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Old 12-21-2007, 10:03 AM   #11
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I say... if he hasn't had a good quality knife he will like whatever you get him. He is not going to be too picky if he doesn't have anything similar to compare it against.
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Old 12-22-2007, 09:55 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hawkeye16 View Post
I say... if he hasn't had a good quality knife he will like whatever you get him. He is not going to be too picky if he doesn't have anything similar to compare it against.
I agree in principle to what you're saying, but grip and balance are such subjective things.

I say buy him a cheap, horrible knife as a gag and include a homemade coupon for one real knife.
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Old 12-24-2007, 12:36 AM   #13
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It depends on your budget, but no matter what you spend there's a little bit of risk. Buying someone a knife is almost like buying them a pair of shoes without having him try them on first. You could buy him a $1,500 Hattori KD but if he doesn't like the feel in his hand it will spend all it's time in the block.

That said, the starting point is selecting a good quality knife. A knife that feels & handles great still won't be useful if it doesn't cut well or hold an edge. I really love my Henckels 7" granton-edged santuko. It fits my hand well and is extremely sharp. It's made of good steel that keeps an edge for a long time, even though I use it daily in a professional kitchen. It's light and has no bolster which improves balance a lot.

My favorite santuko, though, is my Shun Classic 7" granton-edge. It's scary sharp and very light & well balanced. I'm a big Shun fan in general, and for the money I've never used anything I like as much. Shuns hold an edge very well if you don't abuse them, but since they're ground to a very low angle you don't want to chop thru bones with them. And never use them on a glass cutting board! Beyond that just basic care will keep them sharp for a long time. The only caveat is that their D-shaped handles may not feel right for all users, and they make them specific right-handed and left-handed versions.

For under $35 I can't think of anything half as good as the Kershaw Kai Wasabi line. The Wasabi santuku is only $30 or so and sharp enough to shave with right out of the box. The blade is extraordinary for the price, but the handle feels a bit cheap (though I find it comfortable). You're gonna have to cut corners to keep the price that low. The only downsides I can think of is that the blade stains pretty easily if you're mincing herbs and they're not NSF approved. No big deal at home but I rarely take them to work for just that reason. It easily outcuts my Henckels one, at well under 1/2 the price.

Messermeister makes very good blades, too. Their santoku selection isn't vast, but the blades are keen and bolsterless. I have half a dozen Messermeisters of various designs and like them all.
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Old 12-24-2007, 09:25 AM   #14
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The only problem I see with the Wasabi Santoku is that the blade is only 6 1/2", too short for a lot of purposes. If you want a short vegetable knife get the Wasabi Nakiri. An odd thing, the Shun site advertises both of these knives as being single beveled like the Wasabi Debas and Yanagibas, but I believe they are both double beveled. The Nakiri is only $18.99 @ Amazon.

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Old 12-24-2007, 08:44 PM   #15
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Yeah, it must be a misprint. A single beveled nakiri would be an usuba. And a single bevel santoku would, um, be something else. They are fine knives, though. Personally, I think 6.5" is too large for many things I use a santoku for. I use a 5.5" and 7", each for different purposes. For most of the cooking I do a nakiri really isn't all that useful. I like it for dicing onions, but that's about it. Of course, I work in a steakhouse now- when I was working as a chef for a hotel I used a wider variety of blades.
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