The Best Things is the only source for Thiers Issard Sabatier in the US. You can find T-I stuff online if you look in French, but it's not worth the effort or the postage. T-I Sabatier is also T-I Quatre Etoile (aka "four stars" aka ****) Elephant. The T-I "Nogents" are really a bunch of pre WWII rat-tail knife blanks T-I found laying around when they tore down an old warehouse to make room for new offices. K-Sabatier is the oldest of the Sabatier makers.
All of the carbon alloy used for each of the three series is the same, or similar it might be the same. The T-I (carbone and Massif) and K-Sab carbone (Vintage and Antique) slicers are nearly identical. Sometimes you get better F&F on one or another, but it varies... and that's France for you.
T-I Carbone and K-Sab Vintage au carbone have more modern bolsters than the Massifs and Antiques (FWIW, both of those are also referred to as Canadians). The Carbones/au carbone bolster have an integral ferrule and the thin, full finger guard that's so characteristic of Sabatier. The Nogents, have an aluminum ferrule between that same finger guard and the handle. The Canadians' fingerguard and handle abut.
The Nogent knives are slightly lighter and stiffer, but again F&F is variable. If you decide to order a Nogent from The Best Things (who else?), it's very important that you contact them (her, really) and let them (her) know that you want a straight knife. Some of the blanks are bent at the intersection of handle and bolster, a few further up the blade. Bent handles can be corrected if they're not too bad, but anytime you move steel it fatigues it and it's something you'd rather not to if you don't have to.
If you buy a carbon Sabatier, expect that you will have to profile a new edge. Sometimes you don't, sometimes you get a great edge. Sometimes you get a good profile, but one that needs sharpening. And sometimes you get bupkis. And that's France for you. Fortunately the knives are extremely easy to sharpen, so that shouldn't be too much of a drawback for anyone with any kind of sharpening plan. Koko, you won't find it an issue at all.
The US retailer for K-Sabatier used to be an "outlet," which sold a lot of "seconds." I believe this has changed and they now sell regular stock as well. The K-Sab factory has its own website: http://www.sabatier-shop.com/couteau-cuisine.php for kitchen knives. The direct from the factory store provides some services the US outlet does not, including engraving. But shipping costs a lot. Sometimes, you can find K-Sabs on Amazon, but selection is catch as catch can.
Not that it matters but I currently have two 10" Sab slicers, a Canadian and a K-Sab au carbone, a 6" Nogent which gets used as a petty. I like them all hugely. Someday I'll get a salmon knife, because why not?
Edited by boar_d_laze - 11/29/12 at 7:21am