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Thursday, 25 October 2012

A frenzy of farkles.....

The last couple of days have been pretty good in terms of farkles, albeit quite diverse in function.  The first item arrived in the post yesterday....

A fellow Street Triple owner in Perth, Australia (cheers Allan!) alerted me to some very nice swing arm crash bobbins on EBay.  I don't plan on crashing anytime soon (fingers and everything else crossed) but their design has another nice feature.  As the Triple only has a side stand, lubricating the chain and doing laser wheel alignment requires the use of a paddock stand.  With the previous home made locators for the stand arms, there was always a risk of scratching the paint. The new crash bobbins double as locators for my paddock stand and the shape of them keeps the arms clear of the swing arm too.  Relatively unobtrusive as well.  A great result all round!


The new swing arm bobbins/paddock stand locator

The next farkles arrived by courier today......

With the exception of the Damascus Steel carving knife we commissioned  a few years back (story and photos HERE ), our kitchen knives purchased over the past 4 decades have been cheap and utter crap (a technical term) and simply won't hold an edge.  In fact, a carpentry saw might give a better result. I suppose I'm the last of the moto-bloggers to cotton on to the value of really good kitchen knives!!!

Finally losing patience, we recently investigated what might be described as high end kitchen knives.  The first reaction was "Bloody heck" (another technical term), mainly as a result of the eye-watering price.  I reckon that NZ kitchen accessory shops could teach the Mafia a lesson or two in terms of extortion.  Fortunately, the Internet is a wondrous thing and we found a supplier in the US who specialises in internet sales to keep overheads to a minimum.  Not only would they ship to NZ at a saner price but he gave some excellent impartial advice to help us navigate through the bewildering minefield of specifications.  Their advice was that you didn't need many knives at all, but quality was everything.  We ended up with these 4 knives:

Tojiro ITK 270mm blade bread knife (also great for melons and the like)

It has a thin, hard core to keep a lethal edge, sheathed with a surgical grade stainless steel and like all the knives we bought, the general "feel" and balance is light years ahead of our other knives.

These are the rest:

Wusthof Ikon 4 1/2" utility knife, Wusthof Classic 6" serrated utility knife, Tojiro 15cm utility knife

Haven't had time to use them properly yet but have seen an impressive demo of the bread knife on YouTube and at lunchtime, I cut a soft tomato with the serrated utility knife - it's like it's cutting through air!!!  Incidentally, the Wusthof Ikon 4 1/2" utility knife was the most expensive of the lot at just under US$100 - go figure that one! At least Jennie can't grizzle about the outrageous price of bike accessories any more!

As a final comment, I'm inclined to think that internet shopping has made suppliers world-wide really lift their game in terms of quality of service.  Whether it be motorcycle parts or anything else, I'm  struggling to think of an example of having been on the receiving end of poor service in the last couple of years. If only the same could be said of our local councils and some notorious banks where poor service is the norm, rather than the exception!

Addendum:
A nice sharpening jig arrived today.  You can set the sharpening angle and it comes with 4 stones between 400 and 1800 grit.  Tried it on one of our crappy old knives and it works perfectly.  I'm useless with a steel and this delivers a professional finish even when operated by a complete idiot like me!

 Idiot-proof sharpening jig




18 comments:

  1. Gepff:

    those paddock sliders look great. I have a set of spools on my Vstrom so you can use a rear stand to lift the rear wheel. Yes, I also have a centre stand but M/C mechanics like to use the rear stands.

    We also are starting to purchase better knives, started giving our older ones away. You're right about not needing many, just a few will do but they have to be good ones

    bob
    Riding the Wet Coast
    My Flickr // My YouTube

    PS: just make sure you don't tell Jennie you ordered more parts on-line whilst she has a knife in her hands

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  2. Bob:
    So you use them even with a centre stand..... from the protection aspect I suppose. I like paddock stands because of their greater stability.

    We do have a really nice cleaver, but that tends to be a bit limited in its application. Our kids have better knives than we did until today so we can't use them as a dumping ground! Guess they'll languish in the shed for a while.

    Good point!! I'd like some front bobbins which attach to the engine but they're pretty expensive so I'll be sure to heed your advice thanks. You sound like a gentleman of considerable experience in these matters :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Geoff:

      Thanks, but I'm no expert on anything. I just babble and make a lot of noise.

      The centre stand on my Vstrom takes a great deal of effort to "get it up". I also have front and rear stands but I have the ones with the lever at the rear and I always worry when I put it down. I would prefer a rear stand with the lever towards the front, that way you could be standing beside your bike, rather than from behind.

      The centre stand on my Nu2me Beemer "gets up" without any effort as it is so well balanced

      bob
      Riding the Wet Coast
      My Flickr // My YouTube

      Delete
    2. Bob,
      The stand on my Beemer was nigh on perfect too - good Teutonic engineering. The Blackbird was a bit of a nightmare, especially loaded so the sidestand got a fair bit of use!

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  3. Good knives are a great investment and I think that getting them sharpened professionally is a wonderful investment. Sharpening steel just hones the edge and don't sharpen.

    A while ago I received a couple of ceramic knives as a gift and they are frightfully sharp. I think they cut through things like tomatos just by proximity...

    ReplyDelete
  4. Richard, got to agree with you about sharpening. To protect our investment, we've just ordered a jig which sharpens to a precise angle and uses 4 grades of sharpening stone. I border on incompetent using a steel!

    I've never seen a ceramic knife close up. Any problems with chipping? I've read in a review that you have to treat them with care.

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  5. Geoff, great knives. We gave our son a set of Shun knives for his 21st birthday. They were individually selected based on advice from a neighbour who is a chef. I'm actually scared of the buggers, they're that sharp!

    We bought online, but from an Australian vendor. Here is their URL (I have no affiliation)
    http://www.everten.com.au/Shun-Classic-Knives.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jules,
      Wow!! You showed great taste and I hope that your son appreciated the magnificent gesture!

      I've just done a very quick comparison between the website you mentioned and the people in the US I used (http://www.chefknivestogo.com/keshclkn.html). I only looked at 1 item but the Shun carving set is AU$349 and US$269 respectively. As there's only 4% difference between the currencies at present, much cheaper from the US in that instance at least.

      Delete
  6. Yes they do feel fragile and I would never use them for cutting anything with bones where you would be tempted to pry (like chicken). They cut through everything as if it was warm butter. And if they are dropped onto a hard floor they probably would bread. But I've have had them for about five years now and someone broke the tip off the paring knife but they are still very sharp.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Richard,
      Thanks for a user perspective. I'm quite tempted to get one just to play around with!

      Delete
  7. Those are some pretty serious knives. When do you learn to juggle?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Brandy. I think the only juggling I'll be doing is carefully juggling between baiting Jennie and being super nice to her now that she has some wicked weapons at her disposal ;-).

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    2. Just as long as you know when to retreat, or at least know how far her reach is.

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    3. When I get "THE LOOK", that's the time to back off but if you don't see any blogs for the next few weeks, please send in the cavalry :-)

      Delete
    4. What is the "calvary" supposed to do? The next of kin doesn't need to be notified....

      ;-)

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    5. Oh haha :-).

      The Cavalry might rescue me, Calvary might be the place I get crucified if not rescued.

      Isn't it about time for your hibernation? ;-)

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  8. Wuesthof is a great brand, I myself have a couple of them in the knife block. I love japanese cooking knives the most, they are fun to handle (not for the hubby though, he gets cut every time he picks one up).

    You need good tools in the garage and the same goes for your kitchen.

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  9. Hi Sonja,
    Really encouraging to hear of your experience, but not Roland's! Looking forward to not struggling when cutting things up!

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