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Old 05-27-2010, 06:42 AM   #11
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Very good summary, JP. Spot on.
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Old 05-27-2010, 09:09 AM   #12
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[QUOTE=Rob Babcock;898618]One thing I'd suggest if you go with a Euro carbon is to find a brand that doesn't have a bolster. That's the super thick part that runs from the heel of the blade up to the choil. A full bolster will make it impossible to sharpen the edge all the way to the heel. Eventually you'll get a little hollow spot just in front of the bolster where the edge won't touch the cutting board anymore. Very annoying. Skillful sharpening, taking off just the minimal amount, will prolong the inevitable but if you don't reduce the bolster you'll get that spot eventually. At least if you sharpen on stones.

Wow, great timing. A friend yesterday brought this to my attention and I logged onto the site today to ask about it. Thank you Rob for your foresight. I notice that the Japanese knives don't use a full bolster (maybe some do, I'm just observing lately). When I held a few knives in my hand at the store I noticed the full bolster felt odd to me. But I couldn't pinpoint that that is what was different from the knives I've used. I'm new to the quality knife thing. I'm going back on Tuesday to try out a few knives. The help from this site is awesome. Now I have a lot more info to compare with when I actually start cutting with a few different knives.
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Old 05-27-2010, 09:21 AM   #13
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Some very good food for though JP. thank you. AARRRGGGGGHHHHHH!!!! I'm so torn.

So if I want a knife to own for 80 years, I should probably go Euro carbon steel. (which I'm drawn to because I love all things French and all thing of old technology and simplicity). I won't be unhappy at all with this way sharper than anything i've owned knife.

If I want performance and stay-sharpness (longer) and a bit less maintenance I should go with the Shun knife I fell for in the store. (It's so purrrty).
So, lambo, or volvo?
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Old 05-27-2010, 10:25 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jpaulg View Post
Shuns aren't made from Damascus Steel, they are made from VG-10 steel and then clad with Damascus steel, which as far as I can tell is mainly for cosmetic purposes. Still is excellent knife steel and is no way a criticism of the Shun, it's just the damascus steel is there to look pretty while the VG-10 steel does the hard work.

There's no such thing as knife steel that is good at everything. So by making a knife out of harder steel, the following benefits are gained.
- The knife can be thinner
- The knife will retain its edge for longer
But it comes with the following costs
- The knife is more brittle and more susceptible to chips, especially the tip.
- It takes longer and requires more effort to hone/sharpen the edge.

Comparing the a VG-10 J-Knife (eg Shun) to a Carbon Steel knife.
The CS knife will require more regular sharpening and much more maintenance. Both will take incredibly sharp edges, and the J-Knife will hold its edge for longer. The CS knife will be more resilient to drops and accidents.
I'm not sure that this is correct. Isn't Damascus steel the laminated blank, including both the exterior layers and the internal much harder steel? The VG10 steel takes and holds an edge very well, but is brittle. The softer exterior layers allow more give to the knife.
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Old 05-27-2010, 11:18 AM   #15
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I use steel for everything except for some vegetables. My mother got me a ceramic knife for Christmas and I use it for my salad chopping. I like the ceramic for this chore but, when it comes to dicing and quick chopping that most cooks need to do I always use the chef's knife that was a gift from a cooking teacher years ago. I keep it sharpened and oiled just like she taught me to.
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Old 05-28-2010, 02:19 AM   #16
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Agree with jpaulg on that matter. Maybe it just depends on how we maintain each of them.
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Old 05-29-2010, 04:13 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Hardly Core View Post

If I want performance and stay-sharpness (longer) and a bit less maintenance I should go with the Shun knife I fell for in the store. (It's so purrrty).
So, lambo, or volvo?
Think of it more as a comparison between an 2010 Mitsubishi Evo and a 1985 Peugot 205 Turbo 16.

Either way both will require significant amounts of maintenance to get the best out of them, when compared to a Wusthof or Henckels. Provided that you are prepared to put in the maintenance either the Sab or Shun can be excellent knives.

Find a good CS Sabatier and just pick it up side by side with a Shun and see which feels more comfortable in your hand. Leaving aside everything else this is something that will become part of your life for a long time, so go with the one that feels the best in your hand.
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Old 05-29-2010, 04:21 AM   #18
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The Shun will not remain as pretty as new because, over time, the soft stainless cladding will accumulate some scratches.
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Old 05-29-2010, 09:10 AM   #19
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I can't wait for tuesday to chop a few carrots in the store with a few different knives. they have a wonderful demonstration kitchen to try them out in! Thanks for the help everyone.
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Old 06-02-2010, 07:07 PM   #20
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So, I went to the kitchen store last night. I tried 7 knives out on some carrots. I chopped and chopped. I cut big chunks, I cut strips, I diced up some cubes and eventually, after having nothing but finely shredded and minced carrot in front of me, the Shun Classic 10" chef's knife won me over. The premier was second, but the hammered finish, as cool as it looks, wasn't practical. It seemed a bit slower against my guiding knuckle. I hated to go with the biggest knife out of the bunch, but it felt so comfortable. I can use any part or nearly all of the 10" blade. The coolest part was that it felt obvious. It was the knife for me.
When I got home I immediately started dinner. Some fresh cherry tomatoes, (although I hate out of season food) quartered, some minced up garlic, 3 cloves; and then finally while finely chopping the freshly picked basil from off my porch I took a a fair sized slice off my thumb. Didn't even feel it. It was so nice to bond with my new knife. And my favorite meal has never been so good.
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