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### Victorinox/Forschner & Sharpening & Storage ###

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Dear all,

 

First of all, may I say how impressed I am with this website and the insightful posts provided by you all.  Having recently taken an interest in home cooking I have been trawling the web in search of some advice on cooking knives for the beginner on a budget.  The general consenus appears to be Victorinox/Forschner range.  My questions are:

 

  1. How many knives would you recommend for a novice home cook?  Many online guides recommend a total of three: a 10 inch Chef's knife (used 90% of the time?), a small (3-4 inch) paring knife and a bread knife.  However, on several of BDL's (the resident expert I believe) posts on this forum, he recommends four basic knives: a Chef's knife, a 'Petty', a 'Slicer' and a bread knife.  Could you please explain what a 'Petty' and 'Slicer' would be used for (excuse my ignorance)?  I am leaning towards 3 Victorinox knives: 10 inch Chef's Knife, 10.25 inch bread knife (should I go for a cheaper alternative as it will dull?), 4 inch paring knife.  However, after getting some feedback on the 'Petty' and 'Slicer' I may add them to my Xmas list too.  I may also from time to time carve meat or thinly slice fish; is there a one-in-all knife for carving, slicing, cuting bread as opposed to purchasing three separate knives?
  2. Sharpening - I have no experience of sharpening knives so was considering purchasing a steel for honing and having the knives professionally sharpened once a year.  Question: would you really bother having a paring knife (Victorinox <£5) sharpened or just buy a new one (same goes for the petty)?  Would you recommend buying a stone at this stage as opposed to having the knives professionally sharpened annually?  If so, any recommendations are welcomend.  I have seen many endorsements for the Idahone ceramic steel but I am unable to locate a retailer in the UK...do you know where I can source one?  If not, can you suggest a good alternative?  How often should you hone a knife (is there a video guide)?
  3. Storage of knives - I am thinking of using a magnetic strip.  Other suggestions welcomed? 

 

Once again, your input is greatly appreciated and I thank you for your time.

 

Best regards,

 

John

 

p.s. can you recommend any online video tutorials regarding knife skills and also sharpening?


Edited by jaykaydee - 11/13/12 at 12:04am
post #2 of 6
Thread Starter 
BUMP - any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks
post #3 of 6

How many knives would you recommend for a novice home cook?  Many online guides recommend a total of three: a 10 inch Chef's knife (used 90% of the time?), a small (3-4 inch) paring knife and a bread knife.  However, on several of BDL's (the resident expert I believe) posts on this forum, he recommends four basic knives: a Chef's knife, a 'Petty', a 'Slicer' and a bread knife.  Could you please explain what a 'Petty' and 'Slicer' would be used for (excuse my ignorance)?  I am leaning towards 3 Victorinox knives: 10 inch Chef's Knife, 10.25 inch bread knife (should I go for a cheaper alternative as it will dull?), 4 inch paring knife.  However, after getting some feedback on the 'Petty' and 'Slicer' I may add them to my Xmas list too.  I may also from time to time carve meat or thinly slice fish; is there a one-in-all knife for carving, slicing, cuting bread as opposed to purchasing three separate knives?

 

3 should be fine, IMO. A Petty is a long parer, usually around 150mm. The Forschner bread knife is fine You can't really get one all in one because bread is much more suited to a serrated edge, whereas carving meat/fish needs a straight edge. Depending on how often you do it, you can probably get away with using your chefs knife.

 

 

Sharpening - I have no experience of sharpening knives so was considering purchasing a steel for honing and having the knives professionally sharpened once a year.  Question: would you really bother having a paring knife (Victorinox <£5) sharpened or just buy a new one (same goes for the petty)?  Would you recommend buying a stone at this stage as opposed to having the knives professionally sharpened annually?  If so, any recommendations are welcomend.  I have seen many endorsements for the Idahone ceramic steel but I am unable to locate a retailer in the UK...do you know where I can source one?  If not, can you suggest a good alternative?  How often should you hone a knife (is there a video guide)?

 

Sharpening the paring is a difficult one IMO. From what I know, aren't most Victorinox parings serrated? If you get this kind (http://www.nisbets.co.uk/Victorinox-Tomato-Knife/C628/ProductDetail.raction) then don't sharpen it, just chuck it. I use them and I like them.

I'm also in the UK, and what I've done for a steel i gotten a used one on ebay thats been heavily worn down. I doubt its as good as an Idahone but its the best I could do with what I can find.

Getting your knives professionally sharpened isn't worth it. You can get a 1/4k combi stone off ebay for around £30 which should be okay for home use on Forschners. 

BDL has a good guide on how to hone on his website, its in his sig. With a Forschner you should hone it regularly, whenever you feel the edge dulling

 

 

Storage of knives - I am thinking of using a magnetic strip.  Other suggestions welcomed? 

 

Mag strip should be fine I think

post #4 of 6

jaykaydee,

 

You've got some well thought out questions.

 

Whether they call them Forschner or Victorinox in the UK, the Rosewood and Fibrox series (identical in every respect to one another except for the handles) are very high value knives.  They're inexpensive (in the greater scheme of things) well made, take a good edge, last a long time, and are easy to maintain.  They're "stamped" (as opposed to forged), which is not a liability in my book.  The alloy is X50CrMoV15, hardened to around 56-57RCH which has some good and bad points.  The chef's knife is "German" profile, which I consider a negative although you might not.  And, in my opinion you'd be better served by purchasing -- if you can afford it -- a French profile chef's knife made from a better alloy such as a Fujiwara FKM or Tojiro DP. 

 

Your sharpening plan is inadequate.  If you cook regularly, you'll need to sharpen your most used knives at least every three months.   I gather that budget is an important consideration for you.  While there are some good, inexpensive alternatives to bench stones I don't know enough about what's available to you in the UK to discuss them intelligently.  If they're available at a reasonable price, you might want to start with a Chef's Choice electric sharpener or a MinoSharp Plus3 pull through (each around $80 in the US).

 

I do recommend a basic set of four knives as a kit which can do just about any kitchen prep without too much compromise.  While I consider a slicer to be very important, far better for portioning and carving than a chef's knife, if you can only afford three knives hold off on the slicer until you've got the cash.

 

A petty is a 5" to 7" "couteau office."   It's the same shape as a slicer (also most paring knives), and is used for all sorts of purposes including just about everything you'd do with a paring knife, a utility knife, and a boning knife.  If you do a lot of decorative cutting, meat work, or other specialty prep, you might want to consider specialty knives --  a "bird's beak" paring knife; a "sheep's foot," a curved breaking knife, and/or a bar knife, by way of a few examples  -- but otherwise a petty can do all the small and medium knife tasks without much compromise. 

 

Disposable paring knives aren't a bad idea.  Paring knives tend to take a lot of abuse, dull quickly as a result, don'[t have much metal to begin with, and get sharpened down to nothing in no time.  Over the years I've banked a multiple life time supply of non-disposable paring knives, so it's a non-issue for me.

 

If you're opening to purchasing from Japan, or to purchasing everything from the US in one go (to save shipping) your options are different than if you plan on buying within the EU. 

 

What are you thinking?

 

BDL

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post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
RDM and BDL, thanks for your prompt and knowledgeable responses.

In all honesty, I am one of those people that research things to death before losing interest a couple of months down the line. However, I am hopeful that this will be different as cooking is not a hobby but a way of life and I am very passionate about understanding and improving my knife skills. At this stage, with Xmas fast approaching, I think Victorinox knives will suit my needs: relatively inexpensive, readily available in the UK, solid performance and a great range to practice my sharpening skills on (as opposed to destroying a Global during my first sword in the stone moment!). I am then hopeful that as my skills mature (along with my bank balance) I can look to upgrade my knife set to a higher spec brand...I will look no further than this forum for advice!

BDL, I understand the difference between 'German' and 'French' profiles but can you explain the practicalities of this difference and the pros and cons of each in the kitchen? If I master my knife skills on a German chef knife (Victorinox) could I easily pick up a French profiled knife with ease a year or so down the road or would I be starting a whole new learning curve? While we are on the topic of knife skills, are thee any specific tutorial videos that you would recommend?

Sharpening: given that this is a 3-monthly requirement and cost is a consideration at this stage, I assume that I should start to learn how to sharpen on a stone as the electric sharpeners are fairly expensive (do they produce better results?). Again, any advice on which stones I would need and video tutorials would be welcomed.

Honing: Idahone is not available in the UK. I will trawl through eBay but are there any specific types/brands you would recommend?

Thanks,

John
post #6 of 6
RE Idahone, try contacting Hand American, http://www.handamerican.com/ , they mentioned they were going to find a UK distributor.

RE knife skills, try chad ward's book or web page, http://www.chadwrites.com/

Chef knives to go has videos on sharpening as well.
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