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Victorinox-Forschner Fibrox vs Dexter-Russell Sani-Safe knives?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

How would you compare the Victorinox-Forschner Fibrox knives with the Dexter-Russell white-handled knives, e.g. the Sani-Safe line? 


Are they pretty equivalent?  Equally able to hold a 20 degree bevel?  Similar slim-ness of blades?  I believe the Fibrox are still made in Switzerland or Germany - are the Dexters all made in the USA?


I'm curious because there's considerable following for the Fibrox but seldom any mention of the Dexters. 

post #2 of 9


Both knives are thin, both knives are stamped.  Forschners are X50CrMoV15, I'm not sure what Dexters are made from but it seems to be a step less good.


Forschners can take a slightly more acute angle, around 15*, without collapsing too frequently.  OTOH, Dexters will collapse if you get them too acute.  In the common range of 20* - 22.5*, there isn't much difference between their durability or sharpness.  Dexters seem to wear pretty quickly. 


Forschners can take and hold a finer and more polished edge than the Dexters.  I don't know whether that's a function of hardening or grain structure, but am pretty sure it's not geometry or thinness.  


Dexters come out of the box with a coarser grind, which is probably appropriate. 


I'd probably stop sharpening a Dexter with a hard Ark on the basis that it doesn't have enough scratch hardness to hold more, but feel it's worthwhile to take a Forschner alll the way up to a surgical black if that much polish is useful to what you're doing.


Dexters are still made in South Bridge, Mass.


Dexter no longer makes a knife line which competes, straight across, with Forschner Rosewood.  To my mind, the Rosewoods are Forschner's big advantage.  For normal, professional use where a dishwasher is required, there's not that much to distinguish between Sani-Tuff and Fibrox. 


Fibrox gets a big boost from Cook's Illustrated and a number of other publications and sources -- bigger than it deserves perhaps, in the sense that no one talks about Dexters.  While I recommend Rosewood over Fibrox, I suppose I'm guilty of that too.



Edited by boar_d_laze - 11/3/10 at 2:03pm
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks. I've never had a Forschner rosewood. Are they the same, other than the handle, as the Fibrox knives?
post #4 of 9
Originally Posted by johnliu View Post

Thanks. I've never had a Forschner rosewood. Are they the same, other than the handle, as the Fibrox knives?

Yes.  Identical.



post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 

feel it's worthwhile to take a Forschner alll the way up to a surgical black if that much polish is useful to what you're doing.


BDL, I wonder if you can give me a bit more advice here.  I have a (inexpensive, synthetic) Japanese waterstone, labeled as "1500" (and that was all I could read on the packaging, as it was all in Japanese).  Is that equivalent to the "surgical black" you mentioned?   

post #6 of 9

The short answer is "no," a black Arkansas provides considerably more polish.


However, comparing natural stones in general and Arkansas stones in particular to the grit screen size of synthetic stones is difficult and in some cases controversial. 


Most synthetic stones are made with very consistent and carefull screened abrasives -- which in the case of waterstones all break down at the same time, and in the case of oilstones wear fairly evenly.  Natural stones, as you'd expect, aren't as uniform.


Arkansas stones are even more peculiar because the abrasive material -- called Novaculite -- is one size and one size only no matter whether it's in a medium, fine, or extra-fine stone.  The distinctions in performance aren't grit size but the "binding" substrates and the relative levels of Novaculite concentration.  As if that weren't enough to make comparisons difficult, the most widely published and accepted conversion chart (originally from Norton/St. Gobain) underrates how fine Arkansas stones cut by quite a bit.  At least in my experience as well as in that of nearly everyone else who uses Arks critically.


Let me add that part of the appeal of natural stones is that their polish is not perfectly even and a natural edge tends to be more slippery than a synthetic, but at the expense of some shine.  It's easy to waste a lot of money on natural stones, so if you're interested it's important to get guidance from someone who knows the ropes.  That goes triple for stones from Asia. 


A Forschner can usefully be polished up to the 4K - 6K# (Japanese) range.  I put a good "surgical black," like a Hall's, at a skosh finer than 4K and a really good translucent (lots of luck finding one) at around 5K.  FWIW, there are some interesting European natural stones in the general grit range, like the "Belgian Blue."


Compared to other Arkansas stones, your 1.5K synthetic falls somewhere between "Soft" and "Hard."  It depends on the particular stones.   


There are several very good Japanese synthetic waterstones in the 4K to 6K "medium-fine" (as Japanese stones go)  range.  My favorite for price. speed and performance is the Arashiyama -- also called Takenoko -- it's/they're sometimes listed at 8,000 but 6,000 is right, trust me.  The King 6000 is also a very good stone, but not as fast nor as fine as the Arashiyama, and needs more frequent flattening.  


Hope this helps,


post #7 of 9
Dexter-Russell still manufactures the Connoisseur product line.
I own both Forschner/Victorinox and Dexter-Russell cutlery. Neither Forschner nor Dexter-Russell cutlery hold an edge very well.
The Forschner Chinese Cleaver is made by LamsonSharp, and Icel. Victorinox bought Wenger, which makes the Swibo, Grand Maitre, and Forged, product lines.
It is a matter of personal preference. I prefer Lamson Sharp to Dexter-Russell cutlery. It is Made in USA. Lamson Sharp Forged Cutlery is made with German steel. Cookware is the least expensive online merchant which I have found.
Edited by TheUnknownCook - 12/6/10 at 2:27pm
post #8 of 9

Forschner and Lamson Sharp are both made from the same steel, X50CrMoV15.  In my opinion Forschner gets a little sharper (because it's thinner).  The Unknown Cook may well be right -- and I expect he is -- that Lamson Sharp does to a better job of edge holding.  Neither are very good in that respect though, at least not compared to Japanese made knives.  That's why I lump nearly all European and American made stainless knives in the same basket -- or at least I used to.


They're both knives which require nearly constant steeling, frequent "touch ups" and lots of full on sharpenings in order to stay within the range of what I consider acceptable sharpness.  What's "acceptable" to one person may be dull to another and ridiculously sharp to a third.  It's an individual measure, and I expect my standards are higher than most.


Forschners are thin in part because they're stamped; but Lamsons are forged (quite beautifully in fact), and are quite a bit heavier -- something some people associate with "quality" and other like as a thing in and of itself. But they're thickness makes them prone to "wedging."


Lamson Sharp are considerably more expensive than Forschner, but they're a pretty good deal compared to German made knives of comparable quality.  However, several German manufacturers (using the same or similar stainless alloy to that used by Lamson) have either begun are in the process of changing their hardening processes and producing knives sufficiently harder to mean a real improvement in edge holding.  For instance, Wusthofs are now hardened to 58RCH, while AFAIK Dexters, Lamson and Forschner are still in the 54-56 range.



post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thanks, guys.  I've all stainless knives now plus one 14" cabon slicer.  My next knife will probably be a carbon Sabatier w/ Nogent handle.  A Japanese knife is in the plans for someday. 

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