Newbie bought a seven piece set of Kramer Zwilling Meiji for $749 new

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howardarbutus
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Newbie bought a seven piece set of Kramer Zwilling Meiji for $749 new

Post by howardarbutus »

I was going to SurLaTable Portland Oregon store closing. They had a set of new Kramer Zwilling Meiji seven piece set on sale 50% off. I had used a Zwilling knife before and it was very sharp and useful. So I bought it. I think it is a good deal. But I am a newbie in the knife world.

1) How do I care for this knife set?
2) Was it a good deal? It was still quite expensive.
3) How do I sharpen it in the future? Portland has Portland Knife House that will sharpen it for me on stone or mechanical.

Thanks for the help.
Howard

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Re: Newbie bought a seven piece set of Kramer Zwilling Meiji for $749 new

Post by polytope »

For reference:
4" Paring Knife
5" Utility Knife
8" Chef's Knife
9" Slicing Knife
10" Bread Knife
12" Double Cut Honing Steel
8 Slot Wood Knife Block

Hand-honed Honbazuke blade boasts scalpel-like sharpness; 61 Rockwell Hardness with 15° angle on each side

core of FC61 fine carbide stainless steel is protected by 100 layers of nickel and stainless steel
FC61 is probably VG10.

"Honbazuke" here probably just means that you have an out of the box usable knife, as opposed to a knife which you're expected to sharpen according to your specific desires after you purchase it. I seriously doubt that all the knives are "hand honed", especially the serrated one.

Regarding the contents:

You shouldn't use that honing rod on knives of that hardness. Use a smooth steel or ceramic rod, if anything.

I personally wouldn't get a fancy bread knife; they aren't worth the trouble to sharpen because of the serrations, and sharpening a VG10 would be even more of a pain.

The steel and construction look fine. No bolsters to get in the way, handles look good, but the cladding (think of it like wood veneer on furniture) is a little flashy and busy for my taste.

The problem with knife sets is you rarely need all the knives. Eg I see little difference between a parer and a utility, and I have no use for slicers because I don't cook large proteins. But I do a lot of veg so I enjoy a nakiri.

At a budget of 750 it would be absolutely trivial to find 5 knives and a nice magnetic rack on this or other knife store, tailored to your particular preferences and needs; and better yet they wouldn't all look the same. And in fact, I'd recommend buying fewer, to save space on your rack for future purchases ;-).

Well, I say trivial but it would probably involve you answering the "what knife should I buy" questionnaire and reading a mountain of people's opinions which they're happy to give.

Allow me to give the first opinion, that you should start with a parer/petty, a 210mm gyuto/chef's knife, a large (but not neccessarily thick or expensive) cutting board, and if you really want a fancy bread knife the Tojiro ITK.

Edit: and something for easy edge maintenance, say, a ceramic rod or a piece of leather depending on what knives you get.

Then wait a month or two and optionally buy a 4th: a santoku for small prep or people who don't like using large knives, a nakiri or slicer or longer gyuto, etc. And consider buying non-stainless.

And at list price of 1500 (!!) the only knives that wouldn't fit the budget are the ones you can't easily buy anyway because they're so rare.

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Re: Newbie bought a seven piece set of Kramer Zwilling Meiji for $749 new

Post by salemj »

I disagree with some of the comments above. I think these are some of the best Kramer-Z knives, and Kramer-Z knives are VERY good. Usually the complaints are either related to the profile, weight/balance, or cost, but the line you got are some of the lightest due to handle design, have great profiles, and you definitely got them for WAY less than normal, so the prices are very competitive given the product.

FC61 is closer to AEB-L, not VG10, and it is a great steel at 61 hardness and generally durable. Some similar knives by this brand using this steel are very highly valued by a number of users. Of all of the Kramer Zwilling knives, these would be the ones I would want, which is saying something.

You shouldn't feel bad—these are good knives. Like any box set, you don't necessarily get the most useful array of knives; however, a 10" slicer in this line is not unlike a Sujihiki, which is great, and LOTS of forum members have multiple petty knives between 150mm and 120mm, so two smaller knives isn't a bad thing (especially when they have such different profiles). A bread knife is a must in most kitchens, and a good bread knife is easily $60-100, so the fact that you spent a bit more on average but got a very good one isn't a tragedy.

The real tragedy is that you only have one main knife: the 210 gyuto. Ideally, you'd have at least two options considering this is what does 90% of the work in the kitchen (at least).

Most of these knives are worth AT LEAST 100-200 against comparables—Kramer Zs are very good, very strong performing knives, and most people only dislike them because of the shape and price, not because of the quality or performance as a knife. You averaged 150 and got a block and a steel to spare. I honestly think this was a good deal given the quality of the product. In the end, you have very good knives, and the extra money does make a difference: the fit and finish on your knives is going to be a step above most comparables in the 100-150 range. So, all told, I think this is the kind of thing you probably wouldn't do again, but I also think you won't regret it. However, it probably isn't a one-and-done: I think you'll discover you may want another larger gyuto to complement the set.

My opinions, of course. But seriously: I would challenge anyone to find a knife for 150 that matches the performance and fit and finish of these blades while also being full-stainless. They exist, but it is not that easy, and they are not necessarily better formers, better looking, or better designed. So you can feel good about that, even if you discover that the slicer gets used less than once a year or that the bread knife is a bit overkill. One thing is for sure: any time you pull out the slicer or bread knife for the serving table, people WILL ooh and awe. :)

Oh: as for sharpening: These definitely need whetstones. You should sharpen these by hand. Kramer has his own line, which are not that bad, but you can find better deals on CKTG. The sharpening issue is a whole other topic, though...
~Joe

Comments: I'm short, a home cook, prefer lighter, thinner blades, and own mostly Konosukes but have used over a dozen brands.

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Re: Newbie bought a seven piece set of Kramer Zwilling Meiji for $749 new

Post by mauichef »

This is a very well written response. And I agree absolutely. While we all agree that sets are not the best way to go, you have found a really good deal on some sweet knives. These are stellar blades in any vernacular. Plus they look so damn cool.
The glaring miss is a larger gyuto but that can be rectified.
Sharpening is something that you might wish to look into doing yourself. But if there is a good shop that does hand sharpening then this could be an alternative.
My suggestion is to at least get yourself a nice ceramic rod and use that Whenever you use a knife. You will be amazed at how these blades will keep their edge especially if you use them on a good board.
Good luck and come back with any and all questions.

howardarbutus
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Re: Newbie bought a seven piece set of Kramer Zwilling Meiji for $749 new

Post by howardarbutus »

Thank you for the thoughtful and detailed responses. I hope to post a follow up as I use these knives. I think this is going to be an adventure.

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Re: Newbie bought a seven piece set of Kramer Zwilling Meiji for $749 new

Post by howardarbutus »

What size of gyoto knife should I get? I am going to use my existing set and see if I miss a larger knife. I am going to do some research before getting that knife to round off my set. Any recommendations as to brand, size,type?

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Re: Newbie bought a seven piece set of Kramer Zwilling Meiji for $749 new

Post by XexoX »

howardarbutus wrote:
Sun Sep 27, 2020 2:14 pm
What size of gyoto knife should I get? I am going to use my existing set and see if I miss a larger knife. I am going to do some research before getting that knife to round off my set. Any recommendations as to brand, size,type?
I'm a newbie myself, so I really can't address your questions here. For best chances of getting answers you should probably start another post in the Knife Recommendation sub forum, answering Looking for a Knife Recommendation? Please read this first these questions in the new post. In the new post you could direct people to this thread as well. Best of luck.
You can blame Mr. Suburban for my being here. :lol:
The thing about quotes on the internet is you can not confirm their validity. -- Abraham Lincoln
All steels are equal if you can't keep them sharp. -- Jeff B.

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Re: Newbie bought a seven piece set of Kramer Zwilling Meiji for $749 new

Post by mauichef »

howardarbutus wrote:
Sun Sep 27, 2020 2:14 pm
What size of gyoto knife should I get? I am going to use my existing set and see if I miss a larger knife. I am going to do some research before getting that knife to round off my set. Any recommendations as to brand, size,type?
Right now...don't even worry about it.
Get to know your knives. Use them and learn from them and about them.
You may find that a 210 is all you need.
But regardless, you should discover the nuisances of each blade so that your next purchase will be based on your needs and experience.
Good luck and enjoy that lovely set of knives. They really are very good :D

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Re: Newbie bought a seven piece set of Kramer Zwilling Meiji for $749 new

Post by michael1778 »

mauichef wrote:
Sun Sep 27, 2020 3:40 pm
howardarbutus wrote:
Sun Sep 27, 2020 2:14 pm
What size of gyoto knife should I get? I am going to use my existing set and see if I miss a larger knife. I am going to do some research before getting that knife to round off my set. Any recommendations as to brand, size,type?
Right now...don't even worry about it.
Get to know your knives. Use them and learn from them and about them.
You may find that a 210 is all you need.
But regardless, you should discover the nuisances of each blade so that your next purchase will be based on your needs and experience.
Good luck and enjoy that lovely set of knives. They really are very good :D
^^^ This.
No stress. Use them. Discover how they mesh with how you cook.
Those are very nice. --> Enjoy them <--

Check back in with us later once you have some experience with them. We will all be glad to chat with you about your needs or wants. 8-)

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Re: Newbie bought a seven piece set of Kramer Zwilling Meiji for $749 new

Post by TheLegalRazor »

A lot of people began their journey into the kitchen knife hobby with a set. Use your knives and you'll eventually realize that there are some which you use more than others. That realization is what will tell you what type of knife will be your next purchase. I expect you'll find that your 8" chef knife is what you use most.

You have a nice set of knives, which you acquired at a good price. Your set is better than many sets out there. Enjoy it and post some photos.
Last edited by TheLegalRazor on Fri Oct 02, 2020 4:10 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Newbie bought a seven piece set of Kramer Zwilling Meiji for $749 new

Post by Barashka »

At 50% Kramers are really good value. Though you probably won't use all the knives so that lessens things a bit.

You may have gotten slightly better value if you shopped around and bought 3 or 4 specific knives, but I don't think it'll be that much, they likely wouldn'tlook as good and you'd be spoiled for hoice and have a hard time picking out stuff if you don't know what you're looking for. Starting with a set is a great start .. starting with a really nice set, might save you some headaches later.

zKramers are very well performing knives. They are touch thicker behind the edge so can take an occasional punishment. I'd suggest getting a bare leather strop and use that instead of the honing rod. Then eventually get some stones.

Care: don't dishwash, use a strop weekly / biweekly.
Good deal: I'd say yes, espeically if you use the utility, chef's and slicing knives often enough. The fancy breadknife is just bonus and having a really nice parring knife is great for the few ocasions you really need it.
Sharpen: if you're not confident yet, it's fine to give it to a store to sharpen, but you can get a king kds stone and start practicign yourself ..

Life is too short to use a boring knife, Meijis are ceritanly not boring. Enjoy!

howardarbutus
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Re: Newbie bought a seven piece set of Kramer Zwilling Meiji for $749 new

Post by howardarbutus »

I like it. Life is certainly too short to have boring knives. I am going to use this phrase from now on.

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Re: Newbie bought a seven piece set of Kramer Zwilling Meiji for $749 new

Post by howardarbutus »

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Re: Newbie bought a seven piece set of Kramer Zwilling Meiji for $749 new

Post by howardarbutus »

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Re: Newbie bought a seven piece set of Kramer Zwilling Meiji for $749 new

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Re: Newbie bought a seven piece set of Kramer Zwilling Meiji for $749 new

Post by Bob Z »

Awesome looking bread knife! Looks like you got yourself a great set!

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Re: Newbie bought a seven piece set of Kramer Zwilling Meiji for $749 new

Post by Chappychap »

That looks a gazillion times better than my first set. I'm sure they'll serve you well. Be careful though, one you start appreciating quality knives and how sharpening can improve their performance, it can become quite a rabbit hole to go down!

Enjoy your new knives and welcome to next level kitchen prep.

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Re: Newbie bought a seven piece set of Kramer Zwilling Meiji for $749 new

Post by mauichef »

You absolutely scored mate :shock:

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