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chicago cutlery?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
hey guys, i have a question. back in january, my brother gave me two chicago cutlery knives, a chef's knife and a paring knife. i've been pretty happy with them so far, but now my chef's knife is starting to rust. so this got me thinking, is this a good quality brand? has anyone here had any experience with this brand? would i be better off getting a different knife made by someone else?

i was able to remove the rust, but i want to be sure im using a good knife. its served me well so far, so is there no real reason to worry about it?

thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 20
The best knife for you to use is one that fits comfortably in your hand and one that you feel comfortable using....that being said Chicago Cutlery is plain and simple c r @!.

Forschner, Lamson Sharp....decent knives at a reasonable price. Step up would be Messermeister for german knives and Masahiro for Japanese style.

I get mine from knifemerchant.com. great selection at good prices, and John will help you out if you ask.
post #3 of 20
I guess things do change. I have a set of Chicago Cutlery that I got maybe 30 years ago. It has served me quite well, not a speck of rust ever, still using it to this day, no complaints. But like so many things, a product made a generation ago is most likely quite different from the "same" one made a few months ago. Sigh.

And like Lollarossa said, the best knife is one that feels good in your hand, comfortable, easy to use, feels like a natural extension of your hand. Country of origin, price, steel compostion, edge angle - that's all irrelevant if you don't enjoy using it. I really think that good cutlery shops should have a nice cutting board and a ready supply of celery stalks, carrots and such at hand so one can test drive a prospective knife purchase. Sushi grade tuna loins might be a bit much to ask.

Some years ago my wife went to summer potluck party with her dance group. She was going to cut up a pineapple to serve on the half shell, so to speak. She was running late, didn't prepare it at home, planned to do it there. When she came back home later and was dealing with the tattered remains, she looked at me and said something like "Thank you so much for taking care of our knives" It seems the sharpest edged implement she could find at the party site would have had trouble cutting through room temperature butter, dicing pineapple was a major effort.

Some folks just have a blatant lack of respect for their tools.

mjb.
Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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post #4 of 20
There was a time Chicago Cutlery was OK. That time has passed.

If you have some of the old stock knives and like them then keep them.

They also made some carbon steel blades which are prone to rust if you don't keep them oiled up. And those are decent blades. Many people don't want to hassle with carbon steel and prefer stainless.

If you like the knife, keep it out of the dishwasher. Keep it clean and dry; don't ever leave it in the sink waiting to be cleaned. Keep it oiled up to prevent the rust. Keep it sharp to do the job well.

If you like it, there is no reason to get rid of it.
post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 
thanks for the replies, guys.....

my knives are the newer chicago cutlery knives, not the old ones. however, I'm happy with them for now, so I'll keep them in good shape and stick with these for the time being.

thanks again.
*Food*

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*Food*

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post #6 of 20
I bought a 100 dollar block set for my grandmother for christmas...she isn't too happy w/ them..but then again...she's not happy with much..haha
at any rate i used them a couple weeks ago when i was over there...i made them all fried chicken..
the chef knife was great on the veggies...but when i got to the fresh chicken breast it struggled some. They used to be good apparently but now it seems they are sold as a high end..store model.
I'm an advocate of any cook having a nice strong, dependable chefs knife. Being in the industry and in culinary school I have a set of wustof's..classic..I personally don't think a cook at home needs a whole $600 set..reason being is most at home cooks aren't plating 100 and beyond plates a night and don't need that kind of durability...or a set of japanese knives (I'm not a fan of japanese knives..especially the ceramic ones..they are good knives and all but they are an unnecessary extravagance unless you are making sushi all the time or cutting meat in the air...lol) but if you cook frequently, I would look into a higher end model chef knife other than what can be found at a department store (except macys but they over charge)...
Make sure you find a knife that is comfortable in your hand...some people like light, others like heavy...and others like in between. :)

I made my final decision on the wustofs based on the way it felt in my hand..i found the henckels too heavy and the globals way too light
etc.
wish you luck on your quest...
post #7 of 20
The Forschner Fibrox line is reasonably good and reasonably priced. They sell a set with a 10 inch chefs, bread knife, boning knife, and a small utility knife for around $150 or less. CutleryAndMore.com: Wusthof Knives, All Clad Cookware, Henckels Cutlery, Calphalon, Le Creuset, John Boos & More. is a good source.
post #8 of 20
27 years ago after enrolling in school all I could afford was the Chicago Cutlery set. I still have each knife. I remember them being an excellent value at the time considering that after text books and lab fees I was lucky to afford the basic needed for my classes.

They were very sharp, held an edge very well, sharpened easily and yes being mad of the material they were made of, High Carbon Steel, they were susceptible to rusting if not maintained properly.

I did go out and buy a Henckels 10" Professional S Chefs knife after I got my first pay check in my second year and I still have that knife as well. Years later i invested in a Block set that was on sale at a William-Sonoma.

For the money the Chicago cutlery was a great value especially given my situation. I can't speak for the quality now being so many years later but if they are like most things and the fact you can buy them just about every grocey store, I can't see them being worth the investment.

The only thing I didn't like about the CC knives was that the wooden handles did not wear well.
post #9 of 20
I have some relatively new CC, it was a Christmas gift 2 years ago. They are now made in China and don't hold an edge at all. And I dislike the wood handles, they get slippery when wet.
post #10 of 20
Several people have said CC used to make very good knives, and indeed they did. They were the meat industry standard for generations. However, the name was bought by another company which has, for the last 20 years or so, made very bad cutlery indeed. As good knives go, they aren't good knives -- they're junk. But, so what? If you like your Chicago Cutlery knives and want to keep them, then that's what matters most.

That said all dull knives are pretty much equal. If your knife isn't very sharp, it really doesn't make any difference how "good," expensive, or prestigious it is. And that goes double for anyone who disapproves of you knives. Triple even. If you don't sharpen regularly (and properly), don't maintain the edge between sharpenings, don't use a wood or "Sani-Tuff" type board, and don't store your knives properly in a block, a drawer block, a mag-bar or individual blade covers, then it's almost certain your knives aren't sharp.

Not that you should do all that stuff. I'm not preaching or judging, or saying you can't be a good cook without wonder-knives made by Japanese gnomes from Swedish steel and maintained by German elves with Arkansas stones -- like I do. I'm saying if you don't take good care of your knives, then the CC is as good as anything else. Chances are you do a lot of cutting with a steak knife or a bread knife anyway. So do a lot of people. Most, in fact.

If you're not into knives at all (or if money is a big issue right now), and you want to make those CCs useful, I'd suggest getting a type of sharpener called a "Mini-Chantry." They're made in England, are good looking, safe, easy to use (no learning curve at all), easy to store, well-made and reasonably priced. The Chantry replaces both sharpening and steeling. The feel your knives will have after using it is like a very sharp, very fine-toothed saw. Chantry sharpened knives will definitely cut through tomato, onion, or anything else you care to cut, easily. Here's a link: Chantry Mini Chantry Knife Sharpener: Black - Chantry Knife Sharpeners It's a good edge for your CC and other similar inexpensive knives made with steel too grainy to take a fine edge, and both too brittle and too soft to hold it. However, I don't recommend a Chantry for a more expensive knife.

You can take rust stains off your knives with "Scotch-Brite" pads. Those are the rough green nylon things which fall somewhere between pad and cloth. If the stains don't come right off, try a little baking soda on the pad. It's better to prevent the rust then to treat it, though. Try and rinse and dry them as soon as possible after cooking. Don't let them sit on the counter, soak in a sink, or air-dry in the drain rack overnight; and never clean them in the dishwasher.

BDL

Full disclosure: Actually, almost all my knives are antique, vintage or just plain old carbon steel Sabatiers. They all may be sharp, but none are shiny. I'm old, not shiny and not all that sharp either.
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post #11 of 20
As I mentioned before I am quite happy with my Chicago Cutlery set, but they are from a bygone era - my knives are probably older than some of the folks who post here in these forums! I take care of them, they take care of me.

My all time favorite knife was one I had when I was the salad and sandwich grunt at a place in downtown Salt Lake called The Winery. Boy, that was more than a few years ago! This knife, an 8 or 10 inch chef's, was high maintainence - if I set it on the counter and went to the bathroom, I'd come back and find it rusty. Well, maybe it wasn't quite that bad, but close. I do remember that Chef Lou would let me use his stone, a three sided thing in an oil bath that you'd flip to the appropriate grit and work on your edge. That knife required some work but the work was rewarded with a tool that would do whatever you asked of it, all day long and still feel good in the hand by the end of the shift. I do wonder what happened to it, I may have left it there when I quit, or lost it in one of my frequent moves back then, who knows.


mjb.
Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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post #12 of 20
A "Tri-Hone." The 11-1/2" Norton 313 used be standard in every kitchen. You can get them with a number of different stone combinations, and now Norton makes an 8" model 200 series as well. 8" is a lot more convenient for the home. The thing about commercial and restaurant kitchens is that knives don't go below a certain level of dullness before going to the stones, and few cooks need or have time for a polished edge. Under those circumstances, three stones is the perfect number.

Those circumstances actually describe most kitchens pretty well -- not just restaurants. So, the tri-hone is still one of the great tools of knife maintenance. You can find Norton tri-hones at most good sharpening supplies dealers. Norton is a great company, and the first name in American sharpening. Nevertheless, I prefer Hall's to Norton, though whenever Arkansas stones come in. Compared to Norton, a Hall's tri-hone offers better quality on the Arkansas stones, very little less on the man made stones, and less on the box -- for about 50% less money. In other words, well worth the trade-offs unless you're going all man made, money's not important, and the box will see a LOT of abuse. Commercial Knife Sharpening Stones Commercial Knife Sharpening

For those who don't know, the kind of sharpening you do on a tri-hone is called "freehand." That means you don't use any tool or jig to keep the knife at a constant angle to the stone -- which, in turn, means that sharpening requires some skill to do well. Every culinary professional should know how to freehand, and very well. But, I have mixed feelings about recommending the method to non-professionals unless they're knife hobbyists. It's a skill which takes time and effort to learn. Then more time to effort to learn to do well. The pay off is the flexibility to sharpen each of your knives exactly as serves its function best, and the quality of the edge.

There are several good "systems" out there to meet the various sharpening needs of the home cook requiring little or no learning curve. My feeling is that a decent system which gets used regularly is far better than the best set of stones which languish.

Look sharp. Feel sharp. Be sharp.
BDL

PS Personally, I've moved on to "dry stone," a slightly different technique than supported by a tri-hone -- plus I like a few more stones. I don't want to hijack the thread and get in a huge "fine points of knife sharpening" discussion or promote my method as the "right" method for everyone. However, when knives come up, sharpening should too. Too many home cooks just don't make the association. Sharp = fun.
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post #13 of 20
Thread Starter 
wow, thanks for so many replies :)

i've grown up with using nothing but dull knives, and the last few years i've taken over my mom's knives and convinced her to start keeping them sharp, so i know how important it is. it's so weird going from doing everything with dull knives to doing everything with nice sharp ones.

but im still learning. i have no idea what it is to keep your knives oiled...can someone explain that? i have a block set of knives that came with one of those hand-held sharpeners, so i've been learning to use that, though im still getting the hang of it.

so any more advice on how to care for my knives is appreciated :D
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post #14 of 20
Your standard Chicago isn't worth much, but great for your average housewife/husband who doesn't know what a good knife is.
Their sharpening steels are so soft though.
I once took a Henckel to a Chicago steel and sliced part of it off.

But, Chicago does have a higher end knife line that is pretty nice.
Those I would buy.
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post #15 of 20
Non-stainless knives which don't get used frequently are subject to corrosion. The knives receive a very light coating of oil as an air and moisture barrier to prevent rust and other oxidation stains. Two kinds of oil are most effective: Mineral oil (just regular mineral oil from the drug store), and camilla oil which is commonly used by Asian cooks. Some people also like olive oil, but for various reasons I don't want to get into, I prefer mineral. If you use your knives frequently, and rinse and dry them immediately after using, oiling isn't necessary. All but one of my 10 most frequently used knives are carbon (not stainless), I seldom oil any of them, and none of them rust.

You're raising a very large subject, one with lots of nuances. If by hand-held sharpener you mean a "sharpening steel," it takes a fair bit of practice to learn to make work. In the case of a Chicago Cutlery knife set, it's entirely possible that the steel will never do what you want it to. If by hand-held sharpener you mean a "V" groove, pull-through sharpener, almost all of them are horrible. That's why I recommended the Mini Chantry. It will work for you from the first day you own it, without any learning curve. The only thing which comes close is the Myerco "Sharpen-It," which is a little more expensive, can handle a broader range of knives, is a bit gentler to the knives' metal itself, but isn't as well suited to culinary knives -- yours in particular.

There are other methods, but most of the good ones are more expensive and require at least a little learning. They're more appropriate for better knives. If you're serious about learning, I'll get you started.

BDL
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post #16 of 20

CUTCO knives, They will last forever. I've seen 60 year old CUTCO sharps as day 1. 

post #17 of 20

if it's of any interest,

is a Vector Marketing aka Cutco representative

 

https://www.facebook.com/VectorSouthBuffaloBrawlers

 

I suspect we're all in for our Daily Spam Treat, cleanly sliced up by Cutco.

post #18 of 20

Meh, I already called this one in this morning.

Wonder what kind of commission crabco reps are getting?  Knives are waay overpriced, don't know if the rep is getting the money, or if they have to flog Avon and Tupperware too...

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #19 of 20
Edit: Politics and pointy things (do chicago cutlery products deserve to be called knives?) don't mix. Bipartisan or not, I shouldn't have posted that.
Edited by rancho unicorno - 10/9/13 at 11:58am
post #20 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by rancho unicorno View Post
 

 

I took a look at that facebook page.  It appears that we have found common ground between the Obamas and the Palins - maybe we need to get a Cutco rep into Congress to settle that disagreement.

 

Although I'm not sure I can trust someone that respects Carrot Top and Lance Armstrong.

 

That's great that the Palins respect Carrot Top and Lance Armstrong.

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