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Knife Advice?
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GaryProtein



Joined: 26 Oct 2005
Posts: 535

PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2008 12:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dilbert wrote:
if I had to go whack 25 pounds of onions to a fine dice ala' a restaurant prep station, no quibble in my mind I'd be looking for a bigger knife _and_ a bigger cutting board <g>

can't think of when I need to attack more that one large onion.... oh, did onion soup - actually, got out the mandolin and whacked'em real fast.


About the mandolines, Cooks Illustrated tested mandolines in the last couple of months and liked the $50 Oxo best---better than the $300 All-Clad. That sure caught my eye. I'm in the market for a mandoline but haven't pulled the trigger yet.
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Dilbert



Joined: 19 Oct 2007
Posts: 1005
Location: central PA

PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2008 11:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

interesting - I got the OXO Good Grips as a present about 2-3 years back - does a good job - easy adjust, easy clean.
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rembrant



Joined: 30 Jun 2008
Posts: 11
Location: Santa Cruz Mountains

PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2008 10:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dilbert wrote:
if I had to go whack 25 pounds of onions to a fine dice ala' a restaurant prep station, no quibble in my mind I'd be looking for a bigger knife _and_ a bigger cutting board <g>

can't think of when I need to attack more that one large onion.... oh, did onion soup - actually, got out the mandolin and whacked'em real fast.

2-3 carrots and a clip; perhaps two stalks of celery... the odd parsnip or turnip.... on a "home" scale the 10" is really big enough, methinks.

I like the six inch chefs for small tasks because it is very easy to control - not so much "aiming&hoping" involved - radishes, 2-3 scallions, smashed garlic clove or three, shallots, skinny chilies.... rarely rarely used on meat cuts, come to think of it.

the eight inch chef is my all purpose - disassembling chicken, trimming meat cuts / fat, larger qty of veg prep, etc.


Where I cook it's more like dicing a 50# sack of onions,then florretting 2 cases of broccoli and in the afternoon there's that 8 10# sacks of half frozen beef,and a dozen buns of fresh basil. My slicer is also important.

I recommend the Kershaw Wasabi 8 1/2" Deba for a "brute force" knife. The single edge stays sharp through some very rough work and it won't chip. It's steel is probably around a 58 rockwell,close to a Forschner which is also rugged,but not quite as burly as that deba.

Shun does make very good knives,it's another brand of Kai/Kershaw.
The various Shun lines are typically laminates with a core of VG 10 (aka VG Gold) steel which is usually treated to 59-61 rockwell and is relatively tough and corrosion resistant for being that hard. Several other Japanese premium knives also use a VG 10 core. The only step up beyond that is a powder steel super alloy like Cowry X but that is VERY expensive.

Even with VG 10....you have to EARN it. For home use, I'd probably do a touch-up sharpening once a month. At work...it's more like twice a week.
Learning to sharpen WELL is almost a rite of passage if you want to have a premium Japanese knife. Until your skills on the stone are pretty good.....my $30 Forschner will out cut a $130 Misuno. The advantage of a HARD core is you can lay down a very LOW angle,more acute,and that very fine edge won't quickly blunt. Many knives can take a sharper angle than the factory edge,Forschner's are a good example.

A blade that is relatively thin can sharpen up more than a thicker spined blade. The premium Forged Forschner can't get as sharp as the stamped type,which has a much thinner blade. The forged model may last 100 years....but I won't. MAC has favored a rather thin blade. The round tipped 7" in their original series is a knife that can get VERY sharp and is light. It's not as hard as a VG 10 but costs less and is sweet as a fast/sharp/lightweight. I have a Kershaw 7" 7700 clad. It has a VG7 core..which is like VG 10 minus the cobalt. It's a bit like a Shun for poor folk. Very nice,very sharp,ergonomic,not real easy to find them. I got mine on a special at about half price.

I like having a workhorse chef's 8 or 10",a big Deba that can take abuse,a sharp flexy slicer (no dimples) a fast/VERY sharp light "small" chef's or Santuko, a boner-utility and a small decent parer. The full size Chef's and the small Chef's/santuko is where I'd be willing to spend a bit extra.
A serrated bread knife may also be useful. No point in spending a lot on a serrated. My Forschner slicer is sharp enough that it serves me as a bread slicer rather well.

For a paring knife, a good grip is probably more relevant than fancy steel.
I don't use a parer much and the one in my kit is rather generic but the handle is just right for agility and control.
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