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No Wave
Sep 18, 2005

Yogg-Saron fan #1


I am far from the most knowledgeable person when it comes to knives and sharpening, and that is why I made this thread! I see it as an opportunity for learning as much as anything.

Knives are probably the most fundamental tool in a kitchen and cooking with sharp knives rather than dull ones turns annoying recipes into really fun ones. It is also, paradoxically, safer, as when you are cutting with a super sharp knife you pretty much know exactly where it's going - where you're pointing it.

We'll divide this into sections.

A.) Very basic types of knives
(note: Gravity84 did an incredible write-up of Japanese knives and how they are different/how they relate to Western knives.)
B.) How to sharpen
C.) Questions



There are many, many different types of knives. For ease of consumption we can break it down into about eight different "types" that you'll commonly find and use in a home kitchen. I will be vastly oversimplifying and mixing different types of knives together, but I'm most interested in constructing a framework for understanding what different knife shapes are for.

For product recommendations, I will only be recommending items in low price and mid price tiers. For high price, there are probably specialty forums that you'll want to read up on because there are dozens of factors you'll probably want to consider that I don't trust myself to weigh (basically, I don't know enough).

A.) Very basic types of knives
The knives below are basically ranked in the order in which I would purchase them. Lots of the pictures are of Japanese knives a.) because they look cool and b.) because I recommend them. The metal is much harder than most of the German steel you get with Wusthof/Henckels, meaning you will have to sharpen them less. They are also generally lighter, which is nice! Obviously there are exceptions.

1.) Chef's Knife

This is the most basic and most commonly-used knife in most peoples' kitchen. It is usually made with a curved blade so that you can do a rocking back-and-forth motion on your cutting board. The Japanese Gyuto fills this role, though there is generally less of a curve to the blade so a different motion is required. It is recommended to get this knife in size 8" or larger - I prefer closer to 10". You can cut more and if you've set up your station nicely the extra size won't get in the way.

Low-price: Victorinox fibrox
Mid-price: Tojiro DP

2.) Paring knife

This is the other important knife to have. If you have a paring knife and a chef's knife, you can prepare pretty much anything. If you are starting out, I would strongly recommending buying a paring knife and a chef's knife and then adjusting your collection accordingly. You can be perfectly happy with a very cheap paring knife, though I do like the Victorinox models. I use this most often to peel onions and shallots, but you can also use them for any task where you don't want to use a chef's knife.

Low-price: Victorinox fibrox
Mid-price: ???

3.) Slicer

This knife is used to cut proteins, and can also be used to fillet fish. It is generally extremely long - the idea is to be able to cut through an entire protein in one stroke. This keeps the cut looking neat and even, and is one of the huge ways that chefs get to be dicks about other chefs' food.

Low-price: ???
Mid-price: Tojiro DP

4.) Deboner

This knife is used to take the bones out of your large proteins. For example, if you have some chicken thighs that you want to debone. The smaller size and sharp tip make it better for scraping the meat off of them bones.

Low-price: Victorinox fibrox

5a.) Santoku

I'm ranking this knife low because you can get by without it - however, it's one of the most commonly used knives in many peoples' kitchens. It's a knife with a flat blade that's specialized for "push-cutting" motions - so rather than rocking you knife on the cutting board like with a chef's knife, you push directly downwards. Popular for doing things like brunoise. Other types of knives can be used for push-cutting, however - the CCK cleaver is the most beloved knife on the forums (probably) and is used for this purpose.

Low-price: ???
Mid-price: Tojiro DP Santoku

5b.) Chinese Cleaver

This one looks really different but it fills the same basic role as the Santoku. You can get by with one or the other (though many people own both). I'd merge the two but that would have been confusing. Really this entry is here for me to recommend the CCK Small Cleaver to you, probably the most popular single knife on the forum. It is large and is great for cutting up crap and then moving it from the cutting board to your pots and pans.

God-tier: CCK Small Cleaver (it's $40)

6.) Meat cleaver

This is a very thick knife used for hacking through bones. You'll damage your other knives if you try to cut through very thick bones, so a thick knife with a larger angle at the tip is useful for this. Useful for doing things like breaking apart chicken carcasses for stock. The CCK cleaver is probably inappropriate for this purpose - you'll want something heavier and thicker.

Low-price: Not sure.

7.) Flexible fish filleting knife

In western kitchens, it's very common to fillet fish with a very flexible knife. Sometimes these knives look almost comically thin. It allows you to bend the knife to better travel along the bones of the fish and leave less meat on the carcass.

Low-price: Victorinox fibrox

8.) Serrated bread knife

You probably already own one of these, and it's probably good enough. You want it to be long so that you can cut more bread with each stroke, but the sharpness really doesn't matter. Definitely go cheap on this one. The idea is that the teeth make it easier to sink into and cut the bread.

If someone has any brands that they particularly like, let me know, but whatever's popular on Amazon is probably fine.

9.) Smooth honing rod

This is not a knife, but you will want it. When you have a sharp knife, the "edge" is a very thin piece of metal on the very edge of the knife that, depending on the hardness of the metal, can be easily deformed. Most honing rods you see are rough, as the manufacturers expect that the user won't actually ever sharpen their knifes. Thus, they expect the honing rod to be used as a sharpener. I strongly recommend against this - the edge won't be very good. A smooth honing rod that is harder than your knives will do what honing should do - align the blade - without scraping metal off of your knife. If your knives are especially hard, you will want to consider a ceramic honing rod instead.


This is a very basic overview. There are many, many, many other types of knives but I tried to boil it down for newbie users. I will obviously add or modify information as is necessary. I need some help on the recommended brands.



B.) Sharpening

This is a highly contentious issue and why knife threads threads often die. So please keep an open mind!

Sharpening is a hobby in its own right that people dedicate years to.

So what should you buy/do?

If you want to learn further about it, I strongly, strongly recommend reading this:
http://forums.egullet.org/topic/260...and-sharpening/

To simplify purchasing decisions, this was deimos' post in the product recommendation thread:

deimos posted:

How much do you want to spend?

Cheapest: (~$10)
Pros: Very Cheap, does a convex grind
Cons: does a convex grind
- Buy a cheap FLAT mousepad
- Apply high grit wet sanding sandpaper
- Watch a few videos on sharpening
- More info

Cheap: (~$30)
Pros: Cheap
Cons: Usually small stone so it's harder to do larger knives properly
- Get two cheap waterstones (one 200-400 one 600+ grit) (Norton makes decent ones)
- Watch a few videos on sharpening
- Explanation: Eventually, if you're doing it right, water stones will bow in the middle, the reason I told you to buy two stones instead of one two sider is that you can use one stone to level the other, like magic.

Also Cheap: (~$30)
Pros: Cheap
Cons: Usually small stone so it's harder to do larger knives properly
- Get two grits of cheap oilstones (one 200-400 one 1000+ grit), it can be the same stone with two sides. (Look for Norton)
- Watch a few videos on sharpening
- Explanation: Whenever they use water in the video you use Honing oil at a much reduced amount.

Mid-Range (~$70) (HC < 60 knives only, so no VG-10+ stainless, no carbon steel knives)
Pros: HUUUUGE stones so it's easy to get even results, DuoSharps last pretty much forever, DuoSharps don't bow like waterstones
Cons: DON'T DO THIS ON HARD KNIVES, if you apply too much pressure you will eat a shitload of metal off your knife
- Get a DMT DuoSharp Fine/Extra-Fine (link)
- Watch a few videos on sharpening
- Watch a video on how to sharpen specifically with it with it on youtube
- Bonus: if you ever need to reshape a knife just buy the coarse/extra coarse DuoSharp, it gobbles metal like a champ
- Bonus2: If you want to get an ever finer edge on poo poo (you don't really need to go beyond DMT extra fine) and you get a waterstone, DMTs can be used to level other waterstones perfectly every time
- Explanation: The reason you don't want to do it on really hard knives is that the knives have a tendency to gobble the diamond from the DMT plate and they embed on the edge, I mean I guess diamond coated edge on a knife could be a good thing (it isn't).

Higher end (~120)
Pros: Decent sized stones, fairly long lasting
Cons: Expensive, don't drop these
- Buy two Shapton Glass stones (220 or 320 and 1000 will give you a ridiculously sharp knife)
- Buy a stone holder (generic works, the Shapton one is neat and heavy but unnecessary)
- Watch a few videos on sharpening

This is a hobby and you wan to sharpen for everyone you know: (~$250)
Pros: EASY AS gently caress
Cons: You don't actually get to practice sharpening, this is easy mode
- Get an Edge Pro Set with either Shaptons or Choseras (you can also get a fake edge pro on ebay)
- Read the manual.
- Find videos online on how to use it.

This is your hobby and you sharpen for everyone you know, super sperglord edition: (~$500+)
Pros: You can be the spergiest of sharpeners
Cons: You have to know how to sharpen before you use this
- Get a couple low grits of good quality stones (see above)
- Get a high quality high grit japanese water stone
- Sharpen that fucker
- Bonus: If you look at your knife wrong IT WILL CUT YOU.


edit: It's me, I'm the sperglord sharpener.
edit oilstone edition: Upped the grit requirements for oilstones

However, this probably makes you want to ask a lot of questions, so again I strongly implore you to read this link:
http://forums.egullet.org/topic/260...and-sharpening/

At the same time, the most important thing is that you sharpen your knives at all - be that on a Chef's Choice 110 or a Japanese waterstone. Most debate online is a war over the last 20% of sharpness - the first 80% is fairly easily attainable and you will enjoy your sharp knives!

C.) Questions

Q: How should I wash my knives?
A: By hand, with a sponge. Do not put in the dishwasher - the agitation of the water will make the blades get dull very fast.

Q: What cutting board should I use?
A: Plastic is fine. If you want to use wood, end-grain is better as it is softer and will dull your knives less. Avoid glass, marble, and bamboo.

Q: How should I store my knives?
A: Ideally, on this guy. But if you have kids/want to put your knifes away keep them in a drawer/knife roll/toolbox with plastic protectors like the ultimate edge guard.

Q: How often should I sharpen?
A: It depends on the knife, how much you use it, and how soft the metal is. If you have very hard knives you can just send them to a professional sharpener once a year and hone periodically. You won't really be able to answer this question until you've handled a very sharp knife, as you won't know what to be expecting.


Thanks for reading! I will edit this OP as things develop.


Also, please post pictures of your cool knives if you have cool knives.

No Wave fucked around with this message at Jul 3, 2013 around 12:13

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Harry Potter on Ice
Nov 4, 2006


in the drug slang sense

Thoughts on this knife and why it is so cheap?
http://www.cutleryandmore.com/henck...e-p129325?dow=5

Liquid Communism
Mar 9, 2004


At least we didn't cook the dog.



Fun Shoe

For mid-price on #8 there, I'm an absolutely huge fan of the Wusthof Super Slicer. Being on the pastry side of the house, I use this thing all the time for cutting cakes for layers and working with all sorts of other breads, and it has never failed me. The curve is really nice for being able to work rounds especially, and it stiffens the back of the knife a bit when trying to get even slices on tricky angles.

Did tear off my knife callus with it once, but that was the night I had to slice 500 bagels in two hours by hand, so it wasn't unexpected.

Skinny King Pimp
Aug 25, 2011
Skinny Queen Wimp


Because it's on sale? I have a Henckels tomato knife that has served me really well at home and when I was working in a kitchen. They're pretty good knives, on the whole.

No Wave
Sep 18, 2005

Yogg-Saron fan #1


It's an oddball length, and those divots on the side don't do much for you. You'd do better getting the Victorinox Fibrox 8-inch or 10-inch for the same price.

Henckels doesn't hold an edge very well, and the knives are extremely thick, making the knife heavier and more difficult to slide right into things (sideways, especially). Prices on knives can be extremely deceptive vs. their actual utility, especially for the big German manufacturers (which are, by and large, quite expensive for what you get).

The thing that really bugs me about those knives is the bottom. What's supposed to happen to the bottom of the knife as you sharpen it and the blade recesses? It makes no sense. The rocking motion will get hosed and the knife will be useless (this is less of an issue for boning knives etc. as you will not be rocking the blade on the cutting board).

It's boring to say Victorinox Fibrox over and over, but their bang for buck cannot be beaten (except maybe by the CCK small cleaver).

No Wave fucked around with this message at Jun 29, 2013 around 17:25

AtmaHorizon
Apr 3, 2012


I use this sharpening set: SPYDERCO TRIANGLE SHARPMAKER (SET) ~ 204
Comes with a DVD you can watch online: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GB0r6GvESGg
It includes two sets of high alumina ceramic stones and brass safety rods.

Easy to set up and use. Case is also used for holding stones at desired angle. Case can be screwed to workbench.

Wife is happy with resulting sharpness of kitchen knives.

Croatoan
Jun 24, 2005

Hold the line, I have shitposting to do.


I recently upgraded my kitchen wares and love my knives.

First off, you're right about the bread knife. A lovely $10 is as good as a fancy $300 one.

As for a Chef's knife the Ken Onion Shuns seem to be discontinued so I picked up this one at a steal of a price.

I also got this paring knife for the same low low INSANE prices.

Here's a video of Alton Brown selling Shun knives but it's pretty informational about the difference between a typical bevel and a japanese bevel. Just keep in mind that Shun is by no means the end all be all of knives. They're just a personal preference. I know Demegogue likes them whereas pr0k likes his Globals. To each his own and YouTube is a wealth of knowledge on the differences between them all.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKgGlpe45T0

Don't get me wrong. Some folks HATE Shun knives. You hold them differently than other knives. I personally feel like the way to hold them feels more natural than other knives.

As for the good in some ways and bad in others: I had a Kyocera Ceramic chef's knife. I LOVED this knife. The lightweight feel make cutting a big batch of veggies a pleasure. However they chip. Like SUPER loving EASY. I miss this guy but my others make me miss him a little bit less.

Croatoan fucked around with this message at Jun 30, 2013 around 00:21

Butch Cassidy
Jul 28, 2010


The blade on the Victorinox paring knife is great, but the handles are absolutely tiny in my meathooks. I picked up a Wusthof classic paring knife and it has served me well with no complaints.

mmartinx
Nov 30, 2004


If anyone's looking for a good set that comes with 6 steak knives there's a great set on cutleryandmore that's pretty reasonable. It's nice because there aren't really any filler knives that I don't use, I also had a global 7" chef's knife that I picked up at the W&S outlet for like $30 a couple weeks ago that fits into the block as well.

http://www.cutleryandmore.com/globa...ock-set-p121847

Something like that a la carte would probably cost $300 more.

No Wave
Sep 18, 2005

Yogg-Saron fan #1


I don't know - you could get:

Tojiro DP paring, utility, chef's knife - http://www.chefknivestogo.com/todpsakn17.html ($150)
Tojiro DP petty ($40)
Tojiro DP santoku or CCK cleaver ($70 or $50)
any old bread knife ($20)
ceramic rod ($30)

for less than half the price - and I haven't met anyone who prefers Global to Tojiro (and if you do, I apologize - I don't mean any offense)

You could use the rest of the budget to get a Tojiro DP slicer and a set of 9.47 table knives (for truly baller steak knives worthy of hannibal lecter)

GrAviTy84
Nov 24, 2004



finally got some time to write up a knife thread, glad I checked if there was another before starting!

I will write up some stuff on metals and stuff I guess. And maybe blade geometry. Chef de Cuisinart PM'd me about writing stuff about sharpening, edge thinning, complex knife work, and other stuff, too.

I would also add a section on just the basic differences between European and Japanese knives. It's more than just Japanese knives are harder. European knives are designed to be mass produced. The steel choice comes strictly from their ability to die forge them in bulk. From step one they are all about quantity. It is literally impossible for them to use harder steel because they would have to completely change their manufacturing process. This isn't necessarily bad, per se, but you just need to know that a European knife has a steel hardness in the low 50's HRC. This means that the whole philosophy of sharpening and edge holding is completely different.

European knives are made thicker. Some people like this, I don't. Because they have softer steel they cannot take a more "aggressive" edge and they need frequent honing (the process of straightening out the edge). This softer steel means that the thin edge literally bends as you use it, and honing causes it to realign straight. Like bending a paperclip back and forth, it will eventually break and you will have no edge anymore, this is when you need to resharpen.

Edges on Japanese knives don't flop around like a wet noodle like the ones on European knives. They just wear out. As a result Japanese knives really only need touching up with a ceramic rod with a full sharpening as per schedule to maintain a straight and true edge from heel to tip. (This is generally speaking of course, there are exceptions). Japanese knives typically start around 60 HRC for something like a VG-10 (stainless, cheap, durable, beginner friendly) but get pretty ridiculous up to around 65 HRC for some types of aogami super (carbon steel, stains, oxidizes, expensive, incredibly durable, pain in the rear end to sharpen, not recommended for beginners).

Japanese knife types and their European equivalents:

Chef's Knives


gekko gyuto by gtrwndr87, on Flickr
Gyuto: French-style Chef's knife. Long (> 210mm, 8.25" up to around 300, I prefer the 240 and 270mm lengths). They come in both western and "wa" handled versions and in most steels. They are the closest thing to a standard European chef's knife. They have a decent belly, though some have more of a belly than others. If swoopy chopping is your thing this is a very important thing to consider. Also, if you are a swooperrockerchopper you will want to avoid:


Santoku: A straighter edged knife for all around chefknife type duty. It has less of a belly than a gyuto and a blunt nose. They also tend to be much shorter than a gyuto (typically < 180mm, 7"). They are fine for doing some veg prep, but personally I don't really care for them. A lot of people do, though, so my word is not gospel. Personally though, I would rather have a CCK small cleaver than a santoku as they have more blade face real estate for smacking garlic and scooping stuff off of cutting boards.



Kiritsuke: A nearly completely bellyless chef knife. If you are a chopper and don't do much rocking or swooping at all, this is the knife for you! It has a hard angled tip for more precision stuff, too.


Nakiri: Sort of a longish, shorter cleaver. These are pretty much only used for prepping vegetables. If you are a chopper, notrocker who cooks primarily vegetarian, this is the knife for you!

Slicers


Sujihike: The closest thing to a western slicer. They are long and thin and double beveled. If you want a slicer that will perform almost identically to a western slicer this is the one you want. I personally wouldn't get a sujihike (or any slicer for that matter) shorter than 270mm.


Yanagi(-ba): These are the glorious very expensive single purpose knives that your itamaes at your favorite sushi restaurant smuggled in his suitcase to be able to use stateside. They are technically slicing knives, but they are also sort of quirky to use due to their single bevel edge (!) and hollow grind (!) on one side (!). If you don't know what these three things are and how they affect your cutting, chances are you don't need them, so you should just get a sujihike.

Other stuff


Tadatsuna 150mm petty by gtrwndr87, on Flickr


Hayashi Dojo 80mm paring by gtrwndr87, on Flickr
Petty: Utility to longer paring knives (~70-170mm). These work the duty of utility knives. They have a very slim smooth profile with a thin blade. These are great for intricate knife work you may need to do.


Deba: Heavy duty knife meant for cutting through fish bones. They tend to be thicker over all and will not use hard brittle steels as they will just chip when under normal use. These are the knives that itamaes use to dismantle a whole 400lb tuna for sushi service.


Honesuke: Chicken boning knife. This is a unique tool specifically used for dismantling chickens.

+many many many many others. The Japanese have a knife design for pretty much every application you can think of (no seriously there are over 100 unique knife styles with appropriate names).



readmore: http://zknives.com/knives/kitchen/m...all/index.shtml


A primer on Japanese steels

I'm not a metallurgist so I will keep the metallurgy to a minimum and allow those who want to talk about it to talk about it in the thread. Basically, though, you have steel and you add poo poo to it to get certain traits you want you can't just keep adding poo poo though because after a certain point the balance gets thrown off and you have an unusable metal, this is the subject of much much spergery. So people at places like Hitachi go off and study this stuff for a really long time and when they have a blend they like they give it a fancy name that is sometimes named due to the characteristics of its metallurgy but most of the time is just a weird name.

Some stuff shamelessly ripped off of Japanesechefsknife.com

quote:

Carbon (C)
Increases edge retention and raises tensile strength. Increases hardness.

Chromium (CR)
Increases hardness, tensile strength and toughness. Provides resistance to wear and corrosion.

Cobalt (CO)
Increases strength and hardness, and permits quenching in higher temperatures. Intensifies the individual effects of other elements in more complex steels.

Molybdenum (MO)
Increases strength, hardness, harden ability, and toughness.Improves machinability and resistance to corrosion.

Vanadium (VA)
Increases strength, wear resistance, and increases toughness.

Tungsten (W)
Adds strength, toughness, and improves hardneability.

There are two camps of Japanese steel: Carbon and stainless.

Stainless steels are slightly softer but are generally easier to care for. The most common in Japanese knives is probably VG-10 which is a great all around knife steel because it can take a great edge but it is also easy to sharpen and doesn't stain easily. For most people VG-10 is probably the best steel to get IMO. There are also other steels like AUS8, CrMoVwhatever, etc, these are all stainless steels and have certain things that make them better than each other for certain traits, but really most knives are VG-10 so I guess we can keep the others for specific knifechat in the thread. "Damascus" knives are typically VG-10 also.

note on "Damascus" steel. No one really knows how to make true Damascus steel anymore. The secret has been lost. Sorry. Most Damascus steel you see either out of Seki City or out of the European copies are just etched stainless steel. It is no doubt pretty, but know that it is not the real thing. This is coming from someone who has a Damascus clad VG-10 gyuto, so, yeah, I'm not just shittalking. This includes Shun kai knives.

Carbon steels are hard. There is not really such thing as a mass produced carbon steel knife, at least not to the levels you will find Henckels or Wusthofs or whatever. They have to be hammered and forged by hand.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qABAEcmPvyg

This is why you will not find a shirogami whatever in your local bed bath and beyond. Carbon steel also oxidizes/rusts/takes on a patina. There are many carbon steels used in knifemaking. Here is a nice synopsis from someone else on the internet:

quote:

A Quick Summary of Hitachi Carbon Steels Common in Knives
Hitachi makes a number of carbon steels. Here are the common ones found in knives.

SK Steels (sk5, sk4, sk3)- the least expensive of the carbon steels and the lowest carbon content (#5 has the least carbon, #3 the most). This steel has higher amounts of phosphorus and sulfur than the other steels i'm about to mention. This steel tends to be tough (due to the lower carbon content and thus lower hardness). It also tends to be more reactive.

Yellow Steel (yellow 3, yellow 2)- This steel is more pure (less phosphorus and sulfur than the SK Steels). It also has higher carbon content (#3 has less carbon than #2 in this case as well). This steel is commonly found in saws and wood working tools. It is also sometimes found in knives.

White Steel (White 3, white 2, white #1)- This steel is even more pure than yellow steel (which is relatively pure). Once again, the lower the number, the higher the carbon content, so white #1 has the most carbon and white #3 has the least. The higher carbon (and hardness) leads to white #1 having the best edge retention of the white steels and also the best ability to hold an acute angle. White #3 has the best toughness. gravitynote: White steel is also called "Shirogami" or literally "white steel" but in Japanese

Blue Steel (Blue #2 and Blue #1... i'll talk about blue super later)- Blue steel is white steel with chromium and tungsten added to it. Blue #2 has the same amount of carbon as white #2 but has the added elements. Same for blue #1 and white #1. The added elements lead to better corrosion resistance and edge retention (as well as deeper hardening). This also comes at the cost of being more difficult to sharpen and not taking quite as keen of an edge. Blue steel also tends to be more brittle (ever so slight). gravitynote: blue steel is also called "Aogami" or literally "blue steel" but in Japanese

Blue Super- Blue super is blue #1 with even more carbon, chromium, and tungsten added to it. Its the best of the hitachi carbon steels with regard to edge retention and ability to hold an acute angle (due to the higher carbon/hardness and added elements). This comes at the cost of being more difficult to sharpen, not getting quite as sharp, and being the most brittle of the bunch.

So, in conclusion, the white steels take the best edge (#1 holding the most acute angle and #3 being the toughest), while the blue steels hold the best edge (Blue super being the best at this while blue #2 and #1 have better toughness).

from: http://blog.japaneseknifeimports.co...chi-carbon.html

So from this we can see that a 20 piece cornucopia of knives all of the same steel is actually not very good at all... You want to pick steels based on intended knife use and the amount of effort you are willing to put into maintaining the edge on said knife.

It is widely accepted that shirogami is the best for slicing knives since it takes the best edge. Shirogami #1 specifically is loved for use with yanagis. For daily use gyutos and the like, VG-10 is a great candidate, but if you are willing to put a bit more effort into care, the aogami family of steels are very awesome for this purpose. If you are a vegetarian who chops a lot of leafy veg, you can probably buy an aogami super nakiri and never ever have to sharpen it ever. Boning knives like a honesuke or a deba, you probably don't want something super duper brittle because it will just chip when used aggressively, VG-10 or AUS8 are great candidates here.

Gravity's Knife recommendations:
Start with a Chef's knife type of knife and a paring knife. Use them for a while and pick up auxiliary knives as you find need for them. Pick a chef's knife based on your cutting style and what you prepare a lot of. If you like a lot of blade real estate and a belly, get a gyuto. If you don't care for bellies, get a kiritsuke. If you prefer shorter knives get a santoku. If you only ever cut vegetables get a nakiri.

Pick a steel based on the level of effort you're willing to exert into maintenance. The Tojiro DP's are great stainless knives and come in pretty much all shapes you could care for. The Tojiro ITK's are great and super affordable shirogami knives. Moritaka makes some pretty fantastic knives for slightly more. Talk to Ricola about custom ordering your very own kitchen broadsword and the regrets that ensue.

If I were to start from square one I would buy a Tojiro ITK 240mm Gyuto and a Hiyashi Dojo 80 mm paring.

GrAviTy84 fucked around with this message at Jul 3, 2013 around 20:05

porcellus
Oct 27, 2004
oh wait, wrong chat window

Please take out Deimos' review. It's not that they're bad suggestions, it's that it reads like HERE'S WHAT TO DO OK while leaving out pertinent context and information.

Sandpaper is a great alternative to a water stone. Buy nice sandpaper though. I recommend eagle. The resin and alum oxide on those are superior quality. My theory about why sandpaper isn't more popular in the kitchen is because people aren't cleaning their sandpaper with rubber and it gets loaded with swarf (A drill bit is fluted to remove chips, if it weren't there, that drill isn't going anywhere no matter how sharp it is). Swarf removal is important.

If you've got the budget for it, buy a stationary belt sander or grinder, that's how guys who make knives remove the metal stock from their blank in the first place. Actually forget that, that's how the rest of the world sharpens their HSS.

You can mark an angle right on the rest or clamp a guide rail to it. A belt sander can be bought at Harbor Freight for 30 bucks with a coupon. Sandpaper belt grit stops at 400, which leaves the edge jagged, but is fine for most people. For reference, metalworkers grind their lathe bits on 120 grit grinding wheels and surface grind accurately within a thousandth of an inch.

Sandpaper sheets though, can go up to 8000. I've seen 30,000 grit wet stones. Here's a helpful chart http://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a...t-sizeChart.jpg

deimos posted:

- Get an Edge Pro Set with either Shaptons or Choseras (you can also get a fake edge pro on ebay)
Holy poo poo, I don't want to be that guy but, that thing is really overpriced and complicated. It only reaches 1000 grit. A jet or tormek wet grinder is around the same price. If you want to go insane, buy one of those natural japanese wet stones they mine for a couple thousand.

I buy diamond crystals that come in powder form to sharpen my stuff. I just keep a bunch of 3x5 mild steel plates and mix some with acetone and rub the business end against the slurry. After a while it becomes embedded in the metal, I think. Eventually the metal that's removed disintegrates. It's not the best method, but it's cheaper than sandpaper in the long run. I buy $10 vials of 1-5 micron, 5-10, 10-20, 20-40, 50-60. Cleanliness is essential because contamination becomes a problem.

porcellus fucked around with this message at Jul 2, 2013 around 21:48

GrAviTy84
Nov 24, 2004



on Shun Kai:

A lot of people use and love these so I'll tread (kind of) lightly I guess. They have made Japanese knives a lot more popular, so that is a good thing. They are Damascus clad VG-10 (though they call it VG-MAX, w/e it's overpriced VG-10, the characteristics of the steel are mostly the same) knives. This in and of itself isn't necessarily bad, it's just how expensive they are. You can get the same knife for less. It's also how many just utterly ridiculous knife shapes they have


not to mention the ken onion series

I dunno, if you're someone who happens to like them, more power to you, but I just think they're overpriced for what you get.

on globals:

More toe stepping! Globals use a steel called chromova 18. It's a stainless steel, harder than the Euros but softer than most Japanese, and from that I draw my prejudice. They're pricy, forged knives, that use a soft steel. They're kind of the midway mark between a Zwilling and a Tojiro DP for a price higher than both. Also I think the handles are atrocious to hold, but that's admittedly personal preference.

so yeah, that's my opinion on those. I admit that it's not gonna ring true with everyone and I'll probably get poo poo for posting it.

Chef De Cuisinart
Oct 31, 2010

Brandy does in fact, in my experience, contribute to Getting Down.

No, shuns and globals are terrible overpriced knives.

I'll do a write up on carbon care and upkeep, and a few videos when I have time later this week. Sharpening, what thinning is and how to do it, and some knife skill stuff that isn't exactly common knowledge.

Luegene Cards
Oct 25, 2004


What's the consensus on Mac's knives? I've got one I adore, but if it's meh I could definitely see upgrading to some of the lovely knives that have been posted.

mindphlux
Jan 8, 2004





Luegene Cards posted:

What's the consensus on Mac's knives? I've got one I adore, but if it's meh I could definitely see upgrading to some of the lovely knives that have been posted.

I have a Mac santoku that I've used for 12 years and I absolutely love it. I still use it more than all my other knives put together, and I have fancy japanese knives and poo poo.

TATPants
Mar 28, 2011


Chef De Cuisinart posted:

No, shuns and globals are terrible overpriced knives.

Care to elaborate? They may be overpriced but are not terrible, unless I am completely missing something here.

Chef De Cuisinart
Oct 31, 2010

Brandy does in fact, in my experience, contribute to Getting Down.

Well, shuns aren't terrible, they are good knives. But there are many Japanese manufacturers that produce much higher quality knives at the same price.

I have 2 global knives. They just loving suck. Soft steel, handles that pinch your fingers where other knives wouldn't, weak concave grinds that mean the knife will never be as sharp as it was out of the box, and a rough finish for the price. I can see the circular grinds from the initial sanding. My Tojitos have that, but they're half the price, and better steel!

TATPants
Mar 28, 2011


Chef De Cuisinart posted:

Well, shuns aren't terrible, they are good knives. But there are many Japanese manufacturers that produce much higher quality knives at the same price.

I have 2 global knives. They just loving suck. Soft steel, handles that pinch your fingers where other knives wouldn't, weak concave grinds that mean the knife will never be as sharp as it was out of the box, and a rough finish for the price. I can see the circular grinds from the initial sanding. My Tojitos have that, but they're half the price, and better steel!

How do other Japanese knives feel compared to say, shuns? I grip with my thumb and index finger on the heel of the blade, so Shuns feel really comfortable to me. I will never be able to feel how some of these obscure brands feel without first buying them. Do you have any tips or suggestions or anything?

No Wave
Sep 18, 2005

Yogg-Saron fan #1


Chef De Cuisinart posted:

I'll do a write up on carbon care and upkeep, and a few videos when I have time later this week. Sharpening, what thinning is and how to do it, and some knife skill stuff that isn't exactly common knowledge.
Oh man please do. It is humid as fck in Boston and my moritaka is giving me a headache. It's covered in mustard right now.

porcellus posted:

Please take out Deimos' review. It's not that they're bad suggestions, it's that it reads like HERE'S WHAT TO DO OK while leaving out pertinent context and information.

Sandpaper is a great alternative to a water stone. Buy nice sandpaper though. I recommend eagle. The resin and alum oxide on those are superior quality. My theory about why sandpaper isn't more popular in the kitchen is because people aren't cleaning their sandpaper with rubber and it gets loaded with swarf (A drill bit is fluted to remove chips, if it weren't there, that drill isn't going anywhere no matter how sharp it is). Swarf removal is important.

If you've got the budget for it, buy a stationary belt sander or grinder, that's how guys who make knives remove the metal stock from their blank in the first place. Actually forget that, that's how the rest of the world sharpens their HSS.

You can mark an angle right on the rest or clamp a guide rail to it. A belt sander can be bought at Harbor Freight for 30 bucks with a coupon. Sandpaper belt grit stops at 400, which leaves the edge jagged, but is fine for most people. For reference, metalworkers grind their lathe bits on 120 grit grinding wheels and surface grind accurately within a thousandth of an inch.

Sandpaper sheets though, can go up to 8000. I've seen 30,000 grit wet stones. Here's a helpful chart http://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a...t-sizeChart.jpg
The sandpaper stuff is really cool, but I'm having trouble getting started with it. Basically, if I wanted to do the sandpaper setup - how would I set it up? Do I attach it to a board somehow and use it like a waterstone? And how often should I remove the swarf - after I'm done, or in the middle of sharpening, as well?

The belt sander thingy is neat, but man it is scary. Kind of curious what your setup is.

No Wave fucked around with this message at Jul 3, 2013 around 04:12

Steve Yun
Aug 7, 2003

I
ANALYZE
CARTOONS


Grimey Drawer

Chinese cleaver entry conspicuously absent!

No Wave
Sep 18, 2005

Yogg-Saron fan #1


Steve Yun posted:

Chinese cleaver entry conspicuously absent!
Fixed... What a shameful error to have made.

porcellus
Oct 27, 2004
oh wait, wrong chat window

No Wave posted:

Oh man please do. It is humid as fck in Boston and my moritaka is giving me a headache. It's covered in mustard right now.

The sandpaper stuff is really cool, but I'm having trouble getting started with it. Basically, if I wanted to do the sandpaper setup - how would I set it up? Do I attach it to a board somehow and use it like a waterstone? And how often should I remove the swarf - after I'm done, or in the middle of sharpening, as well?

The belt sander thingy is neat, but man it is scary. Kind of curious what your setup is.

Yeah, any flat substrate will work, plexiglass to a lovely scrap of wood it depends on the quality you want, but you don't have to hunt down a mousepad at the thrift store for one. If you have an eraser, that would work in a jiffy, anything that looks like a crepe sole, just rub it off before your sandpaper gets too glazed with metal and that expensive sheet will last a lot longer. It gets heated with more friction and the resin holding sandpaper starts acting up. You can find quality sandpaper at a detailing or auto shop.

I wouldn't follow my example if I were anyone else, but, I used to ghetto rig my buffer to be held in a vice and attach sandpaper discs to the pad. It's not because I think it's some great clever way, I just happen to use a buffer for work. I guess it does have the added benefit of being 600 rpm. Attach a canvas buffing wheel with abrasive wax compound and now it's a strop.

Now I use 3"x5" blanks of steel I've flattened by hand scraping and diamond powder. I keep them in separate plastic containers and clean between grits. One thing I haven't seen discussed is the use of diamond polishing pads (used extensively to polish granite shops) for sharpening.

But yeah, just don't think to hard about this or take some schmuck like me on the internet for the truth. Proceed with caution: knives, HAM radio and guns are where men tend to channel their neurosis, collective wisdom tends to be skewed, it's easy to be led astray and confused. It's not really the high precision hoopla people on the internet make it out to be. I recommend just reading a book about sharpening and any metalworking book just because it shows how extensive the knowledge is. Woodworkers are more fanatical than cooks with knives about their chisels and handplanes so there's a lot of resources there. I haven't kept up with the latest stuff but a year back lee valley started selling films of diamond sheets. Pretty cool but expensive considering you can buy a gram of the pure stuff for just as much as a sheet. Here's Chistopher Schwartz with one

porcellus fucked around with this message at Jul 3, 2013 around 13:13

mmartinx
Nov 30, 2004


No Wave posted:

beep boop knives

I'm sure there are much better knives out there for an 1/8th of the price, my recommendation was just in case there's anyone out there looking for a decent, everything included set with 6 steak knives.

deimos
Nov 30, 2006

Forget it man this bat is whack, it's got poobrain!


porcellus posted:

Holy poo poo, I don't want to be that guy but, that thing is really overpriced and complicated. It only reaches 1000 grit. A jet or tormek wet grinder is around the same price. If you want to go insane, buy one of those natural japanese wet stones they mine for a couple thousand.

Faux pros (the fake version of the edge-pro you can get on ebay) are not horribly priced and stones for it go fairly high (30k), I personally don't use it but they seem decent if you just can't do a proper edge, but you are being that guy, when I originally made the post I made it with the price for edge-pro instead of faux pro.

I do agree about the tone of my post being wrong for the OP though.


porcellus posted:


Woodworkers are more fanatical than cooks with knives about their chisels and handplanes so there's a lot of resources there. I haven't kept up with the latest stuff but a year back lee valley started selling films of diamond sheets. Pretty cool but expensive considering you can buy a gram of the pure stuff for just as much as a sheet. Here's Chistopher Schwartz with one

Leonard Lee on his "The Complete Guide to Sharpening" warns against using diamond plate for harder metals because the dust tended to embed itself on the edge itself. I am not sure if this is just outdated info because of some new diamond plating methods or it still applies, this was strictly for diamond bonded to a plate. - This was a false statement, I was completely mis-remembering something, see porcellus' reply below.

deimos fucked around with this message at Jul 4, 2013 around 20:01

No Wave
Sep 18, 2005

Yogg-Saron fan #1


deimos posted:

Faux pros (the fake version of the edge-pro you can get on ebay) are not horribly priced and stones for it go fairly high (30k), I personally don't use it but they seem decent if you just can't do a proper edge, but you are being that guy, when I originally made the post I made it with the price for edge-pro instead of faux pro.

I do agree about the tone of my post being wrong for the OP though.
I'll consider how to work it. I found it incredibly helpful as it showed many different examples of how people sharpen, and made it much easier to learn sharpening theory by applying it to several different methods of practice. It also weighed trade-offs, which is my favorite way to approach stuff like this. Will consider tweaking/reframing.

mmartinx posted:

I'm sure there are much better knives out there for an 1/8th of the price, my recommendation was just in case there's anyone out there looking for a decent, everything included set with 6 steak knives.
Sure - I guess if I wanted people to get three things out of this thread, I'd like to optimize three variables: knife sharpness, knife cost, and time spent. I'm interested in education (which is certainly necessary) insofar as it leads to sharper knives, smarter purchasing decisions, and time saved.

GrAviTy84
Nov 24, 2004



Throw the Kiwi brand Meat Cleaver into the meat cleaver recommendation area. It's < 10bux and holds a great edge. If people are looking for great knives to practice sharpening on, the Kiwis in general are very cheap and are made of decent steel.

I would put the Tojiro ITK gyuto in the mid price chef's knife rec for someone looking for carbon steel. Honsho Kanemasa E series is also good and boasts SK4 steel which is a skosh harder than VG-10, but really just a skosh. They're also midtier.

In the mid price paring section, the one you have pictured is the same one I have and is a Hiyashi Dojo 80mm. I would recommend that one highly. It is in the mid-ish range. Stainless clad Aogami Super, which is a fantastic combination. It will eventually look like this:



with a stainless jacket exposing the patina'd Aogami super edge.

Honsho Kanemasa E series Sujihiki 270mm is a very good mid tier slicer in SK-4. The Tojiro DP sujihiki 270mm also good for pretty much the same price in VG-10. For those who are looking for an affordable yanagi, the Tojiro ITK is ~100bux and is shirogami. This is admittedly not very many people and I think it only comes in a right handed version.

Santoku, again, I would add the Tojiro ITK 165mm which is scraping the low end price range at 50bux and is shirogami Yeah, the Tojiro ITK's in general are pretty ridiculous. They are a steal and a half. If you don't mind babying it a bit, the Kyocera ceramic Santoku will hold a great edge but you wont be able to really hack at things with it because it is very brittle.

Cutting board recommendations:
If you don't care about looks, the Sani Tuff boards are fantastic. They are completely sanitizable, they heal like a wood board, and they are resurfaceable like a wood board. Though they are admittedly a bit clinical in aesthetics. The Boardsmith makes absolutely gorgeous end grain boards if you want the prettiest thing ever.

quote:

Q: How should I wash my knives?
A: By hand, with a sponge. Do not put in the dishwasher - the agitation of the water will make the blades get dull very fast.

Not just the agitation from the water, the hot prolonged exposure to that water and all that ish in there is just awful awful awful for handles, both wood and plastic. If you have carbon knives, it's even worse for the steel. tl;dr dishwashering your knives means you are worse than Hitler.

I use a natural fiber scotch brite two sided sponge (http://www.amazon.com/Scotch-Brite-...t/dp/B0015MO4F4). I like these because they don't scratch surfaces like the green pads do, but they still scrub very well. I fold it in half widthwise and pinch-hold it such that you have a rounded exposed scrubby bit and I use this with a dab of soap and some water to clean the surface of the knife. Dry the knife completely (and carefully) with a dish towel after rinsing and apply oil if your climate/steel/aspergers requires you to.



One thing I would like a recommendation for: A good but affordable knife roll. I am not a pro cheffy chef but I've been called upon to pinch hit cook for a few events here and there lately, I've been rolling up with my gyuto in its box and my thermapen. I'd like something that wont break the bank but will also still protect my knives.

GrAviTy84 fucked around with this message at Jul 3, 2013 around 20:04

Mr. Wiggles
Dec 1, 2003

I would never shop at Costco. The paper towels won't fit into my sports car!

I roll mine up in an old piece of suede or rawhide if I need to go somewhere.

deimos
Nov 30, 2006

Forget it man this bat is whack, it's got poobrain!


Not enough love for Dexter-Russell or Lamson Sharp in this thread either. I feel that if you're going to go for softer steel you might as well go Dexter-Russell, I'd almost recommend them over Fibrox. Caveat: I haven't owned a Dexter in a while so my remembrance of their quality might be skewed.

If their quality hasn't shifted for the bad in recent years I'd almost say put D-R's Sani-Safe as a low-end alternative for everything.


GrAviTy84 posted:

Not just the agitation from the water, the hot prolonged exposure to that water and all that ish in there is just awful awful awful for handles, both wood and plastic. If you have carbon knives, it's even worse for the steel. tl;dr dishwashering your knives means you are worse than Hitler.

Except for Fibrox/Sani-*, those handles can go through commercial dishwashers IIRC.

deimos fucked around with this message at Jul 3, 2013 around 20:36

Boner Slam
May 9, 2005


i could get a Tojiro Sankotu or a Kyocera Ceramic Sankotu of the same length for the same price. Which one would you prefer?

I do have a lovely waterstone but I really don't like using it because it is not me, the sperglord (well in this case).
I will prbly send it in somewhere to people who know what they are doing.

The Midniter
Jul 9, 2001



My main knife is a Victorinox 8" chef knife and I was aghast the other day when I realized that I had deformed the back of the knife slightly due to stabbing avocado pits and twisting to remove them, then banging it against the trash can to dispose of the pit.

Then I realized that I didn't give a poo poo because it is a $25 knife and I can abuse it as much as I want!



A couple months ago I won an 8" Korin gyuto from a Serious Eats giveaway. I've used it a couple times and it's nice but I prefer the wider blade of my Fibrox - I am a "swoop" cutter and the wider blade allows me to swoop further than with the Korin. One time I didn't immediately wash my Korin and it got a little rust spot that I can't get rid of

I also got a paring knife on a whim but have only used it a handful of times. I feel like I'm missing out.

Stalizard
Aug 11, 2006

Have I got a headache!

deimos posted:

Not enough love for Dexter-Russell or Lamson Sharp in this thread either. I feel that if you're going to go for softer steel you might as well go Dexter-Russell, I'd almost recommend them over Fibrox. Caveat: I haven't owned a Dexter in a while so my remembrance of their quality might be skewed.

If their quality hasn't shifted for the bad in recent years I'd almost say put D-R's Sani-Safe as a low-end alternative for everything.


Except for Fibrox/Sani-*, those handles can go through commercial dishwashers IIRC.

I had a completely different experience with the Dexter-Russell stuff, I used it cutting fruit for 6-8 hours a day and it was total crap. Wouldn't hold an edge, way too think, just generally useless. I would up bringing in my own beater knife, a big ol' Mercer 12" chef knife in 420J2 (among the worst blade steels) and just by virtue of blade profile it was miles ahead of the Dexter-Russell stuff.

Psychobabble
Jan 17, 2006


GrAviTy84 posted:

One thing I would like a recommendation for: A good but affordable knife roll. I am not a pro cheffy chef but I've been called upon to pinch hit cook for a few events here and there lately, I've been rolling up with my gyuto in its box and my thermapen. I'd like something that wont break the bank but will also still protect my knives.

The standard Messermeister knife roll has served me for the last 4 years of professional cooking. Its a bit melted but I love it. The key is having your knifes zipped up before the get rolled, relying on flaps and straps alone leads to knives all over the subway.

I picked mine up for $15 but the ones I see now are in the $30 range.

Chef De Cuisinart
Oct 31, 2010

Brandy does in fact, in my experience, contribute to Getting Down.

Stalizard posted:

I had a completely different experience with the Dexter-Russell stuff, I used it cutting fruit for 6-8 hours a day and it was total crap. Wouldn't hold an edge, way too think, just generally useless. I would up bringing in my own beater knife, a big ol' Mercer 12" chef knife in 420J2 (among the worst blade steels) and just by virtue of blade profile it was miles ahead of the Dexter-Russell stuff.

You're sharpening your dexter wrong. The thin steel can hold an aggressive edge. I've got an old dexter sofgrip that I sharpen with a cheap accusharp and it outperforms the average German knife.

It's possible that Dexters steel quality has gone down, but I doubt it.

Appl
Feb 4, 2002

where da white womens at?

Here's what I've got, I find the perspective in this picture deceiving on the size but it shows the knives pretty clearly:



From top to bottom those are:

Zanmai - VG-10, 110mm petty

Hiromoto - VG-10 clad, aogami super core - 210mm gyuto (my first nice knife, use it the most for sure)

Masakage - white steel #2 - 270mm sujihiki

Cleaver! I don't know who made it, and I'm not sure what steel it's made out of, but it was like $30 and it destroys chickens.

I got the petty and the slicer from this guy who also sharpens my knives and does a really good job if you live in Toronto: http://knifetoronto.com

I made sure the petty was stainless steel because I use it to cut citrus for drinks all the time and that would wreck any other steel pretty fast. I tend to just go drink the drink instead of washing and drying the knife immediately after making it.

I also have a 1000 grit whetstone but I'm afraid to use it on my knives because I don't know what I'm doing. I plan to practice on crappier old knives that I don't care about, but does anyone have any good videos on how to do it? I went to the group sharpening demo that the knife store guy holds in his store but I'm still nervous about messing up my knives since I haven't had any hands on training.

Stalizard
Aug 11, 2006

Have I got a headache!

Chef De Cuisinart posted:

You're sharpening your dexter wrong. The thin steel can hold an aggressive edge. I've got an old dexter sofgrip that I sharpen with a cheap accusharp and it outperforms the average German knife.

It's possible that Dexters steel quality has gone down, but I doubt it.

It's a work knife in a grocery store. All we have is a large grinder/knife ruiner in the meat department. I'm willing to acknowledge that my personal beater was better based on the fact that I did basic knife maintenance, but at the same time I've never managed to find a Dexter Russell I liked using, even with a factory new edge. Mostly we use the 12" butcher knife, and they're more or less considered disposable.

They do have reasonably comfortable handles, though

GrAviTy84
Nov 24, 2004



Boner Slam posted:

i could get a Tojiro Sankotu or a Kyocera Ceramic Sankotu of the same length for the same price. Which one would you prefer?

I do have a lovely waterstone but I really don't like using it because it is not me, the sperglord (well in this case).
I will prbly send it in somewhere to people who know what they are doing.

Depends if you feel like having to put up with ceramic and how it may chip or crack. It's not super fragile but it is definitely a real danger.

mindphlux
Jan 8, 2004





someone post a link to these goddamned 'fake' edgepros already

I'm not gonna buy one since I've gotten comfortable with actual knife sharpening, but I've actually looked pretty hard and can't find them.

Steve Yun
Aug 7, 2003

I
ANALYZE
CARTOONS


Grimey Drawer

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Professiona...509314849392172

$27! What a bargain!

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porcellus
Oct 27, 2004
oh wait, wrong chat window

deimos posted:


Leonard Lee on his "The Complete Guide to Sharpening" warns against using diamond plate for harder metals because the dust tended to embed itself on the edge itself. I am not sure if this is just outdated info because of some new diamond plating methods or it still applies, this was strictly for diamond bonded to a plate.
I have this book. No where does he say this. Softer metals such as copper and tin are used for as a lapidary plate and charged with abrasive powder for the very reason that diamonds will embed themselves onto it.
On page 5 he dies write that you shouldn't be using a carbon steel chisels on a diamond bench or grinding wheel which causes micro fissures because of heat. The only way this clumsy statement makes sense is if it presupposes that you're not using lubricant or maybe furiously scrubbing I've seen no evidence suggesting the thermal differential is that great that you can compare it to the level of a powered grinder, which is by the way off the charts.

Here's a giant swivel jig someone made
jigs that work just as well

porcellus fucked around with this message at Jul 4, 2013 around 10:35

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