Time to get a new knife - suggestions?

Discussion in 'Cooking Knife Reviews' started by vas38, Dec 10, 2010.

  1. vas38

    vas38

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    When I bought my first set of knives, I didn't really know what I was doing. So about 5-6 years ago I just bought a cheap block of knives from a Sams Club. I've taken good care of them, but I think it is time to upgrade. The knives don't feel great in my hands and the weight seems a little off. They have done me well, but I think it is time to move on. I am looking to get a new chef's knife and will eventually also pick up a pairing knife. Those two are the knives I use most often.

    I haven't set out much of a budget because I don't know what to expect, but I know I want to do this right and from what I have read, it seems like I will need some sharpening tools which aren't cheap, unfortunately. Aside from that, I don't really know anything about sharpening knives or what tools to purchase to sharpen them.

    These knives will be used daily in a home environment. They will also be cared for meticulously. I've gone to the some stores and held some knives. I seem to prefer Japanese styled, lighter knives and I have no problems buying a knife online.

    From looking at the knife holding guides, I do hold a knife properly.

    On an 8" vs 10", it seems that many people on the forum prefer a 10". I only have experience with an 8" knife, but am open to using a 10" if they are generally superior. Although a 10" is probably larger than most of my cutting boards.

    I really don't have a big preference here. I know I would like to keep it under $200 for the knife and sharpener, if possible, but I don't know how realistic that is. If it isn't I can save up.

    I am a pretty blank slate, but function is far more important than form for me. So are there any recommendations?

    Lastly, does anyone have good recommendations on where/how to learn to properly sharpen a knife? I know you can ruin a knife through improper care (or lack of) and want to be ready before harming my new purchase.

    If anymore information is needed to help with suggestions, please let me know.

    Thanks!

    Edit: I forgot to mention, a while back I was gifted a 5" Caphalon Katana series santuko which seems to be a pretty nice knife compared to the knives I have, but is far too small for my normal use.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2010
  2. butzy

    butzy

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  3. theunknowncook

    theunknowncook Banned

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    Last edited: Dec 20, 2010
  4. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    The first things to nail down are how much you're willing to spend on sharpening, how much time and how much trouble you're willing to devote to learning to sharpen.  Sharpening is pretty much everything.  Also important -- partly in terms of sharpening kit -- is whether you plan on using your old knives to supplement your new chef's. 

    Without getting into which of these will ultimately be better for you, my feeling is that the best entry level Japanese knives (under $100) are the Tojiro DP, Fujiwara FKM and MAC Superior.  You can get a lot more knife for an extra $50, though.  If you're trying to buy something which will keep you happy for years and years, it's well worth the extra money.

    BDL
     
  5. vas38

    vas38

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    Thanks for the links. I will look through them as soon as I can.
     
    I am willing to put in the time to learn. I really doubt there is anyone worth while near me who can sharpen (live in a small town) and I wouldn't want to ship off my knives every time I need it cared for. I have learned to do things right, so I would rather take an extra few months and save to get a knife that will last me a long rather than buy something simple to get something new. So I would gladly spend the extra $50 for a lot more knife.

    I doubt my old knives are worth any money for resale, if that is what you mean by supplement. If you are suggesting I keep my old knives and use them for tasks that are harder on knives, I was planning on doing that.
     
  6. bellybones

    bellybones

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    My carbon steel knives come from Wildfire Cutlery.

    Easy experience and my knives are just what I wanted. He made me a whole set

    copied form my current knives, and customized them to my needs.

    His site is well worth reading. I cruised around and then called him

    with my unanswered questions. I have no reservations about

    having bought from him and highly recommend.

    B
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2010
  7. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    Sharpening Kit:   Bester 500, Beston 1.2K, Arashiyama (6K).  Flatten on drywall screen.  You'll have to learn to use them -- which will take awhile.  Cost, around $150. 

    If that sounds outrageous, we can talk other options.  The best alternatives to bench stones are the Edge Pro Apex and the Wicked Edge systems, both high end tool and jig rod-guides.  An appropriate Edge Pro kit is around $200, and the Wicked Edge is a bit more. 

    You can get adequate edges with a Chef's Choice electric (but not the manuals) -- the "Asian" 316S and 317 models run around $80 -- but edge quality is a far cry from benchstones or an Edge Pro. 

    I don't recommend Sharpmaker, "Crock Sticks," or any of the pull-throughs including the Mino Sharp (probably the best of the bunch).  Some are better than others but none of them combine enough speed with enough polish to make them both convenient and fine enough to do justice to an expensive blade.  Climb down the ladder of blade quality a little, and that changes.

    Length:   24cm (9-1/2") is a good compromise between productivity and intuitive comfort. 

    Cutting Board:   If you need to get larger cutting boards you should.  Most (but not all) non-wood boards dull your knives quickly or may even promote chipping.  "End grain" hardwood is usually your best bet, and nothing too exotic.  Maple and cherry are probably the best choices.  Bear in mind that at some level "better" and "best" can get pretty silly. 

    Particular knife:   There are a lot of excellent "pro" knives in the next couple of price groups above the entry-levels -- say, between $120 and $200. But, there's also a lot more I'd like to know before making recommendations.  Exactly how flexible is your budget for a chef's knife and stones?  Would you consider carbon (as opposed to stainless)?  How about a semi-stainless tool steel (feel free to ask if you don't know what that is)?  Do you like very large or very small handles?  Do you pinch grip?  Claw?  Cut and retreat?  What's your chopping style (German, French, push cut, don't know)?  Anything else you can tell me would help, too.  "I don't know" is a perfectly good answer.

    In better than entry level stainless, I most often recommend Hiromoto G3, Kagayaki VG, MAC Pro, Masamoto VG, and Sakai Takayuki Grand Cheff... depending.  In addition there are a lot of other great knives and several are bound to suit you.  

    Prices:  Eeek!  Getting good performance from a good knife requires a good sharpening kit and board.  The sticker shock is something fierce, I know.  If you can't afford everything all at once, the best place to start is the board. 

    BDL
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2010
  8. vas38

    vas38

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    Sharpening Kit: From what I can tell a sharpening kit will last me a life time, which means that isn't a bad investment, but I will need to save. Not a problem. I'm more concerned with learning to properly use it.

    Out of curiosity what are other options and what are their downsides compared to a set of bench stones or tool and jig rod-guides?

    I do honing edge in my knife block (I know it doesn't sharpen anything), whatever came with the knives. It says "chrom-vandium" on it.

    Length: That sounds good to me.

    Cutting Board: I have two primary surfaces for my cutting needs. I use regular poly cutting boards for any meats, or sticky/messy ingredients - these vary in size, but I always tend towards larger not smaller. I also have a very inexpensive, but well cared for, maple end-grain butcher block that is about 24"x24". I use it for everything else.

    Particular knife: I can probably hit $200-300 for both the knife and the sharpening kit comfortably, slightly more if it is really worth it. It might take some time, but that isn't a problem. I'm in no real rush.

    I have no love for a specific type of metal over another. I try to take very good care of my knives and wash them as soon as I am done with them. Obviously ease of care is nice, but not a deal breaker. I would just do my research before buying to ensure I can properly care for the knife before purchase.

    As far as handles go, the knives I currently have (aside from the Caphalon) and most of the knives I have used have handles similar to the Wuesthof or Henckel classic. That said I seem to prefer something that is a little more sleek. I'm about 5'9" and don't have huge hands. 

    I do use both a pinch grip and the claw. Occasionally, I break for with the claw (I am trying to stop this), but almost never with the pinch grip. I am fairly certain I use a french cut, but it isn't very clean. Lately, I have been working on my technique to better my skills (if you have any reading/video suggestions I would love them).

    Thank you very much for the help. Please let me know if there are any other questions I can answer. I will look at the knives you recommended this weekend.
     
  9. vas38

    vas38

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    I just got a chance to look at all the recommendations in this thread.

    Looking through at pictures of the knives, which makes it pretty hard to judge, the Hiromoto G3, Masamoto VG and the Kagayaki VG look the most comfortable to me and the shape of the blade looks good. Like I said, it is hard to tell, but I don't know of any store where I could actually try the knives out.

    Are there any other knives I should look into? Also, are the poly boards okay for my uses?
     
  10. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    Honing Rod: 

    If you're going to use a honing rod on a well sharpened, good knife, you want to use something in the fine to polished range.  Most hones which are included with a block set are far too aggressive.  There are some excellent, reasonably priced ceramic hones; and I especially like the Idahone 12" fine ceramic. 

    Bench Stone and Rod-Guide Alternatives: 

    It's too big a subject for me to cover in detail, but I'll touch on a few options.

    What you want is a system which is fast enough to do repairs and re-profiling, and fine enough to lay in an appropriate polish for your knives.  Very few systems have that sort of range.  Most fast systems will damage your knives -- and that includes just about every "carbide" sharpener in existence.  But most slow systems are too slow to get a dull knife sharp.

    The next best alternatives to stones and the best rod guides (Edge Pro and Wicked Edge) are Chef Choice electric sharpeners.  They won't give you the world's greatest edge but they're convenient enough to get used as needed.  Actually, "next best" isn't accurate.  For some people, they're the only system which will get used consistently, give a decent edge, and won't damage a good knife if used properly (RFTM) -- and "only" is synonymous with "best," at least as a practical matter. 

    I used to drag a couple lof CC electrics along when I taught cooking/skills classes in order to make sure everyone had a sharp knife; but also demonstrated bench stones to show they were faster and better.

    There are a couple of animated steel/sharpeners which are sort of okay.  One is made by Chef's Choice, and the other is called the "Warthog" but I don't remember who makes it.  The Warthog is actually fun to use and watch.  The problem with boths of these is their limited choice of appropriate angles. 

    The Spyderco Sharpmaker, "Crock-Sticks," and other forms of "V" sticks tend to be too slow at their coarsest and not fine enough at their finest.  Angle holding can be very problematic with longer knives.  They're great for maintaining pocket knives, but not so good for real sharpening.

    A few of the manual pull throughs are okay, as long as you don't want a really fine edge, and aren't dealing with a seriously dull knife.  The Minosharp and MAC Rollsharp are probably the best of the bunch.  I don't think much of the Chef's Choice manuals, Henckels, Wusthof, etc.  But if that's all you have, that's all you have.

    With one exception (the one sold by Blackie Collins), all of the V slot sharpeners I can think of offhand will eat your knives.

    Cutting Board:

    I suggest using your wood board for everything -- cleaning and sanitizing as needed.  Plastic boards are very tough on your knives.  While it's true that they can go in the dishwasher, good workhabits and a spary bottle with diluted bleach or a commercial board sanitizer are just as salubrious.  All of the current plastics are so hard on knives.

    Grip and handles:

    Except at the extremes your grip will determine what size handles are appropriate for you -- hand size isn't usually much of an issue.  Even though you already pinch grip you might want to read Getting a Grip on a Good Pinch -- it will help make sense of handle sizes as they relate to grip and knife length too.

    Knives:

    The Hiromoto and Kagayaki VG-10 both have narrow handles.  The Tojiro DP (not on your list) has a very wide handle which some people find uncomfortable.  MACs have handles which nearly everyone loves.  Masamotos and Misonos are very nearly as good. 

    The two knives I most often recommend for people more or less looking for the same things you are and with the same set of concerns are the MAC Pro and the Masamoto VG.  The Kagayaki VG is more bang for the buck and uses a prestige alloy; but I don't like its handle as much, nor the feel of its profile on the board, and there can be some issues with deburring. 

    The Masamoto has a profile as good as -- and very much like -- a Sabatier.  In short, as good as it gets.  There are some quality control issues, mostly centered around the handle, but these can be taken care of by the seller at time of purchase.  You just have to make sure to tell them you want good F&F and a well-fitted handle before you give them your credit card number, and they'll select a good one for you.

    MACs are stiffer than any comparably thin gyuto and consequently feel more sturdier and more comfortable.  The MAC Pro handle is the best I've ever used.  F&F is typically very good -- and if it's not their warranty and U.S. support is almost in Henckels' class.  It's the knife I recommend most often.

    You might also want to take a serious look at the Kikuichi TKC (at Chef's Knives To Go).  Like the Kagayaki CarboNext (what a horrible name!), I've never personally used one.  But people I trust speak of them very highly and they're compared to more expensive knives I know to be very good.  If you're willing to take a flyer on something which hasn't been around very long the Kagayaki CarboNext is supposed to be very good.  The rumor is that it's the same knife as the Kikuichi sold under a different knife -- not at all impossible in Japan.  It's so new that I'm not sure if I trust the raves, but it certainly has a good pedigree.  If I were going Kagayaki (JCK's house "brand," made by various OEM makers), it would be the one I'd choose.  

    Hope this helps,

    BDL
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2010
  11. lennyd

    lennyd

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    BDL.

    Great info

    I have stayed away from hard surface boards forever, but never knew the plastics were an issue as well.

    Are the bamboo boards any good?

    Where would one find a good end grain wood board at a reasonable price, and what should we look for?

    I am sure I am not the only one considering a new board or two for the new knives, and hope the info is helpful to others as well.
     
  12. vas38

    vas38

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    Thank you very much for the in depth reply. It looks like I need to read up and see if I prefer stones or rod guides to decide on for my sharpening needs. Stones do seem cheaper, at the cost of a steeper learning curve which is probably fine. I can read and learn.

    As far as the knives go, I think the Mac Pro Chef's knife, but it sounds like you prefer the Masamoto aside from the possible grip issues. Too bad I can't try both out, at least hold them, before ordering. I will probably go with the Mac Pro to be safe and avoid QC issues. Although, it is unlikely I will upgrade knives in a very long time after this purchase (instead I will probably be looking to get a new paring knife), so I really want to get a knife that will last me especially as I become more adept at sharpening. Would this affect knife choice between the Mac Pro and Masamoto?

    Also, since finding this site, I have been using much butcher's block much more as a working area than a counter top. It is much more comfortable.

    Lenny, bamboo is much harder than most other woods used for cutting boards, I expect it would be very rough on a knife.

    Thanks again.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2010
  13. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    If I were buying a mass-produced, stainless, Japanese made, western handled chef's knife in that price range -- which I'm not -- I'd choose the Masamoto for myself.  However, I think the MAC is better for most people and have recommended it more often than any other blade, probably been responsible for something like thirty sales, have given four as gifts, but never given a Masamoto VG.

    So, yeah.  I think the MAC is a great choice.

    I have several boards, including one made from bamboo.  It's kind of hard, and knives do dull kind of quickly compared to some other choices.  FWIW, it's not the bamboo that's so hard, it's the glue -- or so I'm told.  Along the Great Board Continuum, bamboo is far better than any plastic, better than composition, roughly equal to Sani-Tuff, not as good as normal maple edge grain, and certainly not as good as a good edge grain board -- all things considered.  

    Home Depot was selling some pretty good end grain boards at an attractive price.  I think they still are.  They're not as good as Board Smith, but what is?

    BDL 
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2010
  14. vas38

    vas38

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    How does the Bester 1200 compare to the Bester 2000? I ask because Chef's Knives to Go has what seems to be a great deal on the stones you recommend but substituting the 2000 for the 1.2k. Also, for my clarification, a hone would be used instead of the drywall screen you recommended for flattening, is that correct?

    Alternatively, I am thinking of starting small. If I were to get one of the three stones recommended and add up slowly, would getting this be reasonable or not?
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2010
  15. phaedrus

    phaedrus

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    The hone BDL is referring to is a ceramic honing rod- it's for maintaining your knife not flattening your stones.  I'll let him describe his preferred flattening method; I prefer a DMT Dia-Sharp for flattening, although I have some other methods, too.  The Idahone is a terrific tool, the nicest ceramic I've used.  I have two of them, an 8 incher that I keep in my work roll and a 12" that I keep at home.  I also have a Hand American borosilicate glass honing rod that I keep in my work case for harder Japanese blades...it's very nice but really a luxury item.

    I haven't used the 500 grit Beston yet.  I should have mine in a week, maybe a little longer due to shipping being a little slower during the Christmas season.  Hopefully someone that's used the kit you're talking about can chime in, but philosophically I'm a little dubious of a stone set that doesn't include a 1k.  Perhaps some will choose an 800 or 1,200 instead but I think a good stone in that range is mandatory.  Setting aside talk of specific stones, if I had to get by with just one stone I'd want a 1k.  Allow me two stones and I'd add a 4k/5k.  If I could add one more I'd be torn between an 8k and a good arato, perhaps a 320, 400 or 500.
     
  16. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    We were talking about flattening?  I flatten on dry-wall screen mounted in a sheet pan, cleaning the screen with the sink's pressure hose when it loads up.  The pan contains the mess.  I either need reading lessons or new glasses. 

    The Idahone rods are fantastic, if I were buying one hone that would be it; and if I were buying two, it would be one of them.  I do use a two hone set, including a HandAmerican Borosilicate and an old, worn-down Henckels fine.  The HA rod is fantastic, but is very expensive and you don't really need it.

    Bester makes four medium-coarse stones, 800, 1K, 1.2K and 2K.  The only real difference between them is speed.  So... the 1.2K is faster than the 2K, but otherwise alla time same same.  Faster is important.  You want to find a blance which allows you to use the fewest number of strokes on the fewest number of surfaces to do a nearly perfect job for each task and/or level in the sharpening progression. 

    If you decide that you'd really rather have a 1.2K than a 2K don't look at the choices in the CKTG set as set in stone.  Mark at CKTG is a flexible guy and might be willing to sub the 1.2K into the set in place of the 2K -- which, in my opinion, would make it a better set.  While I've never talked to him about stone sets specifically, Mark is a great listener and avid reader of the knife boards and I'm guessing that this set is favored by some influential people on KF.  I'd bet dubloons agains donuts that the consensus at FF would be in favor of the 1.2K.   

    What I don't like about the way the CKTG set is put together is that the 2K is not fast enough for the first stone in a normal sharpening progression (where there isn't going to be any profiling), but the 500 is too fast (coarse stones have consequences).  I'm not saying you can't make it work, just that it wouldn't be my first choice.  Phaedrus obviously agrees.

    Another piece of the puzzle is to recognize that stones have individual character.  Stones of the same nominal grit levels can be very different from one another in terms of speed, brightness of polish, how well they remove scratch, how "slippery" they make the edge, and so on.  Not to delve too deeply into nuance and make this any more confusing than it already is, but when we're analyzing the Bester 2K, we're not talking "Oh no no no!" like we were about the GS 2K.  The Bester 2K would probably work better in that position than almost any other 2K, partly because it's very fast for a 2K and partly because the Bester's edge quality is more sharp than shine, while the GS's is vice versa.  

    On top of that, the Arashiyama is very fast for a 6K (in addition to being a very fine polisher for that grit level), and will do better following a 1.2K stone than anything I know of which polishes nearly as well.  IMO, the Arashiyama is the best stone on the market at or near its grit.  Ditto for the Bester 1.2K.  

    I think stone choice in the  medium-ish range -- from 800 to around 6K -- is more dependent on how you understand the sharpening processes than in the very coarse and very fine ranges, and that's most true for the first stone in the normal sharpening progression (draw a burr, chase a burr, polish).  My priorities with the first stone are to pull the wire very quickly without creating too much scratch, avoid creating high and low spots, and have a stone fast enough to flatten minor imperfections.  I'm not sure if Phaedrus and I are on the identical wave-length, but doubt we're far apart.  If this is interesting to you, or even if it's just confusing, you might want to read "Philosophies" of Sharpening.

    You should feel free to talk to Mark (although I'd wait til after Christmas) about this -- he loves to help customers -- and also to mention that you've been talking to me.

    BDL
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2010
  17. vas38

    vas38

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    Thanks for your thoughts and explanations. I've also been exchanging emails with Mark from Chef's Knives to go. He is recommending that I start with a ShaptonGlass 1k rather than the Bester 1200 because the Shapton comes out box flat and ready to use, plus it is a splash and go compared to the Bester which works better with a soak and needs to be flattened. Since I have no experience I can't tell a difference, I assume the Shapton will need to be flattened every once and a while, right? Does anyone here have any thoughts on the two stones?

    I was also wondering, are sharpening guides for use on stones worth buying or should I learn to freehand the process from the start?

    Also, he suggests that I purchase the stone, learn to sharpen with the knives I have then get the knife. I like that idea. Sure it is slower, but that way I learn how to really care for a knife before getting my upgrade. He then recommended I get the 6k sometime after the knife. I especially like the slow progression, so I can spread out my spending.

    edit: I posted this about the same time you were BDL hence the slight overlap in some areas. So it sounds like the Bester is faster and gives a better cutting edge that may not look as nice compared to the SG? Sounds like the Bester wins. How often does a stone need to be flattened (is there somewhere I can read more about stone care in general ie, how to tell if it is flat and how much to remove etc? Along with any other necessary information).

    It sounds like I should start with the bester 1.2k and the Arashiyama 6k, not just the 1.2k?
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2010
  18. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    Shapton GS do need to be flattened -- almost as often as the Besters.

    Flattening is no big deal just tedious -- It's especially easy (not to mention more tedious) if you flatten on screen rather than using a diamond plate.  Since a lifetime supply of screen is about $10, it's not a bad thing to start out with it and no big deal if you change your mind and decide you want to invest $80 in a DMT XXC. 

    In addition to flattening them right OOTB, you'll also need to bevel the sides of the Besters (as with all normal waterstones).  This means holding the well soaked stone at a 45* angle to the flattening surface (or the flattener at a 45* angle to the stone) and rubbing back and forth.  Oh dear.

    The Besters require about 30 minutes of soaking before they're usable, and more than an hour before they're at their juicy best.  Is that an issue?

    Understand that people buy stones without knowing how to prep them before using or even that they need prep at all.  And when that lack of knowledge creates problems (right away!) they call Mark and kvetch.  Mark, no doubt, is basing his recommendation on the stones which give the fewest problems to the masses.  But you're not the masses.  You have the wisdom of Chef Talk.   

    I'm not much of a fan of the GS series in any case.  My verdict is more shine than sharp.  They are fast, convenient, and the bevels they make truly gleam, but at the end of the day I think you get better edges on less expensive stones.  Consequently, I disagree with Mark and think you'd be better off starting with the Bester than with the GS. 

    If you don't want to deal with the inconvenience of soaking and flattening, and if you've got any anxiety about other aspects of the bench stone learning curve, you might just buy an Edge Pro and be done with it.  They do a really good job, and other than set up and take down are practically painless. 

    You're better off learning to sharpen before buying new knives, but only slightly so.  Learning to sharpen takes time and commitment, yes.  But it's not particularly difficult, it doesn't take much talent or brains (look at me), it just sort of happens if you do it enough.  The big thing might be demonstrating to yourself that you can and will so that when you do buy an expensive knife you're beyond the point of allowing it to get dull, feeling overwhelmed, and losing interest. 

    Also, it helps to ease the blow to the budget to invest in one thing at a time.  And if you want to prioritize, good sharpening trumps a good knife.  People so often want to buy a $200 knife plus sharpening gear and a steel for $225 (and if I get that a lot, you can imagine how often Mark does).  Unfortunately... 

    Consider though that unless you're using coarse stones, you really can't do much damage.  So as long as you have the commitment to learn to sharpen, there isn't that much downside to learning on a good knife.  Also, some knives do better than others with certain sharpening kits.  For instance, you'll get a lot more from a Bester sharpening a MAC Pro than you will sharpening a Mercer.  And fwiw, the Mercer will actually sharpen better on oilstones.  

    Since he features so prominently in this thread, I might as well mention that Mark really cares about matching you with stuff you're going to be able to use right off the bat and will like for a long time.  He's not going to hose you in order to make an extra buck. 

    Lots to confuse, no?

    BDL  

    PS.  If you're going the bench stone route... Yes, I'd start with the Bester 1.2K and the Arashiyama.  Learn to draw a burr on the Bester before even attempting the Arashiyama.  That will probably take four or five tries. After you've become sufficiently adept at angle holding to consistently actually sharpen with the Arashiyama, you can move on to using a coarse stone like the Beston 500 -- which you'll eventually need -- for profiling.  You should be doing minor profiling to the extent of flattening the high spots, which are an inevitable part of ordinary sharpening, once for every four or five times you use the 1.2K.  For home cooks, that means every year or so.
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2010
    vas38 likes this.
  19. vas38

    vas38

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    It seems like using stones to sharpen is one of those intimidating sounding things that ends up being simple once you try it. I think I'll invest in the stones (Bester 1.2k and Arashiyama 6k) and a Idahone 12" first and get used to using them then pick up the knife. Might not be as "fun" but it will give me the best results for my money.

    Thank you so much for all the help! I will be sure to update the thread with my thoughts on everything I get as I use them. It will probably be a week or two before I order the items.
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2010
  20. phaedrus

    phaedrus

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    This is probably the single best statement I've seen made on knives on this site!  The knife simply exists to carry the edge around.  Fancy handles, Damascus cladding, exotic steels, celebrity endorsements- none of that means anything in the end.  The edge is what matters.  You're better off with one knife and a good set of stones than 10 expensive knives that you can't keep sharp.  The further "down the rabbit hole" I go the more my interest in stones is starting to outstrip my desire to get more knives.