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Sun Dec 7, 2014, 06:09 PM

Any recommendations on kitchen knives?

I need a good quality knife for general chopping. What do you use? Or what would you buy if you had to get a new one?

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Reply Any recommendations on kitchen knives? (Original post)
bif Dec 2014 OP
Thor_MN Dec 2014 #1
Kali Dec 2014 #3
Warpy Dec 2014 #7
Thor_MN Dec 2014 #8
Major Nikon Dec 2014 #10
sir pball Dec 2014 #16
Kali Dec 2014 #2
pscot Dec 2014 #4
Warpy Dec 2014 #5
cbayer Dec 2014 #6
Snarkoleptic Dec 2014 #9
MrMickeysMom Dec 2014 #12
Snarkoleptic Dec 2014 #13
MrMickeysMom Dec 2014 #14
flamin lib Dec 2014 #11
sir pball Dec 2014 #15
Retrograde Dec 2014 #17
Paladin Dec 2014 #18
Vinca Dec 2014 #19

Response to bif (Original post)

Sun Dec 7, 2014, 06:42 PM

1. A well sharpened cheap knife beats a dull expensive knife.

 

Being able to keep knives sharp is the most important part in my opinion. Used to drive me insane when my mother and my siblings could not put knives back as they found them in my kitchen. The sharp side of the blade goes UP in a vertical slot in a knife block. Resting the knife on it's most important part, it's edge, makes absolutely no sense, but that's what they do. They don't get to use my knives any more.

I'm sure others will weigh in with specific knives, but my advice is to learn how to sharpen them or at least how to keep them sharp.

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Response to Thor_MN (Reply #1)

Sun Dec 7, 2014, 06:45 PM

3. heh - see my post below

similar issues

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Response to Thor_MN (Reply #1)

Sun Dec 7, 2014, 06:58 PM

7. My mother had cheap knives. Two passes through a head of cabbage dulled them

and that's the main difference between expensive and cheap knives, whether or not the steel is adequately hard to hold an edge for a night of serious cooking.

Cheap knives are not.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #7)

Sun Dec 7, 2014, 07:06 PM

8. Take the highest quality knife you can find it and let it get dull and it isn't worth picking up.

 

The cheapest knives are crap, no denying that. But a properly sharpened "good" knife is safer and better than a dull "best quality" knife. One can spend hundreds of dollars for a single knife and turn it to garbage in weeks.

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Response to Thor_MN (Reply #8)

Sun Dec 7, 2014, 09:12 PM

10. Some cheap knives aren't all that bad

The Chinese are getting better at making quality steel and while Chinese steel won't match the very best western or Japanese steel, it's still quite good. Even most expensive knives are now made in China, but many of those use western or Japanese steels and do the forging and construction in China. While most Chinese steel doesn't retain an edge all that well, they tend to be easier to sharpen. As you say, the most important aspect is keeping the knife sharp, regardless of the quality of the knife.

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #10)

Tue Dec 9, 2014, 10:42 PM

16. Mercer's been outsourcing the manufacturing lately, but still using good material.

They ship their X50 stock (the same stuff Wusthof and Henckels use) to Taiwan and have it hand-forged into knives that are functionally equal to anything German-made, for under forty bucks. I actually have a set that I got at my top-tier culinary school and they're quite serviceable for a home cook or student. I'd recommend them pretty much without reservation.

That being said, I'm a geek who lives and dies by my knives so I go for steels that are a little esoteric even in Japan (SG2 and Super Aogami are my favorites), with a much more flexible budget.

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Response to bif (Original post)

Sun Dec 7, 2014, 06:44 PM

2. got the husband a farberware santuko at wallyworld of all places (ugh, but local)

so he would leave my good knives alone - he loves it so much I am tempted to get one myself - it is pretty good for chopping

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Response to bif (Original post)

Sun Dec 7, 2014, 06:52 PM

4. I have two Henckel

chefs knives, a 10" and an 8", that I use every day. They take an edge well. There are grades; the ones with riveted handles are cheaper, but the handles tend to crack at the rivets. The solid handles have a nicer feel too. I use Victorinox paring knives; $6 bucks at Amazon with free shipping. I have a drawer full of knives that I never use. They seem to multiple like coat hangers.

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Response to bif (Original post)

Sun Dec 7, 2014, 06:55 PM

5. I use either a MAC santoku or Chinese cleaver

depending on the job. The MAC stays razor sharp with only a pass across unglazed pottery every couple of weeks and I keep the Chinese cleaver almost as sharp.

I have a mandoline, but find I use it only when I've got a lot of slicing to do.


http://www.cutleryandmore.com/mac-professional/hollow-edge-santoku-knife-p18059

If you've got larger hands and need a chef's knife, they have those too. I can't praise MAC knives highly enough. The Japanese steel really does tend to hold an edge with very little maintenance for many years. Mine is almost 8 years old and requires only ceramic to return it to pristine condition.


ETA: And they're on sale!

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Response to bif (Original post)

Sun Dec 7, 2014, 06:57 PM

6. I am really happy with my Victorinox knives.

They are reasonably prices and as good as I need.

I use my chef's knife the most, my paring the second and my bread knife third. I rarely use my carving knife and probably could have skipped it.

I bought them at a restaurant supply store and am pretty religious about keeping them sharp with my oiled stone and keeping them covered.

There are better knives, I am sure, but i think this is a quality buy.

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Response to bif (Original post)

Sun Dec 7, 2014, 08:18 PM

9. I have several Wusthof - Grand Prix knives and am certain they will last a lifetime.

Last edited Sun Dec 7, 2014, 11:51 PM - Edit history (1)

For general chopping, I recommend the 9" cooks knife and a sharpener from the same company.

I picked up my first one at Williams-Sonoma about 15 years ago and have added a number of them since.
I consider the 6" utility knife, 9" cooks knife, and 6 1/2" santoku to be absolute essentials for my day-to-day cooking.

http://www.wusthof.com/usa/products/product-overview/cutlery/grand-prix-ii/9600-646
Forged from one piece of specially tempered high carbon steel to ensure outstanding strength.
Excellent ergonomics.
Perfectly balanced for effortless cutting.
Seamless hygienic fit of the handle.
Synthetic handle, full tang handle.
Long-lasting extreme sharpness, thanks to PEtec - WÜSTHOF’s Precision Edge Technology

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Response to Snarkoleptic (Reply #9)

Mon Dec 8, 2014, 08:41 PM

12. I have a Wusthof "classic", think it's about 8 inches… and use it for everything...

I picked this up at Williams-Sonoma, too, and think I spent something like $87 for it. I got a sharpener, learned how to sharpen, and it goes, baby.

I learned after a few trips to the ER how to use it, heh-heh...

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Response to MrMickeysMom (Reply #12)

Mon Dec 8, 2014, 11:57 PM

13. Kinda brings back a sore memory when I see "mickey" in your screen name...

One year I sliced off around 80% of the tip of my left thumb (just past the fingernail) using my Wusthof. This was the night before a trip to Disney world, so I pressed the flap back into place, dunked it in hydrogen peroxide and bandaged it up. Fortunately, I had no issues and continued to change the bandages with a healthy glob of triple antibiotic ointment.

I still keep them all razor sharp as they say a dull knife is more dangerous than a sharp one (my hacked up thumb notwithstanding).

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Response to Snarkoleptic (Reply #13)

Tue Dec 9, 2014, 12:07 AM

14. Man, that's a better treatment outcome than my ER stitches!

I'm still kind of "numb" on that ring finger!

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Response to bif (Original post)

Mon Dec 8, 2014, 12:30 PM

11. I did extensive research a couple of years ago and came up with two options.

Mercer and Dexter Russell. Both are commercial grade manufacturers. I settled on the Dexter Russel because I like the warmth of rosewood handles and I got to use them at a factory demo. Mercer supplies knives to all the major cooking schools.

If all you want is a sharp edge that is easy to maintain and holds an edge for a looooooog time buy the stamped and formed blades with plastic handles. That's what restaurants use. However both brands offer "front of the house" sets; the stuff the chef uses when serving at a buffet line. Forged blades with thick bolsters and solid tangs. Very attractive and made from the same steel as the work-a-day stamped and formed blades.

You can buy a set of Mercer Genesis with a cool stand for what a 10" chef's knife in the German and Japanese brands costs.

I've had my DRs for a few years and typically sharpen them on a very fine whetstone maybe once a year and use a good quality butcher's steel once a month or so. My test for sharpening is when the chef's knife will no longer slice a ripe tomato with only the weight of the blade--hold the knife at the very back of the handle with two fingers and slide it across the tomato.

http://www.mercercutlery.com/professional-cutlery/genesis-collection

http://knives.dexter1818.com/

They may be available at a restaurant supply store near you and discounted well below list price. I got mine for 30% off without even asking.

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Response to bif (Original post)

Tue Dec 9, 2014, 11:36 AM

15. Depends on how much you want to spend

And how much maintenance you want to do. Me, I use some pretty exotic, expensive stuff, but my knife is the single most important tool for my job so it is quite a bit different for me. You aren't going to need $1500+ of various kinds of knives, but on the other hand, you aren't going to walk out for $50 all day.

Anyway, without going all knife-geek on blade shapes and types of steel and construction methods, I'd suggest a decent Japanese-made, Western-style 8" chef's knife, specifically a Shun Classic along with a simple manual sharpener, $135 out the door. ALWAYS wash it by hand, and give it one or two swipes through the sharpener before you put it away, and it'll last you a lifetime. If that's too rich for you, anything forged from Target or Bed Bath & Beyond beats anything stamped; the most important thing is still to get a sharpener and use it neurotically! If you get a Western knife though, get a Western sharpener - Japanese blades have a much narrower edge so the "Asian" sharpener I linked will mangle a Cuisinart or Chicago Cutlery forged blade.

Now if you want to know what I use, a 270mm Mizuno Tanrejo Akitada Hontanren wa-guyto. It's expensive, difficult to sharpen and maintain, and it handles like nothing else I've ever used:


Also a Togiharu G1 petty knife, there's some things you simply can't do with a chef's knife..

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Response to bif (Original post)

Tue Dec 9, 2014, 11:29 PM

17. My favorite is my 8" Wusthoff chef's knife

followed closely by a no-name brand paring knife I found in an apartment I lived in 40 years ago (which, along with a nice saucepan, none of my roommates claimed was theirs). My DH uses a 10" chef's knife, which I find uncomfortable: he's a foot taller, though, and gets better leverage on it.

If you can, buy your knives at a store that lets you try them to see how they feel in your hand.

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Response to bif (Original post)

Fri Dec 12, 2014, 11:24 AM

18. Get carbon steel blades rather than stainless steel, if possible.

Carbon steel is softer and much easier to keep sharpened, in my experience. Sharp knives are a hell of a lot safer to use than dull ones.

I've got an old set of Sabatier kitchen knives that are just about worn out; will probably replace them with Henckels.

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Response to bif (Original post)

Fri Dec 12, 2014, 06:32 PM

19. I've had all kinds of expensive knives, but my favorites are the ultra cheap Rada knives.

They never seem to get dull and if you happen to damage one, it's not a big disaster. That said, I'm not sure if they make the kind of knife you might use for chopping.

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