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Equipment & Gear: Chef's Knives Rated
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Mac
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2006 7:38 pm    Post subject: Mac MTH 80 Durability Reply with quote

Based largely on the recommendations here, I bought a MAC MTH-80 for a friend for Christmas. 2 weeks of regular use, and the tip is bent and a chunk broke out of the blade when cutting through hard cheese. She loved the way the knife cuts, but is hugely disappointed in how quickly the blade is broke down.

Anyone have similar experiences?
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Michael Chu



Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 1654
Location: Austin, TX (USA)

PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2006 10:41 pm    Post subject: Re: Mac MTH 80 Durability Reply with quote

Mac wrote:
Based largely on the recommendations here, I bought a MAC MTH-80 for a friend for Christmas. 2 weeks of regular use, and the tip is bent and a chunk broke out of the blade when cutting through hard cheese. She loved the way the knife cuts, but is hugely disappointed in how quickly the blade is broke down.

MAC Knives has excellent customer service. Please ask your friend to contact MAC Knife, Inc. at (888) 622-5643 to talk directly to them.

My guess is that your friend may have twisted the blade once it was wedged into the cheese. Quality knives should be treated with care - they are finely constructed instruments. I don't recommend that knives be washed in the dishwasher (can bang around and get nicked or lose their tips), be thrown into a sink, or allowed to impact any surface besides vegetables, meat (avoid bones except with a cleaver or thick bladed chef's), and wood or plastic cutting boards. I've seen so many people using a granite board or rapping their knives on jars or bowls and then wondering why their edge is dull or chipped...
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2006 7:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have to say that this review was practically worthless.

What are knives used for? To cut things. If they aren't sharp, they aren't going to cut well. Ergonomics and things such as that are all secondary to the quality of the cutting edge.

All of the knives in this review need to be sharpened and THEN retested. It's the only way to get accurate data. Manufacturers rarely ship new knives sharp. Even if they do, the amount of sharpness varies widely from manufacturer to manufacturer.

I've got a $10 Farberware Pro 8" chef's knife that I sharpened so sharp I could shave with it. It has been an absolute joy to use.

It's the edge that's important. Without it, it's just a butter knife.
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wizodd
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2006 4:26 pm    Post subject: Knives: then and now Reply with quote

One thing to note about kives is that industry has made great changes in the available materials and processes over the past decade or two--even mid-range knives of today will be comparable to high end knives of twenty years ago.

A note about edges. The angle of the grind used to make more of a difference (before the ultra tough high temper stainless) in how long the edge will last. If you slice with the kife (rather than chop--which by the way is the trick for using a katana or other sword) the brittleness of the steel is not a problem.

Note that only a few years ago, no serious kife person would have recommended any stainless knife on the grounds that it wouldn't hold an edge. This is related to the stamped/forged argument too, the real reason that stamped knives used to be inferior (and they were!) was that the manufacturers didn't use the best steels in the stamped knives--they reserved them for their 'top line' forged knives.

Dull knives are dangerous learn proper maintenance for your particular blades.

Knives, being an extension of your hand (I tell my cats that my knives are my claws,) are extremely personal. Find one you are comfortable with, and which you feel in control with. Cutting off bits of yourself is not fun.

If you have no training in using a knife, I recomend that you study the subject & if possible have someone who knows walk you through the various uses. Best not to develop bad habits as they may be dangerous and will probably be less efficient (more tiring.) In general, the weight of the knife should do most of the work. If you have to put a lot of pressure on a knife to make a cut, then there is something wrong.

In the old days, when demonstrators were showing kives (in stores & at fairs and such) they used to put very fine edges on their knives. This makes the tomato test and the paper test very impressive--at the cost of having to rework the edge often.

My 2 cents.
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Sheila
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2006 4:23 pm    Post subject: Cutco Knife Reply with quote

My CUTCO (full) set was purchased in 1966 and I STILL USE IT. Of course, after 4 children and 40 years, it's not all there, but it's still the ONLY KNIVES I WILL EVER USE.
As another here has already mentioned, The Chef's knife is the ONE AND ONLY Cutco knife I don't use, because once you use the Double D blade you never go back. It's funny that it's the one you chose to demonstrate with.
My steak knives were as sharp today as they were years ago, HONEST! until my son tossed my last one. So I just replaced all of the steak knives and look forward to using them for the rest of my life.
I still have the rest of the collection, and use them EVERY DAY.
The Double D is the ONLY way to go, too bad it's NOT ON THE CHEF'S KNIFE. You need to reconsider what you are using. A chef would not use this Cutco knife on a tomato or potato anyway.
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designdog
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2006 6:54 pm    Post subject: MAC knife - sharpening Reply with quote

I agree that the MAC is the best knife. I have all of the pro sharpening paraphernalia, and use the one the MAC representative recommended: http://www.macknife.com/sharpeners.html


-ddog
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Drew
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2006 9:28 pm    Post subject: Cutco Knife Reply with quote

I own a full set of Cutco knives, we well as various other chef's knives. I don't understand how the Cutco French Chef managed to perform as poorly as it did in this review. The only thing I can come up with is that cutco decided to dumb down their factory sharpening, perhaps for safety reasons in transportation, and to bring shipping costs down. My French Chef's knife performed amazingly right out of the package. I have performed all of the tests mentioned in this review with the knife and my results were completely different. I fully agree with what others have said in these comments: this review needs to be replaced with one that uses a uniform method of sharpening each individual knife before the testing begins. A freshly sharpened edge vs. whatever the guys at the factory decided to do is indeed, night and day.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2006 2:08 am    Post subject: A cut above the rest! Reply with quote

Wow interesting, Iím a mechanical engineering student and find this review rather interesting. I myself own a set of wusthof knifes and a few henckels four star . I also have a top end Kyocera ceramic knife too (cost me nearly $350 when I got it). I was surprised the wusthof knifes didnít perform better. I would have to say would the test not have being better holding the knife stationary and pushing the food onto the knife with a know and calibrated force be more accurate and fairer way of doing this test? As I would say the wusthof knifes have to be at least a third lighter than the henckels ones. My wusthof knife have always served me very well I am continually amazed by there build quality and ability to take an edge. Everything I have tried to cut with them they have preformed perfectly. I find the henckels ones a little too heavy to use comfortably. There thicker blade I feel does not separate food well, I mean donít get me wrong they are still better than 90% of all other knifes I have used, but not quite the performance of wusthof. The ceramic knife I have if feather light and the edge is what can only be described as amazing. I do however feel its more of a conversation piece than a serious tool as its just not big enough to cut down large joints or vegetables. And the fact I have to send it to Swaziland to get it re-sharpened kind of annoys me. In my experience a lot of the Japanese stainless steel knifes are just too hard (Rockwell 60 ish, compared to 56 area for European) to be able to practically get good sharpening results at home from. In a factory environment the harder steel can take a really homed edge but its much harder to get at home. Also the fact that Japanese knifes tend to be ground to a finer point which means that they probably will cut better out of the box, but good luck getting that 17.5 degree angle back on them again any time soon! I have never used an American knife of similar quality but I will certainly be looking out too being some back to the UK the next time in Iím the states as I have heard good things.
Well good cooking and good engineeringÖ
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jagstyle



Joined: 08 Aug 2005
Posts: 45
Location: CA

PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2006 7:32 pm    Post subject: Re: A cut above the rest! Reply with quote

Anonymous wrote:
In my experience a lot of the Japanese stainless steel knifes are just too hard (Rockwell 60 ish, compared to 56 area for European) to be able to practically get good sharpening results at home from. In a factory environment the harder steel can take a really homed edge but its much harder to get at home. Also the fact that Japanese knifes tend to be ground to a finer point which means that they probably will cut better out of the box, but good luck getting that 17.5 degree angle back on them again any time soon!


I recommend learning how to use waterstones. They work well with high Rockwell knives...

My full sharpening progression:

1. Norton 220, 1000, 4000, 8000 Water Stones


2. 12000 Kitayama Super Polishing Water Stone


3. Handamerican 11"X3" Flatbed Leather Hone w/ 0.5 micron chromium oxide honing paste


An abundance of information on where to buy and how to sharpen properly can be found here:
Kitchen Knife Sharpening

Anonymous wrote:
I have never used an American knife of similar quality but I will certainly be looking out too being some back to the UK the next time in Iím the states as I have heard good things.


These look funky on the website but they are inexpensive and surprisingly good performers:
http://www.warthers.com/kitchen_knives/index.php?cPath=21
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Taamar
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2006 7:01 pm    Post subject: Chef's perspective Reply with quote

Great article, why did it take me so long to stumble across it?

As a chef I've used most of those knives and I think you're spot-on except for one minor detail: most knives are not shipped fully sharpened. To keep things equal you should have run each knife through a slot sharpener so that each was sharpened to the same angle.

As for Cutco knives, they are excellent for slicing, but not for cutting. Their "double D" edge is a type of serration (as much as they deny it) and only works well when a sawing motion is used. No chef I know uses one. I challenge ANY Cutco user to make fine bruniose (1/16 inch cubes) with their knife. Incidentally, we had an issue on a chef board I frequent where multiple "I love my Cutco" posts were made under different names from the same IP that, when checked, belonged to someone who sold Cutco.

I have a Mercer ($65) that I use for general work (cutting meat, chopping, opening bags) and a Calphalon Katana series($90) that I use for my fine work.
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Rob
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2006 11:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for a fwell-written review and what must have been a lot of hard work!

A good way to reprise this test might be to enlist the help of a local culinary class.

The main issues / critcisms that I have read seem to be:

1. (Biggest issue for most folks) A sharpened edge vs. a factory edge

2. Ergonomics impressions (will vary with the person)

3. Alternate cutting methods and/or materials

I have Gerber (both the Balance Plus and the older Aluminum handled knives), a low-end Sabatier set, and some of the mid-priced Japanese knives at home. I've also demo'd or borrowed at a friends place to use Henckles, Forscner, Shun, and others at various times. The biggest things to me were 1) Was it Sharp? and 2) Did it feel comfortable in my hand?

If you have a culinary school nearby, maybe you could let them do the work (sharpening and running the various knives through the paces in prep work). Then give them surey forms to fill out to get a more balanced follow-up on the review. Include items like hand size and their own preferred knives to help give a way to balance their responses and you might get some informative input.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 30, 2006 10:02 pm    Post subject: MAC-MTH-80 for $88.00 Reply with quote

The Mac MTH-80 is available at Futurechef.com for $88.00 including shipping.
http://www.futurechef.com/product.asp?item_no=MAC-MTH-80
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GaryProtein



Joined: 26 Oct 2005
Posts: 535

PostPosted: Fri Mar 31, 2006 4:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wholeheartedly agree with Rob, especially with regard to the factory edge and ergonomics, mainly of the handle, degree curvature of the cutting blade and presence or absence of a bolster. The idea that the factory edge is what should be examined when using a knife for its daily tasks is incorrect. The factory edge is only available for one use. What's important here is what makes the factory edge the end-all? After that the quality of the edge is completely dependant on the skill of the person sharpening the blade and ability of the blade to be sharpened and actually take a new edge by means available to the knife owner, e.g. a stone for rare occasional use, and steels for daily use, not lathes and a series of 3 to 5 waterstones to make a mirror polish, which may look good, but adds little or nothing to the functionality of a knife. Whenever I purchase a new knife, I sharpen it so the angle is exactly what I like (shallow) and the edge shaves hair. Once all knives being tested are sharpened to the same specifications, you can test to dsee how well they cut, hold an edge, and how comfortable they feel in the hands of MOST people, which means that it may be a sharp knife, but feel rotten in your hands.
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Matt



Joined: 30 Mar 2006
Posts: 21

PostPosted: Fri Mar 31, 2006 9:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is the first article I read on this site - in fact, it's how I found it.

I have a few different knives, mostly less-than-stellar quality as I'm just coming out of "dirt-poor student" mode. However, one that I like is the Peasant Chef's Knife from Lee Valley Tools. Why? To be honest, there's no scientific reasoning, I just like the feel of it. But then, I'm still very much a n00b when it comes to knives.

Oh, and for those who were thinking Shun knives are for rightys only, you should read Alton Brown's website - he specifically mentiones they make left-handled knives, since he's a lefty too.
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beavercleaver
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 06, 2006 9:06 am    Post subject: another perspective on sharpness Reply with quote

it seems as though the bone of contention in this extensive test is the relative sharpness of the factory edge.
first, i seem to notice that all the major (and minor) knife companies brag about how sharp their knives are. if they are indeed shipped "dull", that would be totally counter to their bragging, no? why would a company brag about how sharp you can GET their knives, since a good sharpener can get any knife sharp? just an observation.
secondly, if you COULD do the test all over again, but this time with all the knives sharpened by the same person, i feel the results would not change significantly because the top rated knives all had/have a thin blade profile.
the german knives tend to have a thicker profile, ergo, the 22 degree bevel on both sides of the blade. the japanese blades, with more like a 10-15 degree bevel on both sides, will feel sharper due to less of the "wedging" effect of the thinner blades.
third, there may be some perception of addition sharpness with blades that have a rougher or irregular texture on the blades. with blades that are perfectly flat and polished, foods like potatoes tend to stick to the blades via some sort of suction (even try to slice a potato in half and the potato sticks to the blade so hard that you found it hard to pry the potato off the knife?)
as i have previously mentioned, i own most of the knives used in the test and i found most will pale in comparison to my chan chi kee (CCK) no.2 slicer cleaver. this large (25cm X 12.5cm) blade has a 2cm edge that is
thinner than a business card. This knife i sharpen at a 5 degree bevel ...
maybe less. as i have observed, the thinner the blade and the shallower the angle, the sharper a knife blade.
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