Wanting to dip my toes into 'better' knives - home cook

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Spyne
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Wanting to dip my toes into 'better' knives - home cook

Post by Spyne » Sat Nov 09, 2019 12:51 am

1)Pro or home cook?
Home

2)What kind of knife do you want? (Gyuto, Santuko, Petty, Paring, Sujihiki, etc.)
Versatile workhorse - Gyuto or Santuno I assume.

3) What size knife do you want?
About 180-210mm

4)How much do you want to spend?
$200 AUD (or less)

5) Do you prefer all stainless, stainless clad over reactive carbon, or all reactive carbon construction?
Would prefer non-reactive, simply for the fact I can't guarantee it will be treated 100% (wife will almost definitely leave it to air-dry after washing) or leave it sitting uncleaned after use for an hour or so

6)Do you prefer Western or Japanese handle?
Western

7)What are your main knife/knives now?
Victorinox Fibrox 220mm chef's / Mundial 150mm petty

8)Are your knife skills excellent, good, fair?
Fair/competent. Probably bordering on 'good' for a home cook.

9)What cutting techniques do you prefer? Are you a rocker, chopper or push/pull cutter?
Push cut 90%, sometimes rock.
Right or wrong, I've always avoided chopping, assuming it would degrade the edge faster.

10)Do you know how to sharpen?
In theory I know how to use stones, but I have a Hapstone M2 system (fixed-angle) which I use 2-3 times a year to refresh my kitchen knives.

There's nothing particularly wrong with my current knives (I have the Victorinox mentioned above and a full 7-peice Mundial set) but I have a hankering to dip my toes into something better.
I understand that better generally means 'more care required' or even 'more specific (limited) usability' but if I could get a versatile, general duties knife that didn't need a heap of care and would hold an edge quite well I'd be happy.
The primary use for this knife would be 70% vegetable/fruit prep (my wife is vegan) and then 30% protein prep (trimming chicken breasts/thighs, large dicing red meats, cutting/slicing cured meats such as chorizo, salami, etc).
I've got a cheapo petty for cheeses and would keep one of my mundials for carving whole chickens (if necessary).

I've been having a quick gander and my (uneducated) shortlist at the moment is below. Please correct me if any of these are not suitable.
Takamura Chromax Gyuto or Santoku (very thin, very high HRC....is this even suitable as a general home chefs knife?)
Kanehide PS60 Santoku
Kohetsu HAP40 Santoku ($260AUD + shipping probably a bit more than I'm willing to spend, but have read that HAP40 is a fantastic set & forget steel?)
Tojiro DP
Yaxell Mon
Enso SG2 (probably out of budget too....also, don't really see this mentioned on here, is it overpriced/garbage?)

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lsboogy
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Re: Wanting to dip my toes into 'better' knives - home cook

Post by lsboogy » Sat Nov 09, 2019 10:12 pm

I'd go for the Takamura - my brother got one for Christmas last year, I've only had to sharpen it once so far and it has been an eye opener for him (plus, I don't have to bring knives when we have family gatherings). It's a professional level knife geared towards home users or those on a budget. I think they are very very good knives, well balanced, pretty stainless, hold a great edge, and have good to great food release. Nothing but positives about the knife.

Byphy
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Re: Wanting to dip my toes into 'better' knives - home cook

Post by Byphy » Sat Nov 09, 2019 11:17 pm

I have a 210 Takamura I'm selling too, brand new. PM me if you're interested

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ChefKnivesToGo
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Re: Wanting to dip my toes into 'better' knives - home cook

Post by ChefKnivesToGo » Sun Nov 10, 2019 9:27 am

This knife fits your criteria really well. https://www.chefknivestogo.com/mi19hasa18.html
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AlbuquerqueDan
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Re: Wanting to dip my toes into 'better' knives - home cook

Post by AlbuquerqueDan » Sun Nov 10, 2019 9:29 am

I gave 3 Takamura chromax as Christmas gifts last year, all to J-knife newbies. They all love them. The only complaint I ever got was that they were too sharp and were scary. There have been reports of a few cut fingers, but nothing worthy of stitches (yet). I think the knife is a great introduction to Japanese knives, especially if you have some Western beaters that you plan on keeping for the harder tasks.

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lsboogy
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Re: Wanting to dip my toes into 'better' knives - home cook

Post by lsboogy » Sun Nov 10, 2019 10:39 am

AlbuquerqueDan wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 9:29 am
I gave 3 Takamura chromax as Christmas gifts last year, all to J-knife newbies. They all love them. The only complaint I ever got was that they were too sharp and were scary. There have been reports of a few cut fingers, but nothing worthy of stitches (yet). I think the knife is a great introduction to Japanese knives, especially if you have some Western beaters that you plan on keeping for the harder tasks.
I love it Dan, owe that are not used to how sharp knives should be can knick themselves (I did dull the heel on my brothers knife - he has cut himself a few times touching it) - it helps if you teach them a pinch grip as well.

Spyne
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Re: Wanting to dip my toes into 'better' knives - home cook

Post by Spyne » Mon Nov 11, 2019 12:02 am

How frustrating - I've been trying to reply to this since last night, but keep getting 'origin dns' errors. Is this a common problem with the forums? I've tried on three different computers, all the same problem (one at work, 2 at home).

Anyhow, let's try again...
So the Takamura Chromax seems a popular choice.
How is it for ease of sharpening, considering I don't have traditional stones, rather a system similar to the Edgepro Apex?
Also would it be ok for use in cutting up sweet potatoes - this is probably the hardest task it will see.

As for your suggestion of the Minamoto, Mark - how does it compare for edge retention and ease of sharpening? I assume it possibly doesn't get quite as sharp (if I was ever chasing the sharpest edge possible)?

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lsboogy
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Re: Wanting to dip my toes into 'better' knives - home cook

Post by lsboogy » Mon Nov 11, 2019 11:16 am

Spyne wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 12:02 am
How frustrating - I've been trying to reply to this since last night, but keep getting 'origin dns' errors. Is this a common problem with the forums? I've tried on three different computers, all the same problem (one at work, 2 at home).

Anyhow, let's try again...
So the Takamura Chromax seems a popular choice.
How is it for ease of sharpening, considering I don't have traditional stones, rather a system similar to the Edgepro Apex?
Also would it be ok for use in cutting up sweet potatoes - this is probably the hardest task it will see.

As for your suggestion of the Minamoto, Mark - how does it compare for edge retention and ease of sharpening? I assume it possibly doesn't get quite as sharp (if I was ever chasing the sharpest edge possible)?
Takumura is easy to sharpen. I used a red brick (1K stone), a green brick (2K stone) and a 6K Nubatama on my brothers knife - took 20 minutes and the edge was able to pop hairs on my arm. We cut butternut squash with the thing easily that afternoon (5 big ones, all just moments each), so sweet potatoes should be a cinch. And an Edgepro is a very good system - especially for beginners. Call Ken (ken123) and you should have stones that will allow you to use the knife for the rest of your life, and then your kids will have a good knife for theirs. Most big box knives (Shun, Mitabi etc) have a 1K or so edge factory, and people think that's sharp, so even just a decent 1K setup on an edgepro will probably give you sharper knives than 99.9% of all people - add a 6K and you will discover what many never do.

Welcome to the rabbit hole, even if you are just poking your head in and looking around. The knife nuts up here are as bad as the audio geeks - why I still have lots of Mackie, Marantz, and Klipsch stuff in my house

AlbuquerqueDan
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Re: Wanting to dip my toes into 'better' knives - home cook

Post by AlbuquerqueDan » Mon Nov 11, 2019 4:23 pm

Spyne wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 12:02 am

Anyhow, let's try again...
So the Takamura Chromax seems a popular choice.
How is it for ease of sharpening, considering I don't have traditional stones, rather a system similar to the Edgepro Apex?
Also would it be ok for use in cutting up sweet potatoes - this is probably the hardest task it will see.
The Chromax is very sharp out of the box (no need to create your own edge like on most knives). It's also very easy to sharpen and has very good edge retention. I don't think you'd have any regrets if you picked one up.

Good call about rounding the heel, Isboogy. When I was first getting started, I nicked myself way more often on the heel than anywhere else.

Spyne
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Re: Wanting to dip my toes into 'better' knives - home cook

Post by Spyne » Wed Nov 13, 2019 1:15 am

Alright, here's my dilemma;

My current knives are a set of Mundials and a Victorinox Fibrox chef's. Neither anything special, the Fibrox retails around AUD$50 and the Mundial anything from $65-$100! (crazy, I know).
With conversion rate AND shipping (is shipping really USD$50 to Australia?!?) even the 'cheap' Minamoto that Mark recommended is going to end up $200 landed. The Takamura Chromax $250+.
On the other hand, I can get a Tojiro DP3 21cm Gyuto locally for $95. VG-10, good 'beginner' reputation...

Is the Tojiro a big step up from my current knives and is the Minamoto a $100 upgrade over the Tojiro?

Cigarguy
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Re: Wanting to dip my toes into 'better' knives - home cook

Post by Cigarguy » Wed Nov 13, 2019 1:18 am

Spyne wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 1:15 am
Is the Tojiro a big step up from my current knives and is the Minamoto a $100 upgrade over the Tojiro?
Yes and yes in my books.

I'm in Canada and via regular national post is just as ridiculous and almost as expensive.

stevem627
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Re: Wanting to dip my toes into 'better' knives - home cook

Post by stevem627 » Wed Nov 13, 2019 1:59 am

Spyne, you will get a good knife and great value with the Tojiro. It will be a nice upgrade and if you get into the mood and money to move up you will have some practice with using and maintaining a quality knife.

Spyne
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Re: Wanting to dip my toes into 'better' knives - home cook

Post by Spyne » Wed Nov 13, 2019 2:47 am

stevem627 wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 1:59 am
Spyne, you will get a good knife and great value with the Tojiro. It will be a nice upgrade and if you get into the mood and money to move up you will have some practice with using and maintaining a quality knife.
Thanks Steve. That was kinda my thinking - incremental steps to see how far I want to go. 'Only' spending $100 on a Tojiro will also allow me to possibly buy a stone, see if I like that more than using my EdgePro system.
I mean, if I could get a Takamura/Minamoto/Kanehide for $150-$170 AUD I'd probably just jump straight in but the exchange rate is not pretty right now so it's not happening any time soon unless Mark does some crazy Black Friday deals.

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lsboogy
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Re: Wanting to dip my toes into 'better' knives - home cook

Post by lsboogy » Wed Nov 13, 2019 11:22 am

Go for the local Tojiro DP - they are great knives (good enough for beginning professionals and make great line knives) - and when you decide to upgrade further, you will love the Takamura

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Jeff B
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Re: Wanting to dip my toes into 'better' knives - home cook

Post by Jeff B » Wed Nov 13, 2019 7:37 pm

I don't like steering customers away from Mark but you need to take a look at http://www.knivesandstones.com in Australia.
If God wanted me to be a vegetarian he wouldn't have made animals taste so good.

slickmamba
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Re: Wanting to dip my toes into 'better' knives - home cook

Post by slickmamba » Wed Nov 13, 2019 10:08 pm

You should definitely check out knivesandstones, james is great.

delmar
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Re: Wanting to dip my toes into 'better' knives - home cook

Post by delmar » Thu Nov 14, 2019 7:41 pm

Yes, check out Aussie retailers. There is one that sells a Tanaka Ginsan 210mm gyuto with nice ebony handle for around 200 usd. Great knife, solid Smith, great grind, save on shipping. Might have to wait a bit for restock if it available, but worth it.

salemj
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Re: Wanting to dip my toes into 'better' knives - home cook

Post by salemj » Fri Nov 15, 2019 10:57 am

Spyne wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 1:15 am
Alright, here's my dilemma;

My current knives are a set of Mundials and a Victorinox Fibrox chef's. Neither anything special, the Fibrox retails around AUD$50 and the Mundial anything from $65-$100! (crazy, I know).
With conversion rate AND shipping (is shipping really USD$50 to Australia?!?) even the 'cheap' Minamoto that Mark recommended is going to end up $200 landed. The Takamura Chromax $250+.
On the other hand, I can get a Tojiro DP3 21cm Gyuto locally for $95. VG-10, good 'beginner' reputation...

Is the Tojiro a big step up from my current knives and is the Minamoto a $100 upgrade over the Tojiro?
I would DEFINITELY skip the Tojiro for several reasons. First and foremost, you'll just end up wanting another, nicer knife even soon based on the improvement you feel with it. Save that money and put it towards a bigger jump from what you already have. Many of us know this from experience. The DP would be great if you didn't already have beaters (and then it could become a beater), but since you have those, you're ready for a jump.

The aussie sites will allow more money to go to the product, but with higher prices more general and a lack of lower-end variety. Essentially, the options there will still cost you over 200, and you'll have to choose between just 2-3 knife (in terms of ones that fit your options), or you'll have to try a Japanese handle (which I highly recommend you do since you already have Western handled knives for anything that requires that for you). I would second mentions of Tanaka in this range for sure, but I would probably stress the Japanese handled versions over the Western ones given the variety you seek...and I also would encourage to you at least consider a carbon core with a stainless jacket because they really are quite easy to care for after the first five uses.
~Joe

Comments: I'm short, a home cook, prefer lighter, thinner blades, and own mostly Konosukes but have used over a dozen brands.

Spyne
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Re: Wanting to dip my toes into 'better' knives - home cook

Post by Spyne » Fri Nov 15, 2019 5:38 pm

salemj wrote:
Fri Nov 15, 2019 10:57 am
Spyne wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 1:15 am
Alright, here's my dilemma;

My current knives are a set of Mundials and a Victorinox Fibrox chef's. Neither anything special, the Fibrox retails around AUD$50 and the Mundial anything from $65-$100! (crazy, I know).
With conversion rate AND shipping (is shipping really USD$50 to Australia?!?) even the 'cheap' Minamoto that Mark recommended is going to end up $200 landed. The Takamura Chromax $250+.
On the other hand, I can get a Tojiro DP3 21cm Gyuto locally for $95. VG-10, good 'beginner' reputation...

Is the Tojiro a big step up from my current knives and is the Minamoto a $100 upgrade over the Tojiro?
I would DEFINITELY skip the Tojiro for several reasons. First and foremost, you'll just end up wanting another, nicer knife even soon based on the improvement you feel with it. Save that money and put it towards a bigger jump from what you already have. Many of us know this from experience. The DP would be great if you didn't already have beaters (and then it could become a beater), but since you have those, you're ready for a jump.

The aussie sites will allow more money to go to the product, but with higher prices more general and a lack of lower-end variety. Essentially, the options there will still cost you over 200, and you'll have to choose between just 2-3 knife (in terms of ones that fit your options), or you'll have to try a Japanese handle (which I highly recommend you do since you already have Western handled knives for anything that requires that for you). I would second mentions of Tanaka in this range for sure, but I would probably stress the Japanese handled versions over the Western ones given the variety you seek...and I also would encourage to you at least consider a carbon core with a stainless jacket because they really are quite easy to care for after the first five uses.
Thanks Joe, that sounds like some really solid advice (and obviously coming from experience).
I'll have a look at local options with japanese handles.
Apart from Knives and Stones, does anyone know of some other good local sites? The trouble I am finding is that many sites (local and international) might appear to have a wide range of japanese knives, but I just don't know which ones are legit 'brands' and which are cheap knock offs or mass produced but using a japanese sounding name.

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Jeff B
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Re: Wanting to dip my toes into 'better' knives - home cook

Post by Jeff B » Fri Nov 15, 2019 6:09 pm

Spyne wrote:
Fri Nov 15, 2019 5:38 pm
...The trouble I am finding is that many sites (local and international) might appear to have a wide range of japanese knives, I just don't know which ones are legit 'brands' and which are cheap knock offs or mass produced but using a japanese sounding name.
Odds are if it's a reputable dealer you won't have any problems. But if you have concerns/questions about something you find or are interested in, just list it here and we can tell you if it's legit or worthy.
If God wanted me to be a vegetarian he wouldn't have made animals taste so good.

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