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deck

Need some help with knifes

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Hello fellow gurus!

I'm looking to upgrade from the old Chicago cutlery knives that I have. With lots of comments on the guru about the Dalstrong I would like to get a chef and maybe a nakiri. While looking at them I realized that I had questions and needed some guidance. Any information is greatly appreciated. What is the rockwell and how does that number come in to play? Also bevel 8/12, 14/16 13/15. I understand 8/12 is the angle to strive for when sharpening. Also Japanese au 10v steel what information does this give you? When doing the compare option on the Dalstrong site these questions I've come up with 

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Lot of information out there on Google on this but I'll share a few things.

 

1st is from an article I found on Google.

Quote

 

"AUS-6 / AUS-8 / AUS-10 (also 6A / 8A / 10A)

These grades of Japanese stainless are comparable to 440A (AUS-6), 440B (AUS-8), and 44C (AUS-10). AUS-6 is softer but tougher than ATS-34. It holds a good edge and is fairly easy to resharpen. AUS-8 is tougher but is still easy to sharpen and holds a good edge. AUS-10 has a similar carbon content to 440C, but less chromium, which results in less stain resistance. Unlike the 440 grades, however, all three AUS grades have vanadium alloyed to increase wear resistance and edge retention."

 

 

Next is that a number of members have the Dalstrong knives and seem to be very happy with them.

 

The following is from a post I made years ago to someone else asking for knife advise.

 

I own a set of Zwilling J.A. Henckels and I bought my knives over 25 years ago. From what I’ve come to understand, the “Zwilling” name is on the company’s better knife products. It will have the two standing men (Twin) logo on them. The J.A. Henckels branded knives are their more affordable knife products and will display a single standing man on them. Still some nice knives but not their top of the line products. (As you’ll see in the pricing)

29463443454_67f87a563d_z.jpg

 

Because I purchased them so long ago and they still look and cut almost as new I’m very happy with that purchase. If I didn’t already own them I might be tempted to purchase some Japanese / more exotic knives but I’ve been able to resist that urge for now. (Darn you CK :lol: and “If they ain’t broke, why fix them”) If I were to think about buying some good knives today I’d consider the following:

 

  1.   What do I need to do most of my everyday cutting chores?

2   My cutting style.

3   What kind of cutting broad will I be cutting on?

4   Blade construction / steel type.

5   How does it feel in “my” hand?

6   What can I afford? (Remember value is a combination of both quality and price)

7   Company reputation.

8   Product availability. (Can you find more knives of the same brand and series if you want to expand your set?)

9   Warranty. (Will they replace a knife that ends up with a problem)

 

Further Notes: 

#1 - Most will say you can get by with a good 8” chefs and a paring knife for 90% of your cutting chores. I’ll say this is mostly true except I’d put it more like 80%. This is why you can usually find a chefs & paring knife set as a small set. If I were limited to just 1 knife it would be a chef’s knife. Since I’m not limited I’ve purchase many knives for specific cutting chores.

 

#2 – There are a number of different cutting styles / methods. Determine which you prefer and buy knives that are best suited to that cutting method.

 

#3 – The best blade construction and steel type will be different depending on your different cutting style / method. Example: If you like to place the tip of the knife on the cutting board and rock the blade down though and across the food then you probably don’t want a brittle steel type. Even though high carbon steel can be sharpened to a finer edge, it is generally more brittle and is more prone to chipping. A softer steel won’t hold that thinner (razor shape) edge as long but it also isn’t prone to chipping. Also in this decision is how your foresee caring for your knives. High carbon steels can rust and need more care. Stainless blends will resist rusting and are more forgiving of a quick wash and your done lifestyle. As my life is very busy, I’m happy my Zwillings are a SS blade. (Oh and they hold an edge like a champ as well)

 

#4 – Harder steels should be paired with better cutting boards.

 

#5 – As every hand is a different size and shape, it’s hard for a knife maker to please everyone with a particular handle size and shape. That’s why you should visit a cutlery store and feel for yourself how a particular knife feels in “your” hand. I suppose appearance could also enter into the equation as well.

 

#6 – When we purchased that 9 piece set 25 years ago it was a major purchase. $350.00 at that time was more money than it is today. We also made significantly less money back then. As I said above, we’re very happy with that purchase and would probably do it again.

 

#7 – There are so many knife makers in the world today you need to use something to whittle down the choices.

 

#8 – Assuming you want to have your knife set all look and feel similar to one another (this is not important to everyone) you will want to look and see what other knives are available for future purchases.

 

#9 - A lifetime warranty is not that hard to find but will the company be there in the future to honor that warranty?

 

Take it for what it’s worth but this is my $.02 on the matter.

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I bought a Dalstrong chef knife and I liked it just fine. Eventually I found myself using my Victorinox chef knife way more. Liked the Victorinox so much I picked up their semi stiff boning knife. I also picked up the Ken Onion Worksharp a little over a year ago. That joker can get any knife razor sharp. 

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I'll second the Ken Onion Worksharp. My knife collection is pretty plain at the moment, but it works since I can keep them razor sharp. Also love that the Ken Onion lets you adjust angle. When I'm butchering a deer I like the boning knife to be 15 degrees. For regular chopping/cutting most my other knives I keep at 20. Even sharpens my utility knife to 25 degrees.

 

Back to the OP. Lotta good knives out there. Find a set that fit in your hand and can be resharpened easily. 

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Thanks for the replies. So the harder the steel the sharper and more retention of that sharpness? But also means more prone to chipping. With cutting boards there are many out there. Glass, Plastic, bamboo, wood. Wood being the best? I too have the Ken Onion. I don't know If I have the one that does the smaller degree. I think there are a few different models. Derhusker thanks for the detailed response. You pointed out many things that I was not thinking about.  

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Cutting boards are kind of a preference thing. Personally I hate glass, it has the nail to chalkboard feel to me. For everyday use, I typically do plastic. Easy to use/clean and disposable after a few years. But I also have a nice wood board I use on occasion. In my opinion wood is the best, but plastic can be convenient. 

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As @DerHusker mentioned in his post, I also have a set of Henckel knives purchases over 25 years ago (Henckel Pro I think...don't remember the exact type at the moment) which are heavily used and other than some slight wear on the edge from numerous sharpenings over the years,  are still in amazing condition.  They will outlive me for sure.   I've easily spent over $1000 on them.

 

I too have a Ken Onion and picked up extra belts for it and love it.

 

The one thing I will say though, is that if I was starting over, my recommendation would be to me - DO NOT SPEND MORE THAN $5 ON A KNIFE!

 

Why.....?  In my case, I purchased a small RV/trailer last year and wanted 3-4 knives to throw in it.  I happened to be in the thrift shop down the road and they had HUNDREDS of knives hanging there.  I picked up a few at about $2 -$3 each, threw them on the Ken Onion for a bit, and they take an edge are every bit as sharp as my $200 knives.

 

Now, will they hold an edge as long...probably not.  Are they as "beautiful" as a piece of Japanese steel - NOPE!  But I've been experimenting on one with daily use and came to the conclusion that unless you a "pro" level chef chopping non-stop for hours daily, the end result is not much different on the board.

 

So take careful inventory of your end goals....if you want a "showcase" set of knives (that are functional too) and invoke knife envy, then go spend the $$ and love them for years to come, but if you really think spending $500 on knives is going to make chopping the daily, onion, garlic etc. much different...nope (IMO).

 

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I would focus less on brand on more on getting the best steel and grind.  Handmade Japanese knives with superior steel can be had for much less money that Dalstrong.  And don't buy a set of anything.  Start with a Gyuto and then add what you need.  Here is an example of Hitachi White steel which is easy to sharpen and takes the finest edge.  I would rather have one great White Steel Gyuto than 10 Aus 10 or VG10 knives.  https://www.chefknivestogo.com/yawh1gy24.html

 

And don't even think about a pull through sharpener.  A single 1000 grit stone can serve most of your needs.  You can add a finer stone later as your skills increase.

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On 1/10/2020 at 3:22 PM, deck said:

Also bevel 8/12, 14/16 13/15. I understand 8/12 is the angle to strive for when sharpening.

 

I think the following came from the Work Sharp web site.  It's about right.

 

252029346_KnifeGrindAngles.thumb.png.5037c219997b3f8bbd07df57c4a0f5f6.png

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11 hours ago, deck said:

Thanks for the replies. So the harder the steel the sharper and more retention of that sharpness? But also means more prone to chipping. With cutting boards there are many out there. Glass, Plastic, bamboo, wood. Wood being the best? I too have the Ken Onion. I don't know If I have the one that does the smaller degree. I think there are a few different models. Derhusker thanks for the detailed response. You pointed out many things that I was not thinking about.  

Yes the harder the steel the sharper the edge and the longer it will hold that edge.

 

I ended up buying a nice teak end-grain cutting board from Teakhaus and really like it. (see link below) I've used it many many times and it hardly looks used at all. (Just need to re-oil it every 6 months or so)

49265726873_9c816ae369_c.jpg

https://www.amazon.com/Teak-Cutting-Board-Rectangle-Teakhaus/dp/B001DGCPRG/ref=sr_1_35?crid=39JKE12YONXEU&keywords=teak+cutting+board&qid=1578970103&sprefix=teak+cu%2Caps%2C230&sr=8-35 

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14 hours ago, DerHusker said:

I ended up buying a nice teak end-grain cutting board from Teakhaus and really like it. (see link below) I've used it many many times and it hardly looks used at all. (Just need to re-oil it every 6 months or so)

 

1.  What kind of oil are you using?

2.  How do you clean it?

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1 hour ago, pmillen said:

 

1.  What kind of oil are you using?

2.  How do you clean it?

1. Food grade mineral oil. It's cheap and a little goes a long way. I just re-oiled it a month ago and used approximately 2 tablespoons. Just spread this out over the entire cutting surface to a thin coating. Once done, just let it sit on the counter overnight to let it absorb into the wood. In the morning wipe any excess off with a cloth. (or paper towels)

 

2. I mostly clean as I go but when I'm done I take it to the sink and spray it off with warm water and then wipe it clean with a cloth. (Note: I do not cut meat on it. (Although you can if you want to) For meat I use a poly board that I can scrub with a soapy sponge and hot water.)

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18 minutes ago, DerHusker said:

(Note: I do not cut meat on it. (Although you can if you want to) For meat I use a poly board that I can scrub with a soapy sponge and hot water.)

 

That's what I was wondering about.  So, I suppose soap would wash the oil away from the teak?

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Der Husker had a great answer that touched on everything that came to my mind and more.  8" chef's knife for the single knife win.  I have a $50 J.A. Henckels 8" chef's knife from Sur La Table and I love it.  I had some ceramic knives before that (still do, but they're collecting dust 24/7 now) that I thought were cool until I learned about how the shape of a kitchen knife works and why a chef's knife is both the size and shape it is. And they weren't the right shape.  I went with a stamped flat blade so that I didn't have the bolster at the back of blade.  This allows me to cut all the way down the length of the blade and through the food.  It also makes sharpening much easier.

 

As far as hardness numbers, I'm not a metallurgist, but my understanding is that higher numbers= better edge retention at the cost of higher chances of chipping.  Softer metal needs to be honed more frequently, but won't chip as often or as bad- if at all. 

 

Just for clarity-

Sharpening=grinding a new edge on a blade and resetting the geometry of the blade.

Honing=pulling the edge wire of the blade back into alignment so that the true apex of the blade is doing the work.

 

Nobody has mentioned a honing steel.  Do you have one and if so, are you familiar with how it works?  The sharpest knife in the world is still duller than it needs to be if it isn't honed properly.  Most of the time, a knife simply needs to be honed and not sharpened.  I believe I recall Gordon Ramsey saying that a professional chef in his restaurant hones every 2-3 hours of cutting time vs like once a month for sharpening.  Basically a pro hones at the start of cooking, after breaks and lunch, and again at the end of shift.  They might sharpen once a pay period.  The guidelines for home cooks are fractions of this- honing every 10-20 hours and sharpening every year or two.

 

I saw some talk of Japanese knives and a nakiri.  My understanding is that a true Japanese blade is either right or left handed.  They don't cut straight down.  They tend to drift because they are sharpened from one side, whereas a Western-style knife is sharpened from both sides so that it cuts straight.  I didn't know this until I started shopping and decided that Western-style was what I wanted.

 

One more tidbit that came to mind is that really good knives may not come with an edge.  Some people drop hundreds of dollars on a set only to say they suck and that they don't cut no matter how many times they've been run through a sharpener.  Some of the best knives are supposed to be taken to a pro knife sharpener for the initial edge to set the correct geometry.  Bad geometry= either dull no matter what or too fine of an edge for the metal type= no cutting or short life due to chipping or cracking.

 

I agree with the comment about avoiding pull-through sharpeners.  They are hit and miss.  Mostly miss.  And the ones that have two slots for sharpening and honing usually suck at honing.  I use a pull-through for sharpening only.  Get a honing steel if you don't have one already.  It takes about 10-20 seconds to keep a good edge on the knife every time you use it.  I was able to use a pull-through to turn a $10 cheapo Henckels International paring knife set into razors just by honing after.  One of these days I will switch to whetstones.

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17 hours ago, DerHusker said:

Yes the harder the steel the sharper the edge and the longer it will hold that edge.

 

I ended up buying a nice teak end-grain cutting board from Teakhaus and really like it. (see link below) I've used it many many times and it hardly looks used at all. (Just need to re-oil it every 6 months or so)

49265726873_9c816ae369_c.jpg

https://www.amazon.com/Teak-Cutting-Board-Rectangle-Teakhaus/dp/B001DGCPRG/ref=sr_1_35?crid=39JKE12YONXEU&keywords=teak+cutting+board&qid=1578970103&sprefix=teak+cu%2Caps%2C230&sr=8-35 

 

Teak is naturally  a silica dense wood, and teak is well known for being hard on steel blades.  It easily dulls planer blades and the like,  have you noticed it dulling your knives any faster?  But it is hard and naturally oily/water resistant so I could see the tradeoffs might be worth it.

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