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french versus german knives. sabatier. someon please enlighten me?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

as a cook I work with different knives, currently with the wusthof classic ikon 8 inch (almost never used) and a 21 inch gyuto blue paper (= carbon)steel Eden Kanso Aogami.

I use the latter most but despite that its very sharp and maintains edge well, not fully happy yet.

I use mostly pinch grip, am a woman with average (7 inch handspan pink to thumb) hands.

 

I have been wondering about what exactly is the difference between the german and french knives.

and what exactly is the difference between all the sabatier brands you come across? I see K sabatier, lion, diamond.

 

if you are from the trade and have experience with one of those what can you tell me.

sure other people are welcome too with sharing their knowledge!! 

post #2 of 14
Basically, it's about profile. The Germans, fat belly and high tip. Fine for tall rock-choppers. The French: flatter profile and tip at the bolster level. Fine for slicing and "guillotine and glide", term by BDL.
I would add the German public seem to love heavy, especially handle heavy knives. Thick bolster, overdimensioned fingerguard, steel cap on the handle, you can't miss it. In the French tradition the agility is much more important.
It's just for simplicity I'm speaking of Germans and French. As always, there are noticeable exceptions. A 1922 Herder chef's knife has rather a French profile, with a slightly more Germanic weight. Diamant and other French have German-like series for export.
Please note that the Japanese have adopted the French model for their gyutos. You may find great vintage Germans with essentially the same French model.
post #3 of 14

The bolster of my Henckels twelve inch chef's knife purchased in '76 has very sharp corners at the top that need to be rounded with an extra fine Swiss pillar file.  Sabatiers of the same era have their bolsters shaped into an oval, very rounded - and therefore more comfortable when held with the thumb and forefinger, while cutting slices of bacon off the slab.  Trust me, those upper sharp corners on the Henckels hurt following a bout of bacon slicing and leave a sharp indentation in those two fingers mentioned.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
Reply
post #4 of 14

 

 


Edited by Dillbert - 9/13/13 at 2:15pm
post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 

interesting replies, al!! thanks!

sounds like I should at least try a french knife given the descriptions it might suit me better than germans.

I do like weight BUT agility is much more important to me.

and the glide slicing style is exactly how I work mostly....hmmm.

 

now meanwhile I have used the search function on the board and found lots of articles about sabatier and its lines.

and the posts of BDL of course.....

and the site of K Sabatier at my side of the pond in France was interesting too, despite the bad english ;)

how come they are so affordable while we pay so much more for germans or japaneses.

 

should I go for carbon? I am a "sharp junkie" and sharpen my own on waterstones....

since I work in a pro environment I find myself babying my japanese knife which is also carbon.

is french carbon different? I think not?

 

dillbert, I'd rather not discuss my job matters here if you don't mind....I appreciate your input, feel free to PM. :) 

post #6 of 14
I would like to put your remark about the French carbons' prices somewhat into perspective, if you don't mind. Steel prices do not enter for that much into the end price. High tech steels may be much harder to work with, so there may be an indirect relation though, especially when some operations can't be performed by the maker himself.
But carbon steel is in general inexpensive and easy to work with.
K-Sabatier is certainly affordable if you compare their prices to that of the big Germans Wüsthof and Zwilling, who have large distribution networks and huge marketing programs. K-Sabatier works essentially on a conservative home market, and operates as a challenger abroad. All reasons to keep their prices moderate, about at the same level as the German Burgvogel.
For their vintage series though, they just follow the market and have risen their prices considerably last years since the renewal of interest by the public abroad.
Please be aware that Fit&Finish by K-Sabatier are certainly not at the level you may expect with e.g. Misono.
Historically the French blades are very interesting. After all, the modern all purpose Western chef's knife has been developed there. Performance-wise I guess you would be better off with a Japanese carbon blade. Harder steel, better geometry, no finger guard, much better F&F.
Especially when you live in Europe, have a look at JCK, with a shipping flat rate of $7. Send me a PM about VAT and import tax.
post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 

benuser, hmm I think you are taking things out of perspective.

its not about my remark about pricing perse, does not matter to me.....I was just wondering that differences were so big price wise.

 

PLUS

 

I already HAVE a japanese carbon, if you read my first post in this thread ...I use it at my work but disadvantage of japanese knives is that they are too fragile because of their hardness. (mine is 62 on the rockwell scale).

drop them and they chip or break.....

so, I was looking for something in a softer steel as per advice on another board and more suited for heavy duty jobs if needed eventually.

sure germans are softer steel than japs, allright, but I don't really like the german design (heavy, handle heavy , not very agile) though I work with it if needed.

not much german carbons around...

so stumbled into the french knives and then different sabatier brands and started reading, that french knives are less heavy as germans and their shape is probably more what I'd want for my cutting technique I use. (thats what I like so much in my jap, though the size is limited)

 

so thats how I came to french carbon, I sharpen my knives myself on waterstones and I know what I like in sharpness.... (the advantage of the japanese knives with their thin blades!)

that brought me to sabatier-k, or nogent eventually....we'll see, no hurry at all.

post #8 of 14

In all my years I have found balance of a knife is everything.  And it depends on whose hands the knife is in.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #9 of 14

@Soesje:  again what I really like about my older Sabatiers is oval shaped bolster.  It feels very comfortable when grasped with my thumb and forerfinger.  Go for one and I don't think that you'll regret it other than having to use oil stones to sharpen it.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
Reply

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
Reply
post #10 of 14
Have you has a look at BDL's blog on nongents??

http://www.cookfoodgood.com/?p=409
post #11 of 14

While the modern japanese made knives look and probably perform utterly beautifully, I'd hate to think the the knife being damaged from dropping off of the countertop and I know I've dropped my Sabatiers and Henckels many times without any chipping.  Maybe the edge needed a slight touch-up with the steel but that's all there was too it.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
Reply

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
Reply
post #12 of 14
What makes you think the edge gets damaged when dropped? I would rather believe it's the spine who gets touched, and, exceptionally, the tip.
post #13 of 14

Benuser, it's all in the way the knife comes off the counter and is dependent upon chance, gravity and Newton's First Law of Motion ("A body in motion remains in motion until an external force changes that motion").  Everything is dependent on how the knife is both laterally moving as it leaves support, upon the shifting center of gravity and upon any other external forces.  There is no reason to assume that the spine or the edge, or the tip or the handle, will be the point of contact with the floor.  It's all chance which part of the knife will hit the floor first.

 

In the case of Kokopuffs' knife falling off his countertop (assuming that Kokopuffs' countertop has an abrupt 90 degree edge), the knife doesn't simply come off the counter and drop down flat onto the floor.  Instead, as the knife moves over the edge of the countertop, the knife remains flat along the countertop until the center of gravity of the knife passes over the edge.  At that position, the edge acts as a fulcrum point and the knife tips over, off the countertop, with the knife developing a spin.  How the spin works out is based upon whether the knife was horizontally spinning when it was on the countertop, the speed the knife was at when it went over the edge and the movable position of the center of gravity of the knife had as it left the countertop.  All of that is completely based on chance.

 

In the case of Kokopuffs' knife falling out of his hand directly onto the floor (Kokopuffs, take this as my making a teaching moment - I will personally give you the benefit of the doubt about your ability to hold onto the knife, but I simply want to make a point about the physics of the situation), as the knife slides out of Kokopuffs' hand, it is supported by the furthermost of Kokopuffs' fingers along the handle, until the center of gravity forces extends forward of that part of the knife supported by Kokopuffs' fingers.  At that point, the furthest forward finger acts as a fulcrum, and the knife develops a spin.

 

In short, it's more than likely that the knife will develop a spin.  What is strictly chance is whether the spin results in the edge impacting the floor.  What is also chance is what angle the knife will be at when it impacts the floor.

 

This is all from my high school physics class, which is now closing on half a century ago, so please bear with me if I've screwed something up.  Also, this is mostly off the top of my head, so as to reply as quickly as possible.

 

Worst case scenario is for the knife edge to be the point of impact, for the knife to impact the floor with the plane of the blade at something other than 90 degrees and for the spin of the knife to be towards rotating the edge towards the floor just before the point of impact.

 

This forum is celebrated for its advocacy of knives with harder steels.  That hardness comes often with the flip side that the harder steels are more prone to brittleness.  Side pressures along the edges of such knives have often been blamed for knife chips along the edges.

 

Kokopuffs has a legitimate concern.  

 

 

Galley Swiller

post #14 of 14
Galley, you are right - for sure. But in my own, limited experience, the only knife I've dropped quite often was a handle-heavy stainless, and after some ten times, and ten years of use, the POM handle was indeed broken. When I sent it in for handle replacement the maker replaced the entire knife -- for free,
The very few other times it happened with lighter blades it has resulted in a little damage on spine or bolster.
I guess I've been very lucky there was almost no spin involved so far.
Thanks again for your thorough and prompt reaction. Bernard
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