The Knife Thread

Discussion in 'Food and Drink' started by GoodEnoughGear, Jun 4, 2018.

  1. fraggler

    fraggler A Happy & Busy Life

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    My only nice knives are some entry level Shun Classic knives (still too expensive for my tastes). I love the looks, the feel, and the initial sharpness. The chef knife is starting to drag a little, so I need to get a sharpening kit. While the gear guy in me loves the look of JK47's kit, I think I might go with a couple stones since that feels right to me. Does grit choice depend at all on the thickness of the blades? The Shun Classics are pretty thin.
     
  2. famish99

    famish99 Friend

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    You can buy some pretty good knives for cheap online at places like chefknivestogo. They will just be less "pretty" (highly subjective of course, I dig the simplicity). They also sell affordable stones, I recommend a 1000 grit and a 3000 grit stone to start and a 6000+ with a strop if you feel like making it razor sharp.

    Grit for stones is like for sandpaper, the lower the grit the coarser it is and more metal it'll wear away. If you're good at keeping your knives sharp, you won't have to use the coarser stones often, but I wouldn't be wanting to set an edge with a 6k stone, that would take forever.
     
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  3. fraggler

    fraggler A Happy & Busy Life

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    But they won't match! Arggggh!
     
  4. loki993

    loki993 Facebook Friend

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    not really the grit depends on the blade hardness and what you are trying to do. Japanese knives generally use harder steel and are thinner usually have a more shallow angle. Germans are beefeier and have steeper angles.

    you can go super crazy with high grits if you want but it's definitely not a requirement.
     
  5. fraggler

    fraggler A Happy & Busy Life

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    I think I need to unlike your post now. Just went to that website and am obsessing about knives and related gear now :(
     
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  6. Daveheart

    Daveheart Friend

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    Also, as more of a general explanation, the grit controls the level of polish. Not everyone's grit ratings are the same, but most of the Japanese and American companies have fairly consistent grit ratings.

    Thickness of the blade really only affects the overall strength of the blade itself and whether it will slice through or split whatever you're cutting. A really thick blade will crack an apple in half before you press all the way through. A really thin blade will slice all the way through but will be more susceptible to chipping or breaking.

    As a generalization a softer blade steel will require more frequent maintenance but will be less prone to chipping; it will also be easier on your sharpening stones. A harder steel will hold its edge much longer but will be harder to sharpen and will be more prone to chipping.

    In general you may be best off getting one stone in the 800-1200 grit range to do the actual sharpening and another around 3000 to polish. 3000 grit won't be enough to get that perfectly reflective mirror edge; however, it's more than enough to get serious cutting performance. The grits down below 400 are more appropriate for re-profiling or working a knife back from being truly dull.

    I mostly use Naniwa stones from their Chosera line or Super Stone lines, but they're in the $80+ per stone range.

    If I had to buy one stone and only have $50, I'd probably try this combo stone from Naniwa in 1000/3000. I haven't tried it personally; however, unlike a lot of the budget combo stones on the market, I'd bet good money that the grit ratings are accurate.

    If I was looking in the <$100 range, the Suehiro Cerax 1000/3000 combo would also probably be good. I don't have their 1000 or 3000 from the Cerax range, but I've tried others in the Cerax range, and they're generally well regarded (plus this combo is just barely over $50). You could also just barely squeeze in a full separate Cerax 1000 and a Suehiro Rika 3000 into the sub-$100 budget.
     
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  7. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    One of the worst things is training fellow house mates that they must never be left wet!
    I'm prepared to believe that my demands are less than those of others here, but I still can cut slivers off a tomato, or shave my arm on those days that that silly dangerous trick appeals to me (yes, they happen)!

    The gadgets with discs: I only ever found one that really works. That's the one in my post above. It also actually produces a nicer looking edge than its electric stablemate. But could it be used for knife abuse? Oh sure: ask me how I know about grinding a concave edge back to straight! If my wife you want to go shoving it backwards and forwards in the middle of a blade, she you can. And bad things will happen.

    The electric machine could probably abuse too, but it is much more gentle. Maybe I should have rated it as needing less skill than the manual device! Just, I suppose, don't shove the knife in at the middle of the blade and leave it there! o_O
    Depends on the device. Many of the ones found in most shops, gadgets that promise but don't deliver, can remove a surprising amount of metal without ever actually making anything sharp
    For better or worse, it is actually all I have used in the kitchen for a long time. I think that, if I was buying again from scratch, I'd buy stainless, but then I'd have learnt about stainless knives. Right now, I would feel a little afraid of having a good stainless knife to take care of.
     
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  8. Taverius

    Taverius Smells like sausages

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    This is all kinda funny.

    I'm a bladesmith, and I use cheap stainless kitchen knives.

    Easy to sharpen (they're soft) they don't rust, and I don't want to cry when a temp cook uses them to chop chicken bones.

    Shoemaker's children and all that, I guess.
     
  9. loki993

    loki993 Facebook Friend

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    You want to try one for not a ton of money for japanese try a Misono moly or 440, or Tojiro DP , Germans I like Henkels or Wusthof...pick one you like that fits your budget and go. If you are already taking care of carbon knives a stainless knife is going to seem like a breeze to you. I always clean mine when I'm done though because I don't want to take a finger off trying to scrub crap off of it that's stuck on there. Sharpening shouldn't be any different.
     
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  10. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    Aside... Right! Come to think of it (thanks) I've probably cut myself much more often cleaning knives than using them.
     
  11. Taverius

    Taverius Smells like sausages

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    Sharpening them.

    You'd think I'd have learnt by now, but no I always nick myself a time or ten :p

    Actually the worst is right after initial bevel on the belt grinder or file.

    Because then it has an edge, of sorts, but jagged like a chainsaw and they don't heal well, and they *hurt*.

    I did some Japanese style clay and water quenched kitchen knives once, and I still have the scars to prove it.

    Edit: I should specify, the client cut like a Japanese chef, cutting while pulling.

    Most westerners cut while pushing.

    If you angle the microserrations from sharpening in the direction of cutting, it makes a difference when you're past razor sharp.

    I was having to hold the knives at strange angles I'm not used to all the time, and kept hurting myself. :oops:
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2018
  12. Priidik

    Priidik MOT: Estelon

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    True, only when you do cut yourself with a Japanese shirogami steel gyuto the effect is different.
    A regular stainless steel kitchen knife that has been sharpened on a supermarket sharpener takes effort to cut through palm side skin, the real sharp stuff merely touches and you can get arterial blood.
     
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  13. Priidik

    Priidik MOT: Estelon

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    When I got into Japanese blades years ago I recommended them to every friend.
    Big mistake. Now I get to sharpen every one of these.
    Getting a blade truly sharp is rather involved activity.
    Sure a convenient way is devising or purchasing a mechanism, but I like oldskool: whetstones.
    And at least 3 is needed for the task + a belt with Al oxide paste won't hurt.
     
  14. Taverius

    Taverius Smells like sausages

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    I mean, you can get "cutting silk" sharpness on a knife made from old, used rebar, it just won't hold that edge worth a damn ... that's why butcher's steel exists, just cut with the burr, straighten it with the steel after every cut, ezpz*.

    Also if you're going all Japanese obsessive on sharpening, don't sharpen meat knives as much as you do fish or vegetables knives.

    Due to the springy fibers in muscle tissue, if you sharpen it too much it'll actually cut worse, a little bit of sawblade action is a good thing sometimes. A "just ok" cutting knife cuts leather better than a razor sharp one.

    * This is not at all easy.
     
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  15. mitochondrium

    mitochondrium Friend

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    I see being meticulous or obsessed (however you want to call it) is a character trait, so wether its cans, amps dacs or knives on just cannot help it. I use a 6000 grit stone for the last finish for my Shun knives.

    I love these. too:

    [​IMG]

    Carbon steel polished to a blue finish no need for steak knives. Mine do not look so nice anymore (always clean your carbon steel knives yourself!) but havn't lost their cutting edge.
     
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  16. loki993

    loki993 Facebook Friend

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    My girlfriend is a cook/chef and they cut, burn and do all manner of other damage to themselves in the kitchen throughout the course of a day.

    She said the worst cut shes ever seen was one a guy got while cleaning one of his knives
     
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  17. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    Does anybody here use ceramic, or other non-metal, knives? ( or... Lasers? CNC machines? ;) )

    Ceramic has been around quite a while now, but I have no idea if it is a competitor to the kind of knives you people are talking about. Does it get pro use?
     
  18. Taverius

    Taverius Smells like sausages

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    It's fine so long as you're careful.

    Its no different than a knife that's been quenched and not tempered - incredibly hard, holds an edge forever, chips if you use it wrong, shatters like glass if you drop it.

    Edit: doesn't rust though, so it has that going over super-hard simple steels.
     
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  19. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    I've used ceramic knives for awhile (as well as a laser cutter). I really like them because they stay sharp. The hardness is next to diamond so it doesn't wear down as much. The downside it that you can't sharpen them whenever they do eventually get dull. You'll need to send them in to a specialist sharpener. Also the ceramic is brittle so it's much easier to chip. Basically if you take good care of your knives then this will last for years without sharpening. They aren't too expensive so it's a good backup blade when you need something right away.
     
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  20. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    @Taverius - Aren't you a blacksmith? Have you made any knives you don't mind posting?
     
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