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Knife Questions

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
Firstly I used to work for a company called Fromm International that sells hair-styling scissors made by ZWILLING J.A. HENCKELS so I am kind of leaning toward buying knives from them because I know the steel is really great quality. Of course you pay PAY PAY for that quality. Is it worth it?

I have several Chicago Cutlery knives at home (gift) but no 8" or 10" chef knife so I end up buying these inexpensive ones at the market but want something of a higher quality. Of course Chicago Cutlery is pretty expensive too.

I also want to buy a Santoku knife.

Any recommendations on knives, good sharpness and durability etc.

I also want to get a knife roll case to store them in so I can keep my knives somewhere other than the drawer where my kids can get a hold of them. Any thoughts?

Also I must be just lame or something because I can't get the motion down to sharpen my knives with a sharpening steel. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Mike

“If there's anything more important than my ego around, I want it caught and shot now.” -- Zaphod Beeblebrox
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Mike

“If there's anything more important than my ego around, I want it caught and shot now.” -- Zaphod Beeblebrox
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post #2 of 26
If you do a search on this site you will see that there have been many, many knife questions. The common theme throughout the responses is always, hold it in your hand to find out if it "fits" you. You can pay hundreds of $$$ for a top quality knife only to find it is uncomfortable in your hand. Go to the store and ask to hold the knives. The store should understand the need for this and won't object. If they do, go to another store!! Once you find the one that feels right, decide if you can afford it - assuming it is expensive. You may find the one for you costs $35.

Also, look for a restaurant supply house in the Chicago area for a knife roll. They can cost up to $100 or as little as $25. The supply house will have some good, inexpennsive knives to try too.

Jock
post #3 of 26
In addition, you can get knife rolls on amazon.com for "less than" $20.00.

As for your steel, it's not - no matter what the company says - a "sharpening steel." You can't use it to sharpen. You use it to straighten the edge, as a very sharp edge will tend to fold over with use.
See this for how to use one.
post #4 of 26
Thread Starter 
Jock - Good point and oddly enough I still have yet to find a knife that feels good in my hand I always end up choking it too high on the handle and getting a blister or holding it too low and having little control. If I have to hold every knife from here to New York then that's just what I have to do.

castironchef - I guess that is like a razor strop for a straight razor it just restores the fin on the edge. If the razor is dull no amount of stropping will make it sharp again.
Mike

“If there's anything more important than my ego around, I want it caught and shot now.” -- Zaphod Beeblebrox
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Mike

“If there's anything more important than my ego around, I want it caught and shot now.” -- Zaphod Beeblebrox
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post #5 of 26
I'm told that blister are more likely if your hands are wet or greasy and slide about on the bolster of the knife. Dry hands mitigate that to some extent. I have suffered many blisters in the past but eventually I developed a callous on my index finger and I don't get blisters any more. Also, a really sharp edge will alow the knife to do most of the work and you don't have to press so hard to develop blisters.

The comfort issue really has to do with balance, weight, size, etc.

On using the steel, there are ceramic sticks that do the same job. There are 2 sticks in a block of wood set at exactly the right angle. It takes the guess work out of it and it is consistent. The down side of ceramic sticks is that they are delicate. If you drop a steel you pick it up and keep going. If you drop a ceramic stick you sweep up the bits and go and buy another one. Practice, practice, practice. Start with slow strokes till you get comfortable with the motion and gradually speed it up. It's amazing what muscle memory can allow you to do.

Jock
post #6 of 26
I like Cutco's. They're expensive, unless you know where to look.
post #7 of 26

you get what you pay for

I just wanted to add......buying a nice knife seems expensive at first. You can pay over $100 for a decent chef's knife. Remember this. I usually buy Tridents and Henckels for my chef's knife. Although they are expensive, they last nearly 5 years! They keep a great edge and are very durable. So what I figure is this knife costs me about $20 a year and that's darn cheap. I'm a Chef at a country club in Texas and I use my knives daily and use them hard. Like one person said, put the knife in your hand and feel it out. Test the balance, the weight, and it's size or length. Does it feel good in your hand? And also try and get a knife with the tang going through the handle. It's better balanced.

John
post #8 of 26
I like cutco knives for their blades...but I just can't get myself to like the handle. If you could get a different handle on that thing, I'd SO buy me a set.
post #9 of 26
Thread Starter 
This is going to sound awful no matter how I say it but it's a total head-desk moment. I was watching "The F Word" on BBC America On Demand last night and happened to see Chef Ramsay showing Martine McCutcheon how to use the steel and I finally got the motion down. I had been doing it wrong. *smack forehead*
Mike

“If there's anything more important than my ego around, I want it caught and shot now.” -- Zaphod Beeblebrox
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Mike

“If there's anything more important than my ego around, I want it caught and shot now.” -- Zaphod Beeblebrox
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post #10 of 26
If you choke up on the knives I would recommend the Chroma Porsche series, awesome knives. To sharpen a knife don't use the steel they only maintain the edge. Buy yourself a good whetstone and practice on a cheap knife to get the angles down, be carefull you don't scuff up the sides of your knife with the stone by holding at too shallow of an angle.
Fluctuat nec mergitur
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Fluctuat nec mergitur
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post #11 of 26

Knifes

:) I have always used Sabitier knives full carbon steal they get black but stay sharp and easy to sharpen on a steal. I bought a 14'' one and it cost $60 with free delivery.
post #12 of 26
Thread Starter 
That might be an idea. The whole deal with stainless steel is they add chromium which keeps the steel shiny and clean looking and helps prevent rust but it wreaks havoc on your edge durability. Even if it's ice-tempered and drop forged it still only holds up so long. What I'd like is a hearty micro-carbide steel which has the carbides all nicely uniform in size and spacing between them. That steel holds up tremendously well and stays shiny.

Any suggestions on where I could buy these on-line? There is a lot to be said of having black knives especially to my goth sensibilities. Although the horror movie buff in me still wants a shiny chrome knife. :crazy:
Mike

“If there's anything more important than my ego around, I want it caught and shot now.” -- Zaphod Beeblebrox
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Mike

“If there's anything more important than my ego around, I want it caught and shot now.” -- Zaphod Beeblebrox
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post #13 of 26
Be VERY, VERY careful buying "Sabatier" knives. For weird reasons having to do with historical usages, no one owns the "Sabatier" name and this allows almost anyone to make any kind of dreck and sell it as "Sabatier." And they do.

Best to buy them, if at all, from a reputable, knowledgable, local knife dealer.


Good luck.
post #14 of 26

Knives

That is the first time I have heard of that but I am not worried. I always buy mine from people I trust. I have been using them for 40 years, would never buy anything else. You can true the edge so much better. I found one covered in rust clean it up and in no time it was as a razor sharp. Still in my opinon the best knives around.
post #15 of 26

Good knives and sharpening.

Chef John Borg of knifemerchant.com carries an excellent supply of quality knives. A retired chef himself, he only carries professional quality cutlery.

I am glads to see so many of my fellow chefs stating the fact that a steel is NOT a sharpner; as correctly stated it is an edge burnisher. Too many strokes will actually dull the knife by wearing the edge down, and then you must go back to the stone to re-cut the edge.

I purchase japanese water stones from japanesechefsknife.com (great knives too). They have some very nice and very efficient water stones at a good price. Very quick shipping and impeccably honest.

"Keep you edges sharp"

KC
post #16 of 26
Thread Starter 
My quest for the perfect chef's knife has ended!

My boss, a former chef himself, gifted me the most amazing knife. It is the
F. Dick Premier 9" Competition Chef's Knife. A $150 knife for free! I am over the moon. The weight and handle are perfect and it has measurements on the sides for competition which since I won't be competing at least looks cool. :)

I would recommend it to anyone.

I still need to find a perfect Santoku and I am all set.
Mike

“If there's anything more important than my ego around, I want it caught and shot now.” -- Zaphod Beeblebrox
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Mike

“If there's anything more important than my ego around, I want it caught and shot now.” -- Zaphod Beeblebrox
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post #17 of 26

Knife bargains

I have fallen in love with Forschner blades. Cooks Illustrated mag just picked Forschener Victorinox as the best knife in their annual shoot-out. I bought a 10" chef's couple years ago for $36 or so, but those of you near a Smart & Final store can get a 10" chef's, an 8"chef's, a 7" santoku with a kellen edge, or a serrated slicer for $19.99 a piece through Jan 10, 2007.
post #18 of 26
Thread Starter 
I have found a very solid quality Santoku at Jewel-Osco. It's the 7" Santoku by Chicago Cutlery. It cost about $16 and is well worth the cash. I chopped just about everything I could find in the fridge and it performed beautifully.
Mike

“If there's anything more important than my ego around, I want it caught and shot now.” -- Zaphod Beeblebrox
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Mike

“If there's anything more important than my ego around, I want it caught and shot now.” -- Zaphod Beeblebrox
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post #19 of 26
may i introduce any of you to the world of japanese knives? The benifit is a half bolster (so the whole blade maybe sharpened) they are lighter in weight, the steel is harder which means your edge will last longer.
a couple places to check out would be Korin at www.korin.com or www.japanesechefknife.com
post #20 of 26
Does anyone happen to know a kitchen/cutlery store in SoCal that would let me try out the knife? I know Sur La Table does, but they are quite expensive, especially for a non-working student like me. It is the same case with Bed, Bath and Beyond, Linens N Things because they all carry the same knives. I'm interested in finding a cheap but effective knife for around $35 dollars as Jock mentioned above. Any input on some brands I might be interested in? Thanks in advance.
post #21 of 26
Look in the yellow pages (or ask around) for a restaurant supply house in your area. Pay them a visit. Chances are that they'll have inexpensive, stamped knives, which constitute the mainstays of most professional kitchens, likely including Forschner, as mentioned above.
post #22 of 26
Thread Starter 
You should be able to find Chicago Cutlery knives around. Not so easy to find some place where you can hold one, but their "Forum" line is very good quality for very affordable prices. I bought the most amazing 7" Santoku for around $16 at Jewel-Osco (Albertsons for your So-Calers).

Ask your fellow students too if they have a knife you like the look of. If they are like me though they may refuse. I am more than generous with nearly everything I own but NOBODY touches my knives. :)

You could also go to Sur La Table and try few in your hand then look for them on-line. Probably find 'em cheaper that way.
Mike

“If there's anything more important than my ego around, I want it caught and shot now.” -- Zaphod Beeblebrox
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Mike

“If there's anything more important than my ego around, I want it caught and shot now.” -- Zaphod Beeblebrox
Reply
post #23 of 26
mredikop, why is that? just curious if that's some type of superstition or something i should avoid asking someone.


also, i'll have to check out jewel and look for that knife. i have a mac santoku and love it.
post #24 of 26
Thread Starter 
Most people are not like me. I guess it's a superstition because I was that way about my surf board, and then my skateboard. Anything that could hurt me or cause me injury I prefer not be "tampered with". I don't know must be some weird Bushido-esque thing.

With the Chicago Cutlery Forum 7" Santoku even if you hate it you are only out $15 as opposed to my friend who bought a Henckels knife he hates for $160.
Mike

“If there's anything more important than my ego around, I want it caught and shot now.” -- Zaphod Beeblebrox
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Mike

“If there's anything more important than my ego around, I want it caught and shot now.” -- Zaphod Beeblebrox
Reply
post #25 of 26
I found a chef's knife by Calphalon at Linen's -N-things, that I just love. It was only about $30, and I liked the feel and weight of it better than the $100 knives. I must agree with Mike- I am quite protective over my knives- but I will share, but ONLY if someone is worthy...LOL I ended up having the check the feel of the handles of the kinves in the block sets, and then purchased one in an individual sealed package (at least at Linen's-n-things) I spent a half hour in the knife department- but a knife you are going use frequently, is a personal decision. It should be well constructed (tang runs full length of handle), be able to hold it's edge and feel good to it's user. There are many good, inexpensive knives out there.
Bon Vive' !
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Bon Vive' !
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post #26 of 26

re: Knife Questions

I agree with what many have said, a steel does not sharpen a knife, but pushes little burrs that get bent over in the use of the knifeso that the blade is once again a single edge. If the knife gets dull, no amount of steel use will sharpen it. I disagree with the people pushing whetstones, etc, based on advice from a few of the chefs on the Food Network, as well as people I know personaly in food service where I live. I have been taught do not try to sharpen a knife yourself, rather send or take it to a professional knife sharpener.

The first poszt in this thread indicated a desire for a Santoku knife. I happen to love these asian-inspired knives, and have a good one. To show that you should not have to spend the neational debt for a decent knife. I picked up a Santoku knife at, of all places, Wal-Mart, just before Christmas. It is made by Farberware, and has a Limited Lifetime Warranty. I know for a fact that many pros use Farberware knives. Oh, and it only cost about $9.00 Great knife!

As I posted in another thread, I put together my knife set for about $30, including an Ulu knife I was given. The only thing Alton Brown's Shun knives has that mine don't is a high price tag. I don't think his paring knife for $107 cuts food any faster or cleaner or longer than my paring knife which cost me about $6.00. I will put my knives up against any made amywhere in the world.

I have seen so many people bring up the low pay in the food industry, but not one of them can justify with that low level of pay how they can justify the outlay of $1,000 or more on a set of knives.
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