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Knives for Keen Home Kithchen Cook
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Dilbert



Joined: 19 Oct 2007
Posts: 1013
Location: central PA

PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2008 1:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

...big knives -
when I got my Wuesthof knives, it was more economical to buy a set and then fill in the "missing" pieces - even tho the 10" chef would not have been on my list....

the 10" requires too much vertical motion when 'rocking&chopping' to suite me - me is me, and other folks is them <g>

so I got a 6" in chef, over time found that too short for many tasks, so I then bought the 8" chef - now I have a plethora - but it's the 8" and 6" that get a work out around here.

Buzz - thanks for the explain on steels - I see your point about softer/harder; makes sense to me.

it's probably heresy, but frankly I think the whole "sharpening" thing is overdone.

if I were a professional cooking artisan making exquisite rose flowers from paper thin sliced radish, I would certainly be Nr. 1 in line at the "let's sit down and spend an hour or two every day sharpening and honing our knives" table.

but I'm not.
I eat everyday, I cook everyday, I use knives everyday.
I'm really not so concerned that I can clean cut through strips of newspaper tossed in the air with no trace of tearing . . .
I do insist my knives work with minimum effort and I require quick and easy 'methods' to maintain them in good condition.

hence I tend to pass on the exquisitely crafted knives in favor of something more practical for 'my situation' - I have absolutely no doubt they are fine tools, etc., but 'they don't fit my needs' - albeit in a 'reverse' direction <g>
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PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 1:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dilbert wrote:

it's probably heresy, but frankly I think the whole "sharpening" thing is overdone.

if I were a professional cooking artisan making exquisite rose flowers from paper thin sliced radish, I would certainly be Nr. 1 in line at the "let's sit down and spend an hour or two every day sharpening and honing our knives" table.

but I'm not.
I eat everyday, I cook everyday, I use knives everyday.
I'm really not so concerned that I can clean cut through strips of newspaper tossed in the air with no trace of tearing . . .
I do insist my knives work with minimum effort and I require quick and easy 'methods' to maintain them in good condition.

hence I tend to pass on the exquisitely crafted knives in favor of something more practical for 'my situation' - I have absolutely no doubt they are fine tools, etc., but 'they don't fit my needs' - albeit in a 'reverse' direction <g>


I couldn't agree more where 99.9% of cooks are concerned. I'm part of the .1% and wouldn't be caught dead with knives less sharp than razors. The extreme example is my 165mm Hitachi White steel Usuba. It is angled at 8 degrees on one side and 0 degrees on the other, 8 degree included angle. Razor blades are generally 7 degrees per side for a 14 degree included angle. Properly stropped with .5 micron chromium oxide, a knife like this passes the Murray Carter three finger test with flying colors. http://cartercutlery.com/tips/bt2_007.htm

Most of the rest of my vegetable slicers are profiled at 8-10 degrees per side which might sound dull relative to the Usuba but are incredibly sharp when compared to an off the shelf German knife at 22 degrees (or more) per side. I get a weirdly insane pleasure feeling a blade slice completely through a tomato under little more than its own weight.

Why? It's just me. My wife is the head chef in the family and does three quarters of the cooking around here. Although I love to cook, I get at least equal pleasure in the collecting of kitchen cutlery and producing edges that others don't realize exist. Wink

Buzz
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buzzard767



Joined: 30 Jan 2008
Posts: 21

PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 1:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oop. Forgot to log in....
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rembrant



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

PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2008 12:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

beamer wrote:
Thanks for that quick reply. im in the right ballpark by the sounds of it Smile

Sizes are a little different though, Ive ordered a 10" Chef knife and a 3" paring knife. As for the boning knife there are so many different styles, is there one which is a general purpose? (boning/sticking,5/6/7",curved/straight,narrow/wide,flexible/rigid)
Whew! thats a lot of options for a novice lol


I've used a 430-10 Forschner Chef's as a proffessional cook since the late 70's and still feel it's the ultimate workhorse. Restaurant/commercial kitchens tend to have the Norton Tri Stone,a big unit with 11x3 stones. You can do well just with the coarse and fine India which bought seperate are not too pricey.
A waterstone or hard Arkansas can get a SLIGHTLY sharper edge on a Forschner..but not by much. I used to drop a cherry tomato and clean cut it midair to prove I'd got a good edge.

The Nortons are supposed to be OIL stones...DO NOT use oil. Wet the stone with a bit of water. You want to get the most acute angle you can,that's the trick with a Forschner. An oiled stone will tend to make the edge skim at a certain angle. Using only water you get more "bite" and can lay the angle down steeper. A smooth steel can glaze the edge and really bring it out but steeling or stropping are rather difficult to master.

The key to steeling is to use BOTH hands,one for each side,and stroke full length at a constant angle.

I use my 10" a lot but I have a lighter,thin blade 7" with a very hard steel core that is for when I need the very sharpest but am not doing volume or "heavy duty".

I like the flexible boner better than the rigid,and prefer Forschner's thin undimpled slicer to the Granton type. It can get much sharper.

The Forschner basic line is the real standard for commercial cooks. Often around here,the "house" knives are Dexter Russell,mainly because the main wholesaler for restaurant gear features them,but the cooks tend to soon discover Forschners. Commercial cooks are always in a rush and a $100 knife....you worry about. A $25-30 knife...is a tool. The Forschners use a slightly harder steel and thinner blade than typical German knives,so for less $$$$ my Forschner 10" is lighter,sharper than a Henckel at twice the price. My Henckel stays at home.

I worked with a cook that had a set of Globals and I was impressed. I recall a single bevel one that was quite sharp. I think it could have been sharper but that particular kitchen didn't have a whetstone set like most do.

I worked one place,briefly, where the head chef had a nice 10" Shun Classic. He seldom did any cutting....guys like me did that. I showed him how to get his Shun sharp. He was quite surprised that my "cheap" Forschner was quite a bit sharper (at first) than his $150 Shun. That Shun took a pretty amazing edge. Too bad it seldom got used.

For home use a 8" is what most folks favor. On the job our cutting boards are MUCH bigger and I'm prepping for hundreds of servings. I've used a 10" Forscner 430-10 for about 30 years...so I probably could butcher a cow in a phone booth blindfolded with it-but a typical home cook might prefer the 8" version.
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rembrant



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

PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2008 1:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chad Ward may have written the tutorial mentioned. Long Long ago, I saw a great article on knife sharpening in Popular Mechanics that had microscopic photos and discussed double bevel edges and steel technique. Ideally...the steel glazes the edge and blends the grain created by an abrasive stone. a smooth steel works best. So,it's a finishing touch that means a bit less friction when slicing,so the sharp edge feels even sharper.

Steeling also trues the edge which on a fine scale can get a bit wavy or rolled over to one side. Ridged steels act a bit like a file. A diamond or ceramic steel also is intended to sort of quick-sharpen.

A lot of PRO cooks really abuse knives with bad steel technique. On the job I let the other cooks USE my knives...but NOBODY gets to sharpen or steel them. NEVER.

A lot of cooks use a fast one handed method,rolling the wrist and dong a push pull stroke,typically just on the center 2/3 of the blade. Rather than a consistant sharp V,they get more of a U...and meanwhile make the blade concave by gradually grinding away the curve.

Full stroke right hand...full stroke left hand on a SMOOTH steel at a fixed angle. That's what gets it right.

The backside of another knife makes a good smooth steel if not nicked up,but it takes more experiance to get the angle correct.
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