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I have a simple question about comparing knives.

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
My daughter and I recently went to Sur La Table because she wanted me to see the Miyabi knives and the Utility knife in particular. Here is my question. I have a gift certificate at Williams-Sonoma but they don't sell the Miyabi knives. I want to be practical so rather then spending $180 for the Utility knife at Sur La Table I would like to know if there is a comparable series of knives at Williams-Sonoma?
post #2 of 4

Depends what you mean by "comparable?" 


WS carries Masahiro, which are OK knives, and probably a little better than the SLT MIyabis.  WS also carries Shun Classics -- made in the same way and from the same materials as the Miyabi. 


All three of those are sufficiently different from... say... Wusthof that you'll notice their lightness and better edge taking qualities; but none are really anything to write home about.  Considering what they are, all three are overpriced. 


A utility knife doiesn't represent the same challenges to the knife maker as a chef's knife, and will never be part of the users hand in the same way as a chef's knife either.  If all you really want is sharp, durable, and a way to use up your WS credit, go with the Masahiro.  If you're looking for the best knife you can get for the money, apply the WS gift card to something else, and get something in the $100 range from any one of several e-tailers. 



post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
Thank you for the information. I have made do with my Henkels Utility knive for so long that anything will be an improvement. I'm not really sure that I know the difference between using a Chef's knife and a Utility knife. How would I know what knife to buy from an e-tailer if I can't hold it to see how it feels ?
post #4 of 4

While there's significant variation in chef's knives, when it comes to the other profiles -- expressly including "utility" knives -- unless they're very unusual, pretty much all of them feel about the same. 


Another caveat is that in-store knife trials which are mostly a matter of waving the knife around tend to be more misleading than informative unless you have a fair bit of experience.  Certain things tend to be overrated in-store, like "heft," "balance," and visual appeal; while others -- far more important -- like edge taking and holding properties are underrated.


If there's some area of particular concern, for instance if you want a paring knife with neutral balance, you can ask the dealer or ask on a forum where you'll likely find someone familiar with your concerns and/or the knives in question.  Most e-tailers will allow you to return the knife for the cost of shpping, if you don't like it.  Otherwise, you can visit a local knife store and limit your options to their stock.


While you could get a slightly better knife for a little less money, it's not like buying a Masahiro or Miyabi would be a horrible mistake, or even a mistake at all.  Life will go on.  The sun will shine.  Ice cream will taste good. 


And speaking of transitioning from a Wusthof... how do you sharpen? 



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