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Grownup Kitchen Knives 101

junglegoober Oct 18, 2017

  1. junglegoober

    junglegoober Little member JDBA Official Member

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    In an effort to contribute some substantial content to the forum, I'd like to share this email I sent to a very good friend of mine that wanted help selecting a serious chef's knife. She's vegan, so I tailored it to her.. proclivities. I wrote it to a level that would be easy to digest for someone who isn't a knife-head, so it isn't perfect by JD standards, but it's a decent starting point for anyone venturing into the murky world of kitchen cutlery.

    I am in no way associated with any website linked.

    I hope the pictures show up..

    -----------------------------------------------------------
    Alright, I know you wanted this to be simple, but that shit isn't going to happen. A lot has to be considered, and I've already made a few decisions for you.

    First off, we're going stainless instead of carbon steel; it's just easier to take care of and you don't have to worry about waking up to find your knife rusting on your counter because you forgot to wipe onion juice off of it (happened to me.. twice).

    Second, euro or japanese edge. Euro has a broader edge angle, all the knives you can buy in most US stores are euro edge, to include wustoff and henkels. Japanese edge is more narrow, and thus can attain a sharper edge; downside is they are more delicate. Usually I'd automatically say japanese is the way to go, but with you doing the root thing, I'm not so sure. I personally have a not-so-expensive (walmart) euro edge knife that I use for things like sweet potatoes and de-boning meat, then I use my nice steel for everything else. So that's what I'm recommending for you, one badass sexy ninja blade, one work horse ready for abuse.

    But the decisions aren't over! Blade shape is a factor when you are using it exclusively for veggies. The japanese have a particular knife they use for vegetables called a nakiri; it looks like this:
    [​IMG]
    As opposed to a more traditional chefs knife, the gyuto:
    [​IMG]
    This is the knife I have; mine has more of a, ahem, patina..

    So that is the big question for you, blade shape. Benefits of the nakiri are less rocking while cutting because the 'belly' of the knife is relatively flat and you have a lot of cutting edge on the cutting board when the blade comes down on your poor little carrot victims. Also a good conversation piece, because they look cool as fuck. Quite short though, 6-8in range.

    I'll leave this up to you, but in the mean time I'll provide a couple options that I would go with:

    http://japanesechefsknife.com/HattoriForumHighEndChefsKnives.html#HattoriFH
    FH-7 Gyuto 240mm

    This is a pretty sweet knife, with lame blade markings unfortunately. Steel is VG-10, one of my favorites. This one also has different handle options, which is rare in japanese knives.

    http://japanesechefsknife.com/KAGAYAKIAogamiSuperSeries.html#KagayakiAogamiSuper
    Wa Gyuto 240mm

    Okay, this one is just sexy. It's Aogami Super steel, which is what my knife is, so it requires more care (NOT STAINLESS), but just LOOK at it. Also has a traditional handle, don't be scared of that, you won't even notice while you savagely eviscerate your next eggplant.

    This website is the bomb, nothing on it is less than superb quality and they usually have the best prices. Other websites are korin and chefsknifestogo.

    Sharpening is done by a professional, I send mine off to get done properly by a master every couple years.

    Last but not least, and this is not optional, you need a quality CERAMIC honing rod (sharpening and honing are two different things):

    http://www.chefknivestogo.com/id12cerodwna.html

    Buy this, a metal 'steel' is never ever to touch your japanese blade. And you will need this:

    http://www.chefknivestogo.com/suerccero.html

    That's to care for your honing rod, and you WILL need it; I learned that the hard way.

    That should be enough to get you in the right direction! Don't hesitate to ask questions :D
     
    Kelper, seandavid55 and desmodus like this.
  2. junglegoober

    junglegoober Little member JDBA Official Member

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    .
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2017
  3. desmodus

    desmodus Cabeza Caliente Lady Devil JDBA Official Member Super Moderator Brigade Member

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    Very good break down for your standard n00b.

    I like it.
     
    Kelper, junglegoober and seandavid55 like this.
  4. Kelper

    Kelper Penguin Egg Eater Lady Devil

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    My pride and joy. 0925171539a.jpg
     
    junglegoober likes this.
  5. C-Bear

    C-Bear Brigade Member Brigade Member

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    I actually prefer the European style blades when cooking. I can get a pretty keen edge on my Wustof. Actually my Wustof is thinner and sharper than my Shun.
     
  6. junglegoober

    junglegoober Little member JDBA Official Member

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    Absolutely nothing wrong with euro blades, and that breakdown was meant to not only be basic, but also geared towards someone who primarily works with vegetables, really where Japanese blades shine in my opinion (there and delicate seafood work) . You can get a euro edge sharp enough to shave a gnat's ass, and it'll generally hold it longer, but blade thickness and edge angle are two different things. I have a Japanese deba that's almost a quarter inch at the spine; thickness depends more on blade use, heavier blades for tougher work like boning.
     

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