Cookware 65

My first Japanese-made knife: need help

deanpike | Feb 1, 2010 05:12 PM

Hello to all,

This is my first post on Chowhound. I currently have two Henckels' chef knives (the longest one is about 30 years old, given to me by my mother, and the shorter one is 10 years old) and a Sanelli chef's knife (which is now a little beat). Both Henckels' are pretty good. The older one is clearly showing its age and it is getting tough to sharpen; the bolster is getting in the way. I am all set in terms of knives otherwise: a heavy no-name cleaver that I bought cheap, a few pairing knives (including one from the dollar store that still works amazingly well) and a pretty good bread knife. So, I think I need a new chef's knife with a longer blade. I cook every day - I use my knives every day - and I have developed my kitchen prep skills through the years; I think I am a bon vivant and a gourmet also.

I like to put emphasis on performance over aesthetics. They are both important of course, but how much depends on the application; I think a built space has more potential for being poetic than a knife, and so here function outweighs looks. I have not spent a lot of money on cutlery so far and do not intend to now. My budget is about $100, not including S&H. Of course, there are a couple of exceptions (see below).

I am not going to buy a European knife this time. I would like a Japanese knife. I used my friend's Global knife and did a little testing of others at a high end Japanese knife store, and I decided that a light knife would be good for me. Besides, the Wusthof Ikon Classic I examined at another store is nice but too expensive at $190. I did not like the feel of the handle on the Global.

I read a few posts here on Chowhound, gone thru online shopping sites, studied information on knives and steel on other sites for a while now. Of course, even after all that I think I have little knowledge about Japanese knives and it is limited to theory. I have made a short list (they are all 210 Gyuto/u and in US$):

- Fujiwara FKM Series ($68.00 @ JCK) of "Molybdenum Vanadium Stainless Steel"
- Misono Molybdenum (±$70.00 @ JCK and Korin) of "High carbon 13 Chrome Stainless
Molybdenum Steel"
- Misono Swedish Carbon Steel (±$94.00 @ JCK and Korin and CKTG) of Swedish Carbon
- Suisin High-Carbon Steel ($77.00 @ Korin) of "High-Carbon Steel"
- Togiharu Inox Steel ($99.40 @ Korin) of "Inox Stain-Resistant Steel"
- Togiharu Molybdenum ($69.30 @ Korin) of "Molybdenum Steel"
- Tojiro DP ($79.95 @ JCK and Korin) of "Stain-Resistant Steel" (I know it is a 3-ply)

I visited Paul's Finest (Canada) and the knives are more expensive even with S&H.

[Here are the exceptions I mentioned: a MAC Professional MBK-85 ($119.95 @ CKTG) which gets very good reviews generally but out of budget and maybe not for me yet; and a Hiro knife "École de cuisine" ($102.00 @ JCK) of VG-10, whose steel is pretty good (right?) and, to me, looks attractive.]

I guess I would like an SS knife (the Sanelli is but not the Henckels), but either way I will take care of it. From comments and information I have gathered so far I am leaning to the Tojiro, a good beginning I think. The Molyb's seem to be good for intermediates; the others for more advanced users. So say the shopping sites.

I would very much like to read someone else's opinion on these; have a little discussion. What is your experience with these knives? Which would you recommend, given that way-long description above?

Merci beaucoup,


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