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looking for a durable rust resistant knife

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

I am currently looking to buy a set of knives and could use some advice. What I’m looking for in a knife are durability from rust and corrosion, and handles that have a smooth transition to the blade like that of the Calphalon Katana series or the Global knives.

I just recently bought some of the Calphalon Katana knives and I really loved how they felt in my hand, but I ruined them by leaving them out and they rusted and corroded. After that I bought some Henkles, but they cut up my hands when chopping. I hold the knife where the blade meets the handle. The Henkles I bought have a sharp edge where the handle meets the blade.

My problem is I really like the feel of the Japanese knives because they have that smooth transition from blade to handle, but don’t like how sensitive they are to being dirty. I can be pretty lazy, so I need a knife that can be left dirty for a day or two.

Any recommendations, anyone?

Thank you,

post #2 of 10
Globals are extremely rust resistant. They're made out of an alloy called CroMoVa that has enough chrome in it to be rust resistant enough for a dive knife, 18%. By comparison, Calphalon Katanas (made from VG-1) are about 14%, and almost all current Germans are 15%. By way of reference, the usual technical measure of "stainless" is anything greater than 12% chromium by weight.

In the greater scheme of things, Globals are good but not great knives for their price range. Their biggest weaknesses are their handles, perceived lack of balance, and rather mediocre edge characteristics by Japanese standards.

Let me supply a little context regarding the handles and balance. Some people find Globals uncomfortable; either because of one reason or another having to do with the handles, or with the balance. The handles are metal which some people find slippery, and are also fairly narrow. These things sometimes result in users squeezing them so tightly that they can cause pain over the long term -- doubly true if the knives are used dull, because of the extra effort required.

Complaints about Global balance are a bit odd, in that Globals are one of the very few knives which actually are balanced -- across most of their range. Nevertheless, there's quite a bit of kvetching on the net. Says a lot about the net, doesn't it?

Edge characteristics also need to be looked at in context. Although barely adequate by Japanese standards, compared to typical German stainless in their price range like Wusthof, F. Dick, Henckels, etc., their edge taking, holding and maintenance requirements are superb. Furthermore, it takes excellent sharpening skills and/or a great sharpening system to take an edge past a Global's capability.

Bottom line on the edge stuff: If you sharpen them appropriately and keep them sharp with appropriate maintenance, even though they're not stellar, they're just fine.

Their greatest strengths are their phenomenal agility and rust resistance.

As long as you know you already like Global's handles, might as well go ahead. Seems like a great knife for you.

I'll spare you the lecture on knife care.

post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thank you BDL. I can't say I have that much experience with Global, but can see how they could be a bit small for long term use. And they're kind of light too, which doesn't help cutting dense objects. Do you or anyone else out there know of any other knives out there that are superior to rust resistance and have that same kind of handle that Global and the Calphalon Katana series have? Also, is there a name for that kind of handle? It be nice to know so my quest can be a little easier to describe.

Thanks again.

post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
What about these Chroma's? Does anyone know what there chrome percentage is? Or how resistant to rust they are? They say they are 18/10 stainless steel. What does that mean?

post #5 of 10

The type of handle is called "one piece." More generally, any metal handle might meet your desires. A lot of makers, Japanese, and European manufacture them.

Talk about bizarre handles. Make very sure you like Chroma's handles a lot before buying them. Otherwise, they're nowhere near as good as Global. The alloy they're made from, 301, has a really lousy reputation. From the steel faq: "Not a knife steel. Used in low end stainless knives. Avoid." They are listed as having 16% to 18% chromium and should be pretty darn stainless, though. To be avoided, unless that is, you're gaga over the handle and general design and don't care how quickly the knives go dull or how often they need to be steeled.

Other than for special purposes when something like a "chef de chef" or meat cleaver is necessary -- cracking lobsters, splitting raw chickens, and so on. "Sharp" is better by far than "heavy" for cutting dense materials.

That said, the sharpest knife most people use is a brand-new one, right out of the box. In fact, that's usually not very sharp; and almost never anywhere near as sharp as you can get a decent Japanese knife -- including Global, by the way, which actually do come fairly well sharpened.

No knife stays sharp forever. With normal home use, the longest a knife with a very long lasting edge can stay what I think of as usably sharp without being sharpened (and not a "sharpening steel)" is less than six months. With a normal knife like a Global, about half that; if you treat it right and you're lucky.

The degree to which a knife is stainless, depends mostly on the amount of chromium in the blade steel. Besides making the alloy highly corrosion resistant, a higher mass of chromium usually leads to all sorts of undesirable sharpening and edge holding characteristics.

Global's CroMoVa is actually pretty extraordinary in that it's as good as it is, considering how much chromium it's got.

But, how realistic is it to ask you to keep a knife sharp?

I'm not sure how you ruined the Katana(s). At 14% chromium, they should have been able to shrug off the amount of abuse you described. Which leads to the conclusion, that you got a bad knife to begin with, gave it a harder time than leaving it overnight in the sink once or twice, or both.

Since you seemed to like the Katana so much, the first thing to do is see if Calphalon will replace the knife for a manufacturer's defect. I can't speak for them, but knives being what they are, many manufacturers do NOT require proof of purchase, if that's worrying you.

Wusthof has a line with most of the characteristics you were asking about, called Culinar. It's in the same price range as Global, a slightly larger handle (although not as good in my opinion), and significantly heavier. In addition, the chef's knives have what's called "a German profile," which you might like. They're stainless (15% chromium) to the same degree almost all German knives are -- very similar to what the Katana is supposed to be.

Globals are basically an idea whose time has passed. People mostly bought them for their looks and the incredible hype that surrounded Japanese knives when they first hit the market in a big way. Unfortunately, no knife could survive the lack of sharpening and basic maintenance that most purchasers gave them. Not to repeat myself, but nothing stays sharp forever.

That said, they're actually very good knives and should suit your needs well until they get dull. Although not quite as corrosion resistant that's true for Katanas and Wusthofs too. There are much better knives for the price than those three lines, though.

Considering the level of care you're willing to give a knife, you might also want to think about buying something relatively inexpensive like a Forschner Fibrox and a cheap, easy to use sharpener that will keep your knife usefully sharp but won't do much for longevity.

The best alternative is taking better care of your tools.

post #6 of 10
Hi BDL, and thank you for this post !

You 're giving plenty of interesting information about global, which is perfect for me as it it leads me to know better my G5 of which I'm very happy , even if I don't have references to compare to ( but the sabatier is on it's way ... :) ).
I'm happy that you confirm that behind their trendy look, there is also substantial quality in the construction of those knives. They might not be the best for their price range, but I got mine for far cheaper than it's normal value, which makes it a very good knife for it's price :smoking: .

Thanks again for those detailed posts you provide us !
post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks again BDL. Your info is exactly what I was looking for. I will check out those other knives you mentioned. Thank you.

post #8 of 10
Thanks for the nice words guys.

post #9 of 10
Any one that has an interest in used Globals shoot me a PM. I'd be more than happy to part with them at a fair price. ;)
I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
post #10 of 10
[ *** crickets *** ]

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