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View Full Version : Good kitchen knives Vs. GREAT kitchen knives.


Inky-
10-07-2002, 06:20 AM
About three years ago, I shelled out $30 for this set of kitchen knives (http://dyn.overstock.com/f/102/3117/1h/overstock.com/cgi-bin/d2.cgi?akamai=true&PAGE=PROFRAME&PROD_ID=29128&siteID=fxV.7vH_X.E-ljl_fT8fRlCX52VEi0jfTw) at one of those card-carrier discount stores, and I've never regretted the purchase. Good balance. Nice, substantial bolster. Stainless enough for my sloppiness while still soft and malleable enough for a quickie honing.

Anyway, my birthday is coming up, and my SO the Creepy Girl seems really psyched about getting me a proper chef's knife set. Secretly, I suspect she's just digging the idea of the all the research time spent at Williams-Sonoma and Bed, Bath and Beyond, but who am I to complain?

So, anybody got an opinion on the difference between a $30 set of Hoffritz chef's knives vs. a $300 set of Henkel's?

Mangetout
10-07-2002, 06:38 AM
Really cheap knives tend to be of the serrated 'never needs sharpening' type and are fine for slicing bread or tomatoes, but not very controllable with harder stuff like carrots. Plus the cheaper they are, the more likely they are to fall apart.

Much of this is subjective, so I'll offer this as opinion only; I only really use two knives in the kitchen; a tiny little one with a very thin, flexible three-inch blade which takes and holds a fantastic edge - great for thinly slicing onions etc, plus a large one with a broad, stiff blade that you can lean on when necessary to cut though difficult items (like when you're cutting parsnips or carrots lengthways).

I don't think there can be any absolute truths here though.

Inky-
10-07-2002, 06:57 AM
I'm with you MT, I myself rely almost exclusivly on two knives: my large Chef's knife for paring starchy bulbs, roots, tubors and herbs-to-be-finely-minced, and a paring knife for everything else. My longish utility knife I only use for slicing roasts thin for, say, beef stroganoff or de-boning fish. I have a serrated utility I pretty much only use for biting into tomatoes.

Cheesesteak
10-07-2002, 07:35 AM
The only comments I have is that the standard Henkels type knives require care and feeding that cheap knives generally don't. You have to use the steel all the time, and sharpen them manually to keep the edge nice. I don't think mine are quite as sharp as they could be and often use some small cheap knives for cutting little things.

<checking the link> Those ones you have actually look like very nice knives, If you like the way they work, tell your GF to get something else, or maybe just a knife or two to round out your set. I wouldn't bother upgrading unless they started to show wear or perform poorly.

Athena
10-07-2002, 08:51 AM
Do you really need a set of knives? I'm a fairly serious home cook, and 99% of the time I either use my 8" chef's knife or my 3" paring knife. I also have a cheapo serrated bread knife I use when I have homemade bread around, and a boning knife I use when I have large pieces of meat. The boning knife I could live without, and there's no reason to spend big bucks on a serrated bread knife - the cheap ones work just as well.

I have Henkels, and I love 'em. But you do need to sharpen them once every 6 months or so, so make sure to budget in a sharpener if you buy them. Unless you want to sharpen 'em waaaay more than that, you also need a steel, and like Cheesesteak says, you need to get in the habit of using it every time you use the knives. It keeps 'em sharper MUCH longer.

Interestingly enough, Cook's Illustrated just rated this (http://cutleryandmore.com/shop/details.asp?SKU=754) knife right up there with the $70-$80 Henkels and Wusthof chef's knives.

Barbarian
10-07-2002, 09:01 AM
I think the only real factor for a knife is the edge. Good knife, cheap knife, doesn't matter as long as you can put a good edge on it, and it will hold that edge long enough not to irritate you.

I don't think ripe tomatoes get impressed by the cachet of a Henckels knife :)

drachillix
10-07-2002, 09:40 AM
Originally posted by Inky-
So, anybody got an opinion on the difference between a $30 set of Hoffritz chef's knives vs. a $300 set of Henkel's?

Since I, like many of my fellow posters only use a couple knives you might want to try pointing her at a nice single knife and a new steel.

I have one of these

http://cooking.com/products/shprodde.asp?SKU=109297

That I use the hell out of. With the extra $230 she could buy you several other fun kitchen toys.

Dinsdale
10-07-2002, 11:04 AM
Bordain's Kitchen Confidential has a chapter in which he discusses knives. I recall he said the high end blades required considerable regular maintenance.
He highly recommended a reasonably priced alternative (the name of which I forget.)
But I'm kind of a slob in the kitchen, so I have no idea whether he was full of it or not.

Mangetout
10-07-2002, 11:09 AM
Second what drachillix said; get her to spend some oney on toys you do want; if it was me, I'd be asking for a large granite mortar & pestle.

Charlie Tan
10-07-2002, 12:34 PM
I agree with most posters here. I tend to use one knife, flexible, for fish en thin slicing. I got a new knife a couple of years ago, shaped like this one from global http://cutleryandmore.com/shop/details.asp?SKU=1067, but only about $50. I'll never go back. Things are so much easiser with the blade shaped like that. So that's two knifes for preparing food. I also have a knife for carving bread, which was about $3. It's abnout 15 years old, and still works fine.

So basically, getting a whole set of Sabatier, Victorinox or Global, which are the top three in the world, is just a waste of money.

Charlie Tan
10-07-2002, 12:41 PM
gah!
The hamster ate the link.
Try this one instead:
http://ishop.co.uk/ishop/930/shopscr197.html

Athena
10-07-2002, 12:54 PM
Originally posted by Barbarian
I think the only real factor for a knife is the edge. Good knife, cheap knife, doesn't matter as long as you can put a good edge on it, and it will hold that edge long enough not to irritate you.

I don't think ripe tomatoes get impressed by the cachet of a Henckels knife :)

I must respectfully disagree. The edge of the knife is very important, but it's not the only important quality of a good knife. Off the top of my head:

Balance: a good knife is balanced in your hand, and feels good to use.

Weight: Many people prefer a heavier blade over a light blade. IMO, a heavier blade is more stable and also lends its heft to the cutting process.

Blade shape: there are variations even among such standards as 8" chef's knives. Also, different sizes and shapes are used for different applications.

Blade thickness: a boning knife can have a flexible blade; a cleaver has a heavy blade.

Handle: Handles are shaped differently. A knife that fits nicely into your hand may not feel comfortable to someone else.

N9IWP
10-07-2002, 01:37 PM
I'm no master chef (but I did use a knife professionally as a prep cook-lots of slicing and dicing), But actually enjoy the ritual of taking the knife to the steel.

My brother (who is a professional chef) uses the sttel so fast it looks like a bad martial arts movie...

Brian
"oops, though this was MPSIMS"

Billy Rubin
10-07-2002, 01:55 PM
My best kitchen knives are handmade of L6 carbon steel, and hold an edge well. They require constant care and are not for people who are going to throw them in a drawer and use them once a week. In order of importance: Cleaver, boning knife, paring knife. I'm gonna make a chef's knife too, as soon as I can find the right piece of steel.

b.

deball
10-07-2002, 03:51 PM
I'm another 8" chef and 3" paring knife owner. Those two are Wusthoff Tridents, the rest of my knives are serated cheapies from Ross. I learned the value of a good chef's knife while working as a cook over the years and I actually had to bring my own at some places, as did all the other chefs.

If its sharp enough and you know how to handle it, you can use a chef's knife it for nearly everything but bread. I can dice tiny garlic cloves into specks with it, or shave them into paper thin slices. In fact, I could probably use it for everything I use the paring knife for, but it's just easier to use the little knife sometimes. Use the steel, just a few stokes to bring out the edge, and use a stone very carefully and seldomly.

Plus, I think there's something neat about having a few well made kitchen tools whose usefullness will outlive you and can be passed on.

JS Princeton
10-07-2002, 06:26 PM
I used to sell Cutco Knives (cutco.com) which are high-end knives that are rated second-to-none generally, only really competing with Henkels which are priced about twice as much. I hate the company, personally, but the knives are really good and less expensive than those German knives you get. You can't buy them in stores, basically you order them on-line or get a some slick-willy college student to come to your house for a "demonstration".

Generally, knives are up to personal preference. After selling Cutco, I bought myself a cheap set of $30 knives to use in my kitchen. They don't hold an edge, they rust, they make the Cutco salesfolk scream. I don't care. They're good enough for me. But then, I'm not a fan of the finer things. Give it to me cheap and I'll make it last is my motto.

MikeG
10-07-2002, 06:39 PM
The knives Tony Bourdain recommended are Global IIRC. Nice knives, great balance, coooool looking, but all you have for grip are little dimples ala a golf ball. I prefer my Henckels 3 Star knives with their full tang, full around pebbled nylon grip, and superb balance.
I also am in the two knives bandwagon. Actually I have many many knives but I only use two in any real amount.

My must have knife list:

8" Chefs ( I used to have a 10" but it was stolen :()
small paring knife with a sharp point
bread knife

I also have a 12" meat slicing knife (schinken messer) that I absolutely love. I consider it top be my mini Chefs Knife and I find myself reacing for it in places where I might also use a paring knife such as batons or tournades.

AskNott
10-07-2002, 07:52 PM
I believe the most important thing is how the knife feels in your hand. We have an old set of Cutcos; some are very nice. I never liked the butcher knife in the set, and the chef's knife was lost to a tragic event. My brother bought me a 12" Chicago chef, but it was too long to be comfortable. I bought a 10" Chicago chef knife, and I like it a lot. I have a nice 8" Case chef knife, but I have to use it at the edge of the board. There's no room underneath for my fingers.

The near perfect one is a Farberware 6" chef. The handle seems to be custom made for my hand, with a perfect curve on the spot where the handle meets the blade. The underside of the handle meets my fingers just right, and the handle has enough weight to counterbalance the blade. It's not an expensive knife, it just feels that way. :cool:

--Nott

JS Princeton
10-08-2002, 01:32 AM
AskNott, you should know that Cutco has a no questions asked return for refurbishment policy with a nominal charge of a few bucks per knife. Even tragically "lost" knives have been replaced by the home-plant for a song. I no longer sell the things, but I'm sure the policy is still there. You can send in any Cutco, even those that are 40 years old and missing handles, and get new ones or your old ones refurbished and given factory edges and needed repairs (whichever you request). It's their "Forever" Gaurantee.

Inky-
10-08-2002, 04:27 AM
Originally posted by drachillix
With the extra $230 she could buy you several other fun kitchen toys.

Just so's you folks don't get the wrong idea about me, I've tried fruitlessly to persuede the Creepy Girl that I'd much rather have the much less expensive Harry Potter Hogwarts castle toy (http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B00005NP4U.01-A3LTAW8FHJ63G2.LZZZZZZZ.jpg) to bookend my hardcover Harry Potter collection on my bookshelf, but nothing doing. I think she rather enjoys the fact that she's making money hand-over-fist at the moment while I'm unemployed. Kind of a payback for the fact that I'm a pretty good cook while the CG can't properly microwave a burrito (this isn't sour grapes, she'd confirm this)

--

S'true! I can't cook 4 shite. Besides why bother when I've got a defacto house husband eh? ..

- CG

--

Anyway, I was just looking for opinions as to what the difference way. Thanks all.

Inky

Barbarian
10-08-2002, 08:54 AM
Originally posted by Athena


I must respectfully disagree. The edge of the knife is very important, but it's not the only important quality of a good knife. Off the top of my head:

Balance: a good knife is balanced in your hand, and feels good to use.

Weight: Many people prefer a heavier blade over a light blade. IMO, a heavier blade is more stable and also lends its heft to the cutting process.

Blade shape: there are variations even among such standards as 8" chef's knives. Also, different sizes and shapes are used for different applications.

Blade thickness: a boning knife can have a flexible blade; a cleaver has a heavy blade.

Handle: Handles are shaped differently. A knife that fits nicely into your hand may not feel comfortable to someone else.

Nobody spends 3, 4, or 10 times more money on a knife because one knife has slightly better balance than another. They'll spend the money because they think it will hold a better edge.

It honestly goes without saying that you need to find a chef's knife with good balance-- mine is a 9". I do everything with that one knife because I can keep a good edge on it-- dice garlic, slice fresh bread, chop acorn squash. The only time I grab for a different knife is when I'm skinning salmon.

samclem
10-08-2002, 08:23 PM
a somewhat related anechdote. I was given a cutco potato/carrot pealer for my birthday a few years back. What a joy. I never knew you could peel stuff like that. Perhaps other commercial companies make a comparable thing, but I'm hooked

manhattan
10-08-2002, 08:39 PM
Off to IMHO.

Bottle of Smoke
10-08-2002, 10:22 PM
Put me in the just two (or three) knives camp as well. I have the 8 inch Global cook's knife (seen here (http://cutleryandmore.com/shop/details.asp?SKU=1073)) as well as a Global paring knife and they meet all my needs. I also have an old Chicago Cutlery bread knife that works pretty well so I haven't felt the need to replace it.

I like the Global cooks knife because it holds an edge well, it's light (although it may almost seem too light if you are used to German knives with more heft), and it is essentially one seamless pice of steel so it is really easy to keep clean.

Sarah Es Loca
10-08-2002, 10:31 PM
I don't know. I'm a little intrigued by those TV knives...they dice, they slice...they cut through sneakers? I mean, come on. If you don't use it in the kitchen, you can chop firewood or fight crime with it.

JavaMaven1
10-08-2002, 10:55 PM
Even though I cook professionally, I'm another one who basically uses her 10" Global about 80% of the time. Unless you do a tremendous amount of knife work at home, you really don't need any more than three knives--a chef's knife, a paring knife, and a serrated bread knife. Any more is generally a waste.

I became a Global convert for the same reasons Bottle of Smoke mentions. I especially like the weight because my hands do get tired after a day of chopping, and a lighter knife has made it far more easier to get through the day. It also holds an edge very well.

Dinsdale: The knives that Bourdain mentions in his book are Globals (and another Japanese brand). When he talks about regular maintenence, he's talking on a chef's point of view, of someone who is using that knife 40 hours a week. A regular home cook would probably only need to sharpen his knife about every 6 to 8 months, depending on how much he uses it (but steeling your knife every time you use it, no matter if you're a home cook or a professional chef, is still a good idea).

I am Sparticus
10-08-2002, 11:21 PM
Ceramic knives. About $100 per pop, a couple should do. They are harder than just about anything except diamonds, so they will never need sharpening, and in fact you shouldn't try. They never rust. They are also generally sharper than steel. The downside is that if you abuse knives, these will break as they are more brittle than steel.

fizgig
10-08-2002, 11:29 PM
I bought a nice set of Sabatier knives from Amazon for $100 spring. I'm quite pleased with them, and I'm glad I didn't break down and buy lesser knives. I only have to touch them up with the steel occasionally. Still, I use my one 6" Henckel's chef's knife most of the time. I think if I'd moved into the $300 or higher realm and gotten a full set of Henckel's or Wusthoff's I would switch out to the more appropriate blade more often. The main advantage to having more knives is not having to wash the blade when you switch between veggies and meat.

If you do get the good knives, be sure to get a block to keep them in, and know that you won't be able to send them through the dishwasher.

A good knife really is a joy.

partly_warmer
10-09-2002, 01:31 AM
I'm really glad this was brought up, because there seems to be an *enormous* amount of nonsense spread about knives.

When I was starting out, I bought at various times all the "best" knives. I still have a Sabatier in a drawer someplace. NOT A SINGLE ONE of those knives matched the (then) much cheaper brand recommended by Consumer Reports.

At first I thought it was me. I had a professional chef in the family instruct me on the proper way to sharpen. Yes, he could get one of his knives sharp, but it was work.

I asked him: why can't I just buy one of those cheapo self-sharpening knives? Oh-h-h-h-h, no! Can't do that! It's unfashionable! Little filings get in the food! The knife is worn down prematurely! All these years later I realized I could have saved myself much time and money buying a self-sharpening knife at Sears.

Alas, that opportunity is gone, since I like the knives I have, and don't want to learn how to use new ones.

If I sharpen these suckers with a normal steel I have to warn people in my kitchen they'll cut themselves because they won't be used to such sharp knives.

Forget all the imported, fancy, expensive knives. Although I've never tried the ceramic knives recommended by "I am Sparticus", I certainly wouldn't trade ANY of the other knives mentioned here for basic Chicago Cutlery.

They're often on sale at Macy's. Don't cut yourself.

DoctorJ
10-09-2002, 09:42 AM
I got a set of the cheapo Henkels about four years ago. It was a decent set of knives for the money, but they don't hold an edge for very long. I have to touch up the chef's knife every couple of months. (It doesn't help that I'm not very good at sharpening knives.)

I'm going to replace the chef's knife eventually; I'll probably go for a Global.

Dr. J

Athena
10-09-2002, 10:13 AM
Originally posted by DoctorJ
I got a set of the cheapo Henkels about four years ago. It was a decent set of knives for the money, but they don't hold an edge for very long. I have to touch up the chef's knife every couple of months. (It doesn't help that I'm not very good at sharpening knives.)

I'm going to replace the chef's knife eventually; I'll probably go for a Global.

Dr. J

For what it's worth, using a steel every time you use the knife will make it so you only have to do touch ups once every 6-12 months, depending on how much you use the knife. Really.

Urban Ranger
10-09-2002, 11:00 AM
A great set of knives should have a nice variety in shapes, curves, sizes, etc. Clearly the handles must be sturdy, preferably in one piece instead of glued/etc. together. You want the blades themselves to be high quality stainless steel and hard enough to hold an edge well.

I prefer using axes though. :D

Leifsmama
10-09-2002, 11:33 AM
Originally posted by Barbarian


Nobody spends 3, 4, or 10 times more money on a knife because one knife has slightly better balance than another. They'll spend the money because they think it will hold a better edge.

It honestly goes without saying that you need to find a chef's knife with good balance-- mine is a 9". I do everything with that one knife because I can keep a good edge on it-- dice garlic, slice fresh bread, chop acorn squash. The only time I grab for a different knife is when I'm skinning salmon.

Have you ever had to chop and slice for 8 to 10 hours a day? The edge is NOT the only thing to look for in a knife. I like Forchners a lot. Cheaper than Wustoff and Henkels with a better rock and more comfortable in my hand. I also love the 10" Global my father gave me for my birthday. The handle's weird at first but once you get used to it, it's a wonderful knife.

Motorgirl
10-10-2002, 10:03 AM
I have a Wusthoff Trident 7" chef's knife that I pad about $80 for, and I use it for most tasks. The rest of my knives are some cheapo things I received as a gift. The combination of the chef's knife and the cheapos meet all of my cutting needs.

I chose the Wusthoff because I was tired of having my hand cramp up after chopping for 15-20 minutes. The knives I had at the time did not lend themselves to long-term chopping, and I was looking for something more comfortable.
I went with the Wusthoff because it felt great when I was trying it out, and at the shops I had visited it was the only 7" offered. The 8" all felt too big for me, and the 6" too small.
I hav never regretted my choice, but I'll never replace the rest of my knives with expensive versions because for my purposes (home cook who occasioanlly cooks large quantities of food) there is really no need.
IMO, a whole set of expensive knives is overkill for your average home cook. Even one expensive knife might be overkill for someone like my sister, who hates to cook.

MissTake
10-10-2002, 11:06 AM
~~AAGGHHHHHH~~
Chicago Cutlery? Cutco? nope nope.

I have a gorgeous set of Wusthof Trident that I will NEVER give up. In another thread I noted that my ex-fiance's are chefs. When I booted them out, I kept the knives (OK, I could tell a story of what I did to FF2's 10" chefs knife that I bought him, but that could cause some to cringe).

I've used many, MANY knives, from Chicago Cutlery, Cutco, Henkels, Sabatier, and number other no names. I will only use Trident. Yes, I do have to baby them. My steel is my friend. I sharpen them myself with a whetstone and keep them in a professional roll.

I would much rather have a knife that is a harder steel (ie Trident, Henkels, Sabatier) that I may steel more often, than a softer blade (Chicago, Brownstone). And don't get me started on the "MIRACLEBLADE NEVER SHARPEN" crap... shudder.

Tomcat
10-10-2002, 02:42 PM
Steeling: for those lurkers who are reading but don't really know- That round metal stick with a handle that people use to 'sharpen' their knives is called a 'Steel'. You don't actually sharpen a blade with them- you just straighten out the edge. The steel is the same hardness, generally, as the knife, so no actual metal is being honed off.

The edge of a blade just tends to warp and fold-over after time, so steeling a blade keeps the leading edge straight, thus improving its cutting. You can even steel knives by running the blade backwards up the steel- which prevents cutting oneself accidentally. Another safe way to use them is to hold the knife steady and run the steel along the edge, either with or against the edge.

As for me, I generally use a 6.5" Henkel chef knife, but I have a few others that I use as well. I bought a Japanese vegetable knife (looks like a mini-cleaver) that has a great edge and allows me to cut veggies quickly. I also use a Cold Steele kitchen knife for my serrated/paring needs- great knife for that, but it can't cut meat worth dink.

I'm thinking of getting a larger chef knife- maybe a Global...Or even a Ceramic- I've heard good stories about them...unfortunately I hear that they can break if you drop them in the sink. I also recently bought a cleaver at IKEA on sale for $4! Big honkin' blade that'll cut through bone- gotta love it!

-Tcat

Barbarian
10-10-2002, 04:23 PM
Gerbils ate this the first time around...

originally posted by Leifsmama
Have you ever had to chop and slice for 8 to 10 hours a day? The edge is NOT the only thing to look for in a knife.

Why yes, I have worked in a restaurant (and catering too), although the longest I ever spent chopping without a break or switching jobs was 3 hours.

But you're misinterpreting my point. Balance is the first thing anyone looks for in a knife, and people will automatically reject knives that don't feel comfortable. When you get right down to buying something, you'll have a few knives in front of you with comparable balance, but different capabilities of holding an edge. It's the edge that a savvy user will be looking for.

wolfman
10-10-2002, 04:52 PM
Since this seems to be a pretty general discusion on knives, I have a knife etiquite question. I have a set of high carbon Regent Sheffield steak knives that I got when a grandmother died. They are the best steak knives I have by far. The problem is they are ugly as hell. Every idiot room mate I had in college could not seem to grasp the fact they should not be thrown in the dishwasher, or thrown into a sink full of water and dishes over night. Eventually I gave up and retired them, tired of having to scrape the rust off steel wool. but now that I'm living alone I brought them out. Thanks to the water the handles have all faded to different colors, and the blades are pitted and covered with a random blackness. When I hand them out at a dinner I get a bunch of looks like they are dirty(which they are not), and some people just don't use them, cutting the steak with a butter knife(My steaks are tender enough to cut with a butter knife, but that not the point :)) They still hold an egde very well, and it's not like steak knives get a whole lot of use. Is it bad form to serve with ugly knives? I suppose I could break out the dremel and buff the blades down, but I'm afraid it would wreck the steel.

stargazer
10-10-2002, 06:45 PM
Has anyone actually tried the "as seen on tv" knives, such as Miracle Blade (miracleblade.com)? They look awfully tempting, but I know that's the point. However, I also figure that 8 knives for $40 is a decent deal even if the knives are only okay. Another note is that, realistically, I'm not going to steel/sharpen my own knives at this point in my life, so it would probably be worthless for me to get first-class knives and ruin them. Anyone have actual experience with knives like the Miracle Blades?

partly_warmer
10-10-2002, 08:32 PM
Originally posted by MissTake
~~AAGGHHHHHH~~
Chicago Cutlery? Cutco? nope nope.

I have a gorgeous set of Wusthof Trident that I will NEVER give up. In another thread I noted that my ex-fiance's are chefs. When I booted them out, I kept the knives (OK, I could tell a story of what I did to FF2's 10" chefs knife that I bought him, but that could cause some to cringe).

I've used many, MANY knives, from Chicago Cutlery, Cutco, Henkels, Sabatier, and number other no names. I will only use Trident. Yes, I do have to baby them. My steel is my friend. I sharpen them myself with a whetstone and keep them in a professional roll.

I would much rather have a knife that is a harder steel (ie Trident, Henkels, Sabatier) that I may steel more often, than a softer blade (Chicago, Brownstone). And don't get me started on the "MIRACLEBLADE NEVER SHARPEN" crap... shudder. Ah, ha! It's seems you may have indirectly answered my questions on a couple issues that puzzled me.

1) Professional knives are best -- for professionals. No one I know keeps their knives as sharp as my (very casually treated and considerably abused) Chicago Cutlery. Except professional chefs. Conclusion: Professional knives are a waste of money for most people.

2) I'm guessing Chicago's softer steel (as you maintain it is) makes it easier to sharpen, and also causes it to go dull sooner. This causes no problems, because for many uses I don't need knives very sharp. So I avoid unnecessary fuss.

3) Yeah, I do want to know why self-sharpening knives are so awful. You do realize that with improvements to steel, and to machinery it's only a matter of time before self-sharpening knives are the only way to go? I don't own any, but if they save work, I'd switch in a flash.

Weirddave
10-10-2002, 08:47 PM
Cutco. Had a full set for almost 20 years, never had better. Trident, Heinkle, Sabitier? etc..Excellent knives, just not half as good as Cutco. The patented Double Dô edge that Cutco has is still sharp as a razor, even after almost 20 years of use. I hone the straight edge knives- butcher, chef, paring etc... a couple times a year and they hold the edge beautifuly as well. Get Cutco, you'll never look back.

MissTake
10-11-2002, 11:55 AM
1) Professional knives are best -- for professionals. No one I know keeps their knives as sharp as my (very casually treated and considerably abused) Chicago Cutlery. Except professional chefs. Conclusion: Professional knives are a waste of money for most people.
True. The other issue I have with Chicago is the wood handles. They easily crack/warp/splinter/pull away from the tang (shrinking/swelling).
2) I'm guessing Chicago's softer steel (as you maintain it is) makes it easier to sharpen, and also causes it to go dull sooner. This causes no problems, because for many uses I don't need knives very sharp. So I avoid unnecessary fuss.
You are quite correct. The more easily it dulls, the more easily it is sharpenable. I just prefer not to sharpen my knives very often. I grew up with the no-name knives (mom was 'afraid' of sharp objects) and was fine with it. Yes, she would kill a knife off in a few years due to repeated sharpening, but the cost/use ratio was low enough where she didn't mind it. Yes, I spent (10 years ago) a total of $1200 retail for my knives (I didn't pay that much-worked for a knife store), but I doubt I will have to replace anything but the paring knife and the kitchen shears.
3) Yeah, I do want to know why self-sharpening knives are so awful. You do realize that with improvements to steel, and to machinery it's only a matter of time before self-sharpening knives are the only way to go? I don't own any, but if they save work, I'd switch in a flash.
Many of the "self sharpening" knives are serrated. They cannot be sharpened. The teeth are too fine for it. You can hone the teeth off, but then you have a piece of REALLY bad steel, for the majority of the brands out there. I've seen the infomercial for the "NEVER SHARPEN CUTS CONCRETE" knifes many times, and yes they are just fine for everyday in home general use. But I prefer to dice, not slice. You cannot dice with a serrated edge-it's a saw. IMO, it's like comparing a Honda with a Mercedes. Yeah, they'll both get you to where ya want to be, but there's a HUGE difference in how you get there.

Weirddave: Did you sell Cutco, by any chance? You sound remarkably like the Cutco reps that would come in and try to get us to buy the stuff. I have tried Cutco. Like the knives I noted above, they work, but they (again, IMO) ain't all that.

partly_warmer
10-11-2002, 03:29 PM
Originally posted by MissTake
True. The other issue I have with Chicago is the wood handles. They easily crack/warp/splinter/pull away from the tang (shrinking/swelling).Your answers have laid to rest more troublesome questions than my reading this whole week, thanks. Chicago makes two versions: one with the more typical plastic-type handle. I like the wooden ones because they feel nicer, but they may not be available anymore, anyhow.
Yes, I spent (10 years ago) a total of $1200 retail for my knives (I didn't pay that much-worked for a knife store), but I doubt I will have to replace anything but the paring knife and the kitchen shears.I thot your technique was to claim them as plunder from battles with ex-fiances. . . .
Many of the "self sharpening" knives are serrated. They cannot be sharpened. The teeth are too fine for it. You can hone the teeth off, but then you have a piece of REALLY bad steel, for the majority of the brands out there.The kind I was thinking about was the straight edge sort that are housed in a storage unit that sharpens the blade as it's taken out and replaced.

Kaththee
11-05-2012, 01:28 AM
Cutco. Had a full set for almost 20 years, never had better. Trident, Heinkle, Sabitier? etc..Excellent knives, just not half as good as Cutco. The patented Double Dô edge that Cutco has is still sharp as a razor, even after almost 20 years of use. I hone the straight edge knives- butcher, chef, paring etc... a couple times a year and they hold the edge beautifuly as well. Get Cutco, you'll never look back.

This upset me so much I joined to set the record straight. My neighbor's son sold Cutco knives to everyone in our neighborhood and they are not good knives for the money. I bought the Cutco kitchen scissors which cost me around 100 dollars total and they are now worthless. I know I can send them in for sharpening but it isn't worth the effort. They no longer cut anything much less a penny. (Cutting a penny is part of their sale pitch). The joint in the scissors is stiff and the thing no longer works. They have caveats in their guarantee and considering all the hype in their advertising I tend to not trust them. Still there is no comparison between Trident, Henckles, Sabatier and Cutco knives which use the cheapest steel 440A versus the fine 440C of Henckles). Cutco are stamped not forged like the high quality knives. They say their knives are "surgical quality steel" but that is just hype. They are made a inferior steel to the brands Weirdave mentioned. They don't have bolsters (a little piece of steel at the end of the blade behind the heel) which helps with balance and safety. Just looking at the blade stuck straight into the handled without a bolster makes me shudder. The "Double D" edge is just a variation of a serrated edge. You must send them in to have them sharpened which adds up and is expensive. Plus they aren't even patented. I read that was another lie. The handles are just cheap injection molded plastic. Plus they are NOT full tang knives. The tang is steel part of the tool that extends into the handle. A full tang extends the full length of the tool into handle which makes the knife very balanced and is what you will find in Trident, Henckles and Sabatier. Cutco are very expensive too. You pay more for them than Henckles but you get much less. I own a mixture of Henckles 4 stars and a few Sabatier Commercial knives. My four main knives are Henckles 4 Stars (three chef's knives and one paring knife) and I love them. I have had them for decades too. When Sabatier went on sale I bought a few of them to fill out my collection. I don't baby them at all and they are still amazing knives. My husband collects knives and keeps mine nice and sharp. My neighbor bought the Cutco knives and paid so much more money just years ago and they are just terrible. I hated reaching for a knife in her kitchen. Please don't be taken by those crooks.

Spoons
11-05-2012, 01:47 AM
Do zombies use knives?

Regardless, I have been very pleased with the Henckels knives I acquired some years ago. They have worked very well in my kitchen.

Cheesesteak
11-05-2012, 09:24 AM
10 year update

The Henckels knives I had back in my first post are still my go-to blades in the kitchen. I did add a couple of Wusthof blades thanks to a marriage, they are also lovely knives. A couple of weeks ago, I spent maybe 45 minutes at the dining room table with a sharpening stone, giving them all a nice edge. Once or twice a year, that is not too much to ask of a quality blade.

Mangetout
11-05-2012, 09:36 AM
What's the best knife for cutting text walls into paragraphs?

Ellen Cherry
11-05-2012, 10:44 AM
This is a quite old thread and most of the links are dead, and possibly some of the participants in this thread. ;)

Kaththee, we're glad to have you at Straight Dope and hope you'll stick around. I am, however, going to close this thread to new comments for the above-stated reasons. If anyone would like to continue a discussion of knives, please feel free to open a new thread in Cafe Society (http://boards.academicpursuits.us/sdmb/forumdisplay.php?f=13), a forum that did not yet exist when this thread was started. I am going to move this whole thread there, where it can still be read.

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