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Equipment & Gear: Chef's Knives Rated
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A happy Reader
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2011 7:25 am    Post subject: Thank you Mr Chu Reply with quote

I just got my own place after moving across the country and am in need of some knives. I've been researching it (as I do with everything, engineer here, its in my blood) for hours, spending most of the day reading reviews. My budget is not set in stone, and I will spend more for a good product, but not if its not needed. I went from a budget of 100 for a kit, to 300 for a few knives, and back down. Its pretty amazing how much I've learned about knives coming from nothing.

I've come to the conclusion that I am just a guy at home, not a chef. I won't buy the cheap knife kits, but I'm not buying a Global. Forschners will be my knife of choice.

Thank you for your great review and putting some sanity into my endless searching.

Now... What knives to pick.. This is going to take a while.
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Michael Chu



Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 1618
Location: Austin, TX (USA)

PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2011 10:37 am    Post subject: Re: Thank you Mr Chu Reply with quote

A happy Reader wrote:
I've come to the conclusion that I am just a guy at home, not a chef. I won't buy the cheap knife kits, but I'm not buying a Global. Forschners will be my knife of choice.


You might also want to take a look at Saber. They are priced similarly to Forschner, perform on the same level, but have a nicer (less commercial kitchen look). Here's the article on Saber knives.
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jguerino10
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2011 6:09 am    Post subject: People make me laugh!!! Reply with quote

Laughing Out Loud Thats me laughing out loud after reading some of these posts. To the guy who says that all major knife manufactures have lifetime warranties! Bahahaha.... you must be drunk. Or maybe drunk when you were doing research. Not a single company has a lifetime warranty like Cutco. And really...who uses ther knives as can openers anyway? When you spend that kind of money on knives why don't you just buy yourself a good can opener? Idiot! Cutco doesn't pry on little college kids, they offer them good business experience and a chance to make some fat cash while in college. No ones trying to see you guys Cutco on this page so why is it necessary to hate on it. I have never met a single person who hated ther Cutco, so im assuming none of you actually own it.
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NancyM
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2011 4:26 pm    Post subject: Thanks! Reply with quote

Thanks for the great article. I found the knife I wanted on eBay and just bought it. Big smile
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Jeff
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 29, 2011 3:20 am    Post subject: Cutco vs German and Japanese Blades ... and SHARPENING ... Reply with quote

I think the reviewer did a REALLY nice job. Thanks! I totally don't agree with the small minded people that wrote that there was no value. I think the whole point is that knives should be compared "out of the box". MANY people do not want to really sharpen their knives up, they just want to open the package, wash it and start using it. And this review is GREAT for them! THANKS! My only suggestion is that you broaden it out to include an appropriate section on sharpening, honing and maintenance.

I own MANY knives, forged and stamped of various levels of quality. I guess that I just simply have a thing for them and this likely stems from my own background as an engineer and that I am a very avid cook.

My own collection ranges from a variety of inexpensive stamped knives with no particular brand recognition to Cutco (Santoku and Slicer), to Wustof (Chefs and Paring), Henkles (Chefs and small Chefs), Chicago Cutlery (very large chefs), A no-name japanese single bevel slicer, A Tosagata Santoku purchased through japanwoodworker.com, Mundial (Chefs and steak knifes), Forschner Victorinox (Chefs, Bread and Paring), and an inexpensive solid chinese cleaver (great for dealing with squash).

All DECENT or better knives will take a really good edge. However, they will only keep that edge if they are well cared for and well made. All knives require sharpening, honing and maintenance. I don't care whether they are Cutco, Henkles or noname.

I used to send mine out every 6-12 months depending on the knife and how often I'd use it. But I wasn't always pleased with the how well they'd get it done and have since been doing it myself. I highly recommend the DMT Diamond Aligner system. I'm just not great at freehanding a consistent angle and just want a razor sharp edge, and to get on with my life. One can easily get a blade scary sharp with this system. I do recommend getting the extra coarse if you wish to quickly rebevel your edge to new and more aggressive angles - I like doing this with my Wustof, Cutco, and Mundial (Chefs and Santokus).

So ... let's start with Cutco, mostly because of how much chatter they have gotten here. I bought a Santoku and Slicer a few years ago. Quite honestly, I only bought them because they were being sold by a best friend's son (and yes, he was a freshman in college ... LOL). Sure, I knew when I was buying them that I could get better knives for less (and already owned a few that are far better). But I was helping him out ... it is what it is.

Cutco's slicer is truly very good. I have to say that I am actually impressed with how well it slices roasts. It is one of their "serrated" models, where the actual blades are protected with tiny ridges. That aside it is certainly no bargain at about $100 or so but I am quite pleased that it does it's job and does so very well.

Cutco's Santoku was very good just after purchase but lost it's edge quickly enough as one would expect from regular use. By comparison, my knives from Mundial, Wustof, Henckles, etc last longer before I need to maintain them. Yes yes I KNOW that I should regularly strop my knives but I just don't like to do that and prefer just a little quick light honing every few weeks, with fine and extra-fine DMT diamond hones.

And my good Japanese blades need more maintenance than the others but I LOVE using them - especially the Tosagata. For $40, it's a great deal for a true high carbon blade.

Cutco uses a fairly common stainless steel and so it does take a good edge readily enough but it also loses it faster than I'd like. Truly, no offense to you young Cutco reps - I am glad that you can make a buck while you're in college and that some company is using you to exploit your family/friends - again it is what it is.

My Tosagata is my "go to" knife for most needs, where my cutting is more delicate or precise. But I DO regularly also use my Mundial, Wustof and Henkles - my hands are large and these are solid heavy knives that take a really good edge that last for quite a while. My cleaver is brought out every time that I cook squash and eggplant and such - they are great for slicing off skins, and then slicing them however you need. I own 2 paring knives, Wustof and Victorinox. I like and use them both, with really no preference.

I'm sure that MAC, Shun etc makes great knives - no question about it. Every year I pick up 1-2 more knifes and my next one might well be a MAC. I can guarantee that whatever I buy that it will be a Japanese blade as I prefer their feel and out-of-the-box performance.

Please note - you do NOT need to spent a lot of money to get a good knife. I bought an inexpensive 2 piece Santoku Henkles set for my folks last year and they LOVE them. To my pleasant surprise they were VERY sharp, right out of the package. I cooked a multi-course meal for 12 with them that weekend and they just rocked. Now I just bring my DMT sharpener over and hone them up a few times each year.

Bottom line. If you need a few knives, get ONE really decent knife to start with. I personally like Santoku and Chef's knives for their feel and for MOST things I do in the kitchen. Even a $20 knife can be "great for you" - if it is comfortable in your hand and you give it a really good edge. You probably should also have one good yet inexpensive paring knife.

Please consider getting a decent sharpener and learning to use it properly. Again I recommend DMT. If you are good with your hands you can get a set of their mini hones for only $20 to your door, and that is one heck of a deal. Me? I had to spend more but I need their guided system :-)

Good luck and I hope that this helps!

Jeff
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2011 12:17 am    Post subject: Mac Knives Reply with quote

I am a Mac knife user from the 70s and also own Henkels, Sabatier, Cutco and recently a Gunther Wilhelm santoku. I use the Mac knives 99% of the time and the Cutco Double D to cut bread. The other knives get taken out once in a while and I usually take the Sabatier traveling, as the knife I'm most willing to risk losing. As is true for most people, the only reason we own Cutco knives is because a relative was trying to earn money. The French chef knife is truly unusable. I also find the handles to be very uncomfortable. My stepson moved on from Cutco sales in high school to Amway in college. Says everything, doesn't it?
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Knife_Junky
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 8:36 pm    Post subject: My Opinion on Knives Reply with quote

I've been cooking for many years and I think most serious cooks/chefs will agree that your knife is the most important (single) instrument in you kitchen. You'll use your favorite knife more than anything else. My suggestion is to purchase the highest quality knife your budget will allow. Think about it from a "cost per use" standpoint. If you use it four to five times a week, a new 10" Bob Kramer inspired Shun ($380) will cost you about $1.07 per use for your first year. Then it's free for a lifetime!! And unless you buy one of Kramer's original handmade knifes, it's better than anything else you'll find on the market. I sharpen mine twice a year and hone it before each use and it will shave the hair on my arm!! (and I use it almost every day)
Buy a great quality knife and you'l enjoy your kitchen prep more than ever.

Check out this link for a look at the ultimate blade! His chef knives can be found at auction for $10K-$14K....

http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=5738120n
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Galious
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 5:08 pm    Post subject: Ginsu? Reply with quote

Stumbled upon this blog while doing research for a knife set. Great information here and good job Michael!

Does anyone here have experience with Ginsu knives? They were huge back in the 80's but have been pretty quiet since. I know that their serrated knives are "crap" but their new Hanaita series knives seems to be worth a look.

According to their website, they are made of VG-1 damascus steel, 33 layers, cryogenically hardened in liquid nitrogen and made with a factory edge of 10 degrees. All this and their 8 inch chef's knife sells for only $79! Sounds almost too good to be true, is their a catch somewhere?

Cheers,
Ben
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Jim Cooley



Joined: 09 Oct 2008
Posts: 314
Location: Seattle

PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 5:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
is their a catch somewhere?


In order to achieve the high degree of precision required for these knives to function correctly, each of the 33 INDIVIDUAL layers of Damascus steel is tempered in a bath of baby seal oil and/or polar bear fat.

Hope this answers your question.
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Galious
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 5:46 pm    Post subject: Ginsu? Reply with quote

Ha! Good one, but not exactly what I had in mind!

I read one online review that the Damascus layers are actually just a stickered decal, though I find it hard to believe that any manufacturer would actually get away with this.

http://www.amazon.com/Ginsu-Hanaita-5900DS-15-Piece-Damascus/product-reviews/B0027LQF72/ref=dp_top_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1
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cadaverescu
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 4:20 pm    Post subject: on knives testing Reply with quote

i would like to thank you for the hard work testing
however if u still have the knives i see a few more relevant tests:
1) buy a large set of identical onions (same lot and size). mince them and measure the amount of liquid on the chopping board. (use plastic board for accuracy). The sharper the knife the less juice. Use swim goggles Smile)
2) buy a full "hamon" Spanish hard ham and use the knife to make those 1 mm slices. i am interested on meat behavior as well as the vegetable behavior.
3) lend them to a butcher/slaughter house for a whole day (one per day). do the vegetable test again when they return. the edge keeping is more important to me than original edge. I think we can all agree a good sharpener can do a hair splitting knife out of almost all 10$+ knives. however it is in the steel of the knife to stay sharpened.
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Lee Z
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 4:12 pm    Post subject: Kitchen Knives and Cutco Reply with quote

I tend to get and keep kitchen knives that are practical. If it doesn't work well, it goes. I've had Cutco knives, serrated and smooth, for about 15 years. It turns out that I've sold the smooth knives on ebay and kept the serrated. They just work and work.

My smooth blades are a Wusthof Classic paring knive, a Chicago Cutlery steak knife that has the right shape to use as a kitchen boning knife (can be made very sharp) AND I got a Wusthof Wunder knife for my chef. It's an interesting shape. Seems to be a combo of santoku, slicer and chef. The handle is offset slightly to allow rocking the blade with minimal effort. The back half of the knife is santoku for chopping and the front 4 inches of the 7.5 inch knife is like a slicer. Tends to be handle heavy. The arc of the blade is more santoku and less german chef. I do like it.

Anyway, I get that people are passionately for or against Cutco. I have and have used the serrated versions for a long time and am pleased with them. That's all. Thanks for reading.
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Lee Z
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2012 3:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually trying a knife before purchase is the best way to go. I purchased on the Internet a MAC Original UK-80 knife as a chef. Great blade, light, sharp, etc., etc. EXCEPT the handle was very uncomfortable for me. Off to ebay. So what I learned about knife buying is actually go to a good kitchen or cutlery store that has knives to test. Otherwise you will spend a lot of money and waste time getting the knife that feels the best.
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UK Student
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2012 2:23 pm    Post subject: Guidance from you pros. Reply with quote

First of all i would like to express how impressed i am with this site and the valuable opinions people have posted on it, especially about knives.

I am a second year Industrial Design student at Brunel University, currently undertaking a kitchen brief. My current process has lead me to trying to design a set of 5 knives (Chef, Paring, Utility, Carving, Bread). I have learnt a lot through reading these posts on what makes a good knife good and what to avoid.

What makes the design different is that i am aiming these knives at people with little knowledge of proper food preparation and knife technique. The design comes with altering the shape of the handles to encourage good practice. For example with the chefs knife i intend to include a sloped edge to the blade to make the chefs 'pinch grip' more comfortable and natural for those not used to it, perhaps with a textured surface in the areas where your thumb/finger should rest.

Essentially guys, is there anything you can tell me to help with consideration of all aspects a novice knife user could be helped with minimal instruction to use these knives correctly - by the design of the knives themselves.

Thankyou.
Luke Firth
Brunel University School Of Engineering And Design.
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Dilbert



Joined: 19 Oct 2007
Posts: 998
Location: central PA

PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2012 4:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

this is not a problem.

you only have to design a handle that fits small, medium and large hands with ergonomics to force people -

- ranging in height from 1.5m to 1.98m
- but working on a standard height counter top

to use good knife grip and skill.

in some grouping of what, 20 cm? pick a number.

but for each height grouping you must of course include the small / medium / large hand issue

and accommodate the aspect of longer/shorter arms for their individual stature

and the relative torso length for each grouping.

and within the small / medium / large hand issue, you must also consider relative finger length.

the "problem outline" is really quite simple

good luck with the project!!
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