The Knife Thread

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

  1. fraggler

    fraggler A Happy & Busy Life

    Friend
    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2015
    Likes Received:
    4,500
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Should probably start a thread on sexy tools, but since this is about blades and sharpening, I'd like to share my most recent blade acquisition:
    [​IMG]

    It is a 36mm Japanese style leather skiving knife made from M2 steel. Handle is African Blackwood. Came from Palosanto Factory, a S. Korean producer who makes some of the finest leather working tools on the market. It came scary sharp out of the package so I haven't had to sharpen it, but it renewed my interest in sharpening systems. In fact, I am now investing in whetstones like I never would have for the kitchen and EDC. You all provided a lot of great advice that I promptly ignored because I am cheap, but I am reading back through and did some more research and just bought an Atoma Diamond Sharpener #1200. I will likely grab a Suehiro Rika #5000 ceramic stone for some polishing and some diamond compound for stropping. I was able to severely warp my cheapo $30 1000/6000 whetstone just trying to sharpen the crappy $10 stainless steel skiving knife I started with, along with my kitchen knives. Since I don't actually use my kitchen knives (my GF does), I have neglected them a bit. I went diamond plate to make sure I got something that would stay flat for a while and guarantee it work on M2 steel (or Aogami Super which will be my next leather knife material). I'm pretty sure a Suehiro Cerax 1000 would have been fine, but I liked the idea of a hopefully perma flat plate to start with.
     
  2. fraggler

    fraggler A Happy & Busy Life

    Friend
    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2015
    Likes Received:
    4,500
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    What do you folks use for stropping? I am thinking of ordering some horsehide from Horween to make some strops for myself, but will have a bunch left over for others. Anyone interested?
     
  3. Taverius

    Taverius Smells like sausages

    Friend
    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2017
    Likes Received:
    2,999
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Rapallo, Italy
    Nothing at all.

    To much time sharpening as part of my job I have no will to faff about with burrs.

    Imo, if you're going to fuck about straightening the burr of an edge you do it proper and do it every half minute, and I'm neither a butcher nor a straight razor hipster.

    Less work for me, yay!

    By the by, the material you use doesn't super matter, an old shirt will work, it's about technique.
     
  4. fraggler

    fraggler A Happy & Busy Life

    Friend
    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2015
    Likes Received:
    4,500
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    The blades I am primarily caring for are tools for leather, so I'm not sure if techniques or habits would be different from those trying to make or maintain knives. In particular, I have found that stropping my French skivers every other use makes an incredible difference, whereas for normal knives, a good sharpening is good enough every couple months. For cutting, no big deal, for skiving, shaving, or any other push cutting at an angle, stropping has made a huge difference. I will 100% admit that I am a complete novice and probably am not good at properly sharpening yet. I simply read that in the past, horsehide has been the go to for those who need super sharp blade (primarily for barbers using straight razors) due to the density, firmness, and high amount of silicates.
     
  5. Taverius

    Taverius Smells like sausages

    Friend
    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2017
    Likes Received:
    2,999
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Rapallo, Italy
    Yeah, you're working with a burr, and heck yeah if you can make it work reliably it's hella sharp!

    I do work with it while I sharpen - getting an edge to hold a burr all the way along, and then taking it all off in 2 quick reverse swipes is a great way to ensure you've worked the profile all the way along and aren't forcing it to be done just so you can go home!

    Hmm.

    With edge profiles - and hardnesses - as specific as some of the leatherworking shit I've touched a really dense surface might be handy.

    Here in Genova (one of) the traditional tool for butchers is a strap of really heavy duty Jeans - a contraction of Genovese - or it's competitor Denim - from Du Nimes, the city again - canvas boiled in wax/heavy oil and pressed.

    You're after that old timey-wimey tanning surface finish as much as the animal itself, I suspect.

    Also if my suspicions are right on why the horse is working so well in your field you'll find an old tool strop works better than a new strop, because life's a bitch.

    :drunk:
     
  6. penguins

    penguins Friend, formerly known as fp627

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2018
    Likes Received:
    2,752
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    SouthernCA
    I'm not picky and don't strop often as I actually like a slightly toothy edge on most of my knives and what I use them for. When I do strop I use a denser piece of leather that doesn't have long fibers on the inside and is large enough. Said leather will be whatever scrap leather sample I have (from say determining/buying shoe colors or whatever) that feels like it'd be the best.
     
  7. Deep Funk

    Deep Funk Deep thoughts - Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    8,194
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Amsterdam
    Home Page:
    Tried a new knife today. A Santoku knife, 7 inches made/branded by Master Chef. Damn it is nice in the hand...

    [​IMG]

    Very similar to this but European in style. When sharp it cuts with almost zero effort...

    P.S. I resumed cooking again. Even with cheap ingredients you can make very tasty and healthy food. My sister had some old knives left and the Santoku was among them.
     
  8. dark_energy

    dark_energy Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,038
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Forest
    Original Japanese Blue/White carbon steel chef knives are great
    VG10 Damascus is cool too. They hold an edge and get sharp.


    You need the smaller grain water stone for these. IME only original King water stones work. Cheap knockoffs are good enough for axe sharpening.
     
  9. Deep Funk

    Deep Funk Deep thoughts - Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    8,194
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Amsterdam
    Home Page:
    I use this Twin Select now. It works fine. Wet stones are next.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. fraggler

    fraggler A Happy & Busy Life

    Friend
    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2015
    Likes Received:
    4,500
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Most of my blade/knife obsession is around leather cutting tools, so kitchen stuff is secondary and more my GF's domain. She is kind of old school Chinese in that she can make great food even with basic tools. It has taken some effort to get her into better tools. She has really taken to better knives, as it makes prep, especially fine prep so much easier and enjoyable. I recently got an Aogami Blue 2 santoku knife for her and she is in love. It is from Okeya, which is smith in Japan more known for tool blades than kitchen blades (perfectly aligned with my sensibilities :)). Really nice with a slight tsuchime finish and a walnut handle. Came pretty damn sharp, so after just a little stropping, just leaving it alone so my GF can get used to it. Also grabbed a Hinoki cutting board from Japan to better protect the blade. Smells AMAZING. Got the knife from Chefknives2go and the cutting board (along with some nice kitchen shears) from Burrfection.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Dzerh

    Dzerh Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2018
    Likes Received:
    411
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    San Ramon, CA, US
  12. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    11,291
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    India
    I bought one last week! Have never needed one over last 15 years, but might try some "real" bread from a newish place sometime soon.

    It was under $10 FX equiv, claims to be made in England, and actually seems pretty decent.

    Edit: Goodgrief, just discovered it's US$32 on Amazon.com!

    I also bought a low-cost Microplane knockoff for zesting oranges. It does the job so well that I wish I'd laid out ten times the price for the real thing. I used to think Microplane was too expensive even in British cookshops.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2021
  13. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    7,312
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Northwest France
    So thinking a bit about how I use a knife and getting inspiration from Asian YouTube videos, I’m coming around to getting a big Chinese cleaver. These are some of my reasons and uses:

    -Safe and efficient cutting typically involves using your knuckles to guide the blade. Chinese knives have a larger surface area which can make this easier

    -The rectangular shape is safer to work with. I almost never do any kind of stabbing and it’s the part of the knife that is the easiest to damage. The tip is more of a liability for me

    -The extra weight works with you for chopping, which is 99% of my prep work. Western knives need to be pushed a bit more

    -I smash a lot of garlic. Smashing with a cleaver makes quick work of this. Also when pounding chicken breasts flat I don’t need to get a mallet or use a pan

    So now I’m committed to getting one, where do I start looking? Just go to the Asian market? Any particular brands? It seems to me that expensive Chinese knives aren’t a thing, but that’s my impression
     
  14. penguins

    penguins Friend, formerly known as fp627

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2018
    Likes Received:
    2,752
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    SouthernCA
    I got 2 myself not too long ago. Was totally worth it. You can get a big traditional cleaver or you can also get a "modernized" version (I got one of each). I won't say 1 is better than the other per se, just that I can see certain people / prep styles / cooking styles preferring one over the other. I personally prefer the more "modernized" one. I didn't pick based on brand or anything else - for the modern one, just went to a few different stores that sold knives and found one that felt right in the hand, had the right blade shape, asked about the steel used for both, etc. Not sure how it is in France, but for the "traditional" one, I just ordered it from Taiwan (based on what I would want in the knife, etc).

    On a different note, need a new paring knife, utility knife, and boning knife...
     
  15. Velomane

    Velomane Acquaintance

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2016
    Likes Received:
    54
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Winnipeg
    Whenever cleavers come up in at another forum, CCK always end on the recommended list. I've got one too and performs adequately. Best part is they're not expensive, so there's certainly good value there.
     
  16. monacelli

    monacelli Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2017
    Likes Received:
    1,641
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    The Land of Enchantment
    I'm a big fan of Chinese cleavers, and have gone long stretches using them almost exclusively in the kitchen. As @Velomane points out, the standard cleaver that most people start with is the CCK 1303 (or 1302, if you want something a little bigger). These are made from reactive carbon steel, meaning they have different maintenance requirements than stainless knives. Basically this means that you've got to clean them and wipe them down very quickly after each use to prevent rust formation. They also have more of a tendency to impart additional odors to food products than stainless knives, before they have developed a patina. Not a big deal at all, a very light coating of oil on the blade goes a long way toward preventing this. The upside is that they are super easy and fun to sharpen. The downside is that the edge retention is only middling, so you wind up sharpening them more often. They are available on CKTG for around $80 before shipping.

    I've owned the CCK 1303 for 5 or 6 years and was looking to switch things up a little bit. So I recently imported a couple of cleavers from Taiwan from a company called 菜刀王 (Knife King). I bought two, one with stainless cladding and an Aus-10 core and another with stainless cladding and a Shirogami #2 core. I've owned them for around a month now, and they've displaced the CCK. For my preferences, I like the extra weight and blade height of the 菜刀王 cleavers. They also have nicer handles and better construction than the CCK in general. The 菜刀王 cleavers have a little more belly, which I think may make learning how to use a Chinese cleaver a bit easier. I pinged Mark from CKTG about these knives because I couldn't find any suppliers outside of Taiwan. I think he's kicking the tires on them now, and it looks like they might wind up on the site at some point:
    I paid around $90 each to import mine due to DHL shipping fees from Taiwan, so if you can get them for $50--60 with reasonable shipping, they are a steal. If you need something stainless right away, I've heard good things about these knives, but don't have first-hand experience with them (also from Taiwan): https://www.ebay.com/itm/223730368532. If you want something dirt cheap, I would buy this: https://www.amazon.com/Skylight-Cleaver/dp/B09DKPYMWF. Happy hunting~
     
  17. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

    Friend BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    5,790
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Winnipeg
    I've only just started getting into knives but took a jump into the semi deep end, though I kinda went about things backwards and started with a whetstone first and no knives. I got a Wusthof 400/2000 on sale and practised on some crappy knives while window shopping. Somewhere in my drawer of unsatisfying knives I found a Zwilling 10" carving knife that was in rough but serviceable shape and managed to get a decent edge on it, but learning to sharpen on a long flexible knife has been tricky.

    Then I went to a local shop and kept trying a whole bunch of different knifes to see what I liked. Took me three visits before I finally made a decision (correction: for both me and my gf to decide on). First visit I tried a few German knives. My favourite handle by far: Wusthof Ikon Classic. The knives were heavy, but it just fit so well in my hand. Didn't like the feel of the blades and cutting action as much, but they didn't have a chef knife to try and only the santoku in stock.

    Second visit, my favourite blade was the Kikuichi GW Santoku. I didn't like the handle as much, but it was so light and the edge profile felt very good with how I tend to slightly rock while slicing. Unfortunately it cost twice as much as the Wusthof so no impulse buy from me that day, plus the gf wasn't there to try.

    Third visit, gf came along too, she also really liked the Kikuichi but we both agreed we didn't want to spend that much on a single knife. There was one down on the GM series with cheaper handles, it fit her hand really well so she liked it, but felt a tad small for me, but I could pinch grip and it would be alright, and it was half the price of the GW so we were all set to try it. As we were about to wrap it up, on a lark I wanted to try the Miyabi Artisan Santoku because it was in a shiny display case. Pricewise it was right in between the GM and GW Kikuichi which we were ok with, and wouldn't you know it felt good for both of us.

    At that point shopping fatigue was hitting both of us and we were into "let's just get it and stop thinking about it" mode. Except... then we spotted the box set. I know, I know, you're all internally groaning at that. Except in this weird case the box set actually contained all the knives that we kinda wanted. It had the same santoku, plus an 8" chef (which I surprisingly preferred, so we have his/hers knives now), a bread knife, a paring knife, a block, and shears. Also very important (for her), is the aesthetics match the other kitchen tools. So after a couple minutes deliberation on whether we were really spending 4 digits that afternoon, we now have a new full set of kitchen knives.

    I'm still keeping the old cuisinart knives on the counter though. I can sharpen those to serviceable levels, and they are used for chopping and other abuseable tasks.

    Buuuut now that I've spent the money, the horrible curse has kicked in and I'm looking for more because the brain is stupid that way.

    I'm wondering if I need something better than the 2000 grit stone. I know I'm not perfect at it, I can get things decently sharp, but it's not super smooth yet when going through paper. I'm probably jumping the gun here and just need to really practice more on the 2000. Or maybe some holder because I'm juryrigging a cuttingboard+wet paper napkin thing to hold the stone stable while sharpening.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Epic Epic x 1
    • List
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2022
  18. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    11,291
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    India
    Shopping fatigue? What's that? Well, I suppose I know from rare occasions of accompanying someone else to get something about which I don't give a damn, eg shoes. But, as a shopaholic, shopping addiction is my thing!

    I'm not keen (no pun intended) enough to do whetstone sharpening, but, if you need to hold one in place, how about a silicone mat?

    (Some of my older knives still bear the scars from the days when I thought I could sharpen them on a course stone and didn't know what I was doing anyway!)
     
  19. mediumroast

    mediumroast Rando

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2021
    Likes Received:
    10
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Location:
    EST
    I am using 6k stone. Does the job.
     
  20. SSL

    SSL Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,219
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Not going to pretend I know what I'm talking about, as I'm also a novice when it comes to sharpening; but I use a 1k stone and then finish and maintain the edge with 1 micron diamond emulsion on a Jende Nanocloth strop. I strop with every use and haven't needed to touch the stone for months.

    Again, can't claim this is the best or even a great way to do things. All I can say is that I found it produces results I'm happy with quickly and with minimal effort. I also have a 4k stone but haven't ended up using it much if at all. From my research and limited experience, you don't need a stone finer than 1k for kitchen work.
     

Share This Page