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Professional Knives
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SirSpice



Joined: 04 Dec 2006
Posts: 95

PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2006 3:17 am    Post subject: Professional Knives Reply with quote

A few months ago I bought my first chef's knife, a Global G2 Cook's Knife. I read through many articles and reviews and chose it for its good reputation and reasonable price ($70, new).



The knife performs beautifly, and I'm very happy with it.

I also have a Henckel's International Santuko ($45), which is also good, but it's not as sharp and requires occasional sharpening.

Since than I've been taking a culinary class at my high school, and the knives I use in class are a Forschners 10" chef's knife and Dexter Ruseel 10" chef's knife, which to my knowledge are both very common in commercial kitchens.





Both disappointed me greatly, If these are proffesional knives, why are they so dull? We sharpen and steel these knives before every use and they are still duller than my Henckel (not to mention the G2, which I have yet to sharpen). Are these really the knives most commercial kitchens use?
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danemodsandy



Joined: 28 Sep 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2006 5:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello:

Dexter Russell knives are used extensively in professional kitchens, for one very good reason: they're low in price, making them cheap to replace when damaged or stolen. If you take a $200 chef's knife into most restaurant kitchens, sooner or later (probably sooner) it WILL sprout legs.

Most pros know someone who is good at sharpening; it's possible to put a very keen edge on a Dexter knife. If you can find someone who sharpens using a Tru-Hone machine, you'll get an excellent edge that can be maintained for some time. A Chef's Choice home sharpener will also do a creditable job on them.
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SirSpice



Joined: 04 Dec 2006
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2006 6:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What brand knives do restaurunts use when they need razor sharp knives? (like when cutting fish fillets and such)
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SgtNickFury



Joined: 20 Nov 2006
Posts: 37

PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2006 9:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SirSpice wrote:
What brand knives do restaurunts use when they need razor sharp knives? (like when cutting fish fillets and such)



I am no expert cook, but I do know quite a bit about knives as I worked for a cutlery company that dealt with everything from pocket knives, Boar Hunting Knives, to honest to God functional folded steel Katanas.....and lots of servicable European style swords....

This is what I can tell you if you want a sharp knife.....

Get out of the snob cooking stores, and get into estate sales, and garage sales......look for a vintage high carbon knife, don't mind if it's rusty, clean it up, ......they'll make better knives when you want "razor" sharp then almost anything made now....if you want functional over fashionable a vintage high carbon forged knife is the way to go, it will rust however if you don't take care of it.....and it is going to turn a black/grey/brown color regardless of how much you clean and take care of it.....

More carbon means better edge, but more care needed as it will easily rust, and not as tough. Stainless means easier care, but harder to sharpen, and hold an edge. medium Carbon means tough as hell, but will not hold an edge as well.....Make your sword out of medium carbon, your dinner knives out of high mag stainless, and make your kitchen knives either out of high carbon tool steel, and justtake good carof them, or spend a fortune on a high quality steel like a ATS-34 type stainless......you have to make a choice......of course there are some premium Stainless steels like ATS 34, that will cost you an arm and a leg and while still not as sharp as your average high carbon tool steel come close, also they are tough, and stainless, but this is a Kitchen Knife....you're not hunting boar with it, and you don't need to pass it down to your grand children......and from my own point of view, Kitchen knives should be all about function, and made to eventually wear out,

Last thought for cutting fish you don't need a pro knife....in fact a forged knife often does a worse job then a stamped metal knife, what makes a forged knife a tougher knife can also make it worse for a filet....as it will be slightly wedged shaped, and have a thicker back, a spine.......a cheap stamped knife on the other hand is thinner, and is even all the way from belly to back. I wouldn't use it in a knife fight, but it's much better at fileting fish, if you feel you need a forged knife to filet a fish, I have to wonder what sort of alien fish you're doing battle with.

Now if you want the uber "well made" knives...the Kershaw knives like the "Shun" series, are damn well made, but costly.....but heirloom quality. They're made from VG-10 which may be even better then ats-34. They'd be excellent in the kitchen, and you probably in fact could do battle with them just fine......however, for a fraction of their cost you could get a vintage high carbon tool steel knife that would be EVERY bit as sharp and functional, albeit it would require more care.....but ALL knives I don't care what their made of need love if they have a decent edge.

Shun.....if you really don't know what a "budget" means, but quality matters.

You can have these for the purpose of making chef friends drool even when no food is in the kitchen for the mere price of 2500 dollars!

SirSpice wrote:
Both disappointed me greatly, If these are proffesional knives, why are they so dull? We sharpen and steel these knives before every use and they are still duller than my Henckel (not to mention the G2, which I have yet to sharpen). Are these really the knives most commercial kitchens use?


If your knife has enough magnesium to not have to worry about rust, or turning, then it's never likely to be the sharpest blade or even close......those knives are made to be durable, and they will sharpen up as well as your Henckel likely but will be MUCH harder to sharpen, consider an electric knife sharpener.....but remember a traditional high carbon blade is always going to be sharper.

The sort of knife that some people consider ugly but a blade coniseur would consider beautiful.



I promise you no modern Stainless Henckels no matter what the line or cost will come close to the edge this baby would hold, and even the Shun knives will not hold an edge or sharpen as easily as well as one of these knives......it's your money......you have to buy what YOU love.

Some people think the vintage knives mottled look is ugly, I think of it as a fine patina......it gives them character....and no modern stainless can match them for function.
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SirSpice



Joined: 04 Dec 2006
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2006 12:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The next knife I plan on buying is going to be a slicer type.

What carbon type knife would you suggest?
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SgtNickFury



Joined: 20 Nov 2006
Posts: 37

PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2006 5:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well first I want to make sure you know what I mean when i say a high carbon steel knife.

First all steel is carbon steel....steel is iron and carbon that is what makes it steel....it may include other elements and alloys.

High carbon blades are how the finest blades have been made for hundreds of years. Wether for war or in the kitchen. The increased carbon makes it hold a better edge.

Stainless steel introduces elements like nickel, chromium magnesium etc....they make them more resleient to oxidation and prohibit rust (though no steel is truely rust proof)....it's a trade off as these same elements cause them to become harder to sharpen, and also do not hold as sharp of an edge.....

Then there are the new "wonder" stainless steels. The first thing to know is they tend to be LESS stainless...while technically stainless, they are more prone to turn and rust then say stainless dinnerware. However they also sharpen almost as well as the old high carbon blades, examples are the ATS 34 type steels they go under many different names depending on knife maker and nationality.....most of them add elements like cobalt, molybdenum and vanadium....these elements change the properties of steel in high heat, so that when they are forged, they will make a tighter smaller crystaline structure or "grain"......all of this is an attempt to FORCE a high carbon stainless steel to act more like a traditional high carbon steel.......they work well and they have a high cost......Your Global G2 is made of such a steel......

if money is no object I say go with them....but they will never be as sharp as a traditional high carbon....but there may be so little difference and they are easier to care for and harder to stain...where as a few acidic slices into tomatos etc will cause traidtional knives to turn, and eventually they will turn a dark color......but then this is a plus to a fan of traditional knives.

I searched around since writing and there is one place i see where they still make traditional forged high carbon knives.......In Japan!....Kikuichi Elite series......but for that price...I'd get the Kai Shun knives from Kershaw......if you're going to pay that cost you might as well get the wonder stainless steels......though you should still give them the same love and care they'll be more forgiving....but if you liked the OLD Patina look, and want a classic high carbon steel knife with a new make, and modern handle then the Kikuichi Elite would work also.....

There is also a Kikuichi Elite gold....it's a laminated knife and there are several SNOB Japanese laminent lines....technicaly the Kai Shun knives are too, but thankfully they don't differentially temper them like many of the others. These laminated knives bost using the age old Samurai technique of clay tempering laminated metals....one....don't you believe it.....clay tempering is an intensive handmade process I doubt they truly go through, even if they may simulate it......and two even if you could do it.....WHY? A Katana requires all sorts of specialists to sharpen it, and keep it in good condition, now maybe an ancient warlord had the funds to keep a master knife sharpener around, but your local sharpening service will likely ruin that knife, and YOU will not be able to upkeep it without a course it metalurgy. Also likely you will chip the edge because of their insane hardness levels that can exceed a rockwell 65.......WHY??? I think it's just some Japanese Chefs trying to play samurai, and show off their supply budgets....

The Shun's are laminents but to my knowledge they don't do any freaky temporing, and hold up very well.......more similar to Cold Steel I think.

Now as to your question.....I suggest you look for a European style high carbon blade.....they use traditional high carbon tool steels, were forged probably with greater expertise then any available from Japan......theres just one problem. I don't know of anyone who makes them anymore......that is why i say browse the garage sales, ebay, and estate sale.....but the good news is they are DIRT cheap when you know where to look...even more so when they are rusty.....but with a little love a quarter to 10 dollar purchase will buy you a knife that can hang with a 2-300 dollar modern japanese cutlery wonder.....you'll also have a little bit of history that perhaps was used by many other chefs and famlies before you.

Look for older names, from Solingen, and Sheffield from a time when those names still meant something.....1950's and before....now to someone who doesn't know about knives it will look like an old mottled worn knife.....but it will outclass their yuppie POS Stainless, and who knows it might become collectable someday...... it would even be worth buying a new handle kit you can get for hunting knives if the wood is decaying, and putting together new handle on a good blade.

Right now Ebay is FULL of suh excellent knives....just type the word "vintage" and look for those gorgeous mottled brown, grey blades......unfortunately you will pay more in auctions like these as your with alot of other knife snobs (like me). You'll get a better deal rumaging the flea markets.

Things to look for......a good maker...but it may be one long out of buisiness, if it was made in Solingen or Sheffield from way back that's a good sign.....but no gaurantee....

Look for a thick bolster wider then actual blade on an older knife that means it was dropped forged.....on a newer blade it means very little as they can fake the same look with fused materials....(Henckels does this now on some knives...notice they don't say "dropped" forged on several of their lines even though they have wide bolsters)

I like to see brass or nickel rivets on the handle.....pay attention closely to the belly (edge) if it was sharpened alot or just by someone clumsy you will be able to tell quickly......

Remember a forged blade is wide at the back (spine) and narrow at the belly edge.....and no respectable traditional forged knife will have a hollow grind. It will have a flat grind from the back spine all the way to the belly......



A great faq on blade geometry here....

http://www.sff.net/people/pff/blade.txt

Some good ones I see on E-bay......

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=150067001356

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=250059007546

The only problem with e-bay is the prices will go high on these vintage blades, where as most people clearing stuff out during garage sales will take them for junk...

Teasing
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jagstyle



Joined: 08 Aug 2005
Posts: 45
Location: CA

PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2006 10:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SgtNickFury wrote:
I searched around since writing and there is one place i see where they still make traditional forged high carbon knives.......In Japan!....Kikuichi Elite series......but for that price...I'd get the Kai Shun knives from Kershaw......if you're going to pay that cost you might as well get the wonder stainless steels......though you should still give them the same love and care they'll be more forgiving....but if you liked the OLD Patina look, and want a classic high carbon steel knife with a new make, and modern handle then the Kikuichi Elite would work also.....


Japanese high carbon blades (not stainless) at a decent price:
http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/HiromotoHighCarbonSteelSeries.html

FYI, Kikuichi isn't alone with its more expensive non-stainless high carbon series. Off the top of my head Suisin, Masamoto, Masahiro and Misono also make similar series.

SgtNickFury wrote:
There is also a Kikuichi Elite gold....it's a laminated knife and there are several SNOB Japanese laminent lines....technicaly the Kai Shun knives are too, but thankfully they don't differentially temper them like many of the others. These laminated knives bost using the age old Samurai technique of clay tempering laminated metals....one....don't you believe it.....clay tempering is an intensive handmade process I doubt they truly go through, even if they may simulate it......and two even if you could do it.....WHY? A Katana requires all sorts of specialists to sharpen it, and keep it in good condition, now maybe an ancient warlord had the funds to keep a master knife sharpener around, but your local sharpening service will likely ruin that knife, and YOU will not be able to upkeep it without a course it metalurgy. Also likely you will chip the edge because of their insane hardness levels that can exceed a rockwell 65.......WHY??? I think it's just some Japanese Chefs trying to play samurai, and show off their supply budgets....


Rubbish!

Differentially tempered is a GOOD thing. It's purpose is to make the blade tougher.

What Japanese lines falsely make claims of clay tempering?

Are you talking about Honyaki knives? These knives are expensive because the heat treat IS complicated and the fail rate is extremely high. Honyaki knives are in a $500-several thousand range depending on materials and reputation because the maker invests a lot of time to get it right.

Why? because it doesn't require specialists to sharpen or maintain and it is a high performance handmade product.

A Katana requires specialists because of the rare natural stone polish, the convex blade and the complicated logistics involved with sharpening such a large object.

Kitchen knives require no such specialist. A humble home cook can learn how to sharpen on readily available stones in a matter of days. All the instructions can be found on the internet and then it is just a matter of practice until one learns how to keep the bevels even and not scratch up the sides of the blade. The process for sharpening a differentially tempered blade is no different than that of its regular tempered counterpart. Sharpening a Laminated blade is no different than sharpening a solid blade. The only time the sharpening process really changes is when the geometry changes.

rockwell 65 certainly has its place. The metallurgy + geometry must match the application. A sushi knife at 65 rockwell is a beautiful thing. The knife is used carefully to cut delicate fish proteins. A thin hard edge is appropriate and preferred.

SgtNickFury wrote:
Now as to your question.....I suggest you look for a European style high carbon blade.....they use traditional high carbon tool steels, were forged probably with greater expertise then any available from Japan......theres just one problem. I don't know of anyone who makes them anymore......that is why i say browse the garage sales, ebay, and estate sale.....but the good news is they are DIRT cheap when you know where to look...even more so when they are rusty.....but with a little love a quarter to 10 dollar purchase will buy you a knife that can hang with a 2-300 dollar modern japanese cutlery wonder.....you'll also have a little bit of history that perhaps was used by many other chefs and famlies before you.


Yes, finding a dirt cheap vintage blade is the best deal in cutlery but you will have to grind off the full bolster and thin the bade geometry to get it to hang with the Japanese wonders.

If you have the tools, time and experience to reshape and re-handle the vintage knives then they are a great way to get beautiful high performance cutlery.

SgtNickFury wrote:
....they use traditional high carbon tool steels, were forged probably with greater expertise then any available from Japan......

How can you justify this comment? I strongly disagree. The vintage knives you are referencing are still mass produced factory knives. In other words, they are greatly lacking specialization and expertise. Today you can communicate with a world renown Japanese blacksmith and have him construct a handmade blade customized to your specifications.
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SgtNickFury



Joined: 20 Nov 2006
Posts: 37

PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2006 11:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jagstyle wrote:
Japanese high carbon blades (not stainless) at a decent price:
http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/HiromotoHighCarbonSteelSeries.html

FYI, Kikuichi isn't alone with its more expensive non-stainless high carbon series. Off the top of my head Suisin, Masamoto, Masahiro and Misono also make similar series.


Thanks!! I have been looking for some manufacturers, The thing i like about those is the western handles, I know the Japanese style is en vogue now, but I prefer a western handle....what I wonder about and is not on the site is are they forged, and by what process?

jagstyle wrote:

Rubbish!

Differentially tempered is a GOOD thing. It's purpose is to make the blade tougher.


It's not "rubbish". As I said I have worked for a cutlery distributer, and I saw first hand the problems with differential tempers in returns, the problem is simple, anytime you have differential tempors you have agreater chance for fracture, also Temporing in this way is truly an artform, it can not be done effectively on mass produced pieces.

The Idea of differentialy temporing is GOOD, however in practice it's only as good as the people's ability to control perfectly all stages of the process. A true differentially tempored Katana for example is truly an art form, and that's on a much more forgiving platform of thicker steel. On Thin metal it becomes MUCH more difficult to control the process, and there is less room for error. It's one of those cases where I can almost bet that if I can afford it, then it wasn't done right.

It might be a great idea for a handcrafted knife done by a master, but even he would make a few duds, mass produced...it would only be effective if the actual difference was so small as to make little difference in function.....this is a small piece of metal.....not a hunting knife, and not a sword.

jagstyle wrote:

What Japanese lines falsely make claims of clay tempering?


If it's mass produced...it's NOT a true clay tempored item...it's a process that simulates it.....this is something that is very difficult to do, and on a production line would have a high number of knives that would be bad, and prone to fracture and a few that would be excellent knives.....which would you get when you buy? who knows....the only way to know for sure means ruining the knife, (even on handmade Katanas we got duds and tehy were made by a TRUE master....but we'd just ship another sword if the blade was at fault)........if you want that sort of treatment it needs to be 100% handmade......and I believe that would make for insanely priced kitchen knives.......

jagstyle wrote:
Are you talking about Honyaki knives? These knives are expensive because the heat treat IS complicated and the fail rate is extremely high. Honyaki knives are in a $500-several thousand range depending on materials and reputation because the maker invests a lot of time to get it right.


I have no direct expreince with this line, and we did in fact work more with hunting knives, tactical knives, and swords......we came in contact with some cutlery pieces, but not like that......but that is exactly the sort of price I would expect, and at THAT price perhaps it is done correctly, and they DO have the high failure rate and someone eyeballing it every step of the way, and some sort of guarantee....but 500 bucks for a Kitchen knife? How much better could it be? For that price I'll take any modern steel in the ATS-34 family, and we'll sit cutting meat all day and see if there is ANY substantial difference, I'll pull out my mottled brown Sheffield and See if there is ANY substantial difference in performance for that matter......

The process in question was not made for kitchen knives, it was never intended for domestic knives, it is a sales gimick, it was made for swords and weapons for the purpose of being sharp, and yet be able to stay solid when taking a devestating blow that might crack the spine, even then it was not always gauranteed not to snap, or an edge not to crack from being brittle.........I do not see the point other then for status or snob points to differentially tempor a kitchen knife. It's a process made for a different product...unless your Sushi chefs are in fact doing battle with each other or cutting straw matts with their kitchen knives this is pointless.

jagstyle wrote:
Why? because it doesn't require specialists to sharpen or maintain and it is a high performance handmade product.


If you have two different forms of metal lamenated on a flat grind, with two different levels of hardness and sharpen it without any knowledge of how to do so then you're going to quickly have an ugly knife at best, and could damage the knife at worst. Granted if someone has the money for that sort of knife, I would damn well hope they would take the time to learn the proper care. Metals of different hardness and makeup will grind a way at different rates see the problem?

jagstyle wrote:
A Katana requires specialists because of the rare natural stone polish, the convex blade and the complicated logistics involved with sharpening such a large object.


well the convex blade is the main point of difficulty to be sure, maintaining the beauty of a true hamon lines, and keeping the grains in the folds visable are extras to the collector....I fully agree these are not in the same ball park for difficulty.....but laminated metals, and diff temporing would take special consideration when sharpening.

jagstyle wrote:

rockwell 65 certainly has its place. The metallurgy + geometry must match the application. A sushi knife at 65 rockwell is a beautiful thing. The knife is used carefully to cut delicate fish proteins. A thin hard edge is appropriate and preferred.


I challange you to show me the differnece between a rockwell hardness of 65, and a hardness of 58 for cutting yellow tail, or making the better Rainbow roll........no way that is going to matter or in any way, or effect the knife's performance......and I don't care if you use a super secret ninja squirrel formula ANY steel with a RC in the mid 60's is likely to shatter like glass under the right circumstances...a higher Rc is NOT a good thing when you pass 60 in a knife....it's a bad thing......this is more to do with sales gimicks then reality.......Steel is steel, and mid 60's is brittle....even if it's diff tempored that just means you'll snap the belly from the spine....less is more in this case.....a good knife can be made anywhere from 52-60....the quest for high Rc's on knives is a gimick going back to the 60's till today.......I would not own a pocket knife that had a 65 Rc much less what I prepare my food with. I don't want to eat bits of steel.

jagstyle wrote:

SgtNickFury wrote:
....they use traditional high carbon tool steels, were forged probably with greater expertise then any available from Japan......

How can you justify this comment? I strongly disagree. The vintage knives you are referencing are still mass produced factory knives. In other words, they are greatly lacking specialization and expertise.


First I can see how I put that could be misunderstood. I am in no way saying there is not equal experetise in Japan. I did not mean it to sound as if I was slamming Japanese tradition.

However in the period we're talking about Germany, England, and the United States were the leaders of industrialization, and especially in the realms of steel, Japan was a relative new kid, and while their traditions for older hand blade blades were impressive, the stuff they produced in mass was crap. Now in todays world that has all changed...and now they tend to be the leaders in mass produced steels and often in knives.....but it is more mechanized procedures now. Even in mass produced items from Solingen or Sheffeld or Chicago, in the vintage knives it still had a larger role of human involvement, and quality control...man power was cheap....and every step was closely eyeballed. Today the manufacturing process is even more mechnized, and the newer steels are much more forgiving, and the need for the same attention to detail just isn't there as much....but duds and flaws still to get through and I beleieve they get through to a greater degree then in the vintage blades, simply because there was a pair of hands and eyes at every stage of the knife making process before putting aside anything not up to spec. I'm not slamming the Japanese, or anyones ability, rather modern manufacturing vs older craftsmanship......mass produced items no longer have as many people in the process.

jagstyle wrote:
Today you can communicate with a world renown Japanese blacksmith and have him construct a handmade blade customized to your specifications.


You could......you could also put 10,000 dollar racing tires on your Honda Civic.....if you desire to do so.

Even when I dealt with the EXTREMELY snobby market of Katanas for Tameshigiri, most artists prefered to get a Chinese made Katana simply because of the lower cost for excellent quality.......(trust me when I say Tameshigiri artists are a hell of a lot more snobby then sushi chefs about their blades.) This included many artists in Japan, who in fact have the ability to buy Japanese swords.

There comes a point where some things are just not cost effective.
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jagstyle



Joined: 08 Aug 2005
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2006 9:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SgtNickFury wrote:
jagstyle wrote:
Japanese high carbon blades (not stainless) at a decent price:
http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/HiromotoHighCarbonSteelSeries.html

FYI, Kikuichi isn't alone with its more expensive non-stainless high carbon series. Off the top of my head Suisin, Masamoto, Masahiro and Misono also make similar series.


Thanks!! I have been looking for some manufacturers, The thing i like about those is the western handles, I know the Japanese style is en vogue now, but I prefer a western handle....what I wonder about and is not on the site is are they forged, and by what process?


The tang and bolster of different material are welded to the blade so I don't think you would consider it a forged knife.

SgtNickFury wrote:
jagstyle wrote:

Rubbish!

Differentially tempered is a GOOD thing. It's purpose is to make the blade tougher.


It's not "rubbish". As I said I have worked for a cutlery distributer, and I saw first hand the problems with differential tempers in returns, the problem is simple, anytime you have differential tempors you have agreater chance for fracture, also Temporing in this way is truly an artform, it can not be done effectively on mass produced pieces.


It is rubbish because you went on a long inaccurate rant slamming the use of differential tempers and rockwell 65+ knives. They both have their place in the cutlery world and can be done effectively.

You also made ridiculous claims regrading the difficulties in maintaining such a knife which I will address again later.

SgtNickFury wrote:
The Idea of differentialy temporing is GOOD, however in practice it's only as good as the people's ability to control perfectly all stages of the process. A true differentially tempored Katana for example is truly an art form, and that's on a much more forgiving platform of thicker steel. On Thin metal it becomes MUCH more difficult to control the process, and there is less room for error. It's one of those cases where I can almost bet that if I can afford it, then it wasn't done right.

It might be a great idea for a handcrafted knife done by a master, but even he would make a few duds, mass produced...it would only be effective if the actual difference was so small as to make little difference in function.....this is a small piece of metal.....not a hunting knife, and not a sword.


Agreed

SgtNickFury wrote:
jagstyle wrote:

What Japanese lines falsely make claims of clay tempering?


If it's mass produced...it's NOT a true clay tempored item...it's a process that simulates it.....this is something that is very difficult to do, and on a production line would have a high number of knives that would be bad, and prone to fracture and a few that would be excellent knives.....which would you get when you buy? who knows....the only way to know for sure means ruining the knife, (even on handmade Katanas we got duds and tehy were made by a TRUE master....but we'd just ship another sword if the blade was at fault)........if you want that sort of treatment it needs to be 100% handmade......and I believe that would make for insanely priced kitchen knives.......


I agree but please answer the question as to what Japanese lines falsely make claims of clay tempering? I have not come across any mass produced blades that make this claim. However, I have come across many handmade knives that make claims of special tempers and you certainly pay for the increased time and skill require to make such a blade.

SgtNickFury wrote:
jagstyle wrote:
Are you talking about Honyaki knives? These knives are expensive because the heat treat IS complicated and the fail rate is extremely high. Honyaki knives are in a $500-several thousand range depending on materials and reputation because the maker invests a lot of time to get it right.


I have no direct expreince with this line, and we did in fact work more with hunting knives, tactical knives, and swords......we came in contact with some cutlery pieces, but not like that......but that is exactly the sort of price I would expect, and at THAT price perhaps it is done correctly, and they DO have the high failure rate and someone eyeballing it every step of the way, and some sort of guarantee....but 500 bucks for a Kitchen knife? How much better could it be? For that price I'll take any modern steel in the ATS-34 family, and we'll sit cutting meat all day and see if there is ANY substantial difference, I'll pull out my mottled brown Sheffield and See if there is ANY substantial difference in performance for that matter......


Honyaki refers to a method of forging, it is not a line:
Quote:
If one forges a knife from solid hagane and applies differential heat treatment, it is called "honyaki." This term relates to the traditional construction of the samurai sword. These knives feature differential heat treatment so that the edge is quite hard and the rest of the blade is softer. Honyaki construction provides the edge retention of hard steel and the toughness of soft steel through the differential heat treatment. It is difficult to forge and expensive. These blades come from the forge shaped like an arc and need to be straightened. This process is difficult and suffers a significant failure rate. For that reason honyaki knives are the most expensive. They are also the hardest to maintain since the steel that carries the cutting edge is thicker. But honyaki provides the best performance and feel for cooking professionals who are proficient at Japanese cuisine.


Did you not sell any honyaki knives?

SgtNickFury wrote:
The process in question was not made for kitchen knives, it was never intended for domestic knives, it is a sales gimick, it was made for swords and weapons for the purpose of being sharp, and yet be able to stay solid when taking a devestating blow that might crack the spine, even then it was not always gauranteed not to snap, or an edge not to crack from being brittle.........I do not see the point other then for status or snob points to differentially tempor a kitchen knife. It's a process made for a different product...unless your Sushi chefs are in fact doing battle with each other or cutting straw matts with their kitchen knives this is pointless.


The point is to make the best blade possible. Whether or not it is worth it is up to the buyer but I agree that it really isn't necessary in kitchen knives.

SgtNickFury wrote:
jagstyle wrote:
Why? because it doesn't require specialists to sharpen or maintain and it is a high performance handmade product.


If you have two different forms of metal lamenated on a flat grind, with two different levels of hardness and sharpen it without any knowledge of how to do so then you're going to quickly have an ugly knife at best, and could damage the knife at worst. Granted if someone has the money for that sort of knife, I would damn well hope they would take the time to learn the proper care. Metals of different hardness and makeup will grind a way at different rates see the problem?


I think you are way off base here.

Yes, Metals of different hardness and makeup grind away at different rates but it is not an issue when grinding an edge bevel. It is simply a matter of holding the edge at a steady angle. I've sharpened many laminated blades by hand and the process is no different than with the solid counterpart.

Also, that sort of knife is not expensive:
http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/DPSwdenSteelWoodenHandleSeries.html

In fact, the majority of modern Japanese kitchen cutlery that I have encountered is a laminated sandwich (clad) construction with soft sides and a hard core. Shun is a perfect example and sharpening one is no different than sharpening a solid blade even when you start to make contact with the sides.

Even the traditional Japanese single bevel cutlery which has a large flat bevel of half soft iron and half hard high carbon steel is no different than sharpening the solid honyaki counterpart. It is actually easier because there is less hard steel to grind away.

I could hand a laminated or differentially tempered blade to an unknowing party who had only properly sharpened solid blades of constant temper and there would be no problems due to the different construction of the blade. Now different geometry could pose a problem

SgtNickFury wrote:
jagstyle wrote:
A Katana requires specialists because of the rare natural stone polish, the convex blade and the complicated logistics involved with sharpening such a large object.


well the convex blade is the main point of difficulty to be sure, maintaining the beauty of a true hamon lines, and keeping the grains in the folds visable are extras to the collector....I fully agree these are not in the same ball park for difficulty.....but laminated metals, and diff temporing would take special consideration when sharpening.


Agreed expect for the last statement regarding laminated and "diff temproing" which I have already addressed above

SgtNickFury wrote:
jagstyle wrote:

rockwell 65 certainly has its place. The metallurgy + geometry must match the application. A sushi knife at 65 rockwell is a beautiful thing. The knife is used carefully to cut delicate fish proteins. A thin hard edge is appropriate and preferred.


I challange you to show me the differnece between a rockwell hardness of 65, and a hardness of 58 for cutting yellow tail, or making the better Rainbow roll........no way that is going to matter or in any way, or effect the knife's performance......and I don't care if you use a super secret ninja squirrel formula ANY steel with a RC in the mid 60's is likely to shatter like glass under the right circumstances...a higher Rc is NOT a good thing when you pass 60 in a knife....it's a bad thing......this is more to do with sales gimicks then reality.......Steel is steel, and mid 60's is brittle....even if it's diff tempored that just means you'll snap the belly from the spine....less is more in this case.....a good knife can be made anywhere from 52-60....the quest for high Rc's on knives is a gimick going back to the 60's till today.......I would not own a pocket knife that had a 65 Rc much less what I prepare my food with. I don't want to eat bits of steel.


Any steel 52-60 will also shatter under the right circumstances. It is a matter of designing the knife to perform in the circumstances under which it will be used. Some knives are used in harsher circumstances than others .

I don't understand where you get the idea that HRC 60 is the limit and I also don't understand here you get the idea that there will be no difference between 58 & 65. The difference is that the HRC 58 knife will loose its edge before the HRC 65 knife.

I strongly stand behind my statement that hrc 65 knives have their place. Again, it is all about matching the metallurgy and geometry to the application.

A harder knife holds it edge longer than a softer knife and can hold its shape better in thin cross section. If too hard the edge will chip away and if too soft the blade will loose shape and roll.

A sushi knife is to be used in a delicate slicing motion with gentle contact against the hard cutting board. The designer must therefore determine the maximum hardness and thinnest geometry that can withstand the force applied. For sushi knives this happens to be very hard because the forces involved are so minimal. Therefore the brittleness of hrc65 steel is not an issue and the benefits of the increased edge holding are greatly preferred.

It all depends on what you are cutting and how much force you are applying. For cutting sushi there is nothing harsh about the environment the so a thin HARD edge works the best as the forgiveness of softer steel is not required.

I own a sushi knife in the 63-65 range and it holds up wonderfully in the application for which it was designed. If I was to abuse it by using outside the scope of carefully slicing soft proteins then of course it would start to fall apart.

SgtNickFury wrote:
jagstyle wrote:

SgtNickFury wrote:
....they use traditional high carbon tool steels, were forged probably with greater expertise then any available from Japan......

How can you justify this comment? I strongly disagree. The vintage knives you are referencing are still mass produced factory knives. In other words, they are greatly lacking specialization and expertise.


First I can see how I put that could be misunderstood. I am in no way saying there is not equal experetise in Japan. I did not mean it to sound as if I was slamming Japanese tradition.

However in the period we're talking about Germany, England, and the United States were the leaders of industrialization, and especially in the realms of steel, Japan was a relative new kid, and while their traditions for older hand blade blades were impressive, the stuff they produced in mass was crap. Now in todays world that has all changed...and now they tend to be the leaders in mass produced steels and often in knives.....but it is more mechanized procedures now. Even in mass produced items from Solingen or Sheffeld or Chicago, in the vintage knives it still had a larger role of human involvement, and quality control...man power was cheap....and every step was closely eyeballed. Today the manufacturing process is even more mechnized, and the newer steels are much more forgiving, and the need for the same attention to detail just isn't there as much....but duds and flaws still to get through and I beleieve they get through to a greater degree then in the vintage blades, simply because there was a pair of hands and eyes at every stage of the knife making process before putting aside anything not up to spec. I'm not slamming the Japanese, or anyones ability, rather modern manufacturing vs older craftsmanship......mass produced items no longer have as many people in the process.


Agreed

SgtNickFury wrote:
jagstyle wrote:
Today you can communicate with a world renown Japanese blacksmith and have him construct a handmade blade customized to your specifications.


You could......you could also put 10,000 dollar racing tires on your Honda Civic.....if you desire to do so.

Even when I dealt with the EXTREMELY snobby market of Katanas for Tameshigiri, most artists prefered to get a Chinese made Katana simply because of the lower cost for excellent quality.......(trust me when I say Tameshigiri artists are a hell of a lot more snobby then sushi chefs about their blades.) This included many artists in Japan, who in fact have the ability to buy Japanese swords.

There comes a point where some things are just not cost effective.


Agreed
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SgtNickFury



Joined: 20 Nov 2006
Posts: 37

PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2006 9:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

1)
What some of these knives claim is to make knives in the same tradition and methods of katanas.....I have seen such statements made when presenting the product....If that were true that would involve of course clay temporing......and I am stating that is not the case.......maybe for a few like the line you mentioned, but if it costs under 300 I doubt it, and in a way that would be a steal, because it would be more difficult to work with (temporing) then an actual Katana.

2.)
I'm sorry I still have to disagree on the Rc hardness...going past 62, means making a knife that will not be durable and is prone to chip. For food preperation that's a really bad thing. The only time I can imagine a Rc of that level being useful is in a lab for specialized tools. The actual improved edge retention from say 60 to 65 is highly suspect as well.....I just don't believe there would be any significant performace gain, but there is deffinately going to be brittleness.

With the clay tempored Tanto's knives we sold that have much thicker blades, when they made a mistake in the process and got into mid 60's on the edge we saw many many many returns due to chipping........on a chef knife that is going to be much easier to do because the thiness of the blade combined with that hardness makes a brittle metal edge that much more likely to chip. (We mainly dealt in high end Weapons, hunting blades, and pocket knives, not really in Kitchen cutlery)

I still am going to stand by my view that Rc hardness over 60 is a marketing gimick, and personally I think a 58 is more then high enough to make an incredibly durable edge. Personally I think ANY chef, should be more concerned about having a knife that sharpens quickly and easily, over a knife that is brittle but needs less sharpening, it doesn't take but a few swipes over a honing steel, or stone to get most blades to a razor edge if you sharpen them regularly......Fish is also NOT going to be dulling a blade, unless their chopping with it like a cleaver against a cutting board it won't be dulling much, and there again is no reason they need more edge retention, only a thinner blade for delicate cuts.......

I beleive these differentially tempored, laminated, jewel pommeled platinum plated, etc........tools to be excellent wonders in marketing, but not significantly more useful.......I Imagine a Sushi master could perform works of art with a knife from wally mart.


My thoughts on kitchen knives:

ANY good high carbon blade will sharpen to a razor.....

You do not want it too hard for fear of it being able to chip....

Stainless is merely an "ease of use" quality, and an convenience, the degree to which you're willing to give up in sharpness being the factor.

Laminating different grades of metal, certainly makes for a stronger knife....but only useful if the knife in question is going to be working with thick bones....or other applications where you may be chopping something with significant resistance.....and you really shouldn't be using anything less then a cleaver for that application. This is a case of adding a process made for Swords, and Hunting Knives that has no real advantage in a kitchen knife that is not going to be bashed in the side by an incoming enemies blade.

I do like a full tang knife....because it's a matter of tradition in western blades, but I don't think it is necessary in even a very high quality kitchen knife, unless you do in fact hunt boar with it on weekends. The rat tails and other type tangs work fine.... I certainly do not think lamination is required of a kitchen knife.

Forged will mean a more durable blade however, and a high carbon non stainless steel WILL mean sharper, and if I need to splurge, sure a ATS-34 or comparable stainless steel that has the best of both worlds would be nice......but really is as extreme a feature as I think is useful for a Kitchen knife...the rest of these "features" is marketing, and make as much sense as the fiberglass spoilers rice boys put on the back of civics.

That is my not so humble opinion, and I just speak for my own personal view and experience with cutlery. If having a 65 RC on a blade makes someone happy and makes them feel they can make a better cut in raw fish, far be it for me to judge them.

I like my knives "un-pimped", practical, reliable, and have enough money left over to buy other things....(like ACTUAL Katanas)....I have a "Gustav Emil Ern" vintage knife I found caked in rust, that with reconditioning has become the best knife I have ever used. It isn't pretty looking, it's mottled, but it quickly sharpens well enough to slice a hair. Cost? less then a buck at the flea market, and it probably cost the original owner a small fortune as it was "THE" knife to use in it's day, a symbol of Solingen craftsmanship.

I think we would agree on more then we disagree on knives Jag, and I certainly hope you do not take any offense in my difference in view.
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SirSpice



Joined: 04 Dec 2006
Posts: 95

PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2006 3:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The thing is...I'm not looking for a chef's knife. I'm not willing to give that much care that frequently to a knife.

My G2 is sharp enough for what I use it for and is low maintenance. It occasionally gets left out unwashed for a couple of hours or in the sink so it's important that it is stainless.

What I am looking for is a long, sharp, carving knife that I could use to cut thin slices of a large piece of food (mainly for carving roasts, slicing thin pieces of semi-frozen beef, and cutting through large fruits like watermelons). For this I think the best choice would be a knife that is 10"-12", single beveled, relatively thin, more sharp than strong, and since I wouldn't be using it as often I don't mind if it needs some care.
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GaryProtein



Joined: 26 Oct 2005
Posts: 535

PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2006 4:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="SirSpice"]The thing is...I'm not looking for a chef's knife. I'm not willing to give that much care that frequently to a knife.

My G2 is sharp enough for what I use it for and is low maintenance. It occasionally gets left out unwashed for a couple of hours or in the sink so it's important that it is stainless.

What I am looking for is a long, sharp, carving knife that I could use to cut thin slices of a large piece of food (mainly for carving roasts, slicing thin pieces of semi-frozen beef, and cutting through large fruits like watermelons). For this I think the best choice would be a knife that is 10"-12", single beveled, relatively thin, more sharp than strong, and since I wouldn't be using it as often I don't mind if it needs some care.[/quote]

Get a 12" Granton edge slicer. You can get it stamped or forged. I have had a 10 and 12" Henckels Four Star for almost twenty years, and they are great for carving roast beef and cutting watermelon. I like Wusthof Classic also, but I am not crazy about the Global handles--they are shaped very strangely, and my hand just doesn't like the feel of their handles.
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jagstyle



Joined: 08 Aug 2005
Posts: 45
Location: CA

PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2006 5:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SgtNickFury, I guess we really only disagree about the point at which brittleness becomes an issue and I am happy to leave it as is as we have both explained our different philosophies.


SirSpice wrote:
The thing is...I'm not looking for a chef's knife. I'm not willing to give that much care that frequently to a knife.

My G2 is sharp enough for what I use it for and is low maintenance. It occasionally gets left out unwashed for a couple of hours or in the sink so it's important that it is stainless.

What I am looking for is a long, sharp, carving knife that I could use to cut thin slices of a large piece of food (mainly for carving roasts, slicing thin pieces of semi-frozen beef, and cutting through large fruits like watermelons). For this I think the best choice would be a knife that is 10"-12", single beveled, relatively thin, more sharp than strong, and since I wouldn't be using it as often I don't mind if it needs some care.


I don't recommend traditional single bevel slicers except for cutting fish. They want to twist when cutting through a large object like a watermelon. I'd go with a double bevel unless you want to specialize in the Japanese style of butchering and preparing fish.

Western style double bevel slicer recommendations:

Stainless sides, high-carbon edge:

Hiromoto Tenmi Jyuraku AS Sujihiki

High-carbon:

Suisin Virgin Carbon Sujihiki

Masamoto HC Sujihiki

Misono Swedish Steel Sujihiki

Kikuichi Elite Carbon Steel Sujihiki

Stainless:

Tojiro DP Sujihiki

Ryusen Blazen Sujihiki

Hatorri HD Sujihiki

Masamoto VG Sujihiki

Misono UX10 Sujihiki

Nenohi Nenox Corian Sujihiki

Serrated:
MAC Superior: Bread/ Roast - 10 1/2 in. (SB-105)

Wusthof Trident Classic Super Slicer 10"

Dimples:

Glestain slicers

UX10 Dimples Sujihiki
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SgtNickFury



Joined: 20 Nov 2006
Posts: 37

PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2006 4:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you're going to be cutting frozen meat, I HIGHLY recommend a serrated edge....heck I know this will be funny after all those posts on high quality knives, but when I need to cut something frozen, i usually use a "Forever Sharp" Knife my parants gave me when they bought a set from Sam's.......it's surgical steel, and claims to never need sharpening or they'll replace it for free......I don't doubt it (the replacing part), it looks like it cost about 2.00 bucks at most to make.

It's one of those infomerical type knives....

Still it's serrated and dimpled....and you don't need the highest quality metal, or steel to cut excellently when you have serrations it's just nigh impossible to keep them sharpened long term....so for something like that an infomercial cheap surgical stainless is perfect.......

Cutting semi frozen meat, is actually one of the meaner things you can do to a knife, and the edge, will my Emil Ern cut through it? Yes! but again there is a time and a place for even cheap knives. Working with anything tough enough to mess up an edge calls for a cheap knife, and frozen meat is exactly that sort of blade killer.




Now for a high quality carver, I saw this auction.......on E-bay......

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=250059007546

It's sorta high for a vintage, but I have to say anything made now that is comperable will cost more...

For the semi frozen meats, I'd also consider a nice Granton Scimitar style knife .....I suppsoe it depends on the size of cuts you're working with I'm imagining full boston butts....you may mean like precut frozen steaks.......if you're actually doing butcher work, look for a good scimitar.


Last edited by SgtNickFury on Tue Dec 12, 2006 10:18 pm; edited 1 time in total
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DrBiggles



Joined: 12 May 2005
Posts: 354
Location: Richmond, CA

PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2006 6:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SgtNickFury wrote:


Now for a high quality carver, I saw this auction.......on E-bay......

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=250059007546

It's sorta high for a vintage, but I have to say anything made now that is comperable will cost more...



Before I clicked on that link I said to myself, I'll bet that's one of Ralph's knives. Bingo. Yeah, Ralph is on the high side for sure. But this is his business and passion. His knives are what they say they are and usually even nicer when they show up at your door. I have probably over half a dozen of his rigs up on my wall. One of my favorites is a Goodnow 10" with a boxwood handle. I think he was asleep at the wheel when he sold it. I think it was only 17 dollars.

Biggles
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