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Gift knife: Budget, under 40$...mission impossible?

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

Alright,

 

So I'm looking to get some people chef's knives for Christmas because they are either A) completely lacking them or B) Have horrible ones.

 

The people I'm buying for have a preference for the German profile and stainless steel, neither of them being my favorite.

 

So far I've managed to dig up either a new 8 inch Calphalon contemporary for 30 some odd dollars or a used/second Wusthof Silverpoint for about 45$.

 

Am I neglecting another knife? How do the Calphalon and the Wusthof compare? Is the Calphalon pretty much the same thing steel-wise just manufactured in China?

 

Thanks guys!

post #2 of 24

Forschner

post #3 of 24
Thread Starter 

Rosewood? The tend to be in the 60-80$ range in the great white North from what I can see.

 

Fibrox? Hate to say it, but from a superficial point of view, for people who don't know their knives and who expect quality from a gift, the fibrox can look pretty ugly/cheap when compared to something suave like the Caphalon and Wusthof.

post #4 of 24

The Fibrox handle Forschners are in that price range. You can give an 8" VG10 blade from IKea for $49.99 and the blade is great. The handle and aesthetics somewhat less so.

 

http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/90131068/

post #5 of 24
Thread Starter 

That is indeed something to look into! Thanks Phatch :)

 

I'm starting to get a tad worried about the fact that no one has actually mentioned anything about the Wusthof or the Calphalon ;)

post #6 of 24

Henckels - Twin Master

 

Great steel - cheap but decent handle (reshapeable).   Won't break the bank and available at any restaurant supply store in Canada.

 

http://www2.zwilling.com/en-CA/Product-Range--sortiment/Knives--knives/Series-overview--serien/TWIN-Master-yellow--3955.html

 

For newbies I'd suggest getting 

 

9 1/2" chef knife 32108-250-0

9 1/2" pastry knife 32110-250-0

6" stiff butchers boning knife 32131-160-0

 

Should total less than 60$ for all three

----

 


"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

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----

 


"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

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post #7 of 24

The Mercer Genesis or Renaissance knives would suit your requirements. Rennaissance don't have a bolster so sharpening is easier.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Mercer-Cutlery-Renaissance-Chefs-Knife/dp/B002R1CGV6/ref=pd_sim_sbs_k_1

 

or

 

http://www.amazon.com/Mercer-Cutlery-Genesis-Forged-Chefs/dp/B000OOQZMY/ref=pd_sim_sbs_k_6

 

They are common among culinary students and are decent blades but not known to the general public. Certainly you can get better but not at that price. I've sharpened many for line cooks and they take a nice edge.

 

Forschner are the king in meat processing blades but their chefs are not in the royal court.

 

Jim

post #8 of 24
Thread Starter 

Call me crazy but I tend to be unfavourable towards Henckels due mostly to stuff I've heard and their little brand switcharoos where they would switch from forged to stamped steel while keeping the same name and similar prices. I don't know how valid this is, but the always make me squirm a bit. However, that is a nice knife...hmmm

 

As for the Mercer, looks gorgeous! The only problem is finding one here, Ebay is hit and miss, Amazon.ca doesn't hold them (its way crappier than amazon.com which doesn't tend to ship here) and the kitchen supply stores around here tend to up the prices by a good 30-40% a lot of the time.

 

Thanks guys!
 

post #9 of 24

I'm sorry that I can't help you with a good Canadian source for high quality low priced knives such as Forschner Rosewood.  But maybe I can clear up some of the confusion which is building up.

 

Here in the States, Forschner represents the least amount of money you can pay for a decent quality knife.  That's as true for their chef's knives as any of their other blades, although I'm not a huge fan of the German profile they use for their chef's knives and wouldn't buy one for myself.  

 

Mercers are made in Taiwan to a medium level of fit and finish.  They are thick and heavy, in the German style.  Culinary schools like to sell Mercer kits to their students because the knives are adequate, the price to the student is affordable, and Mercer makes it easy for the schools to make a little something on the transaction.  But don't confuse Mercers with "good" knives.

 

Although Mercer claims that they use a high carbon alloy, they need a special definition to use the term "high carbon."  The alloy is X45CrMoV15, which is only 0.45% carbon.  The trade definition of "high carbon" steel is at least 0.55%; but in Germany where they've defined it down to 0.50% because so many prestige knives are made with X50CrMoV15.  Calling 0.45% chromium goes beyond "stretching it" and into "misrepresentation intent to deceive" in my opinion.  In addition, Mercer doesn't do a good job of hardening its steel.

 

Because of the low quality alloy Mercers neither take nor hold an edge well.  Thick, heavy, German profile, don't get really sharp, dull easily and they're STILL a lot of bang for the buck and significantly better than many knives you'll find in department and big-box discount stores.  Personally, I'd rather use Forschner, and wouldn't buy Mercer voluntarily but that doesn't change the basic truth of "better than Walmart." 

 

Henckels "Yellow Handles" are very similar to Forschner Fibrox -- plastic handles and all.  I believe they're stamped from Henckels' proprietary alloy, Friodur.  It's essentially the same thing as the X50CrMoV15 Forschner uses for all their knives.  The hardening process is different, but not different enough to make a difference. 

 

Henckels knives which have two little men ("zwillings") silk screened on the blades are made in German and are high quality.  Henckels with one little man ("zwilling") are Henckels International, made all over the world -- particularly in Spain and Asia -- and are of relatively low quality.   I suggest avoiding them. 

 

You might try going to some butcher shops and asking them where they get their knives. 

 

Finally, knives are all about sharpening.  You need to acquire some basic knowledge and kit.  There's no point in buying a knife you can't get or keep sharp.  If you're going to use a cheap carbide sharpener, be advised that not only will they not give you a fine edge, they'll eat your knives in the process.  If you're going to use a cheap-crap sharpener, restrict yourself to cheap-crap knives.

 

Hope this helps,

BDL

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post #10 of 24
Thread Starter 

Hey there BDL!

 

Glad to hear that about the Mercer's I was actually kind of leaning towards them. I'll definitely hit up some local pros and see what they use and where they get'em but most I've talked to use Forschners which don't have the aesthetics desired by my giftees, sadly same is true for the Henckel Yellow Handles.

 

Hmmmm

 

I've noticed that everyone is still dodging the two suggestions I brought to the table, the Wusthof and the Calphalon, is there something I should know about these? I rather like the look of the Calphalons...

 

Thanks!

 

P.s. While I have you here BDL, thanks again for all the help in the past, I finally have my Carbon TI Sab, my set of stones from CKTG and my end grain cutting board will be in tomorrow. Sharpening today and I'm gushing with excitement. Thanks again :)

post #11 of 24

Update International has a line of forged knives that look OK and don't have that thick bolster to get in the way of sharpening. The steel material is the same or similar as most German/Euro knives.

The plastic handle line is X50CrMoV15
The forged line is DIN 4110

 

The 10 in Chef's knife ranges from $15-$20.I don't know about the hardening process but at this price point you can buy two for $40 or less. Also at Amazon

 

At about $40 is Kai AUS8 steel knives.
 

post #12 of 24

Chefs Knives to Go has Rosewood handled Forschner 10 inch chefs for $39.00.  Shipping is free at $60.  I've owned one of these for years, and they are about as good as it gets for the price.
 

post #13 of 24
Thread Starter 

Thanks John!

 

The international is a nice possibility, the Kai however I was looking for tax and shipping in, if I'd pick that up it would come out pretty hefty to get it here. Definitely will ponder the internationals though thanks!

 

As for Jimbo, thanks a bunch I'd totally go for it except for the small quirk that shipping is not free to Canada so I'd get proper gouged between shipping/duties/ etc.
 

 

Hmmm

post #14 of 24

HMM... gonna have to go check my knives to see if they have ONE or TWO little men on them??  I'm NOT and expert on knives at all, but thinking you could get fairly nice one(s) for $40... especially if ya go to place like Home Goods or Ross that has kitchen stuff reduced.  If you're buying for someone with REALLY awful knives... a $40 one (or 2/$40) will seem like zilliion dollar knives!

post #15 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by thatchairlady View Post

HMM... gonna have to go check my knives to see if they have ONE or TWO little men on them??  I'm NOT and expert on knives at all, but thinking you could get fairly nice one(s) for $40... especially if ya go to place like Home Goods or Ross that has kitchen stuff reduced.  If you're buying for someone with REALLY awful knives... a $40 one (or 2/$40) will seem like zilliion dollar knives!


It's not a purely sliding scale Chairlaidy.  Rather there are plateaus.  Most of what separates a good knife from a bad one in the lower price ranges is their respective abilities to take and hold edges.  Unfortunately, most knives below the level of price and quality represented by Forschner do neither at all well.  However, if the user has no desire or ability to keep his or her knives sharp, any expensive knife is a waste of money. 

 

Unfortunately, very few people know how to sharpen anymore; and the market is flooded with cheap gadgets which takes advantage of their lack of knowledge, doing more more harm than good to their (sometimes expensive) knives.  Many (probably the vast majority) of home cooks use very dull knives.  My guess is the only "sharp" knives in most houses are serrated, like "tomato," bread, and steak knives.  While those knives can cut relatively efficiently, they aren't sharp in the sense that they tear food apart instead of making fine, clean, regular-sized cuts.  They limit the cook's ability to control size and texture.  A good, sharp knife makes a difference in how food feels in your mouth and even tastes. 

 

BDL

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post #16 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnR View Post

Update International has a line of forged knives that look OK and don't have that thick bolster to get in the way of sharpening. The steel material is the same or similar as most German/Euro knives.

The plastic handle line is X50CrMoV15
The forged line is DIN 4110

 

The 10 in Chef's knife ranges from $15-$20.I don't know about the hardening process but at this price point you can buy two for $40 or less. Also at Amazon

 

At about $40 is Kai AUS8 steel knives.
 

There is no DIN 4110.  Could you mean Werkst Nr. 1.4110?  The DIN equivalents are X55CrMoV14 and (sort of) X50CrMoV15.  I don't mean to challenge you, but what makes you think that the Update Internationals are made from the steel(s) you say they are?  That's an awfully cheap price for knives made from either alloy.

 

BDL

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post #17 of 24

I have the Paring knife (forged line) and the serrated bread knife (plastic handle line). Those descriptions are printed on each blade.

 

specific descriptions are: DIN4110 German High Carbon Stainless

 

while the other (plastic handle) states: German Steel  X50 Cr Mo V15

 

I didn't confirm this claim, but the response at this Post states that DIN is a German standard.

 

"DIN standards are developed by Deutsches Institut für Normung in Germany. All German steel standards and specifications are represented by the letters DIN and followed by an alphanumeric or a numeric code." from this page


Edited by JohnR - 10/8/12 at 3:02pm
post #18 of 24

That's quite a deal for X50CrMoV15, surprisingly inexpensive.  

 

DIN is a German standard, and so is W, in fact W is actually one type of DIN number.  A DIN alphanumeric without a W usually (always?) has a DIN W numeric equivalent.  It must seem arrogant for me to presume to know more than the manufacturer, and maybe it is.  But I know something about the subject.    

 

If someone made a DIN 4110 alloy, it should come up on a search but it does not; and as far as I can tell after spending some time looking (including searching German steel making sites) I can't find it.  On the other hand, DIN W1.4110 -- usually but not always DIN X55CrMoV14 -- is a steel commonly used in knife making, e.g., Victorinox's "Swiss Army" pocket knives. 

 

Where are the knives made?  Do you know who makes them?

 

BDL


Edited by boar_d_laze - 10/9/12 at 8:18am
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post #19 of 24

"Where are the knives made? Do you know who makes them?"

 

Update International

 

Distributed in LA and New Jersey. The area rep number  in SoCal is (800) 747-7124.

 

I'm driving by a Restaurant Supply store today so I'll stop by and see what the package says.

 

Edit: package of both varietes states they are made in China, still would be interested to know what the DIN 4110 is intended to be.

 

I had the 8 inch version but traded it to another cook for a Forschner 10 inch Rosewood handle.


Edited by JohnR - 10/9/12 at 2:09pm
post #20 of 24

Update International is a wholesaler and almost certainly not the manufacturer (FWIW, I've been in their LA warehouse a couple of times).  It's far more than likely that the knives are branded for them OEM.  At those prices the knives have to be made somewhere in the third world.  My curiosity is piqued, but please don't go out of the way for me.

 

BDL

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post #21 of 24
Thread Starter 

Well these developments are interesting, I'll check back every now and then, I have until Christmas to purchase them anyway!
 

post #22 of 24

I picked up this knife over a month ago, and it's still sharp enough to shave with:

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/221007092680?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1497.l2649

 

It was so nice (and comfortable) that after a week I ordered the same brand nakiri knife from the same seller, and I'm super happy with that as well.

 

Tom

post #23 of 24

I love it when Taiwanese products print only Japanese words the product.

1) googling 420 J2 brings up a nice read, http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/showthread.php/534607-What-about-420J2-stainless-steel makes me want to avoid the product

2) I'm still a newbie, but after recently reading "an edge in the kitchen", Hrc 53 seems a bit low to even consider it. Even the carbon content of 0.38% seems a bit on the low side, yet it claims to be "High Carbon"?

3) I like that it doesn't really say the brand in the title (or anywhere other than in the picture on the blade)

4) from the description "The deba is NOT intended for chopping of diameter bones", yes I know you are not supposed to do that with a deba, but what does this have to do with the gyuto?

 

Sorry, ebay brings up my ugly side >.>

-Ben

post #24 of 24

I recently bought a Calphalon "Katana" 8" chef.  It's actually a damascus blade, looks good, very nice grip and balance, holds an edge reasonably well.  Looks like a million dollars, won't make them think that you are a cheapskate.  The only downside is that the damascus core is HG steel, so can rust if left wet.  The cladding is stainless, so no problems there. 

 

If the knife is a gift for a non-cook, I would suggest 7" or 8" rather than 10" or longer.  The longer blades can be unwieldy for people who are not used to them.

 

Mine has become my all-round "go-to" knife, replacing a Schaaf 8".  I tend to sharpen knives fairly obsessively, and have yet to find a knife that will hold an edge for any great length of time anyway.  The Spyderco Sharpmaker is quick and easy; give them one for Christmas next year :-)

 

       paul

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