appropriate setup or if there's a better combination for the same or roughly the same cost.  I know this question has been covered roughly 10,000 times before but I can't find the specific answer on any of the forums so thanks for any input.

+D.

One thought, my knives stay fairly sharp so maybe I could get away with 400, 2k, 5k, 10k?  Just speculating.
 
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I've almost convinced myself to get the Masamoto HC.  Everyone seems to love it as long as they get one with good F&F.  I figure if I'm going to jump into the world of quality Japanese knives, why not jump in with both feet and get carbon steel.

I do have a question about safety though.  As BDL and others have mentioned, the Masamoto HC and VG are both "agile" knives.  My wife and I are both novices.  Though we've never cut ourselves using our old, cheap Chef knife, I am worried that if we did catch a thumb under one of these ultra-sharp knives it would slice it all the way off.  Does the agility of the Masamoto knives increase the likelihood of the blade twisting on us and catching a finger?  Would a slightly stiffer blade like the MAC Pro lessen the chances of an accident?
 
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yogi-d, probably not.  Using a sharp knife without losing digits or severing arteries comes back to technique and care.  It has little to do with the knife and everything to do with *you*.  Learn the basic techniques of holding a knife and cutting.  There's some brief primers on youtube (see Norman Weinstein).  Learn to use a proper pinch grip.  It's not hard and becomes natural very fast.  It's pretty much impossible to use a 270mm knife effectively without being familiar with the pinch grip.  And concentrate on straight, clean cuts.  Below is a video from Chef Michael Jordan and he makes a really good point: concentrate on the quality of your cuts and not the speed.  Speed is where a lot of unfortunate events happen.  Even with professional chefs (I've seen it).


The carbon knives are generally less flexible then their VG counterparts.  I couldn't tell you how much but I'm sure Chris or BDL have some insight.  I've found the Western Masamoto carbons to be light but firm as far as Japanese knives go.  Sure they have some flex but "whippy" is not a word I would use to describe them.  FWIW - a lot of people with mad knife skills like whippy knives.

If you're right handed, it's usually the left hand that you have to be worried about.  For a free visual tutorial of what to do with your left hand or how to use a paring knife I would recommend going over to youtube and watching some of Jacque Pepin's shows.  His technique is, well, he's Jacque Pepin!  And he's all over youtube.  The only difference is that he chops a lot instead of slicing (his knives are verrrrry sharp).  Coincidentally, his show is sponsored in part by MAC and most of the knives he's using are MACs.  Have no clue whether they're Pro or Superior.

But I would say having a high quality, sharp knife presents an opportunity to improve your skills.  You'll never get what you want out of the knife without the technique to go with it.  If you've got a razor sharp knife and you're cutting celery with your left palm spread out you're asking for it.  On the flip side, if you've got a really sharp knife and decent technique, that knife is going to do wonders for you.

+D.
 
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yogi-d: don't sweat it. What's likely to happen is some very shallow yet nevertheless terrifying cuts. Then you get over it.

Basically what happens is that you've got a super-thin, super-sharp knife, right? So you're zipping along, all nice and pat, and then you just barely touch your skin with the edge. Before it hits, you see it coming and back off, but it's just a hair too late. And that edge touches, and the hair rises on the back of your neck and you think, "oh god, off to the hospital." And you look at your finger, and you find you've got what amounts to a papercut. Why? Because you just barely, barely touched yourself, and the edge cut. It's very scary, but in fact you're not going to hurt yourself. Why? Because it's so sharp, and so light, that you won't use any force cutting, and you'll be going a little slow because you're not used to it, and so the result is that you'll be totally in control.

Believe me, a dull and/or heavy knife is the thing to be scared of. Oh, and of course serrated --- that's ugly stuff.
 
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Sockpuppet:

In essence, the size of the jump is more about how much damage you'll do to the stones than anything else. Minimum, you need a coarse stone to really grind the s--- out of things, a medium stone to put a proper edge on, and a fine stone to polish it. Everything else is a balance between convenience and a certain kind of precision.

Many enthusiasts swear by a progression something like 500, 1k, 3k, 6k, 10k. Many think that there is an excess stone here, and it should be more like 500, 1k, 5k, 10k; the usual counter-argument is that 1k to 5k is 5x and 5k to 10k only 2x. Don't sweat the numbers, but it's a worthy argument.

Me, I go 400, 800, 2k, 6k, 10k, natural-tricky-to-count-but-very-high.

The crucial thing to figure out, and you're not ready to do it yet, is what anchor stone you like. I like the word "anchor" when it comes to knives: an anchor knife is the one that does almost all the work, like a chef's knife, and an anchor stone is the one that the others build from. Coarse stones build up to the anchor, fine stones polish what the anchor has set. So what do you like? See, you don't know yet.

Some people like mud. Others hate mud. If you hate mud, a glass-stone is great, for example, because it doesn't produce any. If you like mud, there are a whole bunch of other options, including some of the SuperStone series (they vary a lot in characteristics, but all are pretty good quality). Some want lots of feedback, others care less. And so it goes.

Unless you're getting some very good deal by buying in bulk, I'd start by buying a good-quality 1k or 2k stone. SuperStone, Chocera, Sigma Power, whatever --- there are lots of choices. Forget polishing for a while, until you know what you're doing, or you'll just deceive yourself and have to go back. Now really learn how to use this stone, and see what you like.

Me, I find I like mud but am not a fanatic, and I adore feedback. So I use a 2k Chocera, which I bought a lot cheaper than you could because I got it on wholesale in Japan. This stone is so fast, consistent, and responsive that I can put a great edge on a passably sharp knife very quickly. After that, it's all gravy. My 6k Arashiyama synthetic is very, very muddy, something of a PITA, and somehow I find it produces a kind of elegant base polish over the Chocera. Then I go to the Naniwa SuperStone 10k, which polishes like you would not believe, and make good and sure that every faintest scratch is perfectly even, something easy to do with a well-set-up bevel, a lot of strokes, and a very light touch. To finish, with knives that gain something from it, I go to a very hard natural stone, barely wet, and work it gently for a while. This produces a strangely hazy finish and a frightening edge. I like that kind of thing, and when I'm in the mood to go whole hog I'll start with an 800 Chocera to set up the 2k smoothly. Mostly, I don't bother: I just flick water on the natural polishing stone and whip it up a little, or else soak the 2k and do some respectable grinding.

For me, this is a good system. But I know lots of guys who'd like something very different indeed. Why? Because at base they like something different in their anchor stone.

So what I'm saying is, don't agonize about the progression. Find a good anchor stone, work with it a while, and if you hate it, sell it and buy another. When you've found the right stone for you, you'll know --- sharpening will become fun. Then you start scoping for good options in higher and lower grits to suit your preferences.
 
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hmmmmm.  That gives some structure to the whole process and changes my thinking completely.  Thanks for the advice, Chris.  Very helpful.

+D.
 
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Ok... I didnt intend this to be a general post since I am still trying to get advice for myself on the knives and sharpening methods to go to.. but what the heck... we're all here to learn... as long as I still get the advice i need i suppose...

So, I've decided on the knife and sharpening method I'd like to go to...

Going for Kayagaki VG10 - Gyuto 240mm. Purely because of a number of reasons..
  • It's good enough for me to learn on for now... so perhaps getting this would be 'enough' for now... ;p Once I get used to using good knives and learn proper sharpening skills, then i'll consider going for 'better' ones.
  • There's no way of me having a test run of both the Kayagaki vs Masamoto beforehand... and everyone would have slight preferences of one over another due to different reasons anyway.
  • Now, is there anything i should be careful of when ordering the Kayagaki? - like the F&F of Masamotos?
  • Also, there's an ES (Extra Sharp) version so I presume that should be sharp enough for me when I get it? This will give me time to learn how to sharpen on other knives.
As for Sharpening...

Since I'm ordering from JCK.. and they provide a flat fee shipping, why not try the sharpening stones they have available?
  • Can someone advice me on which to get?
  • Also, how do their stones compare with the numerous good ones some of you have mentioned here?
Any other thoughts?

Thanks.
 
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I bought a Masamoto VG the other week, shipping was only 7$ and they marked it as a gift so I didn't have to pay duties or anything.  I was very happy with that.  

My Masamoto arrived sharpened asymmetrically(this is when one side of the blade is sharpened more than the other?).  On the right hand side theres a wide bevel, and on the left there is practically none near the tip of the blade but more near the heel of the blade.  I didn't ask for this sharpening setup, and frankly I'm a little intimidated because I want to sharpen this thing to it's full potential but I've never sharpened freehand before.  I think this may be the Christmas Day edge that was referred to earlier because the knife is already dulling and actually has a few small chips on the edge near the heel of the blade.

I am a tradition bound luddite so I'm going to buy some stones and try to learn.  I'm going to order some Naniwa Chosera stones from Paul's finest.  The have a sale on for "Naniwa Chosera Japanese Whetstone Sharpening Stones, Set of 3: 600, 1000, 5000" for 249$ CDN.  Is this a good deal?  There's also a 10000 grit for the same price.  I'm hovering here with my credit card about to make an impulse buy before heading to work.  Been here many times before, it's not a good place to be lol.  Please tell what stones to buy, pretend money is a non issue.  My knife needs sharpening and I have no stones aahhhh /img/vbsmilies/smilies/crazy.gif.

Kohno, I'm sorry jumping into your thread, I just couldn't help myself.
 
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Well, this is a fine kettle of fish.

I'm going to start separate threads for Brisket's, Doug's and Yogi's questions, and just stick with Kohno's here.

Kohno,

You've decided.  That's good in itself.  You made a good decision.  The Kagayaki is a lot of knife for the money.  You made a right decision -- but since you already had the field limited to two good decisions a lot of the congratulations are retroactive.  Mazel Tov so far.

No caveats regarding ordering the Kagayaki.  JCK is a very good company with whom to business -- especially on knives.

I'm not a huge fan of their stone selection.  You can do better.  What I'm not sure about is who the best e-tailers are for Oz.  Shipping costs will probably be significant -- and yes, I understand that's a big part of why you're thinking from Koki (at JCK).   If shipping is expensive, you'll also want to consider whether to buy a complete set of stones now, a limited set to learn on, or a less-expensive learners kit that you can grow out of and replace in a couple of years. 

Some of those choice you'll have to make anyway. 

Give me a chance to respond to Doug -- today or tomorrow -- the answer may be helpful.  If it's not, we can talk more about yours.

BDL
 
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thanks again bdl...

Alright... knives aside now...

Onto sharpening stones...  From one of the posts in another thread here, found a store here in Oz that sells Naniwa stones... any good?

Naniwa Triple Pack - AUD$265

Includes:

Arato 400 grit

Nakato 1000 grit

Shiageto 3000 grit

Superstone Home Starter Pack - AUD$115

Includes:

Arato 400 grit (thin stone)

Nakato 1000 grit (thin stone)

Which one(s)?

Also, not sure whether i understood right or not, do I need a ceramic hone or am I confusing myself when reading other threads?
 
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Yes.  You need a good rod hone -- or at least it would make your life easier -- for the sort of knives we're talking about. 

Ceramic is the most bang for the buck.  Speaking of bang, you don't want to bang the knife aganst the hone when you steel.  If I don't have steeling instructions up on my blog before you get your knife, ask me here.

Naniwa is a HUGE stone company and make a lot of different stones and lines.  The one you want your stones from is the SS (Super Stone) line.

The Japanese names on the sets you're posting pretty much mean coarse, medium, and fine.  From a sharpener's viewpoint 1K is medium-coarse, while 3K is on the coarse side of medium-fine. 

If the first set is SS (like the second), it's the right stones in the right grits.  However, the normal US retail price of the 3K is only about 20% than the 1K, so I find the pricing bizarre. 

Possibly it's just Oz, possibly the two stone set is made up of 10mm stones, or it might be worth trying to negotiate the three stone price or hunt up an SS 10K from another dealer.

Something else to think about:  Naniwa SS are my first recommendation for a learning sharpening.  They are excellent stones and among the best at any grit level regardless of skill, but there are two or three better choices at almost every level for the skilled sharpener.  I wrote an embarassingly long and detailed post to Brisket, you might want to take a look.

Start with the 1K and don't use any other stone until you've  become consistently adequate with it.  The "Magic Marker Trick" will help you learn to hold your angles, help with pressure, and teach you to see.  One you learn to pull (and feel for) a wire and to deburr, and can do them every time that's good enough.

Then, do the same thing with the 3K, although you probably won't need the Magic Marker with it.. 

By the time you have that down, you'll be holding your angles steady enough and have a good enough idea of what you're doing that you can do some light profiling, flattening the bevels and thinning -- using the "Magic Marker Trick" for at least the first few outings.

All this will probably take something like 6 months or so.  By that time, your skills will have grown and credit card recovered sufficiently that you can start thinking about a polishing stone.

BDL
 
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Thanks.

Alright... a ceramic hone it is then... I THINK I know how to steel the right way... but will wait for your tips when you come up with one just to make sure..

In terms of the stones,

Yes, both of the packs are the SS lines from Naniwa and the first set is the full stone (2nd set just the 10mm ones).

Was even thinking whether I should just buy a 10mm 1000k grit stone first... and only get the rest when i'm more confident. It's not all that much savings getting them in the packs (saves AUD$5?) anyway and I'll be visiting the store itself to pick it up.

So I take that the main grits are:

400k - (used only to 'fix' knives?) and I dont think i'll need this anytime soon (hopefully)

1000k - use this for most sharpening

3000k/10 000k - towards polishing?

I've also read about flattening the knife? what does that mean??
 
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I was in the same boat as you a few weeks ago, every place I've worked in have only used shuns pretty much and a few other chefs had global but no one with the better japanese knives. I ended up buying the Masamoto and I love it its the best knife I've ever used. I've also found another site that has a few good things (http://www.chef.com.au/) I ordered a few other things from them and they are supposed to be getting some better Japenese knives in and also the Naniwa SS stones. But I bought mine from chefsarmoury and they seem to be working fine for me at the moment.

Dave
 
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Flattening:

Flattening refers to one of two things.  It can mean flattening the back of the knife, which is part of sharpening a chisel or hamaguri edge -- and probably has nothing t dow with what you're talking about.  Altertnatively, it cam mean flattening the edge bevels themselves, to get rid of any high or low spots. 

For a "V" edge, or for the cutting bevel on a multi-bevel edge flattening is critical to getting true sharpness.

If you're thinking in terms of a different purpose for each stone in a four stone setup: 

The coarse stone (around 150# JIS - 600#) is used for repair and profiling.  Profiling can mean a few things.  Sometimes it means thinning the knife, just above the edge at a more acute angle than the desired edge angle, to prevent wedging.  You don't need to do that often, maybe once a year at most.  More often it means flattening the edge bevel which gets messed up over time from steelng and quick, "drive by" sharpening sessions.  If the bevels aren't flat, the edge will be "wavy," and unable to be made true, fine or very sharp.   

The medium-coarse stone (around 700 to 2K) pulls the first wire, which may or many not be deburred in order to reveal a fresh edge, with a crisp bevel shoulder -- in other words it begins the actual sharpening process at the edge. 

The medium-fine stone (around 2K to 6K) refines the wire, which when deburred will reveal a fine, very sharp and very usable edge.  The medium-fine stone also polishes some of the scratch left by the 1K -- which refines the bevels as well as the edge, and, in turn, allows the polishing stone to be used with less repetition and effort.

The polishing stone (around 8K and up) doesn't do much sharpening at all.  Instead it polishes out the scuff and micro-serration left by the coarser stones so the knife drags less. 

Just like with the coarse stone, and unlike the medium stone(s), creating a burr on the polishing stone is unnecessary and undesirable -- although sometimes unavoidable.

Some knives can't take a high polish because the edges scratch too easily or corrode too quickly.  Some don't want them because they're reserved for tasks like butchering which are best done with knives which have a little tooth.

BDL
 
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G

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Thanks.

Alright... a ceramic hone it is then... I THINK I know how to steel the right way... but will wait for your tips when you come up with one just to make sure..
well if you watch the pro chef's on television using a steel, it is the WRONG way to do it. unfortunately, so many people take pride in being able to steel fast and hard like the pro's... lol.
 
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Joined Jul 26, 2010
if  there's somewhere that'll show me how to steel a knife the right way then?

thanks!
well if you watch the pro chef's on television using a steel, it is the WRONG way to do it. unfortunately, so many people take pride in being able to steel fast and hard like the pro's... lol.
 

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