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Thread: Japanese kitchen knives - who owns them?

  1. #1
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    Japanese kitchen knives - who owns them?

    My current knives never stay sharp. I'm thinking of upgrading them at some point but there's so much choice. Does anyone own japanese kitchen knives? I hear they are the best!

  2. #2
    Grand Master magirus's Avatar
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    Japanese kitchen knives - who owns them?

    Knives don't stay sharp, you need to keep them sharp. There's lots of info on Youtube on this, and even if you spend a lot on knives you still need sharpening skills. I'd see what you can do with your current knives before spending on new ones. I use a couple of cheapies the wife got with some vouchers at Tesco a few years ago. They take a good edge, which I keep with regular use of a steel and an oilstone.

    Last edited by magirus; 3rd November 2018 at 08:33.

  3. #3
    Hmmm it does seem there's whole generations of people who think you buy a knife once and it stays sharp forever.

    Strange. Try this https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Moli...780160255.html

  4. #4
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    I'm well aware of knife sharpening! My blades lose their edge after a few days use! And I have to resharpen.

  5. #5
    Grand Master TheFlyingBanana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ironmonk3y View Post
    I'm well aware of knife sharpening! My blades lose their edge after a few days use! And I have to resharpen.
    What on earth are you cutting? Concrete?
    So clever my foot fell off.

  6. #6
    Master Wolfie's Avatar
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    I have some Global knives…. They’re the nuts…. Clean and sharp

    Don’t bother getting a big collection

    One large cooks knife a smaller pairing knife and carving knife are all you’ll ever need realistically

    Get any old bread knife (I wouldn’t spend money on one)

  7. #7
    Master blackal's Avatar
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    I have a set of US-made Chicago Cutlery knives, but other than that - I just buy individual knives (not too expensive) according to function.

    I dont care that the handles don’t match in the knife-blocks...... In fact - it makes it easier to identify the knife I want.

    Won’t buy Sabatier - the handles just don’t work for me.

    Steel them occasionally, and every year - run the Lansky kit across them.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolfie View Post
    I have some Global knives…. They’re the nuts…. Clean and sharp

    Don’t bother getting a big collection

    One large cooks knife a smaller pairing knife and carving knife are all you’ll ever need realistically

    Get any old bread knife (I wouldn’t spend money on one)
    I bought my daughter this set of Global knives last week for her birthday. She says they’re good - I might get a set for myself.



  9. #9
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    I use a Kai shun premiere all day at work. I've not had to (properly) sharpen it in 9 months. A couple of strokes on a cheap steel every week and it's good to go.

  10. #10
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    2 Kai Shun & 2 Global fill our knife block. For 95% of uses I only ever reach for one of the Kai knives. They’re all well cared for, washed by hand, wooden handles oiled etc and seem to keep their sharpness remarkably well.

  11. #11
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    I keep our knives sharp using the bottom edge of a stoneware mug. Works well.😊.

  12. #12
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    Another vote for Global, however the UK Robert Welch signature range is equally lovely to use and a fair bit cheaper.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by M4tt View Post
    Another vote for Global, however the UK Robert Welch signature range is equally lovely to use and a fair bit cheaper.
    Agreed. Very good for the price, but while something like a kai or yaxellT might not be worth the asking price, as you're paying a good bit for brand name, once used, they make the likes of a RW feel like a bit of a chore to use.

  14. #14
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    Being a keen home cook, I have very often recommended Victorinox (Fibrox handles for practicality, or rosewood if you want to look a bit fancier). I buy them as presents often too. They come razor sharp, are well balanced and just need honing on a steel every couple of weeks. Oh and they are much cheaper than the flashy brands:

    https://www.nisbets.co.uk/kitchenwar...knives/_/a33-4

    Get a decent size “chef’s knife”, a couple of small paring knives and maybe a smaller chef’s knife or santoku / serrated if you prefer. Then a filleting or boning knife if you use them enough to justify. And a steel.

    Plenty of real kitchens use them and nothing else. Just watch your fingers :-)

  15. #15
    Grand Master oldoakknives's Avatar
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    I agree with previous posts regarding keeping knives sharp. Although some steels by their nature will hold an edge longer, it normally means they are harder to sharpen. Just a question of balance.

    Why buy Japanese? If you want to spend money on an expensive set of kitchen knives why not consider some of the Sheffield craftsmen, Stuart Mitchell for example? https://www.stuartmitchellknives.com/workgallery/

  16. #16
    My favourite knife when cooking is a big, heavy Sabatier cleaver. I even use it when I should be using smaller, more delicate knives. ( Don't use it as a cheese knife, however. :) ) I have all sorts of shapening stones (e.g., Ice Bear water stones), but I generally just give it a few swipes with a big Eze Lap (set in wood) every now and then.

    Best wishes,
    Bob

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by oldoakknives View Post
    I agree with previous posts regarding keeping knives sharp. Although some steels by their nature will hold an edge longer, it normally means they are harder to sharpen. Just a question of balance.

    Why buy Japanese? If you want to spend money on an expensive set of kitchen knives why not consider some of the Sheffield craftsmen, Stuart Mitchell for example? https://www.stuartmitchellknives.com/workgallery/
    I have a full set of SM's , Great knives from a great old school Sheffield maker. Not relying on cool advertising and linking themselves to samurai warriors etc.

  18. #18
    I have 2 sets on the counter top...
    old set of Henckels 4* knives that are very good and I use as general purpose kitchen knives
    I have a set of Yaxell Ran damascus knives too, which I expected to be a bit of a chore to keep sharp- they're not, and they are razor sharp and a joy to use. These were from steamer trading on a half price deal,iirc nice to have when you're enjoying a bit of cookery/food prep.
    I've tried a friends globals and just can't get on with the handle design personally but I do like the idea of the hygiene with them though...

  19. #19
    Craftsman Franco's Avatar
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    I have a few Global knives that I have used for the last 6-7 years. For my use, been good with a minosharp sharpening every month or so, and a small pad to get rid of tiny surface rust. Strongly advice the filleting knife and the tomato serrated. I think they will last forever.

  20. #20
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    We have a few Global knives in the kitchen drawer. They do need regular sharpening even when used carefully. The best for sharpness is the scalloped veg. knife. I'm looking for a fish filleting knife (those tried so far (not Global) have not been any good) can anybody recommend one? Thanks

  21. #21
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    I’ve had Kai Shun for over 10 years. Just need a quick sharpen every six months

  22. #22
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    Thanks for the responses everyone! No, I'm not cutting concrete, generally meat and fruit! It's a set of David Mellor; the paring knife doesn't ever keep it's edge. I'm thinking of just getting rid of the set and replacing with 3 good ones. Global and Kai sound popular with most in this thread!

  23. #23
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    A few things to bear in mind, I have a whole load of different knives including most of the ones mentioned above.
    Global stiff knives are very brittle, if you drop them on a stone floor, you stand a chance of cracking them across the handle. I have done it twice.
    Global flexible knives are a totally different steel and not wothwhile at all, no ability ot hold an edge at all. Do not buy them
    Kai make very good knives.
    A regular tickle is much more effective at keeping an edge than a major sharpen. Get a good (but gentle, not too rough) iron.
    The new TK Maxx store, Homesense, stocks some lovely knives, if you are careful. I have bought some Kai Sekimagoroku knives there for very little (£10-20) and they are very good knives.
    Be aware of what is a brand, and what is a generic term. Things like Sabatier and Laguiole are totally unprotected names, and these names can be found on some total tosh
    Dave

  24. #24
    Don't just look at 'Japanese knives' - it really means very little indeed when you think about it. It's like thinking 'Swiss watches' are the best. Well, sure, some of the manufacturers there are top notch, but not all. The same applies to knives made in Japan - you have big cutlery houses and some of the finest bladesmiths in the world making superb stuff, but you also have el cheapo knives 'made' there that are utter junk.

    Buy the maker not the country it's made in.

  25. #25
    Another shout for Robert Welch. I have had mine coming up 3 years and still as good as the day I got them. I run them through the Robert Welch pull through sharpener before every use.

    I got a large Santoku, a paring knife and a bread knife. These do everything I need and I would recommend a decent bread knife.

    Cheers

    Ross

  26. #26
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    Got a few Globals and I must say I was surprised how quickly the blades dulled... but I bought the handheld quick sharpener thing (two wheels, slide blades between them a few times) and boy it brings them right back to life again.... used the main knife this evening after sharpening and it is like a razor!!

  27. #27
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    When i set up my house in the early nineties my wife and i had little money so we bought some Sabatier kitchen knives from Boots. We still use them and they take a razor edge to this day with an oilstone, or wetstones if i have a bit more time.

    A friend has a super dooper Japanese knife, looks really nice and takes a razor edge too. Waste of money really when it comes down to it. You can either sharpen a knife or you can not. Knife snobs buy expensive Japenese knives that take en edge just as keen as mine and they pay a fortune for them.

    Mmmmm i wonder what hobby is also like that?

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carl.1 View Post
    When i set up my house in the early nineties my wife and i had little money so we bought some Sabatier kitchen knives from Boots. We still use them and they take a razor edge to this day with an oilstone, or wetstones if i have a bit more time.

    A friend has a super dooper Japanese knife, looks really nice and takes a razor edge too. Waste of money really when it comes down to it. You can either sharpen a knife or you can not. Knife snobs buy expensive Japenese knives that take en edge just as keen as mine and they pay a fortune for them.

    Mmmmm i wonder what hobby is also like that?
    In terms of sharpness, it can certainly come down to snobbery. But at the same time, like the hobby you allude to, there is a lot more to it than a single function. I used my Robert Welsh knives in a kitchen for years, and always though them supremely comfortable. Since getting my kai though, at 4x the price, it's redefined comfort though. Like you might feel going from a typical functional bracelet, to say one with a good quick adjustment clasp. But again, like that other hobby, knives are certainly a case of diminishing returns. To you it might be a waste of money, but to me it has proven to be one of the best purchases I've ever made.

    Brands like kai, global, and so on, they're a bit like rolex though, they're "expensive" but anything but high end.

  29. #29
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    I use an Esee izula 2 for everything in the kitchen , apart from bread which i buy sliced anyway.

  30. #30
    Master Pitch3110's Avatar
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    Global but the pick for me is a couple of Flint and Flame santoku', the weight and balance is a joy.

    Edge wise, they are unbelievable, hold very very well and they are pretty good at taking the end off fingers as well.


  31. #31
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    I have global and I find them excellent; however there are a couple of things to consider:
    They’re very lightweight (I like this, but my friend went with Wustof, as he preferred the heavier weight).
    They’re very sharp due alloy used and the steep angle of the blade. They will require more regular sharpening than a hardened steel knife (but will sharpen easily). You will need a global specific sharpening tool, or a whetstone; to maintain the sharpness.

  32. #32
    Craftsman Ticker's Avatar
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    I have a varied collection. I also have a global knife which I've owned for nearly 20 years and it's only required 1 whetstone in this time.

  33. #33
    I have had a masamoto vg10 240mm with Western handle from Japanesechefsknives.com. I've been using it for about 7 years now.

    Today I'd probably opt for knife in aeb-l or 13c26 stainless for a fine yet easily sharpened edge.

  34. #34
    Craftsman bomberman's Avatar
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    I have a few Globals and have had then for over 16 years. We have managed to snap one as a result of someone trying to separate a two frozen chicken breasts!!!!!!!!

    I wouldn’t hesitate to buy them again.

    Depending on what mood I’m in, I will sharpen them using a three stage approach on a waterwheel and two grades on a oilstone, or just a quick slide up and down an sharpening iron.

    B

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by bomberman View Post
    I have a few Globals and have had then for over 16 years. We have managed to snap one as a result of someone trying to separate a two frozen chicken breasts!!!!!!!!

    I wouldn’t hesitate to buy them again.

    Depending on what mood I’m in, I will sharpen them using a three stage approach on a waterwheel and two grades on a oilstone, or just a quick slide up and down an sharpening iron.

    B
    I’ve got a hardened steel stellar for this type of job! It was fairly cheap; but it’s great for hacking at frozen things.

  36. #36
    Craftsman bomberman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guido-K View Post
    I’ve got a hardened steel stellar for this type of job! It was fairly cheap; but it’s great for hacking at frozen things.
    She now know’s not to use a Global for this type of chore.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by bomberman View Post
    I have a few Globals and have had then for over 16 years. We have managed to snap one as a result of someone trying to separate a two frozen chicken breasts!!!!!!!!

    I wouldn’t hesitate to buy them again.

    Depending on what mood I’m in, I will sharpen them using a three stage approach on a waterwheel and two grades on a oilstone, or just a quick slide up and down an sharpening iron.

    B
    I snapped a Henckels knife doing a similar thing, sent it back with a letter mentioning "could of lost an eye" and a new one arrived in the post

    Sent from my CLT-L29 using Tapatalk

  38. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by J3w3ll3r View Post
    I snapped a Henckels knife doing a similar thing, sent it back with a letter mentioning "could of lost an eye" and a new one arrived in the post

    Sent from my CLT-L29 using Tapatalk
    Kind of them to give you a second chance at that eye.

    Best wishes,
    Bob

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pitch3110 View Post
    Global but the pick for me is a couple of Flint and Flame santoku', the weight and balance is a joy.

    Edge wise, they are unbelievable, hold very very well and they are pretty good at taking the end off fingers as well.
    I have a pair of Flint and Flame Santoku knives and agree that weight and balance is exceptional. Exceedingly sharp too, so much so that Lynn refuses to use them.

    Nasty mess of your finger there! Cuts are more normally associated with blunt knives, not sharp ones.

    I've also got a pair of Tramontina chef's knives we've had for around 20 years that hold an edge very well too. Not as well balanced as the F&F's but used for different purposes.
    Best Regards - Peter
    Please Note: It is possible that Griswold may know nothing whatsoever about horology. It's even possible that he has never even owned a watch. It is also highly possible the he has a strange imagination. His wife insists he would be far better off paying more attention to taking his medication on time.

  40. #40
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    I did a Cordon Bleu course many years ago. They issued us with a set of basic Victorinox knives which are still going strong in my kitchen.

    During the course the mantra we were taught, and it still rings in my head today when reading threads like this ..

    “How often do you sharpen your knife?”

    “Every time you use it”.

  41. #41
    Your knives won't stay sharp! That's a good one.

    Buy a cheap knife from Asda/Tesco/Sainsburys etc that you like the look of, five pounds should do it.

    Buy whatever you fancy to sharpen it, ceramic, whetstone, whatever.

    Practise on the cheap one every time you use it. Learn how to sharpen, learn that it works and that whatever you do, you don't really damage or hurt the knife.

    Once you've learnt how to sharpen your knife and have built up confidence in sharpening, go and buy your expensive knife.

    Admire your expensive knife while you use your cheaper one because it's sharper, you're more comfortable with it, and it doesn't matter if you dull it because you can always sharpen it again.

    Finally, sell the expensive knife because you never use it and there's nothing wrong with the cheaper one.

  42. #42
    Craftsman ray_li30's Avatar
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    Slightly off topic but has anyone used ZWILLING J.A HENCKELS knives? Any options vs global knives?

  43. #43
    Master amnesia's Avatar
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    Japanese kitchen knives - who owns them?

    People in Japan


    I have a ~£5 chef's knife from Sainsbury's which holds a very sharp edge and is more than adequate for day to day use. The kids would trash anything nicer.

    I do see the appeal of beautifully-made knives, though... which is why I spent an obscene amount on a hand-forged kamisori razor made by a Japanese Samurai Master a few years ago. I am sure that it would be great for slicing tomatoes... it was certainly good at slicing bits of my face when I was learning to use it !

  44. #44
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    For anyone not wanting to sharpen knives themselves I would recommend this place

    https://www.sharpening-service.co.uk

    As a plus point they’ve recently moved into the Farrington Gurney farm shop complex so if you drop the knives in and wait it’s a good excuse for a spot of nice lunch.

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by hafle View Post
    Agreed. Very good for the price, but while something like a kai or yaxellT might not be worth the asking price, as you're paying a good bit for brand name, once used, they make the likes of a RW feel like a bit of a chore to use.
    I guess I don't know enough about knives to be tainted by brands. It seems that many members have good things to say about global so I am leaning more towards these! Maybe a black Friday or Christmas present for myself!

  46. #46
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    i met the guy who sells I.O Shen knives a while ago. I know nothing about them other than he thinks they are the best! Anyway, some interesting info on his website:

    http://ioshen.co.uk/

    I also found the articles on chefslocker helpful

  47. #47
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    I’ve got a set of Global knives and accompanying potato peeler, I really like them but can’t say I’ve tried anything of similar quality to compare. Caught myself on the spud peeler a couple of times though!

  48. #48
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    Rick Stein has a Japanese Mandolin! "every chef has cut themselves on these once, and only once, you never do it again"

    Had to laugh when he did

  49. #49
    Craftsman Franco's Avatar
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    Must confess I am a wimp. For the mandolin, the potato peeler and the zester/grater, always use one of these:
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Franco; 5th November 2018 at 19:54.

  50. #50
    Master KavKav's Avatar
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    I have a Sekiryu lovingly layered from VG-10 which is frighteningly sharp and I mean frighteningly, you only have to blink at the blasted thing and it will cut you cleaner than any surgeons scalpel. It lives in a thick moulded sheath and dwells there until the rare occasion that I allow it out. Did I mention that it was bloody sharp?

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