Author Topic: Kitchen Knives  (Read 606 times)

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Offline Hoshi "Terry" Toranaga

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Kitchen Knives
« on: 27. November 2016, 15:09:59 »
Now I have been asked this several times and there seems to be like some sort of magic to kitchen knives especially Japanese ones.

Now there is one major difference between European and Japanese knives, both can be made excellent and get the job done.

European knives are sharpened using rolling sharpening stones which create (if the steel is very good, like from Solingen) a very shard cutting edge that has a micro thin ridge at the end, making it cutting so good. That is also why sharpening steel works, as you do not actually sharpen the knive, you make this ridge stand up again so it can cut. This is very durable, however if the ridge is broken you need a specialist to re-sharpen the blade. Also knives that are really good tend to be very expensive.

Japanese knives are usually hammer forged (except Chinese and Ikea copies) and sharpened on water sharpening stones. Their paper steel gets thinner and thinner towards the end making them extremely sharp. However as they get their sharpness from the paper steels thinness there is no ridge to stand up. So sharpening steel will destroy any Japanese knive!!! Never do it.
Japanese knives can be re-sharpened with a 1000 grain water sharpening stone and if you are a lover of really sharp ones you can go up to 2000 or 3000. I find 1000 sufficient and only use higher grade stones for my razor blades hehe

Now that being said both can be extremely sharp, I prefer the Japanese knives mostly due to the style you can use them and their excellent balance and forging.
However there is no magic behind a good Japanese knive. You do not need to spend hundreds of Euros for a good knive as some people like to make you believe.
It is similar to wine. I love a good red wine and I have tasted bottles that costed several hundred Euros. However the wines I love the most cost between 10 and 50 Euros per bottle and there are some pretty darn good ones below 10 Euros if you know where to look...

That is why I have become a fan of the Zakuri knives by Tosa Hocho. They are imported to Germany from a Japanese forgery. They are all hand forged and the name of the smith will be on your blade. However they all cost below or close to 100 Euro per knive.

This is the homepage:
http://tosa-hocho.de/zakuri

These are the knives I use:

My general workhorse knive:


Knive for cutting meat and very big cut fish (pre fileting):


Knive for vegetables:


Knive for fileting Fish and preparing Sushi and Sashimi:


If you have further questions, feel free :)
« Last Edit: 27. November 2016, 15:13:10 by Hoshi "Terry" Toranaga »
Hoshi "Terry" Toranaga

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Offline Algirium

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Re: Kitchen Knives
« Reply #1 on: 27. November 2016, 16:37:56 »
Interesting! And what are your thoughts on ceramic knives?

Offline Hoshi "Terry" Toranaga

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Re: Kitchen Knives
« Reply #2 on: 27. November 2016, 17:42:59 »
I hate ceramic knives honestly.
They are too brittle and when they break they leave a total mess. Yes they might be shard, but any of my knives is easily as sharp.

The only good ceramic thing I ever saw was a cucumber peeler, it does not have to be as sturdy as a cucumber or potato is relatively easy, but good if it is sharp and re-sharpening one is hell. So there it may make sense, but then I just buy a new one every 2 years for 5 bucks :P

Ceramic has its uses, but it is just a cheap way to get to a sharp knive and that knive poses danger in my opinion. Hence I prefer steel, made by hands from a smith that actually has worked on it. Ceramics are industrial made by machines and then packaged by poor kids in developing countries to make them cheap.
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Offline Ballerschlumpf

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Re: Kitchen Knives
« Reply #3 on: 03. January 2017, 19:14:08 »
Now I have been asked this several times and there seems to be like some sort of magic to kitchen knives especially Japanese ones.

Now there is one major difference between European and Japanese knives, both can be made excellent and get the job done.

European knives are sharpened using rolling sharpening stones which create (if the steel is very good, like from Solingen) a very shard cutting edge that has a micro thin ridge at the end, making it cutting so good. That is also why sharpening steel works, as you do not actually sharpen the knive, you make this ridge stand up again so it can cut. This is very durable, however if the ridge is broken you need a specialist to re-sharpen the blade. Also knives that are really good tend to be very expensive.

Japanese knives are usually hammer forged (except Chinese and Ikea copies) and sharpened on water sharpening stones. Their paper steel gets thinner and thinner towards the end making them extremely sharp. However as they get their sharpness from the paper steels thinness there is no ridge to stand up. So sharpening steel will destroy any Japanese knive!!! Never do it.
Japanese knives can be re-sharpened with a 1000 grain water sharpening stone and if you are a lover of really sharp ones you can go up to 2000 or 3000. I find 1000 sufficient and only use higher grade stones for my razor blades hehe

Now that being said both can be extremely sharp, I prefer the Japanese knives mostly due to the style you can use them and their excellent balance and forging.
However there is no magic behind a good Japanese knive. You do not need to spend hundreds of Euros for a good knive as some people like to make you believe.
It is similar to wine. I love a good red wine and I have tasted bottles that costed several hundred Euros. However the wines I love the most cost between 10 and 50 Euros per bottle and there are some pretty darn good ones below 10 Euros if you know where to look...

That is why I have become a fan of the Zakuri knives by Tosa Hocho. They are imported to Germany from a Japanese forgery. They are all hand forged and the name of the smith will be on your blade. However they all cost below or close to 100 Euro per knive.

This is the homepage:
http://tosa-hocho.de/zakuri

These are the knives I use:

My general workhorse knive:


Knive for cutting meat and very big cut fish (pre fileting):


Knive for vegetables:


Knive for fileting Fish and preparing Sushi and Sashimi:


If you have further questions, feel free :)
Great tips, thanks

The last time I got a good hint like this about knifes was a chapter in Anthony Bourdains "kitchen confidential".
Which proves your point that there is a lot of discussion going on about knifes.
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Re: Kitchen Knives
« Reply #4 on: 04. January 2017, 07:53:15 »
Hm, I've never been into knives before. All I know is that I bought a sort of good knive five years ago and it has been worth its 20€. Damaszener-Stahl? It is still very sharp and I take it for nearly all of my tasks. How much are those knives, Terry?
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Offline Hoshi "Terry" Toranaga

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Re: Kitchen Knives
« Reply #5 on: 04. January 2017, 14:13:07 »
Depending on size they are between 20 to 70 Euros per Knive, which I consider cheap for handmade stuff.

Also please not that there are only 2 factories in the world and 6 handsmiths that can make true damascus steel. The bad thing is that you can call any steel what you want and the damascus steel (even sold by big name companies like Boker) is in 99% of the stuff only other steel that has been acid etched to look like damascus. That does not mean that this steel may be bad (like the Boker are actually very good) but the term damascus is misleading.

In fact in Europe I have only seen one smith that could verified by myself (I was present at smithing my razor) make true damascus by himself and that is Mastro Livi in Perugia Italy. Sadly he is nearly 80 and I hope he can do it a little longer...
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Offline Nanashi "Solothkar" no Gonbei

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    Re: Kitchen Knives
    « Reply #6 on: 04. January 2017, 23:40:13 »
    Depending on size they are between 20 to 70 Euros per Knive, which I consider cheap for handmade stuff.

    Also please not that there are only 2 factories in the world and 6 handsmiths that can make true damascus steel. The bad thing is that you can call any steel what you want and the damascus steel (even sold by big name companies like Boker) is in 99% of the stuff only other steel that has been acid etched to look like damascus. That does not mean that this steel may be bad (like the Boker are actually very good) but the term damascus is misleading.

    In fact in Europe I have only seen one smith that could verified by myself (I was present at smithing my razor) make true damascus by himself and that is Mastro Livi in Perugia Italy. Sadly he is nearly 80 and I hope he can do it a little longer...

    What do you consider "damascus" steel?

    Greetz, Solo
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    Offline Hoshi "Terry" Toranaga

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    Re: Kitchen Knives
    « Reply #7 on: 04. January 2017, 23:51:58 »
    Real damascus steel is made in 2 variants:

    Variant 1 is made from 2 different steels of one actually can be carbon steel and the other is slightly different steel sheets. This can or cannot be (both or one) also be non rusting (INOX) or rusting steel.
    Those steel sheets are then placed together in single sheets no thicker than 3-5mm like this ||||||
    They are then hammer forged together.
    Optional steps include folding of the hammer forged steel sheets (Zebra pattern damascus) or drilling of the sheets (swirl pattern damascus).
    Now how exactly the hammer forging process is going and how many times it is folded and drilled and also how much borax is used and which oil is used for tempering is usually the smiths secret.

    The second variant is even more rare and is called San Mai damascus. It introduces Nickel sheets between the steel sheets.

    In the following video you can see Mastro Livi make a San Mai damascus straight razor.



    Hoshi "Terry" Toranaga

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    Offline Algirium

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    Re: Kitchen Knives
    « Reply #8 on: 05. January 2017, 21:49:11 »
    Oh my god, the video is amazing!

    Offline Hoshi "Terry" Toranaga

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    Re: Kitchen Knives
    « Reply #9 on: 05. January 2017, 22:30:08 »
    Indeed I knew I had to have such a razor when I saw the video and how you go from a pile of metal sheets to a razor ...
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    Offline Nanashi "Solothkar" no Gonbei

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      Re: Kitchen Knives
      « Reply #10 on: 06. January 2017, 18:58:55 »
      Oh my god, the video is amazing!

      Look at the tv-series "Forged in Fire".

      Cool blacksmith show.
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