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Knife Advice?
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2008 8:08 am    Post subject: Knife Advice? Reply with quote

Hello,

I am kind of new to the world of cooking knives, and I just recentally purchased 8 chef, 5 1/4 santoku, and 4 pairing. I have become quite interested in knives and I was wondering if Shun knives were any good. I read that the Shun Pro's rockwell was 61. What other knives do you recommend that is reasonably priced < $130?

Also could you give me some advice on caring for these blades? I wouldn't save I am going to put these through heavy use just some cutting here and there for cooking, and I was wondering where are good places to get it sharpened but is still cheap? How often should I get it sharpened? Once a year?

Thanks

PS. This confirmation code thing is dumb Teasing lol
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Guest






PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2008 8:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry can't edit.
What about the Henckel Cermax?
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Dilbert



Joined: 19 Oct 2007
Posts: 999
Location: central PA

PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2008 4:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

<confirmation code> irksome but necessary given the robot spammers of today. joining is totally free - no confirms needed post joining.

now, to "knives" - there are millions of expert opinions available.
my personal advice is to buy good quality knives that "fit" your hand - if they are uncomfortable to hold&use, aaahhhh, you won't like'em'long.

the top names are all good. for all practical real life purposes there's no discernible difference between a Rockwell 59 and a 61.
harder knives do tend to chip easier - so if you use your knives to hack open steel cans or whack whole oysters in half in a single bound, that would be a consideration.

care & feeding: very important subject for long term satisfaction.
- do not toss in a drawer with all the other junk - get a proper storage method such as a knife block, eventually - eventually because you want to think about what type size how many knives you may eventually want to use, one big enough block is less expensive than multiple blocks of ever increasing size.
- no dishwasher trips - hand wash, dry, put away
- wood / plastic cutting surfaces - not glass, not counter tops

sharpening:
a non-sharp knife is not a thing of joy. here's an excellent link on the how-to's, etc., of sharpening:

http://users.ameritech.net/knives/ward.htm

I personally use a tri-corner sharpening stone - sold for woodworkers - and I sharpen twice a year with a steel for in-between maintenance.

if you want to be a knife user, you should learn to sharpen - sending them "out" is not always convenient.

good luck - I'm sure others will chip in with their favorite names
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2008 6:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, well I'm sure afraid that I will ruin my knives? Is it possible to ruin them beyond repair if I attempt to sharpen it with a whetstone?

Also, so just cause Rockwell is higher it doesn't mean that it is better? I keep hearing the higher the rockwell the longer it can hold an edge and the sharper it can become. According to the Global box it says it's rockwell is 56-58. The Henckel Cermax has a rockwell of 66 O_O. Will there be a big or noticeable difference between the cutting power?

Also, I wanted a Chinese cleaver "the cai dou" and I was wondering what rockwell I should be looking for as I expect it to be allpurpose even coming to cut big slabs of beef or beheading a fish head. What are some mainstream brands that are good? Is the Global 7" Vegatable knife a chinese cleaver. It kind of resembles it but not exactly.

Also, how do you recommend I store these knives? I currently only have three so I have them all in individual sheaths. How will I know if a knife block can hold all the knives, since I may want to have different brand knives.

I just realized that I wouldn't have to deal with this comfirmaiton code if I logged in. Guess I will next time
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2008 6:13 pm    Post subject: Chad Ward Reply with quote

Thanks for the Post. I noticed he used phrases like blugeoning oxen with haha and then I googled the author of the article and he wrote the book I read on kitchen knives.

The Ultimate Guide to Kitchen Knives | Kitchen Knife Book by Chad Ward

It was a good book.
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SirShazar



Joined: 30 Jul 2007
Posts: 89

PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2008 4:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anonymous wrote:
Ok, well I'm sure afraid that I will ruin my knives? Is it possible to ruin them beyond repair if I attempt to sharpen it with a whetstone?


It depends on how coarse the stones is, but generally no. Unlike grinding wheels and belt-sanders, where a few seconds can destroy the profile of a knife; Whetstones don't remove a lot of metal, and it can take quite a bit of time to remove even small amounts of metal with whetstone. I set the angle of the edge with a DMT DiaSharp diamond plate, and actually sharpen my knives on synthetic Japanese waterstones.

Ideally, you should have a progression of coarse to fine grit sharpening tools. The coarsest stone are used to set the angle on the edge and to repair nicks and chips, the progressively finer stones refine the edge and create a mirror like surface that cuts like a fine razor.

If you do mess up, or want to have an unscrupulous edge that only needs maintenance, you should send your knives to Dave Martel:

http://www.japaneseknifesharpening.com/index.html

He's also a really nice guy that will give you sharpening advice if you ask him for it.

Anonymous wrote:
Also, so just cause Rockwell is higher it doesn't mean that it is better? I keep hearing the higher the Rockwell the longer it can hold an edge and the sharper it can become. According to the Global box it says it's rockwell is 56-58. The Henckel Cermax has a rockwell of 66 O_O. Will there be a big or noticeable difference between the cutting power?


I wouldn't get too worked up over Rockwell hardness. You should know that even though most makers give an approximate Rockwell hardness, none of them actually test it (the test would destroy the knife, and each knife is slightly different anyway). Furthermore, the type of steel and the tempering procedure will also affect how the knife performs.

That being said, I like my knives around 60HRC.

Anonymous wrote:
Also, I wanted a Chinese cleaver "the cai dou" and I was wondering what rockwell I should be looking for as I expect it to be allpurpose even coming to cut big slabs of beef or beheading a fish head. What are some mainstream brands that are good? Is the Global 7" Vegatable knife a chinese cleaver. It kind of resembles it but not exactly.


I have two Chinese cleavers, one made from carbon steel and the other made from stainless steel. Both of them are relatively soft (low 50's HRC, I assume). The stainless one is notoriously prone to losing it's edge and getting the edge to roll over itself. I still like it and use it a lot, but the quality of it is pretty low, and without knowing how to sharpen it I can't see myself recommending it to anyone. Some Japanese makers create Chinese cleaver shaped knives called chuka-bochos, but they're quite expensive. The Global vegetable knife more closely resembles the Japanese nakiri-bocho. It has a thinner blade that relatively flat that excels in cutting vegetables. For cutting meat I would rather have a long, thin, and slender slicing knife (less surface for the meat to stick on, and more edge to cut the meat in a single stroke).

Anonymous wrote:
Also, how do you recommend I store these knives? I currently only have three so I have them all in individual sheaths. How will I know if a knife block can hold all the knives, since I may want to have different brand knives.


I love my magnetic knife rack. It's right next to my cutting board and over my sink so that I can use, clean, and store it very fast. If they're not on my magnetic rack they are in my knife bag, each with a home-made sheath (cardboard+ducktape).
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Dilbert



Joined: 19 Oct 2007
Posts: 999
Location: central PA

PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2008 3:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with SirShazar - if you are sharpening by hand, you are very unlikely to do much damage on for example a bungled first attempt.

using anything "electric" _can_ do a lot of damage real fast.

if you have a grade school protractor you can make a 12/13/14/15 degree - pick your preference - "guide" from stiff paper and that will give you a good feel for what position to hold on a stone. I was nervous the first time I tackled the job - but you will find with a bit of thought and care, hand sharpening a knife is just not that hard.

Ward mentions the convex edge - emery cloth tacked on a mousepad... sounds fascinating and I'm going to give that a try.

I could find only one review of the Cermax line - it did not address anything "long term." sigh, everything is nice when it is new . . .
the review did make a point about the geometry of the cutting edge - more grind on one side, etc. the geometry of how a knife is ground/sharpened is a separate issue from the quality of the sharpening. I would tend to think one could "re-grind / re-sharpen" just about any knife similar to the Japanese technique and get the same effect.

interestingly, the hardness is cited as an artifact of sintering powdered metal into a blank _for the core_ and thenceforth the core is "clad" (with unspecified something.) seems to me, the cutting edge is part of the cladding so the edge itself may not be so "super hard" hard to guess as all one finds is marketing hype, little factual detail.

on the cleaver thing - I seldom use mine so I'm not a good source. mine came down from my grandparents - it must be from the 20's. for the odd whack I need, serves me fine.

....how to know what block - yes, iffy situation when you are first starting. using some kind of sheath is perfectly fine for now. it's not as 'convenient' but as long as you keep the cutting edges protected from mechanical damage you will do fine.
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DarkChewby



Joined: 24 Jun 2008
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2008 11:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What would you say were the most essential knives needed for kitchen tasks? I have a 4" Pairer, 8" Chef, 5 1/4" Santoku. According to the book I read a Chef's and Pairer are good enough, (I also have a bread knife and spreading knife thing). What other types do you recommend that is not so task oriented like a Sashimi knife (since I don' tmake sushi)?

What grits do I need for a whetstone?
500, 1000, and 5000?
Do you think using angle guides are good?
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SirShazar



Joined: 30 Jul 2007
Posts: 89

PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2008 7:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you want to buy a new cutlery, I recommend that you pace yourself and get each piece one at a time. Since you already have a couple of knives, you can focus your first purchase towards a nice chef knife (or gyuto).

My favorite website for Japanese cutlery is www.japanesechefsknife.com
Pretty much all their knives are high quality, and they even have a couple of chefs knives under $100, like the Kanetsugo Pro M, and the Misono Handmade series. I also really like the Tojiro DP line from Korin.com, and they're worth at least double their price.

About the whetstones. It's generally recommended that each successive grit be no more than twice the former (eg: 250, 500, 1000, 2000, 4000, 8000), but I just go with what's economical. you can get the King 1000/6000 combo stone for $30 from a couple of vendors. I've been using mine for over two years and it has been performing beautifully. To go with it, I recommend a coarse diamond plate and a leather strop loaded with chromium oxide as a finisher. You would not believe the edges you can get with this minimal setup. Obviously, the better the stones, and the more grits you have them in, the faster and more consistent your edges will be. But even with my humble setup, I can easily exceed any edge that the knife came out of the box with.

Angle guides might help you learn to hold the knife properly at first, but you'll eventually get rid of them. I don't think they're necessary. You should practice sharpening on your cheaper knives before attempting to sharpen your fancier ones.
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DarkChewby



Joined: 24 Jun 2008
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2008 8:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, the Tojiros are cheap Smile. My global chef's knife was 84 dollars not 64.

Which brand chinese cleaver do you recommend?
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SirShazar



Joined: 30 Jul 2007
Posts: 89

PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2008 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Both my Chinese cleavers were relatively cheap, but they both required major sharpening out of the box to be of any use to me.

I've heard some great things about the Suien Virgin Carbon cleaver. It's one of the cleavers on this page: http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/ChineseCleaver.html

I mainly use my cheap stainless cleaver to debone chicken, so I don't have a fancy one yet.
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Dilbert



Joined: 19 Oct 2007
Posts: 999
Location: central PA

PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2008 4:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

.......What would you say were the most essential knives needed for kitchen tasks?

keeping in mind that what your personal cooking favorites are can influence things:

the most used implements in my assortment are, in rough order:

the steel
forged fork
8 inch chef
10 inch bread
6 inch chef
6 inch boning
6 inch slicer
8 inch slicer

not a week goes by that those implements are not "in use" multiple times - the top of the list multiple times per day.

I have a 10 chef and 10 inch slicer - they are essentially 'special use' items - watermelons or Easter ham, for example.

I actually seldom use the paring selection - I have a 4 and 5 inch. most often I already have 'something else' in hand and simply use 'that'....

I've recently acquired a 7 inch Santuko; not sure where it will eventually fit but I do like it for it's longish flat/straight blade. seems a bit more apt at dicing and mincing than the more curved 6 inch chef.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2008 1:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anonymous wrote:
Ok, well I'm sure afraid that I will ruin my knives? Is it possible to ruin them beyond repair if I attempt to sharpen it with a whetstone?

Also, so just cause Rockwell is higher it doesn't mean that it is better? I keep hearing the higher the rockwell the longer it can hold an edge and the sharper it can become. According to the Global box it says it's rockwell is 56-58. The Henckel Cermax has a rockwell of 66 O_O. Will there be a big or noticeable difference between the cutting power?

Also, I wanted a Chinese cleaver "the cai dou" and I was wondering what rockwell I should be looking for as I expect it to be allpurpose even coming to cut big slabs of beef or beheading a fish head. What are some mainstream brands that are good? Is the Global 7" Vegatable knife a chinese cleaver. It kind of resembles it but not exactly.

A high rockwell means usually you can (ideally) GET the best edge and it will last awhile. I've been a professional cook and good at sharpening for 30+ years. Give me a good blade with a 60+ Rockwell and I can make it a neat frictionless cutter. The typical 'Chinese Cleaver" is more like a japaese Nakiri/Usaba,a rather light duty veggie whacker used as an alternative to a French Chef's or a Gyuto a Chinese bone Cleaver,or western Meat Cleaver or Japanese Deba is a "power Whacker" I use a Kai Wasabi 8 1/2" Deba as a brute force knife to part out chickens,cut up half frozen meat etc. It is thick tough steel with the edge only one sided or "single edge" Like a chisel, it can be effectively sharp but very rugged. If I needed to hack up a whole beef hindquarter-a heavy MEAT CLEAVER would be the tool,it's like a hatchet.

Also, how do you recommend I store these knives? I currently only have three so I have them all in individual sheaths. How will I know if a knife block can hold all the knives, since I may want to have different brand knives.

I just realized that I wouldn't have to deal with this comfirmaiton code if I logged in. Guess I will next time



No,it's hard to ruin a knife beyond repair on a whetstone. On an electric grinder you can do plenty of damage because they can heat the metal and spoil the temper while grinding away a lot of metal (too much)

With a decent stone........there's some trial + error. It ain't super tricky. Anyone clever enough to get here on their puter can learn the skills but you can't do it wih a $7 carborundum one from the hardware store.
Restaurants usually have the Norton Tri-stone. It's a real nice setup but for less $ I'd get the seperate Coarse and fine stones.

Sharpening skills are learned and evolved over time. If you are persistant and tink about what your goal is,,,you'll probably get good results.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2008 1:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dilbert wrote:
.......What would you say were the most essential knives needed for kitchen tasks?

keeping in mind that what your personal cooking favorites are can influence things:

the most used implements in my assortment are, in rough order:

the steel
forged fork
8 inch chef
10 inch bread
6 inch chef
6 inch boning
6 inch slicer
8 inch slicer

not a week goes by that those implements are not "in use" multiple times - the top of the list multiple times per day.

I have a 10 chef and 10 inch slicer - they are essentially 'special use' items - watermelons or Easter ham, for example.

I actually seldom use the paring selection - I have a 4 and 5 inch. most often I already have 'something else' in hand and simply use 'that'....

I've recently acquired a 7 inch Santuko; not sure where it will eventually fit but I do like it for it's longish flat/straight blade. seems a bit more apt at dicing and mincing than the more curved 6 inch chef.



While I cook at home,I also cook in a high volume commercial kitchen. i tend to favor a bigger knife. I have a 6" Henckel chefs-which is pretty useless at work but fine at home,it's fairly sharp and my housemates can't harm it. For serious work I like a 10" chefs. I have a 8 1/2" Deba for heavy duty stuff,boes,frozen stuff. I have a light,very sharp 7" to be my lightweight,quick knife for things like mincing herbs,but it's good for other chores where sharp is the key,but I don't need a big blade.

My 12" Forschner slicer (smooth-no Granton dimples) is a thin,whippy blade I sharpen at an extreme angle. It can slice anything because its razor sharp and low drag. I use it for roasts,turkey,sashimi, even french bread. The dimpled version is okay but you can lay down such an acute edge.

I have a Forschner boning Knife I often use as a paring knife. While I have a pair of decent parers,if I used those more-I'd buy something better.

I do have a Lamson Chinese cleaver,but I favor a chef's knife. I reckon you find a motion you favor. I like a good 10" chef's. Some like a wide Chinese cleaver or a more compact Nakiri or Santuko or a smaller Chef's.
At home,I have a smaller cutting board and do much smaller volume so I can deal with smaller knives.

I'd really recommend buying each knife for a purpose,rather than getting a set. For a home cook....start with a good 8" Forscner,Mac or Wusthof,learn to sharpen it, get your skills--and then think about something fancy and some special purpose knives.
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Dilbert



Joined: 19 Oct 2007
Posts: 999
Location: central PA

PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2008 7:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

if I had to go whack 25 pounds of onions to a fine dice ala' a restaurant prep station, no quibble in my mind I'd be looking for a bigger knife _and_ a bigger cutting board <g>

can't think of when I need to attack more that one large onion.... oh, did onion soup - actually, got out the mandolin and whacked'em real fast.

2-3 carrots and a clip; perhaps two stalks of celery... the odd parsnip or turnip.... on a "home" scale the 10" is really big enough, methinks.

I like the six inch chefs for small tasks because it is very easy to control - not so much "aiming&hoping" involved - radishes, 2-3 scallions, smashed garlic clove or three, shallots, skinny chilies.... rarely rarely used on meat cuts, come to think of it.

the eight inch chef is my all purpose - disassembling chicken, trimming meat cuts / fat, larger qty of veg prep, etc.
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