One Knife...

Discussion in 'Cooking Knife Reviews' started by mike87, Jan 18, 2013.

  1. mike87


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    At home cook
    Came across this forum today.  Wow.  Still half wishing I had taken the blue pill.  Haven't done anything all day except read posts.  But its too late now, I'm in way too deep.  

    Buckle up, its a long one. please reference me to other websites or threads whenever possible to answer questions that I have.


    25 years old, halfway through medical school.  AKA I'm in stupid amounts of student loan debt.  So price is important to me, but I am mostly concerned with value, as I will be in debt for the next ten years, so the last thing I want to do is continually buy poor knives/sharpening systems that don't work well and don't last.  Then ten years from now I have spent as much as an expensive knife and have nothing to show for it.

    I'm a no frills, levis and tshirt guy. function over looks every day.  Right now, I'm just trying to make one simple decision and purchase one chef/gyuto(open to discussion) knife (okay maybe two...) and one sharpening system

    I'm first going to address sharpening:

    I know really nothing about sharpening.  I use a honing steel with regular use.  Don't worry, you all don't have to convince me to start, I have dug around and seen a lot of excellent advice and instructions shotgunned across this forum.  

    Some things I still don't really understand about sharpening still:

    1. how often does a home cook sharpen a knife?

    2. Still not really sure what the difference between something like this 

    and a minosharp 3 and an edgepro and a set of stones really are (in terms of lifespan of the sharpener, ease of use, sharpness of the blade).  I am assuming that I should go straight to stones since that is where I want to end up when I am a pro at sharpening knives? correct me if I am wrong, and if so, Is there one particular thread that is the go-to thread on what stones etc to purchase for beginners on somewhat of a budget?

    Either way, this really impacts my knife decision due to a few factors (and maybe more that you know that I dont), such as

    1. are there better knives to learn how to sharpen on? (i'm less concerned with the technical difficulty and more concerned with potentially damaging a nice knife)

    2. at what cost do you see the best value?  The more I spend on the sharpener the less I will spend on the knife or knives.  budget mostly depends on what is the prudent long term decision to make.  Probably cap it at around 150 if I get knife + sharpener or 200 if I get 2 knives + sharpener, if the sharpening system costs more than 75 bucks then a nice knife may have to wait.

    Okay, now onto the knife and my big ticket conerns:

    1. Durability

    How I got to this point --> I have bounced around since college, and have moved once a year so I have never settled down in one place and invested in a quality knife set.   I happen to live with a roommate who is a curious combination of clumsy and indifferent.  He can't be bothered to clean much of anything or truly be counted on to use any tool, especially a knife, properly.  Despite my very best intentions and care, I can't be at my apartment 24/7 to ensure this knife isn't abused, left out dirty, dropped or placed in a dishwasher once or twice.  So that puts a pretty hard cap on the most I am willing to spend on any one individual knife.  I also don't mind a heavy knife (and might actually prefer it).  I have been stuck on some pretty long cooking duties at large family gatherings where I am cutting for an hour straight with a dull, heavy knife and I don't have any fatigue or hand cramp problems.  I'm okay if I can't dice an onion in 15 seconds because I don't have a laser knife, just don't want that knife to bend or break.  Where I come from we don't mind taking our time, and we don't have that many onions to dice.

    I want something that is fairly durable, but mostly just want to avoid the knives that require constant babysitting.  It will receive excellent care from me with the few and far between random mishap from the roommate or girlfriend. (just worried the random mishap could be a really bad mishap).  This is most likely going to prevent me from purchasing any single knife that is over 100 dollars (w/in reason - willing to consider knives up to 150) - so basically I took a lot of the advice that was given to the chefs going off to school, etc. ( best knife that is still durable and cheap) - but my knives will not be used anywhere near as much so let me know how that affects my decisions.

    2.  Sharpness

    I imagine my standards are far far below yours.  the knife set I have been using is atrocious, so even a ootb wusthof/shun/global would be a huge improvement.  I mostly figure that sharpness will be taken care of by mastering sharpening.  I am expecting the sharpness to be a significant step above the shun/global/wusthof knives my friends have and are telling me to get since I am going to have to justify putting so much more time and heartache into this purchase. 

    3. Size

    huge concern here.  This knife set of mine is going to start slow and be a long time in the making.  I'm not concerned with having the most functionality right now.  I'm just concerned with having an excellent knife that was a wise investment and is still in my kitchen 20 years from now.  Doubtful that I will get anything other than an 8-10 inch gyuto or chef's knife, but if my eyes need opening, please open them

    4.  Steel

    want to have good steel on this guy, but hard to sift through all the different pros and cons of all the steels.  hard to see how it impacts the bottom line, but good for comparing one specific knife to another or eliminating particularly bad knives.  Not sure that a particular type of steel is something that will make or break my decision, except for carbon vs stainless.

    Okay, I'm just gonna stop rambling and start throwing out knives that are on my list right now:

    K Sabatier - this is the guy that started it all, the one that I was trying to find more info about when I found this forum.  If I lived alone and it was only me who touched this knife, I would probably have already ordered a carbon K sab 8 or 9 inch chefs knife and called it a day. (like 60 bucks on the outlet website - pretty hard to beat) - Are the new carbon K sabs as good as the old ones (answer seems to be no -> does that mean they aren't worth it?), and, are the stainless K sabs as good as the carbon (I understand they won't hold an edge as long, how many more sharpenings per year do you think it will need with normal home use as the go-to knife? still worth it at 60 bucks when I will definitely be buying lots more down the road?).  are the carbons really that easy to damage? 

    Plus BNL has a ton of K sabs (albeit the older ones), so its gotta be good?

    Fibrox - hard to get a true read on these knives.  Everyone recommends them but no one recommends them it seems.  The main question I have about this knife is durability.  If I do get two knives, I imagine one of them would be a 10 inch fibrox and the other an 8 in gyuto or chef.  the 10 inch would be for big time stuff - I grill a lot and roast whole birds a lot, so would this be a good knife to keep around for pork shoulders and turkeys and chickens and ribs and the idiots I grill with who don't know the difference between a nice knife and a screwdriver? Should I look into some sort of bruiser carver to serve this function? Or should I really go to the cimeter fibrox for that (just feel like I would use the 10 in for lots of other things whereas the cimeter seems like more of a one trick pony, not to mention its more expensive than the fibrox chef)  The number one question I have is should I just get an 8 and/or 10 inch chef's fibrox and a sharpening system for the time being and not pursue another knife until I can use it well and sharpen it even better?

    are there other 10 in knifes that are good for really heavy duty stuff that I should be looking into

    MAC - not sure about the difference between the superior and the pro and the other one (?not sure - there is one for $60, $100, and $140).  not really sure if i want a chef knife or a gyuto (really only have experience with the chef knife).  I don't dissect things down at nitpicky as everyone else here does, and I recognize that over time I will have to own all of these knives before I will know which ones I like the most.  but this raises the next major question, gyuto versus chef/japanese versus european?

    Richmond artifex - seems to get rave reviews, they have a 210mm (i think?) for like $60 or 70, which if I can eventually learn to sharpen to the point it beats the sh*t out of a shun/global/etc, would be a big win in my book.  are these guys made in the USA btw? is this a better option than the K sab in a heads-up for me?

    Tojiro DP 210mm (80 bucks) - same as above.  right now the front runner for a japanese knife, slightly ahead of the MAC d/t price - main concerns are the durability but can definitely limit its heavy limiting with a 10 in fibrox

    There is a whole mess of japanese knives I can't make sense of (FKS FKH fugitora etc etc) - Do I need to worry about these?

    Lastly - curious about this cheap line of knives called wasabi, made by KAI.  I imagine if everyone is sh*tt*ng on shun in here then their signifcantly lower budget knives must just be unspeakable.  But I never would have thought diving into a knife snob forum would have led me to the 25 dollar fibrox, so who knows.  would probably be the second knife purchased in a combo where I got one japanese and one western blade to be able to start trying out the difference.

    As you can see, the knives I have brought up are in the 60 to 100 dollar range.  I feel this gives me enough money to invest properly in a sharpening system and not be too much of a gamble if the knife is damaged while I am in the beginning of learning to sharpen or it turns out I don't like the knife enough to keep it forever.  But if these $75 knives are solid ten plus year investments and you all truly believe that I could get a 20/30+ year investment out of a slightly more expensive knife, just let me know.  Again, I can always get a fibrox and a sharpener and learn with that and in 6 mo or a year step up to a big boy knife .

    Like I said, I'm a simple guy, and I'm in debt for the next ten years.  In my ideal world, my knife collection ten years from now will include this main, go-to chef/gyuto, a big bruiser/carver for my big bone in meats, the fibrox bread knife everyone raves about, and one small knife (maybe something between a utility and a paring knife, but I will worry about that later).  If they get lonely I might pick up some extras on craigslist and try my hand at sharpening them up

    Very tempted to go an 8 or 10 in fibrox, wait a year or so while I learn how to keep it sharp, then get a nice gyuto or chefs (and have a higher budget at that point since I won't be buying the sharpening stuff).  Clearly I will have to find a store that can show me around some gyutos since I have never really used one and don't know how much the weight and flexibility changes the experience.  Again, I am a broken record, but not really willing to go over 100 bucks on a knife until I know that I can maintain the edge properly.

    Lots and lots and lots of rambling.  Impressed by whoever made it down to the end of this post.  I threw out a lot of my opinions.  I know basically nothing compared to you guys, so if my opinions are wrong, please please just let me know.  I'm a big boy and a bit cynical myself so bring on the harsh criticism, I love it, I'm more concerned about getting educated than appearing educated right now.  Amazed with how helpful, polite and selfless all the posters on here are as I have been reading through the forums.  Appreciate all of your help
  2. trissynashville


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    Sous Chef
    A Tojiro DP wa-gyuto 240mm would max out your budget for a single knife ($100), but I've found Tojiro's offer some of the best bang for your buck. You could also save some money and get the 210, but I myself prefer longer knife. Are their "better" knives? Sure, but they cost a lot more, at that price range I wouldn't look at much else. Mac's aren't horrible, either, just never fit well in my hand.

    With that being said, other's know so much more about this stuff than I do.

    I read through BDL's posts like an eager student, his input is invaluable and I'd imagine he could point you in the right direction when it comes to a sharpening setup, too.
  3. chefboy2160


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    Retired Chef
    Welcome to cheftalk and and sorry you went down the rabbit hole but trust me it is a fun journey. The fibrox you mention is probably the Forschner brand who are also the people who make the swiss army knives. You can also get these knives with Rosewood handles which I actually prefer over the fibrox and I like the stamped over the forged because they are easier to sharpen and thinner blades. These knives are rhe work horse in many food industries from butchers / fishmongers / to cooks and chefs! These are in my opinion a pretty good start for someone wanting to upgrade and to learn sharpening skills on. I have the big 12" chefs in this brand and its been going strong for over 25 years.Here is a link for you to read from one of our esteemed board members which will give you a good view on sharpening, Sabatiers, and many other knife related things  Cook Food Good . The Nogents are are my favorite buy the way but to each there own. Enjoy and again welcome!
  4. deputy


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    At home cook
    I read it all. 

    It seems that you know the answers to many of your questions already and that many of the others are not ones that anyone else can actually give an answer (such as whether you "need" to worry about the other brands of Japanese knives). 

    Whole budget is $200? Including sharpening?

    Decent stone kits seem to run about $150 +/- a bit. I tried stones and found I didn't like them because I don't have time to dedicate to their mastery. It's why my Chosera stone kit is sitting mostly untouched on the floor in my office. I'm a young lawyer and assume that you'll only be busier than me. Take that for what it is and what it's worth - an implied opinion from a internet forum as to your future dedication to this activity.

    So instead, I moved into the Edge Pro late last year. The ultra basic kit starts at about $165, I believe. I went with the Chosera kit because I didn't want to dick around ordering a bunch of new stones/tapes/etc for it later on and I could fit it into the budget. So far, in the three times that I've used it, the knives that I've sharpened have come out much better than the four or so times I tried freehanding. I did this because it's easier to get it right (and conversely, harder to get it wrong). I also wanted to have a bit more control than I would if I'd just not with something like a Minosharp...which I have no personal experience with but extrapolated the general theme of how it would work and compared that against my stable of equipment and decided versatility would be better in the long run. 

    Sharpening quickly eats up most/all of a $200 budget. 

    That leaves you very little room but probably enough room to squeak out a Forschner (aka Fibrox...but that's really just the handle....we all know what you mean, though)  10". Honestly, I'd go 10" over 8" any day. Yeah, that sounds bad, but contextually it's accurate. It's kind of the sweet spot in length between the 240mm gyutos and the 270s. I have one of each and I do enjoy the extra length on the 270 but I wouldn't mind if it landed right in between, where the 10" does. A 240mm is just fine and dandy for almost any home cook, in my highly unqualified opinion, but I really do enjoy my 270. You'll probably be wanting more if you go with the 8", though. 

    If you leave it at that for awhile, you'll do just fine. If you cut lots of bread and can squeak out the extra $30...get the bread knife. I have the 10" Forschner Fibrox bread knife and really do enjoy it. Even my wife praises my purchase of that one and she doesn't praise very many of my kitchen purchases...mostly just rolls her eyes (even the Lagostina Academy Fiveply Copper cookware I got for a ridiculously good price). And you'll hear varying opinions on the rosewood vs. Fibrox handles...I actually like the Fibrox. I only have the rosewood in a paring (of which I have a matching Fibrox) and the Fibrox is more comfortable. The rosewood looks cheap. It might look better on bigger knives, but looks pretty lame on the paring. 

    If you want to round yourself out and feel fully equipped after whatever sharpening decision you make (and can squeak out a few extra bucks), get this kit and be done with all of the trouble - chef, bread, paring, and boning. From the sounds of it, you'd use them all. 

    Once you're comfortable with the knives and you feel like you want to round it out, come back and express your current state then and then pick up the current "best" thing that you can afford. 

    I love all of the knives that I bought but I also think I went overboard and would probably go back and go a bit less crazy. Except the Hattori FH sujihiki 270mm with the cocobolo handle...I'd always buy that one again. I love it. Even if it was stupid expensive. 

    If I did it over knowing what I know now, I'd probably go Fibrox 10", one carbon knife of some sort (probably a Carbonext), Fibrox 10" bread, Fibrox paring x2 (I like having two parings on hand), and some 150mm petty/utility that I'd have to think about (I really like my Kagayaki so would maybe stick with's pretty great), and another 6-7" santoku for my wife because it's just what she likes and is happy with (her Tojiro DP that I got for her last year is something that she generally enjoys using but "complains" that it's too sharp). 

    In other words, I think getting a Fibrox is a pretty good route to take. 

    Good luck! It's a hell of an adventure. 
  5. boar_d_laze


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    Cook At Home
    If you can't protect your knives from your cellie roomie, I can't recommend any of the "usual suspects" sub-$100 knives you're asking about (e.g., the Fujiwara FKM, Richmond Artifex or Tojiro DP), because they won't survive the dishwasher.  Don't waste your money. If there's any possibility at all that your knives will go into the dishwasher, stick with Victorinox/Forschner's Fibrox series. 

    Let me clear up some nomenclature.  Victorinox is the maker, they're located in Switzerland.  They also make Swiss Army knives.  Forschner is the sole U.S. importer, and the Forschner name has become indelibly associated with Victorinox knives here -- even though they've been repackaged so that the Victorinox name is most prominent on the packaging.  Victorinox/Forschner sells two series of inexpensive, professional knives which are identical in every respect but for the handles.  The Rosewood series have (you'll never guess) rosewood handles, the Fibrox series have plastic handles. 

    Forschner Fibrox and Rosewood knives are the least expensive, decent knives you can buy.  "Decent" isn't the same thing as "good," but they're good enough. 

    There are all sorts of bargain pull through sharpeners, none of them work very well -- at least not consistently.  I don't have the time nor the inclination to critique each of them or even any particular type. FWIW, the Wusthof pull through you linked has carbide sharpeners, and carbide eats blades.  Stay away. 

    Forschners can take and hold a 15* bevel angle pretty well -- consequently a Minosharp Plus3 (which is much higher quality pull through than the usual run) will work pretty well.  All things considered though -- until you can control your kitchen -- you're probably better off with one of the $80 two stage Chef Choice electrics.  Either way -- again -- we're talking "decent," and "good enough," not actually good. 

    Hope this helps,

    Last edited: Jan 20, 2013
  6. mike87


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    At home cook
    Thank you all for your feedback

    Wasn't ignoring anyone - just figured I would see who chimed in and be able to read them all together.

    Seems like i should have titled it "One sharpener...."

    So basically I need to figure out what the best sharpening system will be for me for the next 5-10 or so years.  I plan on buying the victorniox set immediately and then a nicer knife (richmond/tojiro/etc) within 1.5-2 years (the day the roommate is gone).

    For sharpening:

    for sharpening budget, it relates directly to the expected lifespan of the system I go with.  I'll consider whatever and include price in my consideration.  

    as for sharpness, again, I am incredibly new to this.  My use of truly sharp knives, i.e. the standard condition yours are in, is very limited.  I have more use with the dime a dozen knife sets that you guy sh*t on in here, so I am looking for a sharpening system that at a minimum alows me (and my beginner skill set) to take a victorinox to the ootb sharpness of the global/shun knife sets that some of my friends have, and can allow me to take full advantage of the edge (i.e. surpass the victornox edge enough to justify buying the knife) on the nicer knife i buy (richmond/tojiro etc) in a few years.  If a minosharp can do that, great.  If it can't, then edgepro or stones it it.


    -still a bit confused on what sharpening with stones entails (time per knife, learning curve, value of a stone set versus the edge pro, lifespan of a stone set)

    -Would I only need two stones to start/do I truly need three?  

    -What are the difficulties that beginners have with stones? Is this a dexterity issue? a time issue? I understand the "compliance" issue of a technically difficult stone set, and it is a realistic concern of mine.  I am up for the challenge of stones, I just want to make sure that I can see the benefits in the somewhat near future.

    Edge pro apex kit - $165 -

    -would I need to purchase anything else along (polish tapes, more stones, etc) with this or is it ready to use ootb - what is the lifespan of the stones that come with this?

    -sounds like these things last a lifetime? (and thus hold their resale value if I decide to upgrade/switch systems)

    minosharp 3 versus the chef choice electric (are you referencing the 310/110/another one? they have a ton in the $40-$100 range)

    -lifespan of these products?

    -is either one of these a decent sharpening system for the nicer knife i will buy in the not so distant future?  or useful to have around for sharpening pocket knives/crappier knives/friends knives quickly etc once i upgrade? (If I can get 5-10 years of use out of one of these before stepping up to the edgepro or a stone set, I'm OK with that)

    -BDL - roommate won't touch the sharpener, so that is not a concern.  minosharp better in that case?

    Thanks again