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ChefTalk Knife buying, selection and care guide - Page 3

post #61 of 123


What I gather from this is everyone likes a radically different knife- it's troubling as a buying guide.

I am thinking about getting a knife, as I think I am past the point of being a beginner. I am only 17, but I've been in the kitchen for 6 months and my knife technique is no longer scary to watch. I have some well-educated coworkers in the kitchen with me, and they are teaching me how to do things the proper way (I'm the collective apprentice/little brother of the kitchen). My job entails a lot of prep, julienning veg and calamari being the more problem-y areas knife wise, general cutting, and I find it very hard using the public knives, which are all very dull. I need a knife that is agile but not to my detriment, but I don't want to go spending a months pay on it- I read this entire thread and I'm so confused- there are tens of well thought out opinions and people who clearly have tried out everything and decided on what they like, but they are not me, so I am very torn. My hands are big, I pinch, and I don't like Global. Based on the presented facts, if you were to suggest something to the cute pathetic little prep/line boy, as a first knife, what would you tell him (me) to get?

post #62 of 123
Young Padwan,

Your knife is only as good as your sharpening regimen. No knife will remain sharp more than a week under the kind of abuse a prep cook dishes out. Where I started, you'd be lucky if your edge lasted two days. Start with the dull knives in your kitchen and get very good at sharpening before buying a new one.

Best no BS knife for a prep cook? Easy. MAC.

If you can't afford a MAC, one of the commercial Forschners -- either Rosewood or Fibrox. I prefer the Rosewood handles, but they're no longer "legal" for commercial kitchens. The rap on these is they sharpen easily but dull quickly. If you stay in the game, you'll outgrow the Forschner chef's, but not their specialty knives.

You may decide you want something more upscale, but you'll never outgrow the MAC.

If you don't have your own, borrow a coarse and medium stone and "relieve" the spine angles on your new knife so the spine doesn't cut into the index finger of your cutting hand. Bevel the first 2" from the handle from 90 to 45 deg, and it'll make a world of difference. Better still is to do it with a Dremel.

post #63 of 123

Knife answer

Mac, or Togiharu - here is the link to korin.
Korin - Fine Japanese Tableware and Chef Knives
post #64 of 123

MAC a no brainer

i agree that MAC is a no brainer!
i have had about a dozen of them and none of them have ever
let me down. it is amazing what even the standard MAC will do,
the rounded tips have saved me many times when i inadvertently
"poked" myself with the tip and didn't let out any blood.
the MACs also have almost the "alton's angle" to the grip, a
slightly upswept handle that helps keep the knuckles off the
cutting board.
the blades are thin, hard, sharp, and stay sharp with a few swipes
of a ceramic stick.
my favorite models to pick from (i own them all) for all around
blade is the SA70, HB85, and the sushi chef (a chef knife styled
blade with the teflon coating).
post #65 of 123


Very informative thread :look:
post #66 of 123
I'm a new guy around here and also a bit of a knife nut. I'll reserve my comments until I have a few posts under my belt. I will say it's interesting hearing thoughts from professional users. Much differant than home users.

P.S. Togiharu is sold under a few different names. You can find it for less than at Korin. (Although that is where I bought mine)

恵守 世羽棲知安

恵守 世羽棲知安
post #67 of 123
In regards to Tombrown...

I am a young chef as well and am going to be graduating from my fourth year of culinary school this may so I have a decent perspective on where you are and what you want because I was basically in your same position at about the same age that you are now. What you must first understand is that knowing how to use the knife and how to properly take care of and sharpen it are more important than the knife itself... There is no end all knife that solves all knife problems without those aforementioned skills the knife is worthless.

So learn how to sharpen!!! wwhetstones are where you will end up so I recommend learning how to use one ASAP, it will truly benefit you in your career and learn about steeling a knife which I am not going to get into now because it really gets nitpicky. Some purists will say that you should never use a honing steel blah blah that is up to you to decide.

Back to what you're original inquiry of looking for a good first knife if you have not already purchased one. I would have to recommend something that is sharpened 50/50 and if price is a real issue get a Tojiro DP for 50 bucks at Korin for the 210mm or 60 bucks for the 240mm. For the money it has to be the best knife out there. Mac is always good as bdlz suggested. Global, Wustohf, Shun etc... are decent knives but overpriced in my opinion . The knife I got at your age was a kitchen aid knife and I have learned to use and sharpen with that which as I said is the most important. Wusthof is a great knife to learn with as well although a bit pricey... I would say check ebay and if you can find a cheap wusthof cheap buy one otherwise get a mac or Tojiro DP and you will not be dissapointed. Also Japenesechefknife.com has a few cheap knife lines that would solid choices.

O by the way Boar d Laze i ended up getting that Handamerican borosilicate steel and it is very nice! It has been great success at my kitchen work place! thanks for the recommendation man
post #68 of 123
Take a look at the Chroma line. I like my chef's knife. Sturdy, decent blade, comfortable handle. Interesting design.

恵守 世羽棲知安

恵守 世羽棲知安
post #69 of 123

wusthof all the way baby

i have had my set of wusthofs for bout five years and i will change from them.i have tried macs but the steel is so soft it wears down quick meanin you have to replace your knifes bout every year . wusthof all the way:chef:
post #70 of 123
To each their own. I admire the fit and finish on the better Wusthof's -- which is as good as any mass produced knife I've ever seen, and better than most. I like their handles too. But at the end of the day it's a heavy knife with an awkward shape, that takes an edge with some difficulty and loses it comparatively quickly.

The comment about soft steel is interesting, in that the softest MACs, the Original and Chef's series, have a Rockwell hardness of 58, the same as the hardest Wusties (LCB, and Ikon) made from the European steel X50CrMoV. They are harder than Wusthof Classic or Culinair (56 - 57) which are made from X45CrMoV. Of course, the low end MAC's are made thinner and so may (or may not) wear quicker, but they are so much cheaper than the top of the line Wusthofs.

Although I've handled and sharpened a few, I've never owned a low end MAC, or talked about longevity with anyone who has worked with one. My experience with them is they hold an edge much better than any X45CrMoV knife, and need less frequent sharpening. I'm surprised to hear that you're getting significantly more longevity out of your Wusties. I've got a little more experience with the MAC Professional line, which has a Rockwell hardness of 60. As far as I know, they don't wear quickly at all -- in fact slower than any mass produced European knife, and properly sharpened and maintained, they hold an edge far longer than the Euros. These knives are heavier than the cheaper, stamped MACs; but they're feathers compared to any Wustie, even an LCB.

I know a lot of pros who could wear down anything in a year because of how and how often they sharpen. For instance some use diamond steels several times a day and others don't steel at all, but go straight to an India stone. Still, I'm surprised you're wearing MACs so much quicker than Wusthofs. I'd be interested to know how and how often you sharpen, and how, how often, and with what you steel.

Rate of wear may be very important to you, it's certainly a valid consideration. My priorities are shape, edge taking, balance point, handle comfort, weight and edge holding. Given that there are a wide variety of French profile knives (including nearly all Japanese cook's knives), better able to take a sharp edge, appropriately balanced, as comfortable and significantly lighter than any Wusthof -- that pretty much leaves Wusthof out. (Although, of all the mass produced German profiles, I think the Wusthof LCB is one of the very best, and Ikon ain't too shabby either. Credit where credit is due.)

I don't have any brand loyalty to MAC. All of the knives in my block and on my bar -- except for the bread knife and my wife's paring knife -- are carbon Sabatiers of some vintage. Which, by the way, I wouldn't recommend to anyone who wasn't already a carbon convert or darn near. However, I have and do handle a lot of knives and think that, according to my criteria anyway, MAC is a lot of bang for the buck for both the pro and the home cook.

post #71 of 123

MACs soft?? no way!!

when i was in college back in 73/74, i saved my ducats and bought
my first MAC, the 9" "carving" model, which i used to cut everything
for the year i lived in the on-campus apartments. i never had to do
anything more than a few swipes on a ceramic stick to get it sharp
enough for anything i had to cut, from the freshest tomatoes to the
stringiest tri-tips and skirt steaks.
now, in 2008, i have STILL not have to ever have used more than a
ceramic stick to keep the edge on that knife, that is why i have bought
so many other MACs, (maybe twelve of them?), from the superior
series, to a couple from their japanese pro series, the sushi chef
model (the teflon coated chef's knife), the mini-santoku ... just
a bunch, and none of them have ever met a stone.

i have not have had that kind of lasting sharpness from my wusthofs
and can't understand people feeling so impressed with their sharpness.
the blades are thick and wedgy, and for it being a softer steel i find
them harder to sharpen, taking more time to achieve an edge than
a similar size and shape tojiro dp (which are terrific knives, sharper
than wusthofs, while feeling similar and costing less).

in fact, the only knives i own (over 200!) that are harder to sharpen are
those cheap carbon steel knives from "old hickory".

go figger.
post #72 of 123


I own all Wusthof! I sware by them. I just bought the Santuko in March, now I use that all the time. It is a perfect knife. But thats me, you must go in and try it, feel it, how much control you have etc..... It really is simply personal choice! Good Luck
Determination is going after Moby Dick in a row boat and bringing the tarter sauce!!!!......NICE!
Determination is going after Moby Dick in a row boat and bringing the tarter sauce!!!!......NICE!
post #73 of 123
I haven't seen or heard of any pros using santokus in commercial kitchens but I completely agree, what works for you is what works for you. I take a good deal of flack for using all carbon. But I am in the midwest where shun is the most exotic it gets for most people.

Where do you work littlechef?
post #74 of 123
For you it's the control? Are you M of F? Do you have small hands or large? Do you pinch grip?

I've tried several of the Wusthof santokus and none of them do anything for me. But I'm very much not the issue. You and your wonderful enthusiasm are far more interesting.

Thanks for allowing me to follow up,
post #75 of 123
Yes, I am very little! That is why I feel this knife works so well. I felt it was built just for me. I am a women and only 98lbs standing 5.4.Knives before were to big, bulky etc.. and I had a hard time with knife skills, but I found this one and PERFECTION! So I was glad to see that finally there was a piece on equipment I can finally handle well! Things in this industry were not made for little people. Granted I try and succeed like ****, but sometime I do strugle! LOL. Thanks for the reply!
Determination is going after Moby Dick in a row boat and bringing the tarter sauce!!!!......NICE!
Determination is going after Moby Dick in a row boat and bringing the tarter sauce!!!!......NICE!
post #76 of 123
Perhaps a recomendation to small handed cooks for santokus will find its way into your book BDL?
post #77 of 123
i used to use all wusthofs(still have them) I have two japanese knives, guess which knives i used 95 % of the times...The Japanese. There not ever that hight qualitly. While i see where wusthofs have there place in kitchen they compare nothing to japanese steel . If you need and edge that last buy a japanse. btw i used to be a believer in wusthofs and german knives look at the begining of this post, The first time i used my sharpend japanese i changed. Im now a believer.
post #78 of 123
Great question, to which the answer is "yes." That's why I'm asking so many questions. Santokus are selling very well with woman and the reasons are better than "Rachel Ray uses one." Rachel Ray being the usual explanation from knife geeks and men in general.

I'm still trying to find out if people with small hands who "pinch" large knives find a santoku to be as much of an improvement as people do who are more intuitive than technical. At this point I;m playing with the idea that the choice for the go-to knife for most people is between a 10" chef's and a 7" santoku rather than between a 10" and 8" chef's.

post #79 of 123
Whoa, wo, wo, wo, wo. Easy there tiger. Let's not loose perspective. A santoku would all but eliminate the proficiency that proper blade technique provides while in a pro kitchen. Maybe the suggestion could be for home cooks to consider santokus. But then again, littlechef just said she goes to work with one so anything goes.

The 8" still has its place on small boards on the line though. imho

Looking forward to reading the book, do you have a publisher?
post #80 of 123
Ok, like I said it is a matter of personal choice. I am not a home cook, I am not Rachael Ray (frankly she really bothers me). All my knives are in my office at work but I find myself picking up my santoku ad my boning knife the most. I have not used my chef knife since March. Please boys do not imply anything that my knife choice is only because I am female or Rachael Ray, I can still cook with the best regardless of my taste in knives. Again IT IS MY CHOICE, the one that allows me to do my work the best. In the end that is the point not whose knife is bigger! So I still stand with my original comment, GET THE KNIFE that YOU FEEL is the BEST, only you can decide that.:rolleyes:
Determination is going after Moby Dick in a row boat and bringing the tarter sauce!!!!......NICE!
Determination is going after Moby Dick in a row boat and bringing the tarter sauce!!!!......NICE!
post #81 of 123
The sous chef at my work uses a 5in santoku and a 6 in slicing knife pretty much the whole time, they buy ALOT of stuff precut so having a small knife isnt an issue. Right now im the only person in the kitchen that uses a knife over 10 in daily.
post #82 of 123

longer santokus?

santokus are rarely found to be longer than seven inches and i am
used to having longer blades. to "cure" that "problem", i had a
an eight inch santoku made by cutting down a ten inch chef's knife
to eight inches. I bought a ten inch forschner vibrox chef's knife
and i had mike over at perfect edge cutlery in san mateo, california,
round off the tip making it into an eight inch santoku.
it is amazing how much better that extra inch feels!
i have since done the same to a ten inch MAC, a couple of ten inch
dexter sani-safes, a ten inch boker arbolito, a ten inch f.dick pro series,
and even an 8" x 3" dexter chinese cleaver, making it an extra wide
santoku ... amazing how many people i show this to want one!
post #83 of 123
Littlechef, I didn't mean to offend. I fully believe in personal preference and you could probably cook me under the table. That said, my comments lean toward the opinion that santokus don't make for optimum output. They aren't curved enough for fast rocking on larger products. They aren't long enough for efficient slicing and they aren't balanced for rapid chopping like a usuba or nikiri.

But if an 8 inch gyuto/chef's knife is too big, a nikiri/usuba too awkward, and a slicer/yanagi not versatile enough, then the santoku is your best bet.
post #84 of 123

Attn: CookingAngry


On a personal note, I actually get fair use from a 7" (French profile) chef's which I enjoy a great deal. I use it as a petty that can chop. It sees action with small things in small quantities -- or sometimes just as a petty because I feel like it.

I agree on the 8" for small boards -- in fact, I'd say that's its highest calling. Otherwise, it's a length that's neither here nor there, as far as I'm concerned. Too long to double as a petty, too short to section the blade into sections for multiple purposes; and, in the German profile, too curved to draw a slicing motion across the board. This would all be a lot more meaningful if it weren't for the fact that tastes vary.

post #85 of 123



You've helped a lot by letting me know how and why your santoku has become your instinctive choice for most tasks. Also, in case there is some misunderstanding, I said that "Rachel Ray" is NOT the reason santokus are so popular with women. In fact, the idea is sexist.

I believe their popularity (santokus not sexists) is a combination of belly geometry, point shape, knife length, hand size, and cook's height. To be more specific on belly geometry -- santokus are a lot flatter than the popular German profile chef's knives, especially 8" chef's knives. The sheep's foot point makes straight slicing easier, on the draw stroke, and facilitates two-handed "rock-chopping." And, to be more specific with cook's height, it relates to the angle of perspective at which you look over your knife. Also, with less experienced users I feel the raised heel makes it easier to keep knuckles off the board, and the rounded point is less intimidating. None of this relates specifically to women in any way except that women tend to be shorter than men, and have smaller palms with proportionally longer fingers. For instance, shorter cooks see a knife of given length as longer than taller cooks do.

I'd appreciate any comments you have regarding my thoughts, and still have one question if you'd care to answer it. That is, do you use the pinch grip for chopping?

Thanks for your input so far. It's golden.
post #86 of 123

Attn: Crimsonmist


I get the point you really like the santoku shape, and you appreciate a little extra length.

The Forschner Fibrox, F. Dick, and Sani-safes would still have a fairly pronounced belly curve, wouldn't they?

The Arbolito... what a kick. :cool:

I'd really like to hear about what it is you like about the santoku shape. Is it the sheep's foot tip only? What makes you like that so much? Are there other aspects? If so, what? And more importantly, why?

Thanks in advance,
post #87 of 123
I guess to emphasize "to each his own" I'll add, after cooking professionally for over 30 years and being brought up on Greman steel I use a santoku (Japanese) as much or more than any other knife. For technical applications they're great. Currently my knife of choice is is a Carter 203 Funayaki, which is similar to a santoku. In addition to that a 180mm Togiharu and a 180 Hattori KD. Both santokus. Pretty flat with almost no belly. Great for slicing proteins or vegys. ( I'm not a rocker) I probably use my 270 gyotu the least.

Hey Angry, Have I seen you over at Knife Forums?

恵守 世羽棲知安

恵守 世羽棲知安
post #88 of 123
Yeppers, that was me at KF. BDL pointed me that way and I am now an addict.
post #89 of 123
These are all my kitchen knives I could fit on the table. I have several rolled sets from my reastaurant days in the closet.
I will always take a French style Chef knife, 8 or 10 inch, over any Santoku. Thats my preference. :)

post #90 of 123

You must tell me what every knife on the table is. Now. Pretty Please.
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