Amateur cook getting into knives!

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randyt
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Joined: Wed May 30, 2018 10:43 am

Amateur cook getting into knives!

Post by randyt » Wed May 30, 2018 11:17 am

1st post, but I've lurked for a little. I only recently got into knives, starting with the $30 CKTG Line knife, but it changed my world! I had no idea sharp knives could be so much FUN! Cooking is such a joy now because I look forward to all the food prep. Literally the best $30 I've ever spent. It's been a while since then, so I'm fairly confident it's not just a phase anymore, so I'm willing to invest in a higher tier knife that'll last me a long time. But there's so many options haha, and I'm still new to much of this. I'm hoping for some knife recommendations!

1)Pro or home cook?
Home cook. I volunteer to do food prep whenever possible though, sometimes cooking for church (up to 100 ppl).

2)What kind of knife do you want? (Gyuto, Santuko, Petty, Paring, Sujihiki, etc.)
Gyuto.

3) What size knife do you want?
I've only used 8" and 210 mm. I like the Line knife but I'm not sure if a 240mm might be better for me. So I guess my range would be 210-240mm.

4)How much do you want to spend?
For a new knife, maybe up to ~$150 range, it's flexible. I would actually prefer a used knife from a trusted knife aficionado since it's more trustworthy and I'm sure it'll be cheaper haha.

5) Do you prefer all stainless, stainless clad over reactive carbon, or all reactive carbon construction?
I don't want too much maintenance. But I do appreciate the benefits of carbon. So somewhere in the semi-stainless category.

6)Do you prefer Western or Japanese handle?
I've never had a chance to try out a Wa handle but it looks really unique. If there's no major difference between the two, I definitely prefer Japanese style.

7)What are your main knife/knives now?
As mentioned above, CKTG Line knife. It's rocked my world so far, so I would probably love every single recommendation you give me. Not educated enough to know otherwise.

8)Are your knife skills excellent, good, fair?
They're good, and I'm actively practicing to get to excellent!

9)What cutting techniques do you prefer? Are you a rocker, chopper or push/pull cutter?
Chopper, then push/pull.

10)Do you know how to sharpen?
I do, but at an amateur level as well.

Please also add any additional pertinent information that can help everyone with suggestions.
I definitely value form over functionality. I'm already pretty happy with the Line knife so my standards aren't sky high. So what I'd prefer is something that really stands out in the kitchen.
Something that looks more expensive than it really is. In my mind, I imagine a Wa-Gyuto with Damascus/hammered cladding and a colored handle.
Final question, how crucial is having a saya? Rather than one of the plastic CKTG knife guards?
Thank you guys so much in advance!

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Jeff B
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Location: Kentucky

Re: Amateur cook getting into knives!

Post by Jeff B » Wed May 30, 2018 2:18 pm

First off, you're not going to get both bling w/fancy handle and a good knife on $150. Your going to get more bling and less knife or less bling and more knife.

The Makoto White #2 Gyuto 210mm - https://www.chefknivestogo.com/mawh2gy21.html is probably the best knife you will find for the price and it is an awesome knife. Carbon core steel with stainless calding. It has a way above average stock handle.

The Takamura Chromax Gyuto 210mm - https://www.chefknivestogo.com/tachgy21.html is an excellent semi-stainless knife with a little bling to it.

The Kanehide PS60 Wa Gyuto 210mm - https://www.chefknivestogo.com/kapswagy21.html is an excellent stainless would fit well

The Harukaze AS Wa Gyuto 210mm - https://www.chefknivestogo.com/haas21gy.html is an excellent carbon core stainless clad knife. It also comes in a western handle version.

Just a few to get you started, there are more that other will chime in with, but any of these will serve you well. All of these knives have nice stock handles.
If God wanted me to be a vegetarian he wouldn't have made animals taste so good.

cedarhouse
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Re: Amateur cook getting into knives!

Post by cedarhouse » Thu May 31, 2018 10:18 pm

I feel like we're failing you, randy. You're not getting a lot of feedback.

I think Jeff's point is about right, at your price point, there are a LOT of great performing knives but not a lot of great performing AND great looking knives. I can't speak to any of Jeff's recs, but all four knives have great reputations...you couldn't go wrong with any of them.

One question you seem to have regards wa (Japanese) vs yo (western) handles. Most people find the transition to wa handles very easy and seamless but there are a few considerations. Overall wa handled knives are lighter and have a more forward balancepoint. This is because there is less material in the handle but more specifically, there is less steel in the tang. This matters more for users that use all five fingers on the handle because it increases the mass of the lever arm you are wielding...if you pinch grip, wa handled knives are considered to have a more natural balance to them. Wa handled knives can be a bit more intensive on upkeep. Since the handle is all wood and the tang is inserted a hole in the handle, it can collect moisture and detritus. The woods used are also often not stabilized. Yo handles are often synthetic materials or stabilized woods and the seams between the steel and handle material tend to be more seamless. Unless you are a really sloppy cook it isn't usually a problem and it can be permanently fixed adding a dab of epoxy to the hole for the tang (some makers do this from the factory), generally though yo handles are perceived as more hygienic.

randyt
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Joined: Wed May 30, 2018 10:43 am

Re: Amateur cook getting into knives!

Post by randyt » Fri Jun 01, 2018 1:01 am

Thanks for the replies!

Yeah, I totally understand. I can't have the cake and eat it too haha.
After a bit more research and deliberation, I realize it's an investment that'll last a long time so I'm very flexible on the price, probably capped at $250.

I'd like a 240 mm semi-stainless or stainless Wa-Gyuto w/at least a good F&F and a nice handle.
I'm just an amateur shopping around so here were 3 knives that caught my eye.
1. The Kurosaki Megumi 240. There's one on the Classified section that's ~$200.
2. I swear I'm not an advertising bot but I checked other sites and saw the Yoshihiro 240 mm VG-10 Damascus. It looks amazing and comes with a saya, but I'm not so sure of the quality. Seems like one of those too good to be true things for ~$200 as well. For ease of ref, I'll just link it (https://www.echefknife.com/product/vg-1 ... =9-5-240mm)
3. Again, not a bot, but the JCK Natures Inazuma 240 mm. AUS-10 seems like a great enough steel for my uses and it's a more affordable one at ~$150.

Obviously, I trust the opinions of this forum more so I wanted to understand if my thought process is wrong in any way. Thanks for advance! And if you feel uncomfortable posting criticism for other knives, just PM me or something. I totally feel guilty bringing up competitor knives in this forum. sorry .____.

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STPepper9
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Location: Chicago, IL

Re: Amateur cook getting into knives!

Post by STPepper9 » Fri Jun 01, 2018 4:05 am

Welcome to the forum randy.
I think there's not a ton of replies here mainly because Jeff pretty much nailed it. Although I haven't used the Makoto or chromax, they've been getting stellar reviews. The harukaze and kanahide are great options as well.

I think Spence's kurosaki you're considering looks very good, you may want to ask him about scuff marks on the blade road since he says Steve thinned it and you seem concerned about the appearance of the knife... You certainly could do a lot worse, that's for sure.

If you like a little bling and stainless characteristics I will point out these few:
tanaka vg-10, in my opinion tanaka's offerings are generally a very good value, great grind / performance.
$205 https://www.chefknivestogo.com/tavgda24gy.html

And the Kato suminagashi (or for slightly above your price range, the Kato nashiji suminagashi)
$230 https://www.chefknivestogo.com/kavgdagy24.html
$259 https://www.chefknivestogo.com/kanasugy24.html
I haven't used them or seen much about these knives but I really like the look.
I'm certain any of these will perform leagues above your line knife, which is a good deal for the money, but won't hold a candle to any of the $100 knives (on CKTG), let alone the $250 ones.

As for knife guards vs saya... If you're bringing it to and from church the saya may be a good idea since it locks into place better, where a blade guard can easily slide off. It will also protect better against bending, which is rarely an issue but one worth mentioning. If you choose a knife guard, I like the guards that are felt lined for any blingy looking blades.
If you get a knife and saya from cktg they can select and check the fit for you before sending it.
You asked about knives from some other vendors and hopefully someone will chime in.. I've had a good experience purchasing a couple sayas from yoshihiro (customer service was good). I don't, however, have any knowledge or experience regarding their knives or those from JKC.

Let me know if you have any follow up questions.

easilver
Posts: 649
Joined: Fri Jan 27, 2017 8:45 am

Re: Amateur cook getting into knives!

Post by easilver » Fri Jun 01, 2018 9:03 am

I bought a few knives to loan to family and friends so they had sharp knives. I bought enough so I could bring them a sharp knife to swap with their loaner every few weeks. After trying a few knives, this in the one everyone likes best: https://www.chefknivestogo.com/kovgda.html

It takes a nice edge, is stainless, and everyone loves the subtle tsuchime treatment.

You might consider this knife since you can gift it to a friend or relative when you make your next upgrade to the $200-$300 range.
Ed in L.A.

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jbart65
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Re: Amateur cook getting into knives!

Post by jbart65 » Fri Jun 01, 2018 12:26 pm

For the money, the Makoto simply cannot be beat. It performs like a gyuto costing $100 more and is a great representative of Japanese knives.

Get that and obtain a few stones if needed.

https://www.chefknivestogo.com/mawh2gy24.html

I would also higher recommend either the Yahiko Nashiji or Korouchi, or if you want a fancy handle, the VG-10. Toward the bottom of the following link.

https://www.chefknivestogo.com/waha24gy.html

The Ittu Ryu would be a good choice, but it's about 8 ounces. I think 240s from 6.5 to 7.5 oz are more ideal.

On handles: A good handle is a good handle. I switched over to wa handles three years ago after 30 years of Yo handles and never looked back. They are lighter and give you more control over a knife generally. Unless you are a pro, I always recommend wa handles.
Jeffry B

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Jeff B
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Joined: Fri Jan 27, 2017 5:59 pm
Location: Kentucky

Re: Amateur cook getting into knives!

Post by Jeff B » Fri Jun 01, 2018 4:44 pm

randyt wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 1:01 am
Thanks for the replies!

Yeah, I totally understand. I can't have the cake and eat it too haha.
After a bit more research and deliberation, I realize it's an investment that'll last a long time so I'm very flexible on the price, probably capped at $250.

I'd like a 240 mm semi-stainless or stainless Wa-Gyuto w/at least a good F&F and a nice handle.
I'm just an amateur shopping around so here were 3 knives that caught my eye.
1. The Kurosaki Megumi 240. There's one on the Classified section that's ~$200.
2. I swear I'm not an advertising bot but I checked other sites and saw the Yoshihiro 240 mm VG-10 Damascus. It looks amazing and comes with a saya, but I'm not so sure of the quality. Seems like one of those too good to be true things for ~$200 as well. For ease of ref, I'll just link it (https://www.echefknife.com/product/vg-1 ... =9-5-240mm)
3. Again, not a bot, but the JCK Natures Inazuma 240 mm. AUS-10 seems like a great enough steel for my uses and it's a more affordable one at ~$150.

Obviously, I trust the opinions of this forum more so I wanted to understand if my thought process is wrong in any way. Thanks for advance! And if you feel uncomfortable posting criticism for other knives, just PM me or something. I totally feel guilty bringing up competitor knives in this forum. sorry .____.
The knives you referenced will probably serve you well and I wouldn't be afraid to go that route if you really like either knife. The steels that they are made of are not the best at edge holding but are better steels than you will find in any knife that you would buy from a department store. You may very well like them as much as any knife mentioned above. Both the vendors you mentioned are reputable and easy to deal with.
If God wanted me to be a vegetarian he wouldn't have made animals taste so good.

pecanbery
Posts: 53
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2018 1:51 am

Re: Amateur cook getting into knives!

Post by pecanbery » Fri Jun 01, 2018 8:58 pm

randyt wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 1:01 am
Thanks for the replies!

Yeah, I totally understand. I can't have the cake and eat it too haha.
After a bit more research and deliberation, I realize it's an investment that'll last a long time so I'm very flexible on the price, probably capped at $250.

I'd like a 240 mm semi-stainless or stainless Wa-Gyuto w/at least a good F&F and a nice handle.
I'm just an amateur shopping around so here were 3 knives that caught my eye.
1. The Kurosaki Megumi 240. There's one on the Classified section that's ~$200.
2. I swear I'm not an advertising bot but I checked other sites and saw the Yoshihiro 240 mm VG-10 Damascus. It looks amazing and comes with a saya, but I'm not so sure of the quality. Seems like one of those too good to be true things for ~$200 as well. For ease of ref, I'll just link it (https://www.echefknife.com/product/vg-1 ... =9-5-240mm)
3. Again, not a bot, but the JCK Natures Inazuma 240 mm. AUS-10 seems like a great enough steel for my uses and it's a more affordable one at ~$150.

Obviously, I trust the opinions of this forum more so I wanted to understand if my thought process is wrong in any way. Thanks for advance! And if you feel uncomfortable posting criticism for other knives, just PM me or something. I totally feel guilty bringing up competitor knives in this forum. sorry .____.
I have a Yoshihiro gyuto in AS and it's actually an amazing knife. I was worried about the performance of the knife because they're bling heavy for the price but after using it for a year I couldn't be happier. I'm not sure what their VG-10 knives are like, I think each series is made by a different blacksmith but they all consistently have excellent fit and finish. One thing to note is that VG-10 is a little harder to sharpen (especially if you compare it to white carbon steels). If corrosion resistance is important to you than it's probably one of the better/cheaper stainless steels.

I haven't personally used it but the Takamura Chromax sounds like it would suit you too. It's gotten rave reviews.

sac36555
Posts: 36
Joined: Sat May 26, 2018 1:15 am

Re: Amateur cook getting into knives!

Post by sac36555 » Sun Jun 03, 2018 3:46 pm

With your budget and requirements for Stainless or semi, I’d recommend the 240mm Tanaka Ginsan Nashiji with K&S Special. The Ginsan Stainless is much easier to sharpen than VG-10, gets sharper, great edge retention. Tanaka’s are known for great heat treats, but bad F&F. The K&S version makes the fit and finish exceptional and you also have a choice of different handles, most of which will fall under your $250 budget!

http://www.knivesandstones.com/tanaka-g ... s-special/

delmar
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Re: Amateur cook getting into knives!

Post by delmar » Tue Jun 12, 2018 9:02 pm

sac36555 wrote:
Sun Jun 03, 2018 3:46 pm
With your budget and requirements for Stainless or semi, I’d recommend the 240mm Tanaka Ginsan Nashiji with K&S Special. The Ginsan Stainless is much easier to sharpen than VG-10, gets sharper, great edge retention. Tanaka’s are known for great heat treats, but bad F&F. The K&S version makes the fit and finish exceptional and you also have a choice of different handles, most of which will fall under your $250 budget!

http://www.knivesandstones.com/tanaka-g ... s-special/
I have this knife in 210mm from this retailer. It is a great performer and among the easier stainless knives I have sharpened. Ebony handle is quite nice. A rather good deal when you factor in the smith, quality of blade and handle.

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