Gosh, this is a great forum! I got here after reading the New Yorker article about Bob Kramer* and then, by chance, meeting a writer from Cook's Illustrated who recommended the site.
I'm not much of a cook (typical bachelor), but I love sharp knives! I've been salivating over many of the knives mentioned in these forums but am going to (try to) be restrained in what I buy. After all, unless I suddenly change my cooking habits thanks to new, sharp knives, my purchases will only be used for cutting fruits and carrots. On occasion, I plan to bring the knives to friends' houses when we cook together. (I'm a great prep cook, lousy chef...). So, those are my current plans, at least.
Here are my questions:
- I'm looking at a Shun Classic 6" utility knife ($75) vs. a Global 4 1/4" utility knife ($46). Any comments on one vs the other? (The differences in length are not an issue for me.)
- Does it matter which sharpening steel I buy? They are not cheap! I've seen comments elsewhere in the forum that one doesn't even need a steel, one can just use a pot lid or ceramic plate.
Read on, if you want more details:
It's been a long, exciting journey of discovery for me, these past few weeks. At the start, I didn't even know what a sharpening steel was for, so I had a lot to learn. I've read a lot and have been weighing the pros and cons of carbon vs stainless and am ultimately probably going to own both. I've looked at--and lusted after--various knives recommended here: Tojiro, Masamoto, Suisin, Misono, etc., but the pricing was either prohibitive or similar to Shun/Global and they were not available locally for sharpness testing. (I found the thread discussing cheap carbon knives particularly helpful for what will probably be my next purchase. I'm also thinking about ultimately investing in some good sharpening stones and using them not only for my knives but for those of friends and acquaintances as well.)
The reason I've opted for the Global/Shun first purchase is sharpness and price. Obviously, the Global is a lot cheaper than the Shun, so that is my preference, but I wanted to post here just in case there was there was something I was not aware of. I've tested both knives in stores and found them to be about the same in terms of sharpness.**
Regarding a sharpening steel, I don't really "get it" yet. I've seen posts saying that a pot lid or ceramic would do just as well as a steel. So why should I pay, say, $50 for a Shun steel instead of, say, $35 for a Henckel?
Thanks to all who can give an informed, thoughtful response to my questions. As I said, this forum is just great and I look forward to learning more from it.
*Key moment #1: When I came across the New Yorker article and thought, "Holy cr@p, this article is exactly what I've been curious about for years!"
**I tested them by shaving hair off my forearm and cutting cleanly through a wad of newspaper 56 sheets thick (28 pages folded over, cutting through the fold). For knives costing up to $75, only the Shun and Global were capable of passing these tests, in the two stores I visited. Key moment #2: When I walked into that 1st store and tested the Shun knife on my arm and it was literally as sharp as a razor. I thought, "This is incredible, the article was right! I had no idea knives could be this sharp!" (Needless to say, the salesman was not pleased to see me shaving my forearm with his demo knife. I was more discreet in the 2nd store...)